The adjective kaiserlich means "imperial" and was used in the German-speaking countries to refer to those institutions and establishments over which the Kaiser ("emperor") had immediate personal power of control.
The term was used particularly in connexion with the Roman-German Emperor as sovereign of the Holy Roman Empire and with the subsequent Empire of Austria. In the Early Modern Period the term is linked with the universal precedence of the Kaiser over the other princes of the realm. Holders of an imperial or kaiserliche office were recruited from the whole empire, and had wide-ranging privileges in the territories.
Examples of military, political and cultural institutions with kaiserliche players in the Holy Roman Empire are the:
- Kaiserliche Armee (Imperial Army) and
- Kaiserliche Reichspost (Imperial Post Office)
- kaiserliches Hofgestüt (Imperial Stud) at Lipizza (1779), home of the Lipizzaners;
- kaiserliche Hofburg (Hofburg Palace) in Vienna;
- kaiserliches Hofmobiliendepot (Imperial Furniture Museum) in Vienna ;
- kaiserliche Residenz ("imperial residence") of Schönbrunn at Vienna;
- kaiserliche Hofmusikkapelle (Imperial Court Band)
The traditions continued in the Holy Roman Empire's successors, the Empire of Austria and in Austria-Hungary (with the suffix königlich or "royal"). The kaiserliche soldiers had an especially romanticised calling and loyalty, and occasionally similar names continue to the present day e. g. in several musical pieces and the Kaiserjäger band.
The term was not used in the German Empire of the 19th century.