Fly Red and White in Austrian National Day
Festive reds and whites pepper the solemn streets of Austria every October, as the country celebrates the day they earned their full independence.
The Austrian National Day is a public holiday that falls on 26 October to celebrate the conclusion of the Allied occupation after World War II. Austria was divided into four zones in the years after the war, held in part by the Soviet Union, United States, Great Britain and France. The State Treaty of 15 May 1955 promised the end of the occupation in that year. More than 5 months later, the last of the foreign troops in Austrian territory finally marched away.
The 26th of October also marks the day Austria became permanently neutral. As a neutral country, Austria cannot take sides in any future wars or in international disputes.
Celebrating Austrian National Day at Hero Square in Vienna.
Austria usually commemorates its National Day with a public celebration at the Hero Square or Heldenplatz attended by the president and minister of Defence. A wreath is presented to the tomb of the unknown soldier, and the Council of ministers attend a party. The Vienna State Opera holds a concert for government officials. New recruits of the Austrian Armed Forces are also sworn on this day.
The Austrian Military participating in the National Parade.
For citizens, there is the National Parade showcasing the military, flags and all manner of decorations following the colours of the flag. Dancers and singers hold processions on the street and a fireworks display lights up the night sky, firing up the Austrian national spirit as the champions of the war are remembered.
Five days ahead of the celebrations, Austrians are already preparing the major venues like the Heldenplatz in Vienna. The following museums and government institutions will also be holding an open day where visitors can come for free:
- Museum of Natural History (Naturhistorisches museum)
- Museum of Fine Arts (Kunsthistorisches museum)
- Military Museum (Heeresgeschichtliches museum)
- Austrian National Library (Österreichische nationalbibliothek)
- Parliament building
- Chancellor’s Office
- Office of the President
- Belvedere Palace
More information on operating hours can be found here.