Everything that changes about life in Austria in February 2023
From Klimabonus payments to Covid regulations and holidays, here's a rundown of what to expect this February in Austria.
Klimabonus payments will be made
Starting in February, the Austrian government will send out a second round of Klimabonus payments for those who were entitled to but did not get it in 2022.
People who had recently moved to Austria in 2022 and will have lived in the Alpine country for at least 181 days in the years are among those that should receive the €500 amount in the second round of payments. In addition, children born in 2022 and who will have been at least 181 days old by the end of the year will also receive a payment - though minors are entitled to €250.
Additionally, those who, by mistake, did not get their payments in 2022 will also receive them starting February 2023.
This is the case for some groups of EU citizens or third-country nationals who were affected by "some problems with the automated entitlement check by the Ministry of the Interior."
"Every effort is being taken to find a solution, please bear with us. You will receive your payment for 2022 in the second wave of payments starting February 2023)," the authorities said.
Free HPV vaccinations
From February 1st, Austria starts offering free HPV vaccination for all persons between the ages of 9 and 21 years old. The human papilomavirus (HPV) are responsible for 90 percent of the cases of cervical cancer, the second most common cancer in women aged 15 to 44 in the EU after breast cancer, according to the Austrian government.
Men also struggle with genital and vascular cancers caused by HPV.
An infection can go unnoticed at first and only lead to a disease many years later. Vaccination against HPV is effective as a preventive measures, the government added. "That's why it's important to get vaccinated at a young age", said Health Minister Johannes Rauch (Greens).
Depending on the organisation of each province, the free vaccinations will be available at general physicians, vaccinations centres of the provinces, within military institutions and through school campaigns.
Covid regulations in Vienna
The current (and stricter) Covid-19 regulations in Vienna, including the mandatory use of an FFP2 mask in all public transport within the city, are set to expire on February 28th.
The City of Vienna could extend the ordinance as it has done so in the past, but with spring approaching and pandemic numbers far from what they were at the peak, experts say it would be hard to justify such measures.
Vienna's Mayor Michael Ludwig (SPÖ) said that the current measures would run until the end of February and the next steps would be taken "depending on further developments".
The Austrian Bundesliga returns
After the winter break, it is time for the football teams in Austria to resume the national championship, known as the Bundesliga (not to be confused with the German Bundesliga).
The last match in the Austrian Bundesliga, a thrilling 1-1 draw between LASK and Sturm, occurred on November 13th, 2022.
At the beginning of February, the Austrian clubs will play their first competitive match of 2023 in the ÖFB Cup, with a classic duel coming right away: Salzburg versus Sturm (February 3rd, 8:45 p.m.). The Styrians open the league's spring season against Rapid a week later.
Semesterferien: schools are on a break
February is a much beloved month among many students, as schools go on a short one-week holiday and families take the opportunity to travel. The break takes place on different dates each year and varies depending on the state.
These are the dates for the semester break 2023:
- Burgenland: from Monday, February 13th to Sunday, February 19th
- Carinthia: from Monday, February 13th to Sunday, February 19th
- Lower Austria: from Monday, February 6th to Sunday, February 12th
- Upper Austria: from Monday, February 20th to Sunday, February 26th
- Salzburg: from Monday, February 13th to Sunday, February 19th
- Styria: from Monday, February 20th to Sunday, February 26th
- Tirol: from Monday, February 13th to Sunday, February 19th
- Vorarlberg: from Monday, February 13th to Sunday, February 19th
- Vienna: from Saturday, February 4th to Sunday, February 12th
More climate crisis protests in Vienna
From February 13th, the next "Klebe-Welle" (something like "sticky wave" in reference to the practice of protesters sticking themselves to the street pavement) of the climate activists of the Last Generation group will take place in Vienna.
The group says their goal is once again to paralyse early morning traffic and draw attention to the issue of climate change.
After a five-day "wave" in mid-January, activists of the "Last Generation" want to disrupt early morning traffic in Vienna as much as possible again for several days starting February 13th by sticking themselves on roadways. "The actions remain absolutely non-violent," a spokesman told APA.
Austrians celebrate Valentine's Day on February 14th, and you will undoubtedly see lots of people walking around with flowers and chocolates. Many restaurants and bars also have specific Valentine's Day menus you and your loved one can enjoy.
Another big celebration coming up in February is Carnival, which Austrians also love to celebrate and have their traditional parties. The main date for Fasching is Shrove Tuesday, which falls on February 21st this year. In addition, there are numerous carnival parades and traditional events all over Austria.
In Styria, for example, there is a famous annual carnival race, the Faschingsrennen, where participants wearing traditional costumes run up to the highest spot in town to "scare away the winter" – loud noises are part of the scare tactics, of course.
People also love buying (and eating) the jam-filled doughnuts known as Krapfen, traditionally filled with apricot jam.