The Basque department at the Institute of Applied Linguistics and Translatology (IALT) was founded in 2013 with the support of the Etxepare Basque Institute (Etxepare Institutua). Since then, the department has become the reference point for Basque in Europe. The University of Leipzig offers the largest number of Basque language and culture courses in Europe outside Spain. Students from all disciplines may take part in these Basque courses.

enlarge the image: Blick auf San Sebastián im Baskenland.
Blick auf San Sebastián im Baskenland. Foto: Colourbox

Basque in Leipzig

The Etxepare Basque Institute has a network of more than thirty academic departments and five professorial chairs for Basque studies in Europe and America. A special focus is on expanding Basque language studies in Germany, where four academic departments have come into being in Leipzig, Berlin, Frankfurt, and Konstanz. The Basque department at the University of Leipzig is a branch of strategic importance to the Etxepare Basque Institute. On the one hand, the institute’s position in the German university system is strengthened. On the other hand, the department is becoming the reference point for Europe, as Leipzig offers the most comprehensive programme for the study of Basque language and culture.



Studying Basque

With the introduction of the Basque language and culture courses, the Institute of Applied Linguistics and Translatology (IALT) was able to expand its offers for the languages of the Iberian Peninsula. Studying Basque will deepen your insight into the diversity of Iberian studies. It will give you a good opportunity to get to know a minority language (probably the oldest language in Europe), its unique features, and its present-day situation. All students who are interested in deepening their knowledge of minority languages, language politics, or the translation of minority languages or would just like to learn a new language and discover its culture are welcome to seize this exciting opportunity.

You can study Basque at IALT as a key qualification or as an elective within the BA Translation, the MA Translatology, or the MA Conference Interpreting. Students from other institutes and faculties can also study Basque as a key qualification or as an elective within the Humanities and social sciences. For more information, please contact the Basque department or refer to the brochures detailing key qualifications and electives.

In cooperation with the Etxepare Basque Institute, we offer scholarships for intensive Basque courses at various institutions in the Basque Country. These give advanced students the opportunity to enhance their Basque language competence in the Basque-speaking region and with the help of native speakers.


Basque Department Extracurriculars

Lectures, Stammtisch, film nights: Apart from taught courses during term, the Basque department offers plenty of extracurricular activities you can take part in.

The intensive course for Basque literary, linguistic, and cultural studies and language practice always takes place March. Its focus is on acquiring basic knowledge of the Basque language and the history of the Basque Country. Based on the documentary film series Euskara Jendea, aspects of the history of the Basque language (from a diachronic and sociolinguistic perspective) as well as other aspects of Basque culture will be discussed. The latter include the differences in language policies in the regions of the Basque Country in Spain and France. At the end of the course, you will take two exams. The first exam will cover the topics of Euskara Jendea. You may use your notes and other materials from class. The second exam tests the written and oral language skills you have obtained. The oral part consists in a conversation between two course participants. Enrolled students will receive ten credit points for completing the course. If they wish, they can go on to do the summer semester module Baskisch Niveau II (04-ALT-1002-B) straight away.

International Basque Language Day

International Basque Language Day

Around December 3 every year, the Basque department organizes various activities to celebrate the Basque language. These include seminars on language politics familiarizing participants with different ways of promoting minority languages by means of curricula and laws.

Film nights

During term time, we show a variety of Basque films which give an interested audience a better understanding of the Basque Country and the Basque language. One example is a film festival organized in cooperation with Euskal Etxea Berlin – Gernika Deutsch-Baskischer Kulturverein e. V.. The festival gave students a chance to watch the latest films from Basque cinema in subtitled versions.


The cultural offering of the University of Leipzig’s Basque department is supplemented with non-regular lectures and conferences on Basque language and culture. Artists, university lecturers, and experts in arts and culture from the Basque Country familiarize the audience with various aspects of literature, cinema, history, and Basque anthropology. Upcoming lectures are planned to deal with language politics, the current situation of the Basque language, gender studies and the role of women in Basque society today.

Culinary experiences

The University of Leipzig’s Basque department joins the Catalan and the Galician departments and students of all three of them to hold a culinary extravaganza at least once a year. Students prepare and try typical dishes of Basque, Galician, and Catalan cuisine.


During term, the Basque, Catalan, and Galician departments host a Stammtisch taking place every two weeks. Students from the different departments can deepen their language skills by practising with each other as well as with the teachers.

The Etxepare Basque Institute

In 1545, Bernard Etxepare wrote a book titled “Linguae Vasconum Primitiae”. It was the first book written in the Basque language, and its goal was to promote Basque. The Etxepare Basque Institute is working in this spirit, as it has committed itself to promoting Basque language and culture all over the world. To this end, the institute, which is funded by the Basque government, offers a wide range of activities to culturally promote and spread the Basque language. It also provides funding through support programmes and initiates the creation of Basque departments at universities all over the world.

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The Basque Country and Language

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Intensive Basque Courses

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Iberian Lectureships at IALT

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