The European Day of Languages (EDL) was first celebrated in 2001 during the European Year of Languages. At the end of this campaign the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers decided to make EDL an annual event, to be celebrated each 26 September. Every year, millions of people in the Council's member states and elsewhere organise or take part in activities to promote linguistic diversity and the ability to speak other languages.

The general aim is to draw attention to Europe's rich linguistic and cultural diversity, which has to be encouraged and maintained, but also to extend the range of languages that people learn throughout their lives in order to develop their plurilingual skills and reinforce intercultural understanding. EDL is an opportunity to celebrate all of Europe's languages, including those that are less widely spoken and the languages of migrants.

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Council of Europe Strasbourg 26 September 2016
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European Day of Languages 2016

A day to celebrate the rich mosaic of languages coexisting in Europe and beyond: the European Day of Languages marks every year since 2001 our linguistic diversity and cultural heritage. The European Centre for Modern Languages of the Council of Europe (ECML), encouraging excellence and innovation in language teaching, will take part in a key event in Graz, Austria.

A wide range of initiatives are organised across the Continent: a language festival in the Students’ Square in Belgrade, a presentation of 13 different idioms and cultures at the University library in Bergen, a language fair in Zagreb, and exhibition at the  multimedia centre in Nice, amongst them.

Message from Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland

"The European Day of Languages is celebrated every year on 26 September. It's a day to encourage language learning for young and old. This year's European Language Day is also an opportunity to highlight the huge value of Europe's cultural diversity.

 Europe's nations are always at their strongest and most prosperous when we are open and outward-facing, willing to embrace other ways of life, and when we welcome those who can contribute to our societies. By pausing to celebrate the dozens of languages spoken across our communities we can send a powerful message: that Europe is a place where all backgrounds are welcome and individuals of every heritage can feel at home. Hundreds  of events have been organized by schools, universities and cultural establishments to mark the day. I would like to send my best wishes to all those taking part."