Provisional official data showed a 1.4-percent month-on-month increase, following an increase of 1.1 percent in March.
Analysts polled by financial services firm FactSet had pencilled in growth of just 0.5 percent for April.
The increase was attributable entirely to foreign demand for German-made goods. While domestic orders fell by 3.8 percent, export orders jumped by 5.5 percent, the ministry calculated.
Orders from the eurozone were up 6.8 percent and orders from outside the single currency area grew by 4.7 percent.
The economy ministry said that "despite the current weakness in domestic orders, the overall trend remains upwards. Additional impulses can be expected from the recovering economy in the euro area."
All in all, activity in the manufacturing industry was likely to gain momentum, the ministry said.