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National Day

National Holidays in Austria National Holiday in Austria

SalzburgAustria's national holiday on 26 October commemorates the Declaration of Neutrality.

The Declaration of Neutrality was a declaration by the Austrian Parliament declaring the country permanently neutral. It was enacted on 26 October 1955 as a constitutional act of parliament.

The declaration was a direct result of the allied occupation by the Soviet Union, the United States, the United Kingdom and France between 1945 and 1955. The Soviet Union would not have agreed to the signing of a State Treaty in May 1955 if Austria had not committed itself to declare its neutrality after the allied forces had left the country. The final foreign troops left Austria on 25 October 1955.

Since 1955, neutrality has become a deeply ingrained element of Austrian identity. Legally, Austrian neutrality is both part of the Austrian constitution and of international law. There are some debates as to whether Austria could change this neutral status on its own account and whether Austria is still truly neutral, given it is a member of the EU.

The day is celebrated each year with a series of events in Vienna:

  • the Federal President and the Federal Minister for Defense attend a Mass on the Heldenplatz
  • the Federal President followed by the Federal Government lay wreaths at the tomb of the unknown soldier in the Crypt of the outer Burgtor
  • a festive meeting of the Council of Ministers is held
  • the government attends a Concert for Austria at the Vienna Staatsoper and
  • finally the new recruits of the Austrian Armed Service are sworn in.

The citizens are offered the possibility to visit the federal museums for free. Various institutions also traditionally open their doors for the day (ie. the Federal Chancellery). Around the country so called "marches for fitness" are organized to raise awareness among the population about the benefits of exercise and fitness.

Around the world the Austrian Embassies celebrate the National Day with receptions for the Austrian citizens.


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