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The
Federal Republic of Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , languages_type = Official language , languages = German language, German , demonym = Germans, German , government_ ...
, as a
federal state A federation (also known as a federal state) is a political entity characterized by a union of partially self-governing provinces, states, or other regions under a central federal government (federalism Federalism is a mixed or compou ...
, consists of sixteen partly sovereign
federated states A federated state (which may also be referred to as a state, a province A province is almost always an administrative division within a country or state. The term derives from the ancient Roman '' provincia'', which was the major territori ...
(german: Land (state), plural (states); commonly informally / federated state, plural / federated states). Since the
German nation state
German nation state
was formed from an earlier collection of several states (only some of which still exist), it has a federal constitution, and the
constituent states A constituent state is a state entity that constitutes a part Part, parts or PART may refer to: People *Armi Pärt Armi Pärt (born 18 June 1991) is an Estonian handballer, playing in French D2 for Massy Essonne Handball. He is also a me ...
retain a measure of sovereignty. With an emphasis on geographical conditions,
Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inhabitants, as of 31 December 2019 makes it the List of cities in the European Union by ...

Berlin
and
Hamburg
Hamburg
are frequently called ' ('
city-state A city-state is an independent sovereign Sovereign is a title which can be applied to the highest leader in various categories. The word is borrowed from Old French Old French (, , ; Modern French French ( or ) is a Romance la ...
s'), as is the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen, which in fact includes the cities of and . The remaining thirteen states are called ' (roughly 'area states'). The creation of the Federal Republic of Germany ("West Germany") in 1949 was through the unification of the three western zones which were previously under American, British, and French administration in the aftermath of
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
. Initially, the states of the Federal Republic were
Baden__notoc__ Baden (; ) is a historical territory in South Germany Southern Germany () as a region has no exact boundary but is generally taken to include the areas in which Upper German dialects are spoken. This corresponds roughly to the hi ...
(until 1952),
Bavaria Bavaria (; German language, German and Bavarian language, Bavarian: ''Bayern'' ), officially the Free State of Bavaria (German and Bavarian: ''Freistaat Bayern''; ), is a Landlocked country, landlocked Federated state, state (''States of Germany ...

Bavaria
(in German: '),
Bremen Bremen (, also ; Low German also: ''Breem'' or ''Bräm''), officially the City Municipality of Bremen (german: Stadtgemeinde Bremen, ), is the capital of the Germany, German States of Germany, state Bremen (state), Free Hanseatic City of Bremen (' ...
,
Hamburg
Hamburg
,
Hesse Hesse (, , ) or Hessia (, ; german: Hessen ), officially the State of Hessen (german: links=no, Land Hessen), is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U. ...
('),
Lower Saxony Lower Saxony (german: Niedersachsen ; nds, Neddersassen; stq, Läichsaksen) is a German state The Federal Republic of Germany, as a federal state, consists of sixteen partly sovereign federated states (german: Land (state), plural (st ...
('),
North Rhine-Westphalia North Rhine-Westphalia (german: Nordrhein-Westfalen, ; Low Franconian Low Franconian, Low Frankish, NetherlandicSarah Grey Thomason, Terrence Kaufman: ''Language Contact, Creolization, and Genetic Linguistics'', University of California Pre ...
('),
Rhineland-Palatinate Rhineland-Palatinate (german: Rheinland-Pfalz, ) is a western state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''T ...
('),
Schleswig-Holstein Schleswig-Holstein () is the northernmost of the 16 states of Germany The Federal Republic of Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , la ...

Schleswig-Holstein
,
Württemberg-Baden Württemberg-Baden was a state of the Federal Republic of Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , languages_type = Official language , languages ...
(until 1952), and
Württemberg-Hohenzollern Württemberg-Hohenzollern (french: Wurtemberg-Hohenzollern ) was a West German ) , capital = Bonn The Federal city of Bonn ( lat, Bonna) is a city on the banks of the Rhine in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, w ...
(until 1952).
West Berlin West Berlin (german: Berlin (West) or ) was a political enclave An enclave is a territory (or a part of one) that is entirely surrounded by the territory of one other state. Enclaves may also exist within territorial waters. ''Enclave'' is ...
, while officially not part of the Federal Republic, was largely integrated and considered as a ''
de facto ''De facto'' ( ; , "in fact") describes practices that exist in reality, even though they are not officially recognized by laws. It is commonly used to refer to what happens in practice, in contrast with ''de jure'' ("by law"), which refers to th ...
'' state. In 1952, following
a referendum
a referendum
, Baden, Württemberg-Baden, and Württemberg-Hohenzollern merged into
Baden-Württemberg Baden-Württemberg (; ) is a state (''Land'') in southwest Germany Southern Germany () as a region has no exact boundary but is generally taken to include the areas in which Upper German dialects are spoken. This corresponds roughly to the h ...
. In 1957, the
Saar Protectorate The Saar Protectorate (german: Saarprotektorat ; french: Protectorat de la Sarre) officially Saarland (french: Sarre) was a short-lived protectorate A protectorate is a state that is controlled and protected by another sovereign state. It is ...
joined the Federal Republic as the state of
Saarland The Saarland ( , , ; french: Sarre ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper) ...
. The next change occurred in the aftermath of
German reunification German reunification (german: Deutsche Wiedervereinigung) was the process in 1990 in which the (GDR; german: Deutsche Demokratische Republik, DDR) became part of the (FRG; german: Bundesrepublik Deutschland, BRD) to form the reunited natio ...
in 1990, in which the area of the German Democratic Republic (
East Germany East Germany, officially the German Democratic Republic (GDR; german: Deutsche Demokratische Republik, , DDR, ), was a state that existed from 1949 to 1990 in eastern Eastern may refer to: Transportation *China Eastern Airlines, a current ...
) became part of the Federal Republic. This was performed by accession of the re-established eastern states of
Brandenburg Brandenburg (, also , ; nds, Brannenborg; dsb, Bramborska) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ...

Brandenburg
, Mecklenburg-West Pomerania ('),
Saxony Saxony (german: Sachsen ; Upper Saxon Upper Saxon (german: Obersächsisch, ; ) is an East Central German East Central German (german: Ostmitteldeutsch) is the eastern, non-Franconian languages, Franconian Central German language, part o ...

Saxony
('),
Saxony-Anhalt Saxony-Anhalt (german: Sachsen-Anhalt ; nds, Sassen-Anholt) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper) ...

Saxony-Anhalt
('), and
Thuringia Thuringia (; german: Thüringen ), officially the Free State of Thuringia ( ), is a states of Germany, state of Germany. Located in central Germany, it covers , being the sixth smallest of the sixteen German States (including City States). It ...
(') to the Federal Republic and by the de facto reunification of
West 250px, A compass rose with west highlighted in black West or Occident is one of the four cardinal directions or points of the compass The points of the compass are the vectors by which planet-based directions are conventionally defined. A co ...
and
East Berlin East Berlin was the ''de facto'' capital city of the German Democratic Republic from 1949 to 1990. Formally, it was the Soviet sector of Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, la ...
into
Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inhabitants, as of 31 December 2019 makes it the List of cities in the European Union by ...

Berlin
and its establishment as a full and equal state. A regional referendum in 1996, to merge Berlin with surrounding Brandenburg as "Berlin-Brandenburg", failed to reach the necessary majority vote in Brandenburg, while a majority of Berliners had voted in favour.
Federalism Federalism is a mixed or compound mode of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Maga ...
is one of the entrenched constitutional principles of Germany. According to the
German constitution The Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany (german: Grundgesetz für die Bundesrepublik Deutschland) is the constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles A principle is a proposition or value that is a g ...
(Basic Law, or '), some topics, such as foreign affairs and defence, are the exclusive responsibility of the federation (i.e., the federal level), while others fall under the shared authority of the states and the federation; the states retain residual or exclusive legislative authority for all other areas, including "culture", which in Germany includes not only topics such as the financial promotion of arts and sciences, but also most forms of education and job training. Though international relations including international treaties are primarily the responsibility of the federal level, the constituent states have certain limited powers in this area: in matters that affect them directly, the states defend their interests at the federal level through the ' ('Federal Council', the de facto upper house of the German Federal Parliament) and in areas where they have the legislative authority they have limited powers to conclude international treaties "with the consent of the federal government".


States

It is the states which formed the Federal Republic of Germany in 1949. This was in contrast to the post-war development in
Austria Austria (, ; german: Österreich ), officially the Republic of Austria (german: Republik Österreich, links=no, ), is a landlocked Eastern Alps, East Alpine country in the southern part of Central Europe. It is composed of nine States o ...

Austria
, where the national ''Bund'' (federation) was constituted first, and then the individual states were carved out as units of this federal nation. The German use of the term ''Länder'' (‘lands’) dates back to the
Weimar Constitution The Constitution of the German Reich (german: Die Verfassung des Deutschen Reichs), usually known as the Weimar Constitution (''Weimarer Verfassung''), was the constitution that governed Germany during the Weimar Republic era (1919–1933). The c ...

Weimar Constitution
of 1919. Before this time, the states of the
German Empire The German Empire or the Imperial State of Germany,, officially '.Herbert Tuttle Herbert Tuttle (1846–1894) was an American historian. Biography Herbert Tuttle was born in Bennington, Vermont Bennington is a New England town, town ...
were called ''Staaten'' (states). Today, it is very common to use the term ''Bundesland'' (federated ''land''). However, this term is not used officially, neither by the constitution of 1919 nor by the Basic Law (Constitution) of 1949. Three ''Länder'' call themselves ''
Freistaat Free state is a term occasionally used in the official titles of some states throughout the world with varying meanings depending on the context. In principle, the title asserts and emphasises a particular freedom of the state in question, but this ...
en'' (‘free states’, an older German term for ‘republic’): Bavaria (since 1919), Saxony (originally since 1919 and again since 1990), and Thuringia (since 1994). Of the 17 states at the end of the
Weimar Republic The Weimar Republic (german: Weimarer Republik ) was the German state from 1918 to 1933 when it functioned as a federal constitutional republic. The state was officially named the German Reich (german: Deutsches Reich, link=no, label=none), ...
, six still exist (though partly with different border-lines): *
Bavaria Bavaria (; German language, German and Bavarian language, Bavarian: ''Bayern'' ), officially the Free State of Bavaria (German and Bavarian: ''Freistaat Bayern''; ), is a Landlocked country, landlocked Federated state, state (''States of Germany ...

Bavaria
*
Bremen Bremen (, also ; Low German : : : : : , minority = (70,000) (30,000) (8,000) , familycolor = Indo-European , fam2 = Germanic Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples, an ethno-linguistic group identified by t ...
*
Hamburg
Hamburg
*
Hesse Hesse (, , ) or Hessia (, ; german: Hessen ), officially the State of Hessen (german: links=no, Land Hessen), is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U. ...
*
Saxony Saxony (german: Sachsen ; Upper Saxon Upper Saxon (german: Obersächsisch, ; ) is an East Central German East Central German (german: Ostmitteldeutsch) is the eastern, non-Franconian languages, Franconian Central German language, part o ...

Saxony
*
Thuringia Thuringia (; german: Thüringen ), officially the Free State of Thuringia ( ), is a states of Germany, state of Germany. Located in central Germany, it covers , being the sixth smallest of the sixteen German States (including City States). It ...
The other 11 pre-existing states either merged into one another or were separated into smaller entities. *
Anhalt Saxony-Anhalt (german: Sachsen-Anhalt ; nds, Sassen-Anholt) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper ...

Anhalt
is now part of the state of
Saxony-Anhalt Saxony-Anhalt (german: Sachsen-Anhalt ; nds, Sassen-Anholt) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper) ...

Saxony-Anhalt
*
Baden__notoc__ Baden (; ) is a historical territory in South Germany Southern Germany () as a region has no exact boundary but is generally taken to include the areas in which Upper German dialects are spoken. This corresponds roughly to the hi ...
is now part of
Baden-Württemberg Baden-Württemberg (; ) is a state (''Land'') in southwest Germany Southern Germany () as a region has no exact boundary but is generally taken to include the areas in which Upper German dialects are spoken. This corresponds roughly to the h ...
*
Braunschweig Braunschweig () or Brunswick (, from Low German : : : : : , minority = (70,000) (30,000) (8,000) , familycolor = Indo-European , fam2 = Germanic Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples, an ethno-linguistic ...
is now part of
Lower Saxony Lower Saxony (german: Niedersachsen ; nds, Neddersassen; stq, Läichsaksen) is a German state The Federal Republic of Germany, as a federal state, consists of sixteen partly sovereign federated states (german: Land (state), plural (st ...
*
Lippe Lippe () is a ''Kreis'' (district A district is a type of that, in some countries, is managed by the . Across the world, areas known as "districts" vary greatly in size, spanning s or , several , subdivisions of municipalities, , or . By c ...
is now part of
North Rhine-Westphalia North Rhine-Westphalia (german: Nordrhein-Westfalen, ; Low Franconian Low Franconian, Low Frankish, NetherlandicSarah Grey Thomason, Terrence Kaufman: ''Language Contact, Creolization, and Genetic Linguistics'', University of California Pre ...
*
Lübeck Lübeck (; Low German Low German or Low Saxon (in the language itself: , and other names; german: Plattdeutsch, ) is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language variety spoken mainly in Northern Germany and the northeastern part of the ...

Lübeck
is now part of
Schleswig-Holstein Schleswig-Holstein () is the northernmost of the 16 states of Germany The Federal Republic of Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , la ...

Schleswig-Holstein
*
Mecklenburg-Schwerin The Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin was a duchy A duchy is a medieval In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of p ...
is now part of
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (MV; , Mecklenburgian nds, Mäkelborg-Vörpommern), internationally also known by its anglicized Linguistic anglicisation (or anglicization, occasionally anglification, anglifying, or Englishing) is the practice of mod ...

Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
*
Mecklenburg-Strelitz The Duchy of Mecklenburg-Strelitz was a duchy A duchy is a medieval In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of ...
is now part of
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (MV; , Mecklenburgian nds, Mäkelborg-Vörpommern), internationally also known by its anglicized Linguistic anglicisation (or anglicization, occasionally anglification, anglifying, or Englishing) is the practice of mod ...

Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
* Oldenburg is now part of
Lower Saxony Lower Saxony (german: Niedersachsen ; nds, Neddersassen; stq, Läichsaksen) is a German state The Federal Republic of Germany, as a federal state, consists of sixteen partly sovereign federated states (german: Land (state), plural (st ...
, with its former exclaves belonging to the encircling states
Rhineland-Palatinate Rhineland-Palatinate (german: Rheinland-Pfalz, ) is a western state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''T ...
and
Schleswig-Holstein Schleswig-Holstein () is the northernmost of the 16 states of Germany The Federal Republic of Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , la ...

Schleswig-Holstein
respectively. *
Prussia Prussia, , Old Prussian Distribution of the Baltic tribes, circa 1200 CE (boundaries are approximate). Old Prussian was a Western Baltic language belonging to the Balto-Slavic branch of the Indo-European languages The Indo-Europ ...

Prussia
is now dissolved into the states of
Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inhabitants, as of 31 December 2019 makes it the List of cities in the European Union by ...

Berlin
,
Brandenburg Brandenburg (, also , ; nds, Brannenborg; dsb, Bramborska) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ...

Brandenburg
,
Lower Saxony Lower Saxony (german: Niedersachsen ; nds, Neddersassen; stq, Läichsaksen) is a German state The Federal Republic of Germany, as a federal state, consists of sixteen partly sovereign federated states (german: Land (state), plural (st ...
,
North Rhine-Westphalia North Rhine-Westphalia (german: Nordrhein-Westfalen, ; Low Franconian Low Franconian, Low Frankish, NetherlandicSarah Grey Thomason, Terrence Kaufman: ''Language Contact, Creolization, and Genetic Linguistics'', University of California Pre ...
,
Rhineland-Palatinate Rhineland-Palatinate (german: Rheinland-Pfalz, ) is a western state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''T ...
,
Saxony-Anhalt Saxony-Anhalt (german: Sachsen-Anhalt ; nds, Sassen-Anholt) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper) ...

Saxony-Anhalt
and
Schleswig-Holstein Schleswig-Holstein () is the northernmost of the 16 states of Germany The Federal Republic of Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , la ...

Schleswig-Holstein
. Also, all other states, except
Bavaria Bavaria (; German language, German and Bavarian language, Bavarian: ''Bayern'' ), officially the Free State of Bavaria (German and Bavarian: ''Freistaat Bayern''; ), is a Landlocked country, landlocked Federated state, state (''States of Germany ...

Bavaria
, had bordering territories or enclaves that were part of the
Free State of Prussia The Free State of Prussia (german: Freistaat Preußen) was a States of the Weimar Republic, state of German Reich, Germany from 1918 to 1947. It was established in 1918 following the German Revolution of 1918–19, German Revolution, abolishin ...
. These were dissolved into their surrounding states. Other former Prussian territories lying east of the rivers
Neisse The Lusatian Neisse (german: Lausitzer Neiße; pl, Nysa Łużycka; cs, Lužická Nisa; Upper Sorbian: ''Łužiska Nysa''; Lower Sorbian Lower may refer to: *Lower (surname)Lower is a surname. Notable people with the surname include: * Art ...
and
Oder The Oder ( , ; Czech Czech may refer to: * Anything from or related to the Czech Republic The Czech Republic, also known by its short-form name Czechia and formerly known as Bohemia, is a landlocked country A landlocked country is ...

Oder
are now part of
Poland Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 Voivodeships of Poland, administrative provinces, covering an area of , and has a largely Temperate climate, temperate seasonal cli ...

Poland
and
Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of . There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because th ...

Russia
. *
Schaumburg-Lippe Schaumburg-Lippe, also Lippe-Schaumburg, was created as a county in 1647, became a principality in 1807, a free state in 1918, and was until 1946 a small state in Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital ...
is now part of
Lower Saxony Lower Saxony (german: Niedersachsen ; nds, Neddersassen; stq, Läichsaksen) is a German state The Federal Republic of Germany, as a federal state, consists of sixteen partly sovereign federated states (german: Land (state), plural (st ...
*
Württemberg Württemberg ( ; ) is a historical German territory roughly corresponding to the cultural and linguistic region of Swabia upThe coat of arms of Baden-Württemberg shows the three lions passant of the arms of the Duchy of Swabia, in origin th ...
is now part of
Baden-Württemberg Baden-Württemberg (; ) is a state (''Land'') in southwest Germany Southern Germany () as a region has no exact boundary but is generally taken to include the areas in which Upper German dialects are spoken. This corresponds roughly to the h ...
A new
delimitation Boundary delimitation (or simply delimitation) is the drawing of boundaries, particularly of electoral precincts, states, counties or other municipalities.
of the federal territory keeps being debated in Germany, in contrast to how there are "significant differences among the American states and regional governments in other federations without serious calls for territorial changes" in those other countries. Arthur B. Gunlicks summarizes the main arguments for boundary reform in Germany: "the German system of dual federalism requires strong ''Länder'' that have the administrative and fiscal capacity to implement legislation and pay for it from own source revenues. Too many ''Länder'' also make coordination among them and with the federation more complicated." But several proposals have failed so far; territorial reform remains a controversial topic in German politics and public perception.


List


History

Federalism Federalism is a mixed or compound mode of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Maga ...
has a long tradition in German history. The
Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Romanum Imperium; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town i ...
comprised many petty states, numbering more than 300 around 1796. The number of territories was greatly reduced during the
Napoleonic Wars The Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) were a series of major World war, global conflicts pitting the First French Empire, French Empire and its allies, led by Napoleon, Napoleon I, against a fluctuating array of Coalition forces of the Napoleonic W ...
(1796–1814). After the
Congress of Vienna The Congress of Vienna (, ) of 1814–1815 was an international diplomatic conference to reconstitute the European political order after the downfall of the French Emperor Napoleon I Napoléon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) w ...

Congress of Vienna
(1815), 39 states formed the
German Confederation The German Confederation (german: Deutscher Bund) was an association of 39 predominantly German-speaking sovereign states in Central Europe, created by the Congress of Vienna in 1815 as a replacement of the former Holy Roman Empire, which had ...

German Confederation
. The Confederation was dissolved after the
Austro-Prussian War The Austro-Prussian War or Seven Weeks' War, known in Germany as ("German War") and by a variety of other names, was fought in 1866 between the Austrian Empire The Austrian Empire (german: Kaiserthum Oesterreich, modern spelling ') was ...
in which Prussia defeated Austria and forced Austria to remove itself from the affairs of the German states.
Prussia Prussia, , Old Prussian Distribution of the Baltic tribes, circa 1200 CE (boundaries are approximate). Old Prussian was a Western Baltic language belonging to the Balto-Slavic branch of the Indo-European languages The Indo-Europ ...
and the other states in Northern and Central Germany united as a
federal state A federation (also known as a federal state) is a political entity characterized by a union of partially self-governing provinces, states, or other regions under a central federal government (federalism Federalism is a mixed or compou ...
, the North German Federation, on 1 July 1867. Four of the five southern German states (Bavaria, Württemberg, Baden and Hesse-Darmstadt) entered military alliances with Prussia but Austria did not. In the
Franco-Prussian War The Franco-Prussian War or Franco-German War,, german: Deutsch-Französischer Krieg often referred to in France as the War of 1870, was a conflict between the Second French Empire The Second French Empire (; officially the French Empire ...
of 1870–71, those four states joined the North German Federation which was consequently renamed to
German Empire The German Empire or the Imperial State of Germany,, officially '.Herbert Tuttle Herbert Tuttle (1846–1894) was an American historian. Biography Herbert Tuttle was born in Bennington, Vermont Bennington is a New England town, town ...
. The parliament and Federal Council decided to give the Prussian king the title of
German Emperor The German Emperor (german: Deutscher Kaiser ''Kaiser'' is the German word for "emperor An emperor (from la, imperator The Latin word "imperator" derives from the stem of the verb la, imperare, label=none, meaning 'to order, ...
(since 1 January 1871). The new German Empire included 25 states (three of them,
Hanseatic The Hanseatic League (; gml, Hanse, , ; german: label=German language, Modern German, Deutsche Hanse; nl, label=Dutch language, Dutch, De Hanze; la, Hansa Teutonica) was a Middle Ages, medieval commercial and defensive confederation of mercha ...
cities) and the imperial territory of
Alsace-Lorraine The Imperial Territory of Alsace-Lorraine (german: Reichsland Elsaß-Lothringen or ; gsw-als, 's Rìchslànd Elsàss-Lothrìnga; Moselle Franconian __NOTOC__ Moselle Franconian (German ''Moselfränkisch'') is a West Central German language ...

Alsace-Lorraine
. Within the empire, 65% of the territory and 62% of the population belonged to the state of Prussia. After the territorial losses of the
Treaty of Versailles The Treaty of Versailles (french: Traité de Versailles; german: Versailler Vertrag, ) was the most important of the peace treaties A peace treaty is an agreement between two or more hostile parties, usually countries or government ...
, the remaining states continued as republics of a new German federation. These states were gradually abolished and reduced to provinces under the Nazi regime via the process, as the states administratively were largely superseded by the Nazi ''Gau'' system. During the Allied occupation of Germany after World War II, internal borders were redrawn by the Allied military governments. No single state comprised more than 30% of either population or territory; this was intended to prevent any one state from being as dominant within Germany as Prussia had been in the past. Initially, only seven of the pre-War states remained: Baden (in part), Bavaria (reduced in size), Bremen, Hamburg, Hesse (enlarged), Saxony, and Thuringia. The states with hyphenated names, such as Rhineland-Palatinate, North Rhine-Westphalia, and Saxony-Anhalt, owed their existence to the occupation powers and were created out of mergers of former Prussian provinces and smaller states. Former German territory that lay east of the Oder-Neisse line fell under either Polish or Soviet administration but attempts were made at least symbolically not to abandon sovereignty well into the 1960s. The former
provinces A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many similar terms, are g ...
of
Farther Pomerania Farther Pomerania, Hinder Pomerania, Rear Pomerania or Eastern Pomerania (german: Hinterpommern, Ostpommern), is the part of Pomerania which comprised the eastern part of the Duchy of Pomerania, Duchy and later Province of Pomerania (1653–1815), ...
,
East Prussia East Prussia (german: Ostpreußen, ; pl, Prusy Wschodnie; lt, Rytų Prūsija; la, Borussia orientalis; russian: Восточная Пруссия, Vostóchnaya Prússiya) was a of the from 1773 to 1829 and again from 1878 (with the Kingdom ...
,
Silesia Silesia (, also , ) is a historical region Historical regions (or historical areas) are geographical Geography (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), o ...

Silesia
and
Posen-West Prussia The Frontier March of Posen-West Prussia (german: Grenzmark Posen-Westpreußen, pl, Marchia Graniczna Poznańsko-Zachodniopruska) was a province A province is almost always an administrative division within a country or state. The term derive ...
fell under Polish administration with the Soviet Union taking the area around Königsberg (now Kaliningrad), pending a final peace conference with Germany which eventually never took place. More than 8 million Germans had been expelled from these territories that had formed part of the German-speaking lands for centuries and which mostly did not have sizable Polish minorities before 1945. However, no attempts were made to establish new states in these territories, as they lay outside the jurisdiction of West Germany at that time. Upon its founding in 1949,
West Germany West Germany is the common English name for the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG; german: Bundesrepublik Deutschland , BRD) between its formation on 23 May 1949 and the German reunification German reunification (german: Deutsche Wieder ...
had eleven states. These were reduced to nine in 1952 when three south-western states (
South Baden South Baden (german: Südbaden; ), formed in December 1945 from the southern half of the former Republic of Baden The Republic of Baden (german: Republik Baden) was a Germany, German state that existed during the time of the Weimar Republic, for ...
,
Württemberg-Hohenzollern Württemberg-Hohenzollern (french: Wurtemberg-Hohenzollern ) was a West German ) , capital = Bonn The Federal city of Bonn ( lat, Bonna) is a city on the banks of the Rhine in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, w ...
, and
Württemberg-Baden Württemberg-Baden was a state of the Federal Republic of Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , languages_type = Official language , languages ...
) merged to form
Baden-Württemberg Baden-Württemberg (; ) is a state (''Land'') in southwest Germany Southern Germany () as a region has no exact boundary but is generally taken to include the areas in which Upper German dialects are spoken. This corresponds roughly to the h ...
. From 1957, when the French-occupied
Saar Protectorate The Saar Protectorate (german: Saarprotektorat ; french: Protectorat de la Sarre) officially Saarland (french: Sarre) was a short-lived protectorate A protectorate is a state that is controlled and protected by another sovereign state. It is ...
was returned and formed into the
Saarland The Saarland ( , , ; french: Sarre ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper) ...
, the Federal Republic consisted of ten states, which are referred to as the " Old States" today. West Berlin was under the sovereignty of the Western Allies and neither a Western German state nor part of one. However, it was in many ways ''de facto'' integrated with West Germany under a special status.
East Germany East Germany, officially the German Democratic Republic (GDR; german: Deutsche Demokratische Republik, , DDR, ), was a state that existed from 1949 to 1990 in eastern Eastern may refer to: Transportation *China Eastern Airlines, a current ...
originally consisted of five states (i.e., Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, and Thuringia). In 1952, these states were abolished and the East was divided into 14 administrative districts called ''Bezirke''.
Soviet The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a socialist state A socialist state, socialist republic, or socialist country, sometimes referred to as a workers' state or workers' republic, is a sovere ...
-controlled
East Berlin East Berlin was the ''de facto'' capital city of the German Democratic Republic from 1949 to 1990. Formally, it was the Soviet sector of Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, la ...
– despite officially having the same status as
West Berlin West Berlin (german: Berlin (West) or ) was a political enclave An enclave is a territory (or a part of one) that is entirely surrounded by the territory of one other state. Enclaves may also exist within territorial waters. ''Enclave'' is ...
– was declared East Germany's capital and its 15th district. Just prior to the
German reunification German reunification (german: Deutsche Wiedervereinigung) was the process in 1990 in which the (GDR; german: Deutsche Demokratische Republik, DDR) became part of the (FRG; german: Bundesrepublik Deutschland, BRD) to form the reunited natio ...
on 3 October 1990, the East German states were reconstituted close to their earlier configuration as the five " New States". The former district of East Berlin joined West Berlin to form the new state of Berlin. Henceforth, the 10 "old states" plus 5 "new states" plus the new state Berlin add up to current 16 states of Germany. Later, the
constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law, it is a rule Rule or ruling may refer to: Human activity * The exercise of political ...

constitution
was amended to state that the citizens of the 16 states had successfully achieved the unity of Germany in free self-determination and that the
Basic Law In countries with uncodified constitution An uncodified constitution is a type of constitution where the fundamental rules often take the form of custom (law), customs, usage, precedent and a variety of statutes and legal instruments.Johari, J. ...
thus applied to the entire
German people Germans (, ) are the natives or inhabitants of Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city ...
. Article 23, which had allowed "any other parts of Germany" to join, was rephrased. It had been used in 1957 to reintegrate the
Saar Protectorate The Saar Protectorate (german: Saarprotektorat ; french: Protectorat de la Sarre) officially Saarland (french: Sarre) was a short-lived protectorate A protectorate is a state that is controlled and protected by another sovereign state. It is ...
as the
Saarland The Saarland ( , , ; french: Sarre ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper) ...
into the Federal Republic, and this was used as a model for German reunification in 1990. The amended article now defines the participation of the Federal Council and the 16 German states in matters concerning the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of member states that are located primarily in Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the wester ...

European Union
. The German states can conclude treaties with foreign countries in matters within their own sphere of competence and with the consent of the Federal Government (Article 32 of the Basic Law). Typical treaties relate to cultural relationships and economic affairs. Some states call themselves a "
free state The Free State ( af, Vrystaat; st, Freistata; xh, iFreyistata; tn, Foreistata; zu, iFuleyisitata; before 1995, the Orange Free State) is a Provinces of South Africa, province of South Africa. Its capital is Bloemfontein, which is also South A ...
" (). It is merely a historic synonym for "republic" and was a description used by most German states after the abolishment of monarchy after
World War I World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war engaged in by all or most of the principal nations of the world". The term is usually reserved for ...

World War I
. Today, is associated emotionally with a more independent status, especially in Bavaria. However, it has no legal significance. All sixteen states are represented at the federal level in the (Federal Council), where their voting power depends on the size of their population.


West Germany, 1945–1990

Article 29 of the
Basic Law In countries with uncodified constitution An uncodified constitution is a type of constitution where the fundamental rules often take the form of custom (law), customs, usage, precedent and a variety of statutes and legal instruments.Johari, J. ...
states that "the division of the federal territory into Länder may be revised to ensure that each be of a size and capacity to perform its functions effectively". The somewhat complicated provisions regulate that "revisions of the existing division into shall be effected by a federal law, which must be confirmed by referendum". A new delimitation of the federal territory has been discussed since the Federal Republic was founded in 1949 and even before. Committees and expert commissions advocated a reduction of the number of states; academics ( Werner Rutz, Meinhard Miegel, Adrian Ottnad, etc.) and politicians (
Walter Döring
Walter Döring
, Hans Apel, and others) made proposals some of them far-reaching for redrawing boundaries but hardly anything came of these public discussions. Territorial reform is sometimes propagated by the richer states as a means to avoid or reduce fiscal transfers. To date, the only successful reform was the merger of the states of Baden, Württemberg-Baden, and Württemberg-Hohenzollern to form the new state of Baden-Württemberg in 1952. ;Delimitations Article 29 reflects a debate on territorial reform in
Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inh ...

Germany
that is much older than the Basic Law. The
Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Romanum Imperium; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town i ...
was a loose
confederation A confederation (also known as a confederacy or league) is a union of sovereign groups or states united for purposes of common action. Usually created by a treaty, confederations of states tend to be established for dealing with critical issu ...
of large and petty principalities under the nominal
suzerainty Suzerainty () is a relationship in which one state or other polity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some form of Institutionalisation, institutionalized soci ...
of the
emperor An emperor (from la, imperator The Latin word "imperator" derives from the stem of the verb la, imperare, label=none, meaning 'to order, to command'. It was originally employed as a title roughly equivalent to ''commander'' under the Roma ...
. Approximately 300 states existed at the eve of the
French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) was a period of radical political and societal change in France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a spanning and in the and the , and s. Its ...

French Revolution
in 1789. Territorial boundaries were essentially redrawn as a result of military conflicts and interventions from the outside: from the
Napoleonic Wars The Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) were a series of major World war, global conflicts pitting the First French Empire, French Empire and its allies, led by Napoleon, Napoleon I, against a fluctuating array of Coalition forces of the Napoleonic W ...
to the
Congress of Vienna The Congress of Vienna (, ) of 1814–1815 was an international diplomatic conference to reconstitute the European political order after the downfall of the French Emperor Napoleon I Napoléon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) w ...

Congress of Vienna
, the number of territories decreased from about 300 to 39; in 1866
Prussia Prussia, , Old Prussian Distribution of the Baltic tribes, circa 1200 CE (boundaries are approximate). Old Prussian was a Western Baltic language belonging to the Balto-Slavic branch of the Indo-European languages The Indo-Europ ...

Prussia
annexed the sovereign states of
Hanover Hanover (; german: Hannover ; nds, Hannober) is the capital and largest city of the German States of Germany, state of Lower Saxony. Its 534,049 (2020) inhabitants make it the List of cities in Germany by population, 13th-largest city in Germa ...
, Nassau,
Hesse-Kassel The Landgraviate of Hesse-Kassel (german: Landgrafschaft Hessen-Kassel), spelled Hesse-Cassel during its entire existence, was a state in the Holy Roman Empire that was imperial immediacy, directly subject to the Emperor. The state was created in ...

Hesse-Kassel
, and the
Free City of Frankfurt For almost five centuries, the German city of Frankfurt was a city-state within two major Germanic entities: *The Holy Roman Empire as the Free Imperial City of Frankfurt () (until 1806) *The German Confederation as the Free City of Frankfurt ( ...
; the last consolidation came about under Allied occupation after 1945. The debate on a new delimitation of the German territory started in 1919 as part of discussions about the new constitution.
Hugo Preuss Hugo or HUGO may refer to: People and fictional characters * Victor Hugo Victor-Marie Hugo (; 26 February 1802 – 22 May 1885) was a French poet, novelist, essayist, playwright, and dramatist of the Romantic movement Romanticism (also ...
, the father of the
Weimar Constitution The Constitution of the German Reich (german: Die Verfassung des Deutschen Reichs), usually known as the Weimar Constitution (''Weimarer Verfassung''), was the constitution that governed Germany during the Weimar Republic era (1919–1933). The c ...

Weimar Constitution
, drafted a plan to divide the
German Reich ''German Reich'' (german: Deutsches Reich, ) was the constitutional name for the German nation state A nation state is a state in which a great majority shares the same culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social b ...
into 14 roughly equal-sized states. His proposal was turned down due to opposition of the states and concerns of the government. Article 18 of the constitution enabled a new delimitation of the German territory but set high hurdles: "Three fifth of the votes handed in, and at least the majority of the population are necessary to decide on the alteration of territory". In fact, until 1933 there were only four changes in the configuration of the German states: The 7
Thuringia Thuringia (; german: Thüringen ), officially the Free State of Thuringia ( ), is a states of Germany, state of Germany. Located in central Germany, it covers , being the sixth smallest of the sixteen German States (including City States). It ...
n states were merged in 1920, whereby
Coburg Coburg () is a Town#Germany, town located on the Itz (river), Itz river in the Upper Franconia region of Bavaria, Germany. Long part of one of the Thuringian states of the Ernestine duchies, Wettin line, it joined Bavaria by popular vote only ...
opted for
Bavaria Bavaria (; German language, German and Bavarian language, Bavarian: ''Bayern'' ), officially the Free State of Bavaria (German and Bavarian: ''Freistaat Bayern''; ), is a Landlocked country, landlocked Federated state, state (''States of Germany ...

Bavaria
, Pyrmont joined
Prussia Prussia, , Old Prussian Distribution of the Baltic tribes, circa 1200 CE (boundaries are approximate). Old Prussian was a Western Baltic language belonging to the Balto-Slavic branch of the Indo-European languages The Indo-Europ ...

Prussia
in 1922, and Waldeck did so in 1929. Any later plans to break up the dominating Prussia into smaller states failed because political circumstances were not favourable to state reforms. After the
Nazi Party The Nazi Party, officially the National Socialist German Workers' Party (german: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei or NSDAP), was a far-right Far-right politics, also referred to as the extreme right or right-wing extremism, ...
seized power in January 1933, the increasingly lost importance. They became administrative regions of a centralised country. Three changes are of particular note: on January 1, 1934,
Mecklenburg-Schwerin The Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin was a duchy A duchy is a medieval In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of p ...
was united with the neighbouring
Mecklenburg-Strelitz The Duchy of Mecklenburg-Strelitz was a duchy A duchy is a medieval In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of ...
; and, by the
Greater Hamburg Act The Greater Hamburg Act (german: Groß-Hamburg-Gesetz), in full the Law Regarding Greater Hamburg and Other Territorial Readjustments (german: Gesetz über Groß-Hamburg und andere Gebietsbereinigungen), was passed by the government of Nazi German ...
() of 1937, the area of the city-state was extended, while
Lübeck Lübeck (; Low German Low German or Low Saxon (in the language itself: , and other names; german: Plattdeutsch, ) is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language variety spoken mainly in Northern Germany and the northeastern part of the ...
lost its independence and became part of the Prussian
province of Schleswig-Holstein The Province of Schleswig-Holstein (german: Provinz Schleswig-Holstein ) was a Provinces of Prussia, province of the Kingdom of Prussia (subsequently the Free State of Prussia after 1918) from 1868 to 1946. History It was created from the Duchi ...
. Between 1945 and 1947, new states were established in all four zones of occupation:
Bremen Bremen (, also ; Low German also: ''Breem'' or ''Bräm''), officially the City Municipality of Bremen (german: Stadtgemeinde Bremen, ), is the capital of the Germany, German States of Germany, state Bremen (state), Free Hanseatic City of Bremen (' ...
,
Hesse Hesse (, , ) or Hessia (, ; german: Hessen ), officially the State of Hessen (german: links=no, Land Hessen), is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U. ...
,
Württemberg-Baden Württemberg-Baden was a state of the Federal Republic of Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , languages_type = Official language , languages ...
, and
Bavaria Bavaria (; German language, German and Bavarian language, Bavarian: ''Bayern'' ), officially the Free State of Bavaria (German and Bavarian: ''Freistaat Bayern''; ), is a Landlocked country, landlocked Federated state, state (''States of Germany ...

Bavaria
in the
American zone Allied-occupied Germany (, literally "Germany in the occupation period") was the administration of Germany () upon defeat of Nazi Germany Nazi Germany, (lit. "National Socialist State"), ' (lit. "Nazi State") for short; also ' (lit. " ...
;
Hamburg
Hamburg
,
Schleswig-Holstein Schleswig-Holstein () is the northernmost of the 16 states of Germany The Federal Republic of Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , la ...

Schleswig-Holstein
,
Lower Saxony Lower Saxony (german: Niedersachsen ; nds, Neddersassen; stq, Läichsaksen) is a German state The Federal Republic of Germany, as a federal state, consists of sixteen partly sovereign federated states (german: Land (state), plural (st ...
, and
North Rhine-Westphalia North Rhine-Westphalia (german: Nordrhein-Westfalen, ; Low Franconian Low Franconian, Low Frankish, NetherlandicSarah Grey Thomason, Terrence Kaufman: ''Language Contact, Creolization, and Genetic Linguistics'', University of California Pre ...
in the
British zone Allied-occupied Germany (, literally "Germany in the occupation period") was the administration of Germany () upon defeat of Nazi Germany Nazi Germany, (lit. "National Socialist State"), ' (lit. "Nazi State") for short; also ' (lit. " ...
;
Rhineland-Palatinate Rhineland-Palatinate (german: Rheinland-Pfalz, ) is a western state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''T ...
,
Baden__notoc__ Baden (; ) is a historical territory in South Germany Southern Germany () as a region has no exact boundary but is generally taken to include the areas in which Upper German dialects are spoken. This corresponds roughly to the hi ...
,
Württemberg-Hohenzollern Württemberg-Hohenzollern (french: Wurtemberg-Hohenzollern ) was a West German ) , capital = Bonn The Federal city of Bonn ( lat, Bonna) is a city on the banks of the Rhine in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, w ...
and the
Saarland The Saarland ( , , ; french: Sarre ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper) ...
which later received a special status in the French zone;
Mecklenburg(-Vorpommern)
Mecklenburg(-Vorpommern)
,
Brandenburg Brandenburg (, also , ; nds, Brannenborg; dsb, Bramborska) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ...

Brandenburg
,
Saxony Saxony (german: Sachsen ; Upper Saxon Upper Saxon (german: Obersächsisch, ; ) is an East Central German East Central German (german: Ostmitteldeutsch) is the eastern, non-Franconian languages, Franconian Central German language, part o ...

Saxony
,
Saxony-Anhalt Saxony-Anhalt (german: Sachsen-Anhalt ; nds, Sassen-Anholt) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper) ...

Saxony-Anhalt
, and
Thuringia Thuringia (; german: Thüringen ), officially the Free State of Thuringia ( ), is a states of Germany, state of Germany. Located in central Germany, it covers , being the sixth smallest of the sixteen German States (including City States). It ...
in the
Soviet zone The Soviet Occupation Zone ( "East Zone"; , ''Sovetskaya okkupatsionnaya zona Germanii'', "Soviet Occupation Zone of Germany") was an area of Germany occupied by the Soviet Union as a communist area, established as a result of the Potsdam Agree ...
. In 1948, the military governors of the three
Western Allies : Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek Chiang Kai-shek (31 October 1887 – 5 April 1975), also known as Chiang Chung-cheng and Romanization of Chinese, romanized via Mandarin Chinese, Mandarin as Chiang Chieh-shih and Jiang Jieshi, was a Chin ...
handed over the so-called Frankfurt Documents to the minister-presidents in the Western occupation zones. Among other things, they recommended revising the boundaries of the West German states in a way that none of them should be too large or too small in comparison with the others. As the premiers did not come to an agreement on this question, the
Parliamentary Council The Parliamentary Council was a constitutional authority in Sri Lanka Sri Lanka (, ; si, ශ්‍රී ලංකා, Śrī Laṅkā, translit-std=ISO; ta, இலங்கை, Ilaṅkai, translit-std=ISO), formerly known as Ceylon, and o ...
was supposed to address this issue. Its provisions are reflected in Article 29. There was a binding provision for a new delimitation of the federal territory: the Federal Territory must be revised (paragraph 1). Moreover, in territories or parts of territories whose affiliation with a had changed after 8 May 1945 without a referendum, people were allowed to petition for a revision of the current status within a year after the promulgation of the Basic Law (paragraph 2). If at least one tenth of those entitled to vote in Bundestag elections were in favour of a revision, the federal government had to include the proposal into its legislation. Then a referendum was required in each territory or part of a territory whose affiliation was to be changed (paragraph 3). The proposal should not take effect if within any of the affected territories a majority rejected the change. In this case, the bill had to be introduced again and after passing had to be confirmed by referendum in the Federal Republic as a whole (paragraph 4). The reorganization should be completed within three years after the Basic Law had come into force (paragraph 6). In their letter to
Konrad Adenauer Konrad Hermann Joseph Adenauer (; 5 January 1876 – 19 April 1967) was a German statesman who served as the first Chancellor Chancellor ( la, links=no, cancellarius) is a title of various official positions in the governments of many nations. ...

Konrad Adenauer
, the three western military governors approved the Basic Law but suspended Article 29 until such time as a peace treaty should be concluded. Only the special arrangement for the southwest under Article 118 could enter into force.


Establishment of Baden-Württemberg

In southwestern Germany, territorial revision seemed to be a top priority since the border between the French and American occupation zones was set along the Autobahn Karlsruhe-Stuttgart-Ulm (today the A8). Article 118 stated "The division of the territory comprising
Baden__notoc__ Baden (; ) is a historical territory in South Germany Southern Germany () as a region has no exact boundary but is generally taken to include the areas in which Upper German dialects are spoken. This corresponds roughly to the hi ...

Baden
,
Württemberg-Baden Württemberg-Baden was a state of the Federal Republic of Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , languages_type = Official language , languages ...
and Württemberg-Hohenzollern into may be revised, without regard to the provisions of Article 29, by agreement between the concerned. If no agreement is reached, the revision shall be effected by a federal law, which shall provide for an advisory referendum." Since no agreement was reached, a
referendum A referendum (plural: referendums or less commonly referenda) is a direct Direct may refer to: Mathematics * Directed set In mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number th ...

referendum
was held on 9 December 1951 in four different voting districts, three of which approved the merger (
South Baden South Baden (german: Südbaden; ), formed in December 1945 from the southern half of the former Republic of Baden The Republic of Baden (german: Republik Baden) was a Germany, German state that existed during the time of the Weimar Republic, for ...
refused but was overruled, as the result of total votes was decisive). On 25 April 1952, the three former states merged to form Baden-Württemberg.


Petitions to reconstitute former states

With the Paris Agreements, West Germany regained (limited) sovereignty. This triggered the start of the one-year period as set in paragraph 2 of Article 29. As a consequence, eight petitions for referendums were launched, six of which were successful: * Reconstitution of the
Free State of Oldenburg The Free State of Oldenburg (german: Freistaat Oldenburg) was a federated state A federated state (which may also be referred to as a state, a province, a region, a canton, a (bundes)land, a governorate, an oblast, an emirate or a countr ...
12.9% * Reconstitution of the
Free State of Schaumburg-Lippe The Free State of Schaumburg-Lippe (german: link=no, Freistaat Schaumburg-Lippe) was created following the abdication of Prince Adolf II of Schaumburg-Lippe Schaumburg-Lippe, also Lippe-Schaumburg, was created as a county in 1647, became a prin ...
15.3% * Integration of
Koblenz Koblenz (), spelled Coblenz before 1926, is a Germany, German city on the banks of the Rhine and of the Moselle, a multi-nation tributary. Koblenz was established as a Roman Empire, Roman military post by Nero Claudius Drusus, Drusus around 8 ...
and
Trier Trier ( , ; lb, Tréier ), formerly known in English as Trèves ( ;) and Triers (see also names in other languages), is a city on the banks of the Moselle The Moselle ( , ; german: Mosel ; lb, Musel ) is a river A river i ...
into
North Rhine-Westphalia North Rhine-Westphalia (german: Nordrhein-Westfalen, ; Low Franconian Low Franconian, Low Frankish, NetherlandicSarah Grey Thomason, Terrence Kaufman: ''Language Contact, Creolization, and Genetic Linguistics'', University of California Pre ...
14.2% * Reintegration of
Rheinhessen Rhenish Hesse or Rhine-HesseDickinson, Robert E (1964). ''Germany: A regional and economic geography'' (2nd ed.). London: Methuen, p. 542. . (german: Rheinhessen) is a region and a former government district () in the States of Germany, German sta ...
into
Hesse Hesse (, , ) or Hessia (, ; german: Hessen ), officially the State of Hessen (german: links=no, Land Hessen), is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U. ...
25.3% * Reintegration of
Montabaur Montabaur () is a town and the district seat of the Westerwaldkreis in Rhineland-Palatinate Rhineland-Palatinate (german: Rheinland-Pfalz, ) is a western states of Germany, state of Germany. It covers and has about 4.05 million residents. It ...
into Hesse 20.2% * Reconstitution of
Baden__notoc__ Baden (; ) is a historical territory in South Germany Southern Germany () as a region has no exact boundary but is generally taken to include the areas in which Upper German dialects are spoken. This corresponds roughly to the hi ...
15.1% The last petition was originally rejected by the Federal Minister of the Interior in reference to the referendum of 1951. However, the
Federal Constitutional Court of Germany The Federal Constitutional Court (german: Bundesverfassungsgericht; abbreviated: ') is the supreme court, supreme constitutional court for the Germany, Federal Republic of Germany, established by the constitution or Basic Law for the Federal ...
ruled that the rejection was unlawful: the population of Baden had the right to a new referendum because the one of 1951 had taken place under different rules from the ones provided for by article 29. In particular, the outcome of the 1951 referendum did not reflect the wishes of the majority of Baden's population. The two
Palatine A palatine or palatinus (in Latin; plural ''palatini''; cf. derivative spellings below) is a high-level official attached to imperial or royal courts in Europe since Roman Empire, Roman times.
petitions (for a reintegration into Bavaria and integration into Baden-Württemberg) failed with 7.6% and 9.3%. Further requests for petitions (Lübeck, Geesthacht, Lindau, Achberg, and 62 Hessian communities) had already been rejected as inadmissible by the Federal Minister of the Interior or were withdrawn as in the case of Lindau. The rejection was confirmed by the Federal Constitutional Court in the case of Lübeck.


Saar: the little reunification

In the Paris Agreements of 23 October 1954, France offered to establish an independent "Saarland", under the auspices of the Western European Union (WEU), but on 23 October 1955 in the Saar Statute referendum, 1955, Saar Statute referendum the Saar electorate rejected this plan by 67.7% to 32.3% (out of a 96.5% turnout: 423,434 against, 201,975 for) despite the public support of Federal German Chancellor
Konrad Adenauer Konrad Hermann Joseph Adenauer (; 5 January 1876 – 19 April 1967) was a German statesman who served as the first Chancellor Chancellor ( la, links=no, cancellarius) is a title of various official positions in the governments of many nations. ...

Konrad Adenauer
for the plan. The rejection of the plan by the Saarlanders was interpreted as support for the Saar to join the Federal Republic of Germany. On 27 October 1956, the Saar Treaty established that Saarland should be allowed to join Germany, as provided by the constitution art. 23 for the Federal Republic of Germany. Saarland became part of Germany effective 1 January 1957. The Franco-Saarlander currency union ended on 6 July 1959, when the Deutsche Mark was introduced as legal tender in the Saarland.


Constitutional amendments

Paragraph 6 of Article 29 stated that, if a petition was successful, a referendum should be held within three years. Since the deadline passed on 5 May 1958 without anything happening, the Hesse state government filed a constitutional complaint with the Federal Constitutional Court in October 1958. The complaint was dismissed in July 1961 on the grounds that Article 29 had made the new delimitation of the federal territory an exclusively federal matter. At the same time, the Court reaffirmed the requirement for a territorial revision as a binding order to the relevant constitutional bodies. The Grand coalition (Germany), grand coalition decided to settle the 1956 petitions by setting binding deadlines for the required referendums. The referendums in Lower Saxony and Rhineland-Palatinate were to be held by 31 March 1975, and the referendum in Baden was to be held by 30 June 1970. The threshold for a successful vote was set at one-quarter of those entitled to vote in Bundestag elections. Paragraph 4 stated that the vote should be disregarded if it contradicted the objectives of paragraph 1. In his investiture address, given on 28 October 1969 in Bonn, Chancellor Willy Brandt proposed that the government would consider Article 29 of the Basic Law as a binding order. An expert commission was established, named after its chairman, the former Secretary of State Professor Werner Ernst. After two years of work, the experts delivered their report in 1973. It provided an alternative proposal for the two regions: the north and center-southwest. In the north, either a single new state consisting of Schleswig-Holstein, Hamburg, Bremen and Lower Saxony should be created (solution A) or two new states, one in the northeast consisting of Schleswig-Holstein, Hamburg and the northern part of Lower Saxony (from Cuxhaven to Lüchow-Dannenberg) and one in the northwest consisting of Bremen and the rest of Lower Saxony (solution B). In the center and southwest, one alternative was that Rhineland-Palatinate (with the exception of the Germersheim (district), Germersheim district but including the Rhine-Neckar region) should be merged with Hesse and the Saarland (solution C), the district of Germersheim would then become part of Baden-Württemberg. The other alternative was that the Palatinate (including the region of Worms, Germany, Worms) could be merged with the Saarland and Baden-Württemberg, and the rest of Rhineland-Palatinate would then merge with Hesse (solution D). Both alternatives could be combined (AC, BC, AD, BD). At the same time, the commission developed criteria for classifying the terms of Article 29 Paragraph 1. The capacity to perform functions effectively was considered most important, whereas regional, historical, and cultural ties were considered as hardly verifiable. To fulfill administrative duties adequately, a population of at least five million per state was considered as necessary. After a relatively brief discussion and mostly negative responses from the affected states, the proposals were shelved. Public interest was limited or nonexistent. The referendum in Baden was held on 7 June 1970. 81.9% of voters decided for Baden to remain part of Baden-Württemberg, only 18.1% opted for the reconstitution of the old state of
Baden__notoc__ Baden (; ) is a historical territory in South Germany Southern Germany () as a region has no exact boundary but is generally taken to include the areas in which Upper German dialects are spoken. This corresponds roughly to the hi ...
. The referendums in
Lower Saxony Lower Saxony (german: Niedersachsen ; nds, Neddersassen; stq, Läichsaksen) is a German state The Federal Republic of Germany, as a federal state, consists of sixteen partly sovereign federated states (german: Land (state), plural (st ...
and
Rhineland-Palatinate Rhineland-Palatinate (german: Rheinland-Pfalz, ) is a western state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''T ...
were held on 19 January 1975 (the percentages given are the percentages of those eligible who voted in favour): * reconstitution of the
Free State of Oldenburg The Free State of Oldenburg (german: Freistaat Oldenburg) was a federated state A federated state (which may also be referred to as a state, a province, a region, a canton, a (bundes)land, a governorate, an oblast, an emirate or a countr ...
31% * reconstitution of the
Free State of Schaumburg-Lippe The Free State of Schaumburg-Lippe (german: link=no, Freistaat Schaumburg-Lippe) was created following the abdication of Prince Adolf II of Schaumburg-Lippe Schaumburg-Lippe, also Lippe-Schaumburg, was created as a county in 1647, became a prin ...
39.5% * integration of Koblenz and Trier into
North Rhine-Westphalia North Rhine-Westphalia (german: Nordrhein-Westfalen, ; Low Franconian Low Franconian, Low Frankish, NetherlandicSarah Grey Thomason, Terrence Kaufman: ''Language Contact, Creolization, and Genetic Linguistics'', University of California Pre ...
13% * reintegration of Rheinhessen into Hesse 7.1% * reintegration of Montabaur region into Hesse 14.3% The votes in Lower Saxony were successful as both proposals were supported by more than 25% of eligible voters. The Bundestag however decided that both Oldenburg and Schaumburg-Lippe should remain part of Lower Saxony. The justification was that a reconstitution of the two former states would contradict the objectives of paragraph 1 of article 29 of the constitution. An appeal against the decision was rejected as inadmissible by the Federal Constitutional Court. On 24 August 1976, the binding provision for a new delimitation of the federal territory was altered into a mere discretionary one. Paragraph 1 of Article 29 was rephrased, with the provision that any state had to be "of a size and capacity to perform its functions effectively" put first. https://www.btg-bestellservice.de/pdf/80201000.pdf, constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany The option for a referendum in the Federal Republic as a whole (paragraph 4) was abolished, which meant territorial revision was no longer possible against the will of the population affected by it.


Reunited Germany, 1990–present

The debate on territorial revision restarted shortly before
German reunification German reunification (german: Deutsche Wiedervereinigung) was the process in 1990 in which the (GDR; german: Deutsche Demokratische Republik, DDR) became part of the (FRG; german: Bundesrepublik Deutschland, BRD) to form the reunited natio ...
. While academics (Rutz and others) and politicians (Gobrecht) suggested introducing only two, three, or four states in East Germany, legislation reconstituted New states of Germany, the five states that had existed until 1952, however, with slightly changed boundaries. Article 118a was introduced into the Basic Law and provided the possibility for Berlin and Brandenburg to merge "without regard to the provisions of Article 29, by agreement between the two with the participation of their inhabitants who are entitled to vote". Article 29 was again modified and provided an option for the states to "revise the division of their existing territory or parts of their territory by agreement without regard to the provisions of paragraphs (2) through (7)". The state treaty between Berlin and Brandenburg was approved in both parliaments with the necessary two-thirds majority, but in the popular referendum of 5 May 1996, about 63% voted against the merger.


Politics

Germany is a federal, parliamentary, representative democratic republic. The German political system operates under a framework laid out in the 1949 constitutional document known as the ''Grundgesetz'' (Basic Law). By calling the document the ''Grundgesetz'', rather than ''Verfassung'' (constitution), the authors expressed the intention that it would be replaced by a true constitution once Germany was reunited as one state. Amendments to the ''Grundgesetz'' generally require a two-thirds majority of both chambers of the parliament; the fundamental principles of the constitution, as expressed in the articles guaranteeing human dignity, the separation of powers, the federal structure, and the rule of law are valid in perpetuity. Despite the original intention, the ''Grundgesetz'' remained in effect after the German reunification in 1990, with only minor amendments.


Government

The Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Federation, federal constitution, stipulates that the structure of each Federated State's government must "conform to the principles of republican, democratic, and social government, based on the rule of law" (Article 28). Most of the states are governed by a Cabinet (government), cabinet led by a ''Minister president (Germany), Ministerpräsident'' (minister-president), together with a unicameral legislature, legislative body known as the ''Landtag'' (State Diet (assembly), Diet). The states are parliamentary republics and the relationship between their legislative and executive branches mirrors that of the federal system: the legislatures are popularly elected for four or five years (depending on the state), and the minister-president is then chosen by a majority vote among the ''Landtag''’s members. The minister-president is typically the head of the biggest party of a coalition. The minister-president appoints a cabinet to run the state's agencies and to carry out the executive duties of the state's government. Like in other parliamentary systems, the legislature can dismiss or replace the minister-president after a successful no-confidence vote. The governments in
Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inhabitants, as of 31 December 2019 makes it the List of cities in the European Union by ...

Berlin
,
Bremen Bremen (, also ; Low German also: ''Breem'' or ''Bräm''), officially the City Municipality of Bremen (german: Stadtgemeinde Bremen, ), is the capital of the Germany, German States of Germany, state Bremen (state), Free Hanseatic City of Bremen (' ...
and
Hamburg
Hamburg
are referred to as "Senate#Alternative meanings, senates". In the free state (government), free states of
Bavaria Bavaria (; German language, German and Bavarian language, Bavarian: ''Bayern'' ), officially the Free State of Bavaria (German and Bavarian: ''Freistaat Bayern''; ), is a Landlocked country, landlocked Federated state, state (''States of Germany ...

Bavaria
and Free State of Saxony, Saxony, the government is referred to as "state government" ''(Staatsregierung)''; and in the other states, the government is referred to as "Land government" ''(Landesregierung)''. Before January 1, 2000, Bavaria had a bicameral parliament, with a popularly elected Landtag of Bavaria, ''Landtag'', and a Senate made up of representatives of the state's major social and economic groups. The Senate was abolished following a
referendum A referendum (plural: referendums or less commonly referenda) is a direct Direct may refer to: Mathematics * Directed set In mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number th ...

referendum
in 1998. The states of Berlin, Bremen, and Hamburg are governed slightly differently from the other states. In each of those cities, the executive branch consists of a Senate of approximately eight, selected by the state's parliament; the senators carry out duties equivalent to those of the ministers in the larger states. The equivalent of the minister-president is the ''Senatspräsident'' (president of the senate), also commonly referred to as ''Bürgermeister'' (Mayor) in Bremen, the ''Erster Bürgermeister'' (first mayor) in Hamburg, and the ''Regierender Bürgermeister'' (governing mayor) in Berlin. The parliament for Berlin is called the ''Abgeordnetenhaus'' (House of Representatives), while Bremen and Hamburg both have a ''Bürgerschaft''. The parliaments in the remaining 13 states are referred to as ''Landtag'' (State Parliament).


Subdivisions

The
city-state A city-state is an independent sovereign Sovereign is a title which can be applied to the highest leader in various categories. The word is borrowed from Old French Old French (, , ; Modern French French ( or ) is a Romance la ...
s of Berlin and Hamburg are subdivided into Districts. The City of Bremen consists of two List of German urban districts, urban districts:
Bremen Bremen (, also ; Low German : : : : : , minority = (70,000) (30,000) (8,000) , familycolor = Indo-European , fam2 = Germanic Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples, an ethno-linguistic group identified by t ...
and Bremerhaven, which are not contiguous. In the other states there are the following subdivisions:


Area associations (''Landschaftsverbände'')

The most populous state of North Rhine-Westphalia is uniquely divided into two area associations (''Landschaftsverband, Landschaftsverbände''), one for the Rhineland, and one for Westphalia-Lippe. This arrangement was meant to ease the friction caused by uniting the two culturally different regions into a single state after
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
. The ''Landschaftsverbände'' now have very little power. The constitution of
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (MV; , Mecklenburgian nds, Mäkelborg-Vörpommern), internationally also known by its anglicized Linguistic anglicisation (or anglicization, occasionally anglification, anglifying, or Englishing) is the practice of mod ...

Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
at §75 states the right of Mecklenburg and Vorpommern to form ''Landschaftsverbände'', although these two constituent parts of the state are not represented in the current administrative division.


Governmental districts (''Regierungsbezirke'')

The large states of Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Hesse, and North Rhine-Westphalia are divided into governmental districts, or ''Regierungsbezirke''. In Rhineland-Palatinate, these districts were abolished on January 1, 2000, in Saxony-Anhalt on January 1, 2004, and in Lower Saxony on January 1, 2005. From 1990 until 2012, Saxony was divided into three districts (called ''Direktionsbezirke'' since 2008). In 2012, these districts' authorities were merged into one central authority, the '.


Administrative districts (''Kreise'')

The Districts of Germany ''(Kreise)'' are administrative districts, and every state except the city-states of
Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inhabitants, as of 31 December 2019 makes it the List of cities in the European Union by ...

Berlin
and
Hamburg
Hamburg
and the state of
Bremen Bremen (, also ; Low German also: ''Breem'' or ''Bräm''), officially the City Municipality of Bremen (german: Stadtgemeinde Bremen, ), is the capital of the Germany, German States of Germany, state Bremen (state), Free Hanseatic City of Bremen (' ...
consists of "rural districts" ''(Landkreise),'' District-free Towns/Cities (''Kreisfreie Städte'', in Baden-Württemberg also called "urban districts", or ''Stadtkreise''), cities that are districts in their own right, or local associations of a special kind ''(Kommunalverbände besonderer Art),'' see below. The state Free Hanseatic City of Bremen consists of two urban districts, while Berlin and Hamburg are states and urban districts at the same time. As of 2011, there are 295 ''Landkreise'' and 107 ''Kreisfreie Städte'', making 402 districts altogether. Each consists of an elected council and an executive, which is chosen either by the council or by the people, depending on the state, the duties of which are comparable to those of a county executive in the United States of America, United States, supervising local government administration. The ''Landkreise'' have primary administrative functions in specific areas, such as highways, hospitals, and public utilities. Local associations of a special kind are an amalgamation of one or more ''Landkreise'' with one or more ''Kreisfreie Städte'' to form a replacement of the aforementioned administrative entities at the district level. They are intended to implement simplification of administration at that level. Typically, a district-free city or town and its urban hinterland are grouped into such an association, or ''Kommunalverband besonderer Art''. Such an organization requires the issuing of special laws by the governing state, since they are not covered by the normal administrative structure of the respective states. In 2010 only three ''Kommunalverbände besonderer Art'' exist. * Hanover (district), District of Hanover: formed in 2001 from the rural district of Hanover and the district-free city of Hanover. * ''Regionalverband'' (district association) of Saarbrücken (district), Saarbrücken: formed in 2008 from the ''Stadtverband Saarbrücken'' (city association of Saarbrücken), which was formed in 1974. * Aachen (district), City region of Aachen: formed in 2009 from the rural district of Aachen and the district-free city of Aachen.


Offices (''Ämter'')

Amt (country subdivision), Ämter ("offices" or "bureaus"): In some states there is an administrative unit between the districts and the municipalities, called ''Ämter'' (singular ''Amt''), ''Amtsgemeinden'', ''Gemeindeverwaltungsverbände'', ''Landgemeinden'', ''Verbandsgemeinden'', ''Verwaltungsgemeinschaften'', or ''Kirchspiellandgemeinden''.


Municipalities (''Gemeinden'')

Municipalities of Germany, Municipalities (''Gemeinden''): Every rural district and every ''Amt'' is subdivided into Municipality, municipalities, while every urban district is a municipality in its own right. There are () 12,141 municipalities, which are the smallest administrative units in Germany. Cities and towns are municipalities as well, also having city rights or town rights (''Stadtrechte''). Nowadays, this is mostly just the right to be called a city or town. However, in former times there were many other privileges, including the right to impose local taxes or to allow industry only within city limits. The number of inhabitants of German municipalities differs greatly, the most populous municipality being
Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inhabitants, as of 31 December 2019 makes it the List of cities in the European Union by ...

Berlin
with nearly 3.8 million inhabitants, while the least populous municipalities (for instance, Gröde in Nordfriesland) have less than 10 inhabitants. The municipalities are ruled by elected councils and by an executive, the mayor, who is chosen either by the council or directly by the people, depending on the state. The "constitution" for the municipalities is created by the states and is uniform throughout a state (except for Bremen, which allows Bremerhaven to have its own constitution). The municipalities have two major policy responsibilities. First, they administer programs authorized by the federal or state government. Such programs typically relate to youth, schools, public health, and social assistance. Second, Article 28(2) of the Basic Law guarantees the municipalities "the right to regulate on their own responsibility all the affairs of the local community within the limits set by law." Under this broad statement of competence, local governments can justify a wide range of activities. For instance, many municipalities develop and expand the economic infrastructure of their communities through the development of industrial trading estates. Local authorities foster cultural activities by supporting local artists, building arts centres, and by holding fairs. Local government also provides public utilities, such as gas and electricity, as well as public transportation. The majority of the funding for municipalities is provided by higher levels of government rather than from taxes raised and collected directly by themselves. In five of the German states, there are unincorporated areas, in many cases unpopulated forest and mountain areas, but also four Bavarian lakes that are not part of any municipality. As of January 1, 2005, there were 246 such areas, with a total area of 4167.66 km2 or 1.2 percent of the total area of Germany. Only four unincorporated areas are populated, with a total population of about 2,000. The following table gives an overview. In 2000, the number of unincorporated areas was 295, with a total area of . However, the unincorporated areas are continually being incorporated into neighboring municipalities, wholly or partially, most frequently in Bavaria.


See also

* Cantons of Switzerland * Composition of the German State Parliaments * Elections in Germany * 2_euro_commemorative_coins#German_Bundesländer_series, German Bundesländer €2 coins * ''Landespolizei'' state police * List of cities in Germany * List of German states by area * List of German states by exports * List of German states by fertility rate * List of German states by GDP * List of German states by household income * List of German states by Human Development Index * List of German states by life expectancy * List of German states by population * List of German states by population density * List of German states by unemployment rate * List of states in the Holy Roman Empire, the German states prior to 1815 * List of subnational entities * States of Austria


Notes


References


External links


CityMayors feature on Germany subdivisions
{{DEFAULTSORT:States Of Germany States of Germany, Subdivisions of Germany Lists of subdivisions of Germany, States Administrative divisions in Europe, Germany 1 First-level administrative divisions by country Germany geography-related lists States of Germany-related lists,