12 Awesome German Audio Drama Series to Get You Hooked.

Why you should listen to German audio dramas

Easy to understand
Though many adults continue to listen to stories in audio form, the majority is aimed at children and young people. Consequently, their topics and language are easy to understand and therefore perfect for beginner students of German.

High quality

Plus, as we have learned earlier, a lot of effort goes into the production of audio dramas. Practiced speakers deliver the lines clearly and at a comfortable tempo. This lets you practice your listening skills with clearly-spoken everyday German.
Highly entertaining
Audio dramas are one of those things that, when included in your German practice, can be as enjoyable as they are instructive. I mean, there must be a reason why adults keep listening to their favorite series, right? Plus, finding your study material interesting can’t be bad for motivation.

A real piece of German culture
Audio dramas are a perfect gateway to experience some genuine German culture. Not only because of their relative importance within the country, but also for the topics they tackle. Examples include:
German Spießertum (Philistinism)
Daily life in Germany
Growing up as a young adult in the country
German school in different decades
And much more. Plus, if you know some of the series below, I promise it’ll be a real ice breaker in conversations with natives.
Ok, now that we have you all excited, I don’t want to torture you any longer. Below is a list of many beloved audio drama series in Germany. Many of them are available on YouTube, so you can even listen to them for free.
1. Die drei ???
Ok, so first of all the question marks are part of the name. This is not an example of someone expressing extreme incredulity, but is actually pronounced Die drei Fragezeichen (The Three Question Marks).
Die drei ??? is the most successful audio drama series in Germany and has sold a whopping 45 million cassettes, records, CDs and downloads since its inception in 1968. This series alone makes up 40% of the entire audio drama market in Germany and has even spawned a live-theater version where the original voice actors bring new episodes to life on stage.
The series follows three young detectives from California by the names of Justus Jonas, Peter Shaw and Bob Andrews. “Three Question Marks” is the name of their investigation agency. Over time they have solved many mysteries, crimes and riddles. Many older episodes are available as free downloads or can be found on YouTube.
2. Benjamin Blümchen
In case you were thrown by the mention of a talking elephant before, it is this series’ fault. Benjamin Blümchen chronicles the adventures of its eponymous hero and his (human) friend Otto. Whether traveling to Africa, recovering a treasure from the sea or becoming a soccer goalie, this elephant has done it all.
Many of his adventures can be found for free on Spotify (alternatively copy the name into your Spotify search bar). This one is aimed at a younger demographic, so it’s easy to understand.
3. Bibi Blocksberg
The little witch Bibi Blocksberg lives in the same city as the aforementioned elephant. That shouldn’t be a suprise since both series appear on the same label. Sometimes their story lines even cross over!
However, when not mingling with her counterpart from the zoo, Bibi is busy having magical adventures together with her family and friends all over the place. You can experience them either on YouTube (see below) or on Spotify. Again, this series is more aimed at beginners who will benefit from its easy language.

4. TKKG
The title of this audio drama series is an acronym of the starting letters of its four protagonists’ first names (Tarzan/Tim, Karl, Klößchen, Gabi). Much like Die drei ??? this series revolves around a group of junior detectives. The team of youngsters, with Tarzan/Tim as their leader (his name changes in later episodes) solve crimes and help victims of wrongdoing. Very catchy theme tune, be warned!
5. Fünf Freunde
This series is based on the successful children’s book series Famous Five by the late Enid Blyton. It revolves around five friends (duh!): Georgina, Julian, Richard, Anne and the dog Timmy.
Curiously, TKKG also has a dog of the same name. Coincidence? I don’t think so. It appears that the German series was modeled after the original Fünf Freunde, who are also in the habit of solving all sorts of mysteries and crimes.
The series was first turned into an audio experience in 1975 and new episodes continue to be published to this day. You find Fünf Freunde as a free online stream.
6. Das Sams
Das Sams is an invention of children’s book author Paul Maar and was first published in book form in 1973. It is the name of a wondrous and loud creature with a pig-like nose, red hair and frog feet. Its most stunning characteristic, however, are the blue spots on its face that have the power to grant wishes.
Both the book and audio series are favorites among German children and have been turned into live-action movies in recent years. You can find the first edition as a free stream here and on Spotify.
7. Urmel aus dem Eis
Talking about strange creatures, Urmel is another one of them. The friendly and child-like dinosaur is well-known by many people of all generations through a classic puppet theater TV series named Augsburger Puppenkiste. Some years back, the story of Urmel aus dem Eis was also turned into an animated film. A Hörspiel version is also available and can be found on Spotify for free.
8. Pettersson und Findus

The farmer Pettersson and his cat Findus are also part of the collection of German children’s books for beginners. The oddball pair has many adventures that are entertaining for young and old. Some of them have been turned into audio dramas and can be found on Spotify as well.
9. Asterix und Obelix
If you haven’t grown up in Europe, you might not be familiar with these two Frenchmen. The adventures of Asterix the Gaul and his buddy Obelix who resist the Roman occupation of their country are favorites among cartoon-loving children.
What started out as books soon branched out into movies, fan articles and even an amusement park (look it up!). Therefore it shouldn’t be a huge surprise that the stories of the magic potion-chugging friends found their way into the audio drama section.
10. Ronja Räubertochter
The story of Ronja, daughter of the leader of a band of robbers (Räubertochter literally means “robber’s daughter”) is a classic by Swedish author Astrid Lindgren. The audio version—quite frankly—scared the crap out of me as a little kid because of the harpies who make an appearance in the story. Scary stuff! If you feel up for it (I still don’t), the full version can be found on YouTube.
11. Das fliegende Klassenzimmer
And another classic of German children’s literature. Das fliegende Klassenzimmer (“The flying classroom) is a novel from 1933 written by Erich Kästner. Its story revolves around a bunch of German middle schoolers and their quarrels with members of another school. It has been turned into several movies over the last decades and also found its way onto tapes and CDs.
12. Wallander
The last series on the list is for more mature audiences. The eponymous police inspector Kurt Wallander, penned by Henning Mankell, solves murder cases around his hometown of Ystad in southern Sweden.
The book series was a hit worldwide, with German audiences included. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, therefore, that some of the stories have been turned into audio dramas for the German market, two of which are available for free online:
Wallander – Eiskalt wie der Tod
Wallander – Tod in den Sternen
German audio dramas in a nutshell

It seems like audio dramas are as German as Bratkartoffeln (pan-fried potatoes) and Weißbier (wheat beer, especially in Southern Germany). They are beloved by young and old and continue to be a relevant medium in their biggest worldwide market.
That is certainly good news for you German students, who can tap into this treasure trove of content. Since there are Hörspiele for every audience, learners of every level can benefit from the listening practice they provide.
High production value and entertainment factor mixed with easy-to-understand content form a recipe for learning success. At the same time, since many grow up with this stuff, listeners not only broaden their vocabulary but also their understanding of German culture.

Below is a list of many beloved audio drama series in Germany. Many of them are available on YouTube, so you can even listen to them for free.

1. Die drei ???

Ok, so first of all the question marks are part of the name. This is not an example of someone expressing extreme incredulity, but is actually pronounced Die drei Fragezeichen (The Three Question Marks).

Die drei ??? is the most successful audio drama series in Germany and has sold a whopping 45 million cassettes, records, CDs and downloads since its inception in 1968. This series alone makes up 40% of the entire audio drama market in Germany and has even spawned a live-theater version where the original voice actors bring new episodes to life on stage.

The series follows three young detectives from California by the names of Justus Jonas, Peter Shaw and Bob Andrews. “Three Question Marks” is the name of their investigation agency. Over time they have solved many mysteries, crimes and riddles. Many older episodes are available as free downloads or can be found on YouTube.

2. Benjamin Blümchen

In case you were thrown by the mention of a talking elephant before, it is this series’ fault. Benjamin Blümchen chronicles the adventures of its eponymous hero and his (human) friend Otto. Whether traveling to Africa, recovering a treasure from the sea or becoming a soccer goalie, this elephant has done it all.

Many of his adventures can be found for free on Spotify (alternatively copy the name into your Spotify search bar). This one is aimed at a younger demographic, so it’s easy to understand.

3. Bibi Blocksberg

The little witch Bibi Blocksberg lives in the same city as the aforementioned elephant. That shouldn’t be a suprise since both series appear on the same label. Sometimes their story lines even cross over!

However, when not mingling with her counterpart from the zoo, Bibi is busy having magical adventures together with her family and friends all over the place. You can experience them either on YouTube (see below) or on Spotify. Again, this series is more aimed at beginners who will benefit from its easy language.

4. TKKG

The title of this audio drama series is an acronym of the starting letters of its four protagonists’ first names (Tarzan/Tim, Karl, Klößchen, Gabi). Much like Die drei ??? this series revolves around a group of junior detectives. The team of youngsters, with Tarzan/Tim as their leader (his name changes in later episodes) solve crimes and help victims of wrongdoing. Very catchy theme tune, be warned!

5. Fünf Freunde

This series is based on the successful children’s book series Famous Five by the late Enid Blyton. It revolves around five friends (duh!): Georgina, Julian, Richard, Anne and the dog Timmy.

Curiously, TKKG also has a dog of the same name. Coincidence? I don’t think so. It appears that the German series was modeled after the original Fünf Freunde, who are also in the habit of solving all sorts of mysteries and crimes.

The series was first turned into an audio experience in 1975 and new episodes continue to be published to this day. You find Fünf Freunde as a free online stream.

6. Das Sams

Das Sams is an invention of children’s book author Paul Maar and was first published in book form in 1973. It is the name of a wondrous and loud creature with a pig-like nose, red hair and frog feet. Its most stunning characteristic, however, are the blue spots on its face that have the power to grant wishes.

Both the book and audio series are favorites among German children and have been turned  into live-action movies in recent years. You can find the first edition as a free stream here and on Spotify.

7. Urmel aus dem Eis

Talking about strange creatures, Urmel is another one of them. The friendly and child-like dinosaur is well-known by many people of all generations through a classic puppet theater TV series named Augsburger Puppenkiste. Some years back, the story of Urmel aus dem Eis was also turned into an animated film. A Hörspiel version is also available and can be found on Spotify for free.

8. Pettersson und Findus

The farmer Pettersson and his cat Findus are also part of the collection of German children’s books for beginners. The oddball pair has many adventures that are entertaining for young and old. Some of them have been turned into audio dramas and can be found on Spotify as well.

9. Asterix und Obelix

If you haven’t grown up in Europe, you might not be familiar with these two Frenchmen. The adventures of Asterix the Gaul and his buddy Obelix who resist the Roman occupation of their country are favorites among cartoon-loving children.

What started out as books soon branched out into movies, fan articles and even an amusement park (look it up!). Therefore it shouldn’t be a huge surprise that the stories of the magic potion-chugging friends found their way into the audio drama section.

10. Ronja Räubertochter

The story of Ronja, daughter of the leader of a band of robbers (Räubertochter literally means “robber’s daughter”) is a classic by Swedish author Astrid Lindgren. The audio version—quite frankly—scared the crap out of me as a little kid because of the harpies who make an appearance in the story. Scary stuff! If you feel up for it (I still don’t), the full version can be found on YouTube.

11. Das fliegende Klassenzimmer

And another classic of German children’s literature. Das fliegende Klassenzimmer (“The flying classroom) is a novel from 1933 written by Erich Kästner. Its story revolves around a bunch of German middle schoolers and their quarrels with members of another school. It has been turned into several movies over the last decades and also found its way onto tapes and CDs.

12. Wallander

The last series on the list is for more mature audiences. The eponymous police inspector Kurt Wallander, penned by Henning Mankell, solves murder cases around his hometown of Ystad in southern Sweden.

The book series was a hit worldwide, with German audiences included. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, therefore, that some of the stories have been turned into audio dramas for the German market, two of which are available for free online:

Wallander – Eiskalt wie der Tod

Wallander – Tod in den Sternen

German audio dramas in a nutshell

 

It seems like audio dramas are as German as Bratkartoffeln (pan-fried potatoes) and Weißbier (wheat beer, especially in Southern Germany). They are beloved by young and old and continue to be a relevant medium in their biggest worldwide market.

That is certainly good news for you German students, who can tap into this treasure trove of content. Since there are Hörspiele for every audience, learners of every level can benefit from the listening practice they provide.

High production value and entertainment factor mixed with easy-to-understand content form a recipe for learning success. At the same time, since many grow up with this stuff, listeners not only broaden their vocabulary but also their understanding of German culture.

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