Every year, the Austrian National Day (Österreichischer Nationalfeiertag) is celebrated on October 26. It commemorates the Austrian Declaration of Neutrality.
In 1955, Austria declared itself permanently neutral, which led to the four allied forces (Soviet Union, United States, Great Britain, and France, that had been occupying Austria after the Second World War from 1945 to 1955) leaving the country. This gave Austria full sovereignty back once again.
On Nationalfeiertag, Austrians (and visitors) have the opportunity to join in the festivities by witnessing and/or enjoying a series of special events:
- Free Entry to Museums
Museums in Vienna will be accessible free of charge or at a reduced fee. (For details on the museums of Vienna click here.)
- Open Doors
Various institutions like the Federal Chancellery, or the president’s rooms at the Hofburg are open to the public.
- Celebration of the Austrian Armed Forces
The Austrian Armed Forces put on shows of their skills and display their tanks and helicopters on the Heldenplatz. New recruits are also sworn in there in an open ceremony. The president is joined by various ministers and lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the nearby Burgtor.
- Televised Speech
In the evening of the Nationalfeiertag, the Bundespräsident, Austria’s president, addresses the nation in a televised “State of the Union”-like speech.
Whether you decide to join in on the festivities, make use of the various cultural offerings, or decide to stay at home, please remember that the Austrian National Day is a bank holiday and therefore shops, schools, and many public institutions are closed!