Celebrating one another’s accomplishments can be one of the best ways of supporting people we care about. In Germany, this is especially true as there are so many ways of saying congratulations in German, depending on the event, and the situation. What a supportive language!
The most common way of saying congratulations in German is “Herzlichen Glückwunsch”. But if you’re a beginner and that’s too much of a mouthful, there are plenty of other ways of saying it.
We’ll show you 20 ways of saying “congratulations” in German for every occasion imaginable, from formal to informal.
Read on to explore the possibilities and stay until the end to find out what else you need to consider in a “Feier” (celebration) in Germany.
Congratulations in German at a Glance
Congratulations/All the best
Congratulations/All the best
I am very happy for you!
Congratulations on your engagement!
Congratulations on your anniversary!
We wish you all the best on your wedding!
All the best on your birthday!
Congrats on your promotion!
Congratulations on your new job!
All the best on your retirement!
Congratulations on your graduation!
Congratulations on passing the exam!
Happy new year!
General Congratulations in German
Here we have compiled a comprehensive list of the most common ways of saying congratulations. You can use them in a variety of situations in formal and informal contexts.
Herzlichen Glückwunsch!Herzlichen Glückwunsch! might be the expression that’s the most difficult to pronounce, but it’s the one that’s the most widely used.
You can even buy cards that have “Herzlichen Glückwunsch” printed on them! You can use it whenever you want to say “congratulations”.
“ Alles Gute! ” can both mean “congratulations” and also “I wish you all the best”.
You can Alles Gute! for birthdays but it can also be used to wish someone for a good outcome. For example, you can say it before someone takes an important exam or has a job interview.
Not to be confused with alles Gut?, which is a way to say how are you in German.
You might have guessed it, “ Gratulation! ” means “congrats!” in German and is a quick and informal way to congratulate someone.
Related to “Gratulation!”, “ ich gratuliere ” is similar but more formal. It is most often used to congratulate someone in writing.
Ich wünsche dir alles Gute!
“ Ich wünsche dir alles Gute! ” translates to “best wishes” in German and similar to “Alles Gute” it can be used to congratulate or to wish someone the best for a future event. It is also primarily used in writing.
Ich freue mich sehr für dich!
“ Ich freue mich sehr für dich! ” is a heartfelt and personal way to say “I am very happy for you!” It is definitely one of my personal favorites and conveys genuine care about the person you are addressing.
Congratulations at a marriage/engagement/anniversary
Good etiquette is part of more formal events such as marriages, engagements and anniversaries and you want to be prepared to say the right thing on these occasions. Read on to find out what to say.
Herzlichen Glückwunsch zu deiner/ Ihrer/Eurer Verlobung/!
The pronouns vary depending on your relationship with the person or people in question. “Deiner” expresses an informal relationship, “Ihrer” a formal relationship and “Eurer” an informal relationship in which you address both people in the couple.
Has someone wished you congratulations? Learn how to say thank you in German.
Herzlichen Glückwunsch zum Jahrestag!Herzlichen Glückwunsch zum Jahrestag! means “Best wishes for your anniversary”!
You can add the number before “Jahrestag” to indicate which anniversary is being celebrated, it can be said in person or written on a card.
Wir wünschen euch alles Gute zur Hochzeit!Wir wünschen euch alles Gute zur Hochzeit! means “We wish you all the best on your wedding!”. This is a great phrase to use if you want to congratulate the newlyweds as a group or as more than one person.
Congratulations for a birthday
Germans have adopted parts of the English language into their vocabulary and it is not uncommon to hear people sing “Happy Birthday” in English or write “Happy Birthday” on a card. Read on to learn about uniquely German ways to say “Happy Birthday”.
Herzlichen Glückwunsch zum Geburtstag!
This is the most common way of saying “happy birthday” in German. “ Herzlichen Glückwunsch zum Geburtstag! ” is the go-to expression for birthday wishes.
Alles Gute zum Geburtstag!
“ Alles Gute zum Geburtstag ” is a way to say “all the best on your birthday” in German. You can use it in any context, formal or informal.
Congratulations for success in school or at work
Whether you ace your finals, celebrate graduation or get a promotion, saying “congratulations” for success in school or at work is slightly different than in other circumstances. Check out the following examples:
Gratulation zur Beförderung!
“ Gratulation zur Beförderung ” means “congrats on your promotion” and is a versatile expression that you can use at your workplace or in your family.
Ich gratuliere zum neuen Arbeitsplatz
“ Ich gratuliere zum neuen Arbeitsplatz ” is the best way to say “Congratulations on your new job”. Fun fact, Germans use the word “job” quite frequently, so you can substitute “Arbeitsplatz” with “job” if you want to.
Alles Gute zur Pensionierung! / zum Ruhestand!
“ Alles Gute zur Pensionierung! / zum Ruhestand! ” refers to wishing someone the best for their retirement. Retirement parties aren’t common in German speaking countries, but a card will always be appreciated!
Glückwunsch zum Abschluss!
“ Glückwunsch zum Abschluss! ” is a versatile expression that can be used to congratulate someone for graduating from high school, college or university.
Glückwünsche zur bestandenen Prüfung!
“ Glückwünsche zur bestandenen Prüfung! ” can be used to congratulate someone for passing an exam, whether that’s in school or any other situation.
Congratulations for holidays
Some holidays are widely celebrated in most German countries while others carry less importance. Read on to find out how to address someone during the holidays and wish them the best.
|Frohe Ostern!||Happy Easter!|
|Froehliche Weihnachten!||Merry Christmas!|
|Gutes Neues Jahr!||Happy new year!|
Now that you are armed with a variety of expressions to say “congratulations”, let’s find out what else needs to be considered. If you don’t know the person very well it is not necessary to congratulate them in person or to call, you can always send a card, an email or even a text.
Germans aren’t too formal when it comes to the act of congratulating. If you congratulate someone for a job well done or a challenge overcome in person it is common to bring flowers or chocolate in Germany.