Municipality (Austria)

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The 2,095  municipalities in Austria (as of January 1, 2020) are the lowest level of the administrative structure and are anchored in the federal constitution. In principle, according to Art. 116, Paragraph 1 of the Federal Constitutional Law in Austria, every area in the national territory belongs to a municipality . There are no unincorporated areas like in other states.

The federal capital Vienna and the other statutory cities are also municipalities, but their organizational structures and tasks differ considerably from the “normal” municipalities.

Concept of the community

The community as a local authority of local governments is generally in Austria congregation called the Federal Constitution local church . Occasionally, the term political municipality is used to make it more precise - for example to clarify the distinction between (political) municipality and cadastral municipality (measurement unit).

As a synonym, the community is also known as a commune . Above all, one speaks of municipal institutions or municipal taxes .

The local administrative level corresponds to LAU 2 in the European NUTS system .

Legal status and organization

There is no legal difference between small and large communities. A parish can consist of several places. The area of ​​a municipality usually comprises several cadastral municipalities in the land register , which, however, are independent of the political administration and are not necessarily congruent with the localities as geographical and statistical units. So it can happen that a community consists of only one place, but includes several cadastral communities. On the other hand, it is possible that a municipality comprises numerous cadastral municipalities, on whose area one or more places are in turn. This often has to do with the time of the respective community reforms and associated mergers .

Art. 120 B-VG provides for a grouping of local parishes into regional parishes based on the model of self-administration, but requires an implementation law in the form of a federal constitutional law, which, however, was never enacted.

Organs of the community

The organs of the municipality are:

  • The local council (in Vorarlberg and Salzburg: “local council”), which is elected by secret and direct election, is the decision-making and monitoring body. It is composed of the local councils . Lists of electoral parties are actually elected in municipal council elections. These are then assigned the mandates according to the d'Hondt process in proportion to the votes obtained. Only people who have stood as candidates on the nomination of an electoral party can be convened on the municipal council.
  • The municipality board (in municipalities “city council”, in cities with their own statute “city senate”), which is elected from among the municipal councils, is the executive body in its own sphere of activity. It consists of the mayor, the vice-mayors and other members.
  • The mayor is the executive body in the assigned sphere of activity. Depending on the state, the mayor is elected either by the local council or by direct election. There is currently direct election of mayors in six federal states: Burgenland , Carinthia , Upper Austria , Salzburg , Tyrol and Vorarlberg . At the end of 2019, 177 of the 2096 municipalities had female mayors (8.44%, see proportions of women from 2015 ).

For individual districts can be used as a direct representative of the mayor spot a mayor who can also come from among the councilors, are used.

Municipal office, market municipality office, city office and magistrate

Scharnitz municipal office in Tyrol

The managing authority of the municipality is the municipal office called in market towns Marktgemeindeamt in townships municipal office and Statutarstädten magistrate . The building in which the municipal administration is housed is called the town hall in municipalities and statutory towns, in other municipalities it is usually called the municipal office or market municipality office. In the case of municipalities that consist of several districts or cadastral municipalities, the municipal administration is usually located in the (name-giving) main town . Branch offices can be set up to enable the population in the other districts to have easy access to the local administration.

Community supervision

The municipalities are subject to legal supervision by the state, which is exercised by the state government and, in some cases, by the district authorities. The community supervision should ensure that the community does not violate the laws and ordinances applicable to it, that it does not exceed its sphere of influence and that it fulfills its tasks ( Art. 119a B-VG ). In addition, the municipal supervisory authority also checks the proper financial management of the municipalities. According to Art. 127a B-VG, municipalities with at least 10,000 inhabitants are also subject to control by the audit office . According to Art. 127c B-VG, the states can subject the municipalities with fewer than 10,000 inhabitants to the control of a possibly existing state audit office.

Community interest groups

The representation of cities and municipalities vis-à-vis the state and the federal government are the Austrian Association of Cities and the Association of Austrian Municipalities . Both interest groups have been expressly mentioned in the Federal Constitution since 1988 and recognized as representatives of the municipalities ( Art. 115 Para. 3 B-VG ).

While the Austrian Association of Cities was founded in 1915 and re-established in 1946, the Association of Austrian Municipalities has existed since 1947. City days as top meetings existed as early as 1887, the first Austrian Municipal Day was celebrated in 1948. Dual membership in both organizations is possible. For membership in the association of cities, it is not absolutely necessary that a municipality also bears the title of city; markets and communities with over 10,000 inhabitants are also represented by the association (e.g. the market town of Lustenau ).


The tasks of the municipality are regulated in the Austrian federal constitution and in the respective municipal regulations, which are state laws.

A distinction is made between statutory and voluntary tasks of a municipality. Statutory cities perform not only the tasks of a municipality but also those of the district administration ; the municipality of Vienna also carries out state tasks . Municipalities are complete legal entities (as regional authorities ) and can set up both companies and municipal associations to deal with their affairs .

Statutory duties

The municipalities have to perform a number of tasks that are assigned to them by federal or state law:

Some of these tasks fall within their own sphere of activity. The organs of the municipalities are not bound by any instructions from state authorities. The state authorities can only exercise legal supervision in these cases. In addition, there is a transferred scope. In these matters, the mayor - who is exclusively responsible in matters of the transferred sphere of activity - is bound by the instructions of the responsible state authorities (federal authorities, state authorities).

Voluntary tasks

In addition to the tasks assigned by law, the municipalities can also take on other tasks in the interests of their citizens. Examples of such tasks would be the establishment of:

In order to be able to carry out important tasks more efficiently, municipalities use the opportunity in many cases to voluntarily join together to form municipal associations . This happens for example:

  • in the context of municipal waste management to waste associations
  • in wastewater to wastewater associations
  • in the school system to school communities / school districts
  • in social welfare (in some federal states in the form of social welfare associations; mostly at district level)

Often municipalities also join together to form a citizenship association or registry office association or to form joint registry office and citizenship associations .

Parish name

In most cases, the municipality name is identical to the name of the largest town. In the course of the various community reforms, however, they may have been given an artificial , i.e. relatively new name, for example by adding additional information for easier localization, especially if the place name is more common. There are also double names of two settlements of the same size. If the municipality name does not correspond to a settlement name, it can hardly be found on a map or a place-name sign.

But there are also peculiarities in the spelling. The spellings in the registers of the respective state government may differ slightly from the geographical spellings of the Federal Office for Metrology and Surveying . For example, hyphens are left out in one case and added in the other; the same applies to prefixes such as St. and Santa . The s spelling can also differ, so that a place name is spelled with ß and ss the other time .

The names of districts, judicial districts and other authorities, schools or associations do not always match the name of the seat municipality, just as many localities and cadastral communities have a different name. Even the municipalities, Statistics Austria and the institutions mentioned sometimes have one or more different names for a municipality.


St. or Santa

In Austria, 147 municipalities have a municipality name with the name St. or Sankt as part of the name . Start from:

  • 85 with St.
  • 49 with Santa

Not included at the beginning of the community name:

Federal states
  • St. contain municipality names in Carinthia (13), Lower Austria (22), Upper Austria (40), Tyrol (9) and Vorarlberg (3)
  • Sankt contain municipality names in Burgenland (5) and Salzburg (10)
  • Both variants are only available in Styria: 4 St. and 41 Sankt .

Market communities, municipalities and statutory towns

The municipalities can be given the designation market municipality or the higher-ranking designation urban municipality on the basis of the municipal regulations of the federal states . In Styria, for example, Section 3 (1) of the municipal code stipulates that “municipalities with 10,000 inhabitants [...], which are characterized by their historical development and their current economic and demographic importance, are central locations in a larger area or point of attraction for the surrounding settlement structure, “can be raised to the municipality. In accordance with Section 3 (2) of the municipal code, a minimum number of 3,000 inhabitants applies to the survey as a market municipality, otherwise the same conditions apply. The state government is responsible for the survey of the market or city municipality. These titles are awarded solely for reasons of prestige for the municipality, but have no legal consequences. The designation of the municipalities as market or urban municipality is often of historical origin and is not related to their population. There are market communities with around 15,000 inhabitants, but also much smaller cities.

Municipalities that have not been raised to a market or city municipality ( “simple” municipalities ) officially only use the name municipality . The Statistics Austria they referred to as communities without status.

A distinction must be made between the census of the municipality and the granting of its own statute (town charter). Pursuant to Art. 116 Para. 3 B-VG, this is to be granted to a municipality with more than 20,000 inhabitants by provincial law upon their application, provided that the provincial interests are not endangered. A special feature of statutory cities, also called cities with their own statute, is their statute as a special organizational law that contains regulations that are regulated for all other municipalities in the state in the municipal code. The second essential peculiarity is that the cities with their own statute also take on the district administration and the municipality area also forms a district .

Territory changes

Territorial changes by municipalities occur either through consensual municipal council resolutions of the municipalities concerned and subsequent approval by the state government, or - even against the will of the affected municipalities - through state laws. The exact regulations for this are inconsistent in the individual federal states.

There are the following types of area changes by municipalities
  • Boundary change: All affected communities continue to exist, but changes in the community areas and boundaries occur as a result of area swaps or unilateral or multilateral assignments.
  • Association (merger, amalgamation): Two or more previously independent municipalities are merged into one municipality. Legally, the union creates a new congregation, even if it continues the name of one of its predecessor congregations. The new parish has the highest rank of the unified predecessor parishes (i.e., market or town parish, if applicable). Colloquially, one often speaks of large communities after amalgamations .
  • From the above associations are incorporations to distinguish where a community comes up completely in a different, more existing community; however, this is only the case in Austria in exceptional cases.
  • Separation: A church is separated into two or more new churches.
    • New construction: a special case of separation; In official parlance, a new establishment is sometimes used to describe the reversal of earlier mergers. Colloquially this is also referred to as rebuilding ; however, there is no legal continuity in such cases; z. B. a market right existing for a municipality before a merger does not automatically return to this municipality after the merger has been reversed; so that the designation new construction has its justification.
  • Division: A municipality is dissolved, its territory falls to two or more existing and remaining municipalities.
  • New formation: A community is formed from parts of existing, remaining communities.


A form of the municipality comparable to today has only existed in Austria since the provisional municipal law issued by Emperor Franz Joseph I on March 17, 1849 as an imperial patent for all of Cisleithania , i.e. all non-Hungarian countries of the Austrian Empire . Exceptions were in some cases the cities and markets that were previously directly subordinate to the sovereign.

The tasks of the communities, however, were until then under the responsibility of the respective landlord , who appointed a village judge for local business . This feudal system of mansions was abolished in 1848/49 as a result of the 1848 revolution .

The next regulation of the matter for the whole of Cisleithanien took place on March 5, 1862 with the law passed by the emperor and imperial council , with which the basic provisions for the regulation of the community system are outlined ; it was designated by the administration as the Reichsgemeindegesetz in order to distinguish it from the municipal ordinances issued on its basis by state laws .

The state of German Austria , which was established on October 30, 1918, decided in its Provisional National Assembly on December 18, 1918 that active and passive suffrage should be exercised regardless of gender . Women were now equal in elections. In addition, all men were now eligible to vote at the state and municipal level. Until then, the general and equal male suffrage, which was introduced throughout the state in 1907, had not been implemented by the federal states and municipalities.

In the Federal Constitutional Act that came into force in the Republic of Austria on November 10, 1920 , only principles for the structure of the municipalities were defined; As before, details were left to the state legislation.

From September 15, 1938 until the end of the Second World War , the German municipal code was in effect. With Article 1 of the Constitutional Transition Act of May 1, 1945, democratic Austrian constitutional law was restored.

Section 34 of the Provisional Constitution of May 1, 1945 referred to rural community ordinances and town ordinances to be enacted by law. Essentially, in the course of 1945, the statutory regulations (municipal ordinances) of the First Republic before 1934 were reinstated.

In 1962, the 1962 constitutional amendment was passed in the National Council. It contained the basic provisions of municipal self-government, under which the federal states had to lay down their municipal regulations in state laws. The amendment implicitly referred to the European Charter of Municipal Freedoms , which was adopted by the European municipalities in Versailles in 1954 . (It was made internationally legally binding by the European Charter of Local Self-Government, ratified by Austria and entered into force in 1988. )

Independently of this, in the second half of the 20th century, community reforms were carried out in some federal states, in which many communities were amalgamated. The communities were usually given the name of the largest town, but new community names were also created. The cadastral communities mostly kept their old names. However, these amalgamations repeatedly met with resistance from the population because the population structures did not fit together or because some places felt disadvantaged. Some congregations that were merged were divided again after decades. There are still very small communities with fewer than 100 inhabitants.

In 2011, the state government in Styria committed itself to considerably reducing the number of districts and municipalities as part of a structural reform . The trigger for these efforts was the high level of debt in the state and the consequent need to make substantial savings in the administrative sector. The merging of the districts took place from 2012 to 2013, that of the municipalities took effect in 2015.


Source for the entire section: Statistics Austria or for the areas: Federal Office for Metrology and Surveying (BEV)

Number of market or city parishes as well as statutory cities

Distribution of municipalities by type (as of January 1, 2020) :

state municipalities
in total
Ø inhabitants /
Burgenland 171 2 11 67 91 000000000001722.00000000001,722
Carinthia 132 2 15th 47 68 000000000004252.00000000004,252
Lower Austria 573 4th 72 327 170 000000000002939.00000000002,939
Upper Austria 438 3 29 151 255 000000000003402.00000000003,402
Salzburg 119 1 10 24 84 000000000004693.00000000004,693
Styria 286 1 34 122 129 000000000004358.00000000004,358
Tyrol 279 1 10 21st 247 000000000002716.00000000002,716
Vorarlberg 96 0 5 12 79 000000000004137.00000000004.137
Vienna 1 1 - - - 000000001911191.00000000001,911,191
Austria 2095 15th 186 771 1123 000000000003338.00000000003,338 / 000000000004249.00000000004,249 *

* Average values ​​without and with the city of Vienna, which can be regarded as a major city. Population as of January 1, 2020

Largest and smallest communities

for all population figures: as of January 1, 2020; for all areas: as of December 31, 2018

Largest and smallest municipalities according to inhabitants

"Simple" churches
Market towns
  • The smallest municipality is Rattenberg in Tyrol with 442 inhabitants.
  • The largest municipality (without its own statute) is Dornbirn in Vorarlberg with 49,872 inhabitants.
Statutory cities
  • The smallest statutory town is Rust in Burgenland with 000000000001980.00000000001,980 inhabitants.
  • The largest statutory city and at the same time the largest municipality at all is Vienna (also a separate federal state) with 1,911,191 inhabitants.

Largest and smallest municipalities by area

"Simple" churches
  • The smallest “simple” municipality is Röns in the Feldkirch district in Vorarlberg with 144.53 hectares.
  • The largest "simple" municipality in area and at the same time the largest municipality in general is Sölden in Tyrol with 46,688.73 hectares.
Market towns
Statutory cities
  • The statutory town with the smallest area is Rust in Burgenland with 2,000.97 hectares.
  • The statutory city with the largest area is Vienna with 41,483 ha.

See also


  • Hans Neuhofer: Municipal law: Organization and tasks of the municipalities in Austria . 2nd Edition. Springer's series of legal manuals . Springer, 1998, ISBN 978-3-211-82929-5 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ RIS - Federal Constitutional Law Art. 116 - Consolidated Federal Law, version of July 8, 2019. In: Retrieved July 22, 2019 .
  2. "As far as municipalities are mentioned in the following articles, this is to be understood as the local municipalities." Art. 115  (1) B-VG, Part Five, Self-Administration , A.  Municipalities ( ris.bka )
  3. for example: cadastral communities ,
  4. Data table: Our mayors. In: . Data status November 2019, accessed on December 16, 2019 ( single graphic 1999–2019 ).
  5. ↑ With regard to the market communities, cf. Market communities in Austria - from history to the present. In: Municipal. February 7, 2020, accessed February 15, 2020 .
  6. municipalities. Retrieved February 11, 2020 .
  7. ^ Wilhelm Rausch (ed.), Hermann Rafetseder: "Area and name changes of the municipalities of Austria since the middle of the 19th century." (Volume 2 of "Research on the history of cities and markets of Austria.") Austrian working group for urban history research, Linz 1989, pp. 21-27.
  8. RGBl. No. 170/1849 (p. 203)
  9. RGBl. No. 18/1862, p. 36.
  10. Sections 11 and 12, law of December 18, 1918 on the election regulations for the constituent national assembly, StGBl. No. 115/1918, p. 166 ff.
  11. Art. 116-120 B-VG, BGBl. No. 1/1920, p. 15 f.
  12. StGBl. No. 6/1945 , p. 7.
  13. StGBl. No. 5/1945, p. 8
  14. a b Neuhofer: Municipal law . 1998, p. 9 ( limited preview in Google Book Search [accessed April 23, 2009]).
  15. Federal Law Gazette No. 205/1962 , p. 1011
  16. Regional breakdowns
  17. Regional information
  18. CSV file from (1,221 kB) ; accessed on January 12, 2019