List of territorial entities where German is an official language
The following is a list of the territorial entities where German is an official language. It includes countries, which have German as (one of) their nationwide official language(s), as well as dependent territories with German as a co-official language.
German as an official language
German is the official language of six sovereign countries, all of which lie in central Europe. With the exception of Luxembourg, but the addition of South Tyrol, these countries also form the Council for German Orthography.
|Country||Population 2014/2015||L1 speakers||L2 speakers
|Germany||81,083,600||74,430,000 (91.8%)||5,600,000 (6.9%)||De facto sole nationwide official language|
|Belgium||11,245,629||73,000 (0.6%)||2,472,746 (22%)||De jure nationwide co-official language (administrative and communication language only in the German speaking community)|
|Austria||8,602,112||7,999,964 (93%)||516,000 (6%)||De jure sole nationwide official language|
|Switzerland||8,256,000||5,329,393 (64.6%)||395,000 (5%)||De jure sole official language in 17, co-official in 4 cantons (out of 26)|
|Luxembourg||562,958||11,000 (2%)||380,000 (67.5%)||De jure nationwide co-official language (Luxembourgish is considered a closely related, but separate language from German)|
|Liechtenstein||37,370||32,075 (85.8%)||5,200 (13.9%)||De jure sole nationwide official language|
||109,787,669||87,875,432||9,368,946||L1+L2 = 97,244,378|
German, or one of its dialects, is a co-official language in several dependent entities. In each of these regions, German, along with the official language of the host nation, is an official language on the administrative level.
|Autonomous Province of South Tyrol||Italy||511,750||Co-official language; first language of 62,3% of the population|
| Opole Voivodeship (28 communes)
Silesian Voivodeship (3 communes)
|Poland||∑ 250,000||Auxiliary language in 31 communes|
| Espírito Santo (5 municipalities)
Santa Catarina (2 municipalities)
Rio Grande do Sul (2 municipalities)
|Brazil||∑ 205,000||Co-official language in 9 municipalities (as "German", "Pomeranian", and "Hunsrückisch");
also state-wide cultural language in Espírito Santo
|Slovakia||530||Co-official language in 2 villages;
also national minority language
Other legal statuses
There are other political entities (countries as well as dependent entities) which acknowledge other legal statuses for the German language or one of its dialects. While these may cover minority rights, support of certain language facilities (schools, media, etc.), and the promotion of cultural protection/heritage, they do not encompass the establishment of German as an "official" language, i.e., being required in public offices or administrative texts.
- Brazil (cultural language in Espírito Santo)
- Czech Republic (national minority language)
- Denmark (minority language in Syddanmark)
- Hungary (national minority language)
- Italy (minority language in Trentino (as "Cimbrian" & "Mòcheno/Fersentalerisch"); Piemont/Valle d'Aosta (as Walser German); Friuli-Venezia Giulia (various dialects))
- Kazakhstan (national minority language)
- Namibia (national language; co-official language 1984–90)
- Romania (national minority language)
- Russia (minority language in the Azov German National District)
- Slovakia (national minority language)
- Ukraine (national minority language)
Although in France, the High German varieties Alsatian and Moselle Franconian are identified as "regional languages" according to the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages of 1998, the French government has not yet ratified the treaty, and those varieties have no official legal status.
While German is not a national minority language, the constitution of South Africa identifies German as a "commonly used" language and the Pan South African Language Board is obligated to "promote and ensure respect" for it.
Due to the German diaspora, other countries with sizable populations of (mostly bilingual) German L1 speakers include Argentina, Australia, Canada, Paraguay, as well as the United States. However, in none of these countries, German or a German variety have any legal status.
In the Netherlands, the Limburgish language is a protected regional language in the Maastricht area according to the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages, however it is widely considered a separate language and not a German (or Dutch) dialect.
German is an official language of the following international institutions:
- European Patent Organisation – EPO
- European Space Agency – ESA
- European Union - EU
- Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe - OSCE
- Reporters Without Borders – RWB
- World Association of Newspapers – WAN
- Numerous international sports associations:
- European Handball Federation – EHF
- Fédération Internationale de Basketball – FIBA
- Fédération Internationale de Bobsleigh et de Tobogganing – FIBT
- Fédération Internationale de Football Association – FIFA
- Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique – FIG
- Fédération Internationale de Luge de Course – FIL
- Fédération Internationale de Ski – FIS
- International Biathlon Union – IBU
- Union of European Football Associations – UEFA
- See: List of countries and dependencies by population
- Europarometer 2012 - Annex
- Ethnologue 18th Edition (2015)
- Ammon, Ulrich - Die Stellung der deutschen Sprache in der Welt (de Gruyter Mouton; ISBN 978-3-11-019298-8)
- "Map on page of Polish Commission on Standardization of Geographical Names" (PDF). Retrieved 20 June 2015.
- Instituto de Investigação e Desenvolvimento em Política Linguística - List of Brazilian municipalities with co-official languages, including Standard German as well as its dialects Hunsrückisch & Pomeranian
- Legislative Assembly of the state of Espírito Santo (Comissioner for Culture and Social Communication - Addition to the constitutional amendment number 11/2009 establishing the Pomeranian dialect as well as German as cultural heritage of the state (February 2011)
- National Geographic Collegiate Atlas of the World. Willard, Ohio: R.R. Donnelley & Sons Company. April 2006. pp. 257–299. ISBN 978-0-7922-3662-7.
- Úrad splnomocnenca vlády SR pre národnostné menšiny (The Government Council of the Slovak Republic for National Minorities and Ethnic Groups) - List of Slovakian municipalities with >20% minority population (2011)
- Annual of Language & Politics and Politics of Identity - Language Policy of Slovak Republic (Zdeněk Škrobák)
- Copy of Slovakian "Act 184 (dated 10 July 1999) on the use of languages of national minorities"
- Council of Europe - List of ratifications of the Charter for regional/minority languages
- Carolin Zwilling (European Academy Bolzano-Bozen, 2004) - Minority Protection and Language Policy in the Czech Republic
- The European Centre for Minority Issues (ECMI) - Bonn-Copenhagen Declarations of 1955: Notification concerning the general rights of the German minority
- Die deutsche Minderheit in Dänemark - Sprache – Identität und Schlüssel (German). Letzter Zugriff am 3. Mai 2015
- "Deutsche Botschaft Budapest - Die deutsche Minderheit in Ungarn". Retrieved 3 May 2015.
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Budapest - The national and ethnic minorities in Hungary
- Autonomous Province of Trentino - Legislation pertaining to linguistic minorities
- Sprachminderheiten in Italien - Autonome Region Trentino-Südtirol
- L.R. n. 26 del 10 aprile 1990 - Tutela, valorizzazione e promozione della conoscenza dell'originale patrimonio linguistico del Piemonte - B.U. n. 16 del 18 aprile 1990
- Loi constitutionnelle n° 4 du 26 février 1948 STATUT SPECIAL POUR LA VALLEE D'AOSTE
- Sprachminderheiten in Italien - Friuli Venezia Giulia
- Ethnologue 18th Edition (2015) - German as protected minority language according to the "Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan on Languages". See also: Demographics of Kazakhstan
- "Deutsch in Namibia" (PDF) (in German). Supplement of the Allgemeine Zeitung. 18 August 2007. Retrieved 23 June 2008.
- Ammon, Ulrich - Die deutsche Sprache in Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz: das Problem der nationalen Varietäten (Walter de Gruyter; ISBN 311014753X)
- russia.bestpravo.ru - Charter of the Azov German National District, establishing, amongst others, the German language to be protected, supported and promoted (Russian)
- lefigaro.fr - Charte européenne des langues régionales : Hollande nourrit la guerre contre le français (06/05/2015)
- South African Constitution - Chapter 1, Section 6
- German L1 speakers outside Europe