The Austrian National Day is celebrated on October 26 and it is related to political developments that happened after World War II. Since 1965, every year, the Federal Government observes this day with a series of events in Vienna.

The Federal President addresses the population in a speech on TV, new recruits of the Austrian Armed Forces are sworn in, and open houses are held at the Office of the Federal President, the Federal Chancellery, and other public institutions. In addition, people can visit federal museums for free or with a discount on that day.

Naturally, there are plenty of different ways to commemorate the Austrian National Day, and each panagendian has its very own tradition.

A Bit of History

After the end of World War II, Austria was occupied by the four Allied forces. The Soviet Union, the United States, Great Britain, and France. The country was also divided into four zones. And so did Vienna, the capital. The first district, the historic central part of the city, was administered jointly by the “Allied Control Council”.

Although the Austrian parliament was democratically elected, it had little control over significant affairs. Because the Allied Control Council was able to veto political or legislative actions. That only changed in 1955 when the Austrian State Treaty was signed. That re-established Austria as a sovereign state.

From 1946 to 1954, Austria celebrated Liberation Day on April 13th, commemorating the end of the Second World War. But it was on October 26, 1955 that Austria signed the Declaration of Perpetual Neutrality. Stating that “Austria freely declares its perpetual neutrality, the document also declares that “Austria will maintain and defend this with all means at its disposal.”

And that’s why since then this date is honored as the Austrian National Day.

View of the Rathausplatz, Vienna City Hall Square. Copyright: PID/Markus Wache. Source: Stadt Wien Presse-Service

How panagendians Observe the Austrian National Day

panagenda’s headquarters are in Vienna, Austria. With 5 offices and a strong work-from-anywhere culture, panagendians are all over the world. As diverse as our team, are the ways they enjoy their free time. Here is how some of our team members in Vienna, and all over Austria, party on the date!

Franz Walder, Product Manager

“For us, it has always been a family day where we visit Rathausplatz (Vienna City Hall Square, one of the most important squares in the central city) and Heldenplatz (Heroes’ Square, a public space in front of the Hofburg Palace). In Covid years that was canceled, but I’m sure it’ll come back.

There is usually the “Sicherheitsfest” at Rathausplatz. Civil help and rescue organizations showcase their equipment and what they do. Usually, there is a bunch of shows and stuff for kids to try out and participate. For example, they can climb in an Ambulance or Fire Fighter truck or watch a show of rescue dogs.

Major event of the Austrian Armed Forces on Vienna’s Heldenplatz. Copyright: Pressefoto Votava. Source: Stadt Wien Presse-Service

Afterwards we move to Heldenplatz where the Austrian Army (such as it is) showcases their troops and equipment. There are usually tons of events there as well and stuff to try out. Climb a tank or a sit in the cockpit of a helicopter isn’t something you can do every day.

Of course, there’s food and drink everywhere, so it’s usually a very enjoyable day until the kids get tired. Then you fight on the way home in the subway and everybody goes to bed crying eventually.”

Alexander Klein, Senior IT Administrator

“In the past (and if the weather was nice) almost the whole cul-de-sac came together and we had our own small local street food festival. But this unfortunately died together with its organizers and then Corona happened.

So now we usually gather most of the family and have a small bonfire to grill sausages and play some games, and have some fun with the kids.”

Austrian barbecue on the Danube island. Copyright: Wiener Wildnis. Source: Stadt Wien Presse-Service.

Sandra Fritzer, HR Manager.

“We usually meet family and or friends for having lunch together. If the weather is still fine, we go for a hike all together in the beautiful Austrian Alps.”

Felix Vogler, Chief Financial Officer

“As the weather is usually good on Austrian National Day we always go out and hike in the Wienerwald (Vienna Woods) or surrounding hills/mountains (depending on how good the weather really is).

It’s amazing to take in the autumn sunrays and enjoy the amazing colors of the real Indian summer (forget Canada and US…)”

Inside the in the Wienerwald (Vienna Woods): the Güterbach, a stream in the districts of Hietzing and Liesing in Vienna. Copyright: KALAB Franz/MA 45. Source: Stadt Wien Presse-Service.

Bruna Novo, Social Media Marketing Specialist

As an expat living in Vienna, I created my traditions with my partner. We enjoy spending our time together outdoors, traveling, and going for a walk or a hike if the weather is good.

Of course, we also love to just have a relaxing day indoors, simply playing video games. In the past, during Covid lockdowns, adventure games were the choice of the hour. But as the October spooky season requires, we likely spend a couple of frightful hours playing horror games.

And if one of our favorite Heuriger is open, no doubt you can find us there. He with a wine. Me with a Punschkrapfen (a nougat and jam-filled sponge cake soaked with rum).