Latin script (Sütterlin subvariant)

Sample of Sütterlin[1]
Languages German
Time period
Parent systems
Direction Varies
ISO 15924 Latf, 217

Sütterlinschrift (German pronunciation: [ˈzʏtɐliːnˌʃʁɪft], "Sütterlin script") is the last widely used form of Kurrent, the historical form of German handwriting that evolved alongside German blackletter (most notably Fraktur) typefaces. Graphic artist Ludwig Sütterlin was commissioned by the Prussian Ministry of Science, Art and Culture (Preußisches Ministerium für Wissenschaft, Kunst und Volksbildung) to create a modern handwriting script in 1911. His handwriting scheme gradually replaced the older cursive scripts that had developed in the 16th century at the same time that letters in books had developed into Fraktur. The name Sütterlin is nowadays often used to refer to all varieties of old German handwriting, although only this specific script was taught in all German schools from 1915 to 1941.


The ministry had asked for "modern" handwriting scripts to be used in offices and to be taught in school. Sütterlin created two scripts in parallel with the two typefaces that were in use (see Antiqua-Fraktur dispute). The Sütterlin scripts were introduced in Prussia in 1915, and from the 1920s onwards began to replace the relatively similar old German handwriting (Kurrent) in schools. In 1935 the Sütterlin style officially became the only German script taught in schools.

The NSDAP banned all "broken" blackletter typefaces in 1941 seen as chaotic, including Sütterlin, and replaced them with Latin-type letters like Antiqua. However, many German speakers brought up with this writing system continued to use it well into the post-war period.

Sütterlin was taught in some German schools until the 1970s, but no longer as the primary script.


The Sütterlin lower-case 'e' contains two vertical bars close together, in which the origin of the umlaut diacritic (¨) from a small 'e' written above the modified vowel can be seen.

Sütterlin is based on the old German handwriting, which is a handwriting form of the Blackletter scripts such as Fraktur or Schwabacher, the German print scripts which were used during the same time.

It also had the long s (ſ), as well as several standard ligatures such as ff (f-f), ſt (ſ-t), st (s-t), and of course ß (ſ-z or ſ-s).

For most people outside Germany (as well as younger Germans), Sütterlin is nearly illegible—much more so than Fraktur printing. Because of their distinctiveness, Sütterlin letters can be used on the blackboard for mathematical symbols, which would use Fraktur letters in print. The lower-case d in Kurrent and Sütterlin is used in proof-reading for deleatur ("let it be deleted").

Overview of the letters

A a

B b

C c

D d

E e

F f

G g

H h

I i

J j

K k

L l

M m

N n

O o

P p

Q q

R r

S ſ s


T t

U u

V v

W w

X x

Y y

Z z

Ä ä

Ö ö

Ü ü


See also


  1. "Bisweilen wird jede Form der deutsche Kurrentschrift als Sütterlinschrift bezeichnet. Dies liegt wohl daran, daß die Sütterlinschrift diejenige Form der deutschen Kurrentschrift ist, deren Namen am bekanntesten ist. Trotzdem ist diese Bezeichnung unzutreffend, denn es gab die deutsche Kurrentschrift schon lange vor Ludwig Sütterlin."
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