At a Glance:
Year became a federation: 1949
Current constitution in force since: Basic Law, 1949
Constituent units: 16 Länder, (English: states)
Association of Municipal Governments [German]
Head of State:
Head of Government: Federal Chancellor
Our work in Germany
Since 2003 the Forum has worked with local partners in Germany to organize learning events ranging from how to reform the German federal system to thematic work on benchmarking the performance of public administration in federal systems.
Federalism in Germany
Federalism in Germany is adapting to resolve the consequences of German reunification, the challenge of European integration and its own comprehensive reforms of the federal system. Federal Reform I came into force in 2006 and Federal Reform II was concluded in 2009.
Germany has a strong tradition of regional government dating back to the founding of the German Empire in 1871 and even to the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. When World War II ended, the United States, United Kingdom, Soviet Union and France took over all powers and responsibilities in the country. From 1946, traditional regions, called Länder, were established in all four zones under the supervision of the respective occupational power.
The three Western allies allowed the formation of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1948 and a new constitution, the Basic Law, entered into force in 1949. The Soviet Zone was transformed into the German Democratic Republic as a centralist communist regime.
Since unification in 1990, the Federal Republic has consisted of 16 Länder: the ten Länder of the former West Germany, the five new Länder of the former East Germany, and Berlin.
The establishment of federal reform has generated great expectation that substantial improvement of German federalism will be achieved. However, as any changes will affect established interests, it is likely that only a balanced package deal will enable success.
* Development assistance program countries