Simon Ballam

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English, studied in NY and worked in London, Düsseldorf, NY, Fankfurt, Prague and Vienna. This covered stints in market research and the film industry, international advertising coordination and strategic planning. Currently business school lecturer and journalist.
Krems

A Charming Tour of Krems | Wine, Music & Art

Sleepy little town on the Danube – or hotbed of political intrigue and architecture? Surrounded by vineyards and just an hour from Vienna, Krems is both.
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HC Strache, Philippa Strache

Proxy Politics in the FPÖ

Philippa Strache, wife of disgraced ex Vice-Chancellor H-C Strache, has long played a supporting role to her husband's ambitions.  Now she may be about to launch a political career of her own.
Sebastian Kurz steps down

Going Through the Motions

“Und nun?” (Now what?) asked Simon Rosner in the Wiener Zeitung after the Ibiza video bombshell: The coalition shattered and the once powerful Kanzler Kurz kicked out of office.  Indeed, what next?
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Odin Wiesinger, controversial right wing artist

Much Ado About Something

The FPÖ has named an openly Teutonic-nationalist for a cultural advisory board. Critics protested – and the language in both directions was inflammatory, leading Wiesinger to ultimately turn down the role. The appointment of right-wing artist Odin Wiesinger – a specialist in the icons of Teutonic myth and nationalist militarism – for the FPÖ seat […]
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It’s Party Time

Three mainstream parties and two and a half smaller ones are competing to represent Austria in the EU parliament. The left-right divide is there, but here the nationalists want to bend Europe, not leave it. It’s the run up to EU election day May 26th, and the city’s streets are full of campaign posters. Recent […]
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Miss Austria

Miss-Adventures

Readers of the Republic’s better newspapers – those consumed at the coffeehouse or delivered to the door – may have missed this story.  For devotees of the colorful U-Bahn dailies, this has been the week of the Miss Austria contest – a roller-coaster of joy and tears, a showbiz tale wounded vanities and cascading rumors […]
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Still Brown in Braunau

A succession of neo-Nazi associations has put coalition partner FPÖ under political pressure, to the surprising benefit of the governing ÖVP. This is a good time for political conspiracy theorists in Austria.  Almost daily, headlines are bringing junior coalition partner the Freedom Party (FPÖ) into uncomfortably close contact with unpleasantly neo-Nazi activities and activists. Some […]
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Vienna City logo

Vienna’s New Logo | Cleaning Up the Chaos

Stadt Wien recently spent nearly €600,000 on a new logo design. The opposition denounced it as a scandalous waste of public money, the administration defended it as necessary and cost efficient We all have a cupboard-of-horrors – that storage space with all the stuff no one needs but can’t bring themselves to throw away.  Large […]
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European Parliament, European Union

Springtime in Strasbourg

The EU parliamentary elections are in May. In Austria, results may broadly reflect the current national parliament, but right wing nationalist parties across Europe could tip the balance in Strasbourg. Voting for people most citizens hardly know, to send them to a far off parliament city that most people have never visited, to do work […]
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