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Mercator European Research Centre on Multilingualism and Language Learning

hosted by the Fryske Akademy, researches multilingual education and language learning in Europe. For policy makers and professional workers, it is an independent and recognized reference centre. Mercator European Research Centre brings Europe to Fryslân and Fryslân to Europe.


VirtuLApp honoured with several awards!

Mercator's Erasmus+ project VirtuLApp has won the second prize of the Nuffic European Language Label for innovative education. VirtuLApp's game BabelAR has been selected as one of three winners in the category Digital Product for the Henry van de Velde Awards '22.

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Mercator Multilingualism Lecture 2021

On 26 November, you can participate (free and online) in the annual Mercator Multilingualism Lecture! This year, Dr Krista Byers-Heinlein will be the keynote speaker with the presentation 'We talk, they listen'. Byers-Heinlein is professor Bilingualism and head of the Canadian Concordia Infant Research Lab.

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Strictly Language blog post about Mercator's Wiki

Mercator researchers Ydwine Scarse and Ruth Kircher wrote an article for the blog Strictly Language about our Wiki on Minority Languages. This Wiki provides information on the education of minority languages that have only a (very) small place in the national education system, or none at all.

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Mercator Network Newsletter #177

The new Mercator Network Newsletter October 2021 is out! And it is again packed with news about minority languages, multilingualism and education and a lot more!

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A webinar hosted by TESOL: "Family language policies among Quebec-based parents raising multilingual infants and toddlers."

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ENROPE family-group reunions, special interests workshops, and opportunities to learn more about Langscape International Research Network. 2-5 pm CET.

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The 19th ICML will be held at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David in 2023 (exact dates to be announced).

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Endangered languages and archives

The project 'Endangered languages and archives' focuses on the study of language contact, language change, and the reconstruction of historical sound recordings. Focus areas are the Russian Federation and neighbouring countries.

Dr Tjeerd de Graaf is the project leader. Hy is a research fellow at Mercator/ Fryske Akademy and board member of the Foundation for Endangered Languages and the Foundation for Siberian Cultures.


Research at Mercator


The Mercator European Research Centre for Multilingualism and Language Learning represents an internationally recognized, independent reference centre, where policy makers and stakeholders can obtain information and advice about multilingual education, policy and legislation in Europe, based on academic research. To obtain reliable information about small languages spoken in other European countries, Mercator closely cooperates with other European experts, institutions and universities. Research questions under study at Mercator include:

  • How are autochtonous lesser-used languages embedded in the educational system in European regions? (e.g. Regional Dossiers series);
  • How can you support secondary teachers of all subjects in learning ways to integrate GCE goals including plurlingualism into their daily practice in sustainable ways which will be motivating for them as educators and invaluable for their learners?  (e.g. Global Citizenship and Multilingual Competences Toolkit);
  • How are less used languages embedded in the policy of Europe’s nations, and how might their position be strengthened? (e.g the LEARNMe project by the Mercator Network);
  • How can you stimuate young people to capitalize on their minority language skills and help them in their search for work? (e.g. LangUp).
Mercator's Regional Dossiers

Sharing Knowledge

Mercator European Research Centre shares and disseminates collected knowledge, online and via its publications:

  • The Mercator Regional Dossiers, written by experts from all over Europe, describe in-depth language education and legislation of less-used languages in Europe;
  • Research reports, based on Mercator's research projects, are freely downloadable;
  • Via the Mercator Network Newsletter, Mercator shares news with almost 2500 subscribers, all over Europe, about less used languages in Europe and about upcoming events;
  • The Mercator library located at Tresoar, the Frisian centre for cultural and linguistic heritage in Leeuwarden, contains over 6500 books and articles concerning less used languages and multilingualism.

Mercator continuously works towards new ways to improve knowledge dissemination:

  • Mercator is currently developing an online platform offering information about education and policy of less used languages
Mercator's network in 2016

Bringing people together

Mercator European Research Centre is an academic platform where experts and policy makers in the fields of minority language education and policy can meet and exchange knowledge:

  • Mercator Research Centre organizes conferences, seminars and workshops, where academics and educational experts and teachers meet and exchange knowledge and experiences.
  • Together with the Mercator Network, Mercator European Research Centre runs projects, such as the LEARNMe Project (2012-2016), which provided policy guidelines, based on research and best practices, for the education of less used languages;
  • With its Database of Experts, Mercator increases the visibility of academics in the field of less used languages, and offers an overview of European expertise in this field of study.
  • Mercator offers an online platform, called the Network of Schools, where European schools that teach less-used languages, discuss challenges, and share ideas;
  • Mercator interviews experts in the fields of minority language policy and education - what do they work on, and what drives them? - and shares these interviews online via the Expert in the Spotlight section.  

Read more about our international partnerships.