Romani people in Austria

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Romani people in Austria
Enfants Tsiganes (Autriche).jpg
Chromolithograph entitled Enfants Tsiganes (Autriche) [Gipsy Children, Austria]; published by Garnier, Paris, printed by Testu & Massin, Paris.
Total population
6,273 (2001 census)
to 25,000 Unofficial estimations
Romani, Sintitikes, German

The Romani are an ethnic group that has lived in Austria since the Middle Ages.[1] According to the 2001 census, there were 6,273 Romani in Austria or less than 0.1% of the population. Unofficial estimations count between 10,000 to 25,000.[2] Most indigenous Romani people in Austria belong to the Burgenland-Roma Group, in East-Austria. The Majority live in the State of Burgenland, in the City of Oberwart and in villages next to the District of Oberwart. The Burgenland-Roma speak the Vlax Romani language.

In Upper Austria there are also some Sinti families. 80% of the Sinti speak the Sinte Romani dialect of the Romani language.

Since 1960, there are also a significant Roma population which hails originally from former yugoslavian countries, especially from Serbia (Gurbeti and Kalderash Roma-Groups) and Ashkali from Kosovo.


Map of Europe showing Romani demographics

In the Habsburg Monarchy under Maria Theresa (1740–1780), a series of decrees tried to force the Romanies to permanently settle, removed rights to horse and wagon ownership (1754), renamed them as "New Citizens" and forced Romani boys into military service if they had no trade (1761), forced them to register with the local authorities (1767), and prohibited marriage between Romanies (1773). Her successor Josef II prohibited the wearing of traditional Romani clothing and the use of the Romani language, punishable by flogging.[3]

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