2017-2019: LangUp

Preservation of Minority cultures and languages. An entrepreneurial opportunity to embrace the past and the future . Lesser used and minority languages are in danger of extinction because the younger generations no longer speak them. In many areas, where minority languages are spoken, unemployment rates are high, especially among the young.

However, due to several recent developments, knowledge of a local or minority language has become an asset instead of a hindrance for young people seeking employment. Informing young people on how to capitalize on their minority language skills can thus help them in their search for work. To reach this group, this project will focus on and develop courses for youth workers, who are well situated to advise this group.

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2017-now: Bartelje! The Frisian version of the Basque Bertsolaritza?

Can a hugely popular, centuries old poetic performance art from the Basque Country be a success abroad? In the Dutch province of Fryslân? Five Frisians think it can and are going to give it a serious go. They want to try and let the age old Basque bertsolaritza flourish on Frisian soil. The first seed was planted on Friday, 18th of May 2018, at a festive night in pavilion MeM. MeM was a ‘livingroom of languages’, specifically built for 2018, the year the Frisian city of Leeuwarden is Cultural Capital of Europe, following Donostia’s footsteps of 2016. The night featured the exclusive premier of ‘The success story of a minority language’, a Frisian documentary about the Basque bertsolaritza phenomenon, which follows the first steps of the Frisians trying to introduce the art form to Fryslân.

2017-2018: MeM-Livingroom of Languages (part of ECoC Leeuwarden-Fryslân 2018)

An unusual pavilion, in the shape of two female figures and dedicated to language – and to “mother” tongues – was build in the Prinsentuin in Leeuwarden in 2018: “MeM” (Frisian for mother). MeM was the “living room” of Lân fan taal, and the place in which small languages from across Europe, regional languages and dialects from the Netherlands, and minority languages spoken in Leeuwarden took centre stage from April to October.

These included Basque, the Celtic languages, Friulian, Catalan and Maltese, but also Papiamento, Russian, Esperanto, Bildts, Achterhoeks, Gronings, Zeeuws and, of course, Liwadders. A total of around 30 language communities have participated: 10 from the Netherlands, 10 from Europe and 10 from the city of Leeuwarden.

2017: International Social Media Day for Small Languages

The International Social Media Day for Small Languages (Sept. 26th 2017) was part of the Frisian language promotion campaign Praat mar Frysk of the Afûk. The aim for this day was to show and make people aware of language diversity in Europe on Social Media and to connect the different language communities with each other. 16 organisations from 16 small language regions/countries joined the initiative.

2015-2017: Tosta project (lead partner ECoC Donostia 2016)

Tosta was a collaboration project between cultural agents in several minority language communities of Europe’s Atlantic coast. At the same time, it was one of the travelling embassies of Donostia / San Sebastian 2016 European Capital of Culture. The project combined the promotion of artistic creation, the celebration of linguistic and cultural diversity and the balanced management of local languages in an international project.

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