How to Say Environment in German

by Expath Language School

The environment is quite a hot topic (literally). Let's talk about it in German.

Three Main Words

There are three main words for “environment” in the German language. Though the terms often overlap, the word Umwelt (f.) is primarily used to describe nature and ecosystems (that may have an impact on our living conditions) , Umfeld (n.) is mainly for the social or psychological environment that one is influenced by, and Umgebung (f.) means one’s immediate physical surroundings.

Whereas Umwelt and Umfeld are both used to describe surroundings that have a direct effect on humanity (or a specific group or person), the word Umgebung is not necessarily linked to us in such a way and can refer to nearby objects, structures and streets as well as nature (i.e. one’s “immediate environment”).


Rettet die Umwelt! Save the environment!

Wir erwarten ein sicheres und gesundes Arbeitsumfeld. We expect a safe and healthy working environment.

Ich brauche meine gewohnte Umgebung. I need my familiar environment.

Related Words

Related words are Umweltschutz (m.), meaning “environmental protection”; umweltfreundlich, meaning “environment-friendly”; Umweltschaden (m.), meaning “damage to the environment”; umweltschädlich, meaning “harmful to the environment.”

Fun Fact

Umwelt literally means “the world around” and comes from the Danish word omverden, meaning area or “surrounding land”.

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