Nordics to bolster their language community: New declaration on Nordic language policy.

The first Nordic language declaration was adopted in 2006. This revision addresses modern challenges such as digitalisation and globalisation, and seeks to promote closer and stronger linguistic unity.

The new declaration emphasises the importance of all the Nordic languages – from the Scandinavian languages of Danish, Swedish and Norwegian, to Finnish, Icelandic, Sami, Faroese, and Greenlandic. In addition, it recognises sign languages, new mother tongues, and the languages of a number of minorities that have long been present in the region.

The foundation has been laid for a unified, cohesive, long-term, and effective language policy with Nordic languages that are robust, vibrant, and that continue to underpin society. 

Lotta Edholm, Sweden’s Minister of Education and Research

“I’m delighted that we now have a revised language declaration. The foundation has been laid for a unified, cohesive, long-term, and effective language policy with Nordic languages that are robust, vibrant, and that continue to underpin society. This is vital for strengthening democracy and improving participation, as well as for the continued development of a common Nordic identity,” emphasises Sweden’s Minister of Education and Research, Lotta Edholm.

Improved flexibility

A prominent feature of the new policy is that the declaration must be supplemented with an increase in dynamic, three-year work programmes, designed to be able to adapt to changing needs and technological advances. This signals a more flexible approach to language policy, which is something that has been called for as the linguistic landscape in the Nordics evolves.

A main focus of the new initiatives is to improve people’s comprehension of and ability to communicate in the Scandinavian languages. This has been in decline, especially among young people. The ministers hope that improved language teaching, increased access to Nordic media, the preservation of minority languages, and the development of language technology will improve this situation.

“The declaration on Nordic language policy is hugely important to Nordic relations as it underpins the central role of language in our Nordic community. This community is vital for the continued development of Nordic co-operation in various sectors and areas of society. As a Nordic community, we want to preserve, use, and develop all our languages – after all, access to language is a matter of freedom, democracy, and equality,” says Sweden’s Minister of Culture, Parisa Liljestrand.

As a Nordic community, we want to preserve, use, and develop all our languages – after all, access to language is a matter of freedom, democracy, and equality.

Parisa Liljestrand, Sweden’s Minister of Culture

The updated declaration also highlights the importance of languages in a wider societal perspective, recognises their role in promoting democracy and cultural understanding, and emphasises the need for linguistic adaptation in digital and international contexts.

This historic renewal of Nordic language policy marks an important step towards preserving the diversity of the Nordic languages and strengthening the region’s common identity.

“As part of Nordic co-operation, a great deal of work is now underway with new co-operation programmes for the next five years. The revised language declaration is a dynamic tool for strengthening Scandinavian language comprehension and Nordic identity, thereby creating better opportunities for Nordic co-operation at a time when we really need it.”