The Regierungsbezirk pronounced [ʁeˈɡiːʁʊŋsbəˌtsɪʁk] (English: Government District) is a subdivision in 4 of the 16 federal states in Germany. It is governed by a Regierungspräsidium or a Bezirksregierung (English: District Government) and led by a Regierungspräsident (English: Government President). The Regierungsbezirke do not pass any legislation. They are mostly concerned with administrative decisions on a regional level for the Districts covered.
The first Regierungsbezirke were created by the Kingdom of Prussia, which divided its provinces into 25 Regierungsbezirke in 1808/1816. The Regierungsbezirke of North Rhine-Westphalia are in direct continuation of those created in 1815. Other states of the German Empire created similar entities, named Kreishauptmannschaft (in Saxony) or Kreis (in Bavaria and Württemberg) (not to be confused with the Kreis or Landkreis today). During the Third Reich the naming was unified to Regierungsbezirk.
Today only 4 of the 16 states are divided into Regierungsbezirke, all others are directly divided into districts. Currently, those four states are divided into a total of 19 Regierungsbezirke, ranging in population from 5,255,000 (Düsseldorf) to 1,065,000 (Gießen):
On January 1, 2000 Rhineland-Palatinate disbanded its three Regierungsbezirke Koblenz, Rheinhessen-Pfalz and Trier - the employees and assets of the three Bezirksregierungen were converted into three public authorities responsible for the whole state, each covering a part of the former responsibilities of the Bezirksregierung.