Networked together

Exchanging experiences and information: Our members are on both sides of the German-Danish border and stand for successful cooperation, which we want to communicate throughout Europe.

The aim of our networking is to support the dialogue and activities of and for minorities in the German-Danish borderland and abroad. Our partner organisations help to promote understanding of national minorities and ethnic groups as well as their language and culture.

The minorities and ethnic groups that are recognised in the German-Danish borderland are understood as national minorities. In Schleswig-Holstein, these include the Danish minority, the minority of German Sinti and Roma, and the Frisian ethnic group, whose protection and promotion are enshrined in the state constitution in Schleswig-Holstein. In addition, the German minority in Northern Schleswig in Denmark is also a member of the Minority Competence Network.

Strengthening perception

The visibility of national minorities is the perennial basic problem underlying any discussion about minorities. This also includes the perception of visitors to the German-Danish borderland and members of the majority population, which may differ.

Present examples of public perception are bilingual place-name and traffic signs, such as those that exist in Frisian. The Danish minority is also visible with bilingual place-name signs, such as in Flensburg/Flensborg. Educational areas also play a role. In addition, the Danish minority is present with many kindergartens and schools. With the "Flensborg Avis" newspaper, it has established a stable foothold for itself in the public sphere. The German minority in Northern Schleswig is strongly represented in the media with its newspaper "Der Nordschleswiger" and also runs kindergartens and schools that have an impact on local everyday life.

The multilingualism of the national minorities needs to gain far more space in the media than it has to date. One thing is clear: a language that does not exist in the media is a dead language. This is especially challenging for Romani, the language of the German Sinti and Roma, and for North Frisian. But there is progress here as well, such as the recently published online dictionary for North Frisian: The dictionary can serve as a model for Romani or regional languages such as Plattdeutsch or Synnejysk.

Schleswig-Holstein: Minority policy as a model

The structures in the federal state of Schleswig-Holstein illustrate how Schleswig-Holstein's minority policy can be a model for other states and countries. The anchoring of the minorities in the state constitution, as well as a central contact person for the minorities in the person of the Minorities Commissioner Johannes Callsen, are a very strong foundation for the protection of minorities in Schleswig-Holstein. Minorities are visible in the German-Danish borderland in their diversity and their living together with and being included in the majority of the population.

It is important that the national minorities continue to form a living part of society in the German-Danish borderland. Our events are designed to promote continuous exchange and understanding between minorities and the majority. Visitors to the German-Danish borderland can learn through dialogue how and why it is possible to take the path from conflict-laden strife to peaceful coexistence. The core competencies taught can help to maintain and further develop the peaceful society as we know it today.

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