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Burgomaster: Wikis


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Burgomaster (alternatively spelled Burgomeister, literally translated meaning master of the town, borough or master of the fortress) is the English form, rendering various terms in or derived from Germanic languages for the chief magistrate and/or chairman of the executive council of a sub-national level of administration. All contemporary titles are commonly translated into English with the Anglo-Saxon equivalent of Town Mayor.


Municipal government

  • Bürgermeister, in German: in Germany, Austria, and formerly in Switzerland. In Switzerland, the title was abolished mid-19th century; various current titles for roughly equivalent offices include Gemeindepräsident, Stadtpräsident, Gemeindeammann, and Stadtammann.
    • Oberbürgermeister ('Supreme Burgomaster') is the most common version for a mayor in a big city. The Ober- (lit. upper) prefix is used in many ranking systems for the next level up including military designations. The mayors of cities, which simultaneously comprise one of Germany's 112 urban districts usually bear this title. Urban districts are comparable to independent cities in the English-speaking world. However, also the mayors of some cities, which do not comprise an urban district, but often used to comprise one until the territorial reforms in the 1970s, bear the title Oberbürgermeister.
  • Borgmester (Danish)
  • Borgomastro o Sindaco-Borgomastro (Italian): in few communes of Lombardy
  • Burgemeester in Dutch: Belgium (also Bourgmestre in French; a party-political post, though formally nominated by the regional government and answerable to it, the federal state and even the province) and in The Netherlands nominated by the municipal council but appointed by the crown. In theory above the parties, in practice a high profile party-political post.
  • Bourgmestre (French) in Belgium, Luxembourg and the Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Burmistras (Lithuanian), derived from German.
  • Buergermeeschter (Luxembourgish)
  • Polgármester (Hungarian), derived from German.
  • Posadnik (Old Church Slavic) Russian local title (Novgorod)
  • Burmistrz (Polish), a mayoral title, derived from German. The German form Oberbürgermeister ('Supreme Burgomaster') is often translated as Nadburmistrz. The German-derived terminology reflects the involvement of German settlers in the early history of many Polish towns.
  • Borgmästare, kommunalborgmästare (Swedish); the title is not used in Sweden in present times, the closest equivalent being kommunalråd (often translated to English as Municipal commissioner) or borgarråd (only in Stockholm City).
  • Boargemaster (West Frisian)
  • Pormestari (Finnish)

City state government

  • In history (sometimes until the beginning of the 19th c.) in many Free Imperial Cities (such as Bremen, Hamburg, Lübeck etc.) the function of burgomaster was usually held simultaneously by three persons, serving as an executive college. One of the three being burgomaster in chief for a year (called in some cases in German: präsidierender Bürgermeister; in English: presiding burgomaster), the second being the prior burgomaster in chief, the third being the upcoming one. Präsidierender Bürgermeister is now an obsolete formulation sometimes found in historic texts.
  • In an important city, especially in a city state (Stadtstaat), where one of the Bürgermeister has a rank equivalent to that of a minister-president (Governor (US)), there can be several posts called Bürgermeister in the city's executive college, justifying the use of a compound title for the actual highest Magistrate (also rendered as Lord Mayor), such as:
    • Regierender Bürgermeister (literally 'Governing Burgomaster' commonly translated as 'Lord Mayor') in West Berlin and reunited Berlin, while in Berlin the term Bürgermeister without attribute refers to the heads of its 12 boroughs.
    • Erster Bürgermeister (literally First Burgomaster) in Hamburg
    • Bürgermeister und Präsident des Senats ('Burgomaster and President of the Senate') in Bremen

Compound title at supra-municipal level

  • Amtsbürgermeister (German; roughly translated: 'District Burgomaster') can be used for the Chief Magistrate of a Swiss constitutive Canton, as in Aargau 1815-1831 (next styled Landamman)

Sources and references



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