In the effort to develop disruptive quantum technologies, germanium is emerging as a versatile material to realize devices capable of encoding, processing and transmitting quantum information. These devices leverage the special properties of holes in germanium, such as their inherently strong spin–orbit coupling and their ability to host superconducting pairing correlations. In this Review, we start by introducing the physics of holes in low-dimensional germanium structures, providing key insights from a theoretical perspective. We then examine the materials-science progress underpinning germanium-based planar heterostructures and nanowires. We go on to review the most significant experimental results demonstrating key building blocks for quantum technology, such as an electrically driven universal quantum gate set with spin qubits in quantum dots and superconductor–semiconductor devices for hybrid quantum systems. We conclude by identifying the most promising avenues towards scalable quantum information processing in germanium-based systems.