Rökefloose e.V. (Northern Frisians)
adress: Süderstraße 6
place: 25821 Bredstedt/ Bräist
The name „Rökefloose“ is put together out of the words „rök“ (crow) and „floose“ (group). The crow is a holy bird in the frisian mythology and long time ago, it was showed on frisian flags. The name expresses the self understanding of the organisation. „Rök“ stands for the old frisian traditions and „floose“ is a indication for the community, the group builds.
The organisation consists mainly of young people and it encourages children and young adults to speak frisian as a everyday language. The goal is simply to keep the language alive by getting young people to know it and to give young people who already speaks frisian a chance to speak it with peers in their spare time.
We try to achieve this goal through activities like sports, cultural activities, journeys, parties and similar. At this activities, the frisian language is spoken as much as possible.
The Frisians are, with the Danes, the Sorbs and the Sinti/Roma, the fourth officially recognized minority in the Federal Republic of Germany. The North Frisians’ settlement area is situated on the west coast of Schleswig-Holstein and on the island of Heligoland. The Frisian ethnic group has been protected and promoted since 1990 according to Article 5 of the constitution of the Land Schleswig-Holstein.
The Frisian language is the North Frisians’ most important feature of identification. It is actively spoken by about 10.000 people. The North Frisian language is accepted to the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages.
Political work is basically done by the Frisian Council, consisting of nine representatives from the Frisian associations and organizations. The Frisian Council is contacted by the Federal Government, by the Land Schleswig-Holstein, by the North Friesland district and by its communities. In 1988 the “Committee for Frisian Community Issues in Schleswig-Holstein” was installed in the Landtag of Schleswig-Holstein in order to enable the Frisian ethnic group to get in touch with the political authorities. As a rule this committee meets twice a year to discuss the Frisian community’s questions and problems.
In outer northwest Germany, on islands, and on the coastline between the rivers Eider and Wiedau.
The Frisians emigrated from their original settlement area of Zuiderzee (today Ijsselmeer) and Weser in two settlement waves to the “Uthlande” and “Small Friesland,” or the coastal area called “North Friesland. According to state law, the Frisians were long under the reign of the Danish king. In the division of land in 1544 they fell under three sovereigns. Since the division in 1581, North Friesland has belonged to the region of the Gottorfer Duke; only Nordergoesharde around Bredstedt belonged to the share of the Danish king. In 1721, the relations were simplified: the Gottorfer sections were united with those of the king. From then on, the North Frisians belonged to the Danish state. North Friesland never became a political reference quantity in its totality. A North Frisian government has never existed, and the North Frisians don’t pursue this idea. The determining element of North Frisian history is the sea: land aquisition and loss were more decisive for North Friesland than battles. Because of the rise in sea level, the Frisians began in the 11th century to construct dikes. They used the aquired land for agriculture. Efforts for the preservation, care, and continued development of the Frisian language and culture are summed up with the term “Frisian Movement.” The first steps toward an independent North Frisian movement became evident in the 40’s of the 19th century. Strongly influenced by the ideas of Romanticism, the ethnic group reached the conviction of being neither Germans nor Danes, but rather Frisians. “Don’t stop being Frisian!” was their motto. At the same time, national differentiation between Germans and Danes was developing in the Dukedom of Schleswig. This had always overshadowed and been superimposed on Frisian efforts. The popular vote of 1920 in the German-Danish border territory also contributed to the acuteness of the North Frisian situation. After 1945 the German-Danish border disputes flamed up again. A significant structural difference from the other minorities in the border territory became evident. The Danish, as well as the German minorities had built up a proper cultural and social subsystem with help of the “mother people.” The North Frisians, however, were almost completely integrated into German society and to a lesser degree into the subsystem of the Danish minority. Political connections for Frisian work have significantly improved or developed in the last few years. In the last ten years the South Slesvig state parliament began for the first time to discuss the problems of the Frisian minority. Since 1990, their minority status has been anchored in the country constitution of Slesvig-Holstein.
On the 7th of September, 1988, on the basis of a unanimous vote of the state parliament, a committee for questions of the Frisian ethnic group was instituted in the country of Slesvig-Holstein. It consists of: the president of the state parliamentary who holds the chair and conducts the business, one each member of the state parliament fractions, the federal parliament delegates of North Friesland, the border territory and minority contractees of the president of the ministry, a representative of the Ministry of Culture, and four delegates of the North Frisians, who were appointed by the North Friesland section of the Frisian Council. The committee confers at least twice a year and should handle all questions which “apply to the Frisian ethnic group in the country, with the goal of preserving and promoting the Frisian language, education, and culture.” The North Frisian section of the Frisian council, spoke for the anchoring of minority and ethnic group rights also in the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany in a letter to the federal chancellor of May, 1990. Since the 1st of August, 1990, the Frisian ethnic group has been guaranteed the “right to protection and support,” in the Slesvig-Holstein district constitution. The Frisian associations also hope for progress via the Charter of Minority and Regional Languages of the European Council, signed by the German Federal Republic on the 5th of November, 1992.
The supporting pillars of Frisian cultural work are the voluntary activities of local Frisian clubs which are conducted with much enthusiasm. They offer Frisian language classes, Frisian theater, dance and folk-costume groups, and fight for environmental and monument protection. The “Nordfriisk Instituut“ is the central scientific institution for the care, promotion, and research of the Frisian language and culture. This institute conducts a specialized library for North Friesland as well as an archive. Countless courses and seminars are offered. The archive publishes geographical works and books in Frisian, the quarterly “Nordfriesland,” the “Nordfriesisches Jahrbuch” (North Frisian yearbook), the Frisian calendar “Jarling,” as well as book series. The institute was and is a model case for the promotion of culture in a border area.
The idea of instructing officially in schools dates only from the 20th century. However, Frisian has only been the subject of instruction and never the teaching language. The change in attitude of the state positions first appeared in the 70s. From then on, Frisian instruction was ambitiously expanded. In addition to regular instruction, Frisian is offered on a voluntary basis, and therefore also exists outside of the regular curriculum. In the 3rd and 4th school years, entire classes take part in Frisian language instruction. In 1991, 24 teachers taught about 950 students in 153 hours per week at 36 schools. As a rule, Frisian language classes are restricted to only 2 hours per week. Kindergarten: The significance of kindergarten for the preservation of Frisian has been known for a long time. The Frisian language can, however, only play a role in the primary field in two schools. Adult education: Frisian language courses are offered by Frisian clubs. There are approx. 200 interested people yearly. At the university of Kiel there has been a professor of Frisian since 1978. The North Frisian dictionary position founded at the university in 1950 has also assumed the task of language preservation. The Frisian teaching position instituted in 1988 at the Pedagogical university in Flensburg mainly provides the education of teachers of Frisian.
Frisian is only sparingly represented in the media. The two other minorities of the German- Danish border area have their own daily papers, but only isolated articles appear in regional newspapers. Until 1989, North Frisian was the only language of northern Europewas not represented on the radio. Since then, the “Weller Nord” of North German radio broadcasting has had a Frisian program though only once a week and for a few minutes. There are no Frisian television programs.
North Friesland belongs to the structurally weak regions of Germany. The industrialisation grade is particularly low; of 1000 inhabitants only 21 are in the manufacturing business. The service sector has a large significance, especially tourism. In the future many Frisians will leave their homes because of a lack of jobs.
In sports ethnicity has no role.
The minority is supported by the country as well as the regional administration according to the state district constitution.