Ceremonial Reopening of the Parliament in Vienna

More+Events ♦ Published: January 12, 2023; 18:44 ♦ (Vindobona)

On the occasion of the opening of the renovated parliament building, a grand ceremony was held in the Federal Assembly Hall, which was attended not only by top domestic politicians but also by numerous guests of honor from Austria and abroad. The historic house on the Ring, which took five years to renovate and modernize, now shines again in its new splendor.

The parliament shines again in new splendor after long renovation work. / Picture: © Wikimedia Commons / Gryffindor, CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)

In a ceremonial act, the renewed parliament building was opened. On the weekend there will be open days for all visitors. The parliament's homepage has also been renewed.

After five years of renovation, the historic parliament building on Vienna's Ringstrasse reopened. "We are back home. The High House has us again and we have the High House again," said National Council President Wolfgang Sobotka, expressing his gratitude to be allowed to open the renovated building after Georg Friedrich Händel's "La Réjouissance" - the jubilation.

National Council President Wolfgang Sobotka, Federal Council President Günter Kovacs, Second National Council President Doris Bures and Third National Council President Norbert Hofer gave opening speeches. In their speeches, all speakers stressed the need for respectful cooperation and advocated strengthening trust in democratic institutions.

"With the reopening, the heart of democracy beats once again in this historic building," Federal Council President Günter Kovacs expressed his delight. Like Sobotka, he recalled the late former National Council President Barbara Prammer, under whom the renovation of the parliament was originally launched. In addition, he too addressed the growing distrust of democracy. The president of the provincial chamber hopes to be able to counteract this in the renovated building together with his colleagues in the chambers of parliament: The new building is a signal of democracy, "it is up to all of us that this signal is also heard."

In his keynote speech, former President of the German Bundestag Wolfgang Schäuble primarily addressed the serious crisis of confidence that representative democracy is currently experiencing. Schäuble, therefore, pleaded for seeking "the dispute in the middle of society" and for carrying it out publicly in the parliaments. In doing so, it is important to make it clear that people are fighting with each other for the sake of the cause and that politics is not an end in itself. This was followed by a moderated discussion with representatives of all parliamentary groups.

Renovation of the Parliament

Around 55,000m2, 740 windows, 600 historic doors and 500 historic chandeliers have been extensively renovated in recent years. More than 100 Austrian construction companies were involved in the renovation, and up to 550 workers were on the job at the same time at peak times.

A special eye-catcher is the impressive glass dome above the National Council Chamber. With a diameter of 28 meters and an area of 550 m², daylight enters the hall for the first time, making it shine with new splendor.

The "new" parliament also offers more than ever before in terms of gastronomy: the 800 m² Kelsen Restaurant, named after Hans Kelsen, the creator of the Austrian constitution, was created.

Diplomacy at the opening

Many foreign representatives up to the highest level, such as ambassadors, were also present at the reopening of the Parliament and participated in the event. On Twitter, some ambassadors even congratulated the Republic of Austria and the Austrians on the grandiose reopening of their parliament building.

The Turkish and Greek ambassadors were also present and thanked the Parliament for the invitation to the reopening.

The French Embassy was also present and congratulated on the opening of the restored Parliament building. The French representation called this a "great moment for democracy!"

The Ambassador of the United States of America, Victoria Kennedy, was also present and thanked on Twitter for the invitation and congratulated the Parliament for the "splendid ceremony."

Austrian Parliament