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COST OF LIVING

Cost of living: Why glühwein costs more at Vienna Christmas markets this year

Visiting a Christmas market in Vienna is a must-do seasonal activity. But this year – like everything else – it will cost more money. Here’s why.

Cost of living: Why glühwein costs more at Vienna Christmas markets this year
Inflation is even the hitting the Christmas markets in Vienna this year, with higher costs for the glühwein mug deposit. (Photo by 129400 / Pexels)

When buying a glühwein (mulled wine) at a Christmas market in Austria for the first time, you might be surprised at the price.

The good news is that the first cup of glühwein is not really twice the price – you have to pay the deposit (Pfand) for the mug, as well as pay for the drink. But the bad news is that this year the prices have gone up, especially the cost of the Pfand.

Viennese Christmas Markets operators are justifying the high deposit prices for the Christmas mugs with inflation costs, broadcaster ORF reported. 

FOR MEMBERS: How to save money and still go skiing in Austria

In some markets, the deposit can cost up to €5 (Stephansplatz market prices). A glühwein, for example, might be advertised as costing €4,90, but once you get to the stand, you will be asked to pay €9,90. 

“Inflation and the cost of producing the cups and also the logistics of the whole cleaning service have gone up a lot now, and that’s why the four euros,” explained Hannes Dejaco, who runs several large Christmas markets in Vienna.

How can I get the Pfand back?

The deposit for a glühwein mug is only temporary, so when you return the cup you get your €5 back. 

Most Christmas markets have a set area to return the mugs (called Pfand Rückgabe) and get your money back. But if not, simply return the mug to any stand that sells beverages.

READ ALSO: IN PICTURES: A guide to the main Christmas Markets in Austria

Of course, if you want to keep the mug as a souvenir, then it will cost the €5 that you paid for the deposit.

Finally, a top tip for anyone attending the markets for the first time: take cash.

Many Austrian businesses still like to operate in cold, hard cash and there’s no guarantee that the market you visit will accept card payments. So visit the ATM before heading for a glühwein.

Useful vocabulary

Mulled wine – Glühwein

Deposit – Pfand

Deposit return – Pfand Rückgabe

Cash – Bargeld / Bar

Christmas market – Weihnachtsmarkt / Christkindlmarkt

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ENERGY

Vienna Energy Bonus: How to get a €200 payout

The City of Vienna is sending out bonuses of €200 to households to help cushion the effects of rising energy costs. Here's what you need to know.

Vienna Energy Bonus: How to get a €200 payout

The City of Vienna announced on Monday, November 28th, more government assistance to cushion rising costs for residents. 

Viennese households will receive €200 in a new “energy bonus’, according to statements given by the City Councillor for Finance Peter Hanke (SPÖ). The administration said the bonus would benefit about two-thirds of all city homes.

Single households with a gross annual income of a maximum €40,000 or multi-person households with an income of up to €100,000 gross per year are entitled to receive the payment. 

READ ALSO: ‘I’m still waiting’: Foreigners in Austria still not been paid Klimabonus handout

The City of Vienna will send, from November 29th to December 13th, an information letter to every address registered as a main residence in the Austrian capital. The letter will contain a password that will need to be used for the online application. 

The bonus should arrive in the account specified in the application within a few days and the payment will be made automatically, Hanke said.

Online applications can start from December 5th and can be sent until March. You can check more information HERE.

The administration provides an online tool to help people calculate whether or not they are eligible. However, the city will check all applications afterwards, and if people who earn too much apply, they will have to pay back the bonus. 

READ ALSO: How expensive are gas and electricity in Austria right now?

Around €130 million is being spent on the subsidy, Hanke said.

Other subsidies and government assistance

Vienna has had other support for citizens, including transfers of €200 to help people of lower incomes cope with rising costs. 

The Austrian federal government has also announced several measures, from the €500 Klimabonus payment which went to every resident in the country to an energy price cap, as reported by The Local. 

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