Weten: Low German in Hesse

In the section ›Weten we present to you information about the Low German language and associated culture.

In the far north of Hesse there is a small region in which Low German is spoken. This area includes parts of the districts of Kassel and Waldeck-Frankenberg. Historically, it belonged to the County of Waldeck and the Electorate of Hesse. The city of Kassel is located south of the language border and speaks Hessian. Also to the south are Naumburg, Bad Wildungen and Frankenberg. From the Fulda river to the Rothaargebirge, however, the following places are north of the language border and thus belong to the traditional Low German area: Wilhelmshausen, Immenhausen, Zierenberg, Wolfhagen, Freienhagen, Nieder-Werbe and Münden.

One of the characteristics of the North Hessian dialect is the fact that the word “old” is “all” and not “ole” or “olle”.

While the dialect in the district of Waldeck-Frankenberg clearly shows Westphalian features, the dialect in the district of Kassel is in a transition zone from Westphalian to Eastphalian.

In the 19th century, the three villages Hermannrode, Marzhausen and Hebenshausen in the Werra-Meißner district were also referred to as Low German villages. In the meantime, however, these have probably completely switched to Hessian.

The vocabulary of the area is recorded (but only marginally) in the Dictionary for Hesse-Nassau (entire area) and in the Westphalian Dictionary (Waldeck-Frankenberg district only).