There are 439 German districts, administrative units in Germany. The districts are at an intermediate level of administration between the Länder (German states) and the local / municipal levels (Gemeinden).
The majority of the districts are rural districts, Landkreise, of which there are 323. Cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants (and in some Länder smaller towns) do not usually belong to a district but take over district responsibilities themselves - similar to the concept of independent cities These are known as urban districts (Kreisfreie Städte / Stadtkreise) - cities which constitute a district in their own right, and there are currently (2004) 116 of them, bringing the total number of districts to 439. In North Rhine-Westphalia, there are some cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants which are not urban districts, for example Recklinghausen, Siegen and Neuss.
The districts are responsible for the following:
according to federal and regional laws:
the building and upkeep of B roads
other building plans which cover more than one local authority's area
caring for national parks
the building and upkeep of hospitals
the building and upkeep of state institutes of secondary education
electing the Landrat or Landrätin, the chairperson of the district
according to local laws: (differ in each region)
financial support for culture
the building of pedestrian zones and bicycle lanes
financial support for school exchanges
the building and upkeep of public libraries
revitalisation of the economy
the management of Volkshochschulen (state run adult education colleges)
All these tasks are carried out by local (municipal) authorities operating together. Urban districts have these responsibilities and also those of the municipalities.
The district parliament, the Kreistag, consists of representatives of all the districts in one Land; its chairman is known as the Landrat. The parliament is elected directly every five years, except in Bavaria where it is elected every six years, and in Schleswig-Holstein, where it is every four years.
We should add all districts to this list, which were either completed or begun; otherwise it is likely, that we lose track of things, since there are 431 articles to be created.
It is bounded by (from the northwest and clockwise) the state of Hesse and the districts of RhÃ¶n-Grabfeld, Schweinfurt and Main-Spessart.
Reason for this is that in those districts I edit I list the districts (and for neighboring countries the provinces, departements or whatever, if I can find them), while Cordyph in his does ones only list the states beyond the boundary.
Even though the German language and the feeling of "Germanhood" go back many centuries, the region now known as Germany was only formally created in 1871, when the German Empire emerged from the northern part of the German Confederation, which was dominated by Prussia.
The war ended in 1918, and the German emperor was forced to abdicate.
The recent adoption of a common European currency and the general political and economic integration of Europe are thought to bring major changes to the German economy in the early 21st century.
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