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Heinz Fischer
Heinz Fischer - Buchmesse Wien 2018.JPG
Fischer in 2018
President of Austria
In office
8 July 2004 – 8 July 2016
Preceded by Thomas Klestil
Succeeded by Alexander Van der Bellen
Second President of the National Council
In office
20 December 2002 – 16 June 2004
Preceded by Thomas Prinzhorn
Succeeded by Barbara Prammer
President of the National Council
In office
5 November 1990 – 20 December 2002
Preceded by Rudolf Pöder
Succeeded by Andreas Khol
Minister of Science and Research
In office
24 May 1983 – 21 January 1987
Preceded by Hertha Firnberg
Succeeded by Hans Tuppy
Personal details
Born (1938-10-09) 9 October 1938 (age 84)
Graz, Reichsgau Steiermark, State of Austria, German Reich
(now Graz, Styria, Austria)
Political party Social Democratic Party (before 2004; 2016–present)
Other political
Independent (2004–2016)
Margit Binder
(m. 1968)
Children 2
Alma mater University of Vienna
Awards Order of Merit of the Italian Republic
Order of Prince Henry
Royal Order of the Seraphim
Military Order of Saint James of the Sword

Heinz Fischer GColIH OMRI RSerafO GCollSE (German pronunciation: [haɪnts ˈfɪʃɐ]; born 9 October 1938) is a former Austrian politician. He took office as President of Austria on 8 July 2004 and was re-elected for a second and last term on 25 April 2010, leaving office on 8 July 2016. Fischer previously served as minister of science from 1983 to 1987 and as president of the National Council of Austria from 1990 to 2002. A member of the Social Democratic Party of Austria (SPÖ), he suspended his party membership for the duration of his presidency.

Early life

Fischer was born in Graz, Styria, which had recently become part of Nazi Germany, following Germany’s annexation of Austria in March 1938. Fischer attended a grammar school which focused on humanities and graduated in 1956. He studied law at the University of Vienna, earning a doctorate in 1961. In 1963, at the age of 25, Fischer spent a year volunteering at Kibbutz Sarid, northern Israel. Apart from being a politician, Fischer also pursued an academic career, and became a professor of Political Science at the University of Innsbruck in 1994.

Personal life

The President of Austria, Heinz Fischer is welcomed to ESO’s premises in Santiago
Heinz Fischer is welcomed to ESO’s premises in Santiago.
Coat of Arms of Heinz Fischer (Order of the Seraphim)
Arms as knight of the Seraphim

Fischer identifies himself as agnostic and as a social democrat. He and Margit Binder married in 1968. The couple have two grown children.

Despite being members of opposing parties, Fischer was close friends with former ÖVP politician Sixtus Lanner.

He enjoys mountaineering and has been president of the Austrian Friends of Nature for many years.

Honours and awards

National Honours

Federal Order

  • 2004 AUT Honour for Services to the Republic of Austria - 1st Class BAR.png Grand Star of Honour of the Decoration for Services to the Republic of Austria (Austria)

State Honours


  • 2009 Florianiplakette of the Austrian Federal Fire Association in gold

Foreign Honours

Foreign Orders

Foreign Awards

  • 2008 Honorary Doctorate of Law Faculty of the University of Tel Aviv
  • 2009 Honorary Doctorate from the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences
Women's History Month on Kiddle
Women Scientists of Antiquity
Mary the Jewess
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