Today will share with you phrases and expressions to wish someone a Happy Birthday in German! It is very useful to know them both for those who live in Germany and for those who have German friends or relatives.

By congratulating our loved ones, friends, relatives and colleagues, we bring joy into their lives. Though congratulating foreigners is not as easy as it seems… Undoubtedly, you already know many polite and beautiful German words, but which ones will suit such an event?

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The most frequently heard phrase – Alles Gute zum Geburtstag! Literal translation – All the best for your birthday! Or a simple phrase: Ich gratuliere dir zum Geburtstag! – I wish you a happy birthday.

For convenience, I have compiled a whole list of useful phrases:

  • Alles Gute zum Geburtstag! – All the best for your birthday!
  • Herzlichen Glückwunsch zum Geburtstag! – Happy Birthday!
  • Ich wünsche dir alles Beste zum Geburtstag! – I wish you all the best for your birthday!
  • Viel Gesundheit und viel Glück zum Geburtstag! – Lots of health and good luck for your birthday!
  • Viel Glück und Freude zu neuem Lebensjahr! – Good luck and joy in the new year of life!
  • Den besten Glückwunsch zum Geburtstag! – Best wishes for your birthday!
  • Viel Gesundheit und möge die Sonne jeden Tag für Dich scheinen. Alles Gute zum Geburtstag! – Health and may the sun shine for you every day. Best wishes for your birthday!
  • Viele Sonnenstunden und alles Gute zum Geburtstag! —Lots of sun and all the best for your birthday! 
  • Viel Schönes wünsche ich zum Geburtstag! – I wish you all the best for your birthday! 
  • Heute schicke ich Glück, Gesundheit und viel Sonnenschein dir zum Geburtstag! – Today I send you good luck, health and a lot of sunshine for your birthday! 
  • Ich wünsche das Beste vom Besten zum Geburtstag! – I wish you all the best of the best for your birthday!
  • Ich wünsche Dir alles Gute zum Geburtstag! Bleib weiterhin so wunderschön wie Du bist! – I wish you all the best for your birthday! Remain such a wonderful person as you are!
  • Herzlichen Glückwunsch zum Geburtstag! Ich wünsche Dir Freude und Zufriedenheit für jeden Tag Deines Lebens! – Hearty congratulations on your birthday! I wish you joy and contentment for every day of your life!
  • Ich wünsche Dir nur das Beste und einen schönen Geburtstag! – I wish you only the best and have a wonderful birthday!

All of the above is essentially both a congratulation and a wish at the same time – write it down in your dictionary, and they will definitely come in handy!
It is worth noting that these are universal phrases, but still you decide which of them are suitable for a close friend, and which for a work colleague, after all, you can be in a fairly warm relationship with a colleague, but do not go too far and remember the peculiarities of mentality! By the way, in Germany there are no special differences in congratulations for men and women, the main rule is to be sincere and speak with all your heart!

If you are laconic or generally shy, avoid long ornate phrases – you can take note of such a concise version of congratulations – Viele liebe Grüße ! (Best wishes!).

It is important to note that the literal translation of congratulations and wishes is not always appropriate, therefore, often in dictionaries, a semantic translation is provided that is most suitable for the occasion. And when literally translated, the phrase may look a little clumsy and unusual, so it’s better to avoid such moments!

If you are invited, and you realize that you cannot join the celebration, tell the birthday boy: Schade, dass ich nicht mitfeiern kann . This phrase goes like this: “I wish I could celebrate with you together.” By the way, if you can’t congratulate a person personally, but you really want to express your attention to him, you can send him a birthday card. In German it is die Grußkarte (or: die Glückwunschkarte ). Just write some of the nice phrases you learned today and mail the postcard.

It may also happen that the birthday has already passed, and did not have time to congratulate the person. It doesn’t matter, there is an expression for such a case, because it’s better late than never. Say: “Nachträglich alles Gute zum Geburtstag “. Literally translated as -” My belated heartfelt congratulations on your birthday. “

What more could you ask for?

In addition to the standard “health” and “happiness” you could say:
Ich wünsche dir:
spannende Erlebnisse – exciting events
unvergessliche Abenteuer – an unforgettable adventure
eine tolle Geburtstagsparty – fun to celebrate
Erfolg im Beruf / in der Schule – success at work / school
viel Geld – a lot of money

Get your “How to say Happy Birthday in German” printable PDF by clicking here

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