Districts of Germany

In all German states, except for the three city states, the primary administrative subdivision higher than a Gemeinde (Municipality) is the Landkreis (official term in all but two states) or Kreis (official term in the states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Schleswig-Holstein).[1] Most major cities in Germany are not part of any Kreis, but instead combine the functions of a municipality and a Kreis; such a city is referred to as a kreisfreie Stadt (literally "district-free city"; official term in all but one state) or Stadtkreis (literally "urban district"; official term in Baden-Württemberg).

Districts of Germany
Landkreis (German)
  • Also known as:
  • Kreis
  • Stadtkreis
Found inStates
Possible types
  • Rural District
  • Urban District
  • Kreistag

(Land-)Kreise stand at an intermediate level of administration between each German state (Land, plural Länder) and the municipal governments (Gemeinde, plural Gemeinden) within it.[2] These correspond to level-3 administrative units in the Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics (NUTS 3), and are roughly equivalent to counties in the United States.

Previously, the similar title Reichskreis (Imperial Circle) referred to groups of states in the Holy Roman Empire. The related term Landeskommissariat was used for similar administrative divisions in some German territories until the 19th century.

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