Monday, 14 December 2015

The perfect Christmas playlist

Christmas is almost here and we made a special Christmas playlist just for you guys. You can play them while baking of gingerbread or during the decorations in your house. It will get you into the right Christmas mood.

№ 1-Mariah Carey - All I want for Christmas is you 

№ 2-Jose Feliciano - Feliz Navidad

№ 3-Wham - Last Christmas

№ 4-Justin Bieber – Mistletoe

№ 5-Dean Martin – Let it snow, Let it snow, Let it snow

№ 6-Ariana Grande- Santa Tell Me

№ 7-Jackson 5 – Santa Claus is comin’ to town

№ 8-Settleři- Vánoce, Vánoce přicházejí

№ 9-Lojzo a Miro Žbirka - Každý deň budú vraj Vianoce

№ 10-Adoro – O Tannenbaum 

Monday, 30 November 2015

Everybody loves Christmas (Markets)

Christmas in Vienna has become a brand in city tourism. People flock to the Austrian capital from literally everywhere to get into Christmas spirit central which apparently is not located near the North Pole but rather smack in the middle of Europe.

And where do you best experience that yuletide feeling? That question has everyone pointing to Christmas markets. And there are loads of them in Vienna. A veritable industry has sprung up around these folksy collections of rustic huts. But what is the attraction of these markets? CzechAut has sent out its staff to investigate!

Our first stop was the Christmas Market on Maria-Theresien-Platz which is situated near  Museumsquartier.
photos: Melania Hudakova

You can find plenty of stands here which offer traditional Christmas food and drinks like hot punch with or without alcohol, pretzels and sweets like hot chocolate with cream. The visitors had smiles on their faces and they were going from one stand to another. Except from food stalls, there were also some which were selling hand made goods such as Christmas decorations and similar items. We even bumped into a booth selling traditional Czech cake-on-a-stick. 

CzechAut: So where are you from?
Trdelnik people: Our stand, where we offer the traditional czech ,,Trdelnik´´ is from Brno.
CzechAut: How long have you been selling here?
Trdelnik people: It´s our first year here.
CzechAut: How do you like this Vienna´s Christmas market? What are your impressions?
Trdelnik people: It goes… But we expect more people coming in here after the first advent.

We found the atmosphere really amazing and we got into the Christmas mood very quickly.

Next stop: The highlight of all Vienna Christmas markets is the one on Rathaus square, at least judging from the masses of visitors.  Every year it hosts more than 3 Millions of tourists from all around the world. Visitors don’t have to worry about not finding anything to buy because there are more than 150 booths, which offer lots of good stuff such as food, hot drinks and small cute Christmas gifts. You can also find totally unnecessary things like fake perfumes, too. If you come over you have to try the typical hot Christmas punch and the sweet doughnuts ­(„Krapfen“)  We asked a tourist from California what they liked best. 
Tourist: There’s like a lot of things to see, such as different types of booths and also the area. Is that a church?”
CzechAut: “Well, actually it’s a city hall.”
Tourist: “Yea, well, like the structure is really nice and that really tall Christmas tree.“ 

One of the most traditional Christmas markets in terms of the souvenirs and things they are selling, is the "Altwiener Christkindlmarkt" which has been on the Freyung since 1989. But the Freyung was already a market place many years before that. This Christmas market also has a 46 meter long picture of Bethlehem with Jesus and Mary in the middleThe sellers of this market run little shops and workshops with handmade products like kitchen utensils made out olive wood as well as signs and toys from an original wood carver.
Within all those shops was also a little stage for charity projects used for Christmas plays and charities  and for those who might get thirsty or even hungry there is a stall with an old Czech sweet called "Livance" which is known to be the grandmother of pancakes as well as having a place to buy many different sorts of punch, a mostly alcoholic Christmas drink. 
Our staff met a couple from Houston, Texas, and asked them about their thoughts, why people keep visiting the Austrian Christmas markets and whether they have something like this in Houston?

"-...yeah, but it’s just a four days, it’s called Nutcracker market, but it’s nothing like this, it’s not outdoor."
she told us due to her visit and her mothers visit a year ago. They also agreed that being on a Christmas market is a nice experience."Well, I think it sort of depends, where are you from, I mean, Houston is really hot, REALLY HOT, so we don’t get to experience a weather like this, so it’s kinda nice to come here." 

So now we know why tourists´enjoy those markets but what about the natives? The answer is: punch (and mulled wine). For Viennese it´s that time of the year when you meet your friends and get loaded on sweet, hot alcohol and regret it the next day. 

Monday, 16 November 2015

Reports by volunteers with migrant backgrounds

Last week on 9 November 2015 our team wanted to see for themselves how it's like to be a volunteer at a refugee center. The Dusika Stadium used to be a sports center for cycling events but was closed to become a place where refugees can stay. If you are inspired by the following stories and want to go help out yourself, you can visit Dusika Stadiums Facebook Page.

photo: CzechAut
Helping at refugee camp was definitely a great experience for me. Although I spent only two hours there I met some very nice and friendly people there and I have also had a lot of fun. I was trying to do my best even if my jobs were not so exhausting. My first job was to sort clothes according to size and gender and later, me and my classmates were helping to serve dinner for refugees. We could also help by teaching refugees some german words and show them how to say the words properly. At the end I felt very happy because of meeting those people.

After we were divided into two groups (I was apparently in the group with our professor), organizer took us to the gym, where the families were accommodated. The first group was working in this place, so we went back to the first place after they had been assigned to their job. Our job was to hand out some supplies, for example toothbrushes and toothpastes. Also they were bringing their dirty clothes to put it into the washing machines. Many of them couldn’t speak English, maybe just some words or phrases, so the communication between us consisted more of the gestures than words. Overall the people were really nice and thankful for every help.

photo: CzechAut
The refugee camp Dusika Stadion is divided into two camps: in the gym are families and in the main Stadium hall are men. We were given orange signal vests and could begin to help. With my classmates we sorted winter clothes into cardboard boxes in the family camp. Meanwhile some refugees came to ask for clothes that they needed. Then I helped in the men camp to hand out hygienic products. They have a possibility to wash their clothes too. People there were nice and they thanked us for everything they got. Some of them could speak very well English and some of them learnt German too. It feels good to know, you helped someone who needed it. 

photo: CzechAut

I was personally really excited to be there and help a little bit. My impressions were really good and we had the opportunity to get to know a lot of people from different countries. The fact that all of them were sleeping on the ground or in tents was really sad for me. First we were sorting out the clothes and then we were serving them dinner. Almost at the end we were helping one guy with German. I am really glad that we had the opportunity to be there because we could see how it really is and form our own opinion about it. It was really emotional for me but we also had a lot of fun.

We had a really great time there.

Monday, 12 October 2015

Elections: Regular and Irregular

Vienna Elections 2015: Results

Here are the results of the Vienna Elections that took place on Sunday, October 11

Elections to the Vienna City Council:

                                                                                      %                             Number of seats (100 total)
Social Democrats (SPÖ)                                           39,5 %                                           44

Freedom Party (FPÖ)                                                30,9 %                                           35

Greens (Grünen)                                                      11,16 %                                             9

Christ Democratic Austrian People`s Party(ÖVP)      9,5 %                                   7

NEOS                                                                           6,2 %                                              5



Pass Egal Wahl 2015

In addition to the results of Vienna’s election we also summarized the results of Vienna’s Pass Egal Wahl, about which we already wrote an article in 2013 and mentioned it last week. 1223 people went to this year´s Pass Egal Wahl to cast their vote even though they are not allowed to vote on a regular basis in Vienna, Most of these people from 75 different countries have been living in Vienna for quite some time but don´t have the Austrian citizenship.

This is the longest queue that has been seen on the Friedrich-Schmidt-Platz in a long time. Because of the amount of people who wanted to vote they even had to close a half hour later.
These are the results of this years Pass Egal Wahl. Interesting is the slightly different coloured chart for the results compared to the regular city council elections. 
These elections for Vienna city council will repeat in another five years.

If you were living in an other country and couldn't vote there would you go to a similar project like the Pass Egal Wahl? Are you satisfied with the results of this years elections? Why so?

Do you know this ELF?

Story of Stanislav Řezáč

The man below is Stanislav Řezáč, famous Czech cross-country skier. Not his sports performances but interviews with him (which are always in 3 languages) made him well known on the internet, which you can see in the video below.

He is trying hard but he probably doesn't know how to use ELF... Oh wait, we don't even know what ELF is.. 

ELF- English as a Lingua Franca

  • ELF is currently the most common use of English world-wide
  • mixture of languages
  • is a kind of English used as communication between people of different languages

How to speak ELF? 
  • leave out articles 
  • increased explicitness, for example how much time instead of how long
  • freely mix ‘who’ and ‘which’ to refer to people
  • make a question out of a statement with question tags as in you’re very busy today, yes?

Monday, 5 October 2015


Current situation of refugees in Europe

In the last months Europe has experienced an mass arrival of refugees from the Middle East. After seeing pictures of a child corpse washed up on the beach after an unsuccessful attempt to get to Europe and also after news about a truck with 71 dead bodies found by the side of an Austrian motorway, the German chancellor Merkel stated, that Germany would accept as many refugees as possible. This statement probably caused, that a large majority of the refugees are trying to find their new home in Germany. There have been almost 700.000 refugees so far this year and the amount will be rising. Germany closed the borders, but after a few days, the border closure was changed to temporary border controls with so called ‘refugees trains’ coming to Munich from Vienna. 2000-8000 refugees are coming to Vienna every day. Most of them stay inside Vienna's Main Station or West Station, where approx. 200 volunteers care for them.

Refugee routes to Europe

Thousands of refugees are risking their lives while coming to Europe even if the route is very dangerous. Refugees from Syria need to go through several countries to reach their final destination. Most of the time it is Germany, Switzerland and Sweden. They choose the safest way which starts in Turkey and continues in Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary and Austria.

Here is a simple abstract of refugees in other countries:
Refugees in Lebanon
The number of registered Syrian refugees in Lebanon is around 1, 1 million.
Refugees in Turkey
Turkey is the largest host of refugees in the world. There are over 2 million refugees in the country.
Refugees in Jordan
There are over 628 000 Syrian refugees, 2 million Palestinian refugees and over 47 554 Iraqi refugees in Jordan.
Refugees in the Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is mainly a transit country for refugees.  Within the framework of EU it belongs to countries where the number of refugees is minimal. So far 679 foreigners have applied for international protection this year.  (22.6.2015)
Refugees in care
Men           649
Women      94
Children     176      
TOTAL        919
The most frequent nationality of clients in refugee centers are from:
Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Bangladesh. (20.9.2015)


Refugees in Austria

Today are in Austria about 44.000 refugees in care. The most refugees come from Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq. The most common reasons why people are fleeing from their country are:
•War conflicts
•Direct pressure
•Afraid of ISIS

 Refugees in Slovakia


This statistic shows us, how many Refugees want to come to the Slovakia, but also, how many of them will get or not get asylum and also the rest of them, who are still waiting for an answer. Even though many people say, that refugees don’t really want to come to Slovakia, they actually do. This statistic shows us that about 12 000 refugees applied for asylum, but only few of them really get it. The rest, about 10 000 have to wait for a decision about their asylum requests, which will maybe never come. Is this this one of the reasons, why they don’t want to live in Slovakia?

As you can see, the apportioning of refugees through the countries doesn’t seem so fair. The states Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan have taken in about 2 million refugees and Czech Republic only about 700  but we have to look at the economy, too.  States like Turkey have a far better economy and when you look at the size of this state and compare it with the size  of the Czech Republic, its size is just like a tiny little piece of Turkey. On the other hand, it’s true that the Czech Republic can take in more refugees than it has done. 

A guide to voting in Vienna

Because of the upcoming elections for the state parliament and the city council of Vienna, and also for the district council of each of Vienna’s 23 districts we collected some information to guide you through the election process. As for those people who don’t have an Austrian citizenship we found out what, where and under which circumstances you are allowed vote in Vienna.
The parliament of Vienna passes the state laws, which are also the laws for the city of Vienna and is being elected every five years. You’re allowed to vote for the city and the state if you have an Austrian Citizenship, are living in Vienna and have reached the age of 16. If you live in Vienna but you just have an EU-citizenship you can only vote for district councils. An exception is if you lost your right to vote as a part of the punishment of having committed a crime against the state.
By the end of September you should have gotten official information about the polling station nearest to your main residence by mail. On election day you have the right to cast your vote in one of 1500 polling stations, which isn’t mandatory. It can happen that you will be out of town at the time of the elections and you want to cast your vote, you can send your vote by mail with the official votecard.
 For more information about how the austrian system works you find here and if you need to know where you can vote click here.

Why you should vote for the district council ?

The elections for the district councils in Vienna will be on the 11th of October, 2015.
But the question is, what are the tasks of the district council?
The district council decides about stuff that has something to do with the environment of the city, planning new buildings, streets and where the new pedestrians zone needs to be build. They also make important decisions about finances.
So don´t hesitate and VOTE. 

Pass Egal Wahl

The ‘‘Pass Egal Wahl“ is an opportunity to elect for people living in Austria without Austrian citizenship.
•              When ? : Tuesday, 6th of October, 2015 from 15:00 till 20:00 o'clock
•              Where ? : Friedrich-Schmidt-Platz 1 (near the U2-Station Rathaus), 1010 Vienna
•              Who ? : Everyone who is older than 16 and their main place of residence is in Vienna
•              Bring : passport or any id card

The more people vote in this symbolic election, the stronger their statement against the exclusion from the democratic process will be.