Regierungsbezirk

Last updated

Regierungsbezirke in Germany as of 1 August 2008. The map also shows the former Regierungsbezirke of Lower Saxony, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saxony-Anhalt and Saxony Administrative Districts of Germany 1981-2008.svg
Regierungsbezirke in Germany as of 1 August 2008. The map also shows the former Regierungsbezirke of Lower Saxony, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saxony-Anhalt and Saxony
Coat of Arms of Germany.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Germany

A Regierungsbezirk (German pronunciation: [ʁeˈɡiːʁʊŋsbəˌtsɪʁk] ) means "governmental district" and is a type of administrative division in Germany. Four of sixteen Bundesländer (states of Germany) are split into Regierungsbezirke. Beneath these are rural and urban districts.

Contents

Saxony has Direktionsbezirke (directorate districts) with more responsibilities shifted from the state parliament.

The cities of Bremen, Hamburg and Berlin the city states have a different system.

Regierungsbezirke serve as regional mid-level local government units in four of Germany's sixteen federal states: Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Hesse and North Rhine-Westphalia. Each of the nineteen Regierungsbezirke features a non-legislative governing body called a Regierungspräsidium (governing presidium) or Bezirksregierung (district government) headed by a Regierungspräsident (governing president), concerned mostly with administrative decisions on a local level for districts within its jurisdiction. [1]

Translations

Regierungsbezirk is a German term variously translated into English as "governmental district", [2] "administrative district" [3] [4] or "province", [5] [6] with the first two being the closest literal translations.

History

The first Regierungsbezirke were established in the Kingdom of Bavaria and the Kingdom of Prussia in 1808. During the course of the Prussian reforms between 1808 and 1816, Prussia subdivided its provinces into 25 Regierungsbezirke, eventually featuring 37 such districts within 12 provinces. By 1871, at the time of German unification, the concept of Regierungsbezirke had been adopted by most States of the German Empire. Similar entities were initially established in other states under different names, including Kreishauptmannschaft (district captainship) in Saxony, Kreis (district) in Bavaria and Württemberg (not to be confused with the present-day Kreis or Landkreis districts), and province in Hesse. The names of these equivalent administrative divisions were standardized to Regierungsbezirk in Nazi Germany, but after World War II these naming reforms were reverted.

The Regierungsbezirke in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia in modern Germany are in direct continuation of those created in the Prussian Rhine and Westphalia provinces in 1816. Regierungsbezirke never existed in Bremen, Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein, and Saarland.

In 1946, Lower Saxony was founded by the merger of the three former Free States of Brunswick, Oldenburg, Schaumburg-Lippe, and the former Prussian province of Hanover. Brunswick and Oldenburg became Verwaltungsbezirke (roughly administrative regions of extended competence) alongside six less autonomous Prussian-style Regierungsbezirke comprising the Province of Hanover and Schaumburg-Lippe. These differences in autonomy and size were levelled on 1 January 1978, when four Regierungsbezirke replaced the two Verwaltungsbezirke and the six Regierungsbezirke: Brunswick and Oldenburg, Aurich, Hanover (remaining mostly the same), Hildesheim, Lüneburg, Osnabrück and Stade.

Following the reunification of Germany in 1990, the territory of the former East Germany was organized into six re-established new federal states, including a reunified Berlin. Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt established three Regierungsbezirke each, while the other new states didn't implement them.

2000s disbandment and reorganization

During the 2000s, four German states discontinued the use of Regierungsbezirke. On 1 January 2000, Rhineland-Palatinate disbanded its three Regierungsbezirke of Koblenz, Rheinhessen-Pfalz and Trier. The employees and assets of the three Bezirksregierungen were converted into three public authorities responsible for the whole state, each covering a part of the former responsibilities of the Bezirksregierung.

On 1 January 2004, Saxony-Anhalt disbanded its three Regierungsbezirke of Dessau, Halle and Magdeburg. The responsibilities are now covered by a Landesverwaltungsamt (county administration office) with three offices at the former seats of the Bezirksregierungen. On 1 January 2005, Lower Saxony followed suit, disbanding its remaining four Regierungsbezirke of Brunswick, Hanover, Lüneburg, and Weser-Ems.

On 1 August 2008, Saxony restructured its counties (Landkreise), changed the name of its Regierungsbezirke to Direktionsbezirke (directorate districts), and moved some responsibilities to the districts. The Direktionsbezirke were still named Chemnitz, Dresden, and Leipzig, but a border change was necessary because the new district of Mittelsachsen crossed the borders of the old Regierungsbezirke. On 1 March 2012, the Direktionsbezirke were merged into one Landesdirektion (county directorate).

Regierungsbezirke by state

Currently, only four German states out of 16 in total are divided into Regierungsbezirke; all others are directly divided into districts without mid-level agencies. Those four states are divided into a total of 19 Regierungsbezirke, ranging in population from 5,255,000 (Düsseldorf) to 1,065,000 (Gießen):

List of historic former Regierungsbezirke

Related Research Articles

States of Germany First-level administrative subdivisions of the Federal Republic of Germany

The Federal Republic of Germany consists of sixteen partly sovereign states. Since the German nation state was formed from an earlier collection of several states, it has a federal constitution, and the constituent states retain a measure of sovereignty.

Kingdom of Prussia Former German state (1701–1918)

The Kingdom of Prussia was a German kingdom that constituted the state of Prussia between 1701 and 1918. It was the driving force behind the unification of Germany in 1871 and was the leading state of the German Empire until its dissolution in 1918. Although it took its name from the region called Prussia, it was based in the Margraviate of Brandenburg, where its capital was Berlin.

States of the German Confederation Listing of the states of the German Confederation

The states of the German Confederation were those member states that from 20 June 1815 were part of the German Confederation, which lasted, with some changes in the member states, until 24 August 1866, under the presidency of the Austrian imperial House of Habsburg, which was represented by an Austrian presidential envoy to the Federal diet in Frankfurt.

Prussia Country in central Europe in existence from 1525 to 1947

Prussia was a historically prominent German state that originated in 1525 with a duchy centered on the region of Prussia on the southeast coast of the Baltic Sea. It was de facto dissolved by an emergency decree transferring powers of the Prussian government to German Chancellor Franz von Papen in 1932 and de jure by an Allied decree in 1947. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organised and effective army. Prussia, with its capital first in Königsberg and then, in 1701, in Berlin, decisively shaped the history of Germany.

Province of Silesia province

The Province of Silesia was a province of Prussia from 1815 to 1919. The Silesia region was part of the Prussian realm since 1740 and established as an official province in 1815, then became part of the German Empire in 1871. In 1919, as part of the Free State of Prussia within Weimar Germany, Silesia was divided into the provinces of Upper Silesia and Lower Silesia. Silesia was reunified briefly from 1 April 1938 to 27 January 1941 as a province of Nazi Germany before being divided back into Upper Silesia and Lower Silesia.

Province of Saxony province of Prussia

The Province of Saxony, also known as Prussian Saxony was a province of the Kingdom of Prussia and later the Free State of Prussia from 1816 until 1944. Its capital was Magdeburg.

Province of Lower Silesia province of Prussia

The Province of Lower Silesia was a province of the Free State of Prussia from 1919 to 1945. Between 1938 and 1941 it was reunited with Upper Silesia as the Province of Silesia. The capital of Lower Silesia was Breslau. The province was further divided into two administrative regions (Regierungsbezirke), Breslau and Liegnitz.

Reichsgau Danzig-West Prussia administrative division of Nazi Germany

Reichsgau Danzig-West Prussia was an administrative division of Nazi Germany created on 8 October 1939 from annexed territory of the Free City of Danzig, the Greater Pomeranian Voivodship, and the Regierungsbezirk West Prussia of Gau East Prussia.

Former eastern territories of Germany Eastern territories lost by Germany after World War I and World War II

The former eastern territories of Germany are those provinces or regions east of the current eastern border of Germany which were lost by Germany after World War I and then World War II; having been parts of the German Empire from 1871, and previously, of Prussia and Austria. They include provinces that historically had been considered 'German', and others that only became 'German' in 1871.

Province of Posen Province of Prussia

The Province of Posen was a province of Prussia from 1848 to 1919. Posen was established as a province of the Kingdom of Prussia in 1848 after the Greater Poland Uprising, converted from the Grand Duchy of Posen annexed by Prussia in the Polish partitions of 1815, and became part of the German Empire in 1871. Posen was part of the Free State of Prussia within Weimar Germany in 1918, but was dissolved the following year when most of its territory was ceded to the Second Polish Republic by the Treaty of Versailles, and the remaining German territory was later re-organized into Posen-West Prussia in 1922.

Middle Silesia Historical region

Middle Silesia was a colloquial designation for the Regierungsbezirk Breslau subdivision in the Prussian province of Silesia from 1813 to 1945. It comprised the eastern parts of the historic Lower Silesia region and the former County of Kladsko, both conquered by Prussia in 1742.

Provinces of Prussia overview about the province of the state of Prussia

The Provinces of Prussia were the main administrative divisions of Prussia from 1815 to 1946. Prussia's province system was introduced in the Stein-Hardenberg Reforms in 1815, and were mostly organized from duchies and historical regions. Provinces were divided into several Regierungsbezirke, sub-divided into Kreise (districts), and then into Gemeinden (townships) at the lowest-level. Provinces constituted the highest level of administration in the Kingdom of Prussia and Free State of Prussia until 1933, when Nazi Germany established de facto direct rule over provincial politics, and were formally abolished in 1946 following World War II. The Prussian provinces became the basis for many federal states of Germany, and the states of Brandenburg, Lower Saxony, and Schleswig-Holstein are direct successors of provinces.

Free State of Prussia

The Free State of Prussia was a state of Germany from 1918 to 1947.

Province of Pomerania (1815–1945)

The Province of Pomerania was a province of Prussia from 1815 to 1945. Pomerania was established as a province of the Kingdom of Prussia in 1815, an expansion of the older Brandenburg-Prussia province of Pomerania, and then became part of the German Empire in 1871. From 1918, Pomerania was a province of the Free State of Prussia until it was dissolved in 1945 following World War II, and its territory divided between Poland and Allied-occupied Germany.

Province of Brandenburg

The Province of Brandenburg was a province of Prussia from 1815 to 1945. Brandenburg was established in 1815 from the Kingdom of Prussia's core territory, comprised the bulk of the historic Margraviate of Brandenburg and the Lower Lusatia region, and became part of the German Empire in 1871. From 1918, Brandenburg was a province of the Free State of Prussia until it was dissolved in 1945 after World War II, and replaced with reduced territory as the State of Brandenburg in East Germany, which was later dissolved in 1952. Following the reunification of Germany in 1990, Brandenburg was re-established as a federal state of Germany, becoming one of the new states.

Military district (Germany) 1939-1945 regional command within the German Replacement Army

During World War II, Germany had a system of military districts to relieve field commanders of as much administrative work as possible and to provide a regular flow of trained recruits and supplies to the Field Army. The Field Army was separate from the Home Command (Heimatkriegsgebiet). The responsibilities of training, conscription, supply, and equipment were entrusted to the Home Command.

History of Pomerania (1806–1933)

History of Pomerania (1806–1933) covers the history of Pomerania from the early 19th century until the rise of Nazi Germany.

The German Emperors after 1873 had a variety of titles and coats of arms, which in various compositions became the officially used titles and coats of arms. The title and coat of arms were last fixed in 1873, but the titles did not necessarily mean that the area was really dominated, and sometimes even several princes bore the same title.

In Germany, Regierungspräsident is the job title of the head of a federal state authority in the federal states of Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Hesse, and North Rhine-Westphalia. The jurisdiction of the authority defines a certain administrative division (Regierungsbezirk). The office holders are political civil servants, meaning they can be removed from their office by the government without reasons, and are appointed by the governor of the respective federal state.

References

  1. Regional Governments in France, Germany, Poland and The Netherlands (HTML version of PowerPoint presentation) – Cachet, A (coordinator), Erasmus University, Rotterdam [ dead link ]
  2. "regierung.oberbayern.bayern.de". Archived from the original on 3 January 2013. Retrieved 3 February 2013.
  3. regierung.oberfranken.bayern.de
  4. "regierung.unterfranken.bayern.de". Archived from the original on 18 June 2015. Retrieved 3 February 2013.
  5. Jablonsky, David. The Nazi Party in Dissolution: Hitler and the Verbotzeit 1923–25, London: Routledge, 1989, p. 27.
  6. Shapiro, Henry D. and Jonathan D. Sarna, Ethnic Diversity and Civic Identity, Illinois: UIP, 1992, p. 135.

Commons-logo.svg Media related to Regierungsbezirk at Wikimedia Commons