What to Do on Austrian National Day

On Austrian National Day, October 26th, the country celebrates itself, its institutions and especially its place in the world.

Rumors prevail that Nationalfeiertag (Austrian National Day) is observed on October 26th because that’s when the last occupying Russian soldier left in 1955, or when the constitution was ratified. In fact, Austrian National Day commemorates the establishment of Austrian neutrality – and has been a public holiday since 1965.

Planned activities are a bit different in 2021, thanks to the pandemic – but the general sense of celebration remains the same. Apart from the traditional military parade at Heldenplatz, the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be holding a joint event and admission to several museums in Vienna will be free or reduced.

  • The military parade on Heldenplatz will largely take place virtually.
    • Visitors can take a virtual seat in a Eurofighter cockpit; other interactive online activities are available at this link: nationalfeiertag2021.at.
    • The inauguration of 100 recruits will be broadcast live from Heldenplatz.
    • The program is scheduled for 11 a.m. on the national broadcasting service, ORF.

The following museums will offer free or reduced admission:

  • The National Library will open its famous ceremonial hall and all five museums (Literature Museum, Papyrus Museum, Globe Museum, Esperanto Museum and the House of History) to visitors from 10 a.m to 6 p.m.
    • The program will feature short guided tours of the ceremonial hall, the national hall and of the current exhibition “Danube. A journey into the past.”
  • The Museum of Applied Arts will hold its traditional “MAK DAY”. Tickets will cost only 6 Euros and all guided tours are free.
    • Tours last for around 45 minutes, and the first begins at 10:30 a.m.
    • Preregistration for all guided tours is required (participation is limited).
  • The Folklore Museum is open to visitors from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    • Entry to the museum is free all day.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of the Interior have organized a special joint event at Minoritenplatz from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.:

  • The Minister of the Interior Karl Nehammer invites visitors to experience the life of a police officer.
    • Members of special forces units, the Cobra and the Alpine police, will answer questions about their professions and the importance of safety.
    • The Austrian Red Cross and “Team Austria”, the national firefighting association, will also attend.
  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will present their work and day-to-day operations.
    • This year, the Ministry is focusing on crisis management and consular assistance.
    • For all those interested in a foreign service career, human resources staff will be there to answer questions.
Bogdan Brkić
Bogdan Brkić
Originally from southern Serbia, he moved to Vienna in 2013 to study German Philology. He is an aspiring journalist whose passions include history, music and French pastries.

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