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NUTS and LAU is standard developed of territorial units developed by European Union. It defines hierarchical structure of territories with 5 levels (NUTS1, NUTS2, NUTS3, LAU1, LAU2). LAU1 used to be called NUTS4, LAU2 used to be called NUTS5 and although the LAU system completely replaced these, the historical terms are sometimes still used.

Please help to gather information about NUTS and LAU hierarchies relevant for OSM mappers on this page.

Levels and references

For each EU member country, a hierarchy of three NUTS levels is established by Eurostat; the subdivisions in some levels do not necessarily correspond to administrative divisions within the country. A NUTS code begins with a two-letter code referencing the country, which is identical to the ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 code (except UK instead of GB for the United Kingdom). The subdivision of the country is then referred to with one number. A second or third subdivision level is referred to with another number each. Each numbering starts with 1, as 0 is used for the upper level. In case the subdivision has more than nine entities, capital letters are used to continue the numbering. A similar statistical system is defined for the candidate countries and members of the European Free Trade Association, but they are not technically part of NUTS governed by the regulations.

  • NUTS1 - large regions which have approximate population 3-7 millions. Bigger states are separated to more NUTS1 regions. Reference examples - Luxembourg is has NUTS1 code LU0, German state Hessen has code DE7, Scotland has NUTS1 code UKM.
  • NUTS2 - many European financial institutions operate on this level which have approximate population 0.8-3 millions. Some smaller state are only one NUTS2 region Reference examples - Luxembourg is has NUTS2 code LU00, Central Bohemian Region has NUTS2 code CZ020.
  • NUTS3 - local administration often operates at this level which have approximate population 150-800 thousand. Reference example: Wetteraukreis – Kreis has NUTS3 code DE71E.

Note that not all countries have every level of division, depending on their size. One of the most extreme cases is Luxembourg, which has only LAUs; the three NUTS divisions each correspond to the entire country itself. It is however advisable to create separate relation for each of these level even though the territory is the same. No only the code can be different, but also the name of region depending on what level of nomenclature we speak. NUTS is thus in some extent similar to the ISO 3166-2 standard, as well as the FIPS 10-4 standard of the United States.


There is currently no standardized tagging schemes, but the de facto standard is to have separate relation for each NUTS level with all or some of these keys:

key ecample noted
name Ústecký kraj name of the region
ref CZ042 the NUTSx or LAUy reference number (x = 1-3, y=1-2), in case that there are more nomenclatures, it is not clear which one to use. In EU it is probably safe to use this official classification
ref:nuts CZ042 the NUTSx reference number
ref:lau 531057 the LAUx reference number
ref:nuts:x (x=1-3) CZ042 the same as ref:nuts, but explicitly mentioning the level to which region belongs. This is probably better for computer parsers, since there is currently to tag which like nuts_level=* which would show at which level of nomenclature we are.
ref:lau:x (x=1-2) 531057 the same as ref:lau, but explicitly mentioning the level to which region belongs. This is probably better for computer parsers, since there is currently to tag which like nuts_level=* or lau_level=* which would show at which level of nomenclature we are.
is_in:country Česko country in which the region belongs. Another is_in=* keys can be used as well
is_in:nuts:x (x=1-3) CZ0723 NUTS-x region to which the region belongs.
is_in:nuts CZ0723 smallest NUTS region to which the region belongs (NUTS-3 for LAU regions, NUTS-2 for NUTS-3, etc ...)
population csu:uir-zsj source for population information. This is very useful when one wants to update, precise the information in population key.
source:population 828026 population of the region
wikipedia cs:Ústecký kraj the wikipedia=* for the region. This value is very important as Nominatim search derives the importance of region and the result order heavily from this key.
admin_level 6 see admin_level=*
type boundary denotes that the relation is a boundary=* relation.
boundary administrative denotes that the relation is a administrative relation boundary.

There seems to be difference betwean LAU2 vs NUTS5 codes. Although the former was derived from the latter the structure of codes may differ. For example NUTS5 code for Beroun used to be CZ0202531057 (or CZ0202 531057) but the LAU2 code is apparently only 531057.

Czech republic

  • NUTS 1 is whole Czech republic.
  • NUTS 2 are "kraje" (aso called VÚSC - vyšší územně správní celky) of two merged "kraje" called "Regiony soudržnosti". There are 8 NUTS-2 regions in Czech republic.
  • NUTS 3 are identical to "kraje" + Prague (which is NUTS-3 region), there are 14 of them.
  • LAU-1 regions are identical to "okresy", however there is an exception with Prague, which is LAU1. LAU1 codes are identical to former NUTS4 codes. There are 77 of LAU-1 regions.
  • LAU-2 references are 6 digit numbers - last 6 digits of former NUTS-5 codes. In many cases former NUTS-5 codes are used in place of LAU-2 codes. NUTS-5 is NUTS-3 five letter code followed by LAU-2 6 digits code.

Interesting links in Czech