Austrian National Day 2022: History, Significance and Celebrations

Austrian National Day is a public holiday in the country of Austria and it is annually celebrated on 26th October. This day commemorates Austria’s Declaration of Neutrality in 1955. 

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 as during the second world war the country came under the occupation of Germany and lost its sovereignty. 

Event Austrian National Day
Date October 26, 2022
Day Wednesday
Significance The day commemorates Austria’s Declaration of Neutrality in 1955.
Observed by Austria

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Austrian National Day History: 

We all are aware about the second world war and Austria was the first country in this war which was invaded and then occupied by the German forces under Adolf Hitler. So Austria had a huge role to play during this war. Initially there wasn’t much resistance against the occupying Germans as Austrians saw them as fellow Germans as Austria is a German-speaking country. However as the war passed on the resistance became stronger when Austrians came to know all about the terrific things which Germans were doing. 

After the end of the War, Austria was occupied by the four Allied forces (Soviet Union, United States, Great Britain, and France), who divided the country into four zones. The capital Vienna was also divided in four, with the historic central district being jointly administered by the “Allied Control Council.” Although the Austrian parliament was democratically elected, every legislative regulation or political action of the government at first required consent by the Allied Control Council and later on could still be vetoed by it.

The negotiations over a State Treaty putting an end to the occupation could finally be concluded in the spring of 1955: the Austrian State Treaty was signed on May 15, 1955, in Vienna’s Schloss Belvedere and entered into force on July 27, 1955. On October 26, 1955, the Austrian Parliament passed the constitutional law on permanent neutrality, which has been celebrated as the Austrian National Day since 1965.

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. So then the final foreign troops left Austria on October 25th 1955. And this moment was very crucial for Austria as by signing Declaration of Neutrality Austria chose a path that it will never allow any foreign forces to ever use its soil for carrying out any military operations and this was important that time as recently only Austria had a very bad experience with Germany. 

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Austrian National Day Significance: 

Since 1955, neutrality has become a deeply ingrained element of Austrian identity. Legally, Austrian neutrality is both a part of the Austrian constitution and of international law. There is some debate as to whether Austria could change this neutral status on its own account and whether Austria is still truly neutral, given it is already a member of the EU. Whatever the case is this day celebrates country’s neutrality and serves as a reminder for the country and its people of how important it is to maintain its neutral position and promote peace.

On Austrian National Day, victims of the resistance movement 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. So this day also serves as a memorial during which tribute and respect is paid to all the people who were part of the resistance movement against the occupying forces, so it recognizes their sacrifice. 

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 so they got their independence but were still not sovereign for making their own decisions. This day is significant for the country in celebrating the day they won back their freedom and sovereignty as well by signing the State Treaty in 1955 and that’s why it is called as the Austrian National Day. 

This day also serves as an opportunity to all of the Austrians to celebrate their culture and heritage on this day. This day also urges them to show their love and patriotism for the country. Overall this is a day in which everything which is Austrian is celebrated be it the rich culture and history of Austria, traditions, cuisines, political neutrality, etc. As it is a public holiday as well so it gives a perfect chance to Austrain citizens to go out and celebrate this day with full joy and enthusiasm. 

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Austrian National Day Celebrations: 

On every Austrian National Day, you can catch the action on the streets of Austria. As military parades takes place annually at this occasion especially in the area near Hofburg. These military parades also includes a marching band along with various performances for perfect entertainment for the spectators. This is also the day when the new recruits of the Austrian Armed Forces are sworn in. 

On National Day, Austrian citizens can visit any federal museum for free amd through these museums people gets to know about the rich culture and history of Austria. Various institutions also traditionally open their doors for the day (ie. the Federal Chancellery). Around the country so-called “marches for fitness” are organized on this occasion to raise awareness about the benefits of exercise and fitness among the general public. 

The Federal Government of Austria also celebrates this day by conducting many activities like the Federal President honors the victims of resistance and lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Council of Ministers holds a special meeting and the government attends a Concert for Austria at the Vienna Staatsope. 

President also addresses the population in a “State of the Union”-styled speech on TV. Open houses are held at the Office of the Federal President, the Federal Chancellery, ministries and other public institutions. Austrian Embassies around the world celebrate the Austrian National Day by hosting a number of different events for Austrian citizens.

Most Searched FAQs on Austrian National Day: 

1. When is Austrian National Day celebrated? 

Austrian National Day is annually celebrated on 26th October. 

2. What does Austrian National Day commemorates? 

Austrian National Day commemorates Austria’s Declaration of Neutrality on 26th October, 1955. 

3. What is the language of Austria? 

German is the official language of Austria. 

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