List of territorial entities where German is an official language

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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.

The national and regional standard varieties of the German language.

German as an official language[edit]

German is an official language in six sovereign states, which have a combined population of over 100 million people.

Switzerland has four national languages (German, French, Italian, Romansch), of which German is the most spoken with almost 65% of the population claiming it as a first language.[1] However, this figure includes the related local dialects of German that are not mutually intelligible with Standard German, which is the official form of the language used in government, education, trade, and media.

Belgium is officially a trilingual country where German is spoken natively by about 1% of the population and by about 27% as a second language. The German-speaking community is concentrated in the southeastern part of the country.

While Luxembourgish is the national language of Luxembourg, French and German are the primary official languages.

Country Population 2010[2] More information
 Germany 81,802,257 Languages of Germany
 Belgium 10,839,905 Official, nationwide language; as administrative and communication language only in the German speaking community
 Austria 8,375,290 Languages of Austria
  Switzerland 7,785,806 Single official language in 17, co-official in 4 cantons (out of 26)
 Luxembourg 502,066 Co-official language; Luxembourgish (standardized variety of German) is national language
 Liechtenstein 36,281 Languages of Liechtenstein

Dependent entities[edit]

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.

Region Country Status Population More information
 South Tyrol  Italy Autonomous province of Italy ~516.000 Co-official language
POL województwo opolskie flag.svg Opole Voivodeship (28 communes)
POL województwo śląskie flag.svg Silesian Voivodeship (3 communes)
 Poland 31 communes ∑ ~250,000 Auxiliary language on communal level[3]
Bandeira do Espírito Santo.svg Espírito Santo (5 municipalities)
Bandeira de Santa Catarina.svg Santa Catarina (2 municipalities)
Bandeira do Rio Grande do Sul.svg Rio Grande do Sul (2 municipalities)
 Brazil 9 municipalities ∑ ~205,000 Co-official language on municipal level[4] (as "German", "Pomeranian", and "Hunsrückisch")
KrahuleWappen.gif Krahule/Blaufuss
Kunešov Wappen.png Kunešov/Kuneschhau
 Slovakia 2 villages ∑ ~530 Co-official language on municipal level[5][6][7][8]

Other legal statuses[edit]

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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lüdi, Georges; Werlen, Iwar (April 2005). "Recensement Fédéral de la Population 2000 — Le Paysage Linguistique en Suisse" (PORTABLE DOCUMENT FORMAT) (in French, German, and Italian). Neuchâtel: Office fédéral de la statistique. Retrieved 5 January 2006. 
  2. ^ See: List of countries by population in 2010
  3. ^ "Map on page of Polish Commission on Standardization of Geographical Names" (PDF). Retrieved 20 June 2015. 
  4. ^ 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
  5. ^ 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. 
  6. ^ 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)
  7. ^ Annual of Language & Politics and Politics of Identity - Language Policy of Slovak Republic (Zdeněk Škrobák)
  8. ^ Copy of Slovakian "Act 184 (dated 10 July 1999) on the use of languages of national minorities"
  9. ^ a b c Ammon, Ulrich - Die Stellung der deutschen Sprache in der Welt (de Gruyter Mouton; ISBN 978-3-11-019298-8)
  10. ^ Carolin Zwilling (European Academy Bolzano-Bozen, 2004) - Minority Protection and Language Policy in the Czech Republic
  11. ^ The European Centre for Minority Issues (ECMI) - Bonn-Copenhagen Declarations of 1955: Notification concerning the general rights of the German minority
  12. ^ Die deutsche Minderheit in Dänemark - Sprache – Identität und Schlüssel (German). Letzter Zugriff am 3. Mai 2015
  13. ^ "Deutsche Botschaft Budapest - Die deutsche Minderheit in Ungarn". Retrieved 3 May 2015. 
  14. ^ Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Budapest - The national and ethnic minorities in Hungary
  15. ^ Autonomous Province of Trentino - Legislation pertaining to linguistic minorities
  16. ^ Sprachminderheiten in Italien - Autonome Region Trentino-Südtirol
  17. ^ "Deutsch in Namibia" (PDF) (in German). Supplement of the Allgemeine Zeitung. 18 August 2007. Retrieved 23 June 2008. 
  18. ^ - Siebenbürger Sachsen
  19. ^ Die deutsche Sprache in Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz