Austrians Describe ‘Feeling Like Foreigners’ in Their Own Country

Migrants queue to board buses upon their arrival in Graz on September 20, 2015. Some 150 m
Jure Makovec/AFP/Getty

Hundreds of regular Austrian citizens expressed to a national newspaper their views on migration, with some saying they felt like foreigners in their own country.

The comments flooded in, partly in reaction to populist Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache commenting on the concept of “population replacement” and in response to an opinion article in Austria’s largest newspaper Kronen Zeitung that agreed that demographic changes are a reality but which criticised Strache’s term for being a “conspiracy.”

Kronen Zeitung republished some of the “hundreds” of responses they received to the column with many readers saying they felt that mass migration had changed Austria to the point where some felt highly alienated.

“The mood in our condominium has deteriorated so much that we (65 and 68) are ready to move away to finally be able to live in peace again,” one comment read, while another lamented the trend of foreigners not learning the German language.

“In our elementary school out of consideration for foreign cultures no more excursions are made, the diet is adapted to religious wishes, the violence of the foreign elementary school boys is frightening,” one said, while another observed, “Foreign-language parents with their children do not bother to speak our language.”

In at least two Austrian classrooms as of 2017, there are not only a majority of migrant-background pupils but no native Austrians at all and few, if any, speak German.

The year before in 2016, an Austrian teacher spoke out about what she labelled a “lost generation” of migrant-background children due to the fact many, despite being born in Austria, had not learnt German before entering school, limiting their educational and future job prospects.

“On the streets, in the public transport and the municipal buildings: We feel like foreigners in our home,” another Kronen Zeitung reader said.

The Austrian newspaper’s readers are not the only ones to express feelings of alienation due to mass migration. In the United States, the Washington Post revealed that working class people were also feeling isolated and alienated due to the lack of English-speakers in their workplaces as a result of mass migration.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.