Tag Archives: Lower Austria

Roman Cavalry displace their skills at Carnuntum – A day amongst the Romans (Part 2)

The four riders wonderfully brought Roman Cavalry history to life, providing the crowd with an excellent display during the recent Roman Fest at Carnuntum Archaeological Park.


Carnuntum which is situated next to the Danube River, about 30mins drive from central Vienna, was a Roman Provincial Capital and today visitors can experience the feel of Roman life by spending time exploring a set of wonderfully reconstructed buildings. Images of the site on a normal visitor day can be seen here and here.

A few images from the Cavalry display:



































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Filed under Activities for kids, Austrian History, Festivals, History, Out and about in Lower Austria, Uncategorized, Vienna Life

Small tremors from regional elections hit national poll ratings

The State elections in Lower Austria and Kärnten, held on the 3rd March 2013, have produced only small tremors but as yet no earthquake in the national opinion polls. However the political analysis of the aftermath, combined with the coverage of infighting and reassessments in some parties, may well accelerate various trends in the coming weeks.

For the SPÖ (Social Democrats) the big win in Kärnten has contributed to a small percentage point movement upwards giving them 28% and 28% in the two polls since the elections.

Retaining its absolute majority in Lower Austria has seen the ÖVP (conservatives) consolidate its position as the second party in the polls with 24% & 25% respectively.

The crisis ridden FPÖ (far-Right) will probably be pleased that after the catastrophe in Kärnten and the poor performance in Lower Austria that their share of the vote has not significantly dropped, scoring 21% and 20%. However, even before the disaster of 3rd March they had already seen their position eroding over the last twelve months. Their leadership will be holding even more crisis meetings if (as seems quite likely) their poll ratings move regularly below the 20% mark.

Despite some progress in the two State elections the Green party (centre-left) will be concerned that the national polls have them back on 13% and 13%. This is up on their last general election performance of 10.4% but is down on the 15% they were scoring in some polls a few months ago.

Team Stronach (populist – right of centre) had particularly high levels of press coverage in the two State elections but only scored moderate results of 9.8% in Lower Austria and 11.2% Kärnten. The coverage and results have given them a 2 point boost nationally, 11% and 10%.

The story of the other party currently in the Austrian Federal parliament, the BZÖ, still looks like one of slow death. However, the coverage of the campaign in Kärnten has given them a 1 point lift 3% and 2% in the two most recent polls.

Current average based upon last five polls:

SPÖ: 27.6%, ÖVP: 24.6%, FPÖ 21.4%, Greens 13.0%, Team Stronach: 9.6%, BZÖ 1.8%, Others 2.0%

Percentage variation across last five polls:

SPÖ: 27%-28%, ÖVP: 24%-25%, FPÖ 20%-23%, Greens 12%-14%, Team Stronach: 8%-11%, BZÖ 1%-3%


Related story: Will history see 3rd March 2013 as the date when the Austrian Far-Right began its fall into oblivion?


Poll sources:

Market/Standard 11-03-13
Gallup/oe24 07-03-13
Karmasin/profil 23-02-13
Gallup/oe24 23-02-13
IMAS/Krone 13-02-13



Poll sources:

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Filed under Austrian Politics, Politics

Will history see 3rd March 2013 as the date when the Austrian Far-Right began its fall into oblivion?

Crisis, catastrophe, internal feuds, disaster, power struggle, confusion, these are the words being associated with Austria’s Far-Right Freedom Party (FPÖ) following the outcome of State elections in both Lower Austria and Kärnten.

In Kärnten the FPÖ’s sister party, the FPK, saw its support collapse by 28% percentage points, from 45% to just under 17%:

Election result

FPK – 16.9%

SPÖ – 37.1%

ÖVP – 14.1%

Greens – 12.1%

Team Stronach – 11.2%

BZÖ – 6.4%

Others – 2%

The result follows major scandals and leaves the FPÖ significantly damaged in one of the only two (of Austria’s nine) states where the Party is a major force. The loss of a significant amount of state (party) funding will further weaken the Party in what is Federal election year (due to take place on the 28th September).

It will worry the FPÖ that many of their voters switch to the SPÖ (Social Democrats) and to the new player on the right of Austrian politics, Team Stronach (TS -populist, right of centre). Other previous supporters simple stayed at home. If the results are an indication that nationally the SPÖ can reconnect with a section of the FPÖ voter base, while TS can scoop up their protest voters, then FPÖ faces major threats to its ambitions.

In Lower Austria the FPÖ’s share of the vote declined by just 2 percentage points but they only managed 4th place, behind TS and barely ahead of the Greens:

Election result

ÖVP – 50.8%

SPÖ – 21.6%

Team Stronach – 9.8%

FPÖ – 8.2%

Greens – 8%

Others – 1.6%

This election was seen by the media as a duel between the ÖVP and State Governor, Erwin Pröll and TS founder, the Austro-Canadian billionaire Frank Stronach. In the end Erwin Pröll retained the ÖVP’s absolute majority while the FPÖ campaign was squeeze to death in his battle with Frank Stronach.

The two elections show that the FPÖ can no longer take for granted the protest vote, this now has the option of Team Stronach. Already the party appears to be shifting back into the more vehement anti-immigration, social conservatism, and anti-EU version of its rhetoric. We can expect this to get worse as they seek to retain their core vote. Interestingly they appear to be moving to a more clearly EU withdrawal position in an attempt to differentiate themselves from the more mildly Euro-sceptic TS. The problem for the FPÖ is that this is a defensive approach; the strategy has previously been shown to hamper the further growth of their support.

Prior to the election results I was reading comments in the press about the dangers of a backlash from the FPÖ’s right-wing against the party leader Heinz-Christian Strache. His initial response to the election results was to press for the integration of the FPK into the FPÖ and for changes in the leadership of the State party in Lower Austria. A few days later the former looks unlikely and newspapers are reporting Strache’s U-turn in Lower Austria – fulsome support for the leadership. It would appear that divisions will continue to underpin the FPÖ and their leader remains vulnerable going into two further State elections and the general election.

Interestingly the first national opinion poll  since last Sunday shows FPÖ support dropping. Unless thing change significantly I may soon be writing about the FPÖ being overtaken by the Greens and/or Team Stronach – but I’m a natural optimist 🙂





Filed under Austrian Politics, Politics

Carnuntum – Some more images of life in the world of the Ancient Romans

As the post A glimpse of Roman life – Carnuntum remains one of the most viewed items on my main blog, I thought I’d add some additional pictures here for those who would like to see more.


Sitting by the Danube River, at about the half way point between Vienna and Bratislava, is the site of the Roman City of Carnuntum. An important location within the Empire, part of the City has been brought back to life with the reconstruction of a small number of Roman buildings on the original site.

The visit of some friends at the beginning of November was an excuse for us to make a last visit to Carnuntum before the site closed for the winter. One of the advantages of visiting when the weather is cold is that you really get to appreciate just how effect under floor heating in Roman villas really was. This large room was a very heated to a very welcoming temperature and the floor was warm to the touch…


It took us a while, as usual, to reach the restored buildings as the visitors centre provides plenty to read, listen and watch. These displays and presentations give the visitor the opportunity to gain an awareness of Roman life and the Carnuntum site which adds to the later experience of actually walking through and touching life in the restored buildings…. 









Just outside the visitors centre a model of the ancient city gives you an overview of the geography and layout of the settlement and military installations…..




Once on the main site you will spend a wonderful few hours exploring the Ancient Roman world……

















































Filed under Austrian Roman History, History, Out and about in Lower Austria, Vienna Life

A major wetland on our doorstep

Earlier in the week I had the chance to go walking in a small part of the Marchauen Donau National Park. I say part, for as you can see from the website it starts inside the boundaries of Vienna and follows the Danube River for the 36km through Lower Austria to the Slovakia border.

This major central European wetland provides a valuable range of habitats as well as offering those living in or visiting our corner of Europe the chance get close to nature. On this short excursion I had the opportunity to observe a colony of Storks, nesting, engaging in mating displays and hunting in the watery meadows:

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Filed under Activities for kids, Environment, Out and about in Lower Austria, Vienna Life

Vienna – Finding the snow


Well we got fed-up waiting for the snow to arrive in Vienna during the Christmas/New Year break, so we jumped in the car last Tuesday and headed down the A2 motorway. Our destination was the town of Semmering which sits on the border of the Austrian states of Lower Austria and Steiermark (Google map).

This really was a case of travelling literally to the snow line. Looking along the upper valley into Steiermark presented me with a winter picture of snow and low cloud.

But as I turned back towards Lower Austria the view became one of snow on peaks bathed in sunshine and then replaced with the green and browns of the lower hills and valley.

Whilst R & H went sledging I took a more leisurely (if somewhat of the slipping and sliding variety) walk down the mountain. This rather less bumpy approach gave me the chance to take a few snaps as I descended. Skiing venues always leave me with the feeling of something rather industrial but they can be fun.


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Filed under Out and about in Lower Austria, Out and about in Steiermark, Sports, Vienna Life

Unfortunately, ‘London like’ has a new meaning

It seems that if you are a conservative politician in Austria with a desire to shift your party’s position, in response to current economic and social concerns, the key soundbite is “to prevent London-like conditions in Austria”.

The comment was made by ÖVP politician and Governor of Lower Austria Erwin Pröll  as he called for higher taxes for top earners. His suggestion has not been well received by some other members of his party at the Federal level. Currently the ÖVP are scoring around 23% in opinion polls at the Federal level (putting them third place nationally) whilst a summer poll in the state of Lower Austria showed that Pröll’s ÖVP (who run the state) were on 53%, some 31 points ahead of their nearest rivals. As the State has long been a bedrock of ÖVP support the poll ratings and policy views do not necessarily have a direct correlation. However, it’s difficult to ignore the fact that the Pröll is the Governor of one of only three out of nine Austrian states in which the ÖVP have significant support (in the polls) and the Federal party is not making headway.

As for London, I used to (and to be honest still often do) hear Austrians talk in positive terms about the city. But these days Erwin Pröll’s negative soundbite is just as likely to fit with perceptions here.

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Filed under Austrian Politics, British Politics, Politics