Großes ß

It’s not often that I can say this, but I used a new letter of the alphabet for the first time this weekend.

Now it’s quite possible, that you are not even aware that the German alphabet has a new letter.  It is, in fact the Eszett (ß), which now has a capital equivalent.

Until now, the letter ß – which replaces ss or sz in a word  – has strictly speaking only be a lower case letter.  If you wrote a work in capital letters, you were expected to write it out in full.  eg. muß became MUSS.

Apparently there was a capital ß in East Germany for a time and it was even used on the cover of the East-German Duden dictionary for a number of years, but only in April of this year did it become formally recognised for the whole of Germany.  (For techies out there: it is part of ISO/IEC 10646, unicode U+1E9E)

So when I was writing my Christmas cards this weekend, I addressed them to “GROßBRITANNIEN” – hence writing my first capital ß.


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About Graham

Graham Tappenden is a British ex-pat who first came to Germany as a placement student in 1993, returning in 1995 to live there permanently. He has been writing for since 2006. When not writing blog posts or freelancing for the Oberurseler Woche and other publications he works as a self-employed IT consultant solving computer problems and designing websites. In 2016 he gained German citizenship.


  1. Been using it for years. alt-225 and no problems.


  1. […] not only has a few extra letters of the alphabet (ä, ö, ü, Ä, Ö, Ü and ß), it also has different names for musical notes as […]

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