Talk:States of Austria

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject Austria (Rated Start-class, Top-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Austria, an attempt to build a comprehensive and detailed guide to articles about Austria on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please join the project.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Top  This article has been rated as Top-importance on the project's importance scale.

The country article suggests "States of Austria". We may want to rename that way. ---User:Docu

The article was separated from Bundesland, which used to contain the states of both Germany and Austria. Any change should include disambiguation for each of the states rather than a mere redirection. The states as such are also in great need of work, and in some cases disambiguation. -- Mic

Ok, I disambiguated the three remaining links to Bundesland that are for Bundesland (Austria) in St. Pölten, Salzach and List of capitals of subnational entities. To some extent the article "Bundesland" is now more ambiguous, as one may think it refers only to Germany. As for links currently to Bundesland (Austria) being redirect to States of Austria, this is not much of a problem, as they are pointing to synonyms. Further the related-changes function is less an issue, as they are in articles that are more specific than the one linked to. Thus we can wait for a/the new tool to eliminate the remaining redirects. -- User:Docu

Bundesländer wrong term[edit]

Why is it called "Bundesländer" when the Austrian constitution talks about "Länder"? Unless someone can provide me the passages from the text, I think I will correct the article. I also read the German Version of this article on de. Wikipedia, it explicitly states that the term "Bundesländer" is common jargon, however the correct word is "Länder"... Gryffindor 20:16, 3 November 2005 (UTC)

  • Article 3 of the B-VG uses "Bundesländer". Martg76 23:10, 4 November 2005 (UTC)
Both words are correct. Take the German language into account that allows to connect words to longer ones (compound, see a loooong example). The official name is Land (pl.: Länder), but Bundesland is just as correct since it only further describes the word Land (as a federal state). See it as the englisch word state: You can say I live in the state of california or you say I live in the federal state of california. I hope I'm correct when I say "there is no difference".
The Austrian constitution that Martg76 cited also uses both Länder (Art 2 Abs 2 B-VG) and Bundesländer (Art 3 Abs 2 B-VG) proving that there is no difference in German. --Wirthi 09:23, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
Amost correct - only that Bundesland/Bundesländer is the precise term, and Land/Länder is just the colloquially shortened form, yet tolerateded as well even in highly official documents, if the context tells the rest (because if not, Land -- literally country -- can also denote an entire nation). And as mass media -- not only -- in Austria focus much more on what's happening within the republic's borders than beyond, it is quasi automatically clear that Länder (especially in plural) when used with no extra definition refers to (some or all of) the nine federal provinces.

- (talk) 14:44, 15 February 2014 (UTC)

English terminology[edit]

I was wondering about the use of the term "state" as the English equivalent of (Bundes)land. The Austrian Broadcasting Corporation's (ORF's) English language news desk (serving Radio Austria International and FM4) - probably the only news service to regularly report on provincial Austrian politics - uses the term 'province' whenever talking about an Austrian Bundesland. I generally consider their choices a prime reference.

I tried to search some other "authoritative" sources (such as government websites, etc.) only to find such botched-up sentences as "Austria is a federal state consisting of nine independent federal states." (Austrian Press and Information Service)

In short, I believe province would be a better choice. If anything, the article should at least contain a reference to the fact that (Bundes)land is also commonly translated as province - a reference which I have since added.

Schekuli 05:19, 24 March 2006 (UTC)

I rather think state is correct. In German, the correct term for the nine subdivisions auf Austria is Land (pl.: Länder). This is defined by Article 2 of the Austrian Constitution, that reads: (1) Österreich ist ein Bundesstaat. (2) Der Bundesstaat wird gebilded aus den selbständigen Ländern: ... (Austria is a federation. It consists of the autonomous states: ...). (Just as a sidenote: that they are sometimes called Bundesländer happens because there is a major confusion with the word Land in German. It can mean both nation and state, so Bundesland makes it clear a federal state is meant and not a nation. Both expressions seem to be correct by law).
Each state has his own constitution, has an own parlament, an own Governor (Landeshauptmann; he is independent of the federal goverment and some states have a direct popular vote for him), own laws. I would guess the states are less souvereign than US states but still there are many things they can descide upon without the federation.
And last, my dictionary (Langenscheidt) says province translates to Bezirk (district). This is another prove against using this word, because Bezirke are the subdivisions of the states in Austria (see: Districts of Austria).
--Wirthi 09:10, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

Well, I have been wanting to write this for some time, and since you are picking up the topic, here we go:

I more strongly than ever believe that province is the right translation of Bundesland in the Austrian (!) context. Why?

If you look at the top of this page, you will find a link to "WikiProject Austria". And if you now go to section 8.4, "translation and style guide"/ "administrative divisions" you are redirected to a page which reproduces part of the current EU style guide for translations. This style guide specifically says that in translating from German to English, (Bundes)länder in Germany should be rendered as states, whereas Austrian Bundesländer should be called provinces.

First of all, this is indeed part of the style guide of the EU. The only part now missing from my argument is the following: why should Wikipedia follow this usage? The answer, from my point of view, is quite straightforward. Since the European Union is the only political institution publishing English-language documents relating to the entities under discussion (i.e. Austrian Bundesländer) they have the prerogative of deciding on the terminology. Just as, in discussing the correct German term (Land vs. Bundesland) we referred back to the Austrian constitution and Austrian laws, I believe we should follow the usage of the acquis of the European Union in deciding on the English terminology. Schekuli 22:22, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

And just another side note: Province <-> Bezirk is, well, plain wrong as far as I am concerned. Well, maybe I shouldn't be that categorical in my statement, but off the top of my head I can't think of a single context in which this translation would be fitting. Or do they talk about "Kanadische Bezirke" on the Austrian/German news? I don't think so. And while we are there, Canada is actually a good example that goes to show that province doesn't mean "not autonomous". Canadian provinces enjoy much greater autonomy than Austrian Bundesländer, yet they are still called provinces... Schekuli 22:44, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

Shame on me, I guess you are right. I just found a document (Program of our new goverment) that also uses provinces. I still think that this is a very wrong translation. I don't know who made it up, but both in school and at university (and I'm studying international law, how much more on-topic could it get?) we learned that state would be the correct translation. I don't see any reason why province should be preferred over that.
The govermental law-information-system [1] that offers a translation of the most important laws avoids the problem by using Laender as the englisch translation of Länder ;-)
About Canada: Well, we call them Provinzen. We call the US-states Staaten. Why can't english people call our subdivisions Laender. That would ease things :-)
I don't think the EU is competent in desciding the correct translation. In this case they can just sum up knowledge that already exists. How the Länder should be called in englisch has to be descided by Austria. I don't know if the goverment officially made up it's mind.
If it holds that province is the correct translations, many articles have to be rewritten. You can suppose I would oppose that, but what does it matter what I think? My own goverment attacked me from behind while I had such a good line of arguments. Well, not my lucky day today ;-)
I'll try and ask some contacts what they think about it. --Wirthi 23:38, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
I've also heard a number of Austrians using the term "county". It is difficult because the powers allowed to German Bundesländer are far greater than those alloted to the Austrian Bundesländer. As such, the Germans tend to see theirs as States, while the Austrians may be at a bit of a loss for an appropriate term.
Oh, and Wirthi, so should we say the nine Lands of Austria? :)
Btw, I just changed the word "Competence" in the article to "responsibility" (=dt. "Kompetenz"). "Power" is also a standard term in English. The English word comptetence is defined at Merriam Websters; the best German translation is something along the lines of "geistige Fähigkeit". samwaltz 14:52, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

For what my 2 cents as a translator based in Graz are worth, the word "province" is long established. I suspect it probably dates back at least to the occupying forces after the Second World war - if not, indeed, to the times of the monarchy. The Austrian Bundesländer not only have very much less autonomy than the German ones; they also are overwhelmingly based on preexisting entities with regional identities going back centuries. Only Burgenland and Vorarlberg are 20th-Century inventions. In Germany, by contrast, definite efforts were made to create units that cut across the traditional boundaries: Baden-Württemberg, Rheinland-Pfalz, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Niedersachsen etc. were all constructed with the intention of forcing a break with old regional identities and loyalties. Ben Hemmens 10:36, 7 July 2007 (UTC)

quote"I've also heard a number of Austrians using the term 'county'." Well I guess those Austrians said (or wanted to say) 'Country' (Land-Country is the direct translation, thout it's misleading) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:22, 12 March 2008 (UTC)

Salzburger Land?[edit]

To declare the state of Salzburg as Salzburger Land in native German is complete nonsense. The official name of the Bundesland is Salzburg, and that is the way it should be written in an encyclopedia like wikipedia. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 18:10, 13 April 2007 (UTC).

While the official name (given by the law) of both the city and the state are Salzburg as you state, it is not "complete nonsense" to use Salzburger Land. This term is often used to distinguish the the state from the region. Check for example or do a simple search on google for the term. --Wirthi 19:32, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

Ceded land?[edit]

"The states of Upper Austria and Lower Austria are mostly equivalent to what formerly were the two semi-autonomous halves of the Archduchy of Austria, a principality which formed the empire's historic heartland and which had to cede significant tracts of land to Czechoslovakia in the aftermath of the empire's dissolution."

Which tracts of land did it cede to Czechoslovakia, i skimmed through some historic maps on the internet and i couldn't find any such tracts of land. A source would be welcome. 19:09, 14 June 2007 (UTC)

I guess you are right with your complaint about that paragraph, but things are as usual more complicated. When the Austrian-Hungarian Empire dissolved near the end of the first World War, it split into several souvereign states. Before that, two states existet: Austria and Hungary (thus, the Dual Monarchy). Austria consisted of several states, like what is now Upper Austria, Lower Austria or Bohemia and Moravia. Knowing this, of course - as you state - neither Upper Austria nor Lower Austria ceded land to what is now the Tschech Republic. Check Image:Austria-Hungary_map.svg for example, 14 (Upper Austria) and 8 (Lower Austria) seem just equal looking at a modern map. I guess what is ment in this paragraph is that Austria ceded that land. That is true of couse, if you accept the modern Austria to be some kind of "legal successor" to the old Austria (Cisleithania). --Wirthi 19:45, 15 June 2007 (UTC)
Actually a part of Lower Austria had to be ceded Czechoslovakia due to the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye. This was an area west of Gmünd. However I would not call this a significant tract of land. (K.I.)

Map showing make-up of state (provincial) governments[edit]

I don't think the map that was added fits the format of the current article. At the moment, it's under the heading of geography, and I don't think it belongs there. Either a text section on provincial (state) politics is added to the current article, or the map should be taken down. As far as I can see, the map was created for a different article (Distribution of seats in the Austrian Landtage) and then just added to this one for good measure. In addition, I don't think the map is aesthetically pleasing with all those hatched areas... so if no objections are posted over the next couple of days, I will take it down and maybe just add a link to the other article instead. Schekuli 20:08, 13 July 2007 (UTC)

How about replacing the two existing tables with one table, also containing head of government and government, in an "Overview" section like in States of Germany? Would make the section "State populations and capitals" obsolete in its current form of course.. --Completefailure (talk) 16:04, 19 May 2010 (UTC)

Wrong term indeed![edit]

I have to stress the critical remarks of Ben Hemmens and others.

Austria is a unitary state, the legislative scope of its parts being reduced to details of organizing infrastructure, matters of building law, compulsory school management, organization of their regional share of the country's health care system and the likes - but all based on federal (frame) laws.

Legal differences like those existing between federal states in the US, i.e. regarding civil law or criminal law, are absolutely unthinkable here: these are entirely federal matters. Even much of the subsidiary administration has to carry out what officially is named Mittelbare Bundesverwaltung, meaning oblique or indirect federal administration.

Thus, the term states is totally misleading. Its literal German synonym Staat here is always understood as a synonym for an entire country or nation - not just for a part of it, regardless how big it may be. Moreover, calling the nine parts of Austria "states" - its entire population having increased by almost 20% during the last decades, but still to no more than roughly 8.5 million - seems a little braggy.

We Austrians call these nine parts Bundesländer, like the article says correctly, but the - sometimes forgotten - correct translation should be federal provinces not states. By the way, this terminology refers as well to - though larger - Germany.

Still in doubt? Think of the term from a reverse aspect: when the King of France Louis XIV declared L'etat c'est moi, did he rather mean I am the nation, or did he refer to only a share, like I'm just a province? So, once more: in Europe, state/Staat/L'etat equals the US-category country/nation, and the next level, similar to (federal) states in the USA, ought to be named - in varied forms - (federal) provinces.

By the way -
@Wirthi: which dictionary seriously translates provinces to districts??? Districts are districts are districts (= Bezirke: Austria has roughly 100)! -- (talk) 10:24, 5 October 2009 (UTC), born Viennese & long-term political activist

Art. 2 Abs. 1 B-VG: "Österreich ist ein Bundesstaat" (i.e. Austria is a federal state.),
Art. 2 Abs. 3 B-VG: "Änderungen im Bestand der Länder oder eine Einschränkung der in diesem Absatz und in Art. 3 vorgesehenen Mitwirkung der Länder bedürfen auch verfassungsgesetzlicher Regelungen der Länder." (i.e.Changes in the continuance of the Laender or a restriction of the participations of the Laender provided in this paragraph and in article. 3 also need constitutional regulations of the Laender.),
Art 16 Abs. 1 B-VG: "Die Länder können in Angelegenheiten, die in ihren selbständigen Wirkungsbereich fallen, Staatsverträge mit an Österreich angrenzenden Staaten oder deren Teilstaaten abschließen." (i.e. In matters within their own sphere of competence the Laender can conclude treaties with states, or their constituent states, bordering on Austria.) and
Art. 15. Abs. 2 B-VG: "Soweit eine Angelegenheit nicht ausdrücklich durch die Bundesverfassung der Gesetzgebung oder auch der Vollziehung des Bundes übertragen ist, verbleibt sie im selbständigen Wirkungsbereich der Länder." (i.e. Insofar as a matter is not expressly delegated by the Federal Constitution to the legislation or also to the execution of the Federation, it remains within the autonomous sphere of competence of the Laender.)
Art. 1 Abs. 1 Vorarlberger Landesverfassung: "Als selbständiger Staat übt Vorarlberg alle Hoheitsrechte aus, die nicht ausdrücklich dem Bund übertragen sind oder übertragen werden." (i.e. As an independent state Vorarlberg exercises all sovereign powers which are not transferred expressly to the federation or which will be transferred.).
VfSlg. 5676/1968: "Die Bedeutung des B-VG für die Länder liegt darin, daß es nicht nur die verfassungsrechtliche Grundlage für die Organisation des Bundes (als Oberstaat) enthält, sondern daß es auch die dem Wesen eines Bundesstaates entsprechende Aufteilung der staatlichen Funktionen auf den Bund (Oberstaat) und die Länder (als Gliedstaaten) regelt und daß es die verfassungsrechtlichen Grundzüge für die Organisation der Länder (Gliedstaaten) enthält." (As I think that Mr. political activist speaks German well enough to understand this I don´t translate it. For those who don´t speak German: The VfGH (Constitutional Cort of Austria) descirbes the Laender as member or constituent states.)
  • The federal state´s (Laender) sphere of competence is NOT only based on federal framework legislation (see above: selbständiger Wirkungsbereich), there is a sweeping clause in favor of the federal states (in German: "taxative Enumeration mit Generalklausel" see art. 10 ff. B-VG and art. 15. para. 2 B-VG as above).
  • The question wether the Laender are states or not is adjective not substantive. It is about the way they exist, not what they exist for. Even if their competences are not that big, they still are constituent states because they are partly sovereign for the reasons shown above.
  • The federal states can conclude state treaties which is only a competence of... right: states!
  • The federation can´t annihilate the federal states without their will because of art. 2 para. 3 B-VG.
  • The prevailing view characterizes the federal states as "Gliedstaaten" (~member states) or "Teilstaaten" (~constituent states). So does for example Mayer, who is apart from that very critical concerning the federal states.
--> Read the commentaries of Heinz Mayer, Hans Kelsen, Adolf Merkl, Theo Öllinger etc. and stop talking about things you don´t know about Mr. political activist.Zoris Trömm (talk) 11:35, 6 October 2009 (UTC)


You're absolutely unable to show the least proof for your view that Bundesländer must be named (federal) states and also can't prove that federal provinces is wrong, but clearly show a surprising degree of pedantry insisting on non-reasonable pseudo-accuracy, here favoring an unusual, unpurposefully misleading term and missing to falsificate the purposeful and officially used term.

All you can quote is one singular term usage relevant only historically in an exceptional, temporary situation and exclusively for the westernmost and smallest federal province - which was written before it was clear if it would finally belong to Switzerland or Austria. This term remains there not because it fits into today's terminology, but only because the referring document - together with later finalized resolutions, contracts and decisions - doesn't implicitly contradict other rule and norm defining deeds. It remains a singular exception, not to be found in any of the other eight federal provinces.

On the other hand, the valid terminology is consistently used - not only - on the official homepage of the Austrian Federal Chancellery.

Example 1

Public administration in Austria is carried out on three levels:
civil servants: the Federal level, the level of the nine Federal Provinces, and that of the 2,358 municipalities.
(The Austrian Federal Civil Service Facts and Figures - Source: Bund (federal administration), Statistik Austria, pubklished on the homepage of the Austrian Federal Chancellery)

Example 2

Government Authorities
  • Provincial Government Authorities
  • Federal Authorities
  • Federal Ministries
  • European (...)

So how come you arrogate to yourself the competence of defining official Austrian terms in clear contradiction to the official terminology of the country's own authorities naming ist parts, as the quotes prove, federal provinces NOT states?

In the spirit of your practise-ignoring persistent donnishness: can you explain me why there is, i.e., no article (i mean: a full page, not just a redirection) on Herbert Ernst Karl Frahm, but only one on the same person under his known ("artist's") name Willy Brandt? And how about your, um ..., name-adjusting commitment there?
-- (talk) 12:50, 18 October 2009 (UTC)

Uhh, thats interesting:
  • On the one hand you say that "provinces" is an official term, because the chanclery uses it,
  • on the other hand you refere to "name adjusting" which means that you want to have a correct term replaced by an informal one.

By the way please stop answering both discussions (here and the one in Talk:Federation#Austria, its the same topic and should be discussed in one place). As I showed you there, other authorities use the term "state" too. But I'd prefere the constitutional quotes (which are clearly more valid than a homepage). If you don't believe that the Constitution of Vorarlberg (which is along the way the second smallest state not the smallest) is a valide source (though the term "state" was acknowledged assertively, consciously and unanimously (all parties agreed) by the Landtag in 1984) have a look at the younger constitution of Burgeland: "Artikel 1 Staatsform (1) Burgenland ist ein demokratischer und sozialer Rechtsstaat." You tell me that all I can quote is one singular term usage and post some websites here? --Zoris Trömm (talk) 13:05, 18 October 2009 (UTC)

This still doesn't answer why you insist in overruling generally accepted, known, purposefully confusion-avoiding and official terminology. You even manage to most bluntly misinterpret me: I do not aggree with any sort of name-adjusting efforts the way you're showing: my statement starts with "In the spirit of your ...", which you ignored - for obvious reasons.

That apparently is your style of argumentation: using quotes deprived of their context, putting letters of selected constitution text passages above actual and even official terminology, not the least caring for which of Adrian Monk's rare siblings in spirit the result is comprehensible, and also not if it avoids or instead even provokes misunderstandings. But the real world doesn't function meerely between letters on yellowing paper. Even the initiators of modern law tradition, the Romans, put the law's spirit above its letter - you do the exact contrary.

Once more: how about Herbert Frahm? Or - in the same strictly formally correct manner - where's your name-adjusting assiduity regarding Farrokh Bulsara (Freddie Mercury), Reginald Kenneth Dwight (Elton John), Dino Paul Crocetti (Dean Martin), Peter Hojač (Peter Westenthaler), Norma Jeane Mortenson or Norma Jeane Baker (Marilyn Monroe)? Could it be you fear to face harder resistance in cases like these?

And I'll keep answering both threads, as long as you do. The article discussion page is not your private (control) property.
-- (talk) 15:40, 18 October 2009 (UTC)

Well since I've brought about twenty sources and you two, telling me that I want to pass on the burden of proof to you is the only way for you to get out of here. I've never said, that the term "province" isn't used, i just said that it is not the correct term for the reasons i showed you. Nearly everything you said turned out to be wrong:
  • You alleged that all legal authority of the Länder is based on federal framework legislation. I proofed that that’s not true.
  • You said that it was an official term, although the translation of the Austrian Constitution, which is provided by the BKA does not use it, although the Federal President and the Länder use the term "state" instead.
  • You even said that Vorarlberg was the smallest state of Austria, which is wrong in both ways you could see it (Vienna has a smaller area, Burgenland less population).
What have you done to prove your opinion? Two links from the Austrian government and that’s it. I took the quotes out of context? Could you explain that to me? It's only about whether the term is used or not, how could I take anything out of context? You seem to like incomplete comparisons. Willy Brandt was renamed that way, the Austrian states were not. Let’s say that Willy Brandt were not official but the more common name, for sure it would be better to use that name than. You think that a federal province is the more common name? Then you should compare those two links: [2] [3] There are about 12.000 matches for the term that you prefer and 90.000 for mine. So what? If you want to change the article’s name, do so. We'll see if that stays long.--Zoris Trömm (talk) 16:00, 18 October 2009 (UTC)

Your invitation to change the article's name is cynical. You know how tiresome persistent WikiPedia's hurdles against changes have become, regardless of possible arguments. Knowing isn't enough, decades of experience don't help (otherwise, I'd never have started by joining the debate), and your replies are the best proof for resistance against both reliable sources and comprehensible practical reasons.

And I won't follow your attempt of engaging me into an endless debate on subordinate details. I've got other things to do than taking care if I erroneously stated Vorarlberg is the smallest province instead of second-smallest - this wasn't the essential point: that was the ambiguous history before the final clarification which country it belongs to. In this context, the usage of the term state expresses the emphasis on the strong wish for self-determnation. With no substantial consequence for its status that is not the least comparable to (constituent) federal states with substantially differing civil law and criminal law. Moreover, the tendency is rather to restrict provincial competences, even the reduction of their number has been discussed repeatedly - anything diametrical is sort of, like we say, a tail's attempt to waggle its dog.

One last time, concerning sources.

Regarding Burgenland, you don't quote the term state as administrative unit denotation, but demokratischer und sozialer Rechtsstaat (meaning democratic and social welfare-oriented/aware/responsible state/province/...), which refers to its approach to public responsibility. This is about content and understanding of democratic (self-)obligations, not about formal status details and terms.

Some sources you name contain comments, though by scientists, but not final definitions or valid decisions.

The RIS-translation of Austria's federal constitutions mentions Laender only, right - but that means, it doesn't only not mention provinces, it also doesn't mention (constituent) states, so it's (also) no argument for the latter.

Your re-quoting of - of course not managed by Heinz Fischer himself - doesn't make things better when combined with re-neglecting government sources. By the way,'s legal notices state explicitly: "No guarantee is offered as to the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of any information provided herein, or the availability or operation of any of the pages." So, if you're fair, you have at least to admit the quote doesn't outweigh the government quotes - or, the other way round, if you insist they are neglectable, then the link has to be as well.

But I have two more - well-selected - official sorces.

One is the pdf-version of a book that, due to its rather popular language and the illustrative photos, could make viewers and readers think it carries, beyond the serious core of its message, a sort of lightweight content. But its bibliography on pages 129 and 130 show it is based on information from several scientific sources, a.o. naming several renowned Austrian politologists and historians. Its publisher is not the editorial staff of Austrian parliament's webpage, the publication is formally authorized by the parliamentary directorate. I counted at least 18 usages of the term federal province(s), several usages of the adjective provincial, and not one single mentioning of (constituent) states. URL:

The other is the official website of the European Commission. On it describes the member state Austria, mentioning (...) the eastern provinces - including Vienna, the capital - (...). Different to, the Commission's website states on its legal notices page: The European Commission maintains this website (...) - no hint that No guarantee is offered (...).

And one last time, concerning the practical aspect of avoiding confusions

There's a - currently postponed - debate if the European Union could and should futurally develop into a confederation, or a federal state (with several federal states as members), or none of both. In the second case, your wording preference may make you sort of an abysmal winner. Because then you'd have:

  • the federal state European Union with, amongst its members,
  • the federal state of Austria, consisting of
  • nine federal states.

If that happens, you could as well name each level "thingie". Is this the purposeful terminology you're fighting for?
-- (talk) 21:49, 18 October 2009 (UTC)

It's the prevailing view in science. Kelsen stated it in "Österreichisches Staatsrecht", Mayer says it in his commentary. The "Bundesstaatstheorie" (federation theory) does not contain questions of material competence, but of formal characteristics. The Länder have a parliament, a people, a terretory and a governement and therefor are partly souvereign states. The European Union is per definitionem a construction sui generis. I understand that you've never read any scientific literature concerning law and political science materia, but you should understand that webpages are not everithing. (And the Burgenland Constitution also says "Staatsform". Does that also refere to the states responsibility?) "Formally authorized" means nothing, alone the BKA Webpage has endless mistakes. They can't even nuberize the governements correctely. Wether you like it or not, you're wrong and I think you know it. ("Große Fehler haben große Ausreden." Erhard Bellermann) For me that's the end of discussion. --Zoris Trömm (talk) 22:18, 18 October 2009 (UTC)


I tend to agree that "state" is the more acurat way to translate the phrase "Bundesland", mainly because states are parts of a federation with own constitutions but provinces are just minor administrative units in a unitary state. I'd say most arguments "pro states" have allready been stated on this page.--Glorfindel Goldscheitel (talk) 14:36, 12 May 2010 (UTC)

Not exactly. Canada's provinces are hardly "minor administrative units in a unitary state". But, in any case, we should be concerned with how the Austrian units are customarily referred to in English prose, regardless of whether that is the "correct" term or not. I must admit, I had thought that in English they were usually called provinces, and had never come across the term states being used in an Austrian context. In fact, I would have thought that the term the Austrian länder was more common in English than the Austrian states, but I could be wrong. Instead of arguing over the translation of the legal document, it would be better if we could see some examples of use in normal English. Skinsmoke (talk) 18:28, 2 July 2010 (UTC)
What a refreshingly reasonable comment. Yep, regarding Germany as well as Austria the term federal province(s) is most adequate, as it hardly carries the same risk of causing confusion the usage of (federal) state(s) may. On the other hand, there is no reasonable argument to make things extra complicated for users of the English language (specifically for non-native speakers) by auxiliarily establishing an untranslated term like Bundesländer. Besides, I know only of two nations on this planet (maybe there are a few more, if at all) for whose next-level partial units the term states is definitely practical and correct: the USA and Brazil. (talk) 15:05, 15 February 2014 (UTC)