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Everything that changes in Austria in November 2022

Amanda Previdelli
Amanda Previdelli - [email protected] • 1 Nov, 2022 Updated Tue 1 Nov 2022 09:11 CEST
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Austrian autumn in Vienna's Augarten park (© Amanda Previdelli / The Local)

From corruption testimonies scheduled, Christmas markets and public holidays to winter rules and Klimabonus payments, here are some of the most important changes you need to be aware of in Austria in November.

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Thomas Schmid to talk to corruption committee

In early November, Thomas Schmid, who was the secretary in the Ministry of Finance and a close ally to former chancellor Sebastian Kurz is set to testify in the parliamentary inquiry looking into corruption within the ÖVP, centre-right party.

Schmid is trying to close a deal with prosecutors that could implicate several ÖVP party members, including Kurz, and business people in Austria in several different corruption cases. 

He is set to appear in the National Council on November 3rd. There, he will be under the obligation to tell the truth or recuse himself due to ongoing investigations. You can read more about the recent allegations HERE.

READ ALSO: Austria president urges reforms after fresh graft revelations

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Christmas markets

The Christmas season begins in Austria, with Christmas markets (the Christkindlmärkte) opening in mid-November.

Due to the energy crisis, some markets won't have electric heaters while others might light up the Christmas lights during a shorter period, but people will still be able to visit and enjoy them until December 24th, when most of them close for the season.

Vienna's Christkindlmarkt auf dem Rathausplatz opens on November 19th, but other locations, including the one in Stephansplatz, start earlier. The Weihnachtsmarkt am Spittelberg is the traditional market that opens its huts earliest this year, with people welcome to enjoy food and beverages from November 10th.

Elsewhere in Austria, Graz's main Christmas market opens at the city's Hauptplatz on November 18th. 

In Innsbruck, the first of several Christmas markets in the city opens on November 15th in the Old Town.

And the Salzburg Christkindlmarkt starts on November 17th on the Cathedral Square.

READ ALSO: Vienna forced to dim street lighting and cancel some Christmas illuminations

Public holidays

November 1st is a national public holiday in Austria, and three states have another holiday this month: November 11th in Burgenland; November 15th in Lower Austria and Vienna. The latter three holidays most likely won’t get you the day off work, but it depends on your job. 

Schools and government authorities are usually closed on these days.

If you’re new in Austria or inclined to forget the quirks of life here, consider this a reminder: most shops will be closed on national public holidays, and you can expect queues shortly before closing time the day before, so try to stock up in advance.

READ ALSO: Why everything in Austria is closed on Sundays – and what to do instead

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Advent season begins

November is also the month when people need to look for their Advent Calendar, with Austria having countless choices to choose from. 

The first Sunday of Advent, when traditionally homes light up the first of four Advent candles, falls on November 27th this year.

READ ALSO: How to celebrate Christmas like an Austrian

Winter tyres

From November 1st, cars and trucks up to 3.5 tons must switch over to winter tyres in Austria. 

When driving in snow, mud or ice, cars must be fitted with winter tires or have snow chains fitted on at least two wheels.

READ ALSO: Reader question: Is travelling to Austria this winter worth it?

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Buy the 2023 vignette

More news for motorists. You can buy your 2023 vignette – the small toll sticker you need to drive on most of Austria’s motorways – starting on November 18th, although it is only valid from December 1st.

Vignettes are available at around 6,000 outlets across the country and abroad as well as online, so anyone who fails to get one will have few excuses. A list of outlets is available HERE.

Longer intervals in Viennese public transport

From November 3rd, public transport in Vienna will extend their intervals, according to Wiener Linien. Subways and morning traffic are not affected, but 28 tram and 131 bus lines will receive an adapted timetable.

It won't take much longer for you to board a tram, though, as the interval stretching ranges from 15 seconds to a maximum of 40 seconds. 

The extensions are due to a shortage in staff, according to the public-owned company. 

"Like many other industries, the generational change and the tense situation in the labour market, among other things, pose great personnel challenges for Wiener Linien. The public transport company has been preparing for the pension wave for a long time and is taking a variety of measures to attract jobs," the company said.

READ ALSO: Will a 4-day week and free German lessons help Vienna’s transport network find staff?

Klimabonus payments should be finalised

With rising inflation, the Austrian government announced several measures to try and cushion the effects of higher cost of living for those who live in the country. One of the most talked about measures is the so-called Klimabonus, the €500 one-off payment that every resident in the country is entitled to.

The Klimabonus is supposed to be straightforward. However, there are two rules: the recipient must live in Austria for six months in 2022, and minors receive half the amount.

It hasn’t been that simple, though, as payments started on September 1st and many people still haven’t received their money – despite the government saying the payments were complete by October 19th.

Anyone who still hasn't received their payments by November should contact the Climate Ministry. Here's what you need to know and who to call.

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Amanda Previdelli 2022/11/01 09:11

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