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Kreis (pronounced [ˈkʁaɪs]; plural Kreise [ˈkʁaɪzə]) is the German word for circle, and also refers to a type of country subdivision.

  • In Germany, a Kreis is a district or county, i.e. the subdivision of a Regierungsbezirk ("government district") which itself is the subdivision of a federal state (Land or Bundesland).[1]

The elected chief executive officer of a Kreis is called Landrat (literally "Land/State Councillor"), while the chief executive officer of a Regierungsbezirk who is appointed by the State is called Regierungspräsident (literally "Government President").[2]

  • In the Kingdom of Prussia, a Kreis was a district or county
  • In the Holy Roman Empire (962-1806), a Reichskreis (Imperial Circle) was a ceremonial association of several regional monarchies (Reichsländer) and/or imperial cities (Reichsstädte).
  • In the Swiss canton of Graubünden the 11 districts are divided into 39 Kreise (circles).

Kreis may also be a surname.

People with this surname include:

In music and culture:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Brockhaus Lexikon 2005 p506
  2. ^ Brockhaus Lexikon 2005 p523 p730