Burgomaster (alternatively spelled Burgomeister, literally master of the town, borough or master of the fortress) is the English form of various terms in or derived from Germanic languages for the chief magistrate or chairman of the executive council of a sub-national level of administration. All contemporary titles are commonly translated into English as 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)
  • Borgarstjóri (Faroese)
  • Burgomaestre (Spanish)
  • Borgomastro o Sindaco-Borgomastro (Italian): in few communes of Lombardy
  • Burgemeester in Dutch: Belgium a party-political post, though formally nominated by the regional government and answerable to it, the federal state and even the province. Mayor and president of the municipal council. 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 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 Governing Mayor) in West Berlin and reunited Berlin,[1] while in Berlin the term Bürgermeister without attribute – English Mayor – refers to his deputies,[2] and while the heads of the 12 boroughs of Berlin are called Bezirksbürgermeister, English Borough Mayor.[3]
    • 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)

External links


  1. ^ "Curriculum Vitae Klaus Wowereit". Land Berlin, Der Regierende Bürgermeister, Senatskanzlei. http://www.berlin.de/rbmskzl/rbm/lebenslauf/curriculum.html. Retrieved 2010-04-07. 
  2. ^ cf. Article 56 sec. 2 of the "Constitution of the State of Berlin (part 4)". Land Berlin, Der Regierende Bürgermeister, Senatskanzlei. http://www.berlin.de/rbmskzl/verfassung/section4.html. Retrieved 2010-04-07. 
  3. ^ cf. Article 74 sec. 2 of the "Constitution of the State of Berlin (part 6)". Land Berlin, Der Regierende Bürgermeister, Senatskanzlei. http://www.berlin.de/rbmskzl/verfassung/section6.html. Retrieved 2010-04-07. 

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Burgomaster — Bur go*mas ter, n. [D. burgemeester; burg borough + meester master; akin to G. burgemeister, b[ u]rgermeister. See 1st {Borough}, and {Master}.] 1. A chief magistrate of a municipal town in Holland, Flanders, and Germany, corresponding to mayor… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • burgomaster — [bʉr′gō mas΄tər, bʉr′gəmas΄tər] n. [ME burghmaster < MDu burgemeester < burg (see BOROUGH) + meester,MASTER] the mayor or head magistrate of a city or town in the Netherlands, Flanders, Austria, or Germany …   English World dictionary

  • Burgomaster —    The burgomaster (bourgmestre, burgermeester) is the chief executive of the commune. The administrative duties of the post include signing of decrees, ordinances, and local laws; giving instructions to the communal secretary; and verifying at… …   Historical Dictionary of Brussels

  • burgomaster — burgomastership, n. /berr geuh mas teuhr, mah steuhr/, n. the chief magistrate of a municipal town of Holland, Flanders, Germany, or Austria. [1585 95; < D burgemeester, equiv. to burg BOROUGH + meester MASTER, c. G Bürgermeister major] * * * ▪… …   Universalium

  • burgomaster — noun Etymology: part modification, part translation of Dutch burgemeester, from burg town + meester master Date: 1592 the chief magistrate of a town in some European countries ; mayor …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • burgomaster — noun The mayor, or head magistrate, of a town in The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and certain other countries …   Wiktionary

  • burgomaster — bur·go·mas·ter || bɜːgəʊ‚mɑːstÉ™ n. town mayor (in Europe) …   English contemporary dictionary

  • burgomaster — [ bə:gə(ʊ)mα:stə] noun the mayor of a Dutch, Flemish, German, Austrian, or Swiss town. Origin C16: from Du. burgemeester, from burg (see borough) + meester master …   English new terms dictionary

  • burgomaster — bur·go·master …   English syllables

  • burgomaster — bur•go•mas•ter [[t]ˈbɜr gəˌmæs tər, ˌmɑ stər[/t]] n. gov the chief magistrate of a municipal town of Holland, Flanders, Germany, or Austria • Etymology: 1585–95; < D burgemeester=burg borough+meester master …   From formal English to slang

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