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Culture

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.

  • Countryaah: 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 artists.

  • Songaah: List and lyrics of songs related to the country name of Austria. Artists and albums are also included.

Culture of Austria2019

December

The Constitutional Court repeals new laws

December 17

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.

October

Imam sentenced to prison for IS recruitment

October 17

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 sentences.

Peter Handke receives the Nobel Prize in literature

October 10

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

October 7

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

October 1st

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 the party.

September

Election victory for Kurz and ÖVP

September 29th

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

September 18

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

September 5

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 intrusion.

June

Parliamentary elections on September 29

June 11

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

June 3

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.

May

A vote of no confidence shuts Kurz and his government

May 27th

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

May 26

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

May 22

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 Heinz-Christian Strache.

The coalition government is cracking down, new elections are waiting

May 20

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.

January

Minister of the Interior criticized for attack on "rule of law"

January 24th

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.

 

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