The Puzzle of European Languages

There are many ways to look at Europe and a lot of them involve political boundaries and national identities. Languages are often thought of as being an aspect of national identity and are as much as their speakers an inherently spatial phenomenon and thus can be put on a map. Although each nation has their official language(s), languages have relations that stretch, as much as human relations, beyond political sovereignties and national identities.

This interactive map-based puzzle of European languages aims to sensitize to the interrelatedness of languages and offers an alternative spatialization based on the structural elements called family and genus that are used to categorize languages in linguistics.

The visualization based on data from The World Atlas Of Language Structures ( and uses the d3js JavaScript library to provide the graphical interface and animate the transitions.

European language groups
To solve the puzzle visit The puzzle of European Languages


The project was created within the class Mapping Project at TU München during the winter semester 2018/19.

Students: Sebastian Hancock & Verena Klasen