The nuclei 70,72,74,76Ge were studied by nuclear resonance fluorescence (NRF) experiments. Partially linearly polarized and unpolarized bremsstrahlung of 9 to 14 MeV endpoint energy was used at the Giessen 65 MeV electron linear accelerator; unpolarized bremsstrahlung of 4 MeV endpoint energy was used at the Stuttgart Dynamitron. The scattered photons were detected by Ge γ-ray spectrometers with high energy resolution. Multipolarities were determined by measuring the angular correlations between the beam and the scattered γ rays at different scattering angles. Precise excitation energies and ground-state decay widths of numerous (> 120) previously unknown spin-1 states were extracted. For 65 ground-state transitions (20 M1 transitions, 45 E1 transitions) parities were assigned, in a model-independent way, by polarized bremsstrahlung. A detailed distribution of electric and magnetic dipole strength in the even Ge isotopes was established.