List of countries and territories where German is an official language
The following is a list of the countries and territories where German is an official language (also known as the Germanosphere). It includes countries that 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 countries, all of which lie in central and western Europe. These countries (with the addition of South Tyrol of Italy) also form the Council for German Orthography and are referred to as the German Sprachraum (German language area).
|Germany||84,900,000||75,101,421 (91.8%)||5,600,000 (6.9%)||De facto sole nationwide official language[a]|
|Belgium||11,420,163||73,000 (0.6%)||2,472,746 (22%)||De jure official language in the German speaking community|
|Austria||8,838,171||8,040,960 (93%)||516,000 (6%)||De jure sole nationwide official language|
|Switzerland||8,508,904||5,329,393 (64.6%)||395,000 (5%)||Co-official language at federal level; de jure sole official language in 17, co-official in 4 cantons (out of 26)|
|Luxembourg||626,108||11,000 (2%)||380,000 (67.5%)||De jure nationwide co-official language|
|Liechtenstein||37,370||32,075 (85.8%)||5,200 (13.9%)||De jure sole nationwide official language|
|Total||112,238,899||87,875,432||9,368,946||Total speakers: 97,244,378|
Subdivisions of countries
While not official at the national level, German is a co-official language in subdivisions of the countries listed below. In each of these regions, German is an official language on the administrative level.
|Autonomous Province of South Tyrol||Italy||511,750||354,643 (69.3%)||Co-official language on province level; equal to Italian|
|Opole Voivodeship (28 communes)
Silesian Voivodeship (3 communes)
|Poland||250,000||~50,000 (~20%)||Auxiliary language in 31 communes;|
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.
These countries include:
- Brazil (German is a statewide cultural language in Espírito Santo; also recognized minority language in 1 municipality in southern Brazil and non-standard German dialects recognized in 8 others)
- Czech Republic (national minority language)
- Denmark (minority language in Syddanmark)
- Hungary (national minority language)
- Namibia (national language; co-official language 1884–1990)
- Poland (national minority language; also auxiliary language in 31 communes)
- Romania (national minority language)
- Russia (minority language in the Azovo German National District)
- Slovakia (regional minority language)
Although in France, the High German varieties of 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 therefore those varieties have no official legal status.
Due to the German diaspora, other countries with sizable populations of (mostly bilingual) German L1 speakers include Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Canada, Paraguay, as well as the United States. However, in none of these countries does German or a German variety have any legal status.
German is an official language of the following international institutions:
|Organisation||Number of official languages||Headquarters|
|European Patent Organisation||3 (English, French)||Munich, Germany|
|Unified Patent Court||3 (English, French)||Paris, France|
|European Space Agency||3 (English, French)||Paris, France|
|European Union||24||Brussels, Belgium|
|European Commission||3 (English, French)||Brussels, Belgium|
|Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe||6 (English, French, Italian, Russian, Spanish)||Vienna, Austria|
|International Union of Railways||3 (English, French)||Paris, France|
|European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts||3 (English, French)||Reading, UK|
|International Trade Union Confederation||4 (English, French, Spanish)||Brussels, Belgium|
|World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers||4 (English, French, Spanish)||Frankfurt, Germany|
|Danube Commission||3 (French, Russian)||Budapest, Hungary|
|European Investment Bank||3 (English, French)||Kirchberg, Luxembourg|
|European Bank for Reconstruction and Development||4 (English, French, Russian)||London, UK|
- International sports associations:
- European Handball Federation (EHF)
- Fédération Internationale de Bobsleigh et de Tobogganing (FIBT)
- Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA)
- Fédération Internationale de Luge de Course (FIL)
- Fédération Internationale de Ski (FIS)
- International Biathlon Union (IBU)
- Union of European Football Associations (UEFA)
- While several specific laws, e.g., §23 VwVfG or $184 GVG, specify German as the administrative language in Germany, the Grundgesetz does not specifically mention it as federal official language.
- See: List of countries and dependencies by population
- Eurobarometer 2012 - Annex
- "German, Standard". Ethnologue.
- Ammon, Ulrich (November 2014). Die Stellung der deutschen Sprache in der Welt (in German) (1st ed.). Berlin, Germany: de Gruyter. ISBN 978-3-11-019298-8. Retrieved 2015-07-24.
- Census of South Tyrol 2011
- Polish census 2011 (note that ethnic associations allow only for a very rough estimate of first language distribution)
- "Map on page of Polish Commission on Standardization of Geographical Names" (PDF). Retrieved 20 June 2015.
- Council of Europe - List of ratifications of the Charter for regional/minority languages
- "IPOL realizará formação de recenseadores para o censo linguístico do município de Antônio Carlos-SC". e-ipol.org.
- Lei N.º 14.061, de 23 de julho de 2012
- Carolin Zwilling (European Academy Bolzano-Bozen, 2004) - Minority Protection and Language Policy in the Czech Republic
- "European Centre for Minority Issues - Bonn-Copenhagen Declarations". ecmi.de. Archived from the original on 2016-10-14. Retrieved 2015-06-23.
- Die deutsche Minderheit in Dänemark - Sprache – Identität und Schlüssel (German). Letzter Zugriff am 3. Mai 2015
- "Deutsche Botschaft Budapest - Die deutsche Minderheit in Ungarn". Archived from the original on 5 May 2015. Retrieved 3 May 2015.
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Budapest - The national and ethnic minorities in Hungary
- "Deutsch in Namibia" (PDF) (in German). Supplement of the Allgemeine Zeitung. 18 August 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 June 2008. Retrieved 23 June 2008.
- Ammon, Ulrich (1995). Die deutsche Sprache in Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz. google.de. ISBN 9783110147537.
- "УСТАВ АЗОВСКОГО РАЙОННОГО СОВЕТА ОТ 21.05.2002 N 5-09 УСТАВ МУНИЦИПАЛЬНОГО ОБРАЗОВАНИЯ "АЗОВСКИЙ НЕМЕЦКИЙ НАЦИОНАЛЬНЫЙ РАЙОН ОМСКОЙ ОБЛАСТИ (ПРИНЯТ РЕШЕНИЕМ АЗОВСКОГО РАЙОННОГО СОВЕТА ОТ 21.05.2002 N 5-09, ЗАРЕГИСТРИРОВАН ПОСТАНОВЛЕНИЕМ ЗС ОТ 25.06.2002 N 106)". bestpravo.com. Archived from the original on 2016-08-08. Retrieved 2016-04-27.
- "Charte européenne des langues régionales : Hollande nourrit la guerre contre le français". Le Figaro.
- German L1 speakers outside Europe