26th October 2014: Austrian National Day

 

What do people do?

On October 26, the Austrian national flag is omnipresent throughout the country. Memorial ceremonies are held in many locations, federal museums offer free entry and some state institutions open for visitors.

A very different tradition on National Day are the “fitness marches” (Fit-Märsche). These are hikes that are organized throughout the country and attract around 100,000 people each year. The aim is to promote fitness and raise awareness of a healthy life-style.

Public life

The National Day on October 26 is a public holiday in Austria. Offices, banks, schools and businesses are closed. Public transport runs on a reduced schedule.

Background

October 26 has been the date of Austria's National Day since 1965. Ten years earlier, the country had declared its permanent neutrality, which has since become one of the fundamental values of Austrian foreign policy. One day before the declaration, on October 25, 1955, the last foreign troops left the country, which had been occupied by the four allied powers (Soviet Union, United States, Great Britain and France) since the end of World War II.

October 26 marks the day that followed the day on which the last remaining foreign troops left Austrian territory; therefore, October 26 is de facto the first day on which Austria had regained its status as an independent and sovereign state. Since Austria's neutrality was the condition upon which the Sowjet Union had agreed to the signing of the State Treaty, the Austrian Parliament also chose this very special day to pass the law on permanent neutrality to highlight the fact that it represented a unilateral and independent decision.

Every year, the Federal Government of Austria celebrates this day with a series of events in Vienna:

  • The Federal President and the Federal Minister of Defense attend a celebration at Heldenplatz ("Hero Square").
  • The Federal President puts down a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier at the Burgtor.
  • The Council of Ministers holds a festive meeting.
  • The government attends a Concert for Austria at the Vienna Staatsoper.
  • The new recruits of the Austrian Armed Forces are sworn in.

This year in Kosovo the Austrian National Day is celebrated with 530 soldiers on 25th of October 2014 at KFOR HQ and the Austrian Embassy celebrates the National Day on 27th of October 2014 at Sheshe 21.

 

 

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