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FROM 22.9.22


Hej! Gud dai! Witaj! Aven! Moin!

Since time immemorial, our country has been shaped by a great variety of cultural influences. Diversity, ruptures and movement – this is all typical of Germany. Part of the picture are also other languages and autochthonous national minorities and ethnicities that have roots here dating far back. Four of these are officially recognised today: Danes, Frisians, Sorbs/Wends and the German Sinti and Roma. Low German or Low Saxon (“Plattdeutsch”) is also protected as a regional language. What is their history? How do majority and minority coexist? And what do members of these groups hope for in their futures?

Hello Germany! What do you mean – “minority”?!

Our language should not exclude anyone. –

Purpose of the exhibition

In “What do you mean, ‘minority’? – Danes ∙ Frisians ∙ Sorbs/Wends ∙ German Sinti and Roma ∙ Low German speakers”, the four autochthonous minorities and the Low German language group offer an unprecedented coordinated insight into their centuries-old histories and their (lived) present day in contemporary Germany. Again and again, their relationship to the majority population comes to the fore here. Moving away from the usual group clichés, visitors will learn of the political goals and individual hopes of people who are living lives of multiple languages and cultures. In the process, we hope that attention will be focused on an aspect of our shared homeland that still remains unknown to many people. 

The architectural elements of our travelling exhibition are unique creations. Their forms and the details of their designs already begin to tell the stories of our groups.


The “Pompeblêd”, a stylised water lily flower, forms the basis for the three-part element. It symbolises the historic seven Frisian “sealands”, and it can be seen today, for instance, as a component of the flag of the Dutch province of Friesland. The mast and sail highlight the close connections between Frisian culture and the sea and seafaring. The motto on the mast, “Livre düed as Slaav!“ (“Rather dead than enslaved!”) dates back to medieval antecedents and has been a firm fixture of the Frisian political worldview since the 19th century. The graphical elements take up details from Frisian dialects, and recollect the “Delft tiles” that circulated in Frisia as part of the North Sea region.

German Sinti and Roma

The element plays on two associations. Firstly, its form recalls the trumpet of a gramophone, and highlights the musical influence of the Sinti and Roma on European classical music. Secondly, the image also evokes a megaphone held in a hand at a demonstration, paying tribute to the important political role of the Sinti and Roma civil rights movement after 1945. The wave lines of the artwork call to mind the graphic depiction of sound waves. These represent the transfer in space of the word spoken from person to person, and symbolise the deep connection of the Sinti and Roma with their own language, Romanes.


The model for the element is Ø, one of the most striking letters of the Danish alphabet and also a word in its own right, meaning “island”. The surface graphic is inspired by the cross that underpins the Danish flag, the Dannebrog. This cross occurs in all flags of the Scandinavian countries, and thus highlights not only specific national identity, but also the cohesion of the states of Northern Europe.

Sorbs / Wends

The triangle that forms the basis for the exhibition element and graphic design alike takes its inspiration from a key component of important parts of Sorbian traditional costume and popular geometric decorations on Sorbian Easter eggs. Along with the language, these expressions of diverse Sorbian popular art are key elements of identification for many Sorbs/Wends The twofold division of the display case symbolises the two Sorbian languages and the subdivision of the historical settlement area of the smallest Slavic people into Upper and Lower Lusatia.

Low german speakers

The design concept for the exhibition element of the Low German language group is a bookcase with eight compartments, symbolising the eight federal states of northern Germany in which Platt is found. Over the centuries, Plattdeutsch has evolved in many regional variants in these areas, and today it forms the basis for a sense of shared identity. We therefore chose the image of a single bookcase containing many different books, the thematic and regional range of which illustrates the broad spectrum of Low German literature.

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