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In Germany, locality denotes both the organizational and legal status of a settlement .

In Austria , the locality is the basic unit of the settlement structure system.

In Switzerland , a locality is understood to be a delimited settlement area within the Postleit structure.


Term in German administrative law

In communities that have been enlarged through the incorporation of neighboring communities, official localities have often been and are set up - mostly in the delimitation of the former communities. In this case, it is a legal term that results from the respective municipal constitution or municipal code of the state. In particular, the formation of localities in the municipalities belonging to the district in Baden-Württemberg , Lower Saxony , North Rhine-Westphalia , Saxony , Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia is planned. Localities can consist of one or more villages or districts. The most by the main statute established a community villages have their own village representative, the Ortsrat (or Ortschaftsrat ), who is elected directly by most of the population in each municipal election. The chairman is the mayor or mayor . The local councils are to be heard on important matters affecting the locality, but they are usually not responsible for making a final decision. With the establishment of local councils one wants to alleviate the loss of independence of a community when it is integrated into a neighboring community.

In (larger) cities, the city ​​district is comparable to a locality , which usually also has its own representative body and can in turn be divided into districts and localities .

In Hesse and Rhineland-Palatinate, the terms local district , local advisory board and local director are used. There are two models of localities in Saxony-Anhalt: the local council model with local mayor and the local council model.

In Thuringia there are only localities within rural communities. There the local council can regulate a local constitution for one or more districts in the main statute, which means that local council and local mayor can be elected. There are no local councils or local mayors in rural Thuringian communities.

Sign 310

Road traffic law

In Germany there are for built-up areas within the meaning of the Road Traffic Act , a number of special provisions, such as a top speed of 50 km / hr for cars. A closed village begins with the place name sign (sign 310) , a rectangular yellow sign with the place name printed on it, and ends with a place name sign (sign 311) .


Definition and history

"A village is understood to be a set of houses that were originally held together by a common conscription numbering."

- Austrian Central Statistical Office (Ed.): The territorial basis of Austrian federal statistics . Vienna, 1987. p. 14.

With the recording of the population for the conscription , i.e. the census and the recruitment of soldiers, the settlements began in 1770 and house numbering was introduced, for which the settlements were divided into numbering sections or conscription locations and each house was assigned to such a section. The breakdown by locality goes back to these numbering sections.

In many cases, the origin of the localities as a numbering section is hardly recognizable any more, since the original conscription numbers have long been replaced by other numbering systems and street names , often street by street . Sometimes named streets, along which the houses are numbered today, even extend through several villages. In the middle of the 19th century, the political communities were created, and according to the municipal ordinances issued by the federal states, at least one municipal council resolution is required to amend the population of localities. Therefore, localities often remain even if they no longer have their own house numbering. Thus, the localization made by municipalities today is sometimes based solely on tradition or on other characteristics applied differently from municipality to municipality, for example on spatial separation or on the subdivision according to formerly independent political municipalities that was retained in the management of separate localities.

The assignment of orientation numbers (such as conscription number, house number) and the allocation of each inhabitable building to a locality is the task of the political communities. The resulting system of the central official settlement structure according to localities is integrated into the system of the Austrian administrative structure in such a way that it represents a subdivision of the municipalities.

"A municipality can consist of several localities or is identical to one locality."

- Austrian Central Statistical Office (Ed.): The territorial basis of Austrian federal statistics . Vienna, 1987. p. 14.

The locality in this statistical and administrative sense is therefore a subdivision of the populated area within the political municipality boundaries, with each municipality comprising at least one locality. If an original conscription location from the 18th century was cut up by the borders of political communities created from the middle of the 19th century, which happened particularly in Upper Austria and Carinthia, since then several localities have been kept for this place, separated by municipalities, mostly with the same name ( but with its own local code ), possibly with different exact spelling depending on the municipality. Although such localities were and are counted separately, they were provided with the note "locality share " in the local registers published by the Austrian Central Statistical Office until 1971 .

In the case of the tax or cadastral communities that followed the establishment of the conscription locations, the localization was often assumed. Especially in parts of Lower Austria and in Burgenland, there is still a 1: 1 ratio between localities and cadastral communities, so that colloquially there is often no distinction between the terms locality and cadastral community . But there is no legal identity between these units. The localities as the subdivision of the settlement system integrated into the political structure according to municipalities and the cadastral communities as the subdivision of the surveying system integrated into the territorial units of the judiciary are developing independently of one another. Localities can intersect the boundaries of cadastral communities (if these are not identical to the boundaries of political communities), and this is often the case in many parts of Austria.

The term locality as a statistical and administrative unit says nothing about the structure of the settlement; in particular, it does not assume a closed settlement. It is not uncommon for a village to include both a closed settlement and the surrounding scattered settlement area. No uniform objective standards were applied to the establishment of localities. The degree of subdivision into localities varies both according to the national or municipal formulations as well as according to the landscape structure of the settlement: In some areas every smallest closed settlement is an independent village; A village can only consist of a single house and has no residents; sometimes even after the last house of a village has been abandoned, the locality still exists legally for the time being. In other areas, localities comprise large areas and numerous small settlements with their own settlement names .

From the definition of the locality as a set of houses it follows that localities only have clear boundaries in the immediate populated area. On the other hand, it is not possible to separate the village into fields, forests and wastelands. The term locality does not coincide with the term local area used in the road traffic regulations .

Village signs

Wiel village sign (formerly Wielfresen municipality , Styria)

Previously, near the junction of the most important streets in a town, legible town signs had to be placed on the street, on which the name of the town, the municipality, the judicial district and the political district had to be given. Such town signs were in use from the early 19th century to the second half of the 20th century. They are not to be confused with the traffic sign place-name sign .

Linking rights to the status as a locality

In Tyrol - and only there - the establishment of a local committee and the appointment of a local chief is only possible for (remote) settlements that have the status of a locality. In the other federal states, municipalities are not bound to conform to the designated localities when setting up local parts in the sense of subdivisions under local law ( local parts , local administrative parts ).

Location and address

In rural areas , the place names still form the address range in the vast majority of cases , so that there the place also represents the smallest postal unit.

The town in the official statistics

The localities in the official statistics of Statistics Austria (STAT) are used as the ordering principle, which assigns a locality code to each locality.

Differences between statistical localities and the local division decided by the municipalities

Occasionally, the statistical breakdown by locality does not match the localities determined by the individual municipalities. The law on the census in Austria-Hungary of 1869 stipulated that districts and suburbs, if they had their own settlement name , could be identified as separate localities in the course of the census regardless of their existence as a conscription site, which then not only in connection with Cities, but in individual cases even with parts of the market. Conversely, the Central Statistical Office for Linz , for example , combined several conscription locations managed by the municipality into one location in the statistical sense over many decades. Vienna, on the other hand, was listed as a locality for a long time by the Central Statistical Office; In the meantime, Statistics Austria - unlike the municipality of Vienna - has 23 localities for Vienna, corresponding to the 23 municipal districts .

Locality code

On the part of Statistics Austria, all localities in Austria are provided with an identification number, the locality code, which - in contrast to the municipality code and the counting districts / counting districts / counting areas based on it - have no regional reference, but are numbered alphabetically within Austria.

Subdivision of localities

Territorially delimited group or individual settlements, which have topographically fixed names, but only represent parts of localities, were identified in the publications of the census results as localities ( OB ; plural OBB ) with the number of inhabitants and houses and with a topographical number until the 1990s Provide settlement identification . Since 2001, data has only been given for the entire town in the local directory ; the names of the former parts of the village are listed together with other settlement names (mainly house names) as settlement names following the data on the village

Statistical values

As of January 1, 2019, there were 17,187 localities in Austria's 2,096 municipalities , according to an overview by Statistics Austria .

In the table of residents compiled by Statistics Austria on May 21, 2019 (with population figures as of January 1, 2019), 17,208 villages appear, of which they had

  • 141 localities (0.82%) 0 (no) inhabitants (of which 62 are localities in Carinthia),
  • a total of 1,191 localities (6.9%) less than 10 inhabitants,
  • a total of 9,283 localities (53.9%) up to 100 inhabitants,
  • a total of 14,694 localities (85.4%) with up to 500 inhabitants.

The most populous places were accordingly

  • Linz with 205,726 inhabitants,
  • Favoriten (Vienna) with 204,142 inhabitants and
  • Donaustadt (Vienna) with 191,008 inhabitants.

Disadvantages of the settlement structure according to localities; Creation of other statistical breakdowns

Both localities and municipalities in Austria comprise an extreme range of inhabitants (localities: 0 to> 100,000 inhabitants; municipalities <100 to> 1 million inhabitants), so that meaningful statistical comparisons are difficult to make. The size of localities is also constantly changing as a result of population movements, whereas municipalities often keep the number of localities stable for as long as possible. In particular, due to the urban sprawl since the second half of the 20th century, the official subdivision of localities in some places only depicts historical terms of now merged residential areas. In addition, the actual size of settlement is not reflected in the statistical data on localities if localities are broken down into individual localities by taking into account political municipal boundaries. For these reasons, more modern statistical units were created that are independent of the settlement structure according to locality:

  • Counting districts , which - similar to the settlement structure by locality - are included in the administrative structure, despite the division and amalgamation of municipalities, enable comparison over longer periods of time and form Austria-wide territories with a similar number of inhabitants
  • Settlement units that represent contiguous built-up areas regardless of administrative boundaries, but only consider settlements with more than 501 inhabitants
  • Urban regions that - regardless of administrative boundaries - include important centers including the surrounding area, which serves as a residential area for the people who work in these core areas.

Different use of the term locality

Geographic term

A locality as a geographical term means settlement , a "coherent complex of settlements", "the entirety of the residential areas gravitating towards a common center." A locality in this sense can extend across municipal boundaries and in such a case is not separated into in the official maps Providing communities with names. Therefore, the Austrian CSB sided in the gazetteers and 1971 which lie in different political communities statistical places, the parts of such geographical localities represent, in each case with the suffix " Ortschafts portion", although they are counted as separate places.

Closed locality

In some laws the term locality was and is used in the sense of the closed locality . For example, not every statistical-administrative location is also a location within the meaning of the Pharmacy Act (ApG).


Entrance sign

In Switzerland , locality is officially spoken of when they have a geographically delimited settlement area with their own name and zip code. Local boundaries are often identical to municipal boundaries , but the relationship between municipalities, town and postcode is often more complicated. In some municipalities, the name of the village and the municipality differ, for example if the municipality name does not correspond to the main town. Many parishes also have several localities. However, localities in Switzerland are fundamentally independent of the municipal structure. The subdivision is, however, nationwide throughout Switzerland.

There is also a somewhat more extensive inventory of traditionally more important localities, which are also referred to as localities .

The most important official source is the list of localities in Switzerland according to the Ordinance on Geographical Names  (GeoNV). It was derived from the two locality registers of the Federal Office for Topography (swisstopo), which recorded the perimeter (delimitation) of the localities (approx. 4,100 localities), and the Federal Statistical Office (BfS), which primarily represented the names (2006 approx. 6,000 localities), and is now managed centrally by swisstopo .

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: Ortschaft  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Wilhelm Rausch: Area and name changes of the municipalities of Austria. (= Research on the history of cities and markets in Austria, Volume 2). Linz, 1989. p. 53.
  2. Municipal code for Baden-Württemberg , §§ 67–73.
  3. Lower Saxony Municipal Code, Sections 55e – 55i.
  4. ^ Municipal code for North Rhine-Westphalia , § 39.
  5. ^ Municipal Code for the Free State of Saxony (SächsGemO), §§ 65-69
  6. ^ Municipal code for Saxony-Anhalt , § 86
  7. Thuringian municipal regulations , §§ 45 and 45 a
  8. Anton Tantner: Order of houses, description of souls - house numbering and soul conscription in the Habsburg monarchy. Studien-Verlag Innsbruck 2007. Wiener Schriften zur Geschichte der Neuzeit, Volume 4. ISBN 978-3-7065-4226-5 . Based on the dissertation at the University of Vienna (PDF; 2.9 MB), Faculty of Humanities and Cultural Studies, 2004.
  9. a b c d e Austrian Central Statistical Office (Hrsg.): The territorial basis of Austrian federal statistics . Vienna, 1987. p. 14.
  10. a b Directory of places 2001 . Text part 1.  Regarding the systematic index number 5. Localities (abbreviated O) , p. 14 .
  11. a b c Wilhelm Rausch: Area and name changes of the municipalities of Austria. (= Research on the history of cities and markets in Austria, Volume 2). Linz, 1989. p. 54.
  12. Ernst Mischler: Census. in: Austrian State Dictionary. Fourth volume. Alfred Hölder, Vienna 1909 (2nd edition). P. 849f.
  13. a b Austrian Central Statistical Office (ed.): Local directory of Austria. Edited on the basis of the results of the census of March 21, 1961. Österreichische Staatsdruckerei, Vienna 1965. SX
  14. a b c Wilhelm Rausch: Area and name changes of the municipalities of Austria. (= Research on the history of cities and markets in Austria, Volume 2). Linz, 1989. p. 56.
  15. Province of Burgenland, overview of districts and communities: In Burgenland there are (as of 2019) 328 cadastral communities and 328 localities.
  16. ^ Wilhelm Rausch: Area and name changes of the municipalities of Austria. (= Research on the history of cities and markets in Austria, Volume 2). Linz, 1989. p. 44.
  17. a b “There is no connection between cadastral communities, settlement structure and census districts.” Directory 2001 . Text part 1.  Regarding the systematic index, item 13. Area information and cadastral communities , p. 16 .
  18. a b c Max Layer: locality. in: Austrian State Dictionary. Third volume. Alfred Hölder, Vienna 1907 (2nd edition). P. 761.
  19. In Upper Austria, the relevant provincial law was not repealed until 1991.
  20. § 57 Tyrolean municipal code
  21. the addresses of the properties contain u. a .: Name of the political municipality; Name of the place; Name of the street adjacent to the property (if available); the orientation number (house number, conscription number, etc.); Postcode and other information to make it easier to find the address such as vulgo and farm names; Annex, Section A Federal law, which creates a federal law on the building and housing register (GWR law) and changes the land surveying law. BGBl. I No. 9/2004 ; also Section 9a of the Surveying Act (VermG) on the address register , item (2) as amended;
    Definitions under state law can be found in: § 9 Paragraph 2 Burgenland Road Act  2005 ( marking of traffic areas and buildings ). Section 31, Paragraph 3 of Lower Austria Building Regulations  1996 ( orientation markings and street lighting ). Section 10 (2) Upper Austria. Road Act 1991. ( Marking of traffic areas and buildings ) Section 18 (2) Building Police Act 1997 ( orientation numbers ). Section 4 (2) Act on the designation of traffic areas and the numbering of buildings ( numbering of buildings ).
  22. In contrast to this, in Switzerland the postal aspect is still the legally causal basis of the concept of locality , in Germany it is referred to as the post office area - this expression is also occasionally found for addresses in Austria.
  23. a b Directory of places 2001 . Text part 1.  Regarding the systematic index, item 12. Identifiers for the territorial subdivisions , p. 16 .
  24. ^ A b Wilhelm Rausch: Area and name changes of the municipalities of Austria. (= Research on the history of cities and markets in Austria, Volume 2). Linz, 1989. p. 55.
  25. Statistics Austria (Ed.): Directory 2001 . (9 volumes, 2004/2004). ( STAT → Regional divisions - text part , joint explanation of the country volumes).
  26. ^ Statistics Austria: Localities.
  27. Statistics Austria: Population by locality January 1, 2019
  28. Austrian Central Statistical Office (ed.): The territorial basis of Austrian federal statistics . Vienna, 1987. pp. 9ff.
  29. Austrian Central Statistical Office (ed.): The territorial basis of Austrian federal statistics . Vienna, 1987. pp. 16f.
  30. Austrian Central Statistical Office (ed.): The territorial basis of Austrian federal statistics . Vienna, 1987. pp. 18f.
  31. ^ A b Joseph Ulbrich: Textbook of Austrian constitutional law. Carl Konegen, Vienna 1893. p. 251.
  32. ^ Max Layer: locality. in: Austrian State Dictionary. Third volume. Alfred Hölder, Vienna 1907 (2nd edition). P. 760.
  33. ^ Max Layer: locality. in: Austrian State Dictionary. Third volume. Alfred Hölder, Vienna 1907 (2nd edition). P. 763.
  34. So VwGH 96/10/0191 : The town of Zell (town of Kufstein), which is designated as a town by the municipality and the Central Statistical Office, is not to be regarded as a town in the sense of § 24 of the Act, since it is not “spatially from” “under topographical and structural aspects” other settlement areas represents a clearly delimited settlement area "and is therefore only part of a larger" closed locality ".
  35. SR 510.625 Art. 3 Definitions .
  36. Ordinance on Geographical Names (GeoNV) (as amended online, admin.ch ).