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Luis Durnwalder, Landeshauptmann of South Tyrol 1989–2014

Landeshauptmann (if male) or Landeshauptfrau (if female) (German: [ˈlandəsˌhaʊptman], "state captain", plural Landeshauptleute) is the chairman of a state government and the supreme official of an Austrian states and the Italian autonomous provinces of South Tyrol and Trentino. His or her function is equivalent to that of a minister-president or premier. Until 1933 the term was used in Prussia for the head of government of a province,[1] in the modern-day states of Germany the counterpart to Landeshauptmann is the Ministerpräsident (minister-president).


Since the early modern period, a Landeshauptmann originally served as governor under either a Prince of the Holy Roman Empire or the Emperor himself, mainly in the territories of the Habsburg Monarchy (as for the Lands of the Bohemian Crown), later also in the Kingdom of Prussia. In the Austrian Empire, according to the 1861 February Patent, the title referred to the president of the Landtag assembly of a Habsburg crown land (called Landmarschall [de] in Lower Austria, Bohemia, and Galicia), who also served as head of the provincial administration. The Imperial-Royal government in Vienna was represented by a Statthalter or Landespräsident (governor).

With the dissolution of Austria-Hungary and the proclamation of the Republic of German-Austria in 1918, provisional state assemblies and state governments were established, headed by a Landeshauptmann. The 1920 constitution of the First Austrian Republic (Bundes-Verfassungsgesetz) unified the office of a Federal Government representative and head of the state government. The title is today used in modern Austria as well as in South Tyrol and Trentino, autonomous provinces in Italy with strong linguistic and cultural ties to the neighbouring Austrian state of Tyrol. In the Czech Republic, a hejtman (German: Hauptmann) represents each of the 13 self-governing regions (Czech kraj, pl. kraje). The title was also used by the German Empire for governors during the early stages of its colonial rule over German South-West Africa (1893–1898), Togoland (1893–1898) and German New Guinea (1886–1889, 1892–1899).


In modern Austria, the title is used for the head of the executive of the nine Austrian states, equivalent to the position of a Ministerpräsident in German states. Outside of Austria, the title is usually translated as "governor," though as mentioned above the function corresponds more to that of minister-president or premier.

The Landeshauptmann is elected by the Landtag state parliament of the respective state and sworn in by the President of Austria. In practice, he or she is almost always the leader of the majority party in the Landtag, or the leader of the senior partner in the governing coalition. As representative of the federated state on state level, he or she is also responsible for the enforcement of federal laws.

As Vienna is both a city and a state, its mayor is also the Landeshauptmann of the state, elected by the municipal assembly (Wiener Gemeiderat und Landtag). When Waltraud Klasnic (ÖVP) became governor of Styria in 1996, she preferred to be addressed as Frau Landeshauptmann, whereas Gabi Burgstaller (SPÖ), governor of Salzburg from 2004 to 2013, preferred Frau Landeshauptfrau. Since 1 July 1988, the Constitution of Austria allows for, but does not prescribe, office designations to be gender-specific [2]

List of GovernorsEdit

Portrait Name State of Austria Took office Federal political affiliation State political affiliation
  Michael Ludwig   Vienna
See also: List of mayors of Vienna
24 May 2018 Social Democratic Party of Austria SPÖ Wien
  Johanna Mikl-Leitner   Lower Austria
See also: List of governors of Lower Austria
2017 April 19 Austrian People's Party Volkspartei Niederösterreich
  Wilfried Haslauer   Salzburg
See also: List of governors of Salzburg (state)
2013 June 19 Austrian People's Party Salzburger Volkspartei
  Günther Platter   Tyrol
See also: List of governors of Tyrol
2008 July 1 Austrian People's Party Tiroler Volkspartei
  Hans Peter Doskozil   Burgenland
See also: List of governors of Burgenland
2019 February 28 Social Democratic Party of Austria SPÖ Burgenland
  Thomas Stelzer   Upper Austria
See also: List of governors of Upper Austria
2017 April 6 Austrian People's Party Oberösterreichische Volkpartei
  Peter Kaiser   Carinthia
See also: List of governors of Carinthia
2013 March 28 Social Democratic Party of Austria SPÖ Kärnten
  Markus Wallner   Vorarlberg
See also: List of governors of Vorarlberg
2011 December 7 Austrian People's Party Volkspartei Voralberg
  Hermann Schützenhöfer   Styria
See also: List of governors of Styria
2015 June 16 Austrian People's Party Steirische Volkspartei

South Tyrol and TrentinoEdit

According to the 1946 Gruber–De Gasperi Agreement and the Second Autonomy Statute of 1972, the chief executives of the provincial governments (Italian: Presidente della Provincia autonoma) of South Tyrol and Trentino are called Landeshauptleute in German.

The head of government of South Tyrol is elected by the provincial Landtag legislature. The Landeshauptmann represents the province to the outside and in meetings of the regions with the Italian government. He is also entitled to attend the sessions of the Council of Ministers as far as South Tyrolean issues are discussed. His two deputies have to represent the Italian and German language group.

Despite the German terms Landeshauptmann and Landtag, South Tyrol and Trentino according to Italian conception are no federated states (Länder) but merely subnational administrative divisions (enti territoriali), though with considerable self-government responsibilities and legislative powers.

Portrait Name Region Took office Political party
  Arno Kompatscher   South Tyrol
See also: List of Governors of South Tyrol
9 January 2014 South Tyrolean People's Party
  Maurizio Fugatti   Trentino
See also: List of Presidents of Trentino
22 October 2018 Northern League


From 1875 the territorial authority of the estates in the twelve administrative provinces of Prussia were re-organised as Provinzialverbände. Each of these self-governing bodies were represented in a Provinziallandtag assembly, whose members were delegated by the rural and urban districts within the province. The districts organised through their elected deputies their utilities, such as construction and maintenance of provincial roads, hospitals, schools, public savings banks, waste disposal etc., in self-rule.

The provincial administration was initially headed by a Landesdirektor, who was elected by the assembly for six-year terms (in Pomerania: five years) and maximally two terms. The holder of the office presided over the Provinzialausschuss, i.e. provincial government of self-rule, whereas the Oberpräsident was the king-appointed representative for the province, busy with implementing and supervising central prerogatives of the Prussian government.

In the following decades, Landeshauptmann gradually replaced the earlier expression Landesdirektor in all but one of Prussia's provinces. When the kingdom turned into a free state in 1920, only the Landtag of Brandenburg had decided to keep the traditional expression.[3] With the abolition of democratic self-rule on all government levels in the course of the Gleichschaltung process after the Nazi takeover in 1933, the office-holders were furloughed or retired and the offices remained vacant.

Klaipėda RegionEdit

The Klaipėda Region (German: Memelland), which was dissected from East Prussia after World War I and annexed by Lithuania in the Klaipėda Revolt of 1923, continued the usage of the terms Landesdirektor (i.e. government member) and Landesdirektorium (Lithuanian: krašto direktorija; i.e. government). The head of government was given the title Landespräsident (state president).


  1. ^ Duden; Definition of Landeshauptmann, in German. [1]
  2. ^ Constitution of Austria, Article 7,3.
  3. ^ Cf. article: "Landesdirektor", in: Der Große Brockhaus: Handbuch des Wissens in zwanzig Bänden: 21 vols.; Leipzig: Brockhaus, 151928–1935; vol. 11 (1932), p. 71.