A Landtag (State Diet) is a representative assembly (parliament) in German-speaking countries with legislative authority and competence over a federated state (Land). Landtage assemblies are the legislative bodies for the individual states of Germany and states of Austria, and have authority to legislate in non-federal matters for the regional area.

Likewise, the Landtag of South Tyrol (Italian: Consiglio della Provincia autonoma di Bolzano) is the legislature of the autonomous province of South Tyrol in northeast Italy. In the sovereign principality of Liechtenstein the national parliament is called the Landtag of Liechtenstein.

Plenarsaal des Niedersächsischen Landtages in Hannover
Floor of the Lower Saxony Landtag in Hanover, 2007


The German word Landtag is composed of the words Land (state, country or territory) and Tag (day). The German word Tagung (meeting) is derived from the German word Tag, as such meetings were held at daylight and sometimes spanned several days. The English word 'diet' likewise comes from Latin: dies (day).

Historic Landtag assemblies

Holy Roman Empire

In feudal society, the formal class system was reflected in the composition of the Imperial States' representative assemblies (Landstände), regardless of their name well described as estates of the realm: it was not intended as an elected reflection of public opinion, but a fixed expression of established power as recognized in formal privileges, including the right to be seated in person (granted to many nobles (knightage) and prelates, as well as certain cities) or to be represented as elector in a college that is entitled to one or more seats. Therefore, the representatives primarily defended class interests, and decisions were based on a class-based electoral system.

In some of the Imperial States that were known as Land, the name of such estates assembly was Landtag, analogous to the Reichstag (Imperial Diet), which mainly comprised most of the Princes of the Holy Roman Empire plus Reichsgrafen, Imperial prelates and Free imperial cities. The precise composition obviously varied greatly, and could change over time, as the result of privileges granted or lost, entities split or merged, border changes et cetera.

Royal Prussia

Since 1466, Prussian Landtag were held in Royal Prussia. Prior to that, Prussian Landtag meetings were held in the Monastic state of the Teutonic Order. See also Prussian estates.

Ducal Prussia

Since 1525, Prussian Landtag were held in Ducal Prussia. See also Preußischer Landtag.

German Confederation

As Austria and Prussia escaped the French 'exporting the revolution', and Napoleon was happy to maintain satellite monarchies in most German territories under his control (members of the Confederation of the Rhine), the more democratic principles of the Enlightenment would have less effect in the German-speaking lands, or only much later.

1806 the German Confederation ("Deutscher Bund") was founded as successor of the Holy Roman Empire. § 13 of the "Bundesakte" (the constitution of the German Confederation) forced the German states to pass constitutions and implement parliaments called Landstände or Landtag.

The first constitution was passed in Nassau. Until 1841 (Luxembourg) all but 2 states got their constitution and parliaments.

German Empire

1871 the German Empire was founded. All 25 states of the German Empire and the "Reichsland Elsaß-Lothringen" (since 1911) had Landtage as legislative authorities. The most important one was the Prussian Landtag.

Weimar Republic

In the Weimar Republic 1918 till 1933 all German states had Landtage. In difference to the former Landstände and Landtage the Weimar Republik Landtage have been elected in free an equal elections.

1933 the Nazis abandoned the federal structure of the Weimar Republic and established a unitary state. The Landtage were abolished as a result.


The Diet of Finland, which was created when the country was ceded from Sweden to Russia in 1809, was called lantdag in Swedish until 1906 when it was replaced by the unicameral Parliament of Finland. Parliament continued using the name lantdag in Swedish until 1919, when Finland adopted its first constitution following the declaration of independence in 1917. Since then, the official term in Swedish is riksdag, equivalent of the German Reichstag. The Finnish name is eduskunta.

Baltic countries

The first Landtag of the Livonian Confederation was called by archbishop of Riga Johannes Ambundii in 1419 and reconvened on a regular basis until the incorporation of Livonian lands into the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Sweden and Denmark in 1561. Separate Landtags for Livonia, Courland and Estonia continued to exist as legislative authorities of the Duchies of Livonia, Estonia, Courland and Semigallia, and later the Russian Governorates of Livonia, Estonia and Courland. After the independence of Estonia and Latvia in 1918, they were ultimately replaced by the Riigikogu and the Saeima.

Modern legislatures

In the contemporary Federal Republic of Germany, the Republic of Austria and the Italian Republic's province of South Tyrol (with a German-speaking majority), a Landtag is a unicameral legislature for a constitutive federal state (Bundesland). In the Principality of Liechtenstein, the Landtag is the sole national parliament, because Liechtenstein has no federal structure due to its size.

German legislatures

In most of the German constitutive federal states (Bundesländer), the unicameral legislature is called Landtag:

In the German city states, the parliamentary city council serves the function of the state parliament within the federal system - in the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen and in the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg it is called the Bürgerschaft (short for Stadtbürgerschaft, municipal assembly):

In the German capital and city state of Berlin, the legislature since 1951 (then of West Berlin) is called Abgeordnetenhaus ("House of Representatives"), adopting the tradition of the Prussian Landtag.

The national bicameral Parliament comprises the directly elected Bundestag and the Bundesrat which represents the state governments in Federal matters which affect the Länder.

Austrian legislatures

Vienna - Rathaus
Rathaus, Vienna serves as City Hall and Gemeinderat.

According to the Constitution of Austria, the Landtage are the unicameral legislatures of the nine states of Austria (Bundesländer), dealing with all matters not explicitly allotted to federal level:

As the Austrian capital Vienna (like Berlin) is both a city-state and a municipality, Gemeinderat (municipal assembly) of Vienna also serves as the state Landtag. However, per the city constitution, municipal and state affairs are kept separate, and the two bodies hold separate meetings even though their memberships are identical.

The representatives are elected in general, free, secret and direct ballots according to the principle of proportional representation. The largest of the parliamentary groups (called Klubs in Austria) usually nominates the Landeshauptmann governor. The modern Landtage are the democratic successors of the estates assemblies in the corresponding crown lands of the Austrian Empire. Exceptions are the city of Vienna, which belonged to the Lower Austria Kronland until 1920, and Burgenland, ceded to Austria by the Kingdom of Hungary in 1921.

Austria's national bicameral parliament consists of the directly elected National Council and the Federal Council, which represents the Landtage parliaments on the federal level. The two chambers meet in the Federal Assembly, held for the ceremonial swearing-in of the Austrian president.

Sources and references

See also

1945 Liechtenstein Landtag size referendum

A referendum on increasing the number of members of the Landtag from 15 to 21 was held in Liechtenstein on 18 March 1945. The proposal was rejected by 79.2% of voters.

Abgeordnetenhaus of Berlin

The Abgeordnetenhaus of Berlin (House of Representatives) (German: [ˈʔapɡəʔɔʁdnətn̩ˌhaʊs]) is the state parliament (Landtag) of Berlin, Germany according to the city-state's constitution. In 1993 the parliament moved from Rathaus Schöneberg to its present house on Niederkirchnerstraße in Mitte, which until 1934 was the seat of the Prussian Landtag. The current president of the parliament is Ralf Wieland (SPD).

Albert Frick (politician)

Albert Frick (born 21 October 1948) is a politician from Liechtenstein, member of the Progressive Citizens' Party, and the current President of the Landtag of Liechtenstein.

Bernhard Vogel

Bernhard Vogel (German pronunciation: [bɛɐnˈhaʁt ˈfɔgəl]; born 19 December 1932) is a German politician (CDU). He was the 4th Minister President of Rhineland-Palatinate from 1976 to 1988 and the 2nd Minister President of Thuringia from 1992 to 2003. He is the only person to have been head of two different German federal states and is the longest governing Minister President of Germany. He served as the 28th and 40th President of the Bundesrat in 1976/77 and 1987/88.

Elections in the Free State of Prussia

The Free State of Prussia held elections to its Landtag between 1918 and 1933. From 1919 through 1928, these elections gave a plurality to the SPD. In 1932 and 1933, the NSDAP (Nazi Party) won pluralities, generally in line with the rest of Germany.

Landtag of Baden-Württemberg

The Landtag of Baden-Württemberg is the state diet of the German federal state of Baden-Württemberg. It convenes in Stuttgart and currently consists of 143 members of five political parties. The majority before the 2016 election was a coalition of the Alliance '90/The Greens (Die Grünen) and the Social Democratic Party (SPD), supporting the cabinet of Green Minister-President Winfried Kretschmann. The current majority coalition is of the Alliance '90/The Greens (Die Grünen) and the CDU.

Landtag of Bavaria

The Landtag of Bavaria (State Diet of Bavaria) is the unicameral legislature of the state of Bavaria in Germany. The parliament meets in the Maximilianeum in Munich.

Elections to the Landtag are held every five years and have to be conducted on a Sunday or public holiday. The following elections have to be held no earlier than 59 months and no later than 62 months after the previous one, unless the Landtag is dissolved.

The most recent elections to the Bavarian Landtag were held on 14 October 2018.

Landtag of Brandenburg

The Landtag of Brandenburg (Brandenburg State Parliament) is the unicameral legislature of the state of Brandenburg in Germany.

It has 88 Members of Parliament.

Landtag of Hesse

The Landtag of Hesse (German: Hessischer Landtag) is the Parliament of the State of Hesse in the Federal Republic of Germany. It convenes in the Stadtschloss, Wiesbaden. As a Legislature it is responsible for passing laws at the state level and enacting the budget. Its most important function is to elect and control the state government. The constitution of the State of Hesse describes the role of the Landtag in §§ 75 to 99.

The Landtag consists of 137 members of six parties. There is currently a coalition between the CDU and the Greens. The President of the Landtag is Boris Rhein and the Minister-President of Hesse is Volker Bouffier.

Landtag of Liechtenstein

The Landtag of the Principality of Liechtenstein (German: Landtag des Fürstentums Liechtenstein), commonly referred to as the Landtag of Liechtenstein (German: Liechtensteinischer Landtag), is the legislative branch of the government of Liechtenstein. It has 25 members, elected for a four-year term by open list proportional representation from two constituencies, Oberland with 15 seats and Unterland with 10 seats. The electoral threshold is 8%.

Unterland consists of Eschen, Gamprin, Mauren, Ruggell and Schellenberg; Oberland consists of Balzers, Planken, Schaan, Triesen, Triesenberg and Vaduz.

The current President of the Landtag (Speaker) is Albert Frick, who has held the post since 2013 and the current Vice-President is Gunilla Marxer-Kranz, who assumed the post in 2017.

Landtag of Lower Saxony

The Lower Saxon Landtag (Niedersächsischer Landtag) or the Parliament of Lower Saxony is the state diet of the German state of Lower Saxony. It convenes in Hanover and currently consists of 137 members consisting of five parties. Since 2017 the majority has been a coalition of the Social Democratic Party and the Christian Democratic Union, supporting the cabinet of Minister-President Stephan Weil (SPD).

Landtag of North Rhine-Westphalia

The Landtag of North Rhine-Westphalia is the state parliament (Landtag) of the German federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia, which convenes in the state capital of Düsseldorf, in the eastern part of the district of Hafen. The parliament is the central legislative body in the political system of North Rhine-Westphalia. In addition to passing of laws, its most important tasks are the election of the Minister-President of the state and the administration of the government. The current parties of government are a coalition of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Free Democratic Party (FDP), supporting the cabinet of Minister-President Armin Laschet since June 2017.The last state election took place on 14 May 2017.

Landtag of Prussia

The Landtag of Prussia (German: Preußischer Landtag) was the representative assembly of the Kingdom of Prussia implemented in 1849, a bicameral legislature consisting of the upper House of Lords (Herrenhaus) and the lower House of Representatives (Abgeordnetenhaus). After World War I and the German Revolution of 1918–19 the Landtag diet continued as the parliament of the Free State of Prussia between 1921 and 1933.

Landtag of Rhineland-Palatinate

The Rhineland-Palatinate Landtag is the state diet of the German federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate.

Article 79, Section 1 of the Rhineland-Palatinate constitution provides: "The Landtag is the supreme organ of political decision-making, elected by the people. It represents the people, elects the Minister-President and confirms the cabinet, passes the laws and the budget, controls the executive and enunciates the popular will in the conduct of public affairs, in questions of European policy and according to the agreements between the Landtag and the cabinet."

The Landtag consists of 101 members.

The Landtag convenes in the Deutschhaus building, where also the first democratically elected parliament German history had convened, the Rhenish-German national convention of the Mainz Republic. Parts of its administration are located in the old arsenal.

The German flag used in the Landtag is a historical one used during the Hambacher Fest.

Landtag of Schleswig-Holstein

The Schleswig-Holstein Landtag is the state parliament of the German state of Schleswig-Holstein. It convenes in the state's capital Kiel and currently consists of 73 members of six parties. The current majority is a coalition of the Christian Democratic Union, The Greens and the Free Democratic Party, supporting the cabinet of Minister President Daniel Günther.

The Landtag maintains partnerships with the parliament of the West Pomeranian Voivodeship, the Oblast Duma of the Kaliningrad Oblast and the parliament of the Pomeranian Voivodeship.

Landtag of Thuringia

The Landtag of Thuringia is the parliament of the German federal state of Thuringia. It convenes in Erfurt and currently consists of 91 members of five Parties. According to the free state's constitution, the primary functions of the Landtag are to pass laws, elect the Minister-President and control the government of Thuringia.

Landtag of the Free State of Saxony

The Landtag of the Free State of Saxony, also referred to as the Saxon Landtag, the Parliament of Saxony or the Saxon state parliament, is the legislative body of the German State of Saxony. It is based on the Free State's constitution, drafted in 1992.

List of Presidents of the Landtag of Liechtenstein

This is a list of Presidents of the Landtag of Liechtenstein.

The current President is Albert Frick, since 2013.

List of political parties in Liechtenstein

This article lists political parties in Liechtenstein. Liechtenstein has a two-party system where the two largest political parties—the Patriotic Union (VU) and the Progressive Citizens' Party (FBP)— dominate politics within the Landtag of Liechtenstein, frequently in coalition. There are currently two minor parties represented in the Landtag which form the opposition: The Independents (DU), and the Free List (FL).


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