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Cosying Up to the Iranians

Cosying Up to the Iranians

Iran has been dominating the news since the recent deal with western states, in which the Iranians agreed to limit their nuclear programme in exchange for reduced sanctions. But another side to Iran’s relationship to the West – its ties with Austria – has remained relatively invisible. This fall, Tehran became a hotspot for Austrian […]

Relearning Excellence

Relearning Excellence

Time was when the Vienna school system was among the most respected in Europe: Its Gymnasien prepared pupils for its universities and its Realschulen for technical or trade schools. It was elite and selective, and very good, with results to show for it. “The central Gymnasien account for most of the major figures in Vienna’s […]

Austria’s Lost Generation

Austria’s Lost Generation

If there is one thing that gets Austrians riled up, it’s education. So with Education Minster Claudia Schmied retiring and new coalition talks under way, a draft for the new teacher’s employment law was circulated for comment. A mistake? A record-breaking response of 1,800, predominantly negative, comments flooded in – many of them from individual […]

Frankie Goes to Ottakring

Frankie Goes to Ottakring

At Brunnenmarkt in Ottakring you can get a kilo of ripe tomatoes or juicy peaches for €1 – a decent price, that makes Brunnenmarkt and nearby Yppenplatz popular with immigrants and young hipsters who enjoy their late-afternoon breakfast at one of the market restaurants.  Its melting pot character has also made the area a battleground […]

First-Time Voter

First-Time Voter

I voted for the first time in 1972, when Richard Nixon ran for re-election and trounced George McGovern with one of the largest election margins in U.S. history – 60.7% of the popular vote and every state in the Union except Massachusetts. He ran as “President Nixon – Now, More than Ever!” I had waited […]

After the Election

After the Election

The German saying “Man soll den Tag nicht vor dem Abend loben” (“Don’t count your chickens before they are hatched”) proved true  once again on 29 September. Both Social Democrats (SPÖ) and Conservatives (ÖVP), while still victorious, had to face major losses. But unlike other EU countries, the Austrian coalition was not voted out. With […]

Austrian General Elections

        Campaigns we deserve, 15 Aug. by Christina Aumayr Political campaigning has started, and one can already draw some conclusions. The chancellor’s motto seems to be: as emotionless, as demagogic and non-committal as possible. That’s probably enough to secure the party’s pole position in autumn. So far, the SPÖ campaign engine has […]

Restaurant Hebenstreit: Dining for Intellectuals

Restaurant Hebenstreit: Dining for Intellectuals

“Let’s have coffee in the living room,” fellow students would often say as we left class at the University of Vienna some 20 years ago. My friends did not mean their own shared apartments or hostels, though. What they meant was a small, cosy (and smoky) little place called Café Hebenstreit, today a restaurant. Hebenstreit […]

Reining in the Rents

Reining in the Rents

 Spring brought the first hints of electioneering ahead of September’s national vote with Austria’s governing coalition parties, the centre-right People’s Party (ÖVP) and centre-left Social Democrats (SPÖ), presenting diverging plans for “offensives” to tackle the country’s rocketing housing costs. An increase in the number of Austrian households by over a quarter million, a surge in […]

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