The Republic of Austria (Österreich) is made up of 9 Bundesländer (federal provinces). The total land area of 83,335 square km is inhabited by 8.13 million people (1998). 64 per cent of the population live in towns, while the Province of Vienna is 100 per cent urbanized. Lower levels of administration include Bezirks (districts) and local communities.
Austria's central geographical position in Europe has been responsible for many changes over the centuries, as well as for various political, cultural and economic influences coming from the rest of Europe.
For more than six centuries (1273-1918) Austria was ruled by archdukes, emperors (including an empress) and kings. The basis for the Second Republic is laid out in the federal constitution of 1920, the State Treaty of Vienna and the Constitutional Law on Permanent Neutrality. The Constitution provides for a parliamentary democracy.
On 1 January, subsequent to a referendum, Austria acceded to the European Union and became part of a supranational organisation. Community law has autonomous legal force and is directly applicable. It takes priority over national law and even over national constitutional law with the sole exception of constitutional principles.
The Austrian economy reflects two principal factors: the country's attractive landscape and culture and abundant raw materials on the one hand and its highly trained and skilled labour force on the other. The latter is of particular significance and is reflected also in some of the basic cultural policy issues.
Austria belongs among nations whose identity is significantly determined by culture. In its eventful history, culture and cultural policy have always played a significant role in the formation of the Austrian national identity. Furthermore, Austria stands at the edge of a dominant economic and linguistic area, which necessarily makes its cultural policy the policy of identity and its culture the central factor in identifying positive national awareness. The label 'a small state with a great culture' is commonly accepted by the population and by decision-makers. Austria - a country rich in culture - this is how the Austrians perceive their country and how the state is perceived from the outside.
The federal cultural policy took a new turn in the 1970s. The awareness of the need for a coherent cultural policy in Austria, followed by the governmental practice of arts promotion, has been growing since then. Although there is a great deal of traditional culture in Austria, various new forms began to appear during the last decades. At the same time, efforts were made at the federal and provincial levels to replace individual promotion measures with a coherent promotion policy, backed up by pertinent research.
Aware of the "negative" side-effects of the instrumentalization (i.e., commercialization) of culture during the 1970s and 1980s, when culture was guided by the media and touted under the motto "culture for everybody", the Austrian cultural policy-makers focussed on the intermediary levels whose objectives were to mediate and disseminate policy instruments: decision-making, organization of activities, financing, research, documentation, etc. This kind of change has been called the "change of paradigms". For this purpose, special autonomous agencies have been established to bridge the gap between cultural research and cultural policy which characterized the 1970s and early 1980s.
The Austrian cultural policy concept implies the notion that the production, distribution and consumption of cultural goods are subject to economic laws of the market place, which cannot be expected to regulate themselves in the interest of both the market value and of cultural ideals. The introduction of this concept was followed by a debate on denationalization in the early 1980s, which triggered a discussion on privatization of all forms of art and culture. At the same time, the debate on sponsorship and patronage became more and more dominant.
Both tendencies (economic enterprise and private administration) are institutionalized in the Constitutional Law. (see Legislation) The provisions assigning the responsibilities for arts and cultural policy are contained in Article 15 of the Austrian Federal Constitution. The so-called General Clause (Generalklausel) stipulates that all matters of culture, not specifically excluded, fall under the jurisdiction of the Provinces (Länder). The exceptions are the protection of monuments, federal theatres, and federal museums.
Generally, the Austrian cultural policy system can be characterized as a state-dependent system. Although such a system seems very strong, it has become affected by the competition between regional and local authorities.
Today, cultural policy in the narrow sense has come to the fore: efforts towards modernization and more efficient management have been made. The new "partial legal" status to cultural institutions has been introduced. The status of cultural institutions, federal theatres, for example, has been reorganized since July 1998, by granting them status as legal limited companies (GmbH). Such a status provided them an economic independence, because the above mentioned system of state-dependency could no longer provide for cultural institutions.
Since February 2000 Austria got a new government, a centre-right coalition between the Christian Democratic Party (VP) and the Freedom Party (FPÖ). A consequence of this change was the reform of public administration as well as some substantial grant-cuts in the art sector.
For administering its diverse cultural scene, Austria relies on its federal political structure. With regard to an all-Austrian cultural policy, there is no competence of the Federal Government. The only exceptions are federal theatres, which are the competence of the, federal museums and protection of monuments.
Organization of cultural administration at the federal level is embodied in the Law of Federal Ministries. Although political support for culture seems very strong, responsibilities for the arts and culture were shifted from Ministry to Ministry. Since 1997, responsibility for the arts is in the domain of the Federal Chancellery and is assigned to its State Secretary.
Theis responsible for arts policies and laws, general cultural policy affairs, the promotion of arts, literature and publishing, cultural development, the EU cultural affairs; bilateral and multilateral cultural affairs as well as for the Austrian Film Institute (ÖFI) and .
Theis responsible for all issues relating to schools and education including universities. The Ministry also manages all matters pertaining to collections and museums (federal museums), arts education, folklore art, public libraries including Austrian National Library and the protection of monuments and the preservations of cultural heritage. It has further responsibilities for the Austrian Phonotheque, the Viennese Court Orchestra and the Austrian Cultural Service (ÖKS).
Theis in charge of cultural matters on an international scale and it is responsible for the network of Austrian cultural institutes abroad.
Particular attention needs to be paid to the cultural policies of the 9 Bundesländer (Burgenland, Carinthia, Lower Austria, Salzburg, Styria, Tyrol, Upper Austria,Vorarlberg). The bodies responsible for cultural affairs in the provincial governments have full competence over all spheres of cultural policy other than the exceptions mentioned in Article 15 of the Constitutional Law. (see Legislation) The Provinces undertake cultural action not only in those fields for which they are responsible according to the governmental regulations, but also in fields in which the central government has its responsibility, such as the protection of monuments, science and research.
The preservation of old town and city centres is legally a provincial responsibility (enforced by local authorities). Territorial, legal and executive functions also cover foundations and funds operated by the federal provinces, to theatres, cinemas and the organization of events, to customs and folk art as well as to sports. Since an amendment to the Federal Constitution passed in 1988, the provinces are also entitled (under the supervision by the Federal Republic) to conclude state treaties with neighbouring countries and regions.
All affairs between the federal government and the Provinces are co-ordinated by the so-called Verbindugsstelle (Coordinating Agency,) with its permanent address at the provincial government of Lower Austria. In addition to these contacts, there are regular meetings of the "Kulturreferenten" (officials responsible for cultural affairs in the Provinces) and of executive administrators. The meetings take place twice a year.
Apart from the federal and provincial competences for cultural affairs, the vast majority of cultural activities in fact take place on the level of communities in urban and rural areas. Practical cooperation between regional and local authorities is more or less limited to the funding of performing arts institutions. The only undertaking of this kind with a statutory basis is the Salzburg Festival. Other major festivals (Bregenz Festival, Carynthian Summer, Styrian Autumn, etc.) also depend on the cooperation of the federal state, federal provinces and local communities, but without any statutory basis.
Two bodies coordinate municipal activities on this level: Austrian Towns Federation (Österreichischer Städtebund) and Austrian Communities Federation (Österreichischer Gemeindenbund).
Generally, there is no coordination between non-governmental institutions and government authorities. However, certain exceptions occur mainly in the field of cultural adult education, where coordination is achieved through the Standing Conference of Adult Education Institutes in Austria (Konferenz der Erwachsenanbildung Österreichs).
Here is a partial and highly selective list of some of the most significant cultural institutions.
The Department of Austrian Art Research (Abteilung für Denkmalforschung) does research and offers documentation services on works of art in Austria.
The League of Associations for Art and Science (Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Kunst und Wissenschaft) focuses on cultural policies for arts, science and education.
Thehas the objective to protect and restore historical, artistic and cultural monuments and it also controls archaeological excavations and art exports.
is an International Institute for Audio-visual Communication and Cultural Development which does research and provides documentation services. It is primarily focused on the audio-visual sector.
, founded in 1989, is an extra-university non-profit research and documentation centre. It acts as a central institution where relevant data or source materials in connection with culture and cultural policy are gathered and processed. Its other task is to provide consultancy and engage in research in this area.
, created in 1976 is formally a private association but is fully subsidized by the Ministry of Education and Arts. It provides schools with artists, scientists, animators and also gives them financial assistance to enable them to engage in cultural activities.
There exist all-Austrian associations for various branches of cultural life, such as the Austrian Association of Composers (Österrechischer Komponistenbund), Austrian Graphic Designers' Association (Bund Österreichischer Gebrauchsgraphiker), etc. Much of the Austrian cultural life takes place in various kinds of clubs and associations. Approximately 5 per cent of the total population are integrated into these institutions and more than 60 per cent of the existing clubs and associations have cultural aspirations.
All three levels of authorities (federal state, provinces and municipalities) are involved in the promotion of culture, with each of them allocating a certain proportion of its budget to culture.
The respective budget laws define the purposes for which the individual ministries can use the amounts allocated to them. Expenditures for cultural purposes are primarily made by the Federal Ministry for Education, Science and Culture, the Federal Chancellery and the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The only other fiscal measure is an extra contribution in addition to radio and television fees. This money is used by the Federal Government for clearly defined cultural purposes. There is also an array of prizes, fellowships and other supportive measures.
Federal and province governments spent circa ATS 18 billion or 1.3 per cent of all public expenditure on culture and the arts in 1997. Around 59 per cent of this budget is spent by the federal government, 25 per cent is divided among the province governments and approximately 16 per cent by Vienna. At an international level, Austria ranked first with such a high proportion of total expenditure spent by the federal government on culture.
The city of Vienna's report on culture and the arts for the year 1999, which has been published in June 2000, claims 2,346 billion ATS spent on financing of cultural activities. The greatest share of the Vienna budget was earmarked for performing arts (695 million ATS), museums, archives and science (403 million ATS), and music (358 million ATS). 135 million ATS were spent for projects in the domain of architectural cultural heritage and conservation of the old city centre, followed by the fields of film, cinema and video (118 million ATS) and the fine arts (80 million ATS).
Considerable budget funds are contributed to cultural promotion, in particular by the provincial capitals, but also by smaller rural communities. This concerns urban institutions (theatres, art centres, etc.), amateur cultural institutions (amateur theatres, brass bands, folklore groups), museums of local history and customs, libraries and adult education centres. The above mentioned institutions and cultural facilities, cultural societies and initiatives, galleries and festivals organized by local authorities are often also funded, on a pro-rata basis, by provincial and sometimes even federal entities.
The public federal and provincial budgets for art and culture promotion are supplemented by funds allocated to the artistic design of new buildings, on which an average of 1 per cent of public budget for the construction of buildings is spent. Also, a surcharge on the radio licence is levied which makes some 15 per cent of the culture budget of public bodies. The so-called 'empty cassette charge', levied by the autonomous collection societies, comes somewhere between public and private funds for arts promotion, which totalled ATS 97.3 million in 1996.
On the non-governmental level, there are various associations and institutions financially supported by the federal and provincial authorities, e.g. the Austrian Crafts Council.
Several Austrian banks have established special foundations for the promotion and support of artistic creation. The maximum corporate relief for donations is 10% of the previous year's taxable profit.
An attempt to take stock of the prevailing legal regulations in the cultural sector in Austria is impeded by two factors:
Austria is a federal state with relatively independent Provinces; this independence is reflected in the assignment of responsibilities for cultural matters to the Provinces.
The Austrian Federal Constitution does not explicitly mention art and culture, and cultural legislation at the federal level exists only for the protection of monuments and for broadcasting.
Statutory provisions regulating the cultural sector have not been laid down in the comprehensive Cultural Act either, nor have they been systematically collected. Instead, numerous statutory rules need to be examined in order to cull the explicit or implicit provisions that they contain with respect to the cultural sector.
The legal foundations of the Austrian cultural policy are derived from the following acts and regulations:
Federal Constitution and Constitutional Acts:
· Federal Constitutional Act of 1920, as amended in 1929
· Basic Law on Civil Rights of 1867
· Freedom for the Arts (Paragraph 17a, decided 1982)
Federal acts and regulations at the federal level:
· General Guidelines for the Granting of State Subsidies (1977)
· Arts Promotion Bill (1988)
· Budget Law
· Art Promotion Act (1987)
· Federal Theatre Act (1998)
· Federal Museum Act (1998)
· Acts on the Promotion of Culture passed by the federal Provinces. 
Almost all of the Provinces, except Vienna, have passed Provincial Promotion Laws (Landesförderungsgesetze) covering the entire cultural spectrum.
As mentioned before, cultural institutions such as museums, were granted 'full legal capacity' in July 1998. They are now having a status of scientific institutions under public law. Such a status enables them to operate according to general business principles. After Austrian accession to the European Union, some changes in the cultural sector took place, i.e. related to the employment policy or different incentives for grant seekers.
Archives, libraries and museums in Austria are separately organized on the federal and provincial levels. An example of an organization at the federal level is thecomprising five federal archives. In the field of protection of monuments, there is a two-tier structure and the Provincial Conservators (Landeskonservatoren), charged with the practical implementation of the policy on monument protection, attached to the provincial governments.
In Austria one needs to differentiate between art and music education on the primary and secondary levels and on the level of higher education. The curricula for primary and secondary education provide for two periods a week for art/music education. The Academies of Fine Arts, Music and Performing Arts provide training for artists as well as for art educators. Since 1998 with the adoption of the new Law, art colleges were given university status.
On the federal level, the training of personnel for cultural action is carried out by theat the University of Music and Dramatic Art in Vienna. Teaching and training is geared mostly towards the postgraduate level in order to train managers for artistic and cultural organizations and to improve professional standards in this field. The training of animators on the provincial levels is carried out by provincial institutions.
The statistics of the basic subsidies granted by the Federal Ministry for Education, Science and Culture show that the difference in the treatment of the performing arts (drama, music, festivals, and film), on the one hand, and the creative arts (literature and visual arts), on the other, is quite substantial and tending to widen further. In 1982, the amount earmarked for drama, music and festivals (excluding state theatres) was increased to ATS 273 million, while the amount for visual arts has remained unchanged for many years. This stagnation (decline) is best illustrated with the amounts spent on art purchases by the state, which have remained practically stable for 15 years.
Expenditures for theatres make up the major part of the Music and Performing Arts Division budget. Most of the subsidies go to medium and large theatres, but around 130 theatres are subsidized out of federal resources. Still, most of the grants awarded by the Music and Performing Arts Division go to five large private theatres of Vienna.
Visual Arts Division of the Federal Chancellery has the main task to assist artists. Its measures include contributions towards the maintenance of studios, grants and awards, and the purchase of works of art. It is also in charge of artists' social insurance and of copyright issues.
Every year, 300 works of art of the 4800 visual artists working in Austria are being purchased. The collected works cannot be sold, only lent to federal agencies in Austria and abroad.
Galleries often act as agencies for contemporary visual artists. They can receive government subsidies within the framework of gallery grants for projects not likely to yield a direct profit.
Literature and literary production is in charge of the Literature and Publishing Division of the Federal Chancellery. There are some 500 Austrian publishing houses and only 100 of them have a regular programme.
The number of registered authors goes to 3500, and only 900 of them define themselves as fully professional writers. Only a few can live out of writing, and the others have full - or part-time jobs. Therefore, the aim of Austrian promotion of literature is to improve the economic chances of writers. The promotion measures are triple: working grants, travelling and long-term grants. The first are transitional allowances to the maximum amount of ATS 15,000. Long-term grants are intended to enable authors to dedicate themselves to a literary employment. Other measures include book prizes, investment allowances, and literary awards for works of literature or the complete works of one author. Prizes and grants are also awarded to translators.
Literaturverwertungsgesellschaft (LVG) is a fund designed to provide economic and social support to writers. Furthermore, the Social and Cultural Facilities Fund (SKE) was established under an amendment to the Copyright Law of 1980, according to which writers and authors receive a levy from the sale of blank tapes.
The Children and Youth Literature Division which used to be a centre for coordination, promotion and service in the sector of books for children and adolescents, does not exist any more.
Considering the Austrian cultural tradition, special attention is paid to musical culture. Promotion of musical activities is the responsibility of the Music and performing Arts Division of the Federal Chancellery. It comprises orchestras, music ensembles and concert organizers together with various community institutions. It also includes the promotion of composition and subsidizing of festivals. The priority goes to the promotion of contemporary music. Every year, composers receive government scholarships.
The most substantial share of public aid for literature comes from the Federal Government - 91 per cent; regional subsidies amount to some 6 per cent, and those provided by the city of Vienna, 3 per cent.
The federal grant for literature is allocated as follows: support for books 5.5 per cent, support for periodicals 5.5 per cent, subsidies for associations and events 34.5 per cent, subventions and premiums 9.5 per cent, prizes 5.2 per cent, and an endowment to the Authors' and Translators' Benevolent Fund 42.5 per cent.
Significant portions of such funds are not directly connected with the book publishing industry. Rather, the Austrian authorities stress the importance of support to authors and other accompanying measures to develop book publishing activities.
The titles published under the publicly financed 'school textbook programme' are not included in the general statistics of book publishing activities in Austria. In 1997, the Ministry approved 3,513 titles within this programme, followed by some 800 reference books. The total amount of public subsidies for this programme in 1996 was ATS 1.2 billion.
Direct assistance to dailies and weeklies, press clubs and institutions for the training of journalists, under the 1975 law on press promotion is granted almost automatically by the Federal Chancellery to newspapers, meeting the following conditions: that they are published and produced in Austria, that they have a circulation of at least 5,000 copies, that they employ a certain minimum number of professional journalists, that they appear at least once a week, and that they primarily report news. The subsidy reimburses the newspapers for 60 per cent of the paid turnover tax, 20 per cent of the paid transport rates and 20 per cent of the paid telecommunication costs.
Consequently, the newspapers with the highest circulation also receive the highest subsidies. As a result, Austria has the highest media concentration worldwide: 42% of the population are reached by ONE newspaper and over 50% of the population are reached daily by the media-cartell (distributer association) "Media Print". In 1996, the sum of ATS 99.8 million was granted to dailies and weeklies in the form of general subsidies. Between 1988 and 1996, general press subsidies rose from ATS 44 million to 110 million. Special funding was introduced in 1985 to encourage greater diversity of the press scene and is of benefit to newspapers that are of particular significance for the process of political opinion-forming but are not in a position to dominate the market. In 1996, this sum was ATS 165 million. The federal provinces and some federal capitals, too, support newspapers through direct grants which in individual cases exceed the funds awarded under the federal subsidy scheme by several times. Large amounts (up to ATS 90 million) are also granted to the press by way of individual investment subsidies (for the construction of new print-shops and as rationalization grants).
All cultural industry sectors in Austria are private except for radio and television broadcasting. The Austrian Broadcasting Corporation (ORF) was established by a special law and is financed directly from subscription fees and indirectly from the federal budget.
The cultural tasks to be fulfilled by radio/TV are defined in the Broadcasting Act (1974, 1993, 1997, 1999) which contains detailed programme requirements. The principles derived from the law underlie all programming activities and clearly imply a cultural and artistic mandate. It seems that a public corporation which is non-profit oriented can fulfil this mandate more easily than a private broadcasting company which draws its income exclusively from advertising revenue. The existence of a public corporation financed primarily from radio and television licence fees is therefore of great importance within the Austrian cultural policy context. The latest changes in the broadcasting regulations contributed to funding of many small free radio stations.
The Austrian Phonotheque (sound archives) is concerned with sound documentation. It collects currently available published sound and audio-visual carriers as well as historic audio-visual material, and it produces documentary recordings on sound and picture carriers. The Phonotheque also arranges exhibitions, events and presentations.
Public support for the cinema, photography and video is essentially provided by the Federal Government, and a small percentage of all subsidies are made available by the Provinces and municipalities. Video production receives only a very small proportion of such funds.
The new Film Promotion Act was adopted in 1998 and it stipulates activities and responsibilities of the Austrian Film Institute. In 1999 out of ATS 230 million allocated for Film industry, ATS 146 million were granted to the Austrian Film Institute and 25 million for Austrian Film Museum and Film Archive.
In 1996, the number of households with television set amounted to 2.651.000. 42 per cent of the households had two or more TV sets in 1995. A 1.966.000 of households possessed the video equipment in 1995, while 14 per cent of the households had the double equipment of VCRs. The same year's statistics count 534.000 households with camcorders.
Apart from the sharing of costs for cultural institutions, cooperation among the regional and local authorities has developed in the field of cultural research. Ever since the first nation-wide survey on the cultural behaviour of the Austrian population was launched by the federal state in 1974, cooperation in the field of research has intensified. Cultural studies initiated by the Federal Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs have substantially increased in number since 1980. The most recent changes in the area of cultural development and cultural research came with the establishment of the Österreichische Kulturdokumentation - Internationales Archiv für Kulturanalysen and the stressing of "networking and mediating" of various cultural data and statistics.
It was mentioned before that Austria is perceived as a country steeped in culture.
As regards participation in cultural activities, visitors' attendances to the federal museums seem to be depending on various factors, i. e. attractiveness of the exhibition. For example, in 1995, attendances declined by 8 per cent as compared to 1994, partly because some special exhibitions had fallen short of expectations, partly because of temporary closures (adaptations of buildings). However, these declines are still below the general international trend. In 1996, the total number of visitors increased by 20 per cent, above all owing to a successful Claude Monet exhibition. Visitors' frequencies differ among the museums. The Museum of Art History is the favourite among visitors.
Cultural relations with foreign countries fall within the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Foreign Ministry is the supervisory body controlling Austrian culture institutes in foreign countries. In addition, cultural missions have their own culture and press officers. Cultural activities abroad are also organized by the embassies, cultural institutes and consulates.
The sub-regional cooperation with the neighbouring countries is the responsibility of the Provinces (Länder). The sub-regional cooperation within the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Alpenländer (The Alps Countries' Working Group) involves provinces in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy; The Arbeitsgemeinschaft Alpenländer-Adria (The Alps-Adriatic Working Group) brings together provinces in Austria, Italy, Germany, as well as the Republics of Croatia and Slovenia; finally, sub-regional cooperation also takes place within the Hexagonale Affiliation.
Austria has bilateral cultural agreements with most neighbouring and European countries and a few outside Europe and is very active in numerous regional organisations and initiatives.
During its EU presidency in 1998, Austria gave special attention to culture and organised debates regarding the opportunities and problems of the enlargement process or "Culture 2000" framework programme.
Federal Ministry for Education, Science and Culture
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Austrian Commission for UNESCO
Office of Monuments
University of Music and Dramatic Art
Austrian Cultural Council
Society for Cultural Policy
Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers
MEDIACULT - International Institute for Audio-Visual
Communication and Cultural Development
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* This monograph is based on a selection of data from the Cultural Policies Data Bank and on documents collected by the Documentation Centre for Cultural Development and Cooperation, Culturelink. The original draft, written by Tomislav Car, has been revised by Mr. Franz-Otto Hofecker, Institut für Kulturelles Management (IKM), Wien, and Mr. Harald Gardos, National Commission for UNESCO, Austria. In 1999, the draft has been revised by Daniela Angelina Jelincic, Culturelink, IMO, Zagreb. (Revision 2.1). In 2001, the draft has been revised by Nina Obuljen, Culturelink, IMO, Zagreb with the assistance of the Österreichische Kulturdokumentation, Internationales Archiv für Kulturanalysen.
 The First Republic lasted from 1918 until Anschluss in 1938.
 Article 15 of the Austrian Federal Constitution states: "All matters in which the legislative and executive powers are not expressly reserved to the federal state by the federal constitution shall fall within the competence of the provinces".
 The provincial Kulturförderungsgesetze (laws concerning the promotion of culture) contain special regulations dealing with the promotion of popular culture and cultural associations.