The hiring was announced Thursday by the German Tennis Federation.
Arriens replaces Patrik Kuehnen, who had been captain since 2002. Kuehnen quit on Oct. 31, citing a lack of support from the federation.
The 43-year-old Arriens reached a career-high ranking of 109 during a professional career lasting from 1991 to 1999. He played in four Grand Slam tournaments and won one tour title.
Arriens had been working as a coach for the DTB since 2002.
Germany plays Argentina in the first round of the World Group from Feb. 1-3.