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The best Christmas Markets to visit this week in Vienna

We are still a bit far from December, but some of Vienna's most famous Christmas Markets are already opening up for visitors. Here are the best ones.

The best Christmas Markets to visit this week in Vienna
The Christmas market just by one of the symbols of Vienna: Stephansdom. (Photo: MAGMAG Events & Promotion GmbH.)

At the approximately 200 stands at the Viennese Christmas Villages, Christmas goods and gift ideas are offered again this year, and atmospheric events inspire the young and old visitors of these traditional markets.

Nostalgic rides for children and the finest delicacies from sweet to savoury round off the programme and make the Christmas villages so unique. 

READ ALSO: Discover Austria: How to explore Salzburg in one weekend

This year, not only will Austrians be able to enjoy the markets without any Covid-19 restrictions (previously, they had been either closed or required proof of immunity against the disease), but it’s also a special occasion: 300 hundred years ago, the first Christmas Market opened in Vienna.

Even with the current energy crisis, the season is set to be just as beautiful and enchanting as it has been for centuries. Some of Vienna’s most well-known markets are open from Friday, November 11th, so that you can join the spirit already.

Here are the best ones:

Christmas Village at Stephansplatz

Experience enjoyment, inspiration and Christmas anticipation at the Christmas market on Stephansplatz, with its fantastic location directly at the foot of Vienna’s landmark, the Cathedral of St. Stephen, up to and including 26 December. 

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The glow of lights and the scent of gingerbread, steaming mulled wine and freshly roasted nuts, just in front of festively lit huts. Those who love atmospheric Christmas markets with a perfect atmosphere and ambience, with a great range of art and food, will be thrilled by the Christmas market on Stephansplatz.

November 11th – December 12th, 2022
Daily from 11 am – 9 pm
December 24th, 11 am – 4.00 pm, December 25th and 26th, 11 am – 7 pm
Stephansplatz, 1010 Vienna
www.weihnachtsdorf.at

The Christmas village market at the University of Vienna campus (Fotocredit:MAGMAG Events & Promotion GmbH.)

Christmas Village at the Campus of the University of Vienna/Altes AKH

The Christmas Village at the Campus of the University of Vienna has been known and loved for its cosy atmosphere since 1999.

It invites visitors to get to know and experience the Austrian regions, culture and joie de vivre.

Craftsmen and businesses from all over Austria transform the Christmas Village into an impressive world of enjoyment, pampering and experience. Traditional Austrian Christmas can be experienced and enjoyed with all its facets.

November 11th – December 23th, 2022
Mo-We 2.00 pm – 10 pm, Th-Fr 2 pm – 11.00 pm
Sa 11.00 am – 11 pm, Su 11 am – 8.00 pm
Alserstrasse/Spitalgasse, Hof 1, 1090 Vienna
www.weihnachtsdorf.at

READ ALSO: Seven common myths about Austrian food you need to stop believing

Christmas Market on Spittelberg

This year, the beloved market on the streets of Vienna’s seventh district has an ecological theme and will be an “eco-event”. You can expect a “good ecological footprint, fairly traded or produced, local, regional and/or organic, vegetarian or vegan, resource-saving and sustainable.”

Due to concerns about the pandemic situation, the popular special children’s and cultural programme will not take place this year. However, there is still a wide range of culinary specialities, handicrafts and beautiful Christmas decorations.

November 11th – December 23th, 2022
Mo-Th 2 pm – 9 pm, Fr 2 pm – 9.30 pm
Sa 10 am – 9.30 pm, Su & hols. 10 am – 9 pm
Spittelberggasse, Stiftgasse, Schrankgasse, Gutenberggasse, 1070 Vienna
www.spittelberg.at

Check our complete guide to see all Viennese Christmas markets and more information about them.

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Migration Economy: Who are the migrants starting businesses in Austria?

Self-employed migrants - or those building businesses in Austria - contribute hugely to the local economy, a new study has found.

Migration Economy: Who are the migrants starting businesses in Austria?

People born outside of Austria rely, in large part, on self-employment or opening up businesses (and then employing other migrants) as a path to working in the country, a study conducted by the Institute of Advanced Studies (IHS) on behalf of the Integration Fund (OeIF) found.

The study, Migration Economy in Vienna (Migrantische Ökonomien in Wien), also found that some nationalities tend to stick to specific industries – which could be partially explained by how migrants rely on informal networks of people of the same origin to start a business.

READ ALSO: Being self-employed in Austria: What you need to know

For example, people from the former Yugoslavia, Eastern Europe and Turkey often work independently in the construction sector. People from China are strongly concentrated in gastronomy, along with people of Turkish, Syrian, Thai and Maghreb origin.

Migrants originally from Asia and Africa, and especially India, Egypt and Afghanistan, are concentrated mainly in postal and courier services, including bicycle messenger services. Finally, the study found that people from Turkey and former Yugoslavia also appear more often than average registered as taxi drivers.

How much money do they bring in?

Figures from Austria’s Chamber of Commerce (Wirtschaftskammer) showed that business owners in Vienna with a migration background generate € 8.3 billion in revenue and create around 45,500 jobs. 

Plus, these companies pay around € 3.7 billion every year in taxes and duties.

Walter Ruck, President of the Vienna Chamber of Commerce, said: “Companies with a migrant background not only enrich the diversity of the corporate landscape in Vienna, but they are also an economic factor.”

READ MORE: Diversity and jobs: How migrants contribute to Vienna’s economy

Who are these migrants?

Part of the survey involved a qualitative research with migrant entrepreneurs in Vienna, but also a comprehensive quantitative data analysis of registered businesses.

Many of the entrepreneurs interviewed were first generation (meaning they were not born in Austria), and most were between 26 and 35 years old and male. In total, the small businesses surveyed employed two to a maximum of four employees, most of whom were related to the owner.

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The entrepreneurs with a migrant background who were interviewed generally either did not have higher school-leaving qualifications (known in Austria as the Matura) or have not yet had their foreign certificates recognised in Austria and therefore do not work in their sector of study. 

First-generation migrants, in particular, tend to have lower educational qualifications, which has a negative impact on their chances in the labour market, the study said. Because of that, the respondents named a lack of occupational alternatives as one of the decisive factors for starting a business.

Additionally, many of the respondents said they relied on a network of people from their own nationality for help setting up a business. Many of them weren’t aware of the support offered by official bodies, including the Chamber of Commerce. 

READ ALSO: What is the new cost of living ‘credit’ for self-employed people in Austria?

The study concluded that language barriers and some cultural aspects played a role, but since most entrepreneurs were interested in getting more detailed information on starting and running businesses, there was potential for better communication and targeting by the public offices.

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