Debbie Nogueira
By Debbie Nogueira on January 27, 2022

Countries Where German is an Official Language

In naming countries where German is an official language, you may be able to list Germany. However, there are 5 other countries where German is an official language. Although German does not appear anywhere on the list of languages with the most native speakers, it was the 4th most studied language on Duolingo in 2021. This likely due to the fact that Germany is a powerhouse for manufacturing and in the business world. 

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Germany's invasion of 11 countries during World War II, did not expand the number of German-speaking countries. Two of the invaded countries were formerly a part of Germany, so German was already spoken there. The other 9 did not change their language because of the invaders. Interestingly, German is only spoken in European countries. Take a look at the following list of countries where German is an official language.

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Germany

As the birthplace of German, Germany has the largest number of native German speakers of any country. German is spoken by over 74,000,000 native speakers in Germany and by over 5.5 million speakers of German as a second language. 

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Belgium

Belgium is a country that was always disputed over between Germany and France. It was taken over in 1795 by France and was later split into three countries (Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg) due to the Belgian Revolution. Despite having over 11 million inhabitants, only 73,000 are native German speakers with over 2.4 million speakers of German as a second language. The other 9 million Belgian residents speak French.

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Austria

8.6 million residents live in Austria. 8 million of them speak German natively, and 500 thousand of them speak it as a second language. At one time Austria and Hungary combined into one country. After WWI they separated, and Austria was given the territories where German was spoken.

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Switzerland

About 8 million people live in Switzerland. About 5 million of them speak German as native speakers. Just shy of 400 thousand of them speak German as a second language. The rest of the population speaks French, Italian, or Romani.

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Luxembourg

At one time Luxembourg was under the influence of the Netherlands, then France, and then Germany. A small country with just over 560,000 inhabitants, about 11,000 speak German as natives and 380,000 speak it as a second language. The other languages spoken are Luxembourgish and French. Luxembourg is one of the richest countries in the world.

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Liechtenstein

It was during the 1300s that German speakers started to move to modern-day Liechtenstein. With just over 37,000 denizens, approximately 32,000 are native speakers of German. The other 5,000 have learned German as a second language.

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Want to learn German? Check out our shop to see which language focus path is best for you!

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Published by Debbie Nogueira January 27, 2022
Debbie Nogueira