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Large district town is a term from German municipal law . In some federal states, it is a special legal status of a generally larger municipality belonging to a district , which has certain additional responsibilities compared to the other municipalities belonging to the district. This special status is based on a sovereign grant. On the one hand, independent cities (urban districts) can be downgraded to large district towns by incorporation into a district for reasons of public welfare by law or ordinance , as has happened in the context of local government reforms . On the other hand, municipalities belonging to the district can, on their own application, obtain the status of a large district town by means of a statutory ordinance of the state or state ministry of the interior, which can only be granted from a certain minimum number of inhabitants. When considering whether a municipality belonging to a district should become a major district town, the State Ministry of the Interior must take into account the extent to which the municipality concerned can properly fulfill its tasks with its performance and administrative capacity. Large district towns do not necessarily have to be district towns (seat of the district office ).

Large district towns in Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Saxony and Thuringia

In Baden-Wuerttemberg , Bavaria and Saxony these cities with special status are called large district towns . In Thuringia , the designation large district town exists parallel to the cities belonging to the large district . In general, large district towns still belong to the district , but sometimes take on tasks that the district otherwise does. The population limit is regulated differently. In Baden-Württemberg it is 20,000, in Saxony 17,500 and in Bavaria 30,000 inhabitants. Once a city has reached the relevant number of inhabitants, it can apply to the state government for the status of large district town . As a rule, this request is then granted and the city is declared a major district town. For municipalities that were not yet a city , this declaration is automatically linked to city ​​law . If the number of inhabitants falls below the respective number, the city still retains the status of a large district town (e.g. Giengen an der Brenz in Baden-Württemberg).


A population of at least 20,000 applies here. On April 1, 1956, when the municipal code came into force, all cities with more than 20,000 inhabitants were declared major district towns . In the meantime, most of the former district towns have the status of large district town because they have mostly crossed the border through incorporations. Only the current district towns of Künzelsau , Sigmaringen and Tauberbischofsheim and the former district towns of Buchen (Odenwald) , Hechingen , Neustadt in the Black Forest (today Titisee-Neustadt ), Müllheim (Baden) , Münsingen , Bad Säckingen , Bad Saulgau , Stockach , Tettnang and Wolfach are none Large district towns because they have fewer than 20,000 inhabitants. The mayor of a district town bears the official title as Bayern mayor . There are currently 94 large district towns in Baden-Württemberg.

According to their task, large district towns in Baden-Württemberg are basically " lower administrative authorities ", i. In other words, they also perform tasks for the rural districts (to which they continue to belong) or comparable urban districts. However, which tasks are still taken over by the district is finally regulated in Section 19 of the Baden-Württemberg State Administration Act. These include As the national essence , supervision in the civil status and the civil protection and civil defense .


In Bavaria , the status of a large district town was introduced with the district reform on July 1, 1972 by the 2nd law to strengthen local self-government of December 15, 1971. The day before, Bavaria still had 48 independent cities , of which 23 lost their district freedom and were incorporated into the surrounding or newly formed districts. These 23 previously independent cities had proven to be too weak to be able to carry out all the tasks of a district and a district administrative authority (tasks of general and internal administration, building management, security administration, etc.) on behalf of the state in addition to their normal municipal tasks. On the other hand, they had a higher productivity and administrative capacity than the previous “normal” district communities. Therefore, one wanted to leave some tasks to the municipalities integrated into the districts that go beyond those of a "normal" municipality belonging to the district. Thus, on July 1, 1972, these 23 cities became “major district cities”.

In addition to these status changes brought about by the incorporation of urban districts into rural districts, six municipalities belonging to the district have also been elevated to major district towns in Bavaria: Dachau by ordinance of January 4, 1973, Dinkelsbühl and Donauwörth by law of November 26, 1997, Germering by ordinance of 19 August 2004 with effect from October 1, 2004 and Fürstenfeldbruck by ordinance 2006. On January 1, 2013, Erding became the last Bavarian town with more than 30,000 inhabitants to become a major district town.

A parliamentary act was required for the cities of Dinkelsbühl and Donauwörth, since according to the Bavarian municipal code, the elevation of a municipality to a major district town is only possible with a population of 30,000 or more. Both of the former Free Imperial Cities are former independent cities, which, however, lost their status in 1940 and therefore did not become large district cities in 1972. Thus there are currently 29 large district towns in Bavaria. The smallest large district town is Rothenburg ob der Tauber with 10,926 inhabitants (as of December 31, 2013).

According to Art. 9 Para. 2 of the Bavarian Municipal Code, the large district town assumes responsibilities as municipal tasks in the assigned sphere of activity, which are otherwise to be performed by the District Office as the lower state administrative authority. The specific scope of the responsibilities transferred to the large district towns in comparison to the other district municipalities is regulated in the ordinance on tasks of the large district towns (GrKrV). The numerous responsibilities assigned include in particular the tasks of the lower building supervisory authority, water law, the lower road traffic authority, restaurant law and individual tasks according to the trade regulations. The tasks of the local community's own sphere of activity, such as hospitals, district roads and administrative expenses for secondary schools, on the other hand, also remain with the district in large district towns.

In Bavaria, a distinction must be made between the large district towns and the efficient municipalities belonging to the district, which have only been assigned tasks on behalf of the state in the field of building supervision and water law.

The mayor of a large district city is as in Baden-Württemberg the grade Mayor , as in Art. 34, para. 1, sentence 2 GO set.


A minimum population of 17,500 applies here as a prerequisite for cities to be declared major district cities by the state government at their request if they guarantee the proper fulfillment of the associated tasks. In addition, cities with fewer than 17,500 inhabitants, which lost the function of the district seat in the course of the district reforms of 1994/1996 and 2008, were able to acquire the status of a large district town. The responsibilities of the large district towns are published in accordance with Section 3 (1) of the Saxon Municipal Code in the ordinance of the Saxon state government on the responsibilities of the large district towns of June 30, 2011 (SächsGVBl. P. 202). This means that tasks from trade law and road traffic regulations are transferred.


In Thuringia there is no minimum number of inhabitants for large district towns. In accordance with Section 6, Paragraph 3a of the Thuringian Municipal Code, the title is awarded to those cities that can be incorporated into a district as independent cities and are not designated as a district seat. Furthermore, the transfer of tasks from the responsibility of a district to a large district town is possible by law. This was legally decided on the occasion of Eisenach's integration into the Wartburg district on January 1, 2022 in the plenary meeting on September 12, 2019.

Comparable cities in other federal states

Similar names from other federal states are:

See also

Individual evidence

  1. Bavarian Ordinance on Tasks of the Large District Cities (GrKrV)
  2. Printed matter 6/7072 (PDF) Thuringian Landtag. May 8, 2019. Retrieved September 16, 2019.