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Republic of Austria
Flag of Austria
Coat of arms of the Republic of Austria
flag coat of arms
Official language German
- regional official languages: Croatian , Slovenian , Hungarian
- recognized minority languages : u. a. Austrian sign language
Capital Vienna
Form of government Federal Republic
Government system semi-presidential - parliamentary form of government
Head of state Federal President
Alexander Van der Bellen
Head of government Federal Chancellor
Sebastian Kurz
area ( 112th place ) 83,882.56 km²
population (93.) 8.901.064
(January 1, 2020)
Population density (78.) 106 inhabitants per km²
Population development   + 0.5% (2017)
gross domestic product
  • Total (nominal)
  • Total ( PPP )
  • GDP / inh. (nom.)
  • GDP / inh. (KKP)
  • $ 446.3 billion ( 28. )
  • $ 521.3 billion ( 41st )
  • 50,380 USD ( 14. )
  • 58,850 USD ( 16. )
Human Development Index   0.908 ( 20th ) (2019)
currency Euro (EUR)
founding 0962–1804: Part of the state structure called the Holy Roman Empire from the end of the 15th century , with the predominant seat of rule at the seat of the Roman-German Emperor in Vienna

0976: Margraviate Ostarrichi
1156: Duchy of Austria
1453: Archduchy of Austria
1500: Austrian Empire
1804: Empire of Austria
1867: Austria-Hungary
1918: First Republic
1934: Federal State of Austria
1938: Part of the German Empire
1945: Second Republic

National anthem Austrian national anthem
National holiday October 26
(1955: Resolution of the Neutrality Act )
Time zone UTC + 1 CET
(end of March to end of October)
License Plate A.
ISO 3166 AT , AUT, 040
Internet TLD .at
Telephone code +43
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Austria (  [ ˈøːstɐʁaɪ̯ç ] ; officially the Republic of Austria ) is a central European landlocked country with around 8.9 million inhabitants. The neighboring countries are Germany and the Czech Republic in the north, Slovakia and Hungary in the east, Slovenia and Italy in the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein in the west. Please click to listen!Play

Austria is a democratic and federal state , in particular a semi-presidential republic . Its nine federal states , most of which emerged from the historic crown lands , are Burgenland , Carinthia , Lower Austria , Upper Austria , Salzburg , Styria , Tyrol , Vorarlberg and Vienna . The federal state of Vienna is both the federal capital and the most populous city ​​in the country. FurtherThe population centers are Graz , Linz , Salzburg and Innsbruck .

The country is bordered by the Bohemian Massif and the Thaya in the north, the Karawanken and the Styrian hill country in the south, the Pannonian Plain in the east and the Rhine and Lake Constance in the west. More than 62 percent of its national territory is made up of high alpine mountains .

The name Austria is first handed down in its Old High German form Ostarrichi from the year 996. The Latin form Austria was also used. Originally a border mark of the tribal duchy of Baiern , Austria became an independent duchy in the Holy Roman Empire in 1156 . After the Babenbergs died out in 1246, the House of Habsburg prevailed in the struggle for rule in Austria. The area known as Austria later included the entire Habsburg monarchyand as a result the 1804 constituted imperial Austria and the Austrian half of 1867 established the dual monarchy of Austria-Hungary .

Today's republic emerged from 1918, after the First World War lost for Austria-Hungary , from the German -speaking parts of the former monarchy, initially called German- Austria . With the Treaty of Saint-Germain , the state border and the name Republic of Austria were established. This was accompanied by the loss of South Tyrol . The First Republic was marked by internal political tensions, which culminated in a civil war and the corporate state dictatorship . As a result of the so-called " Anschluss ", the country was under National Socialist rule from 1938 . After the defeat of theWhen the German Reich became an independent state again in World War II , Austria declared its permanent neutrality at the end of the Allied occupation in 1955 and joined the United Nations . Austria has been a member of the Council of Europe since 1956 , a founding member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) established in 1961 and a member state of the European Union since 1995 .


Map of the 17 regional centers (central locations) in Austria

Austria extends in a west-east direction over a maximum of 575 kilometers, in a north-south over 294 km. The five major landscapes of Austria are:

More than 70% of the national territory is mountainous and mostly has a share in the Eastern Alps , which can be further subdivided into the mountain ranges of the Tyrolean Central Alps , the High and Low Tauern , the Northern and Southern Limestone Alps and the Vienna Woods . That is why the country is also known colloquially as the Alpine Republic . North of the Danube in Upper and Lower Austria lies the granite and gneiss plateau , part of the old rump mountains of the Bohemian Massif , whose foothills as far as the Czech Republic and Bavariapass. Beyond the eastern border, the Little Carpathians connect .

The large plains lie in the east along the Danube , especially in the Alpine foothills and in the Vienna basin with the Marchfeld , as well as in southern Styria . The southern Styria is because of their similarity to the landscape Tuscany also Styrian Tuscany called. The Burgenland east of the Alps - Carpathian arc runs out into the Pannonian Plain and shows a strong similarity to its eastern neighbor Hungary , both in terms of landscape and climate to which it belonged until 1921.

About a quarter of the total area of ​​Austria with 83,882.56 km² is made up of low and hilly regions. Only 32% are deeper than 500 meters. The lowest point in the country is in Hedwighof (municipality of Apetlon , Burgenland ) at 114 meters above sea level . 43% of the country's area is forested .


Glacier in the Ötztal . The highest mountain peak in the picture is the Wildspitze , at 3,768 meters the highest mountain in the state of Tyrol and after the Großglockner (3,798 meters) the second highest mountain in Austria.

According to the descriptive classification, the climate in Austria can be assigned to the warm temperate rainy climates of the humid- cool temperate zone . In the west and north of Austria there is an oceanic climate, often characterized by humid westerly winds. In the east, on the other hand, a more Pannonian- continental climate with little precipitation with hot summers and cold winters predominates . The influence of low- pressure areas with high rainfall from the Mediterranean area is particularly noticeable in the Southern Alps .

In fact, the regional climate of Austria is strongly influenced by the alpine topography. There are often considerable climatic differences within short distances and slight differences in altitude. With increasing altitude, boreal and tundra climates are initially encountered, and even polar climates in the summit areas. Not only the main Alpine ridge acts as a climatic divide . Sun- rich Föhntal valleys (e.g. Inntal ) are characterized by fog-prone basin landscapes (e.g. Klagenfurt Basin ), mountain rims with high precipitation (e.g. Bregenzerwald)) stand opposite inner-alpine dry valleys (e.g. Ötztal Alps ).

Climate diagram
J F. M. A. M. J J A. S. O N D.
Temperature in ° Cprecipitation in mm
Source: DWD, data: 1971–2000
Republic of Austria - St. Oswald weather station
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max. Temperature ( ° C ) −1 4th 10 15th 20th 23 25th 24 21st 14th 6th 0 O 13.5
Min. Temperature (° C) −8 −6 −2 3 7th 11 12 12 9 4th −1 −6 O 3
Temperature (° C) −4.5 −1.0 4th 9.0 13.5 17th 18.5 13.0 15th 9.0 2.5 −3 O 7.8
Precipitation ( mm ) 42.4 35.0 58.6 65.6 85.4 97.8 119.0 99.9 88.5 96.3 76.5 50.1 Σ 915.1
Hours of sunshine ( h / d ) 2 4th 5 6th 7th 8th 8th 8th 6th 4th 2 2 O 5.2
Rainy days ( d ) 6th 6th 7th 8th 10 11 10 9 7th 7th 8th 6th Σ 95
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Source: DWD, data: 1971–2000

Air temperature

Average annual air temperature in Austria

The total area of the annual average of air temperature ranges in Austria of more than 11  ° C in the inner districts of Vienna to below -9 ° C on the summit of Mount Grossglockner. In the densely populated lowlands it is mostly between 8 ° C and 10 ° C. The area average is 6.0 ° C. The annual mean zero degree isotherm is at an altitude of about 2200 m. In closed basins, valleys and hollows below 800 to 1200 m above sea level, temperature increases with altitude often occur in the winter months ( temperature inversion ).

While in most of Austria January and July are on average the coldest and warmest months of the year, in the high mountains this applies to February and August. The long-term January mean air temperature in the flat landscapes of the east is between 0 ° C and −2 ° C and drops between −4 ° C and −6 ° C at around 1000 m above sea level. The lowest value in the area of ​​the highest peaks is around −15 ° C. In July the long-term mean values ​​in the east fluctuate between 18 ° C and 20 ° C and in 1000 m between 13 ° C and 15 ° C. On the Grossglockner, the average zero degree limit is not exceeded even in midsummer.


Mean annual total precipitation in Austria

With the frequent west to north-west locations, the Bregenzerwald and the entire Northern Limestone Alps are on the windward side . The same applies to the mountains on the southern border of Austria, which receive intense accumulated precipitation when the flow from the Mediterranean area flows into them . Together with the central alpine Hohe Tauern, the measured annual precipitation totals in the regions mentioned reach a long-term average of around 2000 mm , in some cases around 3000 mm. In contrast, the eastern Waldviertel , Weinviertel , Vienna Basin and Northern Burgenland receive less than 600 mm of precipitation over the course of a year. As the place with the lowest rainfall in Austria, Retz with just under 450 mm.

The average area in Austria is around 1100 mm for the year. The summer half-year (April to September) accounts for slightly more than 60% of the annual total, and the winter half-year (October to March) accordingly a little less than 40%. This distribution of precipitation proves to be favorable in terms of vegetation development. While in the vast majority of the country, the month with the highest rainfall falls in June or July due to convection (showers and thunderstorms), the Carinthian Lesach Valley is the only exception: With a primary maximum precipitation in October, it is part of the Mediterranean precipitation climate.

The amount of snow depends mainly on the altitude and the location of the area in relation to the main flow directions and varies accordingly. While the average annual snowfall in Austria is around 3.3 m of fresh snow, it is only 0.3 m at Krems and 22 m at the Sonnblick .


View of the Grossglockner , Austria's highest mountain, the Grossglockner High Alpine Road from

The highest mountains in Austria are three thousand meter peaks , which are located in the Eastern Alps . At 3798 meters, the Großglockner is the highest mountain in the Hohe Tauern . There are almost 1,000 three-thousand-meter peaks in Austria with secondary peaks.

The mountain landscape is of great importance for tourism , there are many winter sports areas , and in summer there are opportunities for mountain hiking and climbing .


The partly Hungarian Lake Neusiedl (here near Podersdorf am See ) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site

The largest lake is the Neusiedler See in Burgenland , with about 77% of its total area of ​​315 km² in Austria (the rest belongs to Hungary), followed by the Attersee with 46 km² and the Traunsee with 24 km² in Upper Austria . Also, the Lake Constance with its 536 square kilometers on the border triangle of Germany (Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg) and Switzerland is to a small extent on Austrian territory. However, the state borders on Lake Constance are not exactly defined.

In addition to the mountains, the lakes are of great importance for summer tourism in Austria, especially the Carinthian lakes and those of the Salzkammergut . The best known are the Wörthersee , the Millstätter See , the Ossiacher See and the Weißensee in Carinthia. Other well-known lakes are Mondsee and Wolfgangsee on the border between Salzburg and Upper Austria .


A large part of Austria is drained directly via the Danube to the Black Sea , around a third in the southeast via the Mur , Drau , and - via other countries - also via the Danube to the Black Sea, small areas in the west via the Rhine (2366 km²) and in the north over the Elbe (918 km²) to the North Sea .

The major tributaries of the Danube (from west to east):

The Mur drains the Salzburg Lungau and Styria, it flows into Croatia in the Drau, which in turn drains Carinthia and East Tyrol . The Drava flows into the Danube in Croatia on the border with Serbia .

The Rhine drains most of Vorarlberg , flows through Lake Constance and flows into the North Sea.

The Lainsitz is small, but the only Austrian river that drains from Lower Austria via the Czech Republic to the Elbe.


The edelweiss occurs only in the alpine area.
The real Austria mullein grows mainly in the eastern lowlands.

Most of Austria belongs to the Central European flora region, only eastern Lower Austria, Vienna and northern Burgenland as well as some inner-alpine dry valleys as exclaves belong to the Pannonian flora province , which in turn represents the westernmost part of the southern Siberian-Pontic-Pannonian flora region. Both regions are part of the Holarctic flora. In the alpine areas, the flora differs so much that it is assigned to a separate alpine sub-flora region. In some climatically warm areas a clear sub-Mediterranean influence can be seen.

In Austria grow Vollstatus- 3165 vascular plants - species , in addition to around 600 frequent occurring cultivated and naturalized and extinct species. Including subspecies , there are 3428 elementary vascular plant taxa in Austria , which is, for example, around 300 elementary taxa more than in Germany, which is roughly four and a quarter times as large in area. This relative biodiversity is due to the fact that Austria has a share in several different large natural areas: the Pannonian area , the Bohemian mass , the flora of the Alps , the Carinthian basin and valley landscapes, the northern and southeastern regionsAlpine foothills and the Rhine Valley.

1187 plant species (40.2%) are on the red list . In addition, some extremely rare endemics grow in Austria, such as the thick-root spoonweed .

In particular, the edelweiss , the bell gentian and the auricula are national symbols - although they are not typical for all of Austria and only appear in the Alpine region - and are depicted on Austrian coins.


Approximately 45,870 animal species are found in Austria, 98.6% of which are invertebrates. 10,882 species have so far been assessed for possible endangerment, resulting in 2804 species being placed on the national Red List of Endangered Species.

The distribution of the animals depends on the natural conditions. Chamois , deer and birds of prey are represented in the Alpine region, while storks and herons live in the Danube plain, in the Vorarlberg Rhine Valley and on Lake Neusiedl . Historically, the Eurasian lynx , brown bear and bald ibis were also present, and since the 1960s attempts have been made to reintroduce these species.

natural reserve

Due to the diverse topography in Austria, a large number of species occur in both flora and fauna. To protect them, six national parks and several nature parks of various categories have been established in the last few decades . Even among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites , several areas are designated not only as cultural heritage, but also as natural heritage.

Natural disasters

Austria lies in a geologically active area. In the east and south-east of Austria, hot springs are an indication of ongoing volcanic activity. It's not surprising that earthquakes keep coming back . On average there are 30 to 60 earthquakes in Austria each year perceived by the population. Earthquakes that cause building damage occur at irregular intervals. On average and strongly rounded, there is an earthquake every three years with slight damage to the building, every 15 to 30 years with moderate damage to the building, and every 75 to 100 years an earthquake that can occasionally cause severe damage to buildings. Earthquakes occur in certain regions in Austria, especially in the Vienna Basin, Mürz Valley and the Inn Valley. The southern part of Carinthia is indirectly endangered by tremors across the border in Italy and Slovenia.

Due to its topography, avalanches occur in Austria, occasionally also devastating, such as the 1999 avalanche disaster in Galtür . Also, landslides and debris flows occur. Heavy rain or at the time of snowmelt can cause floods, for example during the Alpine floods in 2005 . Extreme weather events such as storms , hail or heavy snowfall regularly cause serious damage.


Population development

Development of the population (in millions)
Average annual population (1870-2019)
1527 to 1980
date Residents
around 1527 1,500,000
around 1600 1,800,000
around 1700 2,100,000
1754 2,728,000
1780 2,970,000
1790 3,046,000
1800 3,064,000
1810 3,054,000
1821 3,202,000
1830 3,476,500
1840 3,649,700
1850 3,879,700
1857 4,075,500
1870 4,520,000
1880 4,941,000
1890 5,394,000
1900 5,973,000
1910 6,614,000
1919 6,420,000
1930 6,684,000
1939 6,653,000
1950 6,935,000
1960 7,047,000
1970 7,467,000
1980 7,549,000
1985 to 2019
date Residents
1985 7,565,000
1990 7,678,000
1995 7,948,000
2000 8,012,000
2001 8,042,000
2002 8,082,000
2003 8,118,000
2004 8,169,000
2005 8,225,000
2006 8,268,000
2007 8,295,000
2008 8,322,000
2009 8,341,000
2010 8,361,000
2011 8,389,000
2012 8,426,000
2013 8,477,000
2014 8,544,000
2015 8,630,000
2016 8,740,000
2017 8,795,000
2018 8,838,000
2019 8,878,000

The first census that meets today's criteria took place in Austria-Hungary in 1869/70. Since then, the number of inhabitants in what is now Austria has risen steadily until the last count before the beginning of the First World War , which took place in 1913. The increase in population was due to a considerable extent to internal migration from the crown lands .

After the First World War, in 1919, the population had decreased by 347,000 due to war losses and return migration to the former crown lands. Thereafter, the number of inhabitants rose continuously until 1935. By 1939, when the last count took place after the annexation of Austria to the German Reich before the outbreak of the Second World War , the population had decreased to 6.65 million, as there was strong emigration as a result of political persecution and anti-Semitism . As 1946 based on the food stamps issuedthe first population figures were determined after the end of the war, the population was around 7 million, which was a new high. The high war losses had been overcompensated by the influx of refugees.

By 1953, most of the refugees and displaced persons had returned to their homeland or migrated on, which is why the population fell to 6.93 million.

After that, high birth surpluses caused the population to rise to a new high in 1974, when 7.6 million people lived in Austria. After a phase of stagnation, Austria's population began to rise again noticeably from the end of the 1980s - this time due to increased immigration, for example because of the Yugoslav wars . At the beginning of 2012, Austria had a population of 8.44 million.

On average in 2018, more than 2 million people (23.3%) with a migration background lived in Austria. The proportion of residents with a migration background in Vienna was 45.3% in 2018.

In addition, there is a large population concentration in the federal capital Vienna, more than 20% of all inhabitants of Austria live here.

Population movement

Today's federal territory and Vienna in particular were the destination of many immigrants from other parts of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, especially from Bohemia and Moravia, in the fifty years before the First World War . This immigration meant that Vienna had more than 2 million inhabitants in 1910. During the First World War, residents of Galicia (including many of the Jewish religion) fled the Russian army to Vienna.

When Austria was still a country of emigration: Austro-Hungarian passengers on a ship to the United States at the beginning of the 20th century.

With the collapse of Austria-Hungary and the establishment of Czechoslovakia in 1918, hundreds of thousands of Czechs returned to their homeland. As a rule, more Austrians emigrated from the new, small Austria every year until the Second World War than foreigners immigrated. In 1938/39 there was a wave of refugees: After Austria was "annexed" to the German Reich, many people, including those who had come from Germany since 1933, had to leave Austria, including 140,000 Jewish Austrians.

There were politically induced waves of immigration

Population pyramid of Austria 2016

Since the beginning of the strong economic and prosperity growth that made Austria a prosperous country from the 1950s, guest workers have been specifically recruited. A labor recruitment agreement was concluded with Turkey in 1964 . A similar treaty was signed with Yugoslavia in 1966. Later on, refugees continued to reach Austria, for example during the Yugoslav wars after the collapse of this state.

The number of foreigners in the resident population was 1.268 million at the beginning of 2016, that is 14.6% of the population. At the beginning of 2020 this share was already 16.7% or 1.486 million people.

In 2015, around 1.813 million people with a migration background (first or second generation immigrants) lived in Austria, which was 21.4% of the total population. In 2019 it was already 23.7% or 2.104 million people.

The overall migration balance in Austria is clearly positive. In 2015, for example, immigration to Austria was 113,067 higher than emigration from Austria. This number has increased significantly since 2009; before that, however, it had also fallen significantly. The positive migration balance is due to the population movements of non-Austrians, because the migration balance of Austrian citizens is slightly negative in the long-term trend (2015: −5,450 people).

Up until 2014, the increase in population decreased primarily due to immigration from the EU (2014: 67% of immigration from the EU). This picture changed significantly in 2015 and the majority of immigrants came from third countries (2015: 68% immigrants from third countries and 37% from the EU). The number of asylum applications rose from 11,012 in 2010 to 88,340 in 2015, after falling almost every year since 2002.


According to forecasts by the Federal Statistical Office of Austria , births and deaths in Austria would be balanced for about 20 years, after which the births would probably be below the death rate, which would lead to a higher average age. However, immigration would increase the population to around 9.5 million by 2050.

Only in Vienna , as the only one of the nine federal states, would the average age and population growth be lower than the national average. The latest forecast assumes three times faster growth for Vienna than previously assumed (24% instead of 7%). Vienna could become a city of two million again in 2031. This would result in problems in the social infrastructure and in residential construction, where an annual construction output of 10,000 residential units was already considered necessary for 2013.

Health expectation

The analyzes of the values ​​for healthy life years indicate significant inequalities between the European countries. In Austria, the health expectation for women in 2016 was 57.1 years, 16.2 years lower than in Sweden with 73.3 years. The health expectation of men in 2016 was 57.0 years, 16.0 years lower than in Sweden with 73.0 years.

Life expectancy

Development of life expectancy in Austria
Period Life expectancy
in years
Period Life expectancy
in years
1950-1955 66.5 1985-1990 75.0
1955-1960 68.0 1990-1995 76.2
1960-1965 69.7 1995-2000 77.5
1965-1970 70.1 2000-2005 78.9
1970-1975 70.8 2005-2010 80.1
1975-1980 72.1 2010-2015 81.0
1980-1985 73.3 2015-2020

The average life expectancy in Austria in 2016 was 81.5 years, 84.3 years for women and 78.9 years for men (1971: women 75.7 years, men 73.3 years). Life expectancy in Austria was thus slightly higher than that in Germany. The infant mortality rate is 0.36%.

The suicide rate in Austria is relatively high: around 400,000 people are generally affected by depression , around 15,000 try to kill themselves each year; The number of suicides in Austria is more than twice as high as that of the traffic fatalities: every six hours an Austrian dies by his own hand. Actual suicides amounted to 1,273 in 2009.


Bilingual place-name sign in Oberwart ( Felsőőr in Hungarian ) in Burgenland

According to Article 8 of the Federal Constitution (Federal Constitutional Law (B-VG) from 1920), German is the state language of the Republic of Austria. The Austrian German - a highly linguistic national standard variety of pluricentric German language - is the mother tongue of about 88.6% of Austrian citizens . The Austrian dictionary is binding for the authorities as well as for school lessons .

Austrian German differs in vocabulary and pronunciation, but also in grammatical peculiarities from Standard German in Germany. The Austrian dictionary , in which the vocabulary is summarized, was initiated by the Ministry of Education in 1951 and has been an official set of rules above the Duden since then .

In everyday life, in addition to the standard language, one of the many Upper German dialects is often spoken, which belongs to the dialect families of Alemannic (spoken in Vorarlberg as well as Tyrolean Ausserfern ) and Bavarian(spoken in all federal states with the exception of Vorarlberg). Seven million Austrians speak a Central or South Bavarian dialect or a colloquial language influenced by these dialects. Regional dialects are also interwoven with expressions from neighboring non-German languages ​​(for example, Czech - among other languages ​​- had an influence on the Viennese dialect). The use of French terms at the Viennese court also had an influence on some terms, especially those used earlier (e.g. “pavement” for sidewalk).

The autochthonous ethnic groups of the Croats in Burgenland , the Carinthian Slovenes , the Slovenes in Styria and the Hungarians in Austria are entitled to mother tongue school lessons and official communication. Burgenland-Croatian and Slovenian are additional official languages ​​in the administrative and judicial districts of Styria, Burgenland and Carinthia with Croatian or Slovenian or mixed populations. Furthermore, in some municipalities in Burgenland, Hungarian is an official language with equal rights alongside German.

Also Romanes , the language of the ethnic group of the Roma , is a nationally recognized minority language. It is the same with Czech and Slovak . The Austrian sign language is constitutionally recognized.

See also: Slovenes in Austria , Burgenland Croats , Burgenland Hungary , Burgenlandroma , Roma in Austria and Czechs in Vienna .


Religious communities in Austria based on the 1951-2001 censuses
year Total
Catholics proportion of Evangelical
A.B. and HB
proportion of Islam proportion of non-denominational proportion of other /
proportion of
1951 6,933,905 6,170,084 89.0% 429.493 6.2% - - 264.014 3.8% 70.314 1.0%
1961 7,073,807 6,295,075 89.0% 438,663 6.2% - - 266.009 3.8% 74,060 1.0%
1971 7,491,526 6,548,316 87.4% 447.070 6.0% 022,267 0.3% 321.218 4.3% 152,655 2.0%
1981 7,555,338 6,372,645 84.3% 423.162 5.6% 076,939 1.0% 452.039 6.0% 230,553 3.0%
1991 7,795,786 6,081,454 78.0% 389,800 5.0% 158,766 2.0% 672.251 8.6% 494,596 6.4%
2001 8,032,926 5,915,421 73.6% 376.150 4.7% 338,988 4.2% 963.263 12.0% 439.104 5.5%
Religious communities in Austria based on statistical data 2012–2018
year Total
Catholics proportion of Evangelical
A.B. and HB
proportion of Islam proportion of non-denominational proportion of other /
proportion of
2012 8,408,100 5,360,000 63.75% - - 573.876 6.6% - - - -
2016 8,700,500 5,160,000 59.30% - - 700,000 8.05% - - - -
2017 8,772,900 5,110,000 58.25% 297,838 3.4% - - - - - -
2018 8,822,267 5,050,000 57.24% 297,597 3.3% - - - - - -
The basilica of Mariazell , Austria's most important Catholic pilgrimage site

Since religious affiliation was no longer allowed to be recorded in the last register census in 2011 due to legal restrictions, Statistics Austria only provides the results of the 2001 census. According to this, 73.6% of the population declared themselves to be Roman Catholic and 4.7% to one of the Protestant churches ( Protestantism ; predominantly the Augsburg Confession , more rarely the Helvetic Confession ). About 180,000 Christians, 2.2% of the Austrian population, were members of Orthodox churches. About 15,000 believers joined the Old Catholic Church , around 0.2% of the population.

As in Germany, the number of members of the Volkskirchen is declining; at the end of 2016 the proportion of Catholics with 5.16 million from 8.77 million was only 58.8% and thus clearly represented two thirds of the Austrian population within a few years fallen below. In relative terms, the decline was greater among the smaller Protestant churches, with only 3.4% declaring themselves to be members of one of the Protestant churches in 2016. The number of Orthodox Christians in the country is increasing.

The largest non-Christian religious community in Austria is Islam , which has been a recognized religious community since 1912. In the 2001 census, around 340,000 people, that is 4.3%, committed themselves to the Muslim faith - according to the Integration Fund, there were 515,914 believers in 2009, which corresponds to 6.2% of the total population. According to estimates by the Ministry of the Interior and the Austrian Integration Fund, around 700,000 Muslims lived in Austria at the beginning of 2017. The number rose sharply, mainly due to migrants, births and refugees from the Arab region. According to a study from 2017, 34.6% of Austrian Muslims have “ highly fundamentalist“Settings.

The Vienna City Temple , the only surviving historical synagogue in Vienna, is the center of the Israelite religious community

For Judaism , about 8,140 people profess. The vast majority of them, around 7,000, live in Vienna. According to the Israelitische Kultusgemeinde Wien , there are 15,000 nationwide.

A little over 10,000 people profess Buddhism , which was recognized as a religious community in Austria in 1983 . To Hinduism , which is considered in Austria as a "registered religious confessional community", 2001 3.629 people profess census.

20,000 people are active members of Jehovah's Witnesses . Its legal recognition as a religious community was decided in 2009.

According to the last survey in 2001, around 12% of the population (around one million people) do not belong to any of the religious communities legally recognized in Austria. It is estimated that the number of atheists and agnostics in 2005 ranged from 18% to 26% (1,471,500 to 2,125,500 people).

According to a representative survey by the Eurobarometer , 54% of people in Austria believed in God in 2005 , 34% believed that there is another spiritual force. 8% percent of the respondents believed neither in a god nor in any other spiritual force, 4% of the respondents were undecided.

See also:


Due to political , linguistic , cultural and ideological conditions, which is why Austria was seen as part of a German identity since the Middle Ages , the final development of an independent Austrian national consciousness did not take place until after the Second World War. Until the beginning of the 19th century, there was no national identity consciousness in the modern sense. While only local ties played a role for the “lower” strata of the population, the elites had different, hardly competing levels of identity in a mixture.

The term “ Austrian nation ” has become established as a term for collective cultural, social, historical, linguistic and ethnic identities that have developed in the territory of the Republic of Austria and have led to a feeling of belonging among the Austrian population. The first Austrian we identities emerged as early as the early Middle Ages . During the period of the Habsburg Monarchy until 1918, collective identification focused mainly on the dynasty or monarch as well as on cultural characteristics that were perceived as German. Ernst Bruckmüller sees it in this contextthe approach for the development of "two German nations". After the collapse of the monarchy, this dilemma ultimately led to a “fundamental collective identity crisis”, which is seen as a contributory reason for the failure of the First Republic and which ultimately also led to the “annexation” to the German Reich in 1938.

Soon after the “ Anschluss ” and during the war, however, an Austrian identity began to develop in some parts of society, which can mainly be explained by opposition attitudes to the Nazi regime and with regard to the war defeats. The Austrian resistance to National Socialism therefore played an important role in identification . With reference to this change of heart, the Berlin political scientist Richard Löwenthal coined the saying: "The Austrians wanted to become German - until they became one."

However, Austrian national consciousness did not develop on a broad basis until after the end of the war. Political and social successes such as the conclusion of the State Treaty and the economic boom of the 1960s also contributed to this. Today the existence of an Austrian nation or an Austrian people is largely recognized.

Gender equality

The equality of men and women is enshrined in the Federal Constitution in Art. 7 Para. 1 B-VG .

Exceptions that have arisen historically are compulsory military service , which only applies to men, and the pension scheme. In Austria women are currently allowed to retire five years earlier than men (exception: civil servants' retirement). Since, according to the judgment of the Austrian Constitutional Court, this contradicts the principle of equality, it was decided to Template: future / in 5 yearsgradually adjust the retirement age of women to that of men (65 years) by 2033 .

In almost all areas, the average income of women is lower than the average income of men (exception: civil servants). Among other things, this is due to the fact that many women retire earlier, work part-time or devote themselves to raising children and therefore do not take advantage of opportunities for advancement. Childcare outside the family is very different due to federalism and so in parts of the country it is not always compatible with the full employment of both parents. The collectively agreed wages in Austria are the same for both sexes. In 2013, 55% of women and 68% of men were employed. Just over 30% of parliamentary seats were given to women. On the international Gender Inequality Index According to the United Nations in 2016, Austria was at the top of the gender equitable field in 24th place and thus 19 places worse than in 2014.


Prehistory to 15 BC Chr.

The oldest traces of human presence in Austria belong to the Middle Paleolithic , the time of the Neanderthals . The place of discovery with the oldest traces is the Repolust cave in Styria. Many other sites are in Lower Austria, the most famous are in the Wachau - including the sites of the two oldest Austrian works of art, the figurative depictions of women of Venus from Galgenberg and Venus from Willendorf .

After the gradual settlement of all regions of Austria in the Neolithic period , and thus the transition from previously existing cultures of hunters, gatherers and fishermen to farming village cultures is Chalcolithic period marked by the development of mineral resources, especially copper . The discovery of the famous glacier mummy Ötzi in the Austrian-Italian border area dates from this time .

During the Bronze Age between the 3rd and 1st millennium BC, ever larger centers of trade and fortifications, mainly in raw material mining areas, were built. The systematic extraction of salt began in the vicinity of Hallstatt . The older period of the Iron Age , the Hallstatt Age , is named after this place . The younger Iron Age, also known as the La Tène Age, is dominated by the Celts , who established the first state in the south and east of what is now Austria - the Kingdom of Noricum, an alliance of thirteen Celtic tribes. The West was at this time of Rhaetians populated.

Roman province and Great Migration 15 BC Chr. To 700 AD

Roman provinces and places on the territory of today's Austria
Roman Heidentor with model of the original condition at Petronell-Carnuntum

The largest part of today's Austrian territory was around 15 BC. Occupied by the Roman Empire . During his reign (41–54 AD), the Roman emperor Claudius established the Roman province of Regnum Noricum , whose borders included a large part of today's Austria. The city ​​of Carnuntum , east of Vindobona (today's Vienna ), was the largest Roman city, other important places were Virunum (north of today's Klagenfurt ) and Teurnia (near Spittal an der Drau ).

After the spread of Christianity in the 2nd century AD, the slow decline of the Roman Empire began in the course of the Great Migration . After the province of Noricum was continually oppressed by the Goths and other Germanic peoples, settlement began in the 6th century by the Bavarians and, in today's Vorarlberg, by the Alamanni , and in the east and south by Slavs and Avars . From the middle of the 6th century, the Baier tribal duchy had formed in the northern Alpine region, whose rulers came from the Agilolfinger family.

Franconian Empire and Holy Roman Empire 700–1806

Large areas of today's Austria belonged to the Baier tribal duchy in the Frankish Empire of Charlemagne in the late 8th century . In the following Eastern Franconia , a Marcha orientalis was subordinate to the Carolingians in the region of today's Lower Austria since 856 . This border mark in the southeast of the empire became the nucleus of what would later become Austria. However, this area was lost to the Hungarians in 907 . It was only after the Battle of Lechfeld in 955 that the East Franconian Empire was able to expand to the east again, and new duchies and margravates emerged. Another wave beganBavarian (Baierischer) settlement activity.

In 976 the oldest territory on the soil of today's Republic of Austria came into being in the form of the independent Duchy of Carinthia . In the same year the Marcha orientalis , an eastern border march of the Bavarian Duchy, was transferred from Emperor Otto II to Count Luitpold , the progenitor of the dynasty later called " Babenberger ". The oldest known written mention of the name Ostarrichi comes from a document written in Bruchsal on November 1, 996. It is a gift from Emperor Otto III. to the Bishop of Freising in Neuhofen an der Ybbs"In the region usually called Ostarrichi " ("regione vulgari vocabulo Ostarrichi"). This document is now kept in the Bavarian Main State Archives in Munich. The pronunciation and spelling later changed to Austria . The area was also known as Ostland (Latin Austria ) or Osterland .

The margraviate of Austria , which has existed since 976, was raised to an independent duchy of Austria independent of Bavaria on September 8, 1156 by Emperor Friedrich I (Barbarossa) at the court conference in Kreuzhof near Regensburg . This is how the real history of Austria begins as an independent territory within the Holy Roman Empire .

Rudolf IV from the House of Habsburg founded the Archduchy of Austria ( Dom Museum Vienna )

The Babenbergers were followed by Ottokar II. Přemysl from the Přemyslid family in 1251 , who was replaced by the Habsburgs in 1282 . In order to emphasize their rank and to put their dynasty on an equal footing with the Electors of the Holy Roman Empire, Rudolf IV made his Duchy of Austria the Archduchy of Austria through the forged Privilegium Maius (1358/59; Latin maius "greater", comparative to magnus "large") . In 1365 Rudolf IV also founded the University of Vienna. The Habsburgs continued to expand their territory until 1526 and became a power factor in the Holy Roman Empire. The late Babenbergs had already been able to connect Styria with Austria, based on the acquisition of Carinthia , Tyrol , Carniola and other areas , the Habsburgs created a complex of lands in the Eastern Alps that was called the rule of Austria . From 1438 onwards, the dynasty almost continuously held the Roman-German royal dignity and the associated imperial dignity . Part of the ruled area were the foreland or also called front Austria .

Frans Geffels: Relief Battle of Vienna 1683 ( Wien Museum ), the second successfully repulsed Turkish siege from Vienna that made Austria a great power
Martin van Meytens : The Imperial Family , 1754 ( Schönbrunn Palace ): Emperor Franz I. Stephan of Lothringen and Empress Maria Theresa with their family

From the late 15th century until 1690, the Habsburg lands were exposed to constant attacks from the Ottoman Empire , which headed west from Hungary. After the Second Turkish Siege of Vienna was fended off in 1683, the warlike successes of Prince Eugene of Savoy , among others , in the fight against the Turks in the Peace of Karlowitz and in the Peace of Passarowitz were confirmed, but acquisitions going beyond this were reversed again in the Peace of Belgrade .

The Reformation of the church was able to prevail quickly at first, but was pushed back in the course of the 17th century, which was seen as an important task by the Habsburgs of that time. In 1713, the Pragmatic Sanction was the first basic law that was valid for all Habsburg countries. It was (for the first time) stipulated that after the foreseeable extinction of the ruling dynasty in the male line, the line of succession would have to follow the female line. As a result, the daughter of Emperor Charles VI. , Maria Theresa , was able to follow him as monarch of the Habsburg hereditary lands and thus the daughters of his older brother Josephwas preferred. In the War of the Austrian Succession , Maria Theresa, who founded the new House of Habsburg-Lothringen with Franz I. Stephan von Lothringen , was able to largely claim the hereditary lands for herself. When Prussia and Russia divided Poland in the 18th century , Austria was awarded Galicia .

Franz II founded the Austrian Empire in 1804 and, as Franz I, accepted the title of Emperor of Austria in order to maintain equality with the new French Emperor. In 1806, under the pressure of Napoleon , he laid down the imperial crown of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, which ceased to exist.

Austrian Empire (1804–1867) and Austro-Hungarian Dual Monarchy (1867–1918)

The new Austrian Empire was a multi-ethnic state in which Hungarian, Italian, Czech, Polish, Ukrainian, Romanian, Croatian, Serbian, Slovak and Slovenian were spoken in addition to German. With its areas formerly part of the Holy Roman Empire, it belonged to the German Confederation from 1815 , in whose federal assembly the Austrian envoy chaired. In 1816, after several changes of ownership, Salzburg fell as a duchy to the Austrian Empire, after having been an independent spiritual imperial principality ( Archbishopric Salzburg ) since 1328 .

Metternich shaped Austria's foreign policy and influenced Europe for many years in the 19th century

The leading politician of the Austrian Biedermeier was the Foreign Minister and later State Chancellor Klemens Wenzel Lothar von Metternich . His aim was to control the population with censorship and a spy system in order to maintain the old order , the absolute monarchy , by means of restoration . At the time, Prussia and Russia had the same goals ; together these three monarchies formed the Holy Alliance . On the other hand, the industrialization of Austria also took place in this epoch. 1837 operated between Floridsdorf near Vienna and Deutsch-Wagramthe first steam train, first section of the northern line .

Under the rule of Emperor Franz Joseph I (1848–1916) Austria experienced a heyday of the arts and sciences

In the revolution of 1848 , the peoples of the monarchy strived for democracy and independence, and State Chancellor Metternich was driven out. Only the k. k. Army under Radetzky , Jelačić and Windisch-Graetz and the help of the Russian army ensured the monarchy's survival. On December 2nd, 1848, at the request of the dynasty, the 18-year-old Franz Joseph replaced the sick Emperor Ferdinand I on the throne. The inexperienced new ruler judged the rebellious Hungarians in 1849 and had a dozen of the highest Hungarian military leaders executed. In 1851 he raised the New Year's patentthe constitution imposed by himself. His popularity was markedly low in the first 20 years of his reign.

In the struggle for supremacy in the German Confederation ( German dualism ), Prussia under Bismarck forced a decision in the sense of a small German solution without Austria. In the German War of 1866, Austria, which led the German Confederation, was defeated by the Prussians in the Battle of Königgrätz . The German Confederation dissolved and Austria no longer played a role in the further German unification process.

As early as 1859, after the Battle of Solferino , Austria lost its dominance in northern Italy. With the defeat in the German War in 1866 it also had to cede Veneto to Italy, which was allied with Prussia.

The emperor, politically weakened by the defeats, had to carry out far-reaching reforms internally and give up his (neo) absolutist mode of government . Against his stubborn resistance, his advisors achieved the transformation into a constitutional monarchy : with the February 1861 patent following the inexpedient October diploma in 1860 , with which the Reichsrat was created as a parliament.

The settlement achieved with Hungary in 1867 ended the boycott of the state by the Magyar aristocracy and led to the conversion of the previous unitary state into the Austro-Hungarian dual monarchy , a real union . In Cisleithanien (a term used in the language of bureaucrats and lawyers), the western half of the empire unofficially known as Austria, this was made effective by the December constitution of 1867, which remained in force until 1918.

The preferential treatment of the Magyars, who were now largely independent of Austria in domestic politics, compared with the other peoples of the monarchy further fueled the nationality conflicts. While the efforts of the Czech national movement is a Czech Austrian-balancing failed competed the Slovak national movement and to a lesser extent by Croatian cited intellectuals Illyrian movement , which from Russia was supported, with the Magyarization of the Hungarian government.

Austria-Hungary around 1899

In Austria, the national wishes of the individual peoples led to an extremely difficult political situation. In the Reichsrat, whose male suffrage was gradually democratized, only short-lived alliances of convenience existed from the 1880s on; Czech MPs pursued a policy of obstruction. The Imperial Council was therefore often postponed for months by the Emperor. The imperial and royal governments changed frequently, a policy of short-term temporary workers became the rule - observers spoke of muddling away instead of targeted politics.

After the forced withdrawal from Germany and Italy, the emperor and his foreign policy advisers had chosen Southeast Europe as a new area of ​​influence. With the annexation of Bosnia , which was occupied in 1878 with the approval of the Berlin Congress in 1908 and which triggered the Bosnian annexation crisis, Habsburg became an enemy for many political activists in the Balkans, hindering national unification. In addition, the monarchy competed there with Russia, which claimed to be the patron of all Slavs.

After the assassination attempt in Sarajevo , the old age of the 84-year-old emperor, the self-overestimation of the “war party” in Vienna and Budapest (from a later point of view a clique of warmongers) and the parliamentless government situation in July 1914 led to the declaration of war on Serbia , which resulted from the “Automatic” of the European assistance pacts , the Great War, later called World War I , arose within a week . The defeat of the dual monarchy, which became inevitable in autumn 1918, led to its end. On October 31, 1918, the Kingdom of Hungary left the Real Union with Austria. At the same time, Cisleithanien split up into the new states without the involvement of the emperor, imperial government or imperial councilGerman Austria and Czechoslovakia ; in areas that were constituted with those outside Austria-Hungary to form the new states of Poland and the SHS state and in those that were incorporated into other neighboring states ( Italy , Romania ) due to the outcome of the war .

Establishment of the republic in 1918

The monument of the republic with busts of the three social democrats Jakob Reumann , Victor Adler and Ferdinand Hanusch

On October 21, 1918 - the end of the war and the collapse of the monarchy were already foreseeable, the country would have run out of resources for another winter of the war - the members of the Reichsrat of the German-speaking areas (they referred to themselves as Germans), including those of Bohemia , Moravia and Austrian Silesia, entered together for the first time as the Provisional National Assembly for German Austria ; The chairmanship was held by the Social Democrat Karl Seitz, alternating with the Christian Socialist Johann Nepomuk Hauser and the Greater German Franz Dinghofer . Its executive committee became a State Councilnamed and appointed the first government of German Austria on October 30, 1918 , whose ministers were named "State Secretary" based on the Anglo-Saxon model; the first state chancellor was Karl Renner , who was to play an important role again in the founding of the Second Republic in 1945. The first provisional foreign minister was Victor Adler . In this way, a new state emerged in the area of ​​Old Austria, which was predominantly inhabited by people with a German mother tongue.

At the beginning of November 1918, the Kaiser tried to involve the German-Austrian Council of State in the armistice decisions. However, the Council of State decided that the monarchy that started the war must end it. The armistice between Austria and Italy of November 3, 1918 (the Hungarian troops had already left the front at the end of October, when Hungary left the Real Union with Austria) was still the responsibility of Emperor Charles I. Criticism as in the German Reich, where the civil negotiators of the armistice were later reviled as “ November criminals” by right-wing politicians , was therefore not possible.

Members of the Imperial and Royal Government, the Lammasch Ministry , and the Renner cabinet , which prepared the republic and wanted to avoid the clash of the old with the new state order, worked out the declaration with which Charles I on November 11, 1918 on “every share in state affairs ”. This was not a legal act of abdication, but the decision on the form of government was de facto made . On November 12th the proclamation of the Republic of German Austria took place and it was formally decided by the Provisional National Assembly that the state of German Austria became a democratic republic and part of theGerman republic .

First Republic (1918–1933)

The new Republic of Austria became the legal successor to Austria-Hungary and had to cede considerable areas in the Treaty of Saint-Germain
Territory of the Republic of German Austria claimed by the National Assembly (1918–1919)

On December 18, 1918, women's suffrage was introduced for Austrian women over 20 years of age. This was part of the new constitution of December 1918. However, until 1920 prostitutes were excluded from the right to vote.

In the coalition governments of 1918–1920 (see state government Renner I to Renner III and Mayr I ) important social laws (such as the creation of the Chamber of Labor as a legal representation of the interests of workers and employees, eight-hour day, social insurance) were created. The nobility was abolished in April 1919 , members of the Habsburg-Lothringen family were only allowed to stay in Austria if they recognized themselves as citizens of the republic and gave up any claim to power. “The former bearer of the crown” (as he was called in the law) was expelled from the country for good because he refused to abdicate, but had already left for Switzerland to avoid the impending internment. The Habsburg-Lothringen “family funds”, so to speak endowed assets for the benefit of even income-free Habsburgs, were declared state property and individual private assets were not affected.

In the Treaty of Saint-Germain in 1919 the state name "Republic of Austria" was prescribed and the constitutional accession to the new German Republic prevented by the obligation of independence. This " connection ban " was also brought about by Article 80 of the Versailles Treaty , which obliged the German Reich to respect Austria's independence.

Some areas in which the majority of the population spoke German (Sudetenland, South Moravia, South Tyrol) were also not allowed to reach Austria because of the opposing will of the victorious powers. The Carinthian defensive struggle against the troops of the Kingdom of SHS, on the other hand, mobilized the international public and, at the request of the victorious powers, led to a referendum in southern Carinthia on October 10, 1920, which clearly led to the affiliation of the voting area south of the Drau to the Republic of Austria.

On October 21, 1919, when the peace treaty came into force, the name was changed to “Republic of Austria” and in 1920 the new Austrian Federal Constitutional Law (B-VG) was passed, which defines Vienna as a separate federal state. (The B-VG in the version from 1929, with which the office of Federal President was strengthened, is essentially still valid today). In 1921, Burgenland , the predominantly German-populated part of western Hungary, was incorporated into the republic as an independent federal state . For the natural capital of the area, Ödenburg (Sopron) , a referendum was held at the request of Hungary, which was supported by Italywith the majority opting for Hungary. Divergences were noticeable in the contemporary Austrian and Hungarian representations of this referendum. Since the fall of 1920, the federal government provided the Christian Socialists and their supporters from the right wing (see Federal Government Mayr II etc.). The Social Democrats, the majority party in “ Red Vienna ”, were now in sharp opposition at the federal level.

The hyperinflation of the early twenties ended in 1925 with the introduction of the shilling currency . The conservative government made sure that the shilling remained stable; it was known as the alpine dollar . The downside of this meager economic policy was that in the global economic crisis that began in 1929, hardly any government measures were planned to combat the enormously high unemployment.

Political defense associations ( Republican Protection Association , Freedom Association ) attracted men who, as social democrats, feared an overthrow or who rejected democratization as rights in Heimwehr . In 1927 in Schattendorf in Burgenland, members of the Schutzbund demonstrating unarmed were fired. An invalid and a child died. The news of the Schattendorfer verdict , in which the perpetrators were acquitted, led to the escalation of the fire in the Vienna Palace of Justice the following day, July 15, 1927 . The completely overwhelmed police shot indiscriminately into the large crowd with extreme brutality and then hunted down fleeing demonstrators. In the so-calledThe July revolt resulted in 89 deaths, including four police officers. Federal Chancellor Prelate Ignaz Seipel (“No Mild!”) Defended the scandalous actions of the police in parliament.

In the years that followed, the poor economic situation and political disputes led Austria deeper and deeper into a crisis. During these times there were ideas on the one hand about Austrian identity and Austrian patriotism and on the other hand there was a strong movement towards a Greater German solution and the connection of Austria to Germany. The Austro-Marxism spoke of the ultimate goal of the dictatorship of the proletariat and thus made all conservatives fear; however, one wanted to achieve this goal in a democratic way. On the right-hand side of the party spectrum, the opinion spread that democracy was not suitable for solving the country's problems. Benito Mussolini was a role model for this.

One of the Christian social politicians who took this position (there were also Christian social democrats like Leopold Kunschak ) was Federal Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss . When the National Council parted after the resignation of all three presidents (because of a dispute over a vote), in March 1933, due to this crisis of the rules of procedure, it prevented the reassessment with police force and announced the " self-elimination of parliament ". A petition signed by more than a million people to Federal President Miklas to ensure that the constitution was restored was unsuccessful, although Miklas was aware that Dollfuss' approach was unconstitutional.

Austrofascist corporate state (1933–1938)

Dollfuss used the still valid War Economic Enabling Act of 1917 to change or introduce laws from then on through ordinances of the federal government. On February 12, 1934, the clashes between the ruling Christian Socialists ( Fatherland Front ) and the opposition Social Democrats , which historians sometimes referred to as the Austrian Civil War , culminated in a violent clash. The government used the armed forces and their cannons. On the same day, the mayor of Vienna, Karl Seitz, was dismissedand the ban on the Social Democratic Party and its apron organizations. Several standing death sentences were passed against Schutzbündler .

On May 1, 1934, Dollfuss proclaimed the federal state of Austria in the authoritarian "May Constitution " on a corporate basis (corporate state ). It was a dictatorship that was already then (e.g. in a private letter from Federal President Miklas , as reported by Friedrich Heer ), with the term Austrofascism .

A few weeks later there was the July coup of supporters of the NSDAP, which had been banned in Austria since 1933 . On July 25, 1934, some putschists succeeded in penetrating the Federal Chancellery , where Dollfuss was so badly injured that he died shortly afterwards because he was denied medical help. The coup attempt was put down within a few hours. Kurt Schuschnigg became the new Federal Chancellor .

The policy of the corporate state aimed to present Austria as the "better German state". Indeed, before the annexation to the German Reich , Austria was a much milder dictatorship: several people persecuted by the National Socialists, especially actors and writers, sought refuge in Austria from 1934 to 1938. In its outward appearance, the regime (this was later called competitive fascism) copied elements from fascist Italy and from National Socialist Germany: marches with a sea of ​​flags, the unity organization Patriotic Front , the Führer principle , the ban on parties.

While Adolf Hitler played the bystander in the July coup because Mussolini wanted Austria to be independent at the time, the pressure of the German Reich on Austria increased from year to year after 1934. Schuschnigg was intimidated by Hitler at meetings and blackmailed into accepting national (=  German national ) ministers into his government. When the Chancellor, in an act of desperation, announced a referendum on the independence of Austria in March 1938, Göring forced the establishment of a National Socialist government under Arthur Seyß-Inquart through telephone threats from Federal President Miklas. Parallel to their assumption of office on March 12, 1938, the long-prepared invasion of the German troops ( company Otto ) took place. At this time, some places, e.g. B. in Graz , the local National Socialists already seized power. On March 13, 1938, Hitler, motivated by the enthusiasm of his Austrian supporters, passed the Anschluss law , which he had not originally planned for this time . The terror against Jewish Austrians began immediately, which was also expressed in so-called “ Aryanizations ”, that is, the robbery of Jewish property.

Part of the German Empire (1938–1945)

From the balcony of the Hofburg, Adolf Hitler announced the annexation of Austria to the cheering masses on Heldenplatz on March 15, 1938
Mauthausen concentration camp liberated on May 6, 1945

The most serious consequence of the “Anschluss” was the terror against Jewish Austrians, which began immediately and which later culminated in mass murder. Unwanted people for racial or political reasons fled abroad by the tens of thousands unless they ended up in a concentration camp soon .

Austria was initially retained as a country in the Reich, but on April 14, 1939, the former federal states and Vienna were transformed into National Socialist Reichsgauen by the " Ostmarkgesetz " , the name Austria was to disappear: The area initially called the Land of Austria was shortly thereafter called Ostmark and from 1942 finally referred to as Alpen- und Donau-Reichsgaue . The Burgenland was divided between the Gau Niederdonau and Styria , East Tyrol was connected to the Gau Carinthia and the Styrian part of the Salzkammergutbeaten to the Gau Oberdonau . The area of Vienna was tripled at the expense of the surrounding area ( Greater Vienna ) .

After his professional failure in his home country and his political career in Germany, the native Austrian Adolf Hitler led Austria into the National Socialist arbitrary rule and subsequently erased all indications of the country's independence. Numerous Austrians took part in Hitler's politics and crimes with great intensity. Well-known perpetrators such as Arthur Seyß-Inquart , Adolf Eichmann , Ernst Kaltenbrunner and Alexander Löhr were Austrians. But also among the concentration camp guards, SS men and Gestapo-Many of the employees were Austrians. Although they made up only 8% of the population of the Greater German Reich, 14% of the SS members, 40% of the concentration camp guards, and 70% of Adolf Eichmann's staff were of Austrian descent.

In 1938 the Mauthausen / Gusen double camp system was established, which included the Mauthausen and Gusen concentration camps . Over the years, a network of branch offices was attached to this storage system , which extended across Austria. Forced laborers from all over Europe were subjected to inhumane conditions in these concentration camps . a. used in arms production and in road construction. Around 100,000 prisoners were killed in Mauthausen alone.

The Second World War in Europe finally ended with the unconditional surrender of the German Wehrmacht on May 8, 1945 (cf. Chronology of the Second World War ).

Postwar and Second Republic

With the end of the war in 1945, the defeat of the Greater German Reich , Austria was restored as an independent state. The later victorious powers announced this in the Moscow Declaration in 1943 . On April 27, 1945, the provisional state government met with Karl Renner as state chancellor and proclaimed the re-establishment of the republic . Soon afterwards, the Federal Constitution of October 1, 1920 in the version of 1929 was replaced by the Constitutional Transition Actreaffirmed. Exceptions were provisions that provided for the conversion of the Bundesrat into a state and council of states. Austria thus regained the status of a power-sharing, representative, parliamentary and federalist democracy.

One of the first laws passed by the provisional state government was the Prohibition Act , which dissolved and banned the NSDAP, its armed forces associations and all organizations related to it. As in 1932, the popular election of the Federal President was suspended and Karl Renner was unanimously elected head of state by the Federal Assembly in December 1945. Thereupon, until 1947, Austria was governed by an all-party government (ÖVP, SPÖ, KPÖ) with Leopold Figl as Federal Chancellor at the will of the occupying powers . From November 19, 1947, the ÖVP and SPÖ formed a grand coalition. This was continued until 1966. After Renner's death in late 1950, Theodor Körner becameelected Federal President on May 27, 1951 as a candidate of the SPÖ . This was the first popular election of a head of state in Austrian history.

After the war, Austria was divided into four allied occupation zones until 1955

Until 1955, Austria, like post-war Germany, was divided into zones of occupation . The largest zone was the Soviet , to Upper Austria north of the Danube ( Mühlviertel ) and east of the Enns , Lower Austria within the boundaries of 1937 (i.e. before the establishment of Greater Vienna ), the re-established Burgenland and in Vienna the districts 2, 4, 10, 20, 21 and 22 belonged. From the Soviet Union as German property confiscated companies were combined in a USIA called corporation, what according to the decisions of the Potsdam conferencePart of the reparations to be paid by Austria . After 1945 and well into the following decades, the Austrians, both the population and the politicians, were of the opinion that Austria was (as formulated in the Moscow Declaration of 1943) "Hitler's first victim", thus complicit in the World War II and the Holocaust should be downplayed or denied. The majority of them later justified themselves by saying that they had no other choice . One consequence of this " victim thesis " was the slow restitution of stolen property.

With the signing of the Austrian State Treaty on May 15, 1955 by Leopold Figl for the Federal Government of Raab I and by representatives of the four victorious powers and with the formally independent (i.e. not anchored in the State Treaty) commitment to neutrality and the obligation not to rejoin Germany To strive, the republic gained full sovereignty on July 27, 1955 .

On October 26, 1955, after the occupation soldiers had withdrawn, the National Council passed a resolution on Austria's permanent neutrality ; this day has been the Austrian national holiday since 1965 . Neutrality (nowadays better: freedom of association) is a military one and, from the beginning, meant no equidistance to the value systems of West and East. Due to the neutrality, however, good cultural and economic ties could be forged with the western countries as well as with the Eastern Bloc countries , which helped the country for a long time during the period of reconstruction.

Austria joined the UN on December 14, 1955 and was a member of the Security Council in 1973/74 and 1991/92 . The IAEA, the International Atomic Energy Agency , had its headquarters in Vienna as early as 1956/57, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) was added in 1969 , and other UN agencies followed later. For the period 2009/10 Austria was re-elected as a non-permanent member of the Security Council.

In the 1960s, Austria brought the conflict with Italy over the predominantly German-speaking South Tyrol , which until 1918 had belonged to the Austrian half of the empire and had been annexed by Italy after the First World War , to the UN. The autonomy regulation that was subsequently achieved for the South Tyrolean population (1969) has proven its worth and has been expanded since then.

From 1966 to 1970 the Klaus II federal government was the first sole government of the Second Republic, provided by the Christian Democratic ÖVP under Josef Klaus . 1970–1983 sole socialist governments followed under Bruno Kreisky (see Federal Government Kreisky I to Kreisky IV ). At this time, Kreisky's wide-ranging foreign policy was significant for Austria , symbolized by the building of the Vienna UN City and the internationalization of the Palestinian question , which Kreisky first brought before the UN.

In 1978 the referendum took place on the commissioning of the Zwentendorf nuclear power plant , which was approved by the Kreisky government ; it ended negatively. To date, Austria has not produced any nuclear energy and will not do so in the future either .

UNO-City in Vienna, the third official seat of the United Nations

In 1979, after the completion of its UN City , Vienna officially became the third official seat of the United Nations alongside New York and Geneva. Independently of that, OPEC settled in Vienna.

In 1983 the resigning Bruno Kreisky arranged a small coalition of Social Democrats (SPÖ) with the then national liberal Freedom Party (FPÖ); the FPÖ had helped him to power by standing still in 1970 (see Federal Government Sinowatz ). After the election of the right-wing politician Jörg Haider as party chairman of the FPÖ in 1986, the coalition was terminated by the SPÖ at the instigation of Franz Vranitzky .

The collapse of the Eastern Bloc in 1989/90 made the Iron Curtain disappear, which had impaired the development of Eastern Austria from 1945–1989.

From 1987 to 1999 the Social Democrats (SPÖ) formed “grand coalitions” with the Christian Democratic ÖVP (see Federal Government Vranitzky I to Vranitzky V and Federal Climate Government ). During this period Austria joined the European Union (1995), for which Alois Mock and Vranitzky in particular had advocated . In the 1994 referendum , two thirds of the participants voted in favor.


Since the opening of the borders of the former Eastern Bloc in 1989/90, Austria is no longer on the eastern border of western Europe. Austria became one of the strongest investors in the reform countries. In the first half of the 1990s, people from the warring Yugoslav nationalities were increasingly taken into Austria.

After a positive referendum on June 12, 1994, Austria joined the European Union on January 1, 1995 (together with Sweden and Finland).

After the end of the Cold War in 1991 and especially after joining the EU in 1995, the old-style neutrality policy became obsolete for Austria. Due to the signed EU treaties, the term neutrality is essentially reduced to freedom of association and has mainly identity-political meaning; De facto, Austria, as a full member of the EU, which is aiming for a common defense policy, has agreed to this project and can therefore no longer be neutral or free of alliances.

Austria held the presidency of the Council of the European Union in the second half of 1998 and in the first half of 2006 . In 1999 the euro was introduced as book money , and from January 1, 2002, the euro also replaced the schilling as cash . Austria joined the Schengen Agreement in 1995 . On December 1, 1997, it lifted border controls with Germany and Italy; since then it has belonged to the Schengen area . In the second half of 2018, Austria chaired the Council of the European Union for the third time .

The SPÖ-ÖVP coalition governments 1986–2000 were replaced by governments of the Austrian People's Party (ÖVP) with the Freedom Party of Austria ( FPÖ ) in 2000–2006 (see Federal Government Schüssel I and Schüssel II ). The then 14 other EU member states reacted to the participation of the FPÖ, which they considered to be radical right-wing extremists, with a temporary bilateral ban on contacts at government level (" EU sanctions "). After the split in the FPÖ in 2005, the newly founded Alliance Future Austria  (BZÖ) became a government partner.

In 2007/2008, after new elections, a SPÖ-ÖVP coalition was again active (see Gusenbauer government ). After the expansion of the Schengen area at the end of 2007 to include the Czech Republic , Slovakia , Hungary and Slovenia, at the end of 2008 to include Switzerland and at the end of 2011 to include Liechtenstein , Austria is completely surrounded by Schengen states.

Early National Council elections triggered by the ÖVP in September 2008 led to a new edition of the red-black coalition ( Federal Faymann government ) under the new party leaders Werner Faymann (SPÖ) and Josef Pröll (ÖVP). After Josef Pröll's resignation, Michael Spindelegger succeeded him as Vice Chancellor in 2011 .

After the National Council's legislative period was extended from four to five years, which came into force in 2007, the National Council was elected for the first time in 2013 five years after the previous election. In this election, the previous governing parties SPÖ and ÖVP again became the strongest and second strongest party with losses (together 99 out of 183 seats in the National Council). From 2013 to 2017 the SPÖ and ÖVP again formed a coalition government ( Federal Government Faymann II , 2016/17 Federal Government Kern ).

After the early elections in 2017, from which the ÖVP emerged as the party with the strongest vote, until the Ibiza affair in 2019, a coalition of ÖVP and FPÖ ( Bundesregierung Kurz I ) ruled, and after being voted out of the National Council by a vote of no confidence, a government officiated for the first time in 2019/20 a female Chancellor ( Bundesregierung Bierlein ), after the National Council elections on September 29, 2019, a government made up of the ÖVP and the Greens ( Bundesregierung Kurz II ) has been in office at the federal level for the first time since January 2020 .

See also: Austria 2015 , 2016 , 2017 , 2018 , 2019 , 2020 and COVID-19 pandemic in Austria .


Administrative division

Austria consists of nine federal states, Vienna as the federal capital is one of them. The states are divided into a total of 79  districts , including the municipal level. There are a total of 2095  municipalities , 15 of which are  statutory cities , which exercise the district administration themselves (as of January 1, 2020).

Liechtenstein Schweiz Bodensee Vorarlberg Tirol Tirol Salzburg Kärnten Burgenland Wien Steiermark Oberösterreich Niederösterreich Italien Slowenien Deutschland Kroatien Slowakei Tschechien Ungarn
Map of the nine Austrian federal states and neighboring states
Federal states and districts of Austria
Federal states with their key data
Abbr. state founding Capital residents e Area
in km² F
(Ew. / Km²)

Share of foreigners A
Immigrant background M Cities S Municipalities
(total) G
B. BurgenlandBurgenland Burgenland 1921 Eisenstadt 294,436 000000000003965.20000000003,965.2 74 9.2% 12.2% 13 171
K CarinthiaCarinthia Carinthia 1919 Klagenfurt am Wörthersee 561.293 000000000009536.50000000009,536.5 59 10.9% 13.7% 17th 132
N NiederosterreichLower Austria Lower Austria 1919 St. Polten 1,684,287 19,179.56 88 10.3% 15.5% 76 573
O OberosterreichUpper Austria Upper Austria 1919 Linz 1,490,279 11,982.52 124 13.2% 19.5% 32 440
S. SalzburgState of Salzburg Salzburg 1919 Salzburg 558.410 000000000007154.56000000007,154.56 78 17.7% 23.2% 11 119
St. StyriaStyria Styria 1919 Graz 1,246,395 16,399.34 76 11.5% 14.2% 35 286
T TyrolTyrol (state) Tyrol 1919 innsbruck 757.634 12,648.37 60 16.4% 21.6% 11 279
V VorarlbergVorarlberg Vorarlberg 1919 Bregenz 397.139 000000000002601.67000000002,601.67 153 18.2% 26.6% 5 96
W. ViennaVienna Vienna W 1920 Vienna 1,911,191 414.82 4607 30.8% 45.9% 1 1
E. January 1, 2020
F. December 31, 2019
A. January 1, 2020
M. Ø 2019
S. As of May 1, 2015
G Status: January 1, 2020
W.Vienna is a city ​​divided into 23 districts and has also been a federal state since 1920.


Cities and metropolitan areas

Schönbrunn Palace , behind it parts of the 14th and 15th district of Vienna.
Graz is the second largest city in Austria after Vienna.

By far the largest settlement area in Austria is the metropolitan region of Vienna with a population of 2.85 million (as of 2019) . This means that more than a quarter of the state's population is concentrated in the capital region.

Other larger urban regions surround the provincial capitals Graz (Styria), Linz (Upper Austria), Salzburg (Salzburg) and Innsbruck (Tyrol). The more important cities also include (from west to east) Feldkirch , Dornbirn and Bregenz (Vorarlberg), Villach and Klagenfurt (Carinthia), Wels (Upper Austria), St. Pölten and Wiener Neustadt (Lower Austria). A total of 201  municipalities of very different sizes have the right to call themselves cities ( Stadtrecht); this is of administrative importance only for the 15 statutory cities. A major problem, especially in economically weak areas, is the migration ( rural exodus ) of the rural population to urban areas.

Exclaves and enclaves

The Kleinwalsertal in Vorarlberg
Salzburg is cultural, e.g. B. because of the Salzburg Festival , important.

The Kleinwalsertal is a functional enclave of Germany on Austrian territory . The Kleinwalsertal belongs to Vorarlberg and geographically borders directly on it, but due to its topographical location it can only be reached by road via Germany. Another functional enclave of Germany is the municipality of Jungholz in Tyrol, which cannot be reached from Austria and is only connected to Austria through the 1636 meter high Sorgschrofen . The Saalforste are Austrian territory, but are privately owned by the Free State of Bavaria .

In contrast to similar functional and geographical enclaves, such as the Kleinwalsertal or Jungholz, Hinterriß is not a customs connection area to Germany.

A functional enclave of Austria used to exist on Swiss territory. For a long time, the Swiss community of Samnaun could not be reached by road from Switzerland, but only via Austria (Tyrol). This led to the fact that the Romansh language was abandoned in the 19th century and a dialect similar to Tyrolean was adopted instead . There is now a Swiss road to Samnaun, but there is still a duty-free zone that was once established . Until 1980, the municipality of Spiss in the Austrian-Swiss border area had a similar status to Samnaun. For a long time it could only be reached via Samnaun and had to contend with heavy emigration because, in contrast to other enclaves, it offered hardly any economic development opportunities.

In addition, the Lienz district within Austria is an exclave of the state of Tyrol; the federal state of Vienna is completely surrounded by Lower Austria as an enclave.

Political system

Presidential office in the Leopoldine wing of the Hofburg
Federal Chancellery on Ballhausplatz
The parliament in Vienna is the seat of the National Council and the Federal Council

According to the Federal Constitution of 1920 in the version of 1929, which came into force again in 1945, Austria is a federal , parliamentary-democratic republic consisting of nine federal states . The head of state is the Federal President , who has been directly elected by the people for six years since 1951 (due to the 1929 constitutional amendment); a single re-election is permitted. In the 2019 Democracy Index, Austria ranks 16th out of 167 countries, making it a “complete democracy” and three places behind Germany.

Since Austria is a federal state, both legislation and administration are divided between the federal government and the (federal) states.


The National Council and the Federal Council usually exercise federal legislation jointly (bicameral system).

The National Council , with its 183 members, is the dominant chamber and is elected according to the general, equal, direct and secret suffrage of all citizens over 16 years of age according to the principles of proportional representation. Its legislative period lasts five years if it is not shortened by the National Council itself or by the Federal President and Federal Government through dissolution in order to allow earlier new elections. A 4 percent hurdle prevents the party landscape in the National Council from being too fragmented. The members of the National Council have a free mandate and enjoy professional and non-professional immunity.

The Bundesrat is appointed by the individual state parliaments (the parliaments of the federal states) according to the size of the population and thus represents the interests of the states in federal legislation in accordance with the federal principle. In the majority of cases, he only has a suspensive right of veto , which is granted through a persistence resolutionof the National Council can be overruled. The Federal Council only has an absolute right of veto in cases in which the rights of the federal states are interfered with. Since the Federal Council is sent according to party proportional representation, it is often criticized that it does not vote according to state, but according to party interests. The members of the Federal Council have a free mandate and enjoy professional and non-professional immunity.

At the federal level, the head of government is the Federal Chancellor , who is appointed by the Federal President. Usually, after an election to the National Council, the top candidate of the party with the strongest vote is charged with forming a government. But this is not a constitutional rule. As a result, the Federal Government , i.e. the Federal Chancellor, Vice Chancellor and all other Federal Ministers as a collegiate body, is appointed by the Federal President on the proposal of the Federal Chancellor (although the Federal President can also reject proposals). The federal government and its members depend on the trust of the National Council (political responsibility), which is why minority governments have so far only been appointed in exceptional cases.


The state legislation in the federal states is exercised by the respective state parliament (unicameral system). He is elected by citizens over 16 years of age on the basis of the same, direct, personal, free and secret voting rights according to the principles of proportional representation. The members of the state parliaments have a free mandate and enjoy professional and non-professional immunity.

The state parliament elects the state government , which consists of the state governor (sometimes referred to in the media as the "state prince"), the required number of deputies and other members (state councils). The state government is politically responsible to the state parliament.


A special feature of the political system in Austria are public interest groups with compulsory membership, legally designated as chambers, which are often supplemented by associations under private law. The Austrian Chamber of Commerce , the Chamber for Workers and Salaried Employees (since 1920) and the Chamber of Agriculture are considered to be “large chambers” . In addition, there are associations of the Federation of Industry, the Federation of Austrian Trade Unions and the Federation of Farmers. If a bill is drawn up as a government bill , an assessment process takes place in which the chambers propose changes, etc.

The large interest groups are referred to as social partners when they jointly seek compromises on disputed issues; as a result, strikes have become rare in Austria. Occasionally they are referred to as a non-elected subsidiary government , Austria is criticized as a chamber state . The SPÖ and ÖVP elevated the chambers to constitutional status in 2007 to make changes more difficult.

Political parties

Election results in Austria since 1945, the government coalitions in the background

Since the founding of the Republic of Austria, the politics of two major parties , the Christian-Conservative People's Party ÖVP (until 1934 Christian Social Party, 1934–1938 Fatherland Front ) and the Social Democratic SPÖ (since 1991, previously since 1945 Socialist Party of Austria and 1918 bis 1933 Social Democratic Workers 'Party in German Austria , before that Social Democratic Workers' Party), embossed. Both came into being during the monarchy and were re-established or re-established after the liberation of Vienna at the end of World War II in April 1945. 1945–1966 and 1986–1999, these two parties ruled in a grand coalition despite their ideological differences. The positive effects of this cooperation were thematized under the concept of social partnership , the negative ones as party-political proportionality .

The third party-political continuum, which was much smaller until the 1990s, is the German-national camp, which in the first republic was mainly in the Greater German People's Party , in the second republic in the VdU (Association of Independents), then in the FPÖ, the Freedom Party of Austria , collected. In the first years of the Second Republic, the Communist Party of Austria (KPÖ) also played a role in the country's politics, but since the 1960s it has been insignificant as a small party at the federal level. In regional elections, for example in Graz , it still achieves a significant share of the vote today.

In the 1980s, the rigid party system, sometimes referred to as hyperstable (with one of the highest densities of party members in the world), broke up: on the one hand, through the appearance of the Greens on the left side of the party spectrum, on the other hand, through the repositioning of the FPÖ as a right-wing populist party. The Liberal Forum split off from it in 1993 . In 2005, the FPÖ experienced its second split with the establishment of the Alliance Future Austria (BZÖ). In the national elections in Austria in 2008 , the FPÖ and BZÖ achieved roughly the same strength as the SPÖ, but were not considered as coalition partners for either the SPÖ or the ÖVP. The promotion of political parties in Austria (“Democracy costs”) is the second highest in an international comparison, based on the number of inhabitants, after Japan - in 2014 it totaled 205 million euros.

In October 2012, a new party was founded under the name NEOS - Das Neue Österreich and entered the National Council election in Austria in 2013 in an electoral alliance with the Liberal Forum, with which it subsequently merged in January 2014. In the National Council election in 2013, the party received 5 percent of the vote and moved into the National Council with nine members.

State budget

State budget of Austria as a percentage of the gross domestic product
year National

in percent

in percent
1995 67.9 −6.1
1996 67.8 −4.5
1997 63.1 −2.6
1998 63.4 −2.7
1999 66.3 −2.6
2000 65.7 −2.4
2001 66.4 −0.7
2002 66.4 −1.4
2003 65.5 −1.8
2004 64.8 −4.8
2005 68.3 −2.5
2006 67.0 −2.5
2007 64.7 −1.4
2008 68.4 −1.5
2009 79.6 −5.3
2010 82.4 −4.4
2011 82.3 −2.6
2012 81.7 −2.2
2013 81.0 −2.0
2014 83.8 −2.7
2015 84.3 −1.0
2016 83.6 −1.6
2017 78.4 −0.7

The state budget included expenditures in 2016 of the equivalent of 192.6 billion US dollars , which were income equivalent to 187.3 billion US dollar against. This resulted in a budget deficit of 1.3 percent of GDP .

The total government debt including social security reached its highest level in March 2011 at 210.3 billion euros. In 2008, the total national debt was 176.8 billion euros. This sudden increase is mainly due to the global financial and economic crisis and the associated government aid and rescue packages for the financial sector and to economic development.

The national debt of Austria fell between 2001 and 2007 from 66.8% to 60.2% of GDP . However, the Maastricht target of 60% or less has never been achieved since 1992 - before joining the EU in 1995. In the course of the global financial and economic crisis, Austria's debt rose to almost 85%.

In 2011, a so-called debt brake was passed in the Federal Budget Act, which prescribes specific restrictions on the budget balance in the years 2012 to 2016 and from 2017 onwards the structural deficit will be limited to 0.45% of GDP.

Foreign and Security Policy

Austrian Foreign Ministry on Vienna's Minoritenplatz

Since the accession of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Slovenia to the EU in 2004, Austria, with the exception of Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein , has only been surrounded by other EU member states. Its security policy therefore focuses on counter-terrorism and on international armies within the framework of the EU and the UN .

During the Cold War, Austria saw itself at the interface between two opposing power blocs - the Western powers and the Eastern bloc . In accordance with the neutrality that the Soviet Union had been assured of in order to obtain the Austrian State Treaty in 1955, Austria was formally neutral towards both power blocs, although from the beginning it had emphasized a Western form of democracy, economy and politics towards the Soviet Union.

The country's foreign policy often contributed to the stability of the region and the cooperative reorganization of East-West relations. Vienna became attractive as an international conference location, as it was not held either in a NATO country or in the Warsaw Pact area. However, this concept became obsolete with the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989.

Austria joined the EU in 1995 ; Domestically, it was argued that one was going “as a neutral country into the EU”. (The fact that it is difficult to be neutral towards other EU member states was not discussed in public.) Later, Austria decided to end the Petersberg tasks and other decisions within the framework of the European security and defense policy (ESDP) as well as the common foreign and To support the EU's security policy (CFSP) and merely to avoid explicitly military alliances.

In 2008, the new Article 23 f (since 2010: Article 23 j) of the Federal Constitutional Act established a legal basis for participation in peacekeeping measures. The 1955 re-equipped army thus participates in the NATO program Partnership for Peace member including no duty to provide assistance. In the Western European Union (the EU's military assistance pact), Austria, like the non-aligned Sweden, has observer status. Further developments around the ESDP and CFSP in the EU are open and could lead to further challenges for non-aligned EU states such as Austria or Sweden.

Austria joined the United Nations in 1955 . Vienna became the third official seat of the United Nations Secretariat after New York and Geneva in 1980 (a further seat was later established in Nairobi , Kenya) and traditionally attaches great importance to this element of foreign policy. 1972–1981 the later controversial former Austrian Foreign Minister Kurt Waldheim was Secretary General of the United Nations . In 2009 and 2010 Austria had a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council inside. In total, over 50,000 Austrians have served under the UN flag as soldiers, military observers, civilian police and civilian experts all over the world. In addition to the UN offices, there are official headquarters of other international organizations in Vienna. These include the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA, in Vienna since 1957), the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe  (OSCE), the headquarters of OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries), founded in Baghdad in 1960, and various non-governmental organizations  (NGOs) .

The formal repeal of the Federal Constitutional Law on Perpetual Neutrality, passed in 1955, requires a two-thirds majority in the National Council, which is generally unlikely to come about, as the Neutrality Law is symbolic for historical reasons. At home and abroad, it is therefore not clear to many observers that, although Austria is still free of military alliances and does not allow bases and troop movements of foreign armies in its territory, classic neutrality no longer exists. The federal governments of the last decades chose the path not to impose restrictions on the neutrality provisions in the Neutrality Act, but instead to have other, more inconspicuous federal constitutional laws passed.

The Austrian government is responsible for foreign policy with the Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs . The incumbent is Alexander Schallenberg .


Steyr Ulan of the Federal Army

The Federal Army consists of around 35,000 men in presence and around 30,000 militia men . The military service lasted eight months up to January 1, 2006 and six months since then. In 2013, the military budget was one of the lowest in the world , at 0.88% of GDP - around 2.160 billion euros.

National military defense is based on the general conscription of all male citizens between the ages of 17 and 50. Women can do voluntary military service. Since 1975 conscripts who refuse military service for reasons of conscience can do alternative military service. This has lasted nine months since January 1, 2006 and can also be carried out in foreign service as peace service , memorial service or social service, although it lasts ten to eleven months.

Regional cooperation

The European region Tyrol-South Tyrol-Trentino is a successful example of regional cooperation

The regional cooperation of the European regions is a transnational cooperation with the neighboring states, especially at the economic level. The European Union as well as the Austrian federal government and the respective provincial governments hope that in addition to the aspect of transnational cooperation, the potentially weaker peripheral regions will also be strengthened.

European regions with Austrian participation are:

Climate protection policy

The Tauernwindpark in Oberzeiring, Styria

In March 2007 the Council of Ministers , the Austrian climate strategy adopted to achieve the objectives of up to 2012 Kyoto Protocol to achieve that the climate to counteract, by which the Alpine region is particularly affected.

One of the most important components of environmental protection is climate protection . That is why it is one of the most important tasks for the Ministry of Life as the responsible body of the federal government to implement the climate strategy.

The Federal Environment Agency is the specialized agency of the Republic of Austria for environmental protection and environmental control. In this capacity, the Federal Environment Agency supports the federal government in implementing the climate strategy.

klima: aktiv is the initiative of the Ministry of Life for active climate protection and part of the Austrian climate strategy. A large number of klima: aktiv programs actively provide impetus for supply and demand for climate-friendly technologies and services .

The Austrian Council on Climate Change (ACCC) is the Austrian climate advisory board . The ACCC presents itself as an information portal for national and international climate policy and research in cooperation with the Ministry of Life and the Federal Environment Agency.

The Austrian Climate Alliance aims to support the indigenous peoples . The Climate Alliance Austria consists of municipalities and cities, all nine federal states, schools, educational institutions and companies as well as the COICA , an association of Indian organizations in the Amazon region .

The renewable energy were in Austria for decades the backbone of the power generation . By 1997, two thirds of the electricity generated came from hydropower. In 2010, electricity generation from renewable energies reached a rate of 72%.

On September 25, 2019, Austria became the ninth country worldwide to declare a climate emergency through votes from ÖVP, SPÖ, Neos and Liste Jetzt . This was the commitment to give the climate crisis and its consequences “top priority”. The application also includes the plan to examine future laws for their effects on the climate.

In the Climate Protection Index , an annual evaluation of the climate protection efforts of countries carried out by the Germanwatch organization , Austria achieved 38th place out of 61 ratings in 2020 and is thus in the lower midfield below the EU average. The comparatively high share of renewable energies and the high greenhouse gas emissions, high energy consumption and climate protection policy, which are accused of having no signal to introduce a CO 2 price and no strategy to phase out coal, are rated as good for Austria .


Development of total crime in Austria from 2009 to 2018

As in at least all wealthy countries in the western world , there has been a decline in crime since the early 1990s , especially in the case of theft and violent crime .

The homicides rate is used as an index for comparing the propensity to violence over long periods of time and over large spatial distances. Austria had 0.7 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in 2016. A high point was in 1991 with 1.3 cases. Today's 0.7 cases are below the Western European average, which is one. The average for all of Europe was three cases per 100,000 inhabitants, the global average was 6.1. East Asian countries have an average of 0.6 cases, Singapore only 0.2 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

Detailed, nationwide data have been published in the Austrian police crime statistics since 2001 . In 2018, fewer than 500,000 reported offenses were recorded for the first time. The clearance rate rose to a record 52.5%. In key areas of crime such as burglary in flats and houses, car theft, pocket theft and trick theft, which as forms of crime have a significant impact on people's feeling of security, the number of reports is falling significantly.

In addition, or a decreasing is internationally by an increasing willingness to report unreported cases considered, especially in violence against women . It can therefore be assumed that overall crime will decline even more than can be seen from police statistics.

Legal system

Federal Constitutional Law

Since 2012 seat of the Constitutional Court: Vienna 1., Freyung 8
The Austrian Administrative Court is located in the
Bohemian Court Chancellery on Vienna's Judenplatz
The Supreme Court is located in the Palace of Justice
The Palais Trautson, seat of the Ministry of Justice

The Austrian federal constitutional law is fragmented because, unlike other states, there is no incorporation requirement , according to which all changes or additions made after the constitution came into force would only have to be included directly in the constitutional document itself and not be enacted in separate constitutional laws. Constitutional rules can therefore be found in Austria not only in the Federal Constitutional Law itself, but also in many other constitutional laws and constitutional provisions contained in simple laws.

From July 1, 2003 to January 31, 2005, a constitutional convention (“ Austria Convention ”) met, which drew up proposals for a reform of the Austrian Federal Constitution. The chairman, Franz Fiedler , prepared his own final report, as no agreement was reached between the federal and state governments on the future distribution of competencies.

The central constitutional document is

  • the Federal Constitutional Act of October 1, 1920 in the version of 1929 (B-VG) with the amendments that have been issued since then, which form the "core" of federal constitutional law.

A catalog of fundamental rights is missing in the B-VG. It is made up of several constitutional texts:

Other important federal constitutional laws (BVG; to distinguish it from the original constitution, the B-VG, written without a hyphen) are:

In addition, there are more than 1,300 purely formal constitutional laws and legal rules known as constitutional provisions in simple laws (these safeguard otherwise unconstitutional exceptions) as well as constitutional treaties. On January 4, 2008, the First Federal Constitutional Law Consolidation Act (BVRBG), Federal Law Gazette I No. 2/2008 , was published. As a result, 71 federal constitutional laws, 167 constitutional provisions and 6 constitutional-amending treaties were repealed or declared no longer valid, 24 federal constitutional laws were downgraded to simple federal laws and 225 other provisions were stripped of their constitutional rank.

European law

In 1995, the acquis communautaire , the common body of law of the EU, was adopted by the EU directives (framework laws) and EU regulations (directly applicable laws) issued since Austria's accession to the EU, as well as by final rulings of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) is constantly being developed. In case of doubt, Community law takes precedence. In particular, economic , corporate and capital law are affected , only in the case of the basic guidelines of the constitution, the so-called building laws , to be changed by a referendum is necessary, it is assumed that Austrian law takes precedence.

Austria - like a total of 17 out of 27 member states - has ratified the EU Constitutional Treaty; Since the necessary unanimity of all member states could not be achieved, the Lisbon Treaty was concluded in autumn 2007 , which contains the most essential "constitutional provisions" without designating them as such and which does without symbols of the statehood of the EU. Austria has also ratified this.


The jurisdiction is in Austria mainly federal matter. In civil and criminal law matters, it is  exercised by district courts, regional courts, higher regional courts and the Supreme Court (OGH) as the highest instance, which are all federal courts. Administrative jurisdiction has been organized in two stages since January 1, 2014 and is made up of eleven administrative courts , each of which has one court ( regional administrative court ) and the federal government has two courts ( federal administrative court and federal finance court ), and the administrative court (VwGH) exercised.

With the Constitutional Court  (VfGH) there is only one court for constitutional jurisdiction. As far as matters that are part of the competencies of the EU are concerned, the European Court of Justice  (ECJ) is the final instance over the Austrian courts according to the EU Treaty ; in human rights issues according to the European Convention on Human Rights, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

Private law

The central private law codification of Austria, the General Civil Code (ABGB) of June 1, 1811 (entered into force on January 1, 1812), is a natural law codification that was profoundly amended from 1914 to 1916 under the influence of the Historical School of Law . Far-reaching changes did not take place again until 1970, particularly in family law. Large areas of private law are, however, regulated outside of the ABGB, whereby many of these special laws were introduced in Austria in the course of the “ Anschluss ” to Germany in 1938 and were retained after 1945 in a possibly denazified version; something like thatMarriage Act (EheG), the Corporate Code (UGB) and the Stock Corporation Act (AktG).

Criminal law

Austrian criminal law is regulated in modern codifications such as the Criminal Code (StGB) of January 23, 1974 or the Code of Criminal Procedure (StPO) of December 31, 1975, which came into force on January 1, 2008, and was thoroughly amended in 2004. In addition to penalties, the Criminal Code also includes “ preventive measures ”. Both penalties and measures may only be imposed because of an act that was already threatened with punishment at the time it was committed (implementation of the prohibition of retroactive effect in criminal law: Nulla poena sine lege , § 1 StGB). The death penalty has been abolished under the ordinary procedure since 1950 and under the extraordinary procedure since 1968.

State goals

State objectives in the Austrian Federal Constitution

  • permanent neutrality
  • Ban on Nazi activities (since 1955)
  • broadcasting as a public task (since 1974)
  • comprehensive national defense (since 1975)
  • comprehensive environmental protection (since 1984)
  • equal treatment of disabled people (since 1997)
  • equality between men and women (since 1998)

The following updated national goals have also been in effect since 2013, and the Republic (federal, state and municipalities) is responsible for ensuring that they are guaranteed:

  • sustainability
  • Animal welfare
  • comprehensive environmental protection
  • Securing the water and food supply
  • research


Former seat of the stock exchange in Vienna

With a gross domestic product (GDP) per capita of 39,990 euros, Austria is one of the wealthiest countries in the EU - for comparison: Germany 37,900 euros (2016). The total GDP is nominally 352 billion euros. Of this, agriculture, forestry and fishing account for 1.2%, material goods production, mining, energy and water supply and construction 28% and market and market-based services 70.7%. In tourism, which, in contrast to many countries, takes place all year round, there were a total of 141 million overnight stays in 2016 (residents and foreigners, around 52 million of which were overnight stays by guests from Germany). The high proportion of industry in Austria in international comparison is characterized by highly developed mechanical engineering, numerous automotive suppliers and a number of large medium-sized companies,

In 2016 the Austrian economy grew by 1.5%. Growth of 1.64% is expected for 2017. At 50.7% (2016), the government quota is above the average for the EU countries. In the Global Competitiveness Index , which measures a country's competitiveness, Austria ranks 18th out of 137 countries (as of 2017). In 2018, the country ranks 32nd out of 180 countries in the index for economic freedom .

In 2011, 4,167,164 people were employed in 706,817 workplaces in Austria . The largest exchange in Austria is the CEE Stock Exchange Group with its subsidiary Wiener Börse , whose most important index for Austria is the ATX .

The richest federal state is the capital Vienna with a GDP per capita adjusted for purchasing power of 155% of the EU average. Burgenland, on the other hand, achieved the lowest value, with 86% being the only Austrian federal state below the EU average.

GDP by state
rank state GDP PPP in € million GDP / capita, PPS ,
(EU28 = 100) (2015)
GDP / capita in €
(PPS) (2015)
1 Vienna 81.092 155 44,700
2 Salzburg 23,374 150 43,200
3 Vorarlberg 15.101 137 39,600
4th Tyrol 28,826 136 39,300
5 Upper Austria 54,480 131 37,700
- AustriaAustria Austria 318.509 128 36,900
6th Styria 40,600 115 33,100
7th Carinthia 17,439 108 31,200
8th Lower Austria 50,047 106 30,500
- EuropeEurope EU-28 14,714,029 100 28,900
9 Burgenland 7,461 089 25,800


The Austrian banks have been heavily involved in the countries of the former Eastern Bloc since 1989 and are among the most important lenders there. Since the international financial crisis hit in September 2008, the credit risk assumed by Austria and the associated effects on the relationship between national debt and the country's economic performance have been viewed particularly critically. The Austrian banks still benefit from the strict Austrian banking secrecy . After joining the EU, the anonymity of savings accounts was abolished. However, it remains true that accounts may not be opened by authorities without an express judicial order.

Larger banks in Austria are BAWAG PSK , Raiffeisen , Erste Bank and Sparkasse as well as Bank Austria .


Natural raw materials in Austria: Mg - magnesite , Fe - iron , PM - copper , zinc , lead , Sb - antimony ; C - coal , L - lignite , G - natural gas , P - petroleum ; GR - graphite , NaCl - salt

Mining has lost importance in the last few decades. So who was lead -Mining in Bad Bleiberg set and 2006 also ended the centuries-long degradation of coal .

raw material Production 2016 in tons
salt 3,445,860
oil 752.420
Natural gas (1,000 m³n) 1,252,728
Iron ore and iron mica 2,777,260
Tungsten ore 515.172
Magnesite 565,892
  • The mining of rock salt is significant . Here the delivery rate is greater than the domestic consumption. Salt is a federally owned mineral raw material, i.e. owned by the Republic of Austria. The dismantling is carried out by the privatized company Salinen Austria .
  • Oil and natural gas are extracted in the Alpine foothills and in the Vienna Basin. While Austria was still self-sufficient in oil until the 1960s, today (as of 2017) around 90% have to be imported. The proven reserves have halved in the last ten years and are now only seven annual production. The same applies to natural gas. The proven reserves here have decreased from 34 billion cubic meters in 2007 to 9 billion m³ in 2016.
  • Iron ore is still extracted in small quantities in Styria ( Erzberg ) and iron mica in Carinthia ( Wolfsberg district ).
  • The mining of tungsten in Mittersill celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2016.
  • Magnesite is mined in Styria and Carinthia.

In 2016, around 5,000 people were employed in the mining industry, but the majority of them worked in stone, gravel and sand pits. 250 people worked underground, about half of them in salt mines and 50 each in tungsten and magnesite mining.

Agriculture and Forestry

The cellar lanes are typical of small-scale wine production .

In 2007 around 78% of Austria's area was used for agriculture (38%) and forestry (40%).

Compared to most European countries, Austria is ecologically well equipped, which also explains Austria's strengths in agriculture and forestry. Its biocapacity (or biological natural capital) is more than twice the world average. In 2016, Austria had 3.8 global hectares of biocapacity per person within its limits, compared to the world average of 1.6 global hectares per person. In contrast, the use of biocapacity in the same year was 6.0 global hectares per capita. This is Austria's consumption-related ecological footprint . This means that Austrians claim around 60 percent more bio-capacity than the country contains. As a result, Austria has a biocapacity deficit.

Austria has a small-scale agriculture . This is increasingly trying to specialize in quality products, as the pressure of competition is increasing due to the EU expansion . Austrian farmers are increasingly relying on organic agriculture : In 2008, 20,000 organic farmers were working around 15% of Austria's agricultural area. With a total share of almost 10%, Austria has the highest density of organic farms in the European Union . The most important agricultural area in the cultivation of field crops is the Marchfeld near Vienna.

Wine is an important agricultural export product for Austria. The main buyer of the wine, besides Switzerland and the USA , is two thirds of Germany . In 1985, viticulture was seriously affected by the glycol wine scandal , but in the meantime the winegrowers have improved their quality wines so much that significantly more wine can be exported than before the scandal.

Due to the large forest areas, forestry is also an important factor, which also supplies the wood and paper industry accordingly. Wood as a raw material is mainly exported to southern Europe.

The hunt is in Austria with the real estate connected, individual right and in an area organized hunting system.

The value of the venison and because of caused in the forest and field hall game damage most important game animals are deer, red deer, chamois and wild boar. Other wild species that are numerically strongly represented in the Austrian hunting statistics include: a. Mallard duck , pheasant and brown hare .


Tourism is one of the most important economic sectors in Austria. In 2013, a direct added value of 16.94 billion euros was achieved from tourism, which corresponds to 5.3% of the gross domestic product. With indirect value added effects, the area came to 22.87 billion, 7.1% of GDP. Tourism is evenly distributed over the summer and winter seasons, although an east (more summer tourism) -west (more winter tourism) gradient is visible. Important sectors are also culture and city tourism, as well as spa, wellness and conference tourism.

According to estimates by the World Tourism Organization, Austria was visited by 26.7 million tourists in 2015.


Swarovski crystals
Steyr 220 from the Austrian automobile manufacturer Steyr Daimler Puch

Austria has a modern and efficient industry . Around 160 Austrian companies are currently (2016) world market leaders in their category.

The nationalized industry was largely privatized ( OMV  AG, Voestalpine  AG, VA Technologie  AG, Steyr Daimler Puch  AG, Austria Metall  AG). Steyr Daimler Puch was sold to the Magna group, VA Tech to Siemens  AG, and Jenbacher Werke to General Electric .

Other well-known brands and companies: Manner & Comp. AG, Linz Textil Holding AG, Sanochemia Pharmazeutika AG etc.


Services make up the largest proportion of economic output in Austria. This is primarily achieved through tourism, trade and banks. The Austrian banks still benefit from the strict Austrian banking secrecy . After joining the EU, the anonymity of savings accounts was abolished. However, it remains true that accounts may not be opened by authorities without an express judicial order.

Gross National Income

The gross national income of Austria in 2011 was 419.2 billion euros . The gross domestic product (GDP) adjusted for purchasing power was estimated at 352.0 billion euros in 2011 and corresponds to a GDP of 41,822 euros per inhabitant.

In 2014, according to Statistics Austria, the share of public social spending in gross domestic product (GDP) was 30.1 percent. According to the OECD calculation method, it was 28.4 percent. This put Austria in sixth place in the OECD ranking and above the average of 21.6%; with social spending growing faster than economic growth. The share of social benefits for older people, such as pensions, was 44 percent or 42.9 billion euros. In comparison, the value in 1980 was only 32 percent.

Development of GDP in 2016 by sector
Gross National Income Employees
Industry 28% 25.7%
Agriculture 1.3% 4.7%
Services 70.7% 69.6%


Development of the number of employed and unemployed in Austria from 1946 to 2012

At the end of May 2015 the number of unemployed (registered unemployed and training participants) was 395,518. 330,326 unemployed people were registered with the AMS , 65,192 people without a job attended a training course offered by the AMS. The unemployment rate was 8.6 percent. The extended quota, including training participants, corrected by Wifo for seasonal fluctuations, was 10.7%. This is the highest unemployment rate ever recorded in Austria, with increases in eastern Austria being stronger than in the west. Almost one in four of the registered unemployed was over 50 years old. Unemployment among foreigners rose above average.

Unemployment has been reduced in recent years. The unemployment rate (according to Eurostat definition) was 4.7% in June 2018, well below the EU average. In 2017, youth unemployment was 10.4%.

Economic indicators

The important economic indicators of gross domestic product, inflation, budget balance and foreign trade developed as follows:

Change in gross domestic product (GDP), real
in% compared to the previous year
year 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
in% yoy
2.1% 3.3% 3.6% 1.5% −3.9% 1.9% 2.8% 0.7% 0.1% 0.6% 1.0% 1.5% 3.0%
Source: World Bank
Development of GDP (nominal)
absolute (in billion euros) per inhabitant (in thousands of euros)
year 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 year 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
GDP in billions of euros 324 333 344 353 370 GDP per inhabitant
(in thousands of euros)
38.0 38.7 39.4 40.4 42.0
Source: Eurostat
Development of the inflation rate in
% compared to the previous year
Development of the budget balance in
% of GDP (
"minus" = deficit in the state budget)
year 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 year 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
inflation rate 1.8% 3.3% 2.5% 2.0% 1.6% 0.9% 0.9% Budget balance −2.6% −2.2% −1.4% −2.7% −1.0% 0.4% 1.1%
Source: Eurostat
Main trading partner (2016)
Export in% to Import in% of
GermanyGermany Germany 29.9% GermanyGermany Germany 42.5%
United StatesUnited States United States 6.3% ItalyItaly Italy 5.9%
ItalyItaly Italy 6.2% SwitzerlandSwitzerland Switzerland 5.2%
SwitzerlandSwitzerland Switzerland 5.3% Czech RepublicCzech Republic Czech Republic 4.4%
SlovakiaSlovakia Slovakia 4.4% NetherlandsNetherlands Netherlands 4.0%
FranceFrance France 4.0% China People's RepublicPeople's Republic of China People's Republic of China 3.4%
other countries 43.9% other countries 34.6%
Source: gtai
Development of foreign trade
in billion euros and its change compared to the previous year in%
in billions of euros vs. Previous year in billions of euros vs. Previous year in billions of euros vs. Previous year
2014 2015 2016
import 137.0 - 0.7% 140.7 + 2.7% 142.4 + 1.2%
export 134.2 + 1.7% 137.8 + 2.7% 137.5 - 0.2%
balance −2.8 −2.9 −4.9
Source: gtai

Wealth distribution

Despite a balanced distribution of income, wealth in Austria is very unevenly distributed, so that Austrians have less net wealth on average than Greeks or Spaniards. The reason for this is that, internationally, a relatively large number of people rent and only 60 percent live in property, in Vienna only 18 percent. Real estate, however, represents the majority of wealth, because it is worth twice as much as company investments and three times as large as financial assets. The largest apartment owner in Austria (and Europe) is the city of Vienna with 220,000 municipal apartments. It is also the second largest landowner after the Austrian Federal Forests .

According to Credit Suisse , wealth per adult in Austria in 2016 was 206,002 US dollars (Switzerland: 561,854, Germany: 185,175).



Alpine transit on the Brenner.

The transport infrastructure is characterized on the one hand by its location in the Alps and on the other by its central location in Central Europe. This applies equally to road and rail connections. The logistical development of the Alps requires many tunnels and bridges to be built that have to withstand extreme weather conditions. Due to its central location and narrow shape, Austria is a typical transit country , especially in north-south and north-south-east directions, and also in east-west direction due to the opening of the Iron Curtain . This often means a much larger dimensioning of the traffic routes, also in ecological terms sensitive areas, which often leads to resistance from the population.

In order to manage this tightrope walk between economy and ecology, measures were often taken with motor vehicles. In Austria, for example, it was prescribed by law relatively early to install a catalytic converter in every motor vehicle. Likewise, only low-noise trucks were permitted on certain routes.

The following table shows the distribution of kilometers traveled in passenger transport in Austria, broken down by the various modes of transport (2007 figures):

Modal split (passenger-kilometers) in Austria 2007
Means of transport bus train Car Public transport bicycle Einsp. Vehicle On foot
proportion of 9% 9% 70% 4% 3% 1 % 4%

With 81 road deaths per million inhabitants per year, road safety in Austria is in the middle range across the EU, well behind countries such as Germany and Switzerland .

Road traffic

The Austrian road network includes (as of January 1, 2010):

Legal framework:

  • In Austria there is a general speed limit of 130 km / h on motorways, 100 km / h on open-air roads and 50 km / h in local areas . A limit of 100 km / h applies on the Inntal motorway in Tyrol from Zirl to the border with Germany.
  • Most of the road network is publicly owned. On motorways and expressways are passenger cars with vignettes and truck kilometers dependent ( GO-Box ) by ASFINAG be mautet .
  • Since 2008, winter equipment ( M&S tires , carrying snow chains, etc.) has been mandatory from November 1st to April 15th in wintry conditions .
  • Light duty ( daytime running lights ): Only for single-lane vehicles. From November 15, 2005 to December 31, 2007, the dipped beam or daytime running lights also applied to multi-lane vehicles during the day.

Bicycle traffic

The share of cycling in the total traffic volume in Austria is around 7% in the European midfield (for comparison: Netherlands 27%, Germany 10%, Switzerland 9%). In the 2015–2025 cycling master plan of the Austrian Ministry of the Environment, the target is to increase the proportion of cycling in the modal split to 13% by 2025. The following are specified as "implementation priorities": klimaaktiv mobil cycling offensive, cycling-friendly framework conditions, information systems and awareness-raising, optimization of links with other means of transport, cycling as an economic factor and cycling as health promotion.

The planned measures include the establishment of a nationwide bicycle traffic coordination, an information platform, an investment offensive, a bicycle-friendly traffic organization, advisory and funding programs for mobility management, an improvement in the combination of bicycles and public transport and the expansion of bicycle rental systems to awareness-raising for bicycle traffic .

Rail transport

Eurocity 163 on the Arlbergbahn
An ore transport from the Erzberg to the
Donawitz iron and steel works

Most of the railway lines are operated by the Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB), the largest Austrian railway company . A smaller part are not federally owned railways, some are private, some are owned by the federal states.

The most important rail link in Austria, the Westbahn , has been expanded into a high-performance line between Vienna and Salzburg since 1990 . The key points here are the Wienerwaldtunnel (the connection between Vienna and St. Pölten ) and the Lainzer tunnel (the Viennese connection of the Westbahn with the southern and Donauländebahn). The southern runway will also be expanded accordingly. The planned construction of the Semmering Base Tunnel began in 2012 after years of objections by the Lower Austrian provincial government, but is still legally controversial. The Koralm tunnel inCarinthia , a new rail connection between Graz and Klagenfurt , also part of the new southern railway line, has been tunneling since 2009.

There are S-Bahn trains in the regions around Vienna and Salzburg , in Styria , Tyrol , Carinthia , Vorarlberg and Linz .

Vienna is the only Austrian city with a classic underground network . There are trams in the cities of Vienna , Gmunden , Graz , Innsbruck and Linz . The Dorfbahn Serfaus , an underground aerial suspension railway in Serfaus in Tyrol, is sometimes referred to as the smallest underground railway in the world.


Passenger ship Wachau ( First Danube Steamship Company ) in front of the ruins of the rear building

The most important shipping lane, both for passenger and for freight transport, the Danube (see Danube navigation ). Passenger shipping , which was already promoted in the Habsburg Monarchy with the DDSG as the largest inland shipping company in the world, is now mainly used for tourism (e.g. DDSG Blue Danube ) and also takes place on the Inn and on the larger lakes. The Twin City Liner , which connects Vienna with Pressburg , is an interesting connection for commuters. Usually the waters are only navigated in the summer half of the year.

Almost exclusively the Danube is used for freight traffic, which has been significantly upgraded by the construction of the Main-Danube Canal and can accommodate so much transit traffic from the North Sea to the Black Sea . Mainly bulk goods are transported. The Austrian freight ports are Linz , Enns , Krems and Vienna .

With the declaration of the recognition of the flag right of the states without a coast of Barcelona from the year 1921, Austria would also have the possibility to operate ocean- going shipping under its own flag, but has not exercised this right since 2012.


Vienna Airport
route Beeline
ViennaBasel (CH) 659; km
Vienna ↔ Bregenz 505 km
Vienna ↔ Bratislava (SK) 55 km
Vienna ↔ Milan (I) 630 km
Vienna ↔ Rome (I) 760 km
Vienna ↔ Prague (CZ) 250 km
Vienna ↔ Berlin (D) 530 km
Vienna ↔ Zurich (CH) 594 km
Vienna ↔ Budapest (H) 255 km
Vienna ↔ Warsaw (PL) 561 km
Vienna ↔ Paris (F) 1035 km
Vienna ↔ Kiev (UA) 1054 km
Vienna ↔ London (UK) 1237 km
Vienna ↔ Moscow (RUS) 1672 km
Vienna ↔ Salzburg 270 km
Salzburg ↔ Munich (D) 115 km
Bregenz ↔ Paris (F) 568 km
GrazMarburg (SLO) 55 km
Graz ↔ Zagreb (HR) 145 km
VillachTrieste (I) 109 km
Graz Airport

The airline with the most connections from Vienna is the Austrian Airlines Group . With NIKI , Austria has had a low-cost airline operating from Vienna since 2003 , which was sold to Niki Lauda after the insolvency of Air Berlin in 2017 . Parts of the airline were integrated into the Laudamotion . Laudamotion is the successor company to NIKI and also operates from Vienna. In addition, Welcome Air is a regional airline based in Austria.

The most important airport is the Vienna-Schwechat / VIE airport , in addition Graz ( Graz -Thalerhof airport / GRZ) , Linz ( Linz- Hörsching airport / LNZ) , Klagenfurt ( Klagenfurt airport / KLU) , Salzburg ( Salzburg Airport W. A. ​​Mozart / SZG) and Innsbruck ( Innsbruck Airport / INN) international connections. For the state of Vorarlberg the international airports are Altenrhein  (CH) andFriedrichshafen  (D) available.

Of regional importance are 49 airfields, 31 of which do not have an asphalt runway and of the 18 asphalt only four have a runway over 914 meters in length. The Wiener Neustadt airfield is historically significant , as is the abandoned Vienna Aspern airport . They were Austria's first airfields , with Aspern Airport being the largest and most modern airport in Europe from its opening in 1912 until the outbreak of World War I in 1914. There are also several airfields operated by the Austrian Air Force, for example in Wiener Neustadt, Zeltweg, Aigen / Ennstal, Langenlebarn / Tulln.

In Austria, control for the upper airspace (from 28,500 feet / 9200 meters) is combined as part of the Single European Sky project of currently eight Central European countries (Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina , Czech Republic , Croatia , Hungary , Italy , Slovenia and Slovakia ). This program, called CEATS (Central European Air Traffic Services), provides for a control center for the entire Central European Upper Area Control Center (CEATS UAC), which is in Fischamend, east of Vienna- Schwechatwill be found. The state-owned Austro Control Society for Civil Aviation, based in Vienna, fulfills the national needs of air traffic control and civil aviation .

power supply

Electrical power

The Kölnbreinsperre

Electrical energy is mainly obtained from hydropower (just under 60%), both from run-of- river power plants on the Danube , the Enns , Drau and many smaller run-of- river power plants, as well as from storage power plants such as the Kaprun power plant or the Malta power plants . To cover peak loads , gas turbine power plants are also operated in addition to the storage power plants .

Wind energy is also being expanded significantly in eastern Austria in particular . At the end of 2014, a total of 1016 wind turbines with a total output of 2095 MW were in operation. The standard energy capacity of these systems is more than 4.5 TWh annually, which corresponds to around 7.2% of Austria's electricity demand. Most of these plants, each with around 960 MW, are located in the federal states of Lower Austria and Burgenland . Electricity from nuclear power plants is not produced due to the Atomic Lock Act . The Zwentendorf nuclear power plant was built in the 1970s , but it went after a referendum 1978 never in operation.

Distribution is mainly carried out by nine national subsidiaries, which also have the last mile to the end consumer. There are also some smaller utilities, most of which are also owned by the public sector.

Gas and oil supply

The high-pressure natural gas pipeline Linz - Bad Leonfelden at the port of Linz

Austria is largely dependent on other countries for its natural gas supply . Although there are natural gas deposits in Austria too, mainly in Marchfeld and Weinviertel , where there are also underground buffer storage facilities as security storage, these only account for around 20% of Austria's annual natural gas consumption . The main supply comes from Russia (70% of imports), from which Austria has been getting its natural gas since 1968 as the first European country west of the Iron Curtain . Five large natural gas pipelines cross Austria, which also supply large parts of Western and Central Europe with natural gas.

The main importing countries for crude oil in 2011 were Kazakhstan with 29%, Nigeria with 17.1% and Russia with 16.1% of total imports. The only refinery is located in Schwechat and is operated by OMV  AG. The world's largest inland refinery is also fed by the Transalpine Oil Pipeline and subsequently by the Adria-Vienna Pipeline .

School and education

In Austria, the school system is largely regulated by the federal government. Apart from school trials, both school types and curricula are therefore standardized across Austria. In Austria there is compulsory education for all children who stay in Austria permanently. This begins with September following the completion of the sixth year of life. The general compulsory education lasts nine school years. There is a small number of private schools in relation to the number of public schools. Those with public rights issue state-valid certificates, the pupils in schools without public rights take exams before state examination boards.

The four-year elementary school - which has been criticized as unfavorable in recent years - is an important decision for ten-year-old students. You attend either the four-year secondary school / new middle school or the eight-year high school with a final Matura. After the eighth grade, however, you can change to a vocational college  (BHS) or a one-year polytechnic course or continue from the secondary school.

There are state universities in Austria in the federal capital Vienna  (8), in the provincial capitals Graz  (4), Linz  (4), Salzburg  (3), Innsbruck  (3) and Klagenfurt am Wörthersee as well as in Leoben and Krems . For some years now, private universities with z. Some of the major specializations have also been licensed in other locations. The university of applied sciences is an alternative form of academic training that has existed in Austria since 1994. The OECDcriticizes the fact that Austria trains too few academics in an international comparison and comes to 27.6% according to their definition. According to EU criteria, however, the proportion of academics is above the EU average, at 34.6%.

In the 2015 PISA ranking , Austria’s students ranked 20th out of 72 countries in mathematics, 26th in natural sciences and 33rd in reading comprehension. Austria is in the average of the OECD countries.

Emergency services

Only the three-digit emergency numbers set up by the state, such as those listed below, can be reached free of charge.

Euro emergency number (emergency number 112)

The European emergency number  112 forwards in Austria to the police emergency number 133 (see below).

Steyr fire trucks

Fire department (emergency number 122)

The Austrian fire brigade system is based almost entirely on volunteer fire brigades . Fire protection is only carried out by professional fire departments in the six largest cities . In some companies, a company fire brigade is officially prescribed. Fire protection falls within the competence of the individual federal states, while disaster control is the competence of the federal government, but it is also carried out by the fire services in addition to the armed forces via the disaster relief service.

Police (emergency number 133)

In Austria, the area of ​​public security falls under the legislative authority of the federal government. Even when it comes to execution, the security police are predominantly in the hands of the Federal Minister of the Interior. The local security guards , which some municipalities may set up, are an exception . In 2005, the federal gendarmerie responsible for rural areas with the federal security guard corps in the cities and the criminal police corps became the new federal police guard throughout Austriamerged. The aim of this measure was to eliminate duplication in the organization and to increase efficiency. The community security guards were not affected by this measure.

Rescue (emergency number 144)

In Austria, rescue services are the responsibility of the municipalities, but the requirements of the rescue service responsible are uniform across the country. Where this emergency call arrives is, however, different in the individual federal states. With the exception of the capital Vienna, only the federal states of Lower Austria and Tyrol have direct access to all individual aid organizations throughout the country with a state-wide alarm center.

As aid organizations, in addition to the Red Cross working all over Austria, organizations such as the Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund , the Johanniter-Unfall-Hilfe , the Malteser Hospitaldienst Austria and the Green Cross maintain ambulance guards.

Weather service

Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics on the Hohe Warte

Weather stations are located all over the country, in larger cities and in all state capitals. The national institution for meteorological and geophysical services is the Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics (ZAMG) with several branches in the federal states. The current weather data and weather developments, collected on websites, can be called up for many locations and also tracked via radio and television . In the future, a reliable weather warning service will also be offered on the Internet . There are also aviation weather services or special systems such as the ALDIS lightning detection systemwho also work with ZAMG and exchange data.

In addition to the weather services, in most federal states there are avalanche warning services due to the alpine locations , which pass on information from the mostly locally set up avalanche commissions .

Another service that has become increasingly important in recent years is the flood warning service, which warns the affected population of impending flood events. It is based at the respective state governments.


Removable bags for Sunday newspapers next to streets and sidewalks

The Austrian media landscape is characterized by a high degree of concentration on a few corporate conglomerates and by strong state influence on Austria's public radio and television company, which dominates the radio and television market. In the 2019 press freedom ranking published by Reporters Without Borders , Austria was ranked 16th out of 180 countries.

The Austrian Broadcasting Corporation ( ORF ) operates under public law with two full programs and two specialty programs . The most important private broadcasters in Austria are ATV , Puls 4 and ServusTV . In addition, there are some German channels of the RTL Group , whose Austrian windows only broadcast regionalized advertising, and the ProSiebenSat.1 Group , the latter with additional programs only for the Austrian market. Despite their Austrian content, they are perceived as German programs, cf. Kabel eins Austria # criticism .

The ORF operates three radio channels Ö2 broadcast across Austria and nine regionally per federal state . The most important and popular private radio stations are Kronehit (as the only nationwide program), Energy Wien in Vienna, Radio Soundportal and the Austria-wide antenna radio chain with antenna Styria , antenna Vorarlberg , antenna Carinthia and antenna Salzburg .

The “Mediamil complex”, the combination of the “newspaper giantMediaprint and the News publishing group, publishes the daily newspaper with the highest circulation in Austria, the Kronen Zeitung , the print media NEWS and Profil as well as the daily newspaper Kurier and is thus the most powerful media group in the country. Other daily newspapers are for example Der Standard , Die Presse , Salzburger Nachrichten , Tiroler Tageszeitung , Vorarlberger Nachrichten , Oberösterreichische Nachrichten , Kleine Zeitung , Austriaand the free newspaper Today, which appears Monday through Friday .


Telekom Austria directional radio station on the Hochkar in the Göstling Alps

Despite the difficult topographical conditions, Austria has a well-developed telecommunications network. There is practically complete network coverage in the entire inhabited area of ​​Germany by landline, mobile telephony and modern data services. The largest providers include A1 Telekom Austria , Drei and Magenta Telekom . Due to the high density of providers, the tariffs are relatively cheap compared to other countries in Austria.

The surprisingly complete network coverage in Austria is partly due to the fact that the country offers mobile operators ideal conditions for technology and market studies. New technologies in the field of mobile communications and data transmission are often initially introduced in Austria. The response from the population is a measure of the success of the technology in other countries in which such a "field test" would create a far greater financial burden.

Broadband internet access is available almost everywhere in Austria. The largest Austria-wide network operator is A1 , followed by Drei and Magenta . Regional data networks exist in metropolitan areas and often also in municipalities or larger regional associations.

In 2019, 88% of the Austrian population used the internet.


The Austrian culture is shaped complex; there are several cultural monuments and nine world heritage sites in the country .

In the 18th and 19th centuries, Vienna was a center of musical life. Many opera houses, theaters and orchestras as well as traditions such as the New Year's Concert of the Vienna Philharmonic and several festivals still exist today . There is also a lively cabaret scene . In the culinary field, the Viennese coffee house culture , the Heurige and local dishes have a long tradition. In 2003 Graz was European Capital of Culture , in 2009 Linz . The Austrian Culture Forum serves to spread Austrian culture abroad . Eight buildings or landscapes in Austria belong to theUNESCO World Heritage .


Trachtenmusikkapelle with the Mariaparrer Samson

Regional customs are upheld by associations throughout Austria. Customs primarily include music , dance , theater , poetry , carving, and embroidery . A large number of local customs and rites are related to the seasons (e.g. Aperschnalzen , Glöckler , Kathreintanz , Kufenstechen , Mariä Candlemas , Carnival ).

In addition to music and dances, the traditional textile industry has a long tradition in Austria . Embroidery is used to decorate traditional costumes such as dirndls and loden .

Holidays and celebrations

Christmas market at Christmas time at the Silent Night Chapel in Oberndorf near Salzburg

Due to the strongly Catholic history, most public holidays at federal and state level are religious holidays, whereby in the individual federal states the name days of the state patron are celebrated as state holidays . An exception to this is Carinthia, where the referendum of 1920 was also declared a national holiday. Together with all Sundays, the public holidays count as days of rest from work and spiritual exhilaration.

Common holidays are New Year's Day , Epiphany , Good Friday (Protestant only for members of religions), Easter Monday , 1. May , Ascension Day , Whit Monday , Corpus Christi , Assumption , All Saints' Day , Immaculate Conception , Christmas Day and Boxing Day . The Christmas Eve and New Year's are not holidays, but work freely through contractual arrangements or partial work-free. The national holidaytakes place on October 26th, the day when permanent neutrality was passed by law in 1955. In 2013, each federal state included 14 public holidays except Carinthia (15 on the day of the referendum ).

In addition, every religious community is free to celebrate their own holidays and relatives leave their work on that day. For example, the Israelite religious communities celebrate Yom Kippur regardless of the fact that it is not a public holiday.

In addition to the religiously motivated holidays, there are a variety of local festivals. In summer, tent festivals are a tradition, especially in rural areas. Regular music festivals of high and popular culture also have a certain degree of festival character. The ball season, which often begins in November with the high school graduation balls, is very important in the festival culture, and club balls are also held repeatedly after Ash Wednesday . The traditional Vienna Opera Ball is a highlight of the ball season .


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Johann Strauss (son)
Gustav Mahler

Composers of the classical and romantic epochs include Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart from Salzburg and Ludwig van Beethoven , who was born in Bonn , who both worked in Vienna, as well as Joseph Haydn , Franz Schubert , Anton Bruckner , Franz Liszt and Johann Strauss, who was dubbed the “waltz king” (Son) .

The music of the 20th century revolutionized Gustav Mahler and the composers of the “New Vienna School” Arnold Schönberg , Alban Berg and Anton Webern , but also Josef Matthias Hauer , who claims the actual invention of 12-tone music, as well Ernst Krenek or Egon Wellesz . This tradition of great composers from the area of ​​the k. u. k. Monarchy was followed by internationally renowned conductors such as Arthur Nikisch , Felix Weingartner , Franz Schalk , Erich Kleiber , Karl Böhm , and Hans Rosbaud, Herbert von Karajan , Michael Gielen , Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Franz Welser-Möst . György Ligeti , Friedrich Cerha or Georg Friedrich Haas , H. K. Gruber and Bernhard Lang were able to establish themselves in the field of contemporary music .

The Vienna Philharmonic's New Year's Concert has a long tradition in the “light muse” . It is broadcast on radio and television in more than 40 states; Waltzes, polkas and marches are played, especially those by Johann Strauss (son).

The operetta is an art form that is taken seriously in Austria, and the k. u. k. The monarchy with its successor states has produced the majority of its best-known representatives: in addition to the members of the Strauss family, Carl Millöcker , Oscar Straus , Edmund Eysler , Nico Dostal , Fred Raymond , Robert Stolz come from the territory of today's Austria, Franz von Suppè , Franz Lehár , Emmerich Kálmán , Leo Fall , Paul Abraham , Ralph Benatzky from other parts of the former monarchy.

In the popular music sector, bands and individual performers from the special Austrian genre Austropop are extremely successful, especially performers such as Wolfgang Ambros , Georg Danzer , Rainhard Fendrich and Stefanie Werger as well as the bands Erste Allgemeine Verunsicherung and STS International, Falco was successful with Rock Me Amadeus, among others . Christina Stürmer was a successful Austrian in the chart sector . Udo Jürgens was an icon in the field of German-language chanson, he won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1966 , and Conchita Wurst repeated this success in 2014.

Joe Zawinul (Freiburg im Breisgau, 2007)

Joe Zawinul , who developed the style of electric jazz together with the US-American Miles Davis , is considered to be the only European musician to date who has been of style-defining importance in the history of jazz . His group Weather Report counts in professional circles and among the public as the most important jazz formation of the 1970s and 1980s.

Both folk music with its regional forms and folk music enjoy great popularity. Representatives of the latter genre find an international audience in the successful television production Musikantenstadl .

In addition to the mainstream, alternative music groups also developed in the popular music sector, which are also known throughout Europe. These include, for example, the Linz electroswing band Parov Stelar , the Linz hip-hopper Texta , the downbeat duo Kruder & Dorfmeister , the songwriter Soap & Skin or the metal bands Belphegor from Salzburg, L'Âme Immortelle or Summoning .


The Burgtheater in Vienna is one of the first German-speaking theaters

Theater as an art form is very well received in Austria and also has a lot of public funding: from the Vienna State Opera , one of the most respected music theaters in the world, and from the Burgtheater , known as one of the best German-speaking theaters, to the farmers' theater in the village.

In addition to the constantly used stages in Vienna, Salzburg, Graz, Innsbruck, Linz, Klagenfurt, Bregenz and St. Pölten, there are theater and opera festivals from the Bregenz Festival and the Salzburg Festival to the Seespiele in Mörbisch am See in Burgenland. In Vienna there is a scene of cabarets, small stages, cellar theaters and venues dedicated to alternative culture.

In St. Pölten, after it was made the state capital in 1986, a theater, the St. Pölten Festival Hall , was also built. In Vienna, the Theater an der Wien musical stage was transformed into an opera theater on the occasion of the Mozart year 2006 and has since been the third major opera house in the city; Furthermore, the Ronacher -Theater was expanded into a musical stage by 2008 . A new music theater was opened in Linz in 2012.

The Austrian theater literature of the last decades includes a. a. Peter Handke's meanwhile legendary “public abuse ”, Wolfgang Bauer's excitement “New Year's Eve or the massacre in the Hotel Sacher”, Fritz Hochwälder's Nazi reappraisal “The Raspberry Picker” and Thomas Bernhard's drama “ Heldenplatz ”, in which he participated in 1988's Catholic reactionary features of Austria compares it to Hitler's enthusiastic reception on Heldenplatz in Vienna in 1938. When this play premiered at the Burgtheater in 1988 under the direction of Claus Peymann , conservative circles staged the biggest theater scandal since 1945.

Internationally known actors come from Austria: Christoph Waltz , Arnold Schwarzenegger , Romy Schneider , Oskar Werner , Curd Jürgens , Maria Schell , O. W. Fischer , Paula Wessely and their daughter Christiane Hörbiger , Maximilian Schell , Senta Berger and Klaus Maria Brandauer . Max Reinhardt and Martin Kušej should be mentioned among the directors who are also valued abroad .

As cabaret artists, Karl Farkas and Helmut Qualtinger became "classics".

An essential condition for the theater in Austria is the constant personal and cultural exchange among the theaters in the German-speaking area, especially with Germany. This compensates for the limited career opportunities in their home country for the great talents of Austria.



There are a number of internationally renowned Austrian filmmakers, including various award winners . The best-known Austrians in the film business include Christoph Waltz , Arnold Schwarzenegger , Michael Haneke , Fritz Lang , Senta Berger , Franz Novotny , Hundans Weingartner .


Bertha Freifrau von Suttner was the first woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize

Well-known authors of the 19th and 20th century, Franz Grillparzer , Ferdinand Raimund , Johann Nestroy , Leopold von Sacher-Masoch , Adalbert Stifter , 1905 with the Nobel Peace Prize Sir Bertha von Suttner , Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach , Peter Rosegger , Peter Altenberg , Hugo von Hofmannsthal , Rainer Maria Rilke , Georg Trakl , Franz Kafka , Karl Kraus , Ödön von Horváth , Joseph Roth ,Stefan Zweig , Robert Musil , Gustav Meyrink , Franz Werfel , Egon Erwin Kisch , Alfred Kubin , Fritz von Herzmanovsky-Orlando , Leo Perutz , Alfred Polgar , Vicki Baum , Alexander Lernet-Holenia , Heimito von Doderer , Franz Theodor Csokor , Ingeborg Bachmann , Christine Lavant , Friedrich Torberg , Fritz Hochwälder , Jörg Mauthe , Thomas Bernhard , Ernst Jandl, H. C. Artmann , Hilde Spiel , Albert Drach , Wolfgang Bauer , Johannes Mario Simmel , Gert Jonke , Gertrud Fussenegger , Gernot Wolfgruber and Franz Innerhofer .

Important living writers are Elfriede Jelinek , Peter Handke (both Nobel Prize winners ), Felix Mitterer , Friederike Mayröcker ( Büchner Prize 2001 ), Christoph Ransmayr , Barbara Frischmuth , Alois Brandstetter , Peter Rosei , Norbert Gstrein , Eva Menasse , Robert Menasse , Wolf Haas , Bettina Balàka , Arno Geiger , Josef Winkler ( Büchner Prize 2008 ), Gerhard Rothand Daniel Kehlmann .

Write in Slovenian a. Gustav Januš, Janko Ferk and Florjan Lipuš , who was translated into German by Peter Handke.

Visual arts

The Kiss ” by Gustav Klimt is one of the most famous Austrian works of art

Painting in Austria became more important after 1700 with Johann Michael Rottmayr , Daniel Gran , Paul Troger and Franz Anton Maulbertsch .

It reached a high point around 1900, when Vienna became a center of Art Nouveau. Gustav Klimt , Koloman Moser , Oskar Kokoschka and Egon Schiele were among the most important representatives .

In the second half of the 20th century, the Vienna School of Fantastic Realism emerged as a late stream of Surrealism . Friedensreich Hundertwasser with his abstract decorative pictures belongs in this environment .

In the 1960s, Viennese Actionism developed in the border area between theater and painting . Valie Export , Arnulf Rainer , Günter Brus , Rudolf Schwarzkogler and Hermann Nitsch were among its most important representatives .

Important sculptors or sculptors were Niclas Gerhaert van Leyden , Franz Xaver Messerschmidt , Fritz Wotruba , Alfred Hrdlicka and Bruno Gironcoli and Franz West .

science and technology

Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis
Erwin Schrödinger on the 1000 Schilling banknote (1983)

Austria was an important scientific nation in the first three decades of the 20th century. It spawned thinkers and researchers such as:

The nuclear physicist Lise Meitner developed the first theoretical explanation of nuclear fission together with Otto Frisch .

The scientific level of this time was destroyed by National Socialism. After 1945 only a few exiled scientists, later recognized as luminaries in their fields, were invited to return to Austria. The reservoir of talented talent in Bohemia, Moravia and Hungary, which had long been available to Austrian science, could no longer be used because of the Iron Curtain.

In the 1950s, voestalpine engineers developed the so-called Linz-Donawitz process , which revolutionized steel production worldwide. Also worth mentioning are the Haflinger and Pinzgauer all-terrain vehicles , which were designed by Steyr Daimler Puch  AG, as well as the Steyr AUG , an assault rifle that is used in many armies around the world and even by the US Department of Homeland Security .

The Glock pistol developed in Austria is a worldwide (Austria, Germany, USA) widespread police pistol .

Economically successful, companies have specialized in product and application-related research and are now successful in technology around the world. B. Rosenbauer , Wienerberger , Anton Paar , AVL List , Fronius

Between 1971 and 2013 Austria had its own Ministry of Science . The Austrian Academy of Sciences , the Austrian Institute of Technology , the Joanneum Research research company and other state-funded institutions stimulate and coordinate scientific research. Private universities have been admitted since the 1990s.

In 1874 the astronomer Johann Palisa discovered an asteroid and named it after his homeland (Asteroid Austria ).


Viticulture in Vienna.

Due to the Austrian history, culinary arts from Hungary, Bohemia, Italy and France in particular have an influence on today's typical Austrian dishes. The offer is complemented by traditional regional culinary art from the federal states. Signature dishes include the rump , the Wiener Schnitzel , Styrian fried chicken , roast chicken , stew and fish dishes such as carp and trout . Desserts, such as the Sachertorte , the apple strudel and the Kaiserschmarrn, have achieved worldwide fame .

Until a few years ago, people were mostly eating at home. Today - especially in the larger cities - many people often eat in pubs, restaurants, coffee houses, sausage stands and kebab snack bars, in branches of fast food chains or on the street or on public transport. Since the 1980s, spreading hedonism has led to increased publication of gastronomic guides, tips and rankings, to media reports on new restaurant openings and to more gastronomy-related TV programs than ever before. The restaurants covered by this are “in” for some time and have an above-average visitor frequency. The restaurateurs recorded by this achieve considerable media presence and celebrities, for exampleSissy Sonnleitner , Reinhard Gerer , Toni Mörwald and Heinz Reitbauer . The Styrian chef Johann Lafer has a particularly strong presence in German television programs.

Traditionally cultivated coffee variations make up the range of coffee houses that can be found all over Austria, following the example of the Viennese coffee house. The first coffee houses were established in Vienna shortly after 1683. Today they are mostly café-restaurants, in which the coffee house tradition is combined with the offer of the "bourgeois dining house".

Wine-growing has a long tradition in Vienna, Lower Austria, Styria and Burgenland. Austrian wine is very popular both within Europe and overseas , and wine is also popular in the country itself, with just under 40 liters per capita per year. Previously, mainly mass production (in the "Doppler", the two-liter bottle) was common, but since the 1980s many winemakers have specialized in the production of quality wines that have achieved excellent results in international blind tastings. In the course of this development, Austrian red wines received significantly more attention than before. A wine tavern culture developed in the 19th century in the federal states that were active in viticulturedeveloped, which to this day stands for uncomplicated, informal gastronomy and is also popular with tourists. The menu is dominated by the cold and warm buffet, while the wine selection is dominated by young wine from the last harvest.

Beer is barely noticed in the media, but is important as an everyday drink in Austria. With almost 109 liters of consumption per capita and year and with 140 breweries - including national traditional brands such as Gösser , Hirter , Ottakringer , Puntigamer , Schwechater , Stiegl and Zipfer  - Austria can call itself a beer nation.


Sport in Austria was and is often politicized. Austria was the home of the anti-Semitic German Gymnastics Federation and some of the workers gymnastics associations with the largest number of members. Since 2008 Austria has provided the chairman of the international workers' sport Confédération Sportive Internationale du Travail (CSIT)

Winter sports

Innsbruck has hosted two Winter Olympic Games (1964, 1976)

Due to its geography, Austria is among the best in the world in several winter sports, such as alpine skiing , ski jumping and snowboarding . Winter sports enjoy a high priority in Austria and its television broadcasts, especially those of alpine skiing competitions, reach large parts of the population. Well-known ski athletes in recent years include Marcel Hirscher , Benjamin Raich , Anna Veith (née Fenninger), Marlies Schild and Hannes Reichelt . Successful and well-known skiers of the past are Toni Sailer and Karl Schranz, Franz Klammer , Stephan Eberharter , Annemarie Moser-Pröll , Petra Kronberger , Hermann Maier , Renate Götschl and Michaela Dorfmeister . The TV presenter Armin Assinger and the hit star Hansi Hinterseer were once among the top ski racers in the world.

Other successful winter sports enthusiasts are, for example, the tobogganists Wolfgang and Andreas Linger and the Austrian ski jumping team around Gregor Schlierenzauer , Thomas Morgenstern and Andreas Kofler , which has won Olympic and World Cup victories in recent years. No longer active ski jumping greats like Anton Innauer , Hubert Neuper or Andreas Goldberger are now active as trainers and often also as television presenters. The former tobogganist Markus Prock is now a manager for active winter sports enthusiasts.

Summer sports

Even in summer sports and all year round sports, Austria can again and again record noteworthy successes for itself, but apart from football, these do not reach the range of winter sports by far, measured by the interest of the population. If they are successful in the course of major events such as the Olympic Games or World Championships , these sports naturally come into the media spotlight. Such sports, in which Austrians are regularly among the potential contenders for victory, are above all sailing ( Roman Hagara , Hans-Peter Steinacher ), judo ( Peter Seisenbacher , Ludwig Paischer ,Sabrina Filzmoser , Claudia Heill ), triathlon ( Kate Allen ), boxing ( Marcos Nader , Hans Orsolics ), kickboxing ( Günter Singer , Fadi Merza ), swimming ( Mirna Jukić , Markus Rogan , Dinko Jukić ), beach volleyball (European champions 2003 and 2007) as well as Formula 1 (ex-racing drivers Niki Lauda , Jochen Rindt , Gerhard Berger and the Red Bull Racing team).

In 1988 Peter Seisenbacher was the first judoka to repeat his Olympic victory in 1984 in the middleweight division (-86 kg). In 1996, Thomas Muster became the first Austrian ever to be number 1 in the tennis world rankings , having won the Paris title  - the French Open , a Grand Slam tournament - a year earlier . In 2003 Werner Schlager won the world championship in table tennis, In December 2005 Markus Rogan swam a new world record over 200 m backs at the European Short Course Swimming Championships, the first for Austria since 1912. At the 2008 Short Course World Championships he swam another world record over the same distance and thus became Austria's first world swimming champion at all.

The Austrian Open is a golf tournament of the tournament series known as the PGA European Tour .

Club sport

Club sports are very important in Austria. In many municipalities and cities, more than half of the residents are involved in sports in clubs. Football in particular has a long tradition , but lesser-known sports are also popular in some places. For example, Austria ranks among the world's best in fistball (especially clubs from Upper Austria ) and became men's world champion for the first time in 2007, has one of the best American football leagues in the world, and some of the communities on the Danube or on larger lakes have their own water sports clubs .

Hypo Niederösterreich is currently one of the best in Europe in women's handball, as is the Vienna Vikings in American football . The greatest successes in football in the recent past were the reaching of the final in the UEFA Cup by SV Austria Salzburg in 1994 and the three finals in the European Cup of Cup winners by Wiener Austria 1978 and SK Rapid Wien in 1985 and 1996.

Internationally successful clubs from Austria

International sporting events

The Ernst Happel Stadium in Vienna during the first appearance of the Austrian national team at the 2008 European Football Championship

Austria has hosted the Olympic Games three times (Olympic Winter Games in Innsbruck in 1964 and 1976 and the 1st Winter Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck in 2012 ). Total collected Austrian athletes 64 gold, silver 81 and 87 bronze medals in the history of Olympic Games Winter and 23 gold, 27 silver and bronze medals at 39 Summer Olympics (as of end 2018).

At the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, the Austrian team won five gold, three silver and six bronze medals. At the 2016 Summer Olympics , the sailing team Tanja Frank and Thomas Zajac won a bronze medal.

The ice hockey world championship took place in Innsbruck in 1964, in 1967, 1977, 1987, 1996 and 2005 in Vienna. The European Swimming Championships took place in Vienna in 1950, 1974 and 1995. The first European figure skating championships in sporting history took place in Vienna in 1892, and eight further European championships were held in Vienna up to 2000, with the 1981 European championships in Innsbruck.

From June 7th to 29th, 2008 Austria and Switzerland organized the European Football Championship 2008 . The games allotted to Austria took place in Vienna, Salzburg, Innsbruck and Klagenfurt, the final was in Vienna.

See also

Portal: Austria  - Overview of Wikipedia content on Austria


  • Walter Kleindel with the assistance of Hans Veigl: The great book of the Austrians. 4500 person representations in words and pictures. Names, dates, facts. Kremayr & Scheriau, Vienna 1987, ISBN 3-218-00455-1 .
  • Elisabeth Lichtenberger; Austria - Society and Regions. Austrian Academy of Science Press, Vienna 2000, 491 pp.
  • Ernst Bruckmüller : Social history of Austria. Publishing house for history and politics, Vienna 2001, ISBN 3-7028-0361-0 .
  • Friedrich Heer : The struggle for the Austrian identity. Böhlau, Vienna 2001, ISBN 3-205-99333-0 .
  • Ingeborg Auer u. a .: ÖKLIM - Austria's Digital Climate Atlas. In: Christa Hammerl u. a. (Ed.): The Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics 1851–2001. Leykam, Vienna 2001, ISBN 3-7011-7437-7 .
  • Elisabeth Lichtenberger ; Austria - geography. History, Economy Scientific Book Society, Darmstadt 2nd revised A. 2002, 400 pp., ISBN 3-534-08422-5
  • Austrian National Library: Austrian Bibliography: Directory of new Austrian publications . Vienna 1946–2002. Online edition since 2003 .
  • Robert and Melita Sedlaczek: The Austrian German. How we differ from our big neighbor. Ueberreuter, Munich 2004, ISBN 3-8000-7075-8 .
  • Richard and Maria Bamberger, Ernst Bruckmüller, Karl Gutkas (Hrsg.): Österreich-Lexikon . Verlagsgemeinschaft Österreich-Lexikon, Vienna 2004, ISBN 3-85498-385-9 - Continued as an online edition .
  • Erwin Ringel: The Austrian soul: ten speeches about medicine, politics, art and religion. New edition. Kremayr & Scheriau, Vienna 2005, ISBN 3-218-00761-5 .
  • Harald Fidler: Austria's media world from A – Z. The complete lexicon with 1000 keywords from rip-off television to newspaper death. Falter, Vienna 2008, ISBN 978-3-85439-415-0 .


Web links

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Individual evidence

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Coordinates: 48 °  N , 14 °  E

This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on September 11, 2005 .