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About Us (About Us)

About Us

AAC(UK) - Österreichischer Alpenverein (ÖAV), Sektion Britannia

The Austrian Alpine Club (UK) is the British Section of the Österreichischer Alpenverein (ÖAV), Sektion Britannia!

The AAC(UK) is one of the largest mountaineering clubs in the UK with over 12,000 UK and overseas members in 2020.

The Österreichischer Alpenverein is the largest mountaineering club in Austria with 599,000 members in 2020. The closest translation of its name is the Austrian Alpine Federation as it has 196 Sections plus 122 local groups.

Alpine climbing in Wilder Kaiser


The mission of the AAC(UK) is to help people get into the mountains they love and to have fun there.

Being a member of the club includes many benefits:

  • Participation in a variety of club activities in the UK and Europe, namely day events, tours, lectures and meets
  • Training courses in the UK and Austria with grants available to eligible members; Alpine Skills and Leadership
  • Access to information and resources to inspire and facilitate activity; Lectures, Newsletter, Trip planning.
  • Membership of the Alpenverein’s rescue and repatriation service – Alpenverein Weltweit Service (AWS).
  • Discounted accommodation costs in alpine huts belonging to the ÖAV and other Alpine Mountaineering Federations.
  • Member discount in many mountaineering equipment shops.

In addition, membership brings many other benefits. If you are interested in any aspect of mountaineering, we warmly invite you to join or renew.


Österreichischer Alpenverein (ÖAV)

Austrian Alps

The Österreichischer Alpenverein is the largest mountaineering club in Austria with 599,000 members in 2020. The closest translation of its name is the Austrian Alpine Federation as it has 196 Sections plus 122 local groups.


The ÖAV is essentially a federation of independent clubs which, when they accede to the ÖAV, relinquish part of their independence by agreeing to abide by the ÖAV Constitution (Satzung) in order to achieve aims they could not aspire to on their own. “Österreichischer Alpenverein” translates as “Austrian Alpine Association” or “Austrian Alpine Federation” but since it was founded in 1948 Sektion England (now known as Sektion Britannia) has always called itself Austrian Alpine Club.

To understand the workings of the ÖAV it is important to understand the concept of the Gesamtverein, literally in English the ‘Whole Club’. This consists of:

  • Almost 200 constituent Sections (Sektionen) and Branches (Zweige) of the ÖAV.
  • The Honorary Members (Ehrenmitglieder).

At the end of 2019 membership of the Gesamtverein was 598,750. The Austrian Alpine Club (UK) had 16,353 members in 2019 and was the 9th largest section.

The top decision making body of the ÖAV is the Hauptversammlung, which is the AGM of the Gesamtverein. Each Section or Branch has a number of votes in proportion to its size. In allocating votes to the Sections, the Satzung (Constitution) biases the votes in favour of the smaller ones, so that they are not swamped by the larger ones. The only persons having individual votes at the Hauptversammlung are Honorary Members.

The Hauptversammlung elects:

  • The General Secretary, who is head of the ÖAV’s professional administration. After the successful completion of a probationary period the General Secretary is not subject to further elections.
  • The 16 members of the Bundesausschuss (see below) for a period of 4 years. Each member can be nominated for 2 consecutive periods of office.
  • The members of the Praesidium: a President and up to 6 Vice Presidents for a period of office of 4 years. The members of the Praesidium are also members of the Bundesausschuss.

The Bundesausschuss, literally in English the ‘Federal Committee’ consists of:

  • Representatives of the Austrian Landesverbände (the Provincial Associations of the Austrian Sections);
  • One Representative covering both of the Foreign Sections (Sektion Britannia and Sektion Flandern);
  • The members of the Praesidium;
  • Representative of the Youth Organisations.

Candidates for the Representatives are proposed to the Bundesausschuss by the Landesverbände, the Foreign Sections and the Youth Organisations. The Bundesausschuss then reviews the candidates and nominates them for election at the Hauptversammlung. In this context it should be noted that in the event of the two foreign sections being unable to agree, the Bundesausschuss will nominate a candidate from one of them.

The Bundesausschuss meets three times a year. In addition to its members, its meetings are attended by some of the permanent officials (non-voting) and observers from the Deutscher Alpenverein (DAV) and Alpenverein Südtirol (AVS).

Among the activities undertaken by the Bundesausschuss are:

  • Review and approval of proposals made by the Praesidium
  • Review and approval of proposals made by the Huts and Paths Committee
  • Review and approval of the Accounts
  • Review and approval of Budgets
  • Review and approval of the ÖAV’s Constitutions, and amendments to them.
  • Nomination of candidates for election to the Praesidium and Bundesausschuss, as well as the General Secretary.

The Praesidium meets approximately monthly and is chaired by the President. Each of the (up to) six vice presidents has a portfolio. The Praesidium is in effect the management board of the ÖAV and directs the permanent officials under the General Secretary.

This refers to the ‘Head Office’ or the professional administration (or Vereinskanzlei) in Innsbruck. It does not diminish the concept of the ‘Gesamtverein‘ or change the Constitution.

As the previous paragraphs indicate, the ÖAV is essentially a ‘bottom up’ organisation with most of the power ultimately residing with the Sections acting in concert. However the ÖAV is also a practical realisation of the old adage ‘The whole (the Gesamtverein) is greater than the sum of its parts (the Sections)’.

Within Austria, the ÖAV, in conjunction with the DAV, maintains nearly 500 huts, as well as tens of thousands of kilometres of paths. This provides a significant element in Austria’s tourist infrastructure and so gives the ÖAV access to politicians and administrators at both provincial and national level. Also the Gesamtverein has access to financial services, for example insurances, which would be beyond the reach of even the biggest sections.




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