District Captaincy (Austria)

The district captaincy (German: Bezirkshauptmannschaft, often officially translated as district authority or district commission) is a local administrative organ in Austria.


District captaincies were first introduced by Franz Joseph I. in 1849.[1] In their current form they were formed nearly 20 years later, in 1868, in a decree that stated that every province had to be divided into political subdivisions – districts – of which each is headed by a district captain (Bezirkshauptmann or Bezirkshauptfrau, pl. Bezirkshauptleute).[2]


The district captaincy is the representative organ of the state administration, and through that of the national administration, on a district level.

Its tasks include, for example:

  • Issuing of identification documents, passports or driver's licenses
  • Registration and regulation of companies and associations


  1. RGBl 1849/295. Kaiserliche Entschließung, wodurch die Grundzüge für die Organisation der politischen Verwaltungs-Behörden genehmiget werden. In Allgemeines Reichs-Gesetz- und Regierungsblatt für das Kaiserthum Österreich, Jahrgang 1849, p. 459–469.
  2. RGBl 1868/44. Gesetz vom 19. Mai 1868 über die Einrichtung der politischen Verwaltungsbehörden (…). In Reichs-Gesetz-Blatt für das Kaiserthum Österreich, Jahrgang 1868, p. 76–81.
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