Last update:
2017-12-12

Occupation of the Hainburger Au to resist unsustainable hydro-power development, Austria

During the 1980s, the Hainburger Au was successfully defended against a proposed hydropower plant. This marked a turning point in Austrian democracy and environmental politics.


Description:

The Hainburger Au is a unique riparian ecosystem located along the Danube river, next to the town Hainburg, Lower Austria. More than three decades ago, the area was successfully defended against a proposed hydropower plant, which marked a turning point in Austrian democracy and environmental politics. 

See more
Basic Data
Name of conflict:Occupation of the Hainburger Au to resist unsustainable hydro-power development, Austria
Country:Austria
State or province:Lower Austria
Location of conflict:Hainburg
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Water Management
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Dams and water distribution conflicts
Wetlands and coastal zone management
Specific commodities:Electricity
Land
Water
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Planned investment size was about 930 million Euro [1].

See more
Project area:680
Level of Investment:930,000,000€
Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:28/04/1983
End of the conflict:02/01/1985
Company names or state enterprises:Donaukraft AG from Austria - constructor
Relevant government actors:Fred Sinowatz (former Chancellor)
Günter Haiden (former minister of agriculture)
others
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Aktionsgemeinschaft gegen das Kraftwerk Hainburg
Austrian National Student Union (Österreichische Hochschülerschaft - Alternativreferat)
WWF Austria
Greenpeace
Global 2000
Conflict and Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:International ejos
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Social movements
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Artistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals)
Blockades
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Land occupation
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Referendum other local consultations
Street protest/marches
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Impacts of the project
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Militarization and increased police presence, Increase in violence and crime
Potential: Loss of landscape/sense of place
Outcome
Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Institutional changes
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Repression
Strengthening of participation
Violent targeting of activists
Application of existing regulations
Project cancelled
Withdrawal of company/investment
Project temporarily suspended
the area was subsequently turned into a protected area
Development of alternatives:Ten years later, the area became part of the 'Donau-Auen National Park'.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:The project was stopped.
Sources and Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

E. Stenitzer, Der Konflikt um Hainburg, 1994
[click to view]

[1] Gutschik, Reinhold ; Horvath, Patrick ; Weinzierl, Rupert: Konflikte um Infrastrukturprojekte in Österreich : Erkenntnisse für Politik und Gesellschaft. In: SWS-Rundschau 47 (2007), 2, pp. 218-242.
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[5] Erster Wiener Protestwanderweg (accessed online: 11.12.2017)
[click to view]

[6] 'Hainburger-Au-Besetzung (english), AEIOU, in: Austria-Forum, das Wissensnetz. 25. März 2016'. (Accessed online: 11.12.2017)
[click to view]

[2] Wikipedia on the occupation of the Hainburger Au (accessed 11.12.2017)
[click to view]

[4] Erinnerungsort Wien: "Neue soziale Bewegungen - Besetzung der Hainburger Au". (accessed online on 11.12.2017)
[click to view]

[3] ORF online news article (8.12.2014; Gerald Heidegger): „Das wärmende Gefühl des Zusammenstehens“. (accessed online 11.12.2017).
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Austrian TV news video on the violent clashes from 1984
[click to view]

Other documents

'Press conference of the animals' Source: http://www.protestwanderweg.at/au/
[click to view]

Massdemonstrations at the Hainburger Au Source: http://www.protestwanderweg.at/au/
[click to view]

Blockades to stop forest clearance Source: http://www.protestwanderweg.at/au/
[click to view]

Clashes with the police Source: http://orf.at/stories/2256539/2256533/
[click to view]

The Hainburger Au Foto credit: Friedrich Kromberg; see https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1807627
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:A. Scheidel (arnim "dot" scheidel "at" gmail "dot" com)
Last update12/12/2017
Comments
Legal notice / Aviso legal
We use cookies for statistical purposes and to improve our services. By clicking "Accept cookies" you consent to place cookies when visiting the website. For more information, and to find out how to change the configuration of cookies, please read our cookie policy. Utilizamos cookies para realizar el análisis de la navegación de los usuarios y mejorar nuestros servicios. Al pulsar "Accept cookies" consiente dichas cookies. Puede obtener más información, o bien conocer cómo cambiar la configuración, pulsando en más información.