Sydslesvigs danske Ungdomsforeninger – SdU (Danish minority of Southern Schleswig,  Germany)sdu
Adresse: Norderstraße 76

Ort: D-24939 Flensburg

Telefon: +49 461 14408-0

Fax: +49 461 14408-222

E-Mail: kontoret@sdu.de

Webpage: www.sdu.de

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Organization

The main objective of Sydslesvigs danske Ungdomsforeninger (the Danish youth organizations of Southern Schleswig) which is abbreviated SdU is to promote the Danish child and youth work in Southern Schleswig. Through sports, cultural and pedagogical services, we create meaningful experiences for our members resulting in a wide range of events. The events take place in the local associations, the regional organizations or in collaboration with other organizations. SdU is an organization in constant development. Our close contacts to Denmark, our local society and the rest of Europe give us the opportunity to constantly stay on the beat. SdU is the umbrella organization of the Danish sports and youth associations in Southern Schleswig with about 12.000 members divided into 65 associations offering activities from badminton to model aircrafting. Affiliated are Dansk Spejderkorps Sydslesvig (the Danish organization for scouts in Southern Schleswig), FDF Sydslesvig (the voluntary christian associations of boys and girls in Southern Schleswig) and Menig- hedernes Børne- og Ungdomsarbejde (the youth work of the parishes). The associations have between 10 and 1.000 members. SdU is responsible for 11 children and youth centers all over Southern Schleswig, the seminar centre Christianslyst, the Aktivitetshuset (a project- and culture-house) in Flensburg, two sports halls, several sports facilities and much more.

Minority

Around 50,000 people are part the Danish minority in southern Slesvig the most northern part of Schleswig-Holstein.

Settlement area

Between the German-Danish border which has existed north of Flensburg since the referendum of 1920, and the Eider, the historical boundary river. This region forms the state district of Slesvig or South Slesvig in the most northern state of Germany, Slesvig-Holstein.

History

Between 811 and 1864 the Eider was the state border between Denmark and the German Empire. Since the 14th century Slesvig has had an administrative connection to Holstein (1460 Agreement of Ribe: Slesvig and Holstein became one single administrative unit. The loyality of many South Slesvig inhabitants to Denmark continued after the cession to Preußen in 1864 as the Peace Treaty of Prague in 1866 spread hopes for a new unification.The presence of the Danish minority in the elections of 1867 for the German parliament was noted. Nevertheless, after World War I a majority was not achieved in the referendum, which was controlled by an international commission (only 20% of the population voted to join Denmark).The foundation of the Danish minority in South Slesvig was boycotted by the German authorities, and the pressure worsened after Hitler came to power in 1933. Many of South Slesvig inhabitants of Danish origin were persecuted and blackmailed, among other reasons to force them to take their children out of the Danish-speaking schools. After World War II a strong movement developed which stood for unification. The Danish state, however, approved the border as it was. With the founding of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1949 and the normalisation of relations, the chance for a unification disappeared, and the voting participation of the Danish ethnic group was reduced. This led to a liberalisation of relations between this minority and the German authorities. The Bonn-Kopenhagen declaration of 1955 states that the members of a national minority may not be descriminated against, but rather their constitutional right to cultural and political development should be secured. As the Bonn declaration has no executive power, the Danish ethnic group aspires to secure its rights through the German constitution. In the state constitution of Schleswig-Holstein, the rights of the Danish and also the Frisian minority have been anchored in article 5 since 1990.

Political Situation

The official language in the bilingual communities is exclusivly German. There are no documents in the Danish language; in court it is possible to get an interpreter. Public servants are not obliged to learn Danish. The “Südschleswigsche Wählerverband” (SSW, or South Slesvig Voter´s Union), the political organisation of the Danish and national-Frisian population, was recognized as a political party in 1948 and since then has represented the interests of the ethnic group in the political field. With the abolition of the lock-clause of 5% of the Bonn Declaration, the SWW was once again able to send representatives to parliament. In 1962 the SWW deputees were given fraction-status. In three South Slesvig circles (city of Flensburg, Nordfriesland and Slesvig-Flensurg) the SSW is currently represented by 14 deputees. In the communities of South Slesvig the SSW places a total of 179 community council representatives.

Culture

“Sydslesvig Forening” is the central cultural organisation of the Danish minority, which, as a roof organisation encloses a large number of folk-cultural individual associations. It was founded in 1920 and has about 17.000 members. The South Slesvig Association takes care of the development of Danish theatre and musical life. In addition, the association arranges many lectures, film and photo presentations, aa well as orchestra and choir concerts, which are visited by more as 60.000 people yearly, and conducts a museum of its own. Of notable mention is “The small theatre” an amateur-stage with a secured residence in Flensburg. It has attracted a steadily growing audience since its opening. The Danish library system is comprised of the central library with an adjoining library for children and three further circulation libraries in Flensburg. There are 80 to 90 areas of Slesvig which are supplied by the “traveling book service”. The central library is part of an independent university department which, among other activities, promotes historical research and does its own scientific studies.

Education

The Danish educational system underlies the “Dansk Skoleforening for Sydslevig” (Danish School Association, founded in 1920) with residence in Flensburg. It is financed by the state of Slesvig-Holstein and the Danish government. Already before 1864 instruction in the elementary schools in the most of South Slesvig was given in Danish. The center of the Danish educational system was Flensburg. In 1945 there were nine Danish schools with 437 pupils. In 1968 there were 69 schools with 4.339 pupils and 312 teachers (one high school, which has existed in Flensburg since 1948, and three middle schools) . Per year, on the average 425 children apply to the schools, a number which has remained constant in the last few years. The Danish School Association also finances an ethnic group elementary school in Japlund. According to the contract of the Bonn-Kopenhagen declaration in the year 1955 it is possible to take the “school leaving examination” and graduate from a Danish high school. 1994 5.500 pupils attended 53 Danish schools, and 2.000 children 61 kindergartens. The number of kindergardens and applications to them grows constantly. Half of the teachers come from Denmark, and can receive their education in Germany or in Denmark. In Germany it is possible to study Danish at the University of Kiel and at the Scientific University for Education in Flensburg. There are also a few other Danish-speaking adult education institutions.

Media

The Danish press is published by the “Flensborg Avis” corporation in Flensburg.It produces the “Flensborg Avis”, which has been printed as a Danish newspaper since the 1st of October, 1869, and has a German-speaking section. The Danish minority has no radio or television station of its own, nor any self-created programs (whether in Danish radio and television or the German equivalent). However, members of the Danish minority can receive Danish radio. With the cable network it is also possible to receive television programs from the Danish television nrtwork. From the Danish and German sides on special occasions, there are reports about the activity of the minority. In individual associations Danish cultural, entertainment and documentary films are shown.

Economy

The economic growth of the country is especially slow and difficult because of its marginal position in the German and European economic field. Agriculture is a predominant factor of the economy in Slesvig-Holstein. Its percentage of the gross national product is twice as high as in other German state. More than a third of the industrial income goes to the food and luxury item industry, which makes use of agricultural products. South Slesvig is a structurally weak region with a high unemployment rate. The desintegration of the South Slesvig army is a particularly harsh factor which accelerates emigration.

Sports

Sports activities are handled mainly by youth-clubs, which formed a single federation in 1923. In addition, there is one Danish gymnastics club and an archery club. These clubs run various sports facilities and take part in nation-wide competitions. Some clubs within the SdU take part in the German “Punktrunden“ and are members of the state sports association.