Local German Dialect in the 21st Century

During the 20th century a movement developed to encourage the use of local dialect alongside Standard German. Since the 1990s this movement has grown considerably. Since 1999 Niederdeutsch (Low German) has been recognised as a regional dialect and been accepted in the EU Charter for regional and minority languages along with Friesian, Danish, Sorbian and Romanes (the language of the Sinti and Roma). It has now been declared protected by the German government. However, a law on its own does not ensure the continuance of a language. It must be used.

Platt is currently presented in a very banal way in the north German media, but plays, books and music are now being featured and the future of Plattdeutsch is under discussion. Pilot projects with dual language nursery schools are becoming increasingly popular and locals greet each other with a certain amount of pride with “Moin”.

This could be because people are slowly coming round to the idea that their regional dialect is in danger of dying out – or perhaps that Lower German culture has indeed some value in its own right. (Stefan Bargstedt: Platt! Wo und wie Plattdeutsch ist. Bremen 2008, Seite 143)

This is why the Museum Association offers

  • Plattdeutsch guided tours of the museum
  • Plattdeutsch church services
  • Activities for children in Plattdeutsch
  • A Plattdeutsch working group which meets in the winter months.