Policy Profile Austria


Austria is a member state of the European Union and is therefore required to implement all EU directives, laws, regulations and policies, including those related to heritage and culture.

Austria, the EU and Europe

The European Commission Representation Office and the European Parliament  Liaison Office are located in Vienna. The Austrian Government has a Permanent Representation to the European Union in Brussels.

National Cultural Policy in Austria

The Republic of Austria is a Bundesstaat (Federal State) composed of 9 independent provinces to which the majority of cultural competencies are assigned. 

National cultural policy is the responsibility of the Kunst-und Kultur Staatssekretär:in (State Secretary for Arts and Culture) and the Bundesministerium Kunst, Kultur, öffentlicher Dienst und Sport (Federal Ministry of Arts, Culture, the Civil Service and Sport). The role of the State Secretary for Arts and Culture was established in 2019 and in 2020 the Service Kunst & Kultur (Division IV ‘Arts and Culture’) was created within the Ministry. The Division is responsible for the art and culture agendas, including promotion of art in Austria and of Austrian artists abroad, cultural accessibility, ensuring adequate working conditions in the artistic and cultural sector, EU cultural policy, international cultural affairs and cultural heritage. Monuments protection is delegated by the Service Kunst & Kultur to the Bundesdenkmalamt (National Heritage Agency), which has decentralised branch offices (Landeskonservatorate) in each Bundesland. 

Two subordinate agencies play likewise a role in cultural heritage management; these are the Burghauptmannschaft Österreich (BHÖ) and the Bundesmobilienverwaltung (BMobV), belonging to the Kulturelles Erbe (Cultural Heritage) Department of the Bundesministeriums für Arbeit und Wirtschaft (Federal Ministry Labour and Economy). 

A peculiarity of the State of Austria is the establishment in 1998 of the  Kommission für Provenienzforschung (Commission for Provenance Research), entrusted with the examination of the government’s collections to identify  cultural objects confiscated during the Nazi regime.

Concerning international cultural cooperation, the Bundesministerium Kunst, Kultur, öffentlicher Dienst und Sport (Federal Ministry of Arts, Culture, the Civil Service and Sport) is responsible for the relations with the EU, CoE and UNESCO, whereas the Austrian  international cultural policy is designed by the Auslandskultur (Cultural Policy) Department of the Bundesministerium Europäische und internationale Angelegenheiten (Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs). 

Regional Policies in Austria

The Republic of Austria is composed of 9 independent Länder: Burgenland, Kärnten (Carinthia), Niederösterreich (Lower Austria), Salzburg, Steiermark (Styria), Tirol (Tyrol), Oberösterreich (Upper Austria), Wien (Vienna) and Vorarlberg.

Independent provinces detain the majority of cultural competencies. Based on the respective Cultural Promotion Acts, adopted in all States from the 70s onwards, federal states publish reports on expenditures and their cultural strategy. Overall, provinces have responsibility for the promotion of cultural activities, heritage, preservation of towns and old centres, as well as schools, cinemas and theatres.

View all Austria policies gathered so far

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* = This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence

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