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 25 September 2017
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26 September: European Day of Languages

The European Day of Languages (EDL) is an annual celebration day to encourage language learning across Europe. At the initiative of the Council of Europe, EDL has been celebrated every year, on 26 September, since the European Year of Languages in 2001.

The specific aims of the EDL are to:

  • raise awareness of the importance of language learning in order to increase plurilingualism and intercultural understanding;
  • promote the rich linguistic and cultural diversity of Europe;
  • encourage lifelong language learning in and out of school.

The dedicated website for the EDL is available in 36 languages and hundreds of activities are registered in the events’ calendar. The EDL activities which take place in Europe and increasingly on other continents are organised mainly by schools, universities, language and cultural institutes, associations and also by the European Commission’s translation field offices. In 2016 over 1100 events were recorded.