This paper uses a static and dynamic gravity model of trade to investigate the link between German development aid and exports from Germany to the recipient countries. The findings indicate that, in the long run, German aid is associated with an increase in exports of goods that is larger than the aid flow, with a point estimate of 140% of the aid given. In addition, the evolution of the estimated coefficients over time shows an effect that is consistently positive but that oscillates over time. Interestingly, after a decrease in the 1990s, the estimated coefficients of the effect of aid on trade show a steady increase in the period between 2001 and 2005. The paper distinguishes among recipient countries and finds that the return on aid measured by German exports is higher for aid to countries considered 'strategic aid recipients' by the German government. We also find some evidence that aid given by other EU members reduces German exports. Copyright 2009 The Authors. Journal Compilation Verein für Socialpolitik and Blackwell Publishing Ltd.