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.