Learning how to read in German is vital whether you want to skim the news, lose yourself in a good book, listen to an audiobook on your drive or just keep up with Twitter drama.
No matter the reason, the key to learning to read German is practice, which involves finding things to read.
But what if there was a way to have reading materials tailored to your interests come to you?
That’s where German newsletters can help.
- The Pros and Cons of Newsletter Subscriptions
- How to Find Your New Favorite German Newsletter
- Our Favorite German Newsletters
The Pros and Cons of Newsletter Subscriptions
At their worst, email newsletters are ads that fill your inbox with spam. At their best, they’re bite-size link lists, short anecdotes or targeted advice.
From a German learning perspective, a major benefit of newsletters is their consistency. They arrive in your inbox on a more-or-less regular schedule, and each issue has new content, so you always have something fresh to learn with.
Since many newsletters are targeted to a specific interest or group, you’re sure to get content you enjoy reading. Keeping things interesting is vital to staying motivated while learning German.
However, this frequency can also be a downside of newsletters. A newsletter you don’t read is nothing more than spam, so be sure to abmelden (unsubscribe) to the newsletters you don’t like. At first, it’s worth signing up for a wide variety of newsletters, but over time, you should be more discerning in your subscriptions.
How to Find Your New Favorite German Newsletter
It can be challenging to find interesting German newsletters. If you search around for lists of bloggers’ favorite newsletters, even German sites like to share newsletters written in English. That said, it isn’t impossible.
The easiest way to find your new Lieblings-Newsletter (favorite newsletter) is to look and see if a German blogger or site that you enjoy has a mailing list. Note that it’s likely more marketing-related than, say, a curated newsletter, but you might still get interesting content. Even German spam can have its uses!
Look out for the word “abonnieren,” or “subscribe.”
If you don’t already have a site in mind, you can do a few Google searches to see what comes up for your interests. Try variations of “abonnieren + [your interest in German] + newsletter.” Sometimes “abonnieren” will be shortened to “abo,” so you can search with that, as well.
For example, if I were into gardening, I might search for “abonnieren garten newsletter” (“subscribe to garden newsletter”). One of the first results is the email newsletter of a German garden and landscape magazine—probably something worth checking out!
For newsletter-specific queries, it can be helpful to include the names of mailing services in the search. Two major services are MailChimp and TinyLetter. MailChimp is mostly used for big marketing campaigns or for large-scale newsletters. TinyLetter, on the other hand, has a subscriber cap and is mostly used for small, personal affairs.
To compare, think of the difference between a glossy magazine and a hand-stapled zine: both can be excellent, but their audiences are slightly different. Due to the differences in these services, using one or the other in your query can change the search results. Try both and see what happens.
Our Favorite German Newsletters
Given how challenging it can be to find German newsletters, here’s a list of suggested reads. The newsletters are listed in alphabetical order. Topics run the gamut from world news to technology to writing, and the mailing frequencies range from daily to monthly.
As mentioned, feel free to sign up for a variety of newsletters to start, but be sure to unsubscribe if you find yourself ignoring the messages that pop up in your inbox over time.
Bande de Coquins
For longer travel pieces, check out the Bande de Coquins newsletter, which is focused on the author’s trips and journeys.
The travelogues are personal, featuring lots of pictures and sensory detail. Rather than being dry, the writing in Bande de Coquins is hip and colloquial—great for intermediate German practice.
Deutsche Welle offers a wide variety of German newsletters, including some in English for those just getting started learning German. Some of the newsletters are more news-focused, while others emphasize cultural topics.
The newsletter for Deutsch als Fremdsprache (German as a foreign language) is especially useful, as it’s designed to be read by non-native speakers.
FluentU German Learner Newsletter
Looking for German learning tips and resources? The FluentU German newsletter sends a weekly email with links to the latest FluentU German Learner blog posts, which cover everything from grammar concepts and vocabulary lists to study techniques to book, movie and TV show recommendations.
You’ll also get tips on how to get the most out of the FluentU app and website. (This is our language learning program that turns native video clips into mini German language lessons fit for learners of all levels by using interactive subtitles, quizzes and flashcards.)
Johannes Klingebiel’s “zine” features link-heavy round-ups on design, culture and the internet. A lot of the resources he shares are in English, but the presentation is in German. If you’re a techie, you’ll likely enjoy this newsletter.
Past emails are all archived on the Revue site for easy access at the link above.
Other similar newsletters are Thomas Gigold and Undisruptable Technology, both of which feature archives on Revue as well.
Julian Schmidli’s newsletter is one of many personal newsletters found online. Just like personal zines, personal newsletters are imbued with the personality of their writers.
Julian’s newsletter focuses on travel, political essays (such as an issue focused on the #MeToo movement) and other topics he finds interesting.
10 Dinge (10 Things) is a bit of a smorgasbord, featuring links to food writing, books and more. Each issue feels a bit like a blog post.
Like many other newsletters on TinyLetter, it’s easy to explore the archives. Be sure to check out old issues and see if you’d like to subscribe.
Serienbrief is a newsletter about shows and storytelling, focusing on popular TV series, many of which are made in the U.S. For media junkies, this newsletter is a boon, as the language it uses can be found on other media-heavy sites online.
Sample issues can be viewed from the main site, allowing you to preview before subscribing.
Süddeutsche Zeitung is a daily German newspaper. They offer a number of newsletters, each tailored to different interests. Most of the daily and weekly newsletters offer curated links to explore.
Of their offerings, “jetzt-Newsletter” is a good one to start out with, as its Millennial-focused news uses slang and touches on topics relevant to 20- and 30-somethings.
If you’re a news junkie, other newsletters worth mentioning include the daily Morning Briefing or the weekly Reportagen (Reportage).
The Textmatters newsletter offers German writing advice, which can be surprisingly useful for the intermediate learner. An introductory issue, for example, talks about “Stinkende Adjektive” (“stinking adjectives”) that can overpower text.
Just as good writing in English helps to communicate ideas with brevity and clarity, so does good German writing.
German newsletters can be a simple and effective way to practice reading. By subscribing to newsletters about topics you enjoy, you can motivate yourself to read something new every day. Being free, they’re a low-cost resource suitable for every learner. Even better, they use everyday language and can be a great way to keep up with German culture. Try subscribing to one of the newsletters from this list and find your own Lieblings-Newsletter today.