German is the official language of Germany, Austria, Switzerland, where it is the spoken by the majority of the population. It is also spoken by a large percentage of the population in Liechtenstein, Luxembourg and it is an official language in Belgium.The question on how many countries speak German depends on whether we count countries where German is offiical at a national level, at a local level or countries where German is spoken by immigrant communities.
With close to 100 million native speakers in Europe, German is the most spoken language in Europe (after Russian, with 110 million)The six countries that have German as their official language, in alphabetical order, are: Austria, Belgium, Germany, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg and Switzerland. Over 78% of the world’s total German speakers live in Germany. Over 8% live in Austria, more than 5% reside in Austria, less than 1% live in Italy, and more than 7% live in other countries.
How many countries speak German in Europe?These are the countries where German is an official national language.
- Belgium (statewide along with Dutch and French)
- Luxembourg (together with Luxembourgish and French)
- Switzerland : statewide (together with French, Italian and Romansh) This includes the 17 German-speaking cantons, the cantons of Bern, Fribourg and Valais (together with French), the canton of Graubünden (together with Italian and Romansh) and the municipality of Ederswiler at community level in the canton of Jura
There are 6 countries where German is an official national language and 4 countries where it is a local co-official language.
European countries where German is official at local level
- Italy in South Tyrol (together with the Italians and sometimes also the Ladinos)
- Poland (as a national minority language in the Opole Voivodeship and Silesian Voivodeship in Poland with around 300.000-350.000 speakers)
- Slovakia : German is also considered a co-official language under Slovak law in the villages of Krahule/Blaufuss and Kunesov/Kuneschhau together with Slovak.
Other European countries with large German speaking communitiesThere are other countries with sizable German speaking minorities but where German is not official:
- Russia (500,000 native German speakers)
- Kazahastan (180,000 native German speakers)
- Hungary (62.000 native German speakers)
- Czech Republic (40.000 native German speakers)
- Romania (37.000 native German speakers)
German language in AfricaNamibia was a German colony from 1884 to 1915. Around 20.000 Namibian Germans still live there.
How many countries speak German in America?German is official in 9 municipalities in Brazil: Espírito Santo, Minas Gerais and Santa Catarina states (together with Portuguese)
Do you need German translations ?
German language in the United StatesGerman is not official in any of the States, but there are some 46 million Americans who have full or partial German ancestry (2018 data). German Americans are the largest of the self-reported ancestry groups by the US Census Bureau in its American Community Survey. Some 19th century German immigrants have kept their way of living in the US, such as the , or . In Latin America, you find pockets of German speaking communities mostly in South America: