Living in Austria For Members

Is it legal to burn an Austrian flag?

Julia Hjelm Jakobsson
Julia Hjelm Jakobsson - [email protected]
Is it legal to burn an Austrian flag?
The Austrian national flag hoovers in Vienna. AFP PHOTO / ALEXANDER KLEIN (Photo by ALEXANDER KLEIN / AFP)

Different countries hold distinct rules on burning the symbol of national pride and unity. In neighbouring Switzerland, it was recently voted against the prohibition of burning the flag, but what's the law in Austria?


A country's flag is known to represent national pride, heritage, and unity, and in many countries it is not allowed to be burned. 

The legality of burning a country's flag varies from one nation to another and is often influenced by cultural, political, and legal factors. For example, in countries like Sweden and the United Kingdom, flag burning is allowed as a form of symbolic expression, considered a protected form of free speech.

However, other countries, such as Austria, have laws clearly prohibiting flag burning, viewing it as a disrespectful act against a national symbol and its significance.

Recently, the question of whether burning flags should be legal or illegal became a political row in neighbouring Switzerland. The Swiss National Council discussed the subject and a proposal aiming to make it illegal to intentionally damage the Swiss flag was eventually voted down.


What exactly does Austria's law say? 

In Austria, burning the country's flag remains illegal according to the penal code enforced by the Federal Ministry of Finance. People who burn the flag could face six months imprisonment or a fine that will be based on the person's income.

The penal code also states that if flags of foreign states or international organisations with which Austria maintains diplomatic relations are burned or destroyed, the people committing the actions may also be required to pay fines.

READ NEXT: Why does Austria have two different official flags?


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