BACKGROUND: Clinical outcome measures are important tools to monitor patient improvement during treatment as well as to document changes for research purposes. The short-form Bournemouth questionnaire for neck pain patients (BQN) was developed from the biopsychosocial model and measures pain, disability, cognitive and affective domains. It has been shown to be a valid and reliable outcome measure in English, French and Dutch and more sensitive to change compared to other questionnaires. The purpose of this study was to translate and validate a German version of the Bournemouth questionnaire for neck pain patients. METHODS: German translation and back translation into English of the BQN was done independently by four persons and overseen by an expert committee. Face validity of the German BQN was tested on 30 neck pain patients in a single chiropractic practice. Test-retest reliability was evaluated on 31 medical students and chiropractors before and after a lecture. The German BQN was then assessed on 102 first time neck pain patients at two chiropractic practices for internal consistency, external construct validity, external longitudinal construct validity and sensitivity to change compared to the German versions of the Neck Disability Index (NDI) and the Neck Pain and Disability Scale (NPAD). RESULTS: Face validity testing lead to minor changes to the German BQN. The Intraclass Correlation Coefficient for the test-retest reliability was 0.99. The internal consistency was strong for all 7 items of the BQN with Cronbach α's of .79 and .80 for the pre and post-treatment total scores. External construct validity and external longitudinal construct validity using Pearson's correlation coefficient showed statistically significant correlations for all 7 scales of the BQN with the other questionnaires. The German BQN showed greater responsiveness compared to the other questionnaires for all scales. CONCLUSIONS: The German BQN is a valid and reliable outcome measure that has been successfully translated and culturally adapted. It is shorter, easier to use, and more responsive to change than the NDI and NPAD.