99 Red Balloons Lyrics German Translation

6 min read Jun 10, 2024
99 Red Balloons Lyrics German Translation

99 Red Balloons: A Song of War and Innocence, Translated

The iconic song "99 Luftballons" by Nena, known internationally as "99 Red Balloons," transcends language barriers. Its simple melody and powerful message of accidental war have resonated with audiences worldwide.

While the English version is widely popular, the original German lyrics offer a deeper understanding of the song's themes. Let's delve into the translated lyrics to uncover the hidden layers of meaning:

Verse 1:

99 Luftballons auf ihrem Weg zum Horizont.

  • 99 balloons on their way to the horizon.

This simple line introduces the image of the balloons, representing innocence and childhood joy.

Sie waren rot, sie waren rund, und keiner wusste, wo sie hinflogen.

  • They were red, they were round, and no one knew where they were going.

The balloons are described as red, symbolizing passion and potentially danger. Their destination is unknown, suggesting a journey into the unknown.

Verse 2:

Die Leute unten auf der Erde sahen sie an und sagten:

  • The people below on Earth looked at them and said:

The focus shifts to the reaction of the people below, highlighting the human perspective on the balloons.

"Was ist das? Was ist das? Was kommt da auf uns zu?"

  • "What is that? What is that? What's coming towards us?"

The repetition of the question emphasizes the people's bewilderment and confusion. They are unable to understand the nature of the approaching balloons.

Verse 3:

Und da flogen sie vorbei, die 99 Luftballons.

  • And then they flew past, the 99 balloons.

The balloons continue their journey, leaving the people on Earth in a state of heightened awareness.

99 Luftballons, da schrien die Leute auf der Erde:

  • 99 balloons, then the people on Earth screamed:

The people react with panic and fear, their initial curiosity turning into alarm.

"Das sind die roten Ballons, die uns das Ende bringen."

  • "Those are the red balloons, they'll bring us the end."

The balloons are now perceived as a threat, symbolizing the fragility of peace and the potential for destruction.


Doch plötzlich waren es nicht mehr 99, sondern 98.

  • But suddenly there were no longer 99, but 98.

The number of balloons starts to decrease, foreshadowing the escalating conflict.

Und dann waren es 97, 96, 95.

  • And then there were 97, 96, 95.

The countdown intensifies the tension, suggesting a rapid decline in peace and security.

Und dann waren es nur noch 90, 80, 70,

  • And then there were only 90, 80, 70.

The rapid decrease in the number of balloons further emphasizes the growing threat.

50, 40, 30, 20, 10,

  • 50, 40, 30, 20, 10,

The countdown continues, creating a sense of urgency and impending doom.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1 - und dann war es vorbei.

  • 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 - and then it was over.

The final countdown symbolizes the ultimate destruction, highlighting the destructive power of miscommunication and fear.

Verse 4:

Dann war es still, ganz still.

  • Then it was quiet, completely quiet.

A sense of eerie silence follows the chaos, reflecting the aftermath of the conflict.

Die Leute unten auf der Erde blickten auf und dachten:

  • The people below on Earth looked up and thought:

The focus returns to the people on Earth, now contemplating the consequences of their actions.

"Wie konnte das passieren? Was haben wir falsch gemacht?"

  • "How could this happen? What did we do wrong?"

The realization dawns upon them that their fear and misunderstanding led to a devastating outcome.


The original German lyrics of "99 Luftballons" offer a deeper understanding of the song's message. They emphasize the fragility of peace, the power of misunderstanding, and the destructive consequences of fear and panic. While the song speaks of balloons, it ultimately addresses the human condition and the dangers of misinterpreting signs and reacting with violence.

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