Europe is a diverse and multicultural evolving continent that consists of many countries and languages. Most of the countries have one official language, but did you know that there are European countries that have more than one official language?
Dilingual staff has compiled a list of officially multilingual countries in Europe.
Switzerland is not only known for its heavenly landscapes and delicious chocolate but also its multilingualism. It has not one, but four national languages in Switzerland: German, French, Italian, and Romansh. Although Switzerland has four official languages, most of the population speaks only one language fluently.
About 62% of the population in Switzerland speak German, making it the most spoken language in the country. Sometimes it is known as Swiss-German because of the distinguishable dialect and it is spoken in the eastern and central part of Switzerland.
About 23% of the population in Switzerland speak French. It is spoken in the western part of Switzerland and it is known as Swiss-French because it has a local dialect.
The third language is Italian and it is spoken by about 8% of the population.
Only 0.6% of the population in Switzerland speaks Romansh, yet it's recognised as a national language since 1938. It is spoken in the canton of the Grisons alongside German and Italian. Romansh is an old language and it’s one of the descendant languages of the Latin language.
Belgium is another country famous for its tasty chocolate and language diversity.
It has three official languages: Dutch, French, and German. Brussels, which is the capital city of Belgium, is a bilingual city where both Dutch and French are widely spoken.
The majority of the population(69%) in Belgium speaks dutch. About 39% of the population speaks French. Making it the second-most spoken language in the country.
Belgium’s third official language is German, but it’s only spoken by 1% of the population.
The Republic of Ireland is officially a bilingual country. The official languages are English and Irish Gaelic.
Irish Gaelic is one of the oldest written languages, but only spoken by 1.7% of the population. Therefore, it’s sometimes considered one of the endangered languages in Europe.
Malta is an island country with two official languages which are: Maltese and surprisingly English. Maltese is a Semitic language that has been significantly influenced by the Latin languages.
For many years, Italian was also an official language, but not anymore. However, 66% of the Maltese residents can speak Italian.
Finland is one of the Scandinavian countries that is also officially bilingual. The official languages are Finish, which is spoken by 87% of the population, and Swedish which is spoken by about 5 % of the population.
There are two official languages in North Macedonia. The primary language used in North Macedonia is Macedonian, which is a Slavic language. The co-official language, Albanian, is spoken by about 25% of the population.
Kosovo is another officially bilingual country in the Balkans. The official languages are Albanian, which is spoken by 95% of the population, and Serbian which is spoken by only 1.6% of the population.
Cyprus is another island country in Europe that is bilingual. The official languages are Greek and Turkish.
Luxembourg might be a relatively small country, but it’s truly multilingual. Three official languages are recognised in the country: French, German, and the national language Luxembourgish.