According to Article 6 of the Constitution, German is the national language in Liechtenstein and is taught as the mother tongue for around 87 per cent of the population at all schools.
Liechtenstein also signed the Council of Europe’s European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages in 1998 to preserve its dialects. The objective of this Charter is to promote the written and oral use of dialects as an essential element of Europe’s cultural richness and diversity.
According to the School Act of November 1929, the language of instruction is the written German language. As stated in an ordinance of December 2001, a one-year intensive course in “German as a Second Language” is offered in an attempt to compensate for any deficits.
Like the European Commission, Liechtenstein speaks out against racism and intolerance. At the same time, the government, authorities and Parliament are convinced that mastering the German language is an important tool to improve the integration of immigrants from non-German speaking regions. A minority of the Liechtenstein population comes from non-German-speaking countries. The Foreign Nationals Act (FNA) of September 2008 stipulates that learning the German language forms a necessary part of integration. Since 2008, foreign nationals wishing to acquire Liechtenstein nationality must demonstrate that they have mastered the German language and that they have basic knowledge of the legal order, structure of the state, history and culture of the country. Acquisition of citizenship is seen as the final point of successful integration. At the same time, the period for simplified naturalisation due to marriage was reduced from ten to five years. In 2008, the government created the position of an integration commissioner, followed in December 2010 by the development of a comprehensive integration concept. Currently, the Integration Strategy 2021 is in effect.
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