Bautzen was and remains the political and spiritual cultural center of the Sorbs. The most important cultural and political institutions are located here. There are schools and day-care centers where people can learn and speak Sorbian. Approximately five to ten percent of the City’s population today is of Sorbian nationality. The city is committed to its German-Sorbian history and culture, and this is indicated in the first instance through the bilingual signposting of all streets and squares as well as public facilities.
The employees of the Sorbian Cultural Information Center can answer all enquiries about Sorbian history and culture, and also organize group tours for educational travelers to Bautzen/Budyšin and the bilingual Lausitz. They also provide support for journalists, filmmakers and other interested parties from Germany and abroad, arrange exhibitions and club performances in the Sorbian Cultural Information Building. Additionally, they arrange the cultural calendar for the bilingual Lausitz and take over the role of mediator to other Sorbian institutions.
The Domowina was founded in 1912 as the umbrella organization for Sorbian associations. Since 1934, it has been operating under the name “Bund Lausitzer Sorben” (Federation of the Lusitz Sorbians). The Domowina is the representative of the Sorbian people. In this role, the Domowina again constituted itself in 1991 as a registered association with a new charter, which is committed to the preservation and development, the promotion and spreading of the language, culture and tradition of the Sorbian people. The Domowina’s influence has shaped the political history and public perception of the Sorbs since the First World War. Its seat is in Bautzen/Budyšin. Since the 1950s, it has used a symbol of three lime leaves growing from a stem with eight roots.
The Working Group for Sorbian Affairs advises the Lord Mayor in all matters connected with Sorbian affairs.
Impressive history and a lively present day with rich, colorful culture and wonderful customs – a visit to the Sorbian Museum will help you get to know the traditional people of the Sorbs. Fascinating exhibitions for the whole family will give you an understanding of trade and traditional costumes, music and religious faith as well as settlement history and contemporary art of the Sorbian folk.
The German-Sorbian Folk Theatre is the only bi-national theatre in Germany. The program includes various theater productions in German and Sorbian, musicals, ballet, operas and operettas as well as numerous concerts. The Sorbian productions are simultaneously translated into German and are available to the audience via headphones.
The Sorbian National Ensemble was founded in 1952. The three professional divisions, the ballet, choir and orchestra, cultivate and preserve the cultural traditions of the Sorbs. At the same time these cultural traditions are further developed and linked through their expression in the art of modern theatre. The most important influence is the bilingual home.
The majority of Sorbian-language newspapers and magazines are published by the Domowina-Verlag. These include the Upper Sorbian daily newspaper “Serbske Nowiny", the Lower Sorbian weekly newspaper “Nowy Casnik”, The monthly magazine for Sorbian culture “Rozhlad”, the monthly children’s magazines “Płomjo” and “Płomje”, the educational journal “Serbska šula” and the Sorbian specialist publication “Lětopis”.
Since 1958 the Domowina-Publishing House, as the national publisher of the Sorbs, has been responsible for the entire field of Sorbian literature and follows a tradition of more than 450-years Books, newspapers and magazines are published in Upper Sorbian, Lower Sorbian and German.
The radio broadcaster MDR 1 RADIO SACHSEN – SERBSKI ROZHŁÓS transmits a total of 21.5 hours per week in the Upper Sorbian language from Bautzen.
- The three-hour early program on weekdays from 5 am to 8 pm and on Saturday from 6 am to 9 pm covers news items and announcements from the bilingual Oberlausitz.
- On Sunday, from 11.00 am to 2.00 pm, it broadcasts a family-oriented family program in Upper and Lower Sorbian.
- “Satkula” – a program for young listeners from 14 to 25 years is broadcast every Monday from 8 pm to 10 pm. A separate youth program in the mother tongue for such a small group of people (there are about 40,000 in Saxony) is unique in Europe.
- Sorbian radio broadcasts from the MDR are also heard outside the Oberlausitz VHF frequency 100.4 MHz as a live stream.
MDR Television, at the Landesfunkhaus in Dresden, produces a half-hour program, “Wuhladko”, in the Upper Sorbian language with German subtitles. This is available on the first Saturday of each month, at 11:30 am, and repeated on the following Tuesday at 5.30 am and on RBB television on the second Saturday of the month at 1.30 pm.
Every Sunday there is also the “Sandmännchen” (The Sandman), which is broadcast in Sorbian and German.
The studio mainly focuses on producing short films and documentaries about the present day life of the Sorbs, and about important personalities and cultural heritage. In addition, contributions are made for RBB – Rundfunk Berlin – Brandburg – and its monthly Lower Sorbian magazine “Łužyca”.
Sorbian Church Services
An der Petrikirche 7
- Sunday: 9.30 a.m.
- first and third Tuesday in the month: 8.00 a.m.
- first Friday in the month: 18.00 a.m.
- devotions during fasting, advent, and in May and October: Thursdays 6 pm
Wendischer Kirchhof 1
- first Sunday in the month: 10.00 a.m.
- on public holidays at variable times
Sorbian educational institutions
The WITAJ Language Center is an independent division of the Domowina – Federation of Lausitzer Sorben e. V. The language center offers a range of activities to help maintain and disseminate the Sorbian language. The focus is on the lively and authentic teaching of the Sorbian language in kindergartens and schools. Children and young people have the opportunity to learn the language at the highest level. Children from German-speaking parents' homes can also learn the language and to speak Sorbian. Language teaching at the institution is based on proven methods.
Since 2001, parents have had the possibility of letting children acquire the Sorbian language in a WiTAJ group. Witaj uses an enjoyable and playful methodology to achieve Sorbian-German bilingualism. The child hears the Sorbian language and learns to understand it within a short time. This promotes additional social, interactive and cognitive skills. The children make use of the possibilities to apply their Sorbian language skills through programs at festivals and celebrations inside and outside of the children’s day care center and cultivate the preservation of Sorbian traditions.
The children’s Day-Care Center is used by both Sorbian and German children. All children are familiarized with the Sorbian language and the Sorbian tradition. In the centre, six groups work according to the Witaj principle. The teachers in these groups speak Sorbian from the first day onwards with the children. They work according to the immersion method, which means ‘dipping into a language’. Children are fully immersed in the target language from the very beginning.
The Sorbian School and Meeting Center is home to the Sorbian primary school with after-school care, the Sorbian High school and the Sorbian Secondary school. This institution lies within the responsibility of the District Administration of Bautzen. The building complex, in the north of the inner city, was renovated and extended in the period from 2007 to 2009.
Sorbian Primary School/Serbska zakładna šula
School for Sorbian children and also for German children wishing to learn Sorbian.
Sorbian Secondary School
Sorbian High School
The Sorbian Specialist School for Social Services, Department of Social Pedagogy, trains State qualified Care Workers.
Founded in 1951 as the Institute for Sorbian Folklore at the German Academy of Sciences in Berlin. Research Departments: Cultural and Social History, Linguistics, and Empirical Cultural Research. In 1992 it became an independent research institution for Saxony and Brandenburg. The institute maintains a branch in Cottbus and, following the “Maćica Serbska”, issues the Sorbian journal, “Lětopis” twice a year. The Sorbian Central Library and the Sorbian Cultural Archives are open to the public .