The Austrian national anthem, known by its incipit “Land der Berge, Land am Strome,” has been a source of national pride and identity for the people of Austria. Adopted in 1946, it is a testament to the rich cultural history of this European nation.
|German original||Poetic English translation|
Land der Berge, Land am Strome,
Land der Äcker, Land der Dome,
Land der Hämmer, zukunftsreich!
Heimat großer Töchter und Söhne,
Volk, begnadet für das Schöne,
𝄆 Vielgerühmtes Österreich! 𝄇
Heiß umfehdet, wild umstritten,
Liegst dem Erdteil du inmitten
Einem starken Herzen gleich.
Hast seit frühen Ahnentagen
Hoher Sendung Last getragen,
𝄆 Vielgeprüftes Österreich. 𝄇
Mutig in die neuen Zeiten,
Frei und gläubig sieh uns schreiten,
Arbeitsfroh und hoffnungsreich.
Einig laß in Jubelchören,
Vaterland, dir Treue schwören.
𝄆 Vielgeliebtes Österreich. 𝄇
Land of peaks, oh, land of rivers,
Land of fields, oh, land of steeples
Land of labours, future-bound!
Home thou art to prodigious kin,
Shining brighter than ever been
𝄆 Austria, of high praise! 𝄇
Bold if battered, ne’er torn nor tattered
Stands thou strong midst Europe fettered
For thee art pledges saith!
Since days long past, verily thou hast
Trials of heated temper pas’t
𝄆 Austria, of true faith. 𝄇
Joyfully jaunting, future-bound,
As one nation, safe and sound,
In high spirits newly found!
All together now, in jubilation
To thee, we pledge with animation
𝄆 Austria, dearly loved! 𝄇
The roots of Austria’s national anthem can be traced back to the illustrious Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. In the twilight of his career, Mozart composed the Freimaurerkantate, K. 623, just 19 days before his passing in December 1791. Within this cantata, a song called K. 623a, “Lasst uns mit geschlungnen Händen” (“Let us with joined hands”), featured a melody that would later become the Austrian national anthem.
However, the attribution of this melody to Mozart remains disputed. While it was once believed to be solely his creation, contemporary consensus suggests that it may have been co-authored with Johann Holzer or even Paul Wranitzky.
Before the tumultuous events of World War II, Austria’s state anthem was “Sei gesegnet ohne Ende,” set to the tune of Haydn’s “Gott erhalte Franz den Kaiser,” the imperial Austrian state anthem since 1797. Notably, the current German national anthem, “Deutschlandlied,” shares this melody. In light of this association and its banishment following the war, Austria sought a new national anthem.
The task of composing lyrics fell to Paula von Preradović, a pioneering woman in the field. On October 22, 1946, the song was officially declared Austria’s national anthem, albeit initially without words. Lyrics were eventually added in February 1947, with modifications in 2012 to ensure gender neutrality.
Attempts at Gender-Neutral Language
Over the years, efforts have been made to make the anthem’s lyrics more gender-neutral. In 2005, Women’s Minister Maria Rauch-Kallat proposed changes, objecting to the use of terms like “sons,” “fraternal,” and “fatherland” in the anthem’s lyrics. However, her proposal faced strong resistance from Austria’s influential newspaper, Kronen Zeitung, and did not gain support from the Alliance for the Future of Austria.
In January 2010, Austrian pop singer Christina Stürmer presented a pop version of the anthem, featuring the line “Heimat bist du großer Söhne und Töchter” (“Thou art home to great sons and daughters”). This version stirred controversy and a copyright lawsuit from Paula von Preradović’s estate. Nevertheless, the Austrian Supreme Court of Justice cleared Stürmer, describing her rendition as “a mere modernization.”
Since January 1, 2012, the anthem underwent subtle changes, with the text and musical notes officially codified in the “Bundesgesetz über die Bundeshymne der Republik Österreich” (English: Federal Act about the Federal Anthem of the Republic of Austria). These changes aimed to embrace a more inclusive and gender-neutral language, reflecting the evolving values of Austrian society.
Austrian National Anthem Composer
The Austrian national anthem’s composer has long been a subject of debate. Originally attributed to Mozart, contemporary scholarship suggests the involvement of Johann Holzer or Paul Wranitzky, either solely or as co-authors. This historical uncertainty adds an air of mystique to Austria’s anthem.
Mozart’s Influence on Austrian Anthem
The connection between Mozart and the Austrian national anthem lies in a melody from his Freimaurerkantate. While the attribution remains disputed, the link between one of the greatest composers and the anthem is an intriguing facet of its history.
Haydn’s Anthem and Its Transition
Haydn’s “Gott erhalte Franz den Kaiser” served as Austria’s state anthem before World War II. Discover how this melody transitioned from imperial Austria to the German national anthem and its subsequent replacement in Austria.
Paula von Preradović: Anthem’s Lyricist
Paula von Preradović, a remarkable woman in Austrian history, penned the lyrics for the national anthem. Explore her contributions and the significance of her role in crafting Austria’s anthem.
Gender-Neutral Anthem Debate
Delve into the ongoing debate surrounding gender-neutral language in Austria’s national anthem. Understand the arguments for and against changes to the anthem’s lyrics and their impact on the nation’s identity.
Christina Stürmer’s Anthem Version
Learn about Christina Stürmer’s bold rendition of the national anthem and the ensuing legal battle. Discover why her modernization was seen as both a challenge and a celebration of tradition.
2012 Changes to Anthem
Explore the subtle yet meaningful changes made to the Austrian national anthem in 2012. Understand the reasons behind these modifications and their implications for inclusivity.
Codification of Anthem
Gain insights into the formal codification of the anthem’s text and musical notes through the “Bundesgesetz über die Bundeshymne der Republik Österreich.” Understand the legal and cultural significance of this step.
Austrian Anthem Evolution
Trace the evolution of the Austrian national anthem, from its uncertain origins to its present form. Uncover how it has adapted to reflect changing societal values.
Austria’s National Identity
Explore how the national anthem plays a pivotal role in shaping Austria’s national identity, uniting its citizens and symbolizing their shared history and values.
Who composed the Austrian national anthem?
The composer of the Austrian national anthem is a subject of historical debate. While initially attributed to Mozart, contemporary consensus suggests that Johann Holzer or Paul Wranitzky may have co-authored it.
When were lyrics added to the Austrian national anthem?
Lyrics were officially added to the Austrian national anthem in February 1947. Subsequent changes in 2012 aimed to make the anthem’s lyrics more gender-neutral.
Why were changes made to the Austrian anthem in 2012?
Changes in 2012 aimed to modernize the anthem’s lyrics, making them more gender-neutral to reflect evolving societal values.
What was the controversy surrounding Christina Stürmer’s anthem version?
Christina Stürmer’s pop version of the anthem sparked a copyright lawsuit, as it featured updated lyrics. However, the Austrian Supreme Court of Justice cleared her, describing it as a “mere modernization.”
The Austrian national anthem, “Land der Berge, Land am Strome,” encapsulates the nation’s history, musical heritage, and evolving cultural values. From its uncertain composer to the spirited debates on gender-neutral language, this anthem is more than just a song; it’s a symbol of Austria’s past, present, and future. As the nation continues to evolve, so too will its anthem, reflecting the dynamic spirit of the Austrian people.