Sydslesvigsk Forening (SSF) und der Südschleswigsche Wählerverband (SSW)

Sydslesvigsk Forening (SSF)

Sydslesvigsk Forening (SSF) – the South Schleswig Association – was founded in 1920 and is the main cultural organisation of the Danish minority in Germany, based in Flensburg/Flensborg.

The purpose of SSF is to promote the Danish language and the Danish and Nordic culture, to deepen the understanding for the South Schleswig homeland and its peculiarities and to foster a close relation with Denmark, the north and the Danish South Schleswigans outside of South Schleswig. On the one hand SSF as a cultural organisation is responsible for the cultural offerings, on the other it is representing the cultural and minority-policy interests of the minority. SSF has 15,000 members in approximately 80 local chapters.

Homepage of SSF
More information about the Danes in Germany

SSF’s representatives in the Minority Council are Gitte Hougaard-Werner and Jens A. Christiansen.

Members of the Minority Council

Gitte Hougaard-Werner

Chair of the Sydslesvigsk Forening (SSF)
born in Lemvig, Denmark

Professional career:
•    Law studies at Kiel
•    Trained as nursing auxiliary and teacher at UCSyd, Haderslev
•    since 2015, Principal of the Danish School at Elsdorf-Westermühle

Social involvement:
•    1999-2019, Teacher at Eckernförde Evening School, Deputy Chair of SSF Eckernförde
•    2005-2019, member of the Danish Annual Meeting Committee (Årsmødeudvalg)
•    since 2012, member of the Executive Committee (Forretningsudvalg) of the SSF
•    2013-2019, 1st Deputy Chair of the SSF
•    since 2015, member of the Supervisory Board of Flensborg Avis
•    since 2016, SSF delegate to the Common Council (Det Sydslesvigske Samråd)
•    since 2019, Chair of the SSF

Jens A. Christiansen

General Secretary of the Sydslesvigsk Forening (SSF)
born in Flensburg

Professional career:
•    M.A. in Nordic philology, alongside studies in theology and Nordic ethnology
•    former Embassy Consultant for Labour Market Issues answering to the Foreign Ministry at the Danish Embassy, Bonn
•    1988-2001, Academic Associate at the Confederation of Danish Employers (DA): Department Head of the Education Policy Sectionng
•    1996, recipient of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany
•    since 2001, General Secretary of the Sydslesvigsk Forening

Wählerverband (SSW)

Südschleswigscher Wählerverband (SSW) – the South Schleswig Voters’ Association – was founded in 1948 as the party of the Danish minority in the region of Schleswig and of the national Frisians in Nordfriesland. The SSW is inspired by Scandinavian political culture, which is particularly noticeable in areas such as social policy, environmental questions and educational policy. It thus introduces important new impulses into the political life of Schleswig-Holstein. In 2012, the SSW participated for the first time in its history in forming a state government in Schleswig-Holstein, as part of the 18th Schleswig-Holstein Landtag of 2012-2017. Currently, the SSW is represented by four members of the Landtag. Since the federal election of 2021, the SSW also has one independent member representing it in the German federal parliament, the Bundestag.

Homepage of SSW
More information about the Danes in Germany

SSW’s representatives in the Minority Council are Flemming Meyer and Martin Lorenzen.

Members of the Minority Council

Sybilla Nitsch

1. Deputy SSW State Chair

Professional career:
•    Studied Scandinavian studies/modern history at the Humboldt University Berlin
•    Teacher training qualification in Danish and history from Christian Albrecht University Kiel
•    Teacher at Husum Danish School

Social involvement:
•    District assembly delegate
•    Member of the Cultural Committee and Deputy Chair, Region-Sønderjylland-Schleswig
•    SSW District Chair for North Friesland and Heligoland
•    Deputy SSW State Chair

Martin Lorenzen

State Chief Executive, Südschleswigscher Wählerverband (SSW)

Professional career:
•    Trained as Industrial Management Assistant
•    Studied business administration in Denmark
•    Business economist at Danish corporations
•    Research Assistant to SSW Landtag parliamentary party
•    Chief executive of SSW Landtag parliamentary party
•    State Chief Executive of SSW

Social involvement:
•    Member of the Board of Directors, Danish Student Association
•    Former Deputy Chair, SSW Flensburg
•    Former SSW city councillor, Flensburg
•    Civil member, Flensburg Cultural Committee
•    Civil member, Flensburg Financial Committee
•    Member of the German-Danish Cultural Committee for the region