The Federal States of Germany and Nationalities in German Language

How do they say your nationality in German?

German flag in map
The Federal Republic of Germany. Jeffrey Coolidge-Photodisc@getty-images

One of the nice things for natives to hear from foreigners is the names of their country in their language. They are even more impressed when you can pronounce their cities correctly. The following list includes an audio pronunciation of cities and Bundesländer in Germany as well as neighboring countries from Europe. Scroll down to see how your or other countries, nationalities and languages sound in German.

Die alten Bundesländer (the old German States) + Capital

Niedersachsen-Hannover (Hanover)
Nordrhein-Westfalen (North Rhine-Westphalia)-Düsseldorf
Hessen (Hesse)-Wiesbaden
Rheinland-Pfalz (Rhineland-Palatinate)-Mainz
Bayern (Bavaria)- München (Munich)

Die neuen Bundesländer (the new German States) + Capital

Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania)-Schwerin
Thüringen (Thuringia)-Erfurt
Sachsen-Anhalt (Saxony-Anhalt)-Magdeburg
Sachsen (Saxony)-Dresden

Die Stadtstaaten (city states)

Those are cities and at the same time federal states. Berlin and Bremen struggle with their finances while in Hamburg you'll find the most millionaires in Germany. It still has some remarkably high debts.



Other German-Speaking Countries

Österreich-Wien (Vienna) (click here for a sample of their language)
Die Schweiz-Bern (click here for a sample of their language)

Andere Europäische Länder (other European countries)

If you take a closer look at the following nationalities you will notice that there are mainly two large groups of words: those ending in -er (m) / -erin (f) and those ending in -e (m) / -in (f). There are only very few exceptions like e.g. der Israeli / die Israelin (not to be mistaken for der Israelit, as that was biblical folk. The name of the German nationality is quite special it behaves like an adjective. Take a look:

der Deutsche / die Deutsche / die Deutschen (plural) BUT
ein Deutscher / eine Deutsche / Deutsche (plural)

Luckily it seems to be the only one behaving like this. Almost all names of languages end in -(i)sch in German. An exception would be: das Hindi

Land/ Country Bürger/ Citizen
male/ female
Sprache/ Language
Deutschland der Deutsche/ die Deutsche Deutsch
die Schweiz der Schweizer/ die Schweizerin Deutsch (Switzerdütsch)
Österreich der Österreicher/ die Österreicherin Deutsch (Bairisch)
Frankreich der Franzose/ die Französin Französisch
Spanien der Spanier/ die Spanierin Spanisch
England der Engländer/ die Engländerin Englisch
Italien der Italiener/ die Italienerin Italienisch
Portugal der Portugiese/ die Portugiesin Portugiesisch
Belgien der Belgier/ die Belgierin Belgisch
die Niederlande der Niederländer/ die Niederländerin Niederländisch
Dänemark der Däne/ die Dänin Dänisch
Schweden der Schwede/ die Schwedin Schwedisch
Finnland der Finne/ die Finnin Finnisch
Norwegen der Norweger/ die Norwegerin Norwegisch
Griechenland der Grieche/ die Griechin Griechisch
die Türkei der Türke/ die Türkin Türkisch
Polen der Pole/ die Polin Polnisch
Tschechien/ die Tschechische Republik der Tscheche/ die Tschechin Tschechisch
Ungarn der Ungar/ die Ungarin Ungarisch
Ukraine der Ukrainer/ die Ukrainerin Ukrainisch

The Awful German Article

You might also have noticed that certain countries use the article while most others don't. In general every country in neuter (e.g. das Deutschland) but that "das" is almost never used. An exception would be if you spoke of a country at a specific time: Das Deutschland der Achtziger Jahre. (the Germany of the eighties). Other than that you wouldn't use the "das" which is actually the same way you'd use a country's name in English. 

Those who use a different article than "das" always (!) use their article. Luckily those are only a few. Here are some more known ones:

DERder Irak, der Iran, der Libanon, der Sudan, der Tschad
DIE : die Schweiz, die Pfalz, die Türkei, die Europäische Union, die Tschechei, die Mongolei
DIE Plural: die Vereinigten Staaten (the United States), die USA, die Niederlande, die Philippinen

This might get a bit irritating for you because as soon as you want to say that you come "from" one of these countries the article will change. An example:

  • Die Türkei ist ein schönes Land. BUT 
  • Ich komme aus der Türkei.

This is due to the word "aus" in front of the article which requires the dative case.

Edited on the 25th of June 2015 by: Michael Schmitz

mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Bauer, Ingrid. "The Federal States of Germany and Nationalities in German Language." ThoughtCo, Aug. 26, 2020, Bauer, Ingrid. (2020, August 26). The Federal States of Germany and Nationalities in German Language. Retrieved from Bauer, Ingrid. "The Federal States of Germany and Nationalities in German Language." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 31, 2023).