Luis Durnwalder, Landeshauptmann of South Tyrol 1989–2014
Luis Durnwalder, Landeshauptmann of South Tyrol 1989–2014

Landeshauptmann (if male) or Landeshauptfrau (if female) (German: [ˈlandəsˌhaʊptman], "state captain", plural Landeshauptleute) is the chairman of a state government and the supreme official of an Austrian state and the Italian autonomous provinces of South Tyrol and Trentino. His or her function is equivalent to that of a minister-president or premier. Until 1933 the term was used in Prussia for the head of government of a province,[1] in the modern-day states of Germany (with the exceptions of the city-states) the counterpart to Landeshauptmann is the Ministerpräsident (minister-president).


Since the early modern period, a Landeshauptmann originally served as governor under either a Prince of the Holy Roman Empire or the Emperor himself, mainly in the territories of the Habsburg monarchy (as for the Lands of the Bohemian Crown), later also in the Kingdom of Prussia. In the Austrian Empire, according to the 1861 February Patent, the title referred to the president of the Landtag assembly of a Habsburg crown land (called Landmarschall [de] in Lower Austria, Bohemia, and Galicia), who also served as head of the provincial administration. The Imperial-Royal government in Vienna was represented by a Statthalter or Landespräsident (governor).

With the dissolution of Austria-Hungary and the proclamation of the Republic of German-Austria in 1918, provisional state assemblies and state governments were established, headed by a Landeshauptmann. The 1920 constitution of the First Austrian Republic (Bundes-Verfassungsgesetz) unified the office of a Federal Government representative and head of the state government. The title is today used in modern Austria as well as in South Tyrol and Trentino, autonomous provinces in Italy with strong linguistic and cultural ties to the neighbouring Austrian state of Tyrol. In the Czech Republic, a hejtman (German: Hauptmann) represents each of the 13 self-governing regions (Czech kraj, pl. kraje). The title was also used by the German Empire for governors during the early stages of its colonial rule over German South-West Africa (1893–1898), Togoland (1893–1898) and German New Guinea (1886–1889, 1892–1899).


In modern Austria, the title is used for the head of the executive of the nine Austrian states, equivalent to the position of a Ministerpräsident in German states. In English speaking countries, the title is usually translated as "governor," though as mentioned above the function corresponds more to that of minister-president or premier.

The Landeshauptmann is elected by the Landtag (state parliament) of the respective state and sworn in by the President of Austria. In practice, he or she is almost always the leader of the majority party in the Landtag, or the leader of the senior partner in the governing coalition. As representative of the federal government on state level, he or she is also responsible for the enforcement of federal laws.

As Vienna is both a city and a state, its mayor is also the Landeshauptmann of the state, elected by the municipal and state assembly (Wiener Gemeinderat und Landtag). When Waltraud Klasnic (ÖVP) became governor of Styria in 1996, she preferred to be addressed as Frau Landeshauptmann, whereas Gabi Burgstaller (SPÖ), governor of Salzburg from 2004 to 2013, preferred Frau Landeshauptfrau. Since 1 July 1988, the Constitution of Austria allows for, but does not prescribe, office designations to be gender-specific.[2]

List of governors

Portrait Name State of Austria Took office Federal political affiliation State political affiliation
Michael Ludwig - Veranstaltung „1. Tag des Wiener Wohnbaus“ (2).JPG
Michael Ludwig Vienna Vienna
See also: List of mayors of Vienna
24 May 2018 Social Democratic Party of Austria SPÖ Wien
2016-02-15-Johanna Mikl-Leitner-hart aber fair-4566 cropped 2.jpg
Johanna Mikl-Leitner Lower Austria Lower Austria
See also: List of governors of Lower Austria
19 April 2017 Austrian People's Party Volkspartei Niederösterreich
Wilfried Haslauer 2012 01.jpg
Wilfried Haslauer Salzburg (state) Salzburg
See also: List of governors of Salzburg (state)
19 June 2013 Austrian People's Party Salzburger Volkspartei
17-03-16-Günther-Platter-RR7 8263.jpg
Günther Platter Tyrol (state) Tyrol
See also: List of governors of Tyrol
1 July 2008 Austrian People's Party Tiroler Volkspartei
Hans Peter Doskozil 2016-01-27.jpg
Hans Peter Doskozil Burgenland Burgenland
See also: List of governors of Burgenland
28 February 2019 Social Democratic Party of Austria SPÖ Burgenland
2015 Crossing Europe 2015 - Opening Ceremony -- Thomas Stelzer (Representative of the Upper Austrian Parliament) (17221217406) (cropped).jpg
Thomas Stelzer Upper Austria Upper Austria
See also: List of governors of Upper Austria
6 April 2017 Austrian People's Party Oberösterreichische Volkspartei
Peter Kaiser Wikipedia.jpg
Peter Kaiser Carinthia Carinthia
See also: List of governors of Carinthia
28 March 2013 Social Democratic Party of Austria SPÖ Kärnten
20171213 Markus Wallner 850 8541.jpg
Markus Wallner Vorarlberg Vorarlberg
See also: List of governors of Vorarlberg
7 December 2011 Austrian People's Party Volkspartei Vorarlberg
Schuetzenhoefer 2006.jpg
Hermann Schützenhöfer Styria Styria
See also: List of governors of Styria
16 June 2015 Austrian People's Party Steirische Volkspartei

South Tyrol and Trentino

See also: List of governors of South Tyrol and List of presidents of Trentino

According to the 1946 Gruber–De Gasperi Agreement and the Second Autonomy Statute of 1972, the chief executives of the provincial governments (Italian: Presidente della Provincia autonoma) of South Tyrol and Trentino are called Landeshauptleute in German.

The head of government of South Tyrol is elected by the provincial Landtag legislature. The Landeshauptmann represents the province to the outside and in meetings of the regions with the Italian government. He is also entitled to attend the sessions of the Council of Ministers as far as South Tyrolean issues are discussed. His two deputies have to represent the Italian and German language group.

Despite the German terms Landeshauptmann and Landtag, South Tyrol and Trentino according to Italian conception are no federated states (Länder) but merely subnational administrative divisions (enti territoriali), though with considerable self-government responsibilities and legislative powers.

Portrait Name Region Took office Political party
Arno Kompatscher.jpg
Arno Kompatscher South Tyrol South Tyrol
See also: List of governors of South Tyrol
9 January 2014 South Tyrolean People's Party
Maurizio Fugatti daticamera 2018.jpg
Maurizio Fugatti Trentino Trentino
See also: List of presidents of Trentino
22 October 2018 Northern League


From 1875 the territorial authority of the estates in the twelve administrative provinces of Prussia were re-organised as Provinzialverbände. Each of these self-governing bodies were represented in a Provinziallandtag assembly, whose members were delegated by the rural and urban districts within the province. The districts organised through their elected deputies their utilities, such as construction and maintenance of provincial roads, hospitals, schools, public savings banks, waste disposal etc., in self-rule.

The provincial administration was initially headed by a Landesdirektor, who was elected by the assembly for six-year terms (in Pomerania: five years) and maximally two terms. The holder of the office presided over the Provinzialausschuss, i.e. provincial government of self-rule, whereas the Oberpräsident was the king-appointed representative for the province, busy with implementing and supervising central prerogatives of the Prussian government.

In the following decades, Landeshauptmann gradually replaced the earlier expression Landesdirektor in all but one of Prussia's provinces. When the kingdom turned into a free state in 1920, only the Landtag of Brandenburg had decided to keep the traditional expression.[3] With the abolition of democratic self-rule on all government levels in the course of the Gleichschaltung process after the Nazi takeover in 1933, the office-holders were furloughed or retired and the offices remained vacant.

Klaipėda Region

The Klaipėda Region (German: Memelland), which was dissected from East Prussia after World War I and annexed by Lithuania in the Klaipėda Revolt of 1923, continued the usage of the terms Landesdirektor (i.e. government member) and Landesdirektorium (Lithuanian: krašto direktorija; i.e. government). The head of government was given the title Landespräsident (state president).


  1. ^ Duden; Definition of Landeshauptmann, in German. [1]
  2. ^ Constitution of Austria, Article 7,3.
  3. ^ Cf. article: "Landesdirektor", in: Der Große Brockhaus: Handbuch des Wissens in zwanzig Bänden: 21 vols.; Leipzig: Brockhaus, 151928–1935; vol. 11 (1932), p. 71.