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The Rottendorf Foundation


Andreas Josef Rottendorf was a Westphalian from the bottom of his heart and spoke the Low German dialect spoken in this region. He was a recognized Low German writer. Following the will of the founders, the Rottendorf Foundation therefore promotes the research and cultivation of the Low German language by awarding the Rottendorf Prize. This prize, which is awarded every second year, honors special services to the Low German language. The prize winners are nominated by the Westphalian Heritage Society. For this purpose, the Westfälische Heimatbund has founded a “Rottendorf Committee”.

You can find out about the previous award winners and more about the promotion of Low German here

Low German short film project “Wild Wild Westfalen” successfully completed

The Low German short film project “Wild Wild Westfalen” of the Landschaftsverband Westfalen-Lippe (LWL), in cooperation with the Department of Media Production and Media Technology – LWL Media Center for Westphalia has been successfully completed. The premiere took place on June 19, 2023 in Ahlen.

Rottendorf Award 2022 for Hannes Wader

On October 26, 2022, in a ceremony in the hall of the Haus Nottbeck cultural estate, the Rottendorf Prize for Low German was awarded, at the suggestion of the Westphalian Homeland Association, to

Hannes Wader

awarded. With the prize, the Rottendorf Committee in the Westphalian Homeland Association as well as the Rottendorf Foundation honor “the courageous, uncompromising and unprejudiced treatment of Low German” in the songwriter’s work.

With his LP “Plattdeutsche Lieder” (1974), Hannes Wader made a decisive contribution to freeing Low German from its ancestral “Heimat milieu” and making it socially acceptable in new circles. Also in his autobiography “Trotz alledem. Mein Leben” (2019), Wader sets up a personal monument to Low German, the colloquial language of his parental home.

Hannes Wader was born in 1942 in Bethel near Bielefeld in the simplest of circumstances. His performances at Burg Waldeck made him known to a larger audience in the 1960s. Together with Reinhard Mey, Franz Josef Degenhardt and Hanns Dieter Hüsch, he was one of the most prominent members of a new German singer-songwriter scene.

In addition to his socially critical yet lyrical and poetic songs, Wader devoted himself in the 1970s to folk song, which was frowned upon at the time. After 50 years, he ended his touring life in 2017. In 2013 he was awarded the ECHO prize for his life’s work, which includes 37 studio and live albums. In 2019, his autobiography “Trotz alledem. My life”.

In his welcoming address, the chairman of the Rottendorf Foundation stated: “Like you, dear Mr. Wader, Andreas Rottendorf was at home in (East) Westphalia. Like you, he was able to reach the hearts of his Westphalian compatriots with unerring accuracy, wit and humor “in Platt”. In this respect, there are numerous overlaps with your decades of work as a singer and author. Your life’s work deserves the highest recognition and, in our opinion, rightly the award of the Rottendorf Prize.”

In her welcoming address, the managing director of the Westfälischer Heimatbund, Dr. Eilers, pointed out the importance of the dialect as the language of the homeland for the people. Regional dialects are spoken less and less and their existence is endangered. It is an important task of the local heritage associations to maintain the Low German dialect.


The laudation was held in the form of an extraordinary and remarkable dialogue by Prof. Dr. Walter Gödden, the scientific director of Kulturguts Haus Nottbeck, and the chairman of the Rottendorf Committee Georg Bühren. In it, the two traced the career of the prize winner, his love of Low German and his performances as a songwriter, and came to the overall conclusion: “Hannes Wader has emphatically promoted Low German.

After the award was presented by the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Rottendorf Foundation, Father Johann Spermann SJ, and the Chairman of the Board, the prize-winner then thanked the audience in his own inimitable way, picked up the guitar and performed the song “Et wassen twee Künigeskinner” with his own setting of the poem by Annette von Droste-Hülshoff.

The ceremony was excellently accompanied musically by the group “Delta Boys”.

All participants, but above all the prize winner, were thanked for their performances by prolonged applause from the numerous guests present. The closing words were spoken by Dr. Klewitz-Haas, Deputy Chairwoman of the Rottendorf Foundation.

Award winners

Furthermore, the foundation supports numerous projects with which the Westphalian dialect is cultivated and kept alive.

Overview of award winners:
  • 2014 pattu (Georg Bühren, Alexander Buske, Peter Egger, Jürgen Mönkediek), Münster
  • 2016 Peter Bürger, Eslohe (Sauerland)
  • 2018 Elisabeth Georges (Münster-Hiltrup)
  • 2020 Dr. Werner Beckmann (Eslohe-Cobbenrode)
  • 2022 Hannes Wader (Bielefeld)

Previous projects

  • 1963 Arbeitsgemeinschaft Michaelis-Treffen, Lippinghausen
  • 1965 Pater Dr. Gregor Schwake, Benediktiner Gerleve
  • 1967 Prof. Dr. Anton Hilckmann, Bevergern
  • 1969 Norbert Johannimloh, Münster und Dr. Siegfried Kessemeier, Münster
  • 1976 Hermann Homann, Münster
  • 1980 Gertrud van Dam, Emsdetten
  • 1980 Fritz Kuhne, Halver
  • 1983 Niederdeutsche Bühne, Münster (zusammengefasste Preise 82´und 84´)
  • 1986 Ottilie Baranowski, Hörstel-Bevergern und Prof. Dr. Jan Wirrer, Spenge
  • 1988 Dr. Wolfram Rosemann, Köln
  • 1990 Hannes Demming, Münster
  • 1992 Walter Born, Münster
  • 1994 Walter Höher, Schwerte-Ergste
  • 1996 Georg Bühren, Münster
  • 1998 Werner Brüggemann, Warendorf
  • 2000 Dr. Horst Ludwigsen, Schalksmühle
  • 2002 Prof. Dr.Hans Taubken, Münster
  • 2004 Heinrich Schürmann, Herzebrock-Clarholz
  • 2006 Egon Reiche, Bocholt
  • 2008 Strauhspier (Nikolaus Evers, Helmut Schnieders, Hermi Sürken), Rheine
  • 2010 Pastor Wilhelm Dullweber, Stemwede-Levern und Geistlicher Rat Heinz Witthake, Münster
  • 2012 Dr. Timothy Sodmann, Südlohn

2022 Hannes Wader

Funding projects for the Low German language

Individual projects of the Rottendorf Foundation for the area of “Low German”:

  • “Rottendorf-Lesebuch”, vol. 13 of “Nylands kleiner westf. Bibliothek”, edited by Heinrich Schürmann
  • Heinrich Schürmann “Ick”, CD jazz and poetry Low German
  • “Heliand”, translated from Old Saxon into Low German by Hannes Demming
  • “En lük üöwer de Wuortelkinner” by Sibylle von Olfers, Mönsterländsk platt upschriewen van Hannes Demming.
  • Support of the District Archives Warendorf in the sifting and processing of the entire Rottendorf estate, presented in the Findbuch Dep. 83, Warendorf 2015.
  • Support for the publication of a CD by the group “Strauhspier” with Low German songs, including a Rottendorf poem.
  • Grant for the “Sauerland dialect anthology” by Peter Bürger
  • Support for the publication of lesson outlines and materials “Low German in the Primary School”.
  • Support of anniversary events of the “Augustin-Wibbelt-Society
  • Support for the publication of an “Online Atlas of Westphalian Dialects” by the Commission for Dialect and Name Research at the LWL
  • Support for the acquisition of “sound showers” for the exhibition “200 years of Westphalia – now” (after starting in Dortmund now traveling exhibition)
  • Low German short film project “Wild Wild Westfalen” by the Landschaftsverband Westfalen-Lippe (LWL), Department of Media Production and Media Technology – LWL Media Center for Westphalia


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