(VOVworld) - The Voice of Vietnam launched its first German radio broadcast on March 1, 2006 after 3 months of preparation. The program is broadcast on shortwave to target Europe through a hired relay station and on FM for the foreign community in Vietnam. The 30-minute daily program is comprised of a news bulletin, political commentaries, and features introducing Vietnam, its land and people.

VOV President Vu Van Hien announced the launch of the German program on March, 1, 2006.

      In early 2005 I was appointed Director of the Overseas Service, now the National Foreign Information Channel (VOV5). Listener feedback showed that the Cantonese program had received no letters from listeners since 1975. There were only 3 editors and announcers involved in producing the program: Mr. Nguyen Van Giang, Mr. Dinh Thiet Hung, and Mrs. Dinh Kim Oanh, who were all about to retire. It was extremely difficult to maintain the program because we would need to recruit new editors and announcers but there was no place that teaches Cantonese in Vietnam. If we recruited new graduates and sent them to learn Cantonese, it would have taken a couple of years as we did with the Japanese program. In the meantime the Voice of Vietnam was broadcasting the Mandarin program so would it really be necessary to keep the Cantonese program in the face of personnel and financial difficulties? If we quit the Cantonese program, what new program should we come up with and why? This was a difficult question for leaders of the Voice of Vietnam and the Overseas Service. After consulting a number of experts, I proposed to VOV leaders to replace Cantonese with either German or Korean. German was prioritized because Germany is one of Vietnam’s most important partners in the European Union. It was one of the most developed industrial countries in the world after the US and Japan in terms of GDP (2006 statistics). Germany established official diplomatic relations with Vietnam in 1975. Despite historical upheavals, Vietnamese-German relations have developed steadily. Vietnamese leaders such as Party General Secretary Nong Duc Manh, Prime Minister Vo Van Kiet, and Prime Minister Phan Van Khai visited Germany and German Chancellors Helmut Kohl and Gerhard Schroeder visited Vietnam. The two countries share the same view on many international issues and have closely coordinated at many multilateral forums. Many bilateral economic and cultural cooperative agreements have been signed. Germany has been one of the EU members that invest the most in Vietnam, approximately 350 million USD. Two-way trade has reached close to 2 billion USD and is expected to rise in the future. Every year, Germany reserves approximately 50 million USD in official development assistance for Vietnam (2006 statistics).  In the 1950s, many young German people joined the Vietnam’s people’s army to fight French colonialists. Germany also helped to train Vietnamese students in Moritzburg. In the 1960s, a great number of Germans took to the street to show their support for Vietnam’s struggle for national independence and reunification. Their spiritual and material support contributed significantly to Vietnam’s victory in its national resistance wars against French colonialists and US imperialists. One more reason to choose German was that tens of thousands of Vietnamese used to live and study in Germany and the number of students of German in Vietnam has been increasing. German businesspeople and tourists have become more interested in Vietnam. Germany has become known to Vietnamese people not only through Hegel, Goethe, or Beethoven but also famous brands such as Siemens and Mercedes-Benz. According to a 2013 listener survey via the English program, 20.95% of the listeners were German, 18.09% Americans, and 12.38% British. When visiting the Voice of Vietnam, journalist Rainer Gotzer said the number of radio listeners in Germany was very high. More than 90% of the surveyed people in Germany said they listened to the radio everyday. The German government has invested a great deal in radio broadcasting. The annual government budget for the national DW radio station is approximately 270 million Euros (320 million USD). German is also popular in Switzerland and Australia, where there are a high number of radio listeners. In Switzerland, a tax on listening to the radio is 169.15 Francs/radio set/year (approximately 160USD per radio set per year).

German ambassador to Vietnam Christian-Ludwig Weber-Lortsch with editors and announcers of the German program.

    Therefore, it was necessary to launch a German program to provide German listeners, the German community and German speakers in Vietnam with more information about Vietnam. VOV President Vu Van Hien supported the plan and personnel, financial, and technical preparations were made in just 3 months by the Radio Technology Center, the Audio Center and other relevant agencies. The selection of voices, jingles, promos, program format, and how to do the voiceovers were carefully prepared before the official launch. 6 editors and announcers, who had majored in English and German at foreign language schools in Hanoi, were employed to work on the German program. After 3 months of training in German offered by experts from the Europe 2 Department of the Foreign Ministry and journalism provided by VOV journalists, they began to be involved in editing, translating, and presenting on air. The official launch in German was on March 1, 2006 at 45 Ba Trieu street, Hanoi in the presence of VOV leaders, the German ambassador to Vietnam, representatives of central agencies and diplomatic agencies, and German experts in Vietnam. A month after its launch, the German program received hundreds of letters from listeners from Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and France. This was a great source of encouragement for the program editors and announcers. It also demonstrated that VOV’s choice of German was right. In addition to shortwave and FM broadcasting, the German program and other foreign language programs of the Voice of Vietnam are also available on the Internet at,, and This makes it easier for foreign readers and listeners to listen to and watch VOV’s programs any where, any time.

Mr. Vu Hai with the editors and announcers of the German program at the launch ceremony.      

      After just 9 years since its establishment (March 1, 2015) and with a team of young, inexperienced radio producers, the German program, supported by VOV leaders and other relevant agencies, will continue to renew its content and ways of presenting to attract more listeners and readers, fostering greater friendship between Vietnam and Germany./.