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[bur-guh-mas-ter, -mah-ster]

Burgomaster (alternatively spelled Burgomeister, literally translated meaning master of the town or master of the fortress) is the English form, rendering various terms in or derived from the German language word for the chief magistrate and/or chairman of the executive council of a sub-national level of administration (Bürgermeister) All contemporary titles are commonly translated into English with the Anglo-Saxon equivalent of 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.
  • 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, 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 'Lord Mayor') in Berlin
    • Erster Bürgermeister (literally 'First Burgomaster') in Hamburg
    • Bürgermeister und Präsident des Senats ('Burgomaster and President of the Senate') in Bremen
    • Oberbürgermeister ('Supreme Burgomaster') is the most common version. The Ober- prefix is used in many ranking systems for the next level including military designations.
    • Präsidierender Bürgermeister ('Presidential Burgomaster') is an obsolete formulation sometimes found in historic texts.
  • Borgmester (Danish)
  • Borgomastro o Sindaco-Borgomastro (Italian): in few communes of Lombardy
  • Burgemeester in Dutch: Belgium (also Bourgmestre in French; a party-political post, though formally nominated by the regional government and answerable to it, the federal state and even the province) and 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 and in 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)

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)

Sources and references

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