National Profiles > > Regions > Western Europe > Austria
Search National Profiles:

Features of Constitution1

Is there a constitution? Yes
Does the constitution provide for freedom of religion? Yes


Constitution Year 1920
Last Amended As of 4/28/2010, last amendment was made in 2009
Source Legal Information System of the Republic of Austria (RIS)
Translation Source is an English translation
Current as of April 28, 2010

Constitution Excerpts (clauses that reference religion)2

Article 7

(1) All nationals are equal before the law. Privileges based upon birth, sex, estate, class or religion are excluded. No one shall be discriminated against because of his disability. The Republic (Federation, Laender and municipalities) commits itself to ensuring the equal treatment of disabled and non-disabled persons in all spheres of every-day life.
(2) The Federation, Laender and municipalities subscribe to the de-facto equality of men and women. Measures to promote factual equality of women and men, particularly by eliminating actually existing inequalities, are admissible.
(3) Official designations can be applied in such a way as to indicate the sex of the office holder. The same holds good for titles, academic degrees and descriptions of occupations.
(4) Public employees, including members of the Federal Army, are guaranteed the unrestricted exercise of their political rights.

Article 9a

(1) Austria subscribes to comprehensive national defense. Its task is to preserve the Federal territory’s [sic] outside independence as well as its inviolability and its unity, especially as regards the maintenance and defense of permanent neutrality. In this connection, too, the constitutional establishments and their capacity to function as well as the democratic freedoms of residents are to be safeguarded and defended against acts of aimed attack from outside.
(2) Universal national defense comprises military, intellectual, civil and economic national defense.
(3) Every male national is liable to military service. Female nationals may render voluntary service in the Federal Army as soldiers and have the right to terminate such service.
(4) Conscientious objectors who refuse the fulfillment of compulsory military service and are exonerated therefrom must perform an alternative service (civilian service).

Article 10

(1) The Federation has powers of legislation and execution in the following matters:
…13. Archive and library services for the sciences and specialist purposes; matters pertaining to Federal collections and establishments serving the arts and sciences; matters pertaining to the Federal theatres with the exception of building affairs; the preservation of monuments; religious affairs; census as well as – allowing for the rights of the Laender to engage within their own territory in every kind of statistical activity – other statistics in so far as they do not serve the interests of one Land only; endowments and foundations when their purposes extend beyond a single Land’s sphere of interests and they have hitherto not been autonomously administered by the Laender;

Article 14

…(5a) Democracy, humanity, solidarity, peace and justice as well as openness and tolerance towards people are the elementary values of the school, based on which it secures for the whole population, independent from origin, social situation and financial background a maximum of educational level, permanently safeguarding and developing optimal quality. In a partnership-like cooperation between pupils, parents and teachers, children and juveniles are to be allowed the optimal intellectual, mental and physical development to let them become healthy, selfconfident [sic], happy, performance-oriented, dutiful, talented and creative humans capable to take over responsibility for themselves, fellow human beings, environment and following generations, oriented in social, religious and moral values. Any juvenile shall in accordance with his development and educational course be led to independent judgement and social understanding, be open to political, religious and ideological thinking of others and become capable to participate in the cultural and economic life of Austria, Europe and the world and participate in the common tasks of mankind, in love for freedom and peace.
(6a) Schools are institutions in which pupils shall be educated together according to a comprehensive fixed curriculum and in which, in connection with the imparting of knowledge and skills, a comprehensive educational goal is strived for. Public schools are those schools which are established and maintained by authorities so required by law. The Federation is the authority so required by law in so far as legislation and execution in matters pertaining to the establishment, maintenance and dissolution of public schools are the business of the Federation. The Land or, according to the Laender statutory provisions, the municipality or a municipal association is the authority so required by law in so far as legislation or implementing legislation and execution in matters pertaining to establishment, maintenance and dissolution of public schools are the business of the Land. Admission to public school is open to all without distinction of birth, sex, race, estate, class, language and religion, and in other respects within the limits of the statutory requirements. The same applies analogously to kindergartens, day homes and student hostels.
…(10) In matters pertaining to the free attendance of schools, and the relationship between school and the Churches (religious societies) including religious instruction at school, the National Council, in so far as matters pertaining to universities and colleges are not concerned, can vote Federal legislation only in the presence of at least half the members and by a two thirds majority of the votes cast. The same applies if the principles of para 6a shall be left aside and to the ratification of state treaties negotiated in matters mentioned above and which fall into the category specified in Art. 50.

Article 14a

…(2) Legislation and execution is the business of the Federation in the following matters:
a) secondary agricultural and forestry schools and schools for the training and supplementary training of teachers at agricultural and forestry schools;
b) technical colleges for the training of forestry employees;
c) public agricultural and forestry technical colleges linked organizationally to one of the public schools mentioned in subparas a and b above or to a Federal agricultural and forestry research institute to ensure provision of the demonstrations scheduled in the curricula;
d) student hostels exclusively or mainly designated for pupils of the schools mentioned in subparas a to c above;
e) service code for and staff representational rights of the teachers and educational assistants in the establishments mentioned in subparas a to d above;
f) subsidies for staff expenditure of the denominational agricultural and forestry schools;
g) Federal agricultural and forestry institutes linked organizationally to an agricultural and forestry school supported by the Federation to ensure provision of the demonstrations scheduled in the curricula of these schools.
(3) Save as it concerns matters mentioned in para 2 above, legislation is the business of the Federation, execution the business of the Laender in matters of
a) religious instruction;

Article 62

(1) On his assumption of office the Federal President renders the following affirmation before the Federal Assembly:
"I solemnly promise that I shall faithfully observe the Constitution and all the laws of the Republic and shall fulfill my duty to the best of my knowledge and belief."
(2) The addition of a religious asseveration is admissible.

Article 72

(1) Before their assumption of office the members of the Federal Government render an affirmation to the Federal President. The addition of a religious asseveration is admissible.

Article 101

(1) The executive power in each Land is exercised by a Land Government to be elected by the Diet.
(2) The members of a Land Government need not belong to the Diet. Nevertheless only persons eligible for the Diet can be elected to membership of the Land Government.
(3) The Land Government consists of the Governor, the requisite number of deputies, and other members.
(4) Before assumption of office the Governor renders to the Federal President, the other members of the Land Government render to the Governor an affirmation with respect to the Federal Constitution. The addition of a religious asseveration is admissible.


1.  Data under the "Features of Constitution" heading are drawn from coding of the U.S. State Department's 2008 International Religious Freedom Reports conducted by researchers at the Association of Religion Data Archives. The article by Brian Grim and Roger Finke describes the coding of the International Religious Freedom reports. A dataset with these and the other international measures highlighted on the country pages can be downloaded from this website. Used with permission.

2.  The constitutional excerpts shown above are reproduced from the websites given in the "Source" field; the links to these websites were active as of May 2011. Where the constitutional text shown on these websites was provided in a language other than English, this text was translated to English by ARDA staff with assistance from web-based translation utilities such as Google Translate and Yahoo! Babel Fish. Constitutional text was converted to American English where applicable. Constitutional clauses were judged to contain religious content based largely on the standards used in the construction of the Religion and State Constitutions Dataset collected by Jonathan Fox. Emphases were added to the text by ARDA staff to highlight religious content in articles that also contain content that does not pertain to matters of religion. The data on this page were correct to the best of the knowledge of the ARDA as of the date listed in the "Current as of" field shown above. Please contact us at if you are aware of any incorrect information provided on this page.

Bookmark and Share