Austria National Day

Saturday, 26 October Austrian National Day 2019

Austria National Day: History, Celebrations, Facts, People

Happy Independence Day Austria! This special day marks the end of the country’s post-WWII occupation and the Declaration of Neutrality. It’s the day in the history when the last troops left Austria after the allied occupation in 1955, and the country was finally on the path to its independence.

Austrian National Day (also known as Austria Independence Day) is celebrated annually on 26th of October. The day celebrates the birth of the Austrian Nation as a completely independent and sovereign state. This special event also commemorates the passing of the Declaration of Neutrality, a constitutional law on permanent neutrality.

Austria national flag closeup waving blue sky

The Austrian National Day is celebrated with memorial ceremonies across the country. The event is celebrated with great enthusiasm and fervor. Patriotism and pride are important on this day and Austrian National Flags are present everywhere. To support the comprehension of the historical backdrop of Austria, museums are free to enter on this day.

Also Read: Independent Czechoslovak State Day History & Celebrations

Austria National Day History: How did Austria gain Independence?

National Day of Austria is celebrated every year on October 26 and commemorates the day in 1955 when the Soviet Union ended its rule, and Austria passed a law of permanent neutrality. But how did Austria gain Independence? How was Austria founded? Here’s a brief overview of Austria’s road to ‘complete’ Independence.

To get a thorough understanding of Austria’s Independence Day history, you have to go back to 976, when Leopold von Babenberg became the ruler of present-day Austria.

people raising fists on flag of Austria as a backgroundIn 1276, Rudolf I became the first Habsburg to rise to the royal position. The Habsburgs ruled for the following 750 years, a period during which the Austrian Empire gathered huge land wealth and fought off difficulties from the Ottoman Empire.

In 1848, Franz Josef I ascended to the throne and we saw many major developments in Austrian history, including the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867, which gave greater political rights to Hungary within the Empire and established the Dual Monarchy.

In the twentieth century, political solidarity continued to deteriorate. Following World War I, the Empire crumbled and the Austrian Republic was set up in 1919. From 1919 to 1934, Austria experienced expanding political unrest. In 1934, a dictator government came into power in Austria, and soon thereafter, Austrian National Socialists launched an unsuccessful coup d’état.

In February 1938, under restored dangers from Germany, Chancellor Kurt Schuschnigg was forced to accept Austrian National Socialists (Nazis) in his government. Hitler had manipulated Austria into being annexed by Germany. This was known as the Anschluss and denoted the start of the impacts of the Nazi Holocaust (oppression of the Jews) in Austria. A month later on March 12, Germany sent its military forces in Austria. The country was occupied by Nazi troops for nearly seven years, until the end of the war.

After the liberation in April 1945, allied troops divided Austria into four distinct zones that were occupied by 700,000 allied troops. These were from the Soviet Union, France, the United States, and Great Britain. Ten years later, these 700,000 allied troops reduced to 20,000 troops!

The 1955 Austrian State Treaty ended the four-zone occupation and recognized Austria as an Independent and Sovereign state. The treaty was signed on May 15, 1955, in Vienna’s Schloss Belvedere and came into effect on July 27, 1955.

On October 25, 1955, the last allied troops left Austria. The country became independent again and was known as the Second Republic of Austria. A day later on October 26, the Austrian Parliament passed the constitution law on permanent neutrality, which has been celebrated as Austrian National Holiday, i.e the first day without foreign troops on Austrian soil.

*Do You Know? The Austrian National Holiday was first celebrated in 1965, ten years after the signing of the Austrian State Treaty.

Happy teenager with a national flag of AustriaAustrian National Day: Historical Facts & Quotes

  • In March 1938, Germany sent its military forces in Austria, annexed the country and incorporated it into the German Reich.
  • On November 1943, in the Tripartite Declaration, the British, Soviet and US Allies declared that Austria, the first independent country to fall a victim to “Hitlerite aggression”, shall be liberated from German mastery and regain complete autonomy.
  • The Austrian State Treaty was signed on 15 May 1955. The treaty became valid on 27 July 1955.
  • Officially, the last of the foreign troops left Austria on 25 October 1955. The country became independent again and was known as the Second Republic of Austria.

Austria National Flag: Colors & Symbols

The National Flag of Austria has three equal horizontal bands of red, white, and red. The triband is based on the coat of arms of the Babenberg dynasty, recorded in the 13th century.

According to the legend, the flag was first invented by Duke Leopold V of a result of his fighting during the Siege of Acre. After a fierce battle, his white surcoat was totally doused in blood. When he removed his belt, the cloth underneath stayed unstained, revealing the combination of white-red-white. So taken was he by this particular sight that he embraced the colors and scheme as his banner.

Austria National Day: Celebrations, Life, Customs & Traditions

Austria Flag

Since 1965, October 26th has been celebrated as Austrian National Day. Ten years earlier in 1955, the country had declared its permanent neutrality and came to be known as the Second Republic of Austria.

The National Day of Austria is celebrated with great enthusiasm and pride. This day is an occasion to promote patriotism and national unity. On this special day, the Austrian National Flag is hoisted at all public and private buildings. Memorial ceremonies are held across the country, federal museums offer free entry to visitors.

A very unique tradition on National Day is the “fitness marches” (Fit-Märsche). These are long fitness walks organized throughout the country and attract thousands of tourists and citizens each year. The aim of this is to promote fitness and raise awareness of a healthy lifestyle.

Here’s how the National Day is celebrated in Austria:

The Independence Day in Austria is celebrated with patriotic zeal and fervor. The day begins with special prayers for peace, progress, and stability in the region. The center of independence day celebrations in Vienna, the country’s capital city.

The celebrations start with a flag raising ceremony, followed by a huge military parade including the display of advanced armories and war tanks. Thousands of Austrians including outside tourists as well, head out to the capital city to see the military parades and special performances.

Banner or poster of Austria independence day celebration

There are special Austria National Day seminars and speeches by government officials, were tribute and respect are paid to ancient leaders who struggled for the country’s independence.

Special Independence Day functions are held throughout the country, where the young generation is taught how the freedom of Austria was gained and how their ancestors struggled to get the separate homeland.

On National Day, all public and private buildings are decorated with Austria National Flags. Many citizens decorate their houses and towns with pennants and lights. Special firework shows are also put together on the independence day. A balloon release ceremonial event is also held in which a number of red-white-colored helium-filled balloons are unleashed into the sky.

To attract the citizens and develop a better understanding of the history of Austria, federal museums offer free or reduced-ticket entries on the National Day. Other important institutions such as the Federal Chancellery, also open their doors to the public.

At many places, the Independence Day celebrations occupy the streets with music and dancing. The lovely cultural dances, concerts, and music performances add glitz and glamour to the event.

For many citizens, the Austrian National Day is one-of-a-kind holiday they look forward to each year. Families and friends plan a picnic to recreational spots where they enjoy, chill and relax. Traditional dishes like Wiener Schnitzel, Charr a la meuniere and Liptauer Cheese Spread, cultural dances and entertainment performances make this holiday an affair to remember.

National Day of Austria: How the Federal Government Celebrates?

Every year, the Federal Government celebrates the National Day of Austria with a series of events in Vienna, the capital city:

  • The Federal President and the Federal Minister of Defense attend a celebration at Heldenplatz (a public space in front of the Hofburg Palace in Vienna, Austria)
  • The Federal President lays a wreath at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Burgtor. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is a high-profile national monument that is dedicated to the services of an unknown soldier and to the common memories of all soldiers killed in the Austrian wars.
  • The Federal President address the nation in a ‘State of the Union’ styled speech on television
  • The ministers hold a festive meeting
  • The new recruits of the Austrian Armed Forces are sworn in

National Day of Austria: Public Life

The Austrian flag is developing in the wind in Salzburg, Austria

The National Day of Austria is celebrated annually on October 26. A public holiday is observed on this day. Offices, schools, banks, and businesses are closed. Public transport runs on a reduced schedule.

Austria Country – At a Glance:

  • Capital City: Vienna
  • Largest City: Vienna
  • Official Language of Austria: German
  • The currency used in Austria: Euro
  • People of Austria are called: Austrians
  • Religion in Austria: Catholic, Muslim, Protestant, and others
  • The climate of Austria: It rains more than 200 times a year! Cold winters with frequent rain and snow in lowlands and mountains. Summers are moderate with heavy showers.
  • National Anthem of Austria: Bundeshymne
  • Life Expectancy in Austria:6 Years
  • Natural Resources: oil, coal, lignite, timber, iron ore, copper, zinc, antimony, magnesite, tungsten, graphite, salt, hydropower
  • National Symbols: golden eagle, edelweiss, Alpine gentian
  • National Colors: red, white
  • Austrian Cuisine: Beef, Pork, Turkey, Chicken, Goose. The country is also known for its Viennese Cuisine, made famous by its pastries and desserts.
  • Famous Sports Activities: Soccer, Volleyball, Basketball, Downhill Skiing

Interesting Facts about Austria: Geography, Culture & People

The Republic of Austria is a landlocked region in Central Europe. Let’s read some interesting facts about Austria, its history, geography, culture, people and more…

History & Heritage

  • Austria was once the center of power for the huge Austro-Hungarian Empire. The region was reduced to a small republic after its defeat in World War I.
  • During the 17th and 18th century, Austria was a great power in Europe.
  • The country was ruled by many Celtic tribes in pre-Roman times.
  • After the 1918 collapse of the Austria-Hungary Empire, the nation experienced over 25 years of social and financial disturbance.
  • Vienna, the capital city of Austria, was involved in nine major wars. In the 19th century, the average life expectancy in Vienna was 38 years!
  • Austria remained under Nazi Germany for seven years (1938-1955).
  • The Viennese Clock Museum in Austria has more than 1,000 different types of clocks. The oldest clock in the museum is the astronomical clock which was built in 1679.
  • Austria has one of the world’s largest libraries, known as the Austrian National Library. The library has around 2.5 million books, some of them dating back to the 14th century.

Austria’s Land & Nature

Austria national flag with sky on background

  • The highest point of the country is at 3,798 m – Grossglockner
  • A very small percentage of the Austrians is involved in agriculture. The agricultural production is less than 1.5% of the GDP.
  • Austria is considered as Europe’s No.1 Organic Farming Country. The Austrians main priority is quality rather than quantity. No harmful chemicals, fertilizers, and pesticides are used in farming. The country also rejects the use of biotechnology for the production of crops.
  • Vienna has the world’s largest Emerald.

Austria’s Map & Location

  • Austria has nine federal states: Vienna, Carinthia, Lower Austria, Upper Austria, Burgenland, Salzburg, Styria, Tyrol, and Vorarlberg.
  • The country extends 360 miles from east to west.
  • Austria has the largest endorheic lake in Central Europe, called the Lake Neusiedl. The lake covers 315 km², of which 240 km² is on the Austrian side and 75 km² on the Hungarian side.
  • Austria meets about 65% of its electricity needs by means of renewable energy sources.
  • Austria is a landlocked country in Europe.
  • 2/3rd of Austria is covered by woods and meadows. Forests represent 2/5th of the nation. Hence, Austria is among the most densely forested nations in central Europe.
  • Eisriesenwelt, the largest ice cave system in the world belongs to Austria.
  • Tiergarten Schönbrunn – the world’s largest zoo is located in Austria. The zoo was founded in 1752 and home to more than 700 animal species, some of them threatened.
  • The Krimml Falls is the highest waterfall in Austria and central Europe. It has a height of 380m: Upper stage 100m, middle stage 140m, lowest stage 140m
  • Ibex Mountain Goats are found in Austria. They were near to extinct but were restored in the last few years.
  • It rains a lot in the country, more than 200 times a year!
  • Acid Rain is among Austria’s main issues. About 37% of the country’s forest suffered huge damages at the hand of acid rain.
  • About 2/3rd of the country is above 500m

Austria’s Business & Economy

  • Do you know Austria exports around 30% of the wine produced in the country
  • Austria is one of the richest countries per capita in the world. The GDP per capita is $50,000!
  • The country has the 3rd highest per capita income from tourism in the European Union. The country attracts 30 million tourists every year!
  • After World War II, Austria was a breath away from economic collapse. Due to the slowdown in the economy, a large number of Austrians emigrated to the United States, Canada, and Australia.
  • There are no Nuclear Power Plants in Austria
  • Latest models of Mercedes are commonly used as taxis in Austria!
  • Austria is one of the top recyclers in the world. The country recycles almost 63% of the waste it produces!
  • In Austria, the president is elected for a term of 6 years. However, the president is just a representative. The everyday operations of the country are managed by the Federal Chancellor.

Austrian People & Life

  • German is the official language of Austria. The second most spoken language is Bavaria, which is a dialect of the German language. Some other local official languages are Hungarian, Slovene, Croatian, and Burgenland.
  • Austrian families are small and appearance matters a lot to them. Austrians always keep themselves neat, clean and tidy.
  • There are a total of 21 Nobel Prize award winners from the Republic of Austria
  • Austria is among the top 10 most patriotic countries in the world.
  • Austrians are very hospitable. They love caring and sharing.
  • Austria has the highest standards of living in the world
  • Austria is the only European Union nation that is not a member of NATO.
  • Peter Stiftskeller, the world’s oldest still-operating restaurant, is located in Austria. The restaurant was established in 803 and is said to have served Christopher Columbus, Johann Georg Faust, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
  • Austria has the world’s largest cemetery, The Vienna Central Cemetery, with more than 2.5 million graves.
  • Freedom of religion is a fundamental right in Austria.
  • For any drink to be classified as an ‘alcoholic’ drink in Austria, it must contain 20% alcohol. This quantity is twice the amount of alcohol found in alcoholic drinks in other European countries.
  • Prostitution is legal in Austria
  • Mcdonalds in Austria serves Beer!
  • You get money by returning empty beer or soda bottles to the grocery store
  • In Austria, couples usually marry after 8 or more years of dating!
  • Retail and grocery shops are closed on Sundays
  • Since centuries, downhill skiing is the most popular sport in Austria. The locals learn to ski when they are in the early years of their lives.

About Austrian Food & Cuisines

austria national flag. Austria Happy National Day, october 26 greeting card

  • Austrians love eating Potatoes. Potatoes are served fried, sliced, and pan-fried.
  • For breakfast, Austrians consume bread rolls made from white flour and wholemeal flour, coupled with muesli (a breakfast dish based on oats, grains, dried fruits, nuts that may be mixed with cow’s milk, almond milk, or yogurt).
  • Austrian has the best pastry chefs in the world. You will find lots of sweet, delicious desserts, cakes, and pastries here.
  • Pork, veal, and beef are the main contents of some of the most favorite Austrian dishes

*Do You Know? Because of the confusion between Austria and Australia, many postal letters and parcels were delivered to Australia rather than Austria. Thus, the Australian post offices had to use a unique rubber stamp that read “redirected to Austria in Europe”.

Austria National Day

On October 25, 1955, the last foreign troops left Austria, which had been occupied by the four allied powers: Soviet Union, United States, Great Britain, and France, since the end of World War II. The country became independent again and was known as the Second Republic of Austria.

A day later on October 26, the Austrian Parliament passed the constitution law on permanent neutrality, which has been celebrated as Austrian National Holiday, i.e the first day without foreign troops on Austrian soil.

The Austrian National Holiday was first celebrated in 1965, ten years after the signing of the Austrian State Treaty.

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