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Which Austrian states offer free public kindergartens?

The Local Austria
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Which Austrian states offer free public kindergartens?
Two budding volleyball players sharpen their tools at a kindergarten. Photo: Ina FASSBENDER / AFP

Salzburg has joined the list of states to offer free public kindergarten care to children aged between three and six years old. Where else can parents expect aid with childcare in Austria?


This week, Salzburg's state government announced that it had reached a deal offer free part-time kindergarten care for children aged from three to six years old. The government has set aside €13 million to fund the care. 

The new offer will be introduced on April 1st, according to an ORF broadcast.

Wolfgang Mayer, chairman of the Austrian People's Party (ÖVP), said: "We are noticeably relieving Salzburg's families and setting a milestone in childcare. Overall, a very good day for Salzburg's families ."


Even though every party supported the decision, there was some criticism that it was "not enough". For the liberal NEOS, for example, free half-day care is just a first step, Salzburg24 reported. The party continues to push for all-day care. Centre-left SPÖ also said there is still a need to offer free childcare options for children younger than three. 

READ ALSO: How does the cost of childcare in Austria compare to other countries?

How do other states stack up when it comes to childcare?

By federal law, part-time daycare is free of charge for children from the age of five throughout Austria. However, other provinces have different offers:

  • Burgenland: all-day care free of charge care for children up to age six
  • Lower Austria: part-time daycare free of charge for children between 2.5 and six
  • Upper Austria: part-time daycare free of charge for children between 2.5 and six
  • Tyrol: part-time daycare free of charge for children between four and six
  • Vienna: all-day care free of charge for children up to six

Salzburg now joins the list of provinces which have expanded the minimum federal requirements. Carinthia, Styria and Vorarlberg still only have part-time daycare free for 5-year-olds. From age 6, children in Austria then join compulsory schooling. 

In general, childcare in Austria is seen positively, especially by foreigners. A The Local poll from October 2022 found that 50 percent of readers surveyed described it as "good", followed by 25 percent who said childcare in Austria was "very good".

Shyam from India described childcare in Austria as “very good” before adding: “My country doesn’t have any support for childcare.”

Similarly, Marie in Klosterneuburg, but from the US, described it as “amazing”.

READ ALSO: ‘Better and cheaper’: What foreigners really think about childcare in Austria

How does the childcare system work?

In Austria, there are different types of care available before children reach mandatory school age, including nurseries for those under the age of three, kindergartens up to the age of six and workplace and university childcare centres.


In many parts of Austria, childcare for babies and toddlers up to the age of three takes place at day nurseries (Kinderkrippen), but there are other options, including Tagesmutter-väter, where children are cared for in smaller groups. Later, they go to kindergartens before joining schools and moving on with their mandatory schooling.

Facilities are run privately or funded by the government, and the costs can vary. The family's income and the number of childcare hours are considered when calculating fees.

Parents usually have to register for places in advance and some offers are very on demand. The location of the family is taken into account for spots in public schools. 


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