In the United States of America, Washington DC is not part of any state. In Australia, there are three mainland territories which are not part of any state (although apparently two essentially function as states).

Each of these countries also administers various smaller lands outside of the system of 'states' - the US Virgin Islands, Norfolk Island, etc.

Are there any lands which are a part of Germany, but are not a part of any of the sixteen states?


1 Answer 1


No. Some time ago, there was a (short and pointless) discussion regarding whether the state of Berlin (which in its borders is identical to city of Berlin, which is also the capital of the Federal Republic of Germany) should be transformed into an "independent" district after the example of Washington DC.

Back then is was concluded that this would violate the German Grundgesetz (the constitution).

Berlin will ein Bundesland bleiben und beansprucht keine Sonderstellung nach dem Vorbild von Washington D.C. Das hat der Senat gestern klargestellt. Das Grundgesetz schließe „nach einhelliger Einschätzung aus, dass es irgendein bundesunmittelbares Gebiet geben kann“, steht in einem Senatsbericht über die Arbeit der FöderalismusKommission. Deren Aufgabe ist es, Vorschläge zur Modernisierung der bundesstaatlichen Ordnung vorzulegen. In dem Gremium sitzen Vertreter des Bundes und der Länder.


So all members of the Förderalismuskommission agree that there cannot be territories that are under direct control of the Federal Government. A territory that neither belongs to the states nor is controlled by the federal government would not be "German" in any meaningful sense, so such a thing does not exist and barring changes to the constitution cannot exist.

  • 6
    You should add a translation of that constitutional statement, I think.
    – gktscrk
    Jul 17, 2020 at 11:48
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    @gktscrk will do when I am not at work, but the only relevant bit is the bolded statement and that is explained in my following paragraph. Jul 17, 2020 at 12:01
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    +1. But the source you posted actually refers to a different source (a senate report about the work of the federalism commission). So it might be even better to quote the primary source instead of a second hand interpretation of it by a journalist. The press release this article seems to be quoting from has an even longer quote which directly mentions Washington DC and even mentions the articles of the Grundgesetz which were used to justify why such an arrangement would be unconstitutional in Germany.
    – Philipp
    Jul 17, 2020 at 13:44
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    "the state of Berlin (which in its borders is basically identical to city of Berlin" ... according to the German Wikipedia article on Berlin, the borders of the state of Berlin are exactly those of the city of Berlin.
    – Heinzi
    Jul 17, 2020 at 20:42
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    @AustinHemmelgarn that was mostly a misunderstanding in the media. What actually had happened was that then major Klaus Wowereit wanted to have a special status for Berlin as the German capital written down in the constitution ("Hauptstadtinitiative"). He did not want to give up Berlins status as a state, for the most part this was about money , he wanted the federal government to pay for the expenses they incurred on the city. This was somehow spun into the "district of Berlin" idea, which was discussed in public discourse, but was not a serious suggestion. Jul 17, 2020 at 21:18

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