I am looking into data for an article and I am missing a pretty important map. The map relates to this question. I need a map of Bavaria communes, the so called Gemeinden divisions (~municipalities for Germany, English explanation), either to buy or freely available, raster or vector format, but it needs to be before 1930 period. I have spent around 5 hours already and all I could find related to the map I am looking is in the link to the other question. I mean I found other sites, and old books, but nothing concrete.

I would appreciate any pointers that you have.

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    It would be useful if you could provide some detail on where your search has already taken you, to avoid getting suggestions of places you've already tried. – Steve Bird Aug 22 '18 at 13:22
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    Really one map the for all/whole of Bavaria? That would be a map of quite a bit of detail. What exactly is this for or about? Illustration, Analysis? – LangLangC Aug 26 '18 at 13:57
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    The German gemeinden best translates into English as community; and both terms are indeterminate on scale. Usage appears to be for all of: "local community", "parish", and "municipality"; depending on context. Please clarify which usage corresponds to your requirement. – Pieter Geerkens Aug 26 '18 at 16:02


Here is a 1931 overview map of Bavaria (click on the link Zur historischen Karte im DigiTool-Viewer) appearing to show the municipal (ie gemeinden) divisions, labelled as Bezirksamtsgr(enze). Your required time-frame is uncertain, so I am not sure if that is early enough for your need.

enter image description here


  • Landesgrenze => national borders
  • Kreisgrenze => circle borders
  • Bezirksamtsgr(enze) => district borders
  • Stadtgrenze => city limits
  • Ausserdem sind noch die Eisenbahnknoten punkte u. Endstationen bezeichnet => Additionally, the railway nodes and terminals are designated

The Bavarian State Library Online has four centuries of Bavarian maps available to view online or order digitally on DVD. Most pages of the site are only in German.

enter image description here

I don't know enough German, or enough about the gemeinden, to effectively search this resource for the map you are interested in.

It's worth noting that Prince-Elector (later King) Maximilian I Joseph commissioned a 1:50,000 scale topographical survey of his kingdom from around 1805, with most of the maps completed before the mass construction of railways in the 1840's. These maps are available on this site and are a great resource for Napoleonic researchers. Here is the Regensburg surroundings as it was in the early 1830's (click on the link Zur historischen Karte im DigiTool-Viewer).

enter image description here

  • As far as I understand the question, OP asks for one giant file/paper map that would contain a lot of small print on a 5xA0 area, more than 7000 datapoints, compare it to this. Those are more modern districts, boundaries comparable to the one in the deleted answer, but with indicators for subdivision into the desired level of detail within those. Online? Could be done, should be done, I doubt it is, yet? – LangLangC Aug 26 '18 at 14:30
  • Actually Stadtgrenze means city-limits, the corresponding Gemeinde might be much bigger (compare Cham). That map leaves out most Gemeinden. This Uebersichts-Karte der neuesten Eintheilung des Königreichs Bayern might actually be the thing in question, but at max zoom I only believe to see faint lines? – LangLangC Aug 26 '18 at 15:44
  • @LangLangC: Actually no - it appears to show as Bezirksamtsgr(enze) the very same divisions in greater detail (as expected from the scale change), except in a few cases where sub-division has occurred. I initially missed the distinction between the big and small dots as boundaries. – Pieter Geerkens Aug 26 '18 at 15:52
  • If your last comment is about my suggested 1838 map: What is clearly visibly as lines is not what I meant. I was talking about what I want to believe to see with maxed contrast and so on: as much smaller but very faint subdivisions. But that might as well be just my mind playing tricks on me and this is already just the wood pulp structure… – LangLangC Aug 26 '18 at 16:03

For a project like this you might want to consider that just the list of all those Gemeinden fills a book with more than 300 pages:

Friedrich Zahn: "Gemeinde-Verzeichnis für das Königreich Bayern nach der Volkszählung vom 1. Dezember 1910 und dem Gebietsstand vom 1. Juni 1911", Lindauer: München, 1911. 380 pages

Bavaria is quite big and now has 2056 Gemeinden. For the time frame in question that number goes up to over 7123 (Wikipedia starting point for the year 1952, prior to 1930 those number is still higher) entities whose boundaries would have to be painted into a map.

enter image description here Source: Manfred Krapf: "Eingemeindungen", Historisches Lexikon Bayerns, 2018
Image shows: Poster "Population, area and number of municipalities in the administrative districts of Bavaria 1971" (before the start of the territorial reform) (Archive for Christian Social Policy)

That means that just the district Cham has how much Gemeinden? enter image description here -> 38 subdivisions. 39 today:

enter image description here

The present day subdivision into Gemeinden is on this Wikipedia page: Liste der Städte und Gemeinden in Bayern.

enter image description here

See the sometimes very complicated boundaries and the high level of detail required in a zoomable vector format; that is how deep you have to zoom in to make out anything precise. And this is present day – after a lot of simplification and territorial reform. I included the pixel format here in the biggest resolution Wikipedia allows (revealed on click). The result is pretty uselsss in my eyes. Earlier maps must include not only a lot of adddtional boundaries corresponding to the more than 7000 Gemeinden. Those older maps also would have to account for the sometimes irrationally medieval looking wobbly boundaries and a number of exclaves/enclaves, and quite a number of unincorprated territories: territory that is not part of any Gemeinde but still would have had boundaries to them. The needed detail just for boundary lines increases therefore quite significantly. If you then want include just the names or any other feature you need a lot of ink. Those territorial reforms were not entirely futile after all.

"That is a bit much for printed material on one map", thought Mr Luber in 1880 and split that up into government district level. That was then published in 8 maps:

L Luber: "Übersichts-Karte der Gemeinden, Amtsgerichte und Bezirke des Königreichs Bayern: nach dem Stande des Jahres 1880"

Titel: Übersichts-Karte der Gemeinden, Amtsgerichte und Bezirke des Königreichs Bayern ...: nach dem Stande des Jahres 1880 Maßstab : Ca. 1:300 000 Verf./Bet.Person: Luber, L. Institution: Bayern ...: Statistisches Bureau Angaben zum Verlag: [München] ...: 1880 Fußnote: Inselkarten BSB-ID: 175088 B3Kat-ID: BV011539726 OCLC-Nr.: 643501908 (Bayerische Staatsbibliothek bsb-muenchen.de)

Those are split along the administrative Regierungsbezirke level: Oberbayern, Niederbayern, Oberpfalz und Regensburg, Oberfranken, Unterfanken und Aschaffenburg, Schwaben und Neuburg, Mittelfranken, Pfalz.

These maps are available, but only offline. You might of course digitize them yourself, then stitch them together. If that is intended to be printed somewhere in an article or book that seems not very feasible.

To get much more detail then that –– and too big a choice already, from a still incomplete project started in 1906 –– you might need to have to turn to the official Historical Atlas of Bavaria:

Historischer Atlas von Bayern
The Historical Atlas of Bavaria (HAB) is a historical atlas composed of individual volumes and documents the ownership, rule and administration of all organisational levels in present-day Bavaria from early history to the present day as a historical-topographical description of the country. The volumes of this project mainly contain texts, statistics and maps. Not all atlas volumes have been published yet.

But some of them are online, especially the older ones.

There is quite a nice tool provided by the state of Bavaria here:

Geoportal BayernAtlas
example using timetravel mode and topic "Verwaltungsgrenzen - Gemeinden, Verwaltungsgemeinschaften, gemeindefreie Gebiete":

enter image description here

But do note that the borders are just the now valid ones:

enter image description here Small bit of Landkreis Landsberg

The former smallest Gemeinde of Beuern sits right on the new border between Greifenberg and Eresing which absorbed the territory of Beuern in 1978.

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