National Day, 26 October commemorates the State Treaty restoring national sovereignty and the end of occupation when the last WWII troops left Austria and the passage of the law on permanent neutrality. Therefore de facto the first day Austria was again an independent and sovereign country. As the status of permanent neutrality was the condition upon which the Soviet Union had agreed to the signing of the State Treaty, the Austrian Parliament also chose this very special day to pass the law on permanent neutrality to mark the fact that it was taking a unilateral and independent decision. October 26 has become a patriotic “fitness day”, as many people all over Austria take long walks. Around the country so called “marches for fitness” are organized to raise awareness among the population about the benefits of exercise and fitness. The Parliament building and all national museums are open and visits are free to the public.
Famous for its spectacular mountain scenery, Austria’s position at the geographical heart of Europe on the key Danube trade route enhances its strategic importance. In Austria you don’t need to search hard for culture. Beginning with Mozart, Schubert and Strauss works, continuing with Sigmund Freud and Ludwig Wittgenstein’s influences in the 20th century thinking, and ending with Vienna’s impressive Habsburg palaces and Salzburg’s baroque splendour, Austria shows off its heritage at every turn.