Amt (political division)
In Germany, an Amt, or Samtgemeinde, or Verbandsgemeinde, or Verwaltungsgemeinschaft is a collection of towns or municipalities in a rural district. The name used depends on which state the district is in.
The Amt joins together several small villages to help with land-use plans, sanitation, the cemetery and fire brigade services or other services that one village is too small to provide for itself.
Larger towns, usually called free towns, can carry out these services for themselves, and are not part of an amt.