Administrative division of Lithuania

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The administrative division of Lithuania has four levels, in descending order Apskritis ("district"), Savivaldybė ("self-government", "municipality"), Seniūnija (municipality part, "office", literally "body of elders") and Seniūnaitija (linguistically a diminutive of Seniūnija ) . On July 1, 2010, however, the administrations of Apskritys were dissolved and their functions were partly taken over centrally by the ministries of the Republic of Lithuania, partly by the Savivaldybės.

In addition to the regional authorities, there are also Miestas (“town”, mostly over 1000 inhabitants), Miestelis (“small town”, around 500 inhabitants) and Kaimas (“village”, around 400 to less than 100 inhabitants) as statistical units, depending on the size and settlement structure . A city can be its own self-governing municipality, form a subgroup of Seniūnijai of a larger municipality, be a separate municipality or lie together with other places in a “rural” municipality.

In Lithuanian, place names are actually used in the genitive case of administrative units such as statistical units (analogous to French: “ville de Paris”, département “du Tarn”), the city of Klaipėda, literally “Klaipėdaer Stadt” ( Klaipėdos miestas ) is therefore located as “Klaipėda municipality ”( Klaipėdos miesto savivaldybė ), surrounded by the“ Klaipėdos rajono savivaldybė ”, in the“ Klaipėda District ”( Klaipėdos apskritys ).

Self-government division of Lithuania

Local authorities


Division into districts

Lithuania is divided into ten districts ( apskritys , Sg . : apskritis ), which are named after their respective capital . The apskrities viršininkas (district heads ) were set up by the government of Lithuania . There were no elected bodies at this level. Apskritys were the administrative units in Lithuania. The administrations of the districts were canceled without replacement on July 1, 2010, their functions were transferred partly to the ministries of the Republic of Lithuania, partly to the Savivaldybės (self-governing communities). The districts have only remained as territorial units:

Self-governing communities

Self-governing division of Lithuania:
  • Borough
  • Rajong Parish
  • without additional designation
  • The level below are the 60  self-governing bodies ( Lithuanian Sing. Savivaldybė , plural Savivaldybės ), which combine characteristics of German districts and (velvet) communities. They are the only level with self-governing bodies, i.e. councils and mayors. These self-governing municipalities are divided into 7 municipalities ( Miesto Savivaldybė ), 43 Rajongemeinden ( Rajono Savivaldybė ) and 10 genuine municipalities ( Nauja Savivaldybė ) without additional designation. The Rajonggeminden emerged from earlier Rajons (such as "districts"), the communities without additional names were redesigned when the current administrative structure was created.


    "Genuine" communities

    Without additional designation: Birštonas , Druskininkai , Elektrėnai , Kalvarija , Kazlų Rūda , Marijampolė , Neringa , Pagėgiai , Rietavas and Visaginas

    District parishes

    Akmenė , Alytus , Anykščiai , Biržai , Ignalina , Jonava , Joniškis , Jurbarkas , Kaišiadorys , Kaunas , Kėdainiai , Kelmė , Klaipėda , Kretinga , Kupiškis , Lazdijai , Mažeikiai , Molėtai , Pakruojis , Panevezys , Pasvalys , Plungė , Prienai , Radviliškis , Raseiniai , Rokiškis , Skuodas , Šakiai , Šalčininkai , Šiauliai , Šilalė , Šilutė , Širvintos , Švenčionys , Tauragė , Telšiai , Trakai , Ukmergė , Utena , Varėna , Vilkaviškis , Vilnius and Zarasai

    Parish parts


    The level under the self-governing communities are the more than 500 administrative districts ( Nom. Sg .: Seniūnija , literally translated rather "Elders"). In terms of their function, they can also be referred to as “offices”, because at this level no political decisions are made, but bureaucratic services are provided and social services are organized. Communities of all three types are divided into such Seniūnijos . Examples of administrative districts (higher-level self-governing municipalities in brackets):

    Seniūnija as part of municipalities can also be translated as “city district”. In the Seniūnijos of rural communities, miesto seniūnija (urban part of the municipality, “city office”) are differentiated from ordinary Seniūnijos, sometimes called kaimiškoji seniūnija (literally “village elders”). Every common seniūnija comprises several settlements, including one or two cities if necessary. Some Seniūnija , which borders on a city office of the same name or a municipality of the same name, is also referred to as aplinkių seniūnija ("surrounding office", "surrounding office").


    In the small communities Druskininkai , Neringa and Palanga , the core city is excluded from the Seniūnijos system . Birštonas , which is just as small in population, has no seniūnijos at all , just like the municipalities of Panevėžys and Visaginas .

    Of the large municipalities, only Vilnius and Kaunas are divided into Seniūnijos , the others into smaller units, called in Alytus Mikrorajonai , in Klaipėda Mikrorajonai or Gyvenamųjų Rajonai ("Siedlugsrajons"), in Šiauliai Miesto Rajonai ("Stadtrajons").


    Administratively, urban and rural Seniūnijos are divided into Seniūn ait ijos (singular Seniūnaitija , linguistically a diminutive of Seniūnija ), which could be translated as “subdistricts” or “Sprengel”, or in urban areas as “neighborhoods” and in rural areas as “ peasant communities ".

    Statistical units

    City - town - village

    In addition to the four-level pyramid of local authorities, there are cities and villages as statistical units with names as they were traditionally used for municipalities. The Lithuanian differentiates between these gyvenvietė (settlement) between miestas (town), miestelis (small town), kaimas (village) and vienkiemis ( single farm ).

    In terms of population, there is an overlap between town (over 100,000 to under 1000 inhabitants), town ( miestelis , around 500 to over 4000 inhabitants), village ( kaimas , around 1000 to under 10 inhabitants) and single farm ( vienkiemis , up to 0 inhabitants) ). The villages on the Curonian Spit combined to form the municipality of Neringa are not designated as a village as statistical units.

    While the term “city” used to describe the legal status of a municipality, in today's Lithuania the term city ( miestas ) says nothing about the legal status.

    Integration into the local authorities

    For a better understanding, the integration of the statistical unit city into the structure of the regional authorities is shown as a list:

    • City as a separate self-governing municipality : Miesto Savivaldybė (“City Municipality”) or self-governing health resort . Each Seniūnija of these communities is automatically a Miesto Seniūnija
    • City in a larger self-governing municipality, both Rajongemeinde and other municipality:
      • City as a separate administrative district: Miesto Seniūnija . Both the core city and every other city in a municipality can have this status. The core city can also consist of more than one Miesto Seniūnija in a Rajongemeinde .
      • City in a larger Seniūnija . The core city of a municipality can also be located in a larger Seniūnija together with villages . It is then always the seat of this administrative district.
      • A town is by no means always the seat of the administrative district in which it is located. There can also be more than one Miestelis in a Seniūnija .


    For example, the district municipality of Vilkaviškis has 48,400 inhabitants in statistical units

    • 3 Miestai (cities),
    • 4 Miesteliai (town) and
    • 384 Kaimai (villages).

    The three towns in the municipality are Vilkaviškis with 12,700 inhabitants, Kybartai with 6,100 and Virbalis with 1,200. In terms of the administrative structure, it consists of 12  Seniūnijos (municipal districts), namely the municipality part Vilkaviškis-Stadt ( Vilkaviškio Miesto Seniūnija , divided into 6  Seniūnaitijos ) and 11 rural municipal parts ( Kaimo Seniūnijos ), in which the other two cities and all smaller settlements are combined .

    The city of Marijampolė consists of three of the nine seniūnijos of the Marijampolė district.

    Historic regions

    Historic regions of Lithuania

    In addition to the districts, there is also a historical division without today's political significance:

    The designation "Little Lithuania" is ambiguous: In addition to Memelland, northeastern East Prussia, which was populated by Lithuanian-speaking people before 1945, which was also known as Prussian Lithuania or, before the establishment of the Lithuanian state, simply as Lithuania (the area corresponds to large parts of the former government district Gumbinnen ).


    1. In the centuries before Russian rule, the bureaucracy in Lithuania did not write in Lithuanian, but in Ruthenian and Polish . therefore one can see in seniūnija (from senas , German: "old") a translation of the Polish term starostwo ("Starostei"), although a starosta (" Starost ", derived from stary / "old") corresponded to a district administrator So the administrative district was a powiat , something like "district".