congratulations in german

How to Say “Congratulations” in German: Words and Phrases for Every Occasion [Audio]

There are many reasons to congratulate yourself and the people around you.

Promotions, engagements, weddings, births, graduations… the list goes on!

And if you have German speakers in your life, you’ll want to be able to congratulate them in their language.

In this post, you’ll learn the essential congratulatory words and phrases in German you can use whenever there’s a cause to celebrate


How to Say Congratulations in German

Sometimes giving congratulations takes only one or two words. Here are a few short German phrases you can use to offer congratulations:

Herzlichen Glückwunsch! — Congratulations! (formal) 

Glückwünsch! — Congrats! 

Gut gemacht! — Well done! 

Alles Gute! — All the best! 

Alles Beste! — Best wishes! 

Prost! — Cheers! 

If you’re just looking for a quick “congratulations on,” use the phrase Glückwünsche zu.” The event or cause for celebration comes after zu and takes the dative case. Here are some examples:

Glückwünsche zu deiner Hochzeit.
(Congratulations on your wedding.)

Glückwünsche zu deinen neuer Job.
(Congratulations on your new job.)

Glückwünsche zu deiner Beförderung.
(Congratulations on your promotion.)

Glückwünsche zu dein neues Baby.
(Congratulations on your new baby.)

Glückwünsche zu dein neues Haus.
(Congratulations on your new house.)

Glückwünsche zu deinem Ruhestand.
(Congratulations on your retirement.)

Other times, you may want to offer up congratulations or praise in a more specific way. For example, if you wanted to congratulate your friend on winning first prize, you could say:

Gut gemacht! Du hast ersten Platz gewonnen!
(Well done! You won first place!)

Or if you want to wish your friends well at their wedding you could say:

Die besten Wünsche für eure gemeinsame Zukunft!
(Best wishes for your future together!)

You may need to review your German grammar so you can properly conjugate the verbs in these longer sentences and congratulate with accuracy.

Causes for Celebration in German

Here are some German words and phrases to talk about some of the reasons you might be congratulating somebody:

der Geburtstag Birthday 

die Geburt — Birth

die Verabredung Engagement 

die Hochzeit  — Wedding

die Beförderung Promotion 

der Ruhestand / die Pension  — Retirement 

der Schulanfang First day of school

You may have noticed that graduation is missing from the list. German students don’t have a graduation ceremony and instead focus on passing their final exam to obtain the Abitur (similar to a diploma) and be able to enter university. After they’ve received a passing grade, they can then celebrate and congratulate each other.

How to Practice Saying Congratulations in German

Any time you have a moment to congratulate someone, see if you can use your newfound German-speaking skills to do so. Congratulate your coworkers on another year, your friends on their anniversary or your language partner on improving their speaking.

If you’re looking for places online to practice, test your knowledge of congratulatory phrases with this quiz. You can also learn how to say related phrases like “Happy Birthday” and “Merry Christmas” with these flashcards.


Whatever the cause for celebration, you now have the tools and vocabulary you need to express congratulations in German.

And don’t forget, it’s always polite to say “thank you” when you receive congratulations and “you’re welcome” when you receive gratitude for your well-wishes. 

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