The „Goethe-Wörterbuch“ is a dictionary that analyses the use of words in the texts of a single author, presenting Goethe’s entire vocabulary in alphabetical order. On the basis of approximately three million archive slips on about 90.000 headwords, it displays their multiple usage in systematically structured entries, with selected quotations to verify and illustrate the differentiated meanings. In doing so, the Goethe-Wörterbuch pays equal attention to Goethe’s every day language as well as to a wide range of technical terminology of that period and, last not least, to the idiosyncrasies of Goethe’s poetic diction. Thus, the Goethe-Wörterbuch is not exclusively an instrument of the Goethe philology, but, almost to the same extent, a valid source of information for the History of Science and for Cultural History in general, as for the Historiographies of Concepts, Ideas and Mentalities. To linguistics it offers a solid foundation for every comprehensive description of the German language in its cultural dimension, furthermore providing a variety of clues concerning the formative era of today‘s German.

The project was founded in 1946 in consequence of a memorandum adressed to the Berlin Academy by classical philologist Wolfgang Schadewaldt. A first branch in Hamburg followed in 1947, and in 1948, the Berlin bureau expanded to Leipzig; finally, in 1951, the Tübingen branch was established. The supervision of these institutes is carried out by the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, the Academy of Sciences and Humanities at Göttingen, and the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, which are each represented by two of their academicians in a common commission.


  • Prof. Dr. Jochen A. Bär (Project Leader)
  • Prof. Dr. Ernst Osterkamp (Project Leader)
  • PD Dr. Michael Niedermeier (Office Site Leader)
  • Dr. Christiane Schlaps (Office Site Leader)
  • Dr. Rüdiger Welter (Office Site Leader)
  • Dr. Juliane Brandsch (Research Associate)
  • Dr. Robert Charlier (Research Associate)
  • Dr. Elke Dreisbach (Research Associate)
  • Dr. Martina Eicheldinger (Research Associate)
  • Dr. Sabine Elsner (Research Associate)
  • Dr. Beatrice Frank (Research Associate)
  • Sofia Frys (Research Associate)
  • Jana Ilgner M.A. (Research Associate)
  • PD Dr. Ulrich Krämer (Research Associate)
  • Dr. Renata Kwaśniak (Research Associate)
  • Dr. Nikolaus Lohse (Research Associate)
  • Katherina Mittendorf (Research Associate)
  • Claudia Ristau (Research Associate)
  • Dr. Michael Schilar (Research Associate)
  • Marco Scheider (Research Associate)
  • Dr. Karin Vorderstemann (Research Associate)
  • Kornelia Wegenast (Official in Charge)
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Project type

Responsible for the academies' programme

Sebastian Zwies M.A.

Geschäftsstelle Mainz
Union der deutschen Akademien der Wissenschaften
Geschwister-Scholl-Straße 2
55131 Mainz

Tel: 06131/218 528-17