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EACEA National Policies Platform


8. Creativity and Culture

8.4 Promoting culture and cultural participation

Last update: 28 November 2023

Reducing obstacles to young people's access to culture

In Austria, a wide range of initiatives - from school-related projects to federal and other museums' programmes - aims to simplify the access to creativity and culture for all young people.

Free admission to museums

The initiative "Freier Eintritt bis 19" opens the gates of Austrian federal museums for children and young people up to the age of 19 since 2010. Young people have access to Austria's biggest cultural treasures without any financial barriers. More than 10 million children and young people have already used this offer. The initiative is funded from the general budget of the federal museums, which derives from the Federal Ministry for Arts, Culture, Civil Service and Sport (Bundesministerium für Kunst, Kultur, Öffentlicher Dienst und Sport).

Participating museums

Cultural Passport (Kulturpass)

The initiative "Hungry for arts and culture" ("Hunger auf Kunst und Kultur") enables people who live of a family income below the at-risk-of-poverty threshold to a free cultural passport. With this card, socially disadvantaged people in eight federal provinces (all but Carinthia) receive free admission to numerous cultural institutions. The initiative is jointly funded by a variety of actors: the federal provinces, the Federal Ministry for Arts, Culture, Civil Service and Sport (Bundesministerium für Kunst, Kultur, Öffentlicher Dienst und Sport), and private donors.

Creative competition "projecteurope" (Projekt Europa)

The creative competition “projecteurope” is a nationwide project by the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research and invites all schools and pupils to submit group projects and individual works. It enables a dialogue between education, culture and science, while providing young people with a diverse understanding of art and culture and offering them space to develop their creativity. Students develop creative ideas for a lively school culture and the winner of the Austria-wide creative competition receives an award. In the term 2020/21, the European topics of "digitalisation" and "climate" are to be artistically processed.

'Cultural education with schools' (Kulturvermittlung mit Schulen) by the OEAD

The Austrian Agency for Education and Internationalisation (Agentur für Bildung und Internationalisierung, OEAD) works at the interface of schools and arts and culture. In this context, participative cultural education projects and activities with schools throughout Austria are conceived, promoted, and given advisory and organisational support. The OEAD aims to encourage young people to actively participate in artistic and cultural processes and to foster their competences. The projects are carried out in cooperation with artists and cultural professionals as well as with artistic and cultural institutions. Engaging in direct encounters with artists gives children and young people new ways of accessing and involving themselves in the arts and culture and is thus - as well in the context of equal opportunities - an important precondition for participation in the processes of society.

Services and Activities

  • Consultation services for teachers, artists, cultural educators and cultural institutions
  • Financial support of cultural education activities in schools (e.g. programmes supporting cooperation with artists in class instruction, cultural education for apprentices, cooperation between schools and cultural institutions)
  • Support of up to 3.000 workshops per year in the context of the programme “Dialogue Events” - Austria’s largest cultural education programme
  • Provision of impulses for the cultural development of schools
  • Participation in EU programmes and groups of experts
  • Cooperation with national and European networks

As a state-owned non-profit committed to the common good, the OeAD is funded by public sources. Its total budget for 2019 amounted to € 72 million, most of which were available for scholarship and grant programmes. Its shareholder is the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research. KulturKontakt Austria, which ran the programmes 'cultural education in schools' and the 'educational cooperation in the Western Balkans and Eastern Europe' until their integration into the OeAD in 2020, had an annual budget of around € 5.6 million euros.

culture connected - cooperation between schools and cultural institutions (culture connected – Kooperation zwischen Schulen und Kulturpartnern)

culture connected is a nationwide initiative by the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research. The main target is to support cooperation projects of schools and cultural institutions. In the school year 2020/2021, teams of pupils, teachers and at least one extracurricular partner are invited to submit projects on the topic "More than bytes - Cultural Education and Digital Media" from all fields of art and culture. The OeAD provides conceptual, advisory and organisational support for the initiative.


u19 – CREATE YOUR WORLD is Ars Electronica’s festival for kids and young people. The colourful festival village surrounding the Ars Electronica Center (Linz, Upper Austria) is a playground for ideas, solutions to problems, concepts and experiments. The Ars Electronica museum is inter alia co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union and the city of Linz.

Kunsthistorisches Museum (KHM) art education

At the KHM, all guided tours for school groups are conversational and tailored to the students’ needs. Visits can focus on one or two collections or focus on a particular topic or theme in artworks from different collections and periods. After a short guided tour, workshops invite pupils to recreate what they have seen and experienced. Tailor-made programmes for different schools and grades allow pupils to understand constructive processes and invite them to work with assorted materials. Additionally, open or private workshops and tours are provided for children and young people as well as audioguides.

Albertina art education

A wide range of Albertina programmes - guided tours, workshops and art courses - mediates art to children and young people. Albertina art educators develope didactic programs for all school levels and kindergartens for each exhibition. Contents and methods are geared to the individual requirements of the group, and visual aids, worksheets and interactive games help children and young people to question and describe the works of art. This conversational manner of examining art stimulates their ability to associate and express themselves verbally. At the end of the exhibition tour, the group is invited to take part in an art workshop. Besides school class programmes, offers for individual young visitors are provided. Junior tours, family Sundays, holiday games and workshops are provided for almost all special exhibitions. For all bigger exhibitions, free riddle rallies invite to individually explore the exhibition contents in a playful manner. Additionally, free audioguides are provided online. The school programme writing workshop (Schreibwerkstätte) that inspires young people to write texts on the basis of artworks has been submitted to a relaunch.

MAK art education

The MAK School Program is aimed at children and young adults aged between 6 and 18. Guided tours aim to arouse and foster interest through dialogue: questions are welcome and knowledge is to be imparted in a fun way. Workshops enrich the visual and verbal exhibitional approach in order to preserve concentration. Pupils can realize their ideas and thoughts, as well as creatively follow up on their questions and comments in the hands-on, material-oriented, and creative workshops.

MUMOK art education

For young people, the workshop „Overpainted- a club which is not a club“ is provided. It enables participants to look behind the scenes at mumok, work with artists, and meet like-minded people. Art education for schools at mumok addresses original works of art directly and is designed to the needs of different ages.

Naturhistorisches Museum (NHM)

The museum's pedagogic team plans, organises and coordinates more than 5000 events each year. Tours and lectures are held, special programmes for children are offered on weekends and during holidays, and public micro theatre shows are performed.

Technical Museum (Technisches Museum)

The technical museum provides various information and services for young people and schools. Groups of young people can spend a night at the museum. Projects and teaching material are provided online. Examining innovations and slipping into the role of urban planners was the theme of a recent exhibition. Guided tours, workshops and events are offered around the exhibition, some especially designed for kindergartens and school classes.

Burgtheater art education

The Burgtheater provides diverse services for young people. A theatre training is offered and commedia dell'arte weekend workshops, creative writing workshops, impro workshops are held.

State Opera: Opera for Young People

The State Opera welcomes children and young people at the opera house and at the Agrana Studiobühne, a location designed specifically with a young audience in mind. Regularly new works are commissioned for children aged 6 years and older. Ballets performed by students of the Opera's Ballet Academy offer a first glimpse of dance theatre to a young audience. Each year, concerts designed specifically for children or “The Magic Flute for Children” are performed. Children who are interested in actively singing or dancing may join the children’s chorus of the Opera School or attend the Ballet Academy. Special programmes are offered for schools: “Wiener Staatsoper live@school” enables visits to performances and rehearsals, dance workshops, guided tours and a specially designed live stream programme.

Volksoper Kulturvermittlung (Junge Volksoper)

The young Volksoper offers workshops for young people aged 14 and above. School classes can attend rehearsals free of charge. Backstage tours provided school classes with an insight into  modern theatre-making.

National Library

The institute for youth literature (Institut für Jugendliteratur) enables young people to discover the national library and its five museums. Teaching material (German only) for different school levels is provided online.

JUNGLE VIENNA - Theatre for a young audience (DSCHUNGEL WIEN – Theaterhaus für junges Publikum)

JUNGLE VIENNA is a centre for children, youth and families. The programme consists of a wide spectrum from play through narrative theatre, music theatre, object theatre and figure theatre up to opera and dance theatre as well as interdisciplinary forms. Festivals, workshops and dialogue events with artists take place regularly. With different art forms, artists from more than 20 nations who live and work in Vienna reach out to a young audience.

Dschungel Wien is jointly funded by the Province/City of Vienna, the Federal Ministry for Arts, Culture, Civil Service and Sport, and the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.

Theatre of the youth (Theater der Jugend)

The “Theater der Jugend” is Austria's biggest theatre organisation for children and young people.

Funding of these activities

In 2019 - according to the Federal Arts and Culture report 2019 (Kunst- und Kulturbericht) provided by the Federal Ministry for Arts, Culture, Civil Service and Sport (Bundesministerium für Kunst, Kultur, Öffentlicher Dienst und Sport) -, the Federal Ministry paid a basic compensation of € 87,062,500 to the Federal Museums and € 25,020,500 to the Austrian National Library for expenses incurred in the fulfilment of its cultural policy mandate. The basic compensation amounted to 23.842 thousand euros for the KHM, 7.747 thousand euros for the Albertina, 9.661 thousand euros for the MAK, 9.588 thousand euros for MUMOK, 14.694 thousand euros for NHM, and 12.564 thousand euros for the technical museum. This general budget it also used for the federal museums' art education programmes.

The Burgtheater, State Opera and Volksoper are non-profits owned by the Bundestheater-Holding, which is among the largest theatre groups in the world and wholly owned by the Republic of Austria.

Disseminating information on cultural opportunities

Austrian Youth Portal

The Austrian Youth Portal (Jugendportal), run by the Federal Network of Austrian Youth Information Centres, provides young people with all relevant information. The section on Arts and Culture compiles information on how to engage in the field and on where to find current arts and culture events. The Austrian Youth Portal is commissioned and financed by the Federal Chancellery.

Cultural education days in schools (Tage kultureller Bildung an Schulen, KuBi-Tage)

Each year, the nationwide KuBi days take place. In 2020, the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung, Wissenschaft und Forschung) organised them as part of the UNESCO International Arts Education Week. Schools nationwide of all types and levels are invited to shape the KuBi Days with their contributions. The aim is to raise public awareness of the artistic-creative activities at Austria's schools through a joint appearance and to underline their importance for the personality development and creativity of pupils. Schools are enabled to present presentations from all art disciplines, such as architecture, dance, film, literature, photography and new media, especially in connection with music, visual education, handicrafts and theatre at school.

Knowledge of cultural heritage amongst young people

Austrian Heritage Day

The Heritage Day (Österreichischer Welterbetag) is Austria‘s contribution to the European Heritage Days. Organized by the Federal Monuments Authority, it is celebrated nationwide on the last Sunday of September every year. The aim is to sensitize the public for the importance of cultural heritage by rendering it tangible as well as by arousing public interest in matters of monument protection and care. The event is organised and funded by the Austrian Commission for UNESCO, Federal Ministry for Arts, Culture, Civil Service and Sport (Bundesministerium für Kunst, Kultur, Öffentlicher Dienst und Sport), and the International Council on Monuments and Sights Austria.

The Federal Monument Office's programmes for children and youth

Pupils can experience culture at the Federal Monument Office. The initative invites pupils and teachers to start projects together with the Federal Monument Office (Bundesdenkmalamt Lernort). Denkmalkids aims to win young children's interest into the topic. Furthermore, girls days encourage young women to become natural scientists. The co-operation of schools with monument experts allows a lively contact with monuments and their preservation and maintenance. The aim of the project is sensitisation and apprectiation of witnesses of the history and the past. Free tours are provided for school classes. The online tool "Bundesdenkmalamt interaktiv" enables students to virtually explore the Vienna Imperial Palace (Wiener Hofburg).