Which countries use Frisian as their official language?


If you’re curious about the countries that use Frisian as their official language, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we will explore and provide insights into the countries that recognize Frisian as an official language. Whether you have a personal or academic interest in Frisian, this comprehensive guide will give you a better understanding of its status and usage across various nations. So, let’s delve into the world of Frisian and discover where it holds official recognition.

Countries where Frisian is an official language


Frisian is recognized as an official language in the Netherlands, specifically in the province of Friesland. This region is home to a large population of Frisian speakers, and the language holds a significant cultural and historical importance. The Dutch government acknowledges and supports the use of Frisian in various official capacities, including education, government institutions, and media.


In Germany, Frisian is also recognized as an official language in the state of Schleswig-Holstein. This region borders Denmark and has a notable Frisian-speaking minority population. The German government acknowledges the importance of preserving and promoting the Frisian language and provides support for its use in educational and cultural contexts.


Frisian is recognized as an official language in Denmark, particularly in the region of North Frisia. This area is located in the southern part of Denmark, near the border with Germany. The Danish government acknowledges the linguistic and cultural significance of Frisian and encourages its use in various aspects of public life, including education, media, and cultural activities.

In conclusion, Frisian is officially recognized as a language in the Netherlands, Germany, and Denmark. These countries value the preservation and promotion of Frisian as an important part of their cultural heritage.

Variants and dialects of Frisian

West Frisian

West Frisian is one of the three major variants of Frisian. It is spoken mainly in the province of Friesland in the Netherlands. With over 350,000 speakers, it is the most widely spoken Frisian language today. West Frisian has been recognized as an official language in the Netherlands and is used in various domains, including education, media, and government. Although it shares similarities with other Frisian dialects, West Frisian has its own distinct features and vocabulary.

North Frisian

North Frisian, another variant of Frisian, is primarily spoken in the northernmost part of Germany, particularly in the region of North Frisia. The language is divided into several dialects, each with its own unique characteristics. While North Frisian is not officially recognized as an official language, it holds a significant cultural and historical significance in the region. Efforts are being made to preserve and promote the use of North Frisian through education and cultural initiatives.

Saterland Frisian

Saterland Frisian, also known as East Frisian, is spoken in the Saterland region of Lower Saxony, Germany. It is considered to be the smallest of the Frisian languages, with a relatively small number of speakers. Saterland Frisian has faced challenges in maintaining its vitality and is classified as endangered by UNESCO. However, there are ongoing efforts to revitalize the language through language courses, publications, and community initiatives.

These variants and dialects of Frisian highlight the rich linguistic diversity within the Frisian language family. Each variant has its own unique characteristics, reflecting the cultural and historical backgrounds of the communities where they are spoken. Despite the challenges they face, these dialects play a crucial role in preserving the Frisian identity and heritage.

Language revitalization efforts

The Frisian language has experienced a remarkable journey of revitalization in recent years. Efforts to preserve and promote Frisian have been undertaken through various means, including education, media, literature, and the establishment of language organizations.

Frisian in education

Frisian language revitalization efforts have placed a strong emphasis on incorporating Frisian into the education system. In the regions where Frisian is spoken, such as Friesland in the Netherlands and parts of Germany, Frisian is offered as a subject in schools. This allows students to learn and develop their Frisian language skills from an early age. Moreover, there are bilingual schools where both Frisian and Dutch are used as the medium of instruction, ensuring that the language is integrated into the curriculum and daily life.

Frisian media and literature

The availability of Frisian language media and literature has played a significant role in revitalizing the language. Frisian newspapers, magazines, radio stations, and television programs cater to the Frisian-speaking population, providing them with a platform to use and engage with the language. Additionally, Frisian literature has seen a resurgence, with authors writing novels, poems, and plays in Frisian. This not only preserves the language but also encourages its use and appreciation among the Frisian community.

Frisian language organizations

Various organizations dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Frisian have been established. These organizations work tirelessly to support Frisian language initiatives, advocate for the language’s recognition, and provide resources for learning Frisian. They organize language courses, workshops, events, and conferences to encourage the use and development of Frisian. Furthermore, these organizations collaborate with educational institutions, media outlets, and government bodies to ensure the continuity and growth of the Frisian language.

In conclusion, language revitalization efforts for Frisian encompass a multifaceted approach that includes education, media, literature, and the active involvement of language organizations. Through these combined efforts, Frisian is experiencing a resurgence, ensuring its survival as an official language in the countries where it is spoken.

In conclusion, while Frisian is not widely spoken as an official language in many countries, it holds a significant cultural and historical importance in the regions where it is recognized. The countries of the Netherlands and Germany are the primary nations that officially use Frisian, with varying degrees of recognition and usage. Despite its limited reach, efforts to preserve and promote the Frisian language continue, ensuring its legacy and significance for future generations.

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