The journal Zeitschrift für Interkulturellen Fremdsprachenunterricht was founded in spring 1996 by Britta Hufeisen and Manfred Prokop (both at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, at the time), making it the first purely online journal in German dedicated to foreign language teaching. Today, ZIF is an internationally recognized journal dedicated to foreign language and multilingual didactics.
Since 2002, ZIF has been hosted by TU Darmstadt’s University and State Library Darmstadt. Jörg Roche (Munich) joined the editorial team in 2008. From 2012 to 2018, Lina Pilypaityte (Koblenz) was the managing editor. This position is currently shared by Joachim Schlabach (Turku and Darmstadt) and Barbara Stolarczyk (Darmstadt). The review section was headed by Claus Altmayer (Leipzig) from 1998 to 2011. He was succeeded by Nicole Marx (Cologne) from 2012 to 2021. Sandra Drumm (Paderborn) has been responsible for this area since fall 2021.
In its early years, ZIF focused on didactics for German as a Foreign Language and interculturality. When at the turn of the millennium the focus of scholarly debate shifted to include aspects such as second language, multilingualism and heritage languages of origin, ZIF embraced these areas too. ZIF’s German subtitle – MehrSprachen Lehren und Lernen [Teaching and Learning Multiple Languages] – attests this new development, as it is explicitly open to articles on teaching and learning other languages and expressly on learning multiple languages.