Unified Church

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Unified municipality is the name given to certain forms of municipal municipality types in individual federal states of Germany , in Austria and in some cantons of Switzerland .



In the Federal Republic of Germany, local law is a matter for the federal states. In this respect, the structures and terms differ from state to state. The term unified community for an independent (political) community - particularly when several districts there - who are to perform their administrative business does not have partnered with at least one other independent village to a larger administrative unit (eg in. Lower Saxony a " Samtgemeinde " ), is partly stipulated by law in individual federal states, but partly not provided for by law ( Bavaria ). In some federal states it is common language. In some cases, however, other names have also become established, e.g. B. in Hessen and Saarland the designation " Großgemeinde ".

Lower Saxony, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Bavaria

Unified community is the official name for a district belonging to a community that is not a member of an administrative community or association community (for Saxony-Anhalt ) or a joint community (for Lower Saxony ). The respective unified municipality carries out all municipal tasks in its own responsibility. In Brandenburg , this type of municipality is called an unofficial municipality .

Berlin, Hamburg

Due to the legal status of the two countries Berlin and Hamburg as city-states is unified community of the constitutional term for this is that the responsibilities of local authorities and a country there are not separate.


In Austria, due to the federal constitution, the fiction of a unified municipality applies to all municipalities , which is basically organized in the same way, regardless of whether the municipality is an industrial city or a small agricultural municipality. This could not be maintained for the federal capital Vienna , which is also set up as a federal state, and also not for cities with their own statute.

Pursuant to Article 116, Paragraph 3 of the Federal Constitutional Law (B-VG), a municipality with more than 20,000 inhabitants can, upon request, be granted its own statute by state law, provided that the state's interests are not endangered. The cities with their own statute have legal peculiarities compared to the unitary municipalities. This is first of all its own city law (statute) as a special organization law in which the state legislature can give the city a tailor-made constitution. For example, the statutes for Linz , Wels and Steyr, compared to the Upper Austrian municipal code, have a much less strict municipal supervision by the state of Upper Austria, additional organs such as the magistrate and the individual members of the city ​​senate and a completely different system of jurisdiction.


Federal coat of arms
Municipality in Switzerland


In Switzerland, the unified municipality is usually a political or resident municipality , on whose territory, apart from parishes, there are no special municipalities, i.e. municipalities in which all municipal tasks are performed by a single local authority. While such unified communes have long been the rule in French-speaking western Switzerland and the corresponding cantons only know communes without further specification, in the rest of Switzerland, apart from the previous situation in Canton Schwyz, they are communal forms of organization that are almost everywhere have only recently been created - with the aim of reducing the diversity of community types that essentially emerged in the 19th century. As a result of the pronounced municipal autonomy in (German) Switzerland, the municipalities are free to stay with the traditional municipality organization or to change the type of organization. Only in the cantons of Glarus and Thurgau were the unified municipalities declared binding by means of a revision of the cantonal constitution; in the canton of Schwyz, on the other hand, they were repealed through a more consistent separation of church and state.

Cantons of Solothurn, Bern and Jura

In the canton of Solothurn , a unitary municipality refers to a municipality in which the authorities of the resident municipality also take care of the tasks previously performed by the civil municipality (Municipal Law Sections 193–196 of 1992).

The canton of Bern (canton constitution Art. 107 and 120) and consequently also the canton of Jura, which was separated from Bern in 1979 (canton constitution Art. 120), have had legislation corresponding to Solothurn law since the 19th century, with the unified communes being mixed communes or communes mixtes are called. The vast majority of Bernese and Jura municipalities now belong to the mixed municipality type.

Cantons of St. Gallen and Nidwalden

In the canton of St. Gallen , a unified municipality is a municipality in which the political municipality runs the elementary school, i.e. has incorporated the previous school municipality (Municipal Act Art. 91 of 2009; Municipal Association Act Art. 52 of 2007).

In the canton of Nidwalden, too, the unitary community means a community where the previous school community has merged into the political community . This type of municipality is not mentioned in the cantonal constitution or in the municipal law, but only in Art. 57 of the Municipal Finance Budget Act of 2009.

Canton of Glarus

The cantonal constitution of the Canton of Glarus defines in Art. 122 (as amended on May 7, 2006) the Glarus municipalities as unitary municipalities. This name expresses that as of January 1, 2011, all previous state (non-church) types of parishes - local parishes, Tagwen, school parishes and welfare parishes - have been merged into three newly created parishes. In addition to or within these three municipalities, there have been no further state municipality types since then.

Canton of Thurgau

The canton Thurgau knew by 2000 in addition Munizipalgemeinden and local communities and united communities, their formation in 1851 was possible. At first the formation of unit congregations was limited to those cases where a municipal congregation comprised only a local congregation; In 1874 the merger became mandatory in these cases. Later, through the amalgamation of several local parishes with their municipal parish, further unified parishes were formed. The term "unitary community" was only created in 1944 in order to be able to distinguish it from the municipal communities with several local communities.

The municipal community emerged from the community of residents created in the Helvetic Republic and essentially corresponded territorially to the parishes . Above all, it carried out tasks delegated by the state, such as civil status and taxation, the local community was, etc. a. responsible for local infrastructure and civil rights .

The cantonal constitution of 1987 reorganized the community system and abolished community dualism with municipal and local communities. The concept of the unified church has thus become obsolete; the now unified municipalities are called " political municipality ".

Canton of Schwyz

In the canton of Schwyz , the unified community introduced with the constitution of 1848 was a community until the end of the 20th century, in which the organs of the political community also took care of the local Roman Catholic church system (earlier version of sections 86 and 91 of the cantonal constitution of 1898) . With a change adopted in 1992, the Canton Constitution of the type of unit Municipality was abolished by a Roman Catholic and a Reformed Cantonal Church (public then regional church ) was formed, each in independent congregations are divided. With the entry into force of the organizational statute of the Roman Catholic cantonal church, the unified congregations that still existed at that time were consequently dissolved.

Other cantons

In other cantons, too, such as the canton of Zurich , the term “unified communes” is sometimes used when referring to the integration of school communes or civil communes into political or resident communes. In these cases, however, it is not a fixed term of the respective cantonal constitutional law.

Individual evidence

  1. The Bavarian municipal code does not recognize the term unitary community .
  2. ^ Andreas Kost, Hans-Georg Wehling (Ed.): Local politics in the German states: An introduction. VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften , 2nd edition, 2010. Pages 149–156. ISBN 9783531170077 .
  3. ^ A b André Salathé: Unified Church. In: Historical Lexicon of Switzerland .
  4. ^ A b André Salathé: Munizipalgemeinde. In: Historical Lexicon of Switzerland .
  5. ^ André Salathé: local parish. In: Historical Lexicon of Switzerland .