How to Write the Date in German – Ultimate Guide


Whether itโ€™s on vacations or when working with international clients. 

Knowing how to read or write the date in German may help you out in various situations.

Do you want to miss your expensive flight due to an avoidable mistake?

Or miss an important deadline and be considered unreliable?

If the answer is no, this article is for you. 

In todayโ€™s lesson, Iโ€™ll show you how to write and pronounce the date in German. In addition, Iโ€™ll provide you with several related words and phrases. 

3 Ways of Writing Dates in German

This is how they usually write the date in Germany and other German-speaking countries:

a.) 18.10.2021

While English speakers use slashes โ€œ/โ€, German natives use periods โ€œ.โ€ for the short format. 

If you are from North America, always remember that Germans put the day before the month. This means the German date format is DD.MM.YYYY instead of MM/DD/YYYY.  

Unless you want to pay your German client a surprise visit or show up months too late, you should keep that in mind.

b.) 14. Februar 1995

Letโ€™s take the most romantic day of the year as an example for the long format. 

Like in English, the month must be capitalized in German. 

Instead of a โ€œthโ€, a period โ€œ.โ€ is put after the day. The period indicates that 14 is an ordinal number

c.) der erste Mai 2016

The date can also be written in this way. You should only write out numbers under zwรถlf (12) because the higher numbers are too long to look good in a text.

Keep in mind that the year is always a cardinal number in German. And donโ€™t forget to capitalize the month, as already mentioned above.

The months in German

If you are not familiar with the German months, you may want to have a short look at this list:

  • ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Januar – ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ January
  • ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Februar – ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ February
  • ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Mรคrz – ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ March
  • ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช April – ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ April
  • ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Mai – ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ May 
  • ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Juni – ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ June
  • ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Juli – ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ July
  • ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช August – ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ August
  • ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช September – ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ September
  • ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Oktober – ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ October
  • ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช November – ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ November
  • ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Dezember – ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ December

Donโ€™t forget to put a โ€œzโ€ in Dezember instead of the โ€œcโ€.

Except for Mรคrz, the months in German are all pretty similar to their English equivalent. Donโ€™t you think?

Youโ€™re a quick learner, arenโ€™t you?

Then you might already be able to name some months in German.

Letโ€™s take a try: Januar, โ€ฆ

Ordinal numbers in German Dates

If you donโ€™t know how to count in German yet, make sure you learn German numbers first. This App will help you memorize German numbers with no big effort.

Those who already have a basic understanding of how German reverse counting works will find these ordinals fairly easy. 

Numbers 1 – 19

The only thing you need to do is add a โ€œ-teโ€ to the numbers you already know. Here are some examples:

๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Der fรผnfte Mai 2017
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ The fifth of May 2017

๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Der achte August 1935
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ The eighth of August 1935

๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Der zehnte Dezember 2025
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ The tenth of December 2025

There are only two exceptions you need to remember:

๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Der erste Mai
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ the first of May

๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Der dritte Juni
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ the third of July

Only there, you canโ€™t use the cardinal number as a basis for the ordinal.

Easy, isnโ€™t it? 

Numbers over 20

For numbers over 20, you have to add a โ€œ-steโ€ instead. 

You usually donโ€™t write out those numbers. This is only to show you how to pronounce them: 

๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Der zwanzigste September
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ The 20th of September

๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Der siebenundzwanzigste Jรคnner
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ The 27th of January

๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Der dreiรŸigste April
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ The 30th of April

You need to know that you often have to add an โ€œ-nโ€ to the ordinal. For example, when using โ€œamโ€, which means โ€œon theโ€ in English. 

But let me show you what Iโ€™m talking about:

๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Am zwanzigsten Mai
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ On the 20th of May

๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Am achtzehnten August
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ On the 18th of August

๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Am ersten Januar
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ On the 1st of January

Thatโ€™s because the case has changed here. If you want to find out more about this phenomenon, you should look at the German case system

The Days of the Week in German

German natives are likely to mention the weekday when setting up a date with you. This is why I will quickly provide you with a list of the German weekdays:

  • ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Montag – ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Monday
  • ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Dienstag – ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Tuesday
  • ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Mittwoch – ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Wednesday
  • ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Donnerstag – ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Thursday
  • ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Freitag – ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Friday
  • ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Samstag – ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Saturday
  • ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Sonntag – ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Sunday

Here are some examples of what that can look like:

๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Freitag, der 15. Oktober
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Friday, the 15th of October

๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Dienstag, der 6. April
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Tuesday, the 6th of April

๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Sonntag, der 31. Dezember
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Sunday, the 31st of December

How to ask for the date in German

Does it sometimes happen to you that you have no idea what day it is? 

Donโ€™t worry! That happens to me a lot.

At least, I hope that I donโ€™t have to worry about thatโ€ฆ


Here are the two most common ways of asking for the date in German:

๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Welchen Tag haben wir heute?
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ What day is it today?

๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Welches Datum haben wir heute?
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Whatโ€™s the date today?

Here are some other questions that might come in handy:

๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช An welchem Tag findet das Meeting statt?
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ On what day does the meeting take place?

๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Wann hast du Geburtstag?
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ When is your birthday?

๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Wann ist euer Hochzeitstag?
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ When did you get married?

๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช An welchem Tag feiern wir dieses Jahr Weihnachten?
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ On which day do we celebrate Christmas this year? 

๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Wann hat der Zweite Weltkrieg geendet?
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ When did the Second Worldwar end?

๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช An welchen Tagen haben Sie geรถffnet?
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ On which days are you open?

๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช An welchen Tagen hast du dieses Jahr frei?
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Which days do you have of this year?

๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Wann geht unser Flug nach Berlin?
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ When is our flight to Berlin?

๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Welches Jahr haben wir?
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ What year is it?

Youโ€™ll probably only need to ask the last question when waking up during a zombie apocalypse or when youโ€™ve ordered too much beer. But who knows?

Have a nice day!

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Sandra Foessl

Sandra Foessl

Language lover and bookworm. Lives in Austria and has been teaching English, French and German for more than a decade.

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