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  • Writer's pictureHLE Network

"Heritage languages" added as a category in European list of language associations

September 15, 2023

It is now possible to search for "heritage languages" in the ECML's extensive database of language associations, thanks to efforts of FOHLC Europe (a forum co-founded by HLE Network).

A big day for HL professionals

We are very happy to report an important new development for heritage language (HL) educators and advocates in Europe: thanks to the efforts the Forum of Heritage Language Coalitions in Europe (FOHLC Europe), the European Centre for Modern Languages of the Council of Europe (ECML) has added the thematic area "heritage languages" to its online directory of language associations/organizations.

What is FOHLC Europe?

FOHLC Europe was formed in 2021 as an important collaboration between organizations involved with heritage language (HL) education in Europe. The purpose of FOHLC Europe is to connect umbrella organizations, associations, and coalitions of HL programs, as well as the leaders, managers, and teachers of HL programs in Europe. FOHLC Europe's activities include running a regular professional development and networking conference for HL professionals, running a blog with articles written by experts in the field, and -- importantly -- gathering information about which HL associations exist in Europe.

More visible, more valid

Not only is it important to find HL associations that support HL educators, but it is also important to make them more visible. When we as the organizers of FOHLC Europe noticed that the ECML list of language associations was lacking a thematic area especially for associations that bring together heritage language educators, we took action.

Despite the fact that the ECML list contains more than 400 associations, many HL associations were not included. We shared our list of HL associations with the staff of the ECML and requested that these associations be added under a new theme: "heritage languages." In September 2023, this became the reality!

What falls under "heritage languages"?

There are two types of heritage language associations. There are those based on shared geographic location, for example, HL programs for various languages taught in Iceland. There are also those that can bring together HL programs based on language, for instance, a coalition of HL programs in the Czech language that operate across Europe.

Here are a few of the organizations we had added to the database:

  • Ukrainian World Congress, International Educational Coordinating Council (UWC)

  • Elo Europeu de Educadores de Português como Língua de Herança (ELO EUROPEU) and "Rede POLH Países Baixos" (Portuguese as a Heritage Language Network in the Netherlands) (POLH)

  • Agrupación de Lengua y Cultura de los Países Bajos (Netherlands Language and Culture Group) (ALCE Países Bajos)

  • Forum of Polish Schools in the Netherlands (FPSN)

  • Ente Scuola Italiana nei Paesi Bassi (ESI)

  • Danes Worldwide, The Association for International Danes

  • Česká škola bez hranic / Czech schools without borders (CSBH)

  • Home, Heritage and Community Languages Advisory Group

  • Initiative für Mehrsprachigkeit und interkulturelle Bildung (IMIB)

Thank you, ECML!

Many thanks to the staff of the ECML for honoring our request. This simple step can have a far-reaching impact, as it increases the visibility and validity of HL education.

If you would like your umbrella organization or coalition of HL educational programs to be added to the ECML list, please contact us at

FOHLC Europe is a collaboration between several groups involved with heritage language (HL) education with the purpose of organizing an annual conference and other regular online gatherings for the teachers and managers of HL programs in Europe, as well as for the leaders of coalitions and networks of HL programs. The goal is to provide a European platform for the exchange of ideas about how to promote HL education, improve the quality and professionalism of HL education, and to map the situation of HL programs in Europe. FOHLC Europe offers professional development and networking opportunities to professionals in the field of HL education. The FOHLC Europe 2023 Conference is organized by Móðurmál – the Association on Bilingualism, Heritage Language Education Network, Association pour la Promotion et l'Avancement du Multilinguisme - A.P.A.M (Multilingual Café), Association for the Promotion of Polish Language Abroad (APPLA), the Czech and Slovak School Okénko in London, Agnieszka Pędrak, an independent researcher at Trinity College in Dublin, and Sabine Little, a researcher at the University of Sheffield. See or email for more information.


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