Official languages of European countries

by Jakub Marian

Tip: See my list of the Most Common Mistakes in English. It will teach you how to avoid mis­takes with com­mas, pre­pos­i­tions, ir­reg­u­lar verbs, and much more.

Most European countries have just one official language. Some actually have none (which is the case of the United Kingdom, where English is de facto officialused by the government and courtsbut not de jure official), and a few have two or more, the “winner” being Switzerland, which has four.

The map below shows European countries and their official languages. It does not show languages that are only official in smaller, non-sovereign territories (such as German states and Spanish autonomous communities). To see the distribution of minority languages, see my complete map of European languages.

Official languages Europe

Four countries are too small to be shown on the map: Liechtenstein (German), Monaco (French), San Marino (Italian), and Vatican City (Italian, de facto).

To make reading the map easier, here’s a list of all languages that are official in two or more European countries (including Turkey and Cyprus), ordered by number of countries:

LanguageEuropean countries where the language is official
GermanGermany
Austria
Switzerland
Belgium
Luxembourg
Liechtenstein
FrenchFrance
Belgium
Switzerland
Luxembourg
Monaco
ItalianItaly
Switzerland
San Marino
Vatican City (de facto)
Serbian
Croatian
Bosnian
Montenegrin
Serbia
Croatia
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Montenegro
(Four standardized varieties of a single language. Serbian is official in Serbia and Bosnia, Croatian is official in Croatia and Bosnia, Bosnian is official in Bosnia, and Montenegrin is official in Montenegro. Note that in B&H, the languages are not official at federal level.)
EnglishUnited Kingdom (de facto)
Ireland
Malta
RussianRussia
Belarus
TurkishTurkey
Cyprus
RomanianRomania
Moldova
DutchNetherlands
Belgium
GreekGreece
Cyprus
SwedishSweden
Finland

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