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The German ministers of education decided to implement the new rules on 1 August 1998, with a transitional period lasting until the 2004–2005 school year.
On 1 July 1996, all of the German states (), and the countries of Austria, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein, as well as some other countries with German-speaking minorities (but notably not Luxembourg) agreed to introduce the new spelling by 1 August 1998.
without substantially changing the rules familiar to users of the language.
The various dictionary companies raced to be the first with the new spellings, and that idea turned out to be quite profitable.
In 1993, the German ministers of education invited 43 groups to present their opinions on the document, with hearings held in the unified Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.
On the basis of these hearings, the working group backed off from the notion of eliminating the capitalisation of all nouns.
In 1988, these two organisations presented an incomplete but very wide-ranging set of proposed new rules, for example, the phrase .
However, these proposals were quickly rejected by the general public, and then they were withdrawn by the ministers of education as unacceptable.