For members


10 beautiful ways to express your love in German

Struggling to ask someone out or find the perfect German pet name? Allow The Local to assist you with these delicate matters of the heart.

A Valentine's floral arrangement at a flower shop in Dortmund on February 14th 2022.
A Valentine's floral arrangement at a flower shop in Dortmund on February 14th 2022. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Bernd Thissen

1. Ich liebe dich/ Ich bin in dich verliebt/ Ich hab’ dich lieb

A man writes ich liebe dich, which translates to “I love you” underneath a red rose. Photo: DPA

Let’s jump in at the deep end. There are a few different ways to drop the l-bomb in German, and it is important to choose the one which strikes the right note.

Ich liebe dich (I love you) is better suited to a serious, long-term relationship than the colloquial hab’ dich lieb (love you/love ya lots), which can be used not only for your partner but also friends and family. Ich bin in dich verliebt is definitely only for a lover, but it isn’t as serious as Ich liebe dich.

If it feels right to respond with  “I love you too”,  just pop auch into the phrase, for example ich liebe dich auch, ich bin auch in dich verliebt, ich hab’ dich auch lieb.  

2. Ich bin bis über beide Ohren verliebt

Continuing with bold declarations of love, ich bin bis über beide Ohren verliebt literally means “I am until over both ears in love”. This better translates to “I am head over heels in love”. 

3. Liebestoll

A couple sit together. Photo: DPA/TMN

Ever felt totally consumed by your emotions after being hit by cupid’s arrow? Find it difficult to think about anything else but your other half? In German you would describe yourself as being liebestoll, which means to be crazed by love or love-struck. 

SEE ALSO: German word of the day: Liebestoll

4. Pet names  

A couple in their living room in Hanover. Photo: DPA

If you’re looking for a cutesy pet name, you have come to the right place. Take your pick from Liebste(r), Mausi, Schatz or Liebling, which all translate to something along the lines of love, sweetie, sweetheart or darling.

If you’d like to try something different for February 14th, Vielliebchen is a slightly dated way to call someone your valentine.

5. Dein ist mein ganzes Herz

A woman holds a heart-shaped balloon. Photo DPA/ TMN

This phrase means your’s is my heart alone, your’s is my entire heart or your heart is my delight. Much like saying I love you, it is also better suited to an established relationship, rather than a new one. 

6. Willst du mit mir gehn? 

Malu Dreyer, the minister-president for Rhineland-Palatinate, is photographed in February 2017 holding up a heart-shaped sign. Photo: DPA

But how to find someone to say these sickening things to? 

All relationships have to start somewhere. If you feel things are going well with someone and you’d like them to become your partner, how better to ask them than with a simple willst du mit mir gehn?. This literally translates to ‘do you want to go with me?’. 

7. Ich steh’ auf dich

A green traffic light holding a heart in Thuringia. Photo: DPA

Another gem for the early days of dating would be ich steh’ auf dich, which simply means “I’m into you”. This is the perfect phrase if you’re looking to make your intentions known without getting too serious. 

 8. Du bist mein Ein und Alles

Footballer Steffi Jones (left) with her wife Nicole at the Ball of Sports in 2013. Photo: DPA

Another way to make your feelings known to your significant other would be to say du bist mein Ein und Alles. This is the equivalent of ‘you’re my everything’ or ‘you mean the world to me’. Aww.

9. Liebestöter

Some passion-killing underwear hangs on a washing line in Berlin. Photo: DPA

On the other hand, if you really hate the idea of love, you might don some liebestöter or “love/passion killers”.

These large, sometimes knee-covering underpants (think long johns) are worn to keep away potential suitors by simply by being unattractive. 

10. Hagestolz 

Another way to steer clear of the messy business of love would be to declare yourself a Hagestolz. This term usually describes an old bachelor who has chosen a life of solitude simply because they prefer being alone.

For members


Are these the best German cities to learn a foreign language?

Germany has a wealth of multicultural cities - but which are the best for immersing yourself in a foreign language? Here's what a new study has to say.

Are these the best German cities to learn a foreign language?

When learning a new language, there’s no better way to improve than to by immersing yourself in the culture and chatting with native speakers. That means that places with huge expat communities can be great places to pick up another language or brush up your skills.

So, where in Germany can you find the most languages spoken – and the most opportunities to practice them?

According to a new study by language learning app Preply, Düsseldorf and Frankfurt am Main are the German cities that offer the best opportunities for language learners and foreign language speakers in the country.

The study analysed data from 16 major German cities, including the number of foreign language speakers, the number of multilingual facilities (restaurants, grocery shops, community centres, etc.) on offer and the number of language schools available in each city, as well as their average rating. 

Surprisingly, Germany’s highly multicultural capital, Berlin, failed to top the list for 2022. 

READ ALSO: The best ways to improve your German for free

Instead, Germany’s banking metropolis Frankfurt am Main and Germany’s fashion and media city, Düsseldorf, both came in top due to the sheer diversity of their populations and the size of their expat communities. 

In particular, Frankfurt boasts not only the third highest number of foreign language speakers per capita, but also the highest number of foreign language institutions such as restaurants, community centres, and local shops. 

Meanwhile, Düsseldorf achieved second place for the number of foreign-language establishments on offer and fifth place for the number of foreign-language speakers per capita. 

Berlin ranks at a still respectable fourth place overall among the cultural hotspots by dint of having the fourth highest number of foreign speakers per capita. However, researchers found that there was a dearth of foreign-language businesses and facilities available to language learners.

With only 154 local institutions per 100,000 inhabitants, Berlin only makes it to 7th place in this category.

The other top 10 cultural hotspots include Munich, Stuttgart, Mainz, Potsdam, Hanover, Hamburg and Saarbrücken, while Dresden and Rostock share tenth place.

Expat communities

Though neither cities have the most foreign-language speakers per capita, Frankfurt am Main and Düsseldorf both boast some of the largest language-specific expat communities in the country.

Both are the top hotspots for three of the most-spoken foreign languages in Germany: Frankfurt is top for Italian, Turkish and Austrian-German, while Düsseldorf takes the top spot for Polish, Greek and Dutch.

Apart from the fact that both cities have the largest selection of foreign language facilities and a high number of foreign-language speakers, Frankfurt and Düsseldorf also scored highly for their impressive range of language schools. 

READ ALSO: Is Frankfurt a good place for foreigners to live?

Frankfurt am Main skyline

The Frankfurt skyline. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Hannes P Albert

While Frankfurt offers the largest selection of language schools per capita in Germany, Düsseldorf has the third highest number. However, language schools in Düsseldorf received the most glowing reviews from students, with an average score of 4.56 points compared to Frankfurt’s 4.47. 

Looking at the top three cultural hotspots per language, Stuttgart also stood out as a multicultural centre, with among the largest populations of Greek, Italian, Turkish, Romanian and Croatian speakers in the country.

Other frontrunners include Potsdam and Munich, which also boast large expat communities who speak one of the top foreign languages in Germany