Die Sendung mit der Maus

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Die Sendung mit der Maus
GenreChildren's television
Created by
Presented by
Theme music composerHans Posegga [de]
Country of originWest Germany (1971-1990); Germany (1990-present)
Original languageGerman
No. of episodes2122+ (July 2018)
Running time30 min.
Production companiesWDR, RBB, SR, SWR
Original release
NetworkDas Erste
Release7 March 1971 (1971-03-07) –

Die Sendung mit der Maus (The Show with the Mouse), often Die Maus (The Mouse), is a German children's television series, popular nationwide for its educational content.[1] The show first aired on 7 March 1971.[2] Originally called Lach- und Sachgeschichten für Fernsehanfänger ("Laughing and Learning Stories for Television Beginners"), it was controversial because West German law prohibited television for children under six years of age.[3][4] The program was initially condemned by teachers and childcare professionals as bad for children's development,[4][5] but is now hailed for its ability to convey information to children,[6][7] having received over 75 awards. On 7 March 1999 the program's Internet site was launched and received 2,400 e-mails and 4 million hits on the first day.[8]

The Mouse at a show called The Festival of Germany, with German girlscouts in the background


Aimed at young children, the program has a magazine format, with several segments, some humorous, others educational presented in a simple, straightforward manner.[9] Many of the show's early viewers are now adults whose children are forming the second generation of viewers. It is not uncommon for children to watch the program with their parents[5][10] or for children to stop watching around the age of 10 or 12 and then come back at the age of 18.[3] The German newspaper Welt am Sonntag found that although the target age was from about four to eight, the average age of viewers was 39.[11]

Each show consists of several segments, the Lachgeschichten ("laughing stories") purely to amuse, and the Sachgeschichten ("non-fiction stories"), short educational features on a variety of topics,[12] such as what must be done before a plane can take off,[13] how holes get into Swiss cheese[14] or the stripes into toothpaste.[15] These are punctuated by a short cartoon with the mouse, often with one or more of its friends.


The show starts with its theme music,[16] unchanged since 1971[9] and recognised throughout the German population.[17] The introduction consists of a few bars of the theme and a German voice-over describing the topics in that week's show. The voice-over is then repeated in a foreign language.[9] Initially, Turkish, Spanish and Italian were used, in order to include the children of foreign guest workers (Gastarbeiter),[18] but now, other languages are used as well. The foreign language changes every week.[3] After the theme music ends, the foreign language is identified.

Animated interludes[edit]

Between the show's segments are "mouse spots", hand-drawn cartoons of 30 to 100 seconds that feature the orange mouse and its friends, a small blue elephant and a yellow duck. None of the characters speak.[19] Rather, sound effects and music comprise the soundtrack as the characters interact and solve problems. The animated interludes serve to separate the segments, offering young viewers a moment to relax, avoiding sensory overload from too rapid a succession of input.[9]

  • The mouse is orange with brown ears, arms and legs. In order to solve problems it can stretch its legs as long as it wants, jump a rope with its detachable tail or fetch tools from its body.
  • The elephant is blue with yellow toenails and is smaller than the mouse. It can be characterized as curious, very strong, spontaneous and faithful. When it appears on the stage it trumpets loudly. It likes to sleep, or to laugh when the mouse has done something wrong. It appears in many of the Mouse-Spots.
  • The duck is yellow (with orange beak and feet), smaller than the mouse but larger than the elephant, so that their relative sizes are exactly the opposite of those of their real-life counterparts. The duck is naughty and quacks loudly, "chaos comes onto the stage" anytime it appears. It appears in the mouse-spots less frequently than the elephant.
The mouse, mascot of the show

Educational film shorts[edit]

The idea for the educational film shorts came from one of the founders of the series, who noticed that children were very aware of the advertising on television. They were very well-made with very good photography and he got the idea to make "commercials" about reality. The first production answered the question, "Where do bread rolls come from?"[4] Some 400 letters a week arrive at the production office, and a large part of each show is used for such features, often answering questions asked by viewers.[3][4][20] Segments have covered such topics as:

Lufthansa Airbus A321-100 D-AIRY “Flensburg” with the Mouse

A stuffed toy "Mouse" flew into outer space and was a "guest" on board the Russian Mir space station, where it appeared in an educational segment. The stuffed toy was later brought back to the producers on earth.[27]

A number of the educational segments have also dealt with difficult topics, such as life in Germany in the aftermath of World War II,[17] the Chernobyl nuclear disaster[5][28] and death.[3][29] Care is taken to explain things in a way that is comprehensible to young children.[30] Analogies are used to explain concepts,[17] and often everyday items already known to most children are used to illustrate. For example, a segment on the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest was produced using Playmobil figures to represent the three Roman legions involved, a total of 16,500 soldiers. Wanting to convey how large a force that was, the program purchased 16,500 Playmobil toy figures and dressed them up as Roman soldiers, lining them up into columns as they would have appeared in real life. The columns of toy soldiers took up 200 meters.[31][32] These toy Roman legions are now housed in three museums in different parts of Germany.[32]

A segment on the internet shows messengers running through the hallways of a large building, delivering messages in envelopes (data packets) from the user to servers and back. The hallways represent the data lines and the offices were internet hosts. In just eight minutes, the program accurately describes how the internet functions in a manner simple enough for children to understand.[22] In the case of industrially produced things, each step is shown in great detail, so one can actually see how, for example, a piece of metal is formed by a tool. If something happens too fast for the naked eye it is shown filmed in slow motion. After each step, usually the previous steps including the new one are recapped briefly to help children remember what they already saw. Concepts which are not visible at all are explained with some form of analogous portrayal.[30]

Accordingly, the language used in the narration is kept very simple.[9] The segments are usually narrated by an off-camera voice. Sentences are short.[33] "Big words" are not used, and difficult concepts are broken down and described while they are being shown on camera.[34] This is designed to free children from the more abstract concepts and devices of language, thus giving their minds space to comprehend the concepts explained rather than having to struggle comprehending the language of the explanation. Nonetheless, the educational film shorts are such effective presentations of their subject matter, a number of them are used as teaching tools at universities and colleges.[17][18]


Every show also has at least one cartoon. Some are old classics, like the adventures of Zdeněk Miler's Mole[16] or newer cartoons, like Charlie and Lola.

Käpt'n Blaubär[edit]

As the last part of every show, Käpt'n Blaubär (Captain Bluebear) tells his pink, green, and yellow grandchildren a cock-and-bull story, which his grandchildren always doubt to be true. His sailor side-kick, Hein Blöd (Hein Stupid), a rat, was created as a buffoon, a device that allows freedom for his character to express things other characters cannot.[35] The characters of Käpt'n Blaubär, his grandchildren, and Hein Blöd were created by Walter Moers and made popular by Moers' book, The 13+12 Lives of Captain Bluebear and Blaubär's appearance on Die Sendung mit der Maus. Käpt'n Blaubär is voiced by veteran German actor Wolfgang Völz,[36] with deep timbre and an accent[37] of the Low German common in coastal area of Germany.[10] The scenes on board Blaubär's ship are made with Muppets-style puppets, while his stories are short animated films.

Shaun das Schaf[edit]

Käpt'n Blaubär is sometimes replaced or complemented by the stop-action animation, Shaun the Sheep ("Shaun das Schaf"),[9] and one episode of The Mouse featured a visit to Aardman Animations, showing how Shaun is produced.[38] This educational film short, broken up into segments because of its complexity and length, showed the various stages of production and the amount of work required to create a single episode of Shaun.[39] The episode of Shaun seen in production was then broadcast in its finished state at the end of that Mouse.


One episode featured a little crocodile named Schnappi (Snappy) singing about his life in Egypt on the Nile. The song went viral in Germany and became a hit in other countries as well.


Die Sendung mit der Maus and its creators continue to receive high praise from both television critics and pedagogic experts. The most notable of the roughly 75 awards won by the show and its creators are:

International versions[edit]

The program is today seen in almost 100 countries.[42]

In countries outside of Germany that carry the English-dubbed version of the show, Die Sendung mit der Maus airs under the title of Mouse TV. The program retains much of its original format, but the dialogue and narration have been dubbed into English. The English version was created in Australia and aired in the United States as part of the Nickelodeon series Pinwheel, on Astro TVIQ in Malaysia and Brunei, ABC TV in Australia, TVRI in Indonesia, Kuwait Television in United Arab Emirates and State of Palestine, TVE1, TVE2, ETB 1, TV3 and Clan TVE in Spain, Rai 1 in Italy, France 3 in France, RTP1, RTP2 and Canal Panda in Portugal, Thai PBS in Thailand and TV Cultura in Glub Glub on Brazil[citation needed]

To encourage French children to learn German and vice versa, the program began airing on Arte, a Franco-German television channel, on Sunday mornings, beginning October 2005. In Germany, the show is dubbed into French and in each country, subtitles appear in the local language. In French, the program is called La souris souriante (The smiling mouse).[43] In Bolivia and in El Salvador, the show aired in Spanish as El cajón de los juguetes (The toys box).

In Japan, a part of short films[clarification needed] was broadcast by NHK ETV and Cartoon Network as Daisuki! Mausu (だいすき!マウス) as part of the "2005/2006 Deutschland in Japan" bilateral exchange programme between WDR and NHK.[44]

The show was aired in Dutch called Het Programma met de Muis, which was aired on Nederland 1, as part of Nederlandse Omroep Stichting in 1976 until 1980.[citation needed]


Die Sendung mit dem Elefanten (The show with the elephant) is a spin-off aimed at pre-school children, which started in 2007 and consists mainly of little stories, songs and games.[45]


  1. ^ Bernhard Borgeest, "Von Mäusen und Machern" Focus, official website. (March 12, 2001) Retrieved November 21, 2010 (in German)
  2. ^ "Die Sendung mit der Maus" The Internet Movie Database, official website. Retrieved October 25, 2010
  3. ^ a b c d e Dennis Pumm, "Das Interview mit dem Christoph" Archived July 19, 2011, at the Wayback Machine Pumm & Behrmann. Retrieved October 27, 2010 (in German)
  4. ^ a b c d "Gespräch mit Armin Maiwald" Archived 2016-08-07 at the Wayback Machine (PDF) Köln im Film, official website. (December 2003) Retrieved October 30, 2010 (in German)
  5. ^ a b c Felix Helbig, "Das tut fast weh" Frankfurter Rundshau, official website. (November 11, 2009) Interview with Armin Maiwald. Retrieved October 26, 2010 (in German)
  6. ^ a b Georg von Holtzbrinck Prize for Science Journalism: Special Prize for Successful Knowledge Transfer to Children Archived 2011-07-19 at the Wayback Machine Veranstaltungsforum der Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH. Retrieved October 27, 2010 (in German)
  7. ^ Florian Freistetter, "Sendung mit der Maus erhält Medaille für Naturwissenschaftliche Publizistik" German science blog. Retrieved November 5, 2010 (in German)
  8. ^ Stafford Wadsworth, "German Mouse Gets 4 million Hits on First Day" internetnews.com, official website. (March 17, 1999) Retrieved October 29, 2010
  9. ^ a b c d e f Stephanie Diana Storch, "Die Sendung mit der Maus – ein Wissenmagazin für Erwachsene?" (PDF) Bachelor thesis (September 27, 2007) University of Augsburg. Retrieved October 25, 2010 (in German)
  10. ^ a b "Walter Moers: Die 13 ½ Leben des Käpt'n Blaubär" Bistum Mainz, official website. (May 1, 1999) Retrieved November 7, 2010 (in German)
  11. ^ WDR Lernzeit: Diktat der Jugend? Von „relevanten Zielgruppen“ und anderen Zuschauern; Informationen zur Sendung vom 19. April 2008 (in German)
  12. ^ Index of episodes and descriptions of "Die Sendung mit der Maus" Archived 2014-02-12 at the Wayback Machine Official KIKA (Children's channel) website. Retrieved October 25, 2010. (in German)
  13. ^ "Sendung mit der Maus" in the Visitors Center Munich Airport, official website. Retrieved October 25, 2010
  14. ^ "Die Maus project" Think German, official website. Retrieved October 25, 2010
  15. ^ "Die Sendung mit der Maus" tv-kult.de. Retrieved October 25, 2010. (in German)
  16. ^ a b Prof. Dr. Lothar Mikos and Dipl.-Medienwiss. Claudia Töpper, "Analyse dramaturgischer und narrativer Strukturen erfolgreicher 'Familiensendungen'" (PDF) Internationales Zentralinstitut für das Jugend- und Bildungsfernsehen, Dr. Maya Götz" (2009) Retrieved November 17, 2010 (in German)
  17. ^ a b c d Manuel J. Hartung, "Die Mensa mit der Maus" Die Zeit, official website. (February 18, 2009) Conversation with Armin Maiwald. Retrieved October 25, 2010 (in German)
  18. ^ a b Dirk Oetjen, "Die Sendung mit der Maus" Hörzu, official website. (April 12, 2010) Retrieved November 14, 2010 (in German)
  19. ^ "Die Sendung mit der Maus" Archived 2011-07-19 at the Wayback Machine (PDF) University of Cologne, official website. Retrieved November 6, 2010 (in German)
  20. ^ Anna v. Münchhausen, "Die erste Maus, die zwanzig wird" Die Zeit (March 8, 1991) Retrieved November 3, 2010 (in German)
  21. ^ "Die Sendung mit der Maus - Wärmepad" YouTube video. Retrieved November 9, 2010 (in German)
  22. ^ a b "Die Sendung mit der Maus erklärt das Internet" www.wdrmaus.de. Retrieved January 7, 2013 (in German)
  23. ^ "Die Sendung mit der Maus" Archived 2011-07-19 at the Wayback Machine tv14.de Retrieved November 9, 2010 (in German)
  24. ^ "Eine Batterie aus Zitronen" (PDF) Zentrale für Unterrichtsmedien im Internet, e.V., official website. Retrieved November 11, 2010 (in German)
  25. ^ "Sendung mit der Maus - Wie funktioniert ein Handy" YouTube video. Retrieved November 11, 2010 (in German)
  26. ^ "Die Solar Maus" - videos 1, 2 and 3[permanent dead link] Elektrizitätslehre (Lesson on electricity) Retrieved November 11, 2010 (in German)
  27. ^ Lena Fuhrmann, "Interview with Klaus-Dietrich Flade: From fighter pilot to astronaut to Airbus test pilot" German Aerospace Center, official website. Retrieved November 16, 2010
  28. ^ Christine Feil, Handbuch Medienerziehung im Kindergarten. Teil 1. Pädagogische Grundlagen Deutsches Jugendinstitut (1994) ISBN 3-8100-1171-1. Retrieved November 15, 2010 (in German)
  29. ^ Linda Wilken, „Ich werde für meine Neugier bezahlt.“ Archived 2011-07-22 at the Wayback Machine Interview with Christoph Biemann. (2005) Retrieved November 15, 2010 (in German)
  30. ^ a b "Interview Christoph Biemann" Interview with Christoph Biemann at the 2003 Frankfurt Book Fair. (October 10, 2003) Retrieved November 5, 2010 (in German)
  31. ^ "Sendung mit der Maus spielt Varusschlacht nach" Rheinische Post, official website. (June 23, 2005) Retrieved November 2, 2010 (in German)
  32. ^ a b Interview with Armin Maiwald Köln Inside, historical photo archive of the Cologne region. Retrieved November 2, 2010 (in German)
  33. ^ Dirk Ulf Stötzel, Das Magazin „Die Sendung mit der Maus“: Analyse einer Redaktions- und Sendungskonzeption. Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden (1990) ISBN 3-447-02991-9 (in German)
  34. ^ Meike Braun, [Die Lerneffekte der"Sendung mit der Maus" aus der Sicht der kognitiven Entwicklung nach Jean Piaget"] GRIN Verlag (2003) page 10. Retrieved November 21, 2010 ISBN 978-3-638-72939-0 (in German)
  35. ^ Hans Hoff, "Was Walter Moers über Barack Obama denkt" Welt Online, official website. (November 8, 2008) Retrieved November 1, 2010 (in German)
  36. ^ Andreas Platthaus, "Der Mann mit dem Blaubärendienst" Frankfurter Allgemeine (August 16, 2010) Retrieved October 28, 2010 (in German)
  37. ^ "Germany – a veritable patchwork of dialects" Archived 2010-03-27 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved November 7, 2010
  38. ^ Ralphs Tagebuch, 07.07.2009 WDR, official website. Ralph Caspers' blog (July 7, 2009) Retrieved November 16, 2010 (in German)
  39. ^ "Die Sendung mit der Maus: Shaun Special" Weser-Kurier, official website. (October 11, 2009) Retrieved November 16, 2010 (in German)
  40. ^ "Bavarian TV Awards" Internet Movie Database. Retrieved August 18, 2009
  41. ^ "Goldene Kamera" Archived 2012-03-21 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved August 18, 2009 (in German)
  42. ^ "Google ehrt die Maus mit einem Doodle" Stern (March 7, 2011) Retrieved March 10, 2011 (in German)
  43. ^ "Apprendre l'allemand avec la souris souriante et Lucky Luke, 8h [Arte]" Archived 2011-07-24 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved November 3, 2010 (in French)
  44. ^ "Deutschlandjahr 2005/20065 in Japan".
  45. ^ Sonja Pohlmann, "Das blaue Wunder" Der Tagesspiegel (August 8, 2007) Retrieved October 28, 2010 (in German)

Further reading[edit]

  • Sophie von Lenthe, Das Mausbuch – Die besten Lach- und Sachgeschichten der „Sendung mit der Maus“. Verlag Zabert Sandmann GmbH, Munich (2000) First edition. ISBN 3-932023-61-7 (in German)
  • Frag doch mal ... die Maus! Die meistgestellten Fragen an die Maus. cbj, Munich (2005) ISBN 978-3-570-13094-0 (in German)
  • Christoph Biemann, Christophs Experimente Weltbild GmbH, Augsburg. ISBN 978-3-8289-6116-6 (in German)

External links[edit]