Distribution of Germans in Romania (2002 census)
|Regions with significant populations|
|Transylvania, Banat, and Bukovina|
|Lutheranism and Roman Catholicism|
|Related ethnic groups|
The Germans of Romania or Rumäniendeutsche are an ethnic group of Romania. During the interwar period in Romania, the total number of ethnic Germans amounted to as much as 786,000 (according to some sources and estimates dating to 1939), a figure which had subsequently fallen to circa 36,000 as of 2011 in contemporary Romania.
The Germans of Romania are not a single, homogeneous group. That is because of the fact that they came in different waves of settlement as early as the High Middle Ages, firstly to southern and northeastern Transylvania (some of them even crossing the outer Carpathians to neighbouring Moldavia and Wallachia), and subsequently during the Modern Age in other Habsburg-ruled lands (such as Bukovina, at the time part of Cisleithania, or Banat), as well as in other areas of present-day Romania (such as Dobruja).
Thus, given their rather complex geographic background, in order to understand their language, culture, customs, and history, one must regard them as the following independent groups:
- Transylvanian Saxons – the largest and oldest German community on the territory of modern day Romania (often simply equated with all Romanian-Germans);
- Most Banat Swabians as well as the entirety of Satu Mare Swabians (representing sub-groups of Danube Swabians in Romania);
- Transylvanian Landler (expelled Protestants from Salzkammergut, Austria to southern Transylvania during the 18th century);
- Zipser Germans, mostly from Maramureş (including Borşa and Vişeu), but also with a smaller presence in southern Bukovina beginning in the 18th century;
- Regat Germans (including the Dobrujan Germans);
- Bukovina Germans, once with a sizable or overwhelming presence in urban centres (such as Suceava, Gura Humorului, Siret, Rădăuți, Vatra Dornei, and Câmpulung Moldovenesc) or some rural areas of nowadays Suceava county in northeastern Romania; equally indigenous to Cernăuți and contemporary Chernivtsi province in western Ukraine between the years 1780–1940;
- Bessarabia Germans, Romanian citizens for the period 1918–1940, indigenous to Budjak, southern Bessarabia;
- Alsatians as well as small groups of Walsers vintners also settled in Banat from Alsace, Lorraine, and Switzerland at the invitation of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the 19th century (though they were not only Alemannic-speaking Swiss but also French and Italian); Subsequently, these settlers came to be known as 'Français du Banat' (i.e. 'Banat French').
Contributions to Romanian culture
Throughout the passing of time, the German community in Romania has been actively and consistently contributing to the culture of the country. The most noteworthy examples of such contributions are visible in the following regards:
- Romanian architecture (e.g. the villages with fortified churches in Transylvania or some of the most renowned castles as well as several medieval town centers, all of them highly popular touristic attractions);
- Romanian language (where 2% of the words in the Romanian lexis are of German origin, mainly stemming from Transylvanian Saxons and Austrians);
- Romanian literature (the first letter written in Romanian was addressed to the former early 16th century mayor of Kronstadt, Johannes Benkner, and the first book printed in Romanian was in Hermannstadt).
House of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen in Romania
|Reign start||Reign end||Duration|
|15 March 1881||10 October 1914||33 years, 209 days||Previously ruled as Domnitor (Prince) between 1866-1881|
|10 October 1914||20 July 1927||12 years, 283 days||Nephew of Carol I|
|20 July 1927||8 June 1930
|2 years, 323 days||Grandson of Ferdinand I|
|20 July 1927||8 June 1930
|2 years, 323 days||Son of Ferdinand I|
|8 June 1930||6 September 1940
|10 years, 90 days||Son of Ferdinand I|
|6 September 1940||30 December 1947
|7 years, 115 days||Son of Carol II|
Pretenders to the throne of Romania (after 1947, when King Michael I was forced to abdicate):
|Nº||Portrait||Pretender||Pretending from||Pretending until|
|1||Michael I||30 December 1947||1 March 2016|
|2||Margareta||1 March 2016||Incumbent|
|Starting with the 1930 figures, the reference is to all German-speaking groups in Romania.|
German minority population by settlement
The data displayed in the table below highlights notable settlements (of at least 1%) of the German minority in Romania according to the 2011 Romanian census. Note that some particular figures might be estimative.
|Romanian name||German name||Percent (%) of total population||County|
|Vișeu de Sus||Oberwischau||4.0||Maramureș|
|Satu Mare||Sathmar||1.0||Satu Mare|
|Mănăstirea Humorului||Humora Kloster||1.0||Suceava|
German minority population by county
Below is represented the notable German minority population (of at least 1%) for some counties, according to the 2011 census.
|County||Percent (%) of total population|
Administration, official representation, and politics
The entire German-speaking community in contemporary Romania is represented at official level by the Democratic Forum of Germans in Romania (German: Demokratisches Forum der Deutschen in Rumänien). It has a centrist ideology and supports the rights of the German minority from Romania.
Since 1989, the DFDR/FDGR has competed in both local and legislative elections and has also been cooperating with two historical parties of the Romanian politics, namely the National Liberal Party and the Christian Democratic National Peasants' Party, most notably at local administration level in cities such as Sibiu or Timișoara. The party also adheres to a pro-monarchic stance regarding the restoration of monarchy in Romania.
Until 1 January 2007 (i.e. the date of accession of Romania to the European Union), the DFDR/FDGR was also an observing member of the European Parliament, briefly affiliated with the European People's Party Group (between January and November of the same year).
In Bucharest there are two German schools, namely Deutsche Schule Bukarest and Deutsches Goethe-Kolleg Bukarest. The Deutsche Schule Bukarest serves Kinderkrippe, Kindergarten, Grundschule, and Gymnasium (high school).
In Timișoara, the Nikolaus Lenau High School was founded during the late 19th century. It was named this way in reference to Nikolaus Lenau, a Banat Swabian Romantic poet. Nowadays, the Nikolaus Lenau High School is considered the most important of its kind from Banat.
In Sibiu, the Samuel von Brukenthal National College is the oldest German-language school from Romania (recorded as early as the 14th century), being also classified as a historical monument. It was subsequently renamed this way in reference to baron Samuel von Brukenthal, a Transylvanian Saxon aristocrat.
Allgemeine Deutsche Zeitung für Rumänien (ADZ) is the daily German-language newspaper in Romania. It is currently the only German-language newspaper from Eastern Europe. Regional German-language publications also include Banater Zeitung (for Banat) and Hermannstädter Zeitung (for Sibiu).
Although the German minority in Romania has dwindled in numbers to a considerable extent since the fall of the Iron Curtain, the few but well organised Romanian-Germans who decided to remain in the country after 1989 are respected and regarded by many Romanians as a hard-working, thorough, and practical community who has contributed tremendously to the local culture and history of, most notably, Transylvania, Banat, and Bukovina, where the largest German-speaking groups once lived alongside the Romanian ethnic majority.
Furthermore, the bilateral political an cultural relationships between post-1989 Romania and unified Germany increased positively after the signing of the 1992 friendship treaty between the two countries. Also, on the occasion of the election of Frank Walter Steinmeier as President of Germany in 2017, incumbent Romanian president Klaus Johannis stated, among others, that: "[...] Last but not least, there is a profound friendship bounding the Romanians and the Germans, thanks mainly to the centuries-long cohabitation between the Romanians, Saxons, and Swabians in Transylvania, Banat, and Bukovina."
Below are represented several lists comprising selected notable German-Romanians by historical region.
Transylvanian Saxon lad from Gușterița (Hammersdorf)
- Germany–Romania relations
- List of ambassadors of Germany to Romania
- Romanians in Germany
- Villages with fortified churches in Transylvania
- List of fortified churches in Transylvania
- List of Transylvanian Saxon localities
- List of famous Transylvanian Saxons
- Transylvanian Museum (in Gundelsheim, Baden-Württemberg, south-western Germany)
- Landsmannschaft der Siebenbürger Sachsen in Deutschland
- German culture
- Geographical distribution of German speakers
- Expulsion of Germans from Romania after World War II
- Official Romanian census from 2011
- Dr. Gerhard Reichning, Die deutschen Vertriebenen in Zahlen, Teil 1, Bonn 1995, Page 17
- Die deutschen Vertreibungsverluste. Bevölkerungsbilanzen für die deutschen Vertreibungsgebiete 1939/50. Herausgeber: Statistisches Bundesamt – Wiesbaden. - Stuttgart: Verlag W. Kohlhammer, 1958 Page 46
- Monica Barcan, Adalbert Millitz, The German Nationality in Romania (1978), page 42: "The Satu Mare Swabians are true Swabians, their place of origin being Wurttemberg. They were colonized between 1712 and 1815. Their most important settlements are Satu Mare/Sathmar and Petresti/Petrifeld in North- West Romania."
- Oskar Hadbawnik, Die Zipser in der Bukowina (1968) discusses the Zipserfest held in Jakobeny in 1936 to commemorate 150 years since the Zipsers migrated to Jakobeny in 1786.
- І. Я. Яцюк, Тернопільський національний педагогічний університет ім. Володимира Гнатюка, Наукові записки. Серія “Філологічна”, УДК 81’282.4:811.112.2(477): Lexikalische Besonderheiten Deutscher Dialekte in Galizien- und der Bukowina: “Die Siedler in den ursprünglichen Bergwerksgemeinden im Südwesten der Bukowina sprachen Zipserisch und zwar Gründlerisch, wie es in der Unterzips gesprochen wurde. Dabei wurde [v] im Anlaut wie [b] ausgesprochen: Werke – berka, weh – be, Schwester – schbesta. Anlautendes [b] wurde zu [p]: Brot – prot, Brücke – prik.”
- Identity and multiculturalism in the Romanian Banat, Remus Creţan, David Turnock and Jaco Woudstra, p. 17-26
- Perjamosch, Banat/List of Families Connected to Hubert Family
- Association pour la promotion de l'Alsace en Roumanie: L’étonnante histoire des alsaciens et lorrains du Banat. (in French)
- The French in Banat: Story on Tomnatic/Triebswetter
- De l'Ouest à l'Est et de l'Est à l'Ouest : les avatars identitaires des Français du Banat, Smaranda Vultur (in French)
- Dimitrie Macrea, "Originea și structura limbii române", Probleme de lingvistică română (Bucharest: Editura Științifică, 1961), 7–45: p. 32.
- Academia Română, Dictionarul limbii române moderne, ed. Dimitrie Macrea (Bucharest: Editura Academiei, 1958).
- Gabriela Pană Dindelegan, ed., The Grammar of Romanian, Oxford University Press, 2013, p. 3, ISBN 978-0-19-964492-6
- Hans Dama, "Lexikale Einflüsse im Rumänischen aus dem österreichischen Deutsch" ("Lexical influences of 'Austrian'-German on the Romanian Language") (in German)
- "Entstehung." Deutsche Schule Bukarest. Retrieved on 20 February 2015.
- (in German) Geschichte Temeswars Schulwesen
- Allgemeine Deutsche Zeitung für Rumänien[permanent dead link], Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin (in German)
- Ziarul Românesc.de | Klaus Iohannis: «Germanii din România sunt apreciați și respectați de toți românii» (in Romanian)
- Ministerul Afacerilor Externe - 25 de ani de la semnarea tratatului de prietenie România-Germania (in Romanian)
- Digi24.ro | Mesajul lui Iohannis pentru președintele ales al Germaniei (in Romanian)