Austrian National Day is celebrated on October 26. It has been 56 years since this day was declared an official holiday. Did you know, on this day, Austria adopted the Federal Constitutional Law on the Neutrality of Austria? This is the day on which Austria stated its neutrality and decided that it will not be involved in any military alliances and won’t allow any military bases to be established in its territory. This day is also celebrated as Day of the Austrian Flag and declares the re-establishment of Austria’s sovereignty after World War II. This decision for Neutrality became part of the national consciousness of the Austrians.
History of Austrian National Day
Austrian National Day has been celebrated since 1955, commemorating the day Austria signed a Declaration of Neutrality. This decision was an announcement by the Parliament of Austria to declare Austria as neutral. The declaration was adopted as a constitutional act of parliament.
The declaration was a result of the joint occupation of Austria by France, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the Soviet Union during 1945 and 1955. It is known that if Austria had not declared its neutrality following the withdrawal of the allied forces from the country, the Soviet Union would not have signed the Austrian State Treaty in May 1955. On October 25, 1955, the remaining foreign troops left Austria.
The element of neutrality has become ingrained in the identity of Austrians since 1955. It is an essential part of Austria’s constitution and international law. Since Austria is a member of the European Union, there had been some debate whether Austria would remain neutral or whether it would change its neutral status.
After the end of the Second World War, the four allied forces occupied Austria and divided it into four regions. The Austrian parliament was democratically elected but every government decision was approved by the allied forces before the decision was taken. After the Austrian State Treaty was signed on May 15, 1955, it put an end to the occupation of the Allied forces.
Austrian National Day timeline
After the Second World War ends, the four allied forces occupy Austria and divide it into four zones.
The occupation of the four allied forces of Austria ends following the signing of the Austrian State Treaty.
The Austrian State Treaty comes into effect.
The signing of the Declaration of Neutrality is officially announced and declared as Austrian National Day.
Austrian National Day FAQs
What is the most important holiday in Austria?
“Christmas is undoubtedly the most important holiday in Austria. As in other European nations, December 6th is the day Saint Nicholas, the giver of gifts, makes his rounds,” states World Holiday Traditions.
What is there to do in Austria on National Day?
On National Day, Austrian citizens can visit any federal museum for free. Various federal institutions also traditionally open their doors to the public for the day (ie. the Federal Chancellery).
What do we celebrate on October 26th?
In addition to Austrian National Day, at National Today we also celebrate National Pumpkin Day on October 26.
How to Observe Austrian National Day
Attend the military parade
On every Austrian National Day, you can catch the action on the streets of Austria. You can attend the military parade that takes place in the area near Hofburg. The parade also includes a marching band and various performances.
Witness the president’s speech
Wouldn’t it be great to watch the president’s speech live? You can visit the Federal Chancellery and Austrian Parliament and listen to the president address the nation.
There is a great selection of museums in the capital of Austria that are usually free if you visit them on National Day. Austria has a rich culture and history that you can learn more about in all the museums around the country.
5 Amazing Facts About Austria
The country’s biggest export
Austria’s biggest export is cars — at a value of $6,297,901,000 in 2020, to be precise.
Its name means ‘east’
Austria got its name from the Germanic word ‘austro’, which means ‘east’.
One of the oldest flags
The flag of Austria is one of the oldest national flags in the world, first adopted in 1230.
We can thank Austria for Red Bull
That’s right, Austrian entrepreneur Dietrich Mateschitz came up with the idea for Red Bull after he was inspired by a Thai energy drink Krating Daeng (which, in Thai, roughly translates to ‘red bison’).
It’s home to the oldest zoo in the world
Vienna’s Tiergarten Schönbrunn is the oldest zoo in the world, established in 1752.
Why Austrian National Day is Important
It’s a celebration of the country’s neutrality
Since Austrian National Day is celebrated on the day that the Austrian Parliament passed the constitutional law on permanent neutrality in 1955, it serves as a reminder for the country and its people of how important it is to maintain its neutral position and promote peace.
It memorializes the end of WWII
On Austrian National Day, victims of the resistance are honored and remembered. One of this day’s most notable traditions and ways in which the nation observes this is when a wreath is laid by the federal president at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
It celebrates the day Austria regained their national independence
By the end of the war, all political and legislative decisions made by the democratically elected Austrian government first had to be approved by the Allied Control Council. This day is significant for the country in celebrating the day they won back their freedom and sovereignty by signing the State Treaty in 1955.
Austrian National Day dates