Austria has a large and varied cultural
offering with everything from building monuments from
various historical eras to all kinds of concerts,
theater and opera performances, museums and festivals.
The Opera and Opera City Vienna is the center of
Austria's and Europe's music scene; the gospel choir
Wiener Sängerknaben and Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
are world famous. In Salzburg, the birthplace of
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, there is the Academy Mozarteum.
Latest population statistics of Austria, including religious profiles and major languages spoken as well as population growth rates in next three decades.
Also among the world's leading composers are Joseph
Haydn, Franz Schubert and the Johann Strauss family.
Arnold Schönberg, Alban Berg and Anton Webern are
considered the founders of modern art music.
Famous authors include Stefan Zweig, Robert Musil,
Peter Handke (Nobel Prize in Literature 2019), Marlen
Haushofer, Elfriede Jelinek (Nobel Prize in Literature
2004) and Thomas Bernhard. It was also in Vienna that
Sigmund Freud developed his psychoanalysis.
Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Alfred Kubin and Oskar
Kokoschka are some of the more famous 20th century
Songaah: List and lyrics of songs related to the country name of Austria. Artists and albums are also included.
The Constitutional Court repeals new laws
In the course of a week, the Constitutional Court repeals three laws
introduced by the former ÖVP-FPÖ government. One law gave security services and
police the right to install surveillance software in computers, which could risk
not only suspecting criminals, but also other computer users. According to the
Court, therefore, the measure violated the European Convention on Human Rights.
The Constitutional Court also withdrew partly a law that gave the police access
to vehicle data from traffic systems, and also another widely debated law which
meant that immigrants could receive social assistance reductions due to
insufficient knowledge of German and English.
Imam sentenced to prison for IS recruitment
A Graz court sentenced an imam to seven years in prison for recruiting IS
supporters. A further three men are sentenced to multi-year conditional prison
Peter Handke receives the Nobel Prize in literature
Austrian well-known author Peter Handke receives this year's Nobel Prize in
literature. Glove, born in 1942 in the state of Carinthia, now resides outside
Paris. He has written a number of novels, poetry and drama since the mid-1960s
and has been translated into over 20 languages. However, he is controversial
because of his support for the Serbian side during the wars of former Yugoslavia
in the 1990s.
Sebastian Kurz gets commissioned to form government
President Alexander Van der Bellen asks OVP's Sebastian Kurz to start
negotiations to form a stable government. Kurz needs to find at least one
coalition partner to get a majority in parliament. There are at least three
different government alternatives for the ÖVP: a government with the Greens, a
coalition with the Social Democratic SPÖ or a cooperation, as in the last
government, with the right-wing populist FPÖ.
Strache suspended from his party after corruption suspicions
Former FPÖ leader Heinz-Christian Strache is suspended from his party FPÖ.
Strache was Vice Chancellor of the former FPÖ-ÖVP government before the
so-called Ibiza scandal became his and later also the government's fall.
Prosecutors now announce that Strache is suspected of missing money from FPÖ. If
the legal investigation into the charges continues, Strache may be excluded from
Election victory for Kurz and ÖVP
Sebastian Kurz and his party ÖVP win the new election with 37 percent of the
vote according to preliminary results. The former coalition partner FPÖ, on the
other hand, crashes close to 10 percentage points to third place with about 16
percent of the vote. The Social Democratic SPÖ becomes the second largest party
with just over 21 percent of the vote, which is, however, the worst result for
the party in many years. The Greens manage to take a seat again in Parliament
after running for election two years ago.
Parliament ratifies EU-Mercosur trade agreements
Almost all parties in the National Council say no to a free trade agreement
between the EU and Mercosur countries Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina.
The trade agreement was signed in June after several years of negotiations.
However, in order to enter into force, the agreement must be approved by the
European Parliament and all individual EU states. France, Ireland and Luxembourg
have also been skeptical of the agreement and suggested that it should be put on
ice given the criticism of Brazil's environmental policy in the Amazon.
ÖVP exposed to hacker attack
Just a few weeks before the parliamentary elections at the end of September,
conservative ÖVP states that the party has been hit by a cyber attack. The
attackers have come across large numbers of secret documents, which have been
transmitted to the media in the country when they attack the party's databases.
IT security companies have been connected to try to find out who is behind the
Parliamentary elections on September 29
Parliament decides the date on which new elections to Parliament will be
held. FPÖ and SPÖ, which together have a majority in parliament, are pushing for
the election to take place late September, the 29th. ÖVP and President Alexander
Van der Bellen wanted an earlier election date.
New interim government takes office
In early June, an expedition government with the chair of the Supreme Court
Brigitte Bierlein takes over as Chancellor. The new government consists of
various experts and will guide the country until general elections have been
possible later this year.
A vote of no confidence shuts Kurz and his government
Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and his technocrat government are forced to resign
since the left opposition SPÖ and the small party Jetzt have made a joint case
with the FPÖ and voted in favor of two statements of confidence in Parliament.
One statement of disbelief is directed at Chancellor Kurz himself and the other
against the entire government. It is the first time in the post-war period that
a disbelief procedure has set the sitting government down. Federal President
Alexander Van der Bellen is now expected to appoint a transitional government
with experts who can govern the country until the parliamentary elections are
held in September.
ÖVP wins big in EU elections
Despite the government crisis a few days ago, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz's
party of ÖVP becomes the biggest in the European elections. The Social Democrats
SPÖ had hoped that the video scandal would fade away on both FPÖ's and ÖVP's
election results. But that is not the case. The ÖVP receives almost 35 percent
of the vote, an increase of eight percentage points compared to the 2014
election, which corresponds to seven seats in the European Parliament. SPÖ is
allowed to settle for second place with 23 percent of the votes and 5 seats.
ÖVP's former partner FPÖ receives just over 17 percent of the vote and becomes
the third largest party with 3 mandates.
Kurz forms a minority government
A few days after the government coalition between FPÖ and ÖVP broke up,
Chancellor Sebastian Kurz forms a minority government. The ministers from the
ÖVP retain their positions while independent experts and government officials
replace the vacant seats after the FPÖ ministers. The Chief Justice of the
Supreme Court, Eckart Ratz, becomes new Minister of the Interior after
The coalition government is cracking down, new elections are waiting
Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache from the right-wing populist FPÖ
resigns after a video recording is spread in which he promises a woman who
claims to be a wealthy Russian investor state business contract in exchange for
FPÖ receiving support in the 2017 election. Heinz-Christian Strache also leaves
her post as party leader for FPÖ and replaced by Norbert Hofer. Chancellor
Sebastian Kurz from ÖVP then announces that government cooperation with FPÖ will
cease. At a meeting between him and Federal President Alexander van der Bellen,
it is decided that a new election will be held in September. Van der Bellen is
also in agreement with Kurz's plans to dismiss Interior Minister Herbert Kickl,
who is also party secretary for the FPÖ. Following the announcement that Kickl
will be fired, all FPÖ ministers choose to leave the government.
Parliament adopts law against veil in primary school
15th of May
Members of the government parties in parliament vote yes to a law that
prohibits the use of "religiously influenced clothing" intended to cover the
head of primary school. The text of the law does not explicitly mention Islamic
headgear to avoid it being able to appeal as discriminatory to Muslims. But the
two government parties ÖVP and FPÖ have made it clear that hijab is intended.
The opposition in parliament largely voted no to the law.
Minister of the Interior criticized for attack on "rule of law"
Interior Minister Herbert Kickl from the right-wing populist FPÖ is sharply
criticized by President Alexander Van der Bellen when he expresses his disdain
for the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights (ECHR). The
statement that he believes that "it is up to the law to follow politics and not
for politics to follow the law" raises strong criticism. Kickl's statements are
made in connection with an interview in which he is asked about curfew for
asylum seekers and rapid deportations contrary to the rule of law. A few days
later, a vote of no confidence against Kickl is held in Parliament, which the
opposition calls for after its questioning of the human rights convention.
However, the MPs of the government parties vote down the proposal. It is the
sixth distrust so far against Kickl.