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Lower Austria presented a revised culture strategy in 2015, developed on a broad basis, with objectives and focal points for the coming years.


Salzburg produced Cultural Development Plan II (2015), with sharpened cultural guidelines and principles, considering social and cultural development as well as a culture policy action framework for the years to come.

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Austria/ 3. Competence, decision-making and administration  

3.1 Organisational structure (organigram)

There is no official organigram available.

Federal Level

Since 2014 the Federal Minister for Arts and Culture, Constitution and Mediais related to the Federal Chancellery (Bundeskanzleramt BKA). He is in charge of the Arts and Culture Division (Section II), whose tasks are the promotion of contemporary art in Austria and to foster the presence of Austrian artists abroad. A further task is the creation of adequate and suitable conditions for artistic and cultural creation as well as participation in art and culture and the broad benefit for a majority of people. Further matters are monument protection and world heritage as well as EU culture policy and international cultural affairs. The ten departments of the Division of Arts and Culture (Section II) are in charge of:

  • Dep. II/1 - Visual arts, architecture, design, fashion, photography, video and media arts
  • Dep. II/2 - Music and performing arts, art schools, general art matters
  • Dep. II/3 - Film
  • Dep. II/4 - Monument protection, heritage, provenance and art restitution
  • Dep. II/5 - Literature and publishing, public libraries
  • Dep. II/6 - Medals and awards, event management, special projects, digitalisation
  • Dep. II/7 - Cultural initiatives, folks culture
  • Dep. II/8 - Investment in management of federal theatres, legal matters
  • Dep. II/9 - Investment in management of federal museums and other entities
  • Dep. II/10 - European and international cultural policy

Further tasks of the Federal Minister for Arts and Culture, Constitution and Mediaareconstitutional affairs, media affairs, and affairs related to public administration, denominational affairs and archive issues. Further institutions in the area of responsibility of the Federal Minister for Arts and Culture are:

  • the Austrian Film Institute (ÖFI);
  • the Artothek (art collection which manages the works of art acquired by the Federal authorities);
  • the ÖsterreichischeFotogalerie (together with the Rupertinum, Salzburg);
  • KulturKontakt Austria;
  • the Austrian Federal Theatres Holding;
  • the Austrian Federal Museums; and
  • the Austrian National Library (ÖNB).

The Cultural Policy Department of the Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs (BMEIA) is one of seven departments and consists of four divisions (V.):

  • V.1 is responsible for the coordination, planning, funding and evaluation of international cultural policy;
  • V.2 for organising cultural and scientific events abroad;
  • V.3 for scientific-technical cooperation and dialogue between cultures and religions, and
  • V.4 for multilateral affairs in international culture (UNESCO).

In cultural political questions the BMEIA works closely with the Arts and Culture Division within the Federal Chancellery and the Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy (BMWFW) as well as the provincial governments, the Austrian Chamber of Commerce and the national tourism organisation Österreich-Werbung.

Austrian agencies abroad in the field of art and culture are:

  • a total of 29 cultural forums (in Belgrade, Berlin, Berne, Budapest, Bucharest, Brussels, Istanbul, Cairo, Kiev, Ljubjana, London, Madrid, Milan, Mexico City, Moscow, New Delhi, New York, Ottawa, Paris, Beijing, Prague, Bratislava, Rome, Teheran, Tel Aviv, Tokyo, Warsaw, Washington and Zagreb);
  • 82 embassies (26 of them with a cultural forum);
  • 11 general consulates (4 of them with a cultural forum);
  • 280 honorary consulates;
  • 60 Austrian libraries in 28 states (predominantly in eastern Europe and the Black Sea region, in the south Caucusus and central Asia); and
  • 10 branches of the Austria Institute (Österreich-Institute, offering German language courses in Belgrade, Bratislava, Brno, Budapest, Krakow, Warsaw, Ljubljana, Rome, Wrocław and Istanbul).

The Federal Ministries of Education and Women's Affairs for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs of Science, Research and Economy share responsibility for:

  • centres for Austrian studies and chairs (professorships);
  • science and education attachés; and
  • the OEAD (ÖsterreichischeAustauschdienst GmbH, Austrian Agency for International Cooperation in Education and Research).

Austria's representation in EU cultural bodies takes place in close consultation between the Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs and Department II/10 European and international cultural policy of the Arts and Culture Division (Section II) of the Federal Chancellery. The BMEIA is involved in the framework of EUNIC (European Union National Institutes for Culture) through its cultural forums and agencies. Austria is an active member of UNESCO and in November 2011 was elected to the Executive Council for the years 2011-2015 (as previously from 1972-1976 and 1995-1999).

Other government ministries that deal with culture are:

The Federal Chancellery is also in charge of:

  • media policy and matters concerning the new media;
  • the information society;
  • matters relating to ethnic groups;
  • coordination of regional policies (federal level / Bundesländer); and the
  • Austrian Communications Authority (KommAustria).

The Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy is responsible for:

  • historical buildings;
  • (cultural) tourism;
  • various awards in the realm of the creative industries (e.g. architecture, design, TV, advertising etc. as well as the "Evolve" initiative (to support the creative industries, see chapter 4.2.3); and
  • bilateral agreements on film.

The Federal Ministry of the Interior is in charge of:

  • matters of immigration, asylum, visas, residence permits, work permits etc.;
  • data security; and
  • commemoration of the Holocaust:
  • the Austrian Holocaust Memorial, a society organising "remembrance-service" and alternative civilian and social service;
  • the "Never Forget" Association for the Protection of Holocaust Memorials;
  • the Mauthausen Memorial.

Provincial level

The Bundesländer (federal provinces) in Austria are: Burgenland (BGL), Carinthia (K), Lower Austria (NÖ), Salzburg (SBG), Styria (STMK), Tyrol (T), Upper Austria (OÖ), Vienna (W) and Vorarlberg (VBG). Each federal provincial government has a cultural department; in some cases, these are combined with science and / or education. With the exception of Vienna, every Bundeslandhas its own Cultural Promotion Act, most of which were implemented during the 1980s. The current cultural support acts are in Burgenland since 1980, in Carinthia since 2001 (amended in 2009), in Lower Austria since 1996, in the province of Salzburg since 1998, in Styria since 2005, in Tyrol since 2010 and in Vorarlberg since 2009. The province of Upper Austria has had a cultural promotion act since 1987 and began a comprehensive discussion process in 2007, the outcome was formulated as cultural concept (2009) and on this basis the cultural promotion act was adapted in 2011. Lower Austria presented a culture strategy in 2000 and in 2015 a revised version was developed on a broad basis: the "KulturstrategieNeu" (new culture strategy) contains the objectives and focal points for the coming years.

General cultural responsibilities of the federal provinces include:

  • all legal agendas concerning cultural policy (Kulturhoheit, i.e. cultural sovereignty (see chapter 3.2));
  • promotion of cultural activities related to the respective Bundesland, often in co-operation with the federal level (which have different priorities for promotion);
  • promotion of activities to preserve the appearance of villages and towns – maintenance of the old town centres;
  • promotion of contemporary art;
  • foundations and funds owned by the Bundesländer;
  • music schools;
  • theatres, cinemas, events;
  • heritage, tradition and folk art;
  • annual festivals, e.g. Salzburg Festival (SBG), Bregenz Festival (VBG), SteirischerHerbst (STMK), Festival der Regionen (OÖ), Ars Electronica (OÖ), Viennale (W), Wiener Festwochen (W), JazzfestWiesen (BGL), TirolerFestspieleErl (T), Glatt&Verkehrt (NÖ) etc.

Local level

Political responsibility for culture at the local level rests with either the city / town councillor or in smaller municipalities with the mayor. The majority of local government offices – or municipal administrations – have cultural departments (often combined with sports, tourism, science and / or education) which are inter alia responsible for libraries, as well as amateur art, folk culture, traditions and village renewal. Communities with fewer than 20 000 inhabitants generally have mostly no culture department of their own.

Local level competence includes:

  • preservation of the appearance of villages, towns, old town centres;
  • festivals, especially in provincial capitals such as Bregenz, Salzburg, Linz, Graz (in co-operation with the respective Bundeslandand the federal government);
  • promotion of urban institutions in the cities (stages, cultural centres, etc.);
  • amateur art (amateur theatres, brass bands, folklore groups);
  • crafts;
  • local museums; and
  • libraries, adult education facilities.

In some cities, cultural policy concepts form the basis for policy decisions and developments. In 2001, for example, the city of Salzburg agreed a cultural policy concept including a cultural development plan and a catalogue of measures, which was evaluated in 2007. A review resulted in the Cultural Development Plan II (2015) with sharpened cultural guidelines and principles, taking into consideration the social and cultural development over the last years and highlighting the culture policy action framework for the years to come.

In Graz (2003) and Linz (2009) discussions on the sustainability of the "European Capital of Culture" provided an impetus for further location development.

In Graz a cultural development process was initiated in 2003 – the "Graz Cultural Dialogue", a communication process between artists and those interested in culture, as well as political decision-makers on various special issues, which led to the establishment of a cultural advisory committee (Kulturbeirat), a branch-related specialist advisory system and an annual arts and culture report, which was evaluated in 2011 and 2014. The evolution of the cultural strategy for the City of Graz will be continued as a work in progress.

The "Linz Cultural Development Plan" (Kulturentwicklungsplan, KEP) was agreed in 2000. From 2011 to 2013 a new version of the strategic programme for the cultural development of the city of Linz was worked out in a participative process involving the general public. The "new KEP", with guidelines and measures for the cultural future of Linz, was agreed in early 2013. It considers itself as a binding strategy document, created on an overall basis to ensure the cultural vibrancy of the city for the next 10 to 15 years.

Chapter published: 26-06-2018

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