Welcome to Rotary Austria & Bosnia-Herzegovina

Rotary is an international organization of service clubs where members of various professions meet regularly to cultivate friendship and service in everyday life.

As the world's first service organization, Rotary served as a model for others and today has approximately 1.2 million members in more than 35,000 clubs in more than 200 countries.

In Austria, Rotarians are organized in the 1910 and 1920 districts: Together we develop and implement ideas to make a positive contribution to our communities and to have an impact across borders.

Rotary's goals

The goal of Rotary is helpfulness in everyday life -> Service Above Self

Rotary is a non-profit club. It was founded to promote friendship and goodwill. These are still the main focus of Rotarian work today. In addition, Rotary is committed to serving others, as demonstrated by numerous aid projects at the local and international level.

Rotary seeks to advance this goal in the following ways:

  • by cultivating friendship as an opportunity to be useful to others,
  • by recognizing high ethical principles in private and professional life and the value of any activity that is useful to the community,
  • by promoting responsible private, professional and public activity among all Rotary club members,
  • by cultivating goodwill towards understanding and peace among peoples and
  • through a global community of working people, united in the ideal of helpfulness.

Paul Percy Harris

Paul Percy Harris

Paul Percy Harris was born on April 19, 1868 in Racine Wisconsin, USA. When his father ran into financial difficulties, the three-year-old was moved to live with his grandparents in Wallingford, Vermont. Harris studied law and graduated from the University of Iowa. His marriage to Jean Thompson Harris remained childless.

Paul Harris worked in a variety of professions and traveled extensively to Europe before settling in Chicago in 1896 to open a law firm. There he met the coal dealer Silvester Schiele, the mining engineer Gustavus Loehr and the master tailor Hiram Shorey. Together with them, he founded the first Rotary Club on February 23, 1905 as a place for meeting and friendship.

The club idea quickly gained popularity. Just a few years later, in 1908, the second club was founded in San Francisco. By 1911 there were 16 associations that came together to form the "National Association of Rotary". This was renamed "Rotary International" in 1912 with branches in Canada and Europe. By the time Paul Harris died on January 27, 1947, his casual meeting with three friends had grown into a community of over 6,000 clubs on four continents.

The Four-Way Test

The Four-Way Test was created in 1932 by Herbert J. Taylor. His employers had given him the almost hopeless task of saving the company he worked for from bankruptcy. In this predicament, Herbert Taylor put together four questions that tested every thought, word, and deed:

  • Is it the TRUTH?
  • Is it FAIR to all concerned?
  • Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

By consistently applying these four questions, he and his employees managed to restructure the company and regain the respect, trust and friendship of his customers and competitors.

Since then, the Four-Way Test has been applied to all Rotarians around the world. It is a guide to correct thinking and action and helps to live and promote truth, justice, friendship and helpfulness.

Organization of Rotary

Founded in Chicago in 1905, Rotary has now spread worldwide:

Over 46,000 clubs worldwide with 1.4 million members show that the Rotarian idea is independent of gender, activity, culture and religion.

The Rotary world is divided into various zones and districts, each containing around 100 clubs. In Austria there are two districts (1910 and 1920) with over 220 clubs (Rotary and Rotaract).

Each club meets once a week to maintain friendships and discuss service projects. The club obtains the necessary funds through admission fees, annual membership fees, income from charitable events and other voluntary donations.

Each club should represent as wide a range of business and professional sectors as possible. New members are first proposed and reviewed by the club. If there is no objection, the candidates will be ceremoniously accepted into the club.

As of: March 2024

Rotary membership

Rotary members come from diverse cultural backgrounds and professions, but they all have one thing at heart: improving their communities and supporting those who need us most.

This brings people together in Rotary.

Tell us why you are interested in Rotary. We connect you to our global network.