Austria with its specific ‘dual’ structure, including both, a strong fulltime school sector and a strong apprenticeship system, lies in-between the established classifications of VET. This structure is not a result of ‘systemic’ political decision-making; rather the different institutions have evolved more or less parallel. It is a remarkable phenomenon that the formal structure has remained quite stable through history, throughout very different regime periods (the Habsburg Empire, 1st Republic, two Fascisms, 2nd Republic). The challenges are first to identify the persistent structural traits, and second to explain the historical processes. Methodologically, the different versions of institutionalist approaches are used for the reanalysis of artefacts from historical studies; the main task is a consistent interpretation of the material, providing new insights about the long term patterns of education reform.