An Amt (plural Ämter) is an administrative unit, which is unique to the German Bundesländer (federal states) of Schleswig-Holstein, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Brandenburg. Other German states had this subdivision in the past. Some states have similar administrative units called Samtgemeinde (Lower Saxony), Verbandsgemeinde (Rhineland-Palatinate) or Verwaltungsgemeinschaft (Bavaria, Thuringia, Saxony-Anhalt).
An Amt as well as the other above-mentioned units is subordinate to a district and is subdivided into municipalities. Normally it consists of very small municipalities; larger municipalities don't belong to an Amt and are called "Amt-free municipalities" (amtsfreie Gemeinden).