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Siegmund, Anna

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Die Presse - Austria | 02/05/2006

What an Austrian must know

Tests for applicants for citizenship are under discussion in Austria, as in other European countries. Referring to a quiz show featuring Austrian celebrities, historian Anna Siegmund raises the question of what Austrians, themselves, should know – for example, where Arnold Schwarzenegger was born – and which questions they are never asked. "No mention was made on the show of eminent scientists or important painters like Klimt, Schiele or Kokoschka. The only thing worth knowing about a famous literary figure is the rather trivial, but apparently vital information that he did advertising for a certain brand of shoes. Despite this year being Mozart's anniversary year, his works were barely mentioned, and Sigmund Freud only came up as one of the possible, but wrong, answers. Austrians apparently need to know as little about Grillparzer, Schubert and Beethoven as they do about Wittgenstein or Otto Wagner. And it seems that Austria has no Nobel laureates, nor any important architects or philosophers."

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