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Republic of Austria

Republik Österreich (German)
Anthem: "Bundeshymne"
Location of  Austria  (dark green)– on the European continent  (green & dark grey)– in the European Union  (green)  —  [Legend]
Location of  Austria  (dark green)

– on the European continent  (green & dark grey)
– in the European Union  (green)  —  [Legend]

Capital
and largest city
Vienna
48°12′N 16°21′E / 48.200°N 16.350°E / 48.200; 16.350
Official and national language Austrian German
Recognised languages
Ethnic groups
(2012)
Religion
(2018)
Demonym(s) Austrian
Government Federal parliamentary republic
Alexander Van der Bellen
Karl Nehammer
Legislature Parliament
Federal Council
National Council
Formation
• Name
1 November 996
• Duchy
17 September 1156
• Archduchy
6 January 1453
• Empire
11 August 1804
30 March 1867
• German-Austria
12 November 1918
10 September 1919
• Federal State
1 May 1934
12 March 1938
• Second Republic
27 April 1945
27 July 1955
Area
• Total
83,879 km2 (32,386 sq mi) (113th)
• Water (%)
0.84 (as of 2015)
Population
• October 2020 estimate
Neutral increase 8,935,112 (98th)
• Density
106/km2 (274.5/sq mi) (106th)
GDP (PPP) 2018 estimate
• Total
\$461.432 billion
• Per capita
\$51,936 (17th)
GDP (nominal) 2019 estimate
• Total
\$446,315 billion (27th)
• Per capita
\$50,277 (15th)
Gini (2020)  27.0
low
HDI (2019) Increase 0.922
very high · 18th
Currency Euro () (EUR)
Time zone UTC+1 (CET)
• Summer (DST)
UTC+2 (CEST)
Driving side right
Calling code +43
ISO 3166 code AT
Internet TLD .at

Austria ( German: Österreich), officially the Republic of Austria (German: Republik Österreich), is a landlocked East Alpine country in the southern part of Central Europe. It is composed of nine federated states (Bundesländer), one of which is Vienna, Austria's capital and largest city. It is bordered by Germany to the northwest, the Czech Republic to the north, Slovakia to the northeast, Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west. Austria occupies an area of 83,879 km2 (32,386 sq mi) and has a population of nearly 9 million people. While Austrian German is the country's official language, many Austrians communicate informally in a variety of Bavarian dialects.

Austria initially emerged as a margraviate around 976 and developed into a duchy and archduchy. In the 16th century, Austria started serving as the heart of the Habsburg Monarchy and the junior branch of the House of Habsburg – one of the most influential royal dynasties in history. As an archduchy, it was a major component and administrative centre of the Holy Roman Empire. Early in the 19th century, Austria established its own empire, which became a great power and the leading force of the German Confederation, but pursued its own course independently of the other German states following its defeat in the Austro-Prussian War in 1866. In 1867, in compromise with Hungary, the Austria-Hungary Dual Monarchy was established.

Austria was involved in World War I under Emperor Franz Joseph following the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, the presumptive successor to the Austro-Hungarian throne. After the defeat and the dissolution of the Monarchy, the Republic of German-Austria was proclaimed with the intent of union with Germany, but the Allied Powers did not support the new state and it remained unrecognized. In 1919 the First Austrian Republic became the legal successor of Austria. In 1938, the Austrian-born Adolf Hitler, who became the Chancellor of the German Reich, achieved the annexation of Austria by the Anschluss. Following the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945 and an extended period of Allied occupation, Austria was re-established as a sovereign and self-governing democratic nation known as the Second Republic.

Austria is a parliamentary representative democracy with a directly elected Federal President as head of state and a Chancellor as head of the federal government. Major urban areas of Austria include Vienna, Graz, Linz, Salzburg and Innsbruck. Austria is consistently ranked in the top 20 richest countries in the world by GDP per capita terms. The country has achieved a high standard of living and in 2018 was ranked 20th in the world for its Human Development Index. Vienna consistently ranks in the top internationally on quality-of-life indicators.

The Second Republic declared its perpetual neutrality in foreign political affairs in 1955. Austria has been a member of the United Nations since 1955 and joined the European Union in 1995. It plays host to the OSCE and OPEC and is a founding member of the OECD and Interpol. Austria also signed the Schengen Agreement in 1995, and adopted the euro currency in 1999.

Etymology

The Ostarrîchi Document in full
The first appearance of "Ostarrîchi"
The first appearance of the word "Ostarrîchi", circled in red and magnified. Modern Austria honours this document, dated 996, as the founding of the nation.

The German name for Austria, Österreich, derives from the Old High German Ostarrîchi, which meant "eastern realm" and which first appeared in the "Ostarrîchi document" of 996. This word is probably a translation of Medieval Latin Marchia orientalis into a local (Bavarian) dialect.

Austria was a prefecture of Bavaria created in 976. The word "Austria" is a Latinisation of the German name and was first recorded in the 12th century. At the time, the Danube basin of Austria (Upper and Lower Austria) was the easternmost extent of Bavaria.

History

The Central European land that is now Austria was settled in pre-Roman times by various Celtic tribes. The Celtic kingdom of Noricum was later claimed by the Roman Empire and made a province. Present-day Petronell-Carnuntum in eastern Austria was an important army camp turned capital city in what became known as the Upper Pannonia province. Carnuntum was home for 50,000 people for nearly 400 years.

Middle Ages

After the fall of the Roman Empire, the area was invaded by Bavarians, Slavs and Avars. Charlemagne, King of the Franks, conquered the area in AD 788, encouraged colonization, and introduced Christianity. As part of Eastern Francia, the core areas that now encompass Austria were bequeathed to the house of Babenberg. The area was known as the marchia Orientalis and was given to Leopold of Babenberg in 976.

The first record showing the name Austria is from 996, where it is written as Ostarrîchi, referring to the territory of the Babenberg March. In 1156, the Privilegium Minus elevated Austria to the status of a duchy. In 1192, the Babenbergs also acquired the Duchy of Styria. With the death of Frederick II in 1246, the line of the Babenbergs was extinguished.

As a result, Ottokar II of Bohemia effectively assumed control of the duchies of Austria, Styria, and Carinthia. His reign came to an end with his defeat at Dürnkrut at the hands of Rudolph I of Germany in 1278. Thereafter, until World War I, Austria's history was largely that of its ruling dynasty, the Habsburgs.

In the 14th and 15th centuries, the Habsburgs began to accumulate other provinces in the vicinity of the Duchy of Austria. In 1438, Duke Albert V of Austria was chosen as the successor to his father-in-law, Emperor Sigismund. Although Albert himself only reigned for a year, henceforth every emperor of the Holy Roman Empire was a Habsburg, with only one exception.

The Habsburgs began also to accumulate territory far from the hereditary lands. In 1477, Archduke Maximilian, only son of Emperor Frederick III, married the heiress Maria of Burgundy, thus acquiring most of the Netherlands for the family. In 1496, his son Philip the Fair married Joanna the Mad, the heiress of Castile and Aragon, thus acquiring Spain and its Italian, African, Asian and New World appendages for the Habsburgs.

In 1526, following the Battle of Mohács, Bohemia and the part of Hungary not occupied by the Ottomans came under Austrian rule. Ottoman expansion into Hungary led to frequent conflicts between the two empires, particularly evident in the Long War of 1593 to 1606. The Turks made incursions into Styria nearly 20 times, of which some are cited as "burning, pillaging, and taking thousands of slaves". In late September 1529 Suleiman the Magnificent launched the first Siege of Vienna, which unsuccessfully ended, according to Ottoman historians, with the snowfalls of an early beginning winter.

17th and 18th centuries

Anonym Entsatz Wien 1683
The Battle of Vienna in 1683 broke the advance of the Ottoman Empire into Europe.

During the long reign of Leopold I (1657–1705) and following the successful defence of Vienna against the Turks in 1683 (under the command of the King of Poland, John III Sobieski), a series of campaigns resulted in bringing most of Hungary to Austrian control by the Treaty of Karlowitz in 1699.

Emperor Charles VI relinquished many of the gains the empire made in the previous years, largely due to his apprehensions at the imminent extinction of the House of Habsburg. Charles was willing to offer concrete advantages in territory and authority in exchange for recognition of the Pragmatic Sanction that made his daughter Maria Theresa his heir. With the rise of Prussia, the Austrian–Prussian dualism began in Germany. Austria participated, together with Prussia and Russia, in the first and the third of the three Partitions of Poland (in 1772 and 1795).

19th century

Congress of Vienna
The Congress of Vienna met in 1814–15. The objective of the Congress was to settle the many issues arising from the French Revolutionary Wars, the Napoleonic Wars, and the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire.

Austria later became engaged in a war with Revolutionary France, at the beginning highly unsuccessfully, with successive defeats at the hands of Napoleon, meaning the end of the old Holy Roman Empire in 1806. Two years earlier, the Empire of Austria was founded. From 1792 to 1801, the Austrians had suffered 754,700 casualties. In 1814, Austria was part of the Allied forces that invaded France and brought to an end the Napoleonic Wars.

It emerged from the Congress of Vienna in 1815 as one of the continent's four dominant powers and a recognised great power. The same year, the German Confederation (Deutscher Bund) was founded under the presidency of Austria. Because of unsolved social, political, and national conflicts, the German lands were shaken by the 1848 revolutions aiming to create a unified Germany.

Deutscher Bund
Map of the German Confederation (1815–1836) with its 39 member states

The various different possibilities for a united Germany were: a Greater Germany, or a Greater Austria or just the German Confederation without Austria at all. As Austria was not willing to relinquish its German-speaking territories to what would become the German Empire of 1848, the crown of the newly formed empire was offered to the Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm IV. In 1864, Austria and Prussia fought together against Denmark and secured the independence from Denmark of the duchies of Schleswig and Holstein. As they could not agree on how the two duchies should be administered, though, they fought the Austro-Prussian War in 1866. Defeated by Prussia in the Battle of Königgrätz, Austria had to leave the German Confederation and no longer took part in German politics.

The Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867, the Ausgleich, provided for a dual sovereignty, the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary, under Franz Joseph I. The Austrian-Hungarian rule of this diverse empire included various Slavic groups, including Croats, Czechs, Poles, Rusyns, Serbs, Slovaks, Slovenes, and Ukrainians, as well as large Italian and Romanian communities.

As a result, ruling Austria-Hungary became increasingly difficult in an age of emerging nationalist movements, requiring considerable reliance on an expanded secret police. Yet, the government of Austria tried its best to be accommodating in some respects: for example, the Reichsgesetzblatt, publishing the laws and ordinances of Cisleithania, was issued in eight languages; and all national groups were entitled to schools in their own language and to the use of their mother tongue at state offices.

Austria Hungary ethnic
An ethno-linguistic map of Austria-Hungary, 1910

Many Austrians of all different social circles such as Georg Ritter von Schönerer promoted strong pan-Germanism in hope of reinforcing an ethnic German identity and the annexation of Austria to Germany. Some Austrians such as Karl Lueger also used pan-Germanism as a form of populism to further their own political goals. Although Bismarck's policies excluded Austria and the German Austrians from Germany, many Austrian pan-Germans idolized him and wore blue cornflowers, known to be the favourite flower of German Emperor William I, in their buttonholes, along with cockades in the German national colours (black, red, and yellow), although they were both temporarily banned in Austrian schools, as a way to show discontent towards the multi-ethnic empire.

Austria's exclusion from Germany caused many Austrians a problem with their national identity and prompted the Social Democratic Leader Otto Bauer to state that it was "the conflict between our Austrian and German character". The Austro-Hungarian Empire caused ethnic tension between the German Austrians and the other ethnic groups. Many Austrians, especially those involved with the pan-German movements, desired a reinforcement of an ethnic German identity and hoped that the empire would collapse, which would allow an annexation of Austria with Germany.

A lot of Austrian pan-German nationalists protested passionately against minister-president Kasimir Count Badeni's language decree of 1897, which made German and Czech co-official languages in Bohemia and required new government officials to be fluent in both languages. This meant in practice that the civil service would almost exclusively hire Czechs, because most middle-class Czechs spoke German but not the other way around. The support of ultramontane Catholic politicians and clergy for this reform triggered the launch of the "Away from Rome" (German: Los-von-Rom) movement, which was initiated by supporters of Schönerer and called on "German" Christians to leave the Roman Catholic Church.

20th century

Ferdinand Schmutzer - Franz Ferdinand von Österreich-Este, um 1914
Archduke Franz Ferdinand, whose assassination sparked World War I, one of the most disastrous conflicts in human history

As the Second Constitutional Era began in the Ottoman Empire, Austria-Hungary took the opportunity to annex Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1908. The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo in 1914 by Bosnian Serb Gavrilo Princip was used by leading Austrian politicians and generals to persuade the emperor to declare war on Serbia, thereby risking and prompting the outbreak of World War I, which eventually led to the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Over one million Austro-Hungarian soldiers died in World War I.

On 21 October 1918, the elected German members of the Reichsrat (parliament of Imperial Austria) met in Vienna as the Provisional National Assembly for German Austria (Provisorische Nationalversammlung für Deutschösterreich). On 30 October the assembly founded the Republic of German Austria by appointing a government, called Staatsrat. This new government was invited by the Emperor to take part in the decision on the planned armistice with Italy, but refrained from this business.

This left the responsibility for the end of the war, on 3 November 1918, solely to the emperor and his government. On 11 November, the emperor, advised by ministers of the old and the new governments, declared he would not take part in state business any more; on 12 November, German Austria, by law, declared itself to be a democratic republic and part of the new German republic. The constitution, renaming the Staatsrat as Bundesregierung (federal government) and Nationalversammlung as Nationalrat (national council) was passed on 10 November 1920.

GermanAustriaMap
German-speaking provinces claimed by German-Austria in 1918: The border of the subsequent Second Republic of Austria is outlined in red.

The Treaty of Saint-Germain of 1919 (for Hungary the Treaty of Trianon of 1920) confirmed and consolidated the new order of Central Europe which to a great extent had been established in November 1918, creating new states and altering others. The German-speaking parts of Austria which had been part of Austria-Hungary were reduced to a rump state named The Republic of German-Austria (German: Republik Deutschösterreich), though excluding the predominantly German-speaking South Tyrol. The desire for Anschluss (annexation of Austria to Germany) was a popular opinion shared by all social circles in both Austria and Germany. On 12 November, German-Austria was declared a republic, and named Social Democrat Karl Renner as provisional chancellor. On the same day it drafted a provisional constitution that stated that "German-Austria is a democratic republic" (Article 1) and "German-Austria is an integral part of the German reich" (Article 2). The Treaty of Saint Germain and the Treaty of Versailles explicitly forbid union between Austria and Germany. The treaties also forced German-Austria to rename itself as "Republic of Austria" which consequently led to the first Austrian Republic.

Over 3 million German-speaking Austrians found themselves living outside the new Austrian Republic as minorities in the newly formed or enlarged states of Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Hungary, and Italy. These included the provinces of South Tyrol (which became part of Italy) and German Bohemia (Czechoslovakia). The status of German Bohemia (Sudetenland) later played a role in sparking the Second World War.

The status of South Tyrol was a lingering problem between Austria and Italy until it was officially settled by the 1980s with a great degree of autonomy being granted to it by the Italian national government.

The border between Austria and the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (later Yugoslavia) was settled with the Carinthian Plebiscite in October 1920 and allocated the major part of the territory of the former Austro-Hungarian Crownland of Carinthia to Austria. This set the border on the Karawanken mountain range, with many Slovenes remaining in Austria.

Interwar period and World War II

After the war, inflation began to devalue the Krone, which was still Austria's currency. In autumn 1922, Austria was granted an international loan supervised by the League of Nations. The purpose of the loan was to avert bankruptcy, stabilise the currency, and improve Austria's general economic condition. The loan meant that Austria passed from an independent state to the control exercised by the League of Nations. In 1925, the Schilling was introduced, replacing the Krone at a rate of 10,000:1. Later, it was nicknamed the "Alpine dollar" due to its stability. From 1925 to 1929, the economy enjoyed a short high before nearly crashing after Black Tuesday.

The First Austrian Republic lasted until 1933, when Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss, using what he called "self-switch-off of Parliament", established an autocratic regime tending towards Italian fascism. The two big parties at this time, the Social Democrats and the Conservatives, had paramilitary armies; the Social Democrats' Schutzbund was now declared illegal, but was still operative as civil war broke out.

In February 1934, several members of the Schutzbund were executed, the Social Democratic party was outlawed, and many of its members were imprisoned or emigrated. On 1 May 1934, the Austrofascists imposed a new constitution ("Maiverfassung") which cemented Dollfuss's power, but on 25 July he was assassinated in a Nazi coup attempt.

Bundesarchiv Bild 183-1987-0922-500, Wien, Heldenplatz, Rede Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler speaking at Heldenplatz, Vienna, 1938

His successor Kurt Schuschnigg acknowledged Austria as a "German state" and that Austrians were "better Germans" but wished for Austria to remain independent. He announced a referendum on 9 March 1938, to be held on 13 March, concerning Austria's independence from Germany. On 12 March 1938, Austrian Nazis took over government, while German troops occupied the country, which prevented Schuschnigg's referendum from taking place. On 13 March 1938, the Anschluss of Austria was officially declared. Two days later, Austrian-born Hitler announced what he called the "reunification" of his home country with the "rest of the German Reich" on Vienna's Heldenplatz. He established a plebiscite confirming the union with Germany in April 1938.

Parliamentary elections were held in Germany (including recently annexed Austria) on 10 April 1938. They were the final elections to the Reichstag during Nazi rule, and took the form of a single-question referendum asking whether voters approved of a single Nazi-party list for the 813-member Reichstag, as well as the recent annexation of Austria (the Anschluss). Jews and Gypsies were not allowed to vote. Turnout in the election was officially 99.5%, with 98.9% voting "yes". In the case of Austria, Adolf Hitler's native soil, 99.71% of an electorate of 4,484,475 officially went to the ballots, with a positive tally of 99.73%. Although most Austrians favoured the Anschluss, in certain parts of Austria the German soldiers were not always welcomed with flowers and joy, especially in Vienna which had Austria's largest Jewish population. Nevertheless, despite the propaganda and the manipulation and rigging which surrounded the ballot box result, there was massive genuine support for Hitler for fulfilling the Anschluss, since many Germans from both Austria and Germany saw it as completing the long overdue unification of all Germans into one state.

OstmarkMap
Austria in 1941 when it was known as the "Ostmark"

On 12 March 1938, Austria was annexed to the Third Reich and ceased to exist as an independent country. The Aryanisation of the wealth of Jewish Austrians started immediately in mid-March, with a so-called "wild" (i.e. extra-legal) phase, but was soon structured legally and bureaucratically to strip Jewish citizens of any assets they possessed. At that time Adolf Eichmann, who grew up in Austria, was transferred to Vienna to persecute the Jews. During the November pogrom in 1938 ("Reichskristallnacht"), Jews and Jewish institutions such as synagogues were victims of severe violent attacks in Vienna, Klagenfurt, Linz, Graz, Salzburg, Innsbruck and several cities in Lower Austria. Otto von Habsburg, a vehement opponent of the Nazis, the last Crown Prince of Austria-Hungary, an honorary citizen of hundreds of places in Austria and partly envisaged by Schuschnigg as a monarchical option, was in Belgium at the time. He spoke out against the Anschluss and was then wanted by the Nazi regime and expropriated and should be shot immediately if he is caught. The Nazis renamed Austria in 1938 as "Ostmark" until 1942, when it was again renamed and called "Alpine and Danubian Gaue" (Alpen-und Donau-Reichsgaue).

Though Austrians made up only 8% of the population of the Third Reich, some of the most prominent Nazis were native Austrians, including Adolf Hitler, Ernst Kaltenbrunner, Arthur Seyss-Inquart, Franz Stangl, Alois Brunner, Friedrich Rainer and Odilo Globocnik, as were over 13% of the SS and 40% of the staff at the Nazi extermination camps. In the Reichsgau, besides the main camp KZ-Mauthausen, there were numerous sub-camps in all federal states where Jews and prisoners were killed, tortured and exploited. At this time, because the territory was outside the operational radius of the Allied aircraft, the armaments industry was greatly expanded through the use of concentration camp prisoners and forced labor, especially for fighter planes, tanks and missiles.

Most of the resistance groups were soon crushed by the Gestapo. While the plans of the group around Karl Burian to blow up the Gestapo headquarters in Vienna were uncovered, the important group around the later executed priest Heinrich Maier managed to contact the Allies. This so-called Maier-Messner group was able to send the Allies information about armaments factories for V-1, V-2 rockets, Tiger tanks and aircraft (Messerschmitt Bf 109, Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet, etc.), which was important for Operation Crossbow and Operation Hydra, both preliminary missions for Operation Overlord. This resistance group, which was in contact with the American secret service OSS, soon provided information about mass executions and concentration camps such as Auschwitz. The aim of the group was to let Nazi Germany lose the war as quickly as possible and to re-establish an independent Austria.

KZ Mauthausen
The liberation of Mauthausen concentration camp, 1945

Vienna fell on 13 April 1945, during the Soviet Vienna Offensive, just before the total collapse of the Third Reich. The invading Allied powers, in particular the Americans, planned for the supposed "Alpine Fortress Operation" of a national redoubt, that was largely to have taken place on Austrian soil in the mountains of the Eastern Alps. However, it never materialised because of the rapid collapse of the Reich.

Karl Renner and Adolf Schärf (Socialist Party of Austria [Social Democrats and Revolutionary Socialists]), Leopold Kunschak (Austria's People's Party [former Christian Social People's Party]), and Johann Koplenig (Communist Party of Austria) declared Austria's secession from the Third Reich by the Declaration of Independence on 27 April 1945 and set up a provisional government in Vienna under state Chancellor Renner the same day, with the approval of the victorious Red Army and backed by Joseph Stalin. (The date is officially named the birthday of the second republic.) At the end of April, most of western and southern Austria were still under Nazi rule. On 1 May 1945, the federal constitution of 1929, which had been terminated by dictator Dollfuss on 1 May 1934, was declared valid again. Total military deaths from 1939 to 1945 are estimated at 260,000. Jewish Holocaust victims totalled 65,000. About 140,000 Jewish Austrians had fled the country in 1938–39. Thousands of Austrians had taken part in serious Nazi crimes (hundreds of thousands died in Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp alone), a fact officially recognised by Chancellor Franz Vranitzky in 1992.

Contemporary era

Uno City Kaiserwasser
The United Nations Office in Vienna is one of the four major UN office sites worldwide.

Much like Germany, Austria was divided into American, British, French, and Soviet zones and governed by the Allied Commission for Austria. As forecast in the Moscow Declaration in 1943, a subtle difference was seen in the treatment of Austria by the Allies. The Austrian government, consisting of Social Democrats, Conservatives, and Communists (until 1947), and residing in Vienna, which was surrounded by the Soviet zone, was recognised by the Western Allies in October 1945 after some doubts that Renner could be Stalin's puppet. Thus, the creation of a separate Western Austrian government and the division of the country was avoided. Austria, in general, was treated as though it had been originally invaded by Germany and liberated by the Allies.

On 15 May 1955, after talks which lasted for years and were influenced by the Cold War, Austria regained full independence by concluding the Austrian State Treaty with the Four Occupying Powers. On 26 October 1955, after all occupation troops had left, Austria declared its "permanent neutrality" by an act of parliament. This day is now Austria's National Day, a public holiday.

Tratado de Lisboa 13 12 2007 (081)
Austria joined the European Union in 1995 and signed the Lisbon Treaty in 2007.

The political system of the Second Republic is based on the constitution of 1920 and 1929, which was reintroduced in 1945. The system came to be characterised by Proporz, meaning that most posts of political importance were split evenly between members of the Social Democratic Party of Austria (SPÖ) and the Austrian People's Party (ÖVP). Interest group "chambers" with mandatory membership (e.g. for workers, business people, farmers) grew to considerable importance and were usually consulted in the legislative process, so hardly any legislation was passed that did not reflect widespread consensus.

Since 1945, governing via a single-party government has occurred twice: 1966–1970 (ÖVP) and 1970–1983 (SPÖ). During all other legislative periods, either a grand coalition of SPÖ and ÖVP or a "small coalition" (one of these two and a smaller party) ruled the country.

Kurt Waldheim, a Wehrmacht officer in the Second World War accused of war crimes, was elected President of Austria from 1986 to 1992.

Following a referendum in 1994, at which consent reached a majority of two-thirds, the country became a member of the European Union on 1 January 1995.

The major parties SPÖ and ÖVP have contrary opinions about the future status of Austria's military nonalignment: While the SPÖ in public supports a neutral role, the ÖVP argues for stronger integration into the EU's security policy; even a future NATO membership is not ruled out by some ÖVP politicians (ex. Dr Werner Fasslabend (ÖVP) in 1997). In reality, Austria is taking part in the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy, participates in peacekeeping and peace creating tasks, and has become a member of NATO's "Partnership for Peace"; the constitution has been amended accordingly. Since Liechtenstein joined the Schengen Area in 2011, none of Austria's neighbouring countries performs border controls towards it anymore.

Politics

WienParlament
The Austrian Parliament Building in Vienna
Wien - Hofburg, Leopoldinischer Trakt
The Leopoldine Wing of Hofburg Imperial Palace in Vienna, home to the offices of the Austrian president

The Parliament of Austria is located in Vienna, the country's capital and most populous city. Austria became a federal, representative democratic republic through the Federal Constitution of 1920. The political system of the Second Republic with its nine states is based on the constitution of 1920, amended in 1929, which was reenacted on 1 May 1945.

The head of state is the Federal President (Bundespräsident), who is directly elected by popular majority vote, with a run-off between the top-scoring candidates if necessary. The head of the Federal Government is the Federal Chancellor (Bundeskanzler), who is selected by the President and tasked with forming a government based on the partisan composition of the lower house of parliament.

The government can be removed from office by either a presidential decree or by vote of no confidence in the lower chamber of parliament, the Nationalrat. Voting for the Federal President and for the Parliament used to be compulsory in Austria, but this was abolished in steps from 1982 to 2004.

Austria's parliament consists of two chambers. The composition of the Nationalrat (183 seats) is determined every five years (or whenever the Nationalrat has been dissolved by the federal president on a motion by the federal chancellor, or by Nationalrat itself) by a general election in which every citizen over the age of 16 has the right to vote. The voting age was lowered from 18 in 2007.

While there is a general threshold of 4% of the vote for all parties in federal elections (Nationalratswahlen) to participate in the proportional allocation of seats, there remains the possibility of being elected to a seat directly in one of the 43 regional electoral districts (Direktmandat).

The Nationalrat is the dominant chamber in the legislative process in Austria. However, the upper house of parliament, the Bundesrat, has a limited right of veto (the Nationalrat can—in almost all cases—ultimately pass the respective bill by voting a second time; this is referred to as a Beharrungsbeschluss, lit. "vote of persistence"). A constitutional convention, called the Österreich -Konvent was convened on 30 June 2003 to consider reforms to the constitution, but failed to produce a proposal that would command a two-thirds majority in the Nationalrat, the margin necessary for constitutional amendments and/or reform.

While the bicameral Parliament and the Government constitute the legislative and executive branches, respectively, the courts are the third branch of Austrian state powers. The Constitutional Court (Verfassungsgerichtshof) exerts considerable influence on the political system because of its power to invalidate legislation and ordinances that are not in compliance with the constitution. Since 1995, the European Court of Justice may overrule Austrian decisions in all matters defined in laws of the European Union. Austria also implements the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights, since the European Convention on Human Rights is part of the Austrian constitution.

Administrative divisions

Austria is a federal republic consisting of nine states (German: Bundesländer). The states are sub-divided into districts (Bezirke) and statutory cities (Statutarstädte). Districts are subdivided into municipalities (Gemeinden). Statutory Cities have the competencies otherwise granted to both districts and municipalities. Vienna is unique in that it is both a city and a state.

Austria's constituent states are not mere administrative divisions but have some legislative authority distinct from the federal government, e.g. in matters of culture, social welfare, youth and nature protection, hunting, building, and zoning ordinances. In recent years, it has been questioned whether a small country should maintain ten subnational legislatures. Consolidation of local governments has already been undertaken at the Gemeinde level for purposes of administrative efficiency and cost savings (Gemeindezusammenlegung).

State Capital Area
(sq km)
Population
(1 Jan 2017)
Density
per km2
GDP (euro)
(2012 Eurostat)
GDP per
capita
Burgenland Eisenstadt 3,965 291,942 73.6 7.311 bn 25,600
Carinthia Klagenfurt 9,536 561,077 58.8 17.62 bn 31,700
Lower Austria Sankt Pölten 19,178 1,665,753 86.9 49.75 bn 30,800
Salzburg Salzburg 7,154 549,263 76.8 23.585 bn 44,500
Styria Graz 16,401 1,237,298 75.4 40.696 bn 33,600
Tyrol Innsbruck 12,648 746,153 59.0 28.052 bn 39,400
Upper Austria Linz 11,982 1,465,045 122.3 53.863 bn 38,000
Vienna 415 1,867,582 4,500 81.772 bn 47,300
Vorarlberg Bregenz 2,601 388,752 149.5 14.463 bn 38,900

Geography

Oesterreich topo
A topographic map of Austria showing cities with over 100,000 inhabitants

Austria is a largely mountainous country because of its location in the Alps. The Central Eastern Alps, Northern Limestone Alps and Southern Limestone Alps are all partly in Austria. Of the total area of Austria (84,000 km2 or 32,433 sq mi), only about a quarter can be considered low lying, and only 32% of the country is below 500 metres (1,640 ft). The Alps of western Austria give way somewhat into low lands and plains in the eastern part of the country.

Austria lies between latitudes 46° and 49° N, and longitudes 9° and 18° E.

It can be divided into five areas, the biggest being the Eastern Alps, which constitute 62% of the nation's total area. The Austrian foothills at the base of the Alps and the Carpathians account for around 12% and the foothills in the east and areas surrounding the periphery of the Pannoni low country amount to about 12% of the total landmass. The second greater mountain area (much lower than the Alps) is situated in the north. Known as the Austrian granite plateau, it is located in the central area of the Bohemian Mass and accounts for 10% of Austria. The Austrian portion of the Vienna basin makes up the remaining 4%.

Phytogeographically, Austria belongs to the Central European province of the Circumboreal Region within the Boreal Kingdom. According to the WWF, the territory of Austria can be subdivided into four ecoregions: the Central European mixed forests, Pannonian mixed forests, Alps conifer and mixed forests, and Western European broadleaf forests. Austria had a 2018 Forest Landscape Integrity Index mean score of 3.55/10, ranking it 149th globally out of 172 countries.

Climate

The greater part of Austria lies in the cool/temperate climate zone, where humid westerly winds predominate. With nearly three-quarters of the country dominated by the Alps, the alpine climate is predominant. In the east—in the Pannonian Plain and along the Danube valley—the climate shows continental features with less rain than the alpine areas. Although Austria is cold in the winter (−10 to 0 °C), summer temperatures can be relatively high, with average temperatures in the mid-20s and a highest temperature of 40.5 °C (105 °F) in August 2013.

According to the Köppen Climate Classification Austria has the following climate types: Oceanic (Cfb), Cool/Warm-summer humid continental (Dfb), Subarctic/Subalpine (Dfc), Tundra/Alpine (ET) and Ice-Cap (EF). It is important to note though that Austria may experience very cold, severe winters, but most of the time they are only around as cold as those in somewhat comparable climate zones, for example Southern Scandinavia or Eastern Europe. As well, at higher altitudes, summers are usually considerably cooler than in the valleys/lower altitudes. The subarctic and tundra climates seen around the Alps are much warmer in winter than what is normal elsewhere due in part to the Oceanic influence on this part of Europe.

Economy

Austria Product Exports (2019)
A proportional representation of Austria exports, 2019

Austria consistently ranks high in terms of GDP per capita, due to its highly industrialized economy, and well-developed social market economy.

BlueEurozone
Austria is part of a monetary union, the eurozone (dark blue), and of the EU single market.

Tourism in Austria accounts for almost 9% of its gross domestic product. In 2007, Austria ranked 9th worldwide in international tourism receipts, with 18.9 billion US$. In international tourist arrivals, Austria ranked 12th with 20.8 million tourists.

Infrastructure and natural resources

Verbund malta
The Kölnbrein Dam in Carinthia

In 1972, the country began construction of a nuclear-powered electricity-generation station at Zwentendorf on the River Danube, following a unanimous vote in parliament. However, in 1978, a referendum voted approximately 50.5% against nuclear power, 49.5% for, and parliament subsequently unanimously passed a law forbidding the use of nuclear power to generate electricity although the nuclear power plant was already finished.

Austria currently produces more than half of its electricity by hydropower. Together with other renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and biomass powerplants, the electricity supply from renewable energy amounts to 62.89% of total use in Austria, with the rest being produced by gas and oil power plants.

Demographics

AuVorarlberg5
Children in Austria, near Au, Vorarlberg

Austria's population was estimated to be nearly 9 million (8.9) in 2020 by the Statistik Austria. The population of the capital, Vienna, exceeds 1.9 million (2.6 million, including the suburbs), representing about a quarter of the country's population. It is known for its cultural offerings and high standard of living.

Vienna is by far the country's largest city. Graz is second in size, with 291,007 inhabitants, followed by Linz (206,604), Salzburg (155,031), Innsbruck (131,989), and Klagenfurt (101,303). All other cities have fewer than 100,000 inhabitants.

According to Eurostat, in 2018 there were 1.69 million foreign-born residents in Austria, corresponding to 19.2% of the total population. Of these, 928,700 (10.5%) were born outside the EU and 762,000 (8.6%) were born in another EU Member State. There are more than 483,100 descendants of foreign-born immigrants.

Turks form one of the largest ethnic groups in Austria, numbering around 350,000. 13,000 Turks were naturalised in 2003 and an unknown number have arrived in Austria at the same time. While 2,000 Turks left Austria in the same year, 10,000 immigrated to the country, confirming a strong trend of growth. Together, Serbs, Croats, Bosniaks, Macedonians, and Slovenes make up about 5.1% of Austria's total population.

Largest cities

Largest cities or towns in Austria
Statistik Austria 1 January 2014
Rank Name Pop.
1 Vienna 1,812,605
2 Graz 269,997
3 Linz 193,814
4 Salzburg 146,631
5 Innsbruck 124,579
6 Klagenfurt 96,640
7 Villach 60,004
8 Wels 59,339
9 Sankt Pölten 52,145
10 Dornbirn 46,883

Language

} Standard Austrian German is spoken in Austria, though used primarily just in education, publications, announcements and websites. It is mostly identical to the Standard German of Germany but with some vocabulary differences. This Standard German language is used in formal contexts across Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein, as well as among those with significant German-speaking minorities: Italy, Belgium and Denmark. However, the common spoken language of Austria is not the Standard German taught in schools but Austro-Bavarian: a group of Upper German local dialects with varying degrees of difficulty being understood by each other as well as by speakers of non-Austrian German dialects. Taken as a collective whole, German languages or dialects are thus spoken natively by 88.6% of the population, which includes the 2.5% German-born citizens who reside in Austria, followed by Turkish (2.28%), Serbian (2.21%), Croatian (1.63%), English (0.73%), Hungarian (0.51%), Bosnian (0.43%), Polish (0.35%), Albanian (0.35%), Slovenian (0.31%), Czech (0.22%), Arabic (0.22%), and Romanian (0.21%).

Ethnic groups

Oberwart - Felsőőr
Bilingual sign of Oberwart (in Hungarian Felsőőr) in Burgenland

Historically Austrians were regarded as ethnic Germans and viewed themselves as such, although this national identity was challenged by Austrian nationalism in the decades after the end of World War I and even more so after World War II. Austria was part of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation until its ending in 1806 and had been part of the German Confederation, a loose association of 39 separate German-speaking countries, until the Austro-Prussian war in 1866, which resulted in the exclusion of Austria from the German Confederation and the creation of the North German Confederation led by Prussia. In 1871, Germany was founded as a nation-state, Austria was not a part of it. After World War I and the breakup of the Austrian monarchy, politicians of the new republic declared its name to be "Deutschösterreich" (Republic of German-Austria) and that it was part of the German Republic. A unification of the two countries was forbidden by the treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye as one of the conditions imposed by the victorious Allies of World War I upon the vanquished nation, to prevent the creation of a territorially extensive German state. After the events of World War II and Nazism, Austria as a country has made efforts to develop an Austrian national identity among its populace, and nowadays most do not consider themselves Germans. However, a minority of Austrians still consider themselves to be Germans and advocate for a "Greater Germany", arguing that the historic boundaries of the German people goes beyond the boundaries of modern-day countries, especially Austria and Germany.

Austrians may be described either as a nationality or as a homogeneous Germanic ethnic group, that is closely related to neighboring Germans, Liechtensteiners and German-speaking Swiss. Today 91.1% of the population are regarded as ethnic Austrians.

COB data Austria
The birthplaces of foreign-born naturalised residents of Austria

The Turks are the largest single immigrant group in Austria, closely followed by the Serbs. Serbs form one of the largest ethnic groups in Austria, numbering around 300,000 people. Historically, Serbian immigrants moved to Austria during the time of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, when Vojvodina was under Imperial control. Following World War II the number of Serbs expanded again, and today the community is very large. The Austrian Serbian Society was founded in 1936. Today, Serbs in Austria are mainly found in Vienna, Salzburg, and Graz.

An estimated 13,000 to 40,000 Slovenes in the Austrian state of Carinthia (the Carinthian Slovenes) as well as Croats (around 30,000) and Hungarians in Burgenland were recognised as a minority and have had special rights following the Austrian State Treaty (Staatsvertrag) of 1955. The Slovenes in the Austrian state of Styria (estimated at a number between 1,600 and 5,000) are not recognised as a minority and do not have special rights, although the State Treaty of 27 July 1955 states otherwise.

The right for bilingual topographic signs for the regions where Slovene and Croat Austrians live alongside the German-speaking population (as required by the 1955 State Treaty) is still to be fully implemented in the view of some, while others believe that the treaty-derived obligations have been met (see below). Many Carinthians are afraid of Slovenian territorial claims, pointing to the fact that Yugoslav troops entered the state after each of the two World Wars and considering that some official Slovenian atlases show parts of Carinthia as Slovene cultural territory. The former governor of Carinthia Jörg Haider has made this fact a matter of public argument in autumn 2005 by refusing to increase the number of bilingual topographic signs in Carinthia. A poll by the Kärntner Humaninstitut conducted in January 2006 stated that 65% of Carinthians were not against an increase of bilingual topographic signs, since the original requirements set by the State Treaty of 1955 had already been fulfilled according to their point of view.

Another interesting phenomenon is the so-called "Windischen-Theorie" stating that the Slovenes can be split in two groups: actual Slovenes and Windische (a traditional German name for Slavs), based on differences in language between Austrian Slovenes, who were taught Slovene standard language in school and those Slovenes who spoke their local Slovene dialect but went to German schools. The term Windische was applied to the latter group as a means of distinction. This politically influenced theory, dividing Slovene Austrians into the "loyal Windische" and the "national Slovenes", was never generally accepted and fell out of use some decades ago.

Religion

Religion in Austria (2017)
Roman Catholicism
  
56.9%
Eastern Orthodoxy
  
8.8%
Islam
  
8.0%
Protestantism
  
3.3%
Buddhism
  
0.3%
None
  
22.7%
Sources:
Mariazell Basilika 3
The Basilica of Mariazell is Austria's most popular pilgrimage site.

In 2001, about 74% of Austria's population were registered as Roman Catholic, while about 5% considered themselves Protestants. Austrian Christians, both Catholic and Protestant, are obliged to pay a mandatory membership fee (calculated by income—about 1%) to their church; this payment is called "Kirchenbeitrag" ("Ecclesiastical/Church contribution"). Since the second half of the 20th century, the number of adherents and churchgoers has declined. Data for 2018 from the Austrian Roman Catholic Church list 5,050,000 members, or 56.9% of the total Austrian population. Sunday church attendance was 605,828 or 7% of the total Austrian population in 2015. The Lutheran church also recorded a loss of 74,421 adherents between 2001 and 2016.

The 2001 census report indicated that about 12% of the population declared that they have no religion; according to ecclesiastical information this share had grown to 20% by 2015. Of the remaining people, around 340,000 were registered as members of various Muslim communities in 2001, mainly due to the influx from Turkey, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo. The number of Muslims has doubled in 15 years to 700,000 in 2016. About 180,000 are members of Orthodox Churches (mostly Serbs), about 21,000 people are active Jehovah's Witnesses and about 8,100 are Jewish.

According to the most recent Eurobarometer Poll 2010,

  • 44% of Austrian citizens responded that "they believe there is a God."
  • 38% answered that "they believe there is some sort of spirit or life force."
  • 12% answered that "they do not believe there is any sort of spirit, God, or life force."

Education

Melk - Stift (0)
Stiftsgymnasium Melk is the oldest Austrian school.

Education in Austria is entrusted partly to the Austrian states (Bundesländer) and partly to the federal government. School attendance is compulsory for nine years, i.e. usually to the age of fifteen.

Pre-school education (called Kindergarten in German), free in most states, is provided for all children between the ages of three and six years and, whilst optional, is considered a normal part of a child's education due to its high takeup rate. Maximum class size is around 30, each class normally being cared for by one qualified teacher and one assistant.

Primary education, or Volksschule, lasts for four years, starting at age six. The maximum class size is 30, but may be as low as 15. It is generally expected that a class will be taught by one teacher for the entire four years and the stable bond between teacher and pupil is considered important for a child's well-being. The 3Rs (Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic) dominate lesson time, with less time allotted to project work than in the UK. Children work individually and all members of a class follow the same plan of work. There is no streaming.

Standard attendance times are 8 am to 12 pm or 1 pm, with hourly five- or ten-minute breaks. Children are given homework daily from the first year. Historically there has been no lunch hour, with children returning home to eat. However, due to a rise in the number of mothers in work, primary schools are increasingly offering pre-lesson and afternoon care.

Wien 02 Campus WU a
The campus of the Vienna University of Economics and Business

As in Germany, secondary education consists of two main types of schools, attendance at which is based on a pupil's ability as determined by grades from the primary school. The Gymnasium caters for the more able children, in the final year of which the Matura examination is taken, which is a requirement for access to university. The Hauptschule prepares pupils for vocational education but also for various types of further education (Höhere Technische Lehranstalt HTL = institution of higher technical education; HAK = commercial academy; HBLA = institution of higher education for economic business; etc.). Attendance at one of these further education institutes also leads to the Matura. Some schools aim to combine the education available at the Gymnasium and the Hauptschule, and are known as Gesamtschulen. In addition, a recognition of the importance of learning English has led some Gymnasiums to offer a bilingual stream, in which pupils deemed able in languages follow a modified curriculum, a portion of the lesson time being conducted in English.

As at primary school, lessons at Gymnasium begin at 8 am and continue with short intervals until lunchtime or early afternoon, with children returning home to a late lunch. Older pupils often attend further lessons after a break for lunch, generally eaten at school. As at primary level, all pupils follow the same plan of work. Great emphasis is placed on homework and frequent testing. Satisfactory marks in the end-of-the-year report ("Zeugnis") are a prerequisite for moving up ("aufsteigen") to the next class. Pupils who do not meet the required standard re-sit their tests at the end of the summer holidays; those whose marks are still not satisfactory are required to re-sit the year ("sitzenbleiben").

It is not uncommon for a pupil to re-sit more than one year of school. After completing the first two years, pupils choose between one of two strands, known as "Gymnasium" (slightly more emphasis on arts) or "Realgymnasium" (slightly more emphasis on science). Whilst many schools offer both strands, some do not, and as a result, some children move schools for a second time at age 12. At age 14, pupils may choose to remain in one of these two strands, or to change to a vocational course, possibly with a further change of school.

The Austrian university system had been open to any student who passed the Matura examination until recently. A 2006 bill allowed the introduction of entrance exams for studies such as Medicine. In 2001, an obligatory tuition fee ("Studienbeitrag") of €363.36 per term was introduced for all public universities. Since 2008, for all EU students the studies have been free of charge, as long as a certain time-limit is not exceeded (the expected duration of the study plus usually two terms tolerance). When the time-limit is exceeded, the fee of around €363.36 per term is charged. Some further exceptions to the fee apply, e.g. for students with a year's salary of more than about €5000. In all cases, an obligatory fee of €20.20 is charged for the student union and insurance.

Culture

Music

Wolfgang-amadeus-mozart 1

Austria's past as a European power and its cultural environment generated a broad contribution to various forms of art, most notably among them music. Austria was the birthplace of many famous composers such as Joseph Haydn, Michael Haydn, Franz Liszt, Franz Schubert, Anton Bruckner, Johann Strauss, Sr. and Johann Strauss, Jr. as well as members of the Second Viennese School such as Arnold Schoenberg, Anton Webern and Alban Berg. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in Salzburg, then an independent Church Principality of the Holy Roman Empire, which later became part of Austria, and much of Mozart's career was spent in Vienna.

Vienna was for a long time an important centre of musical innovation. 18th- and 19th-century composers were drawn to the city due to the patronage of the Habsburgs, and made Vienna the European capital of classical music. During the Baroque period, Slavic and Hungarian folk forms influenced Austrian music.

StateOperaViennaNightBackside
The Vienna State Opera

Vienna's status began its rise as a cultural centre in the early 16th century, and was focused around instruments, including the lute. Ludwig van Beethoven spent the better part of his life in Vienna. Austria's current national anthem, attributed to Mozart, was chosen after World War II to replace the traditional Austrian anthem by Joseph Haydn.

Austrian Herbert von Karajan was principal conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic for 35 years. He is generally regarded as one of the greatest conductors of the 20th century, and he was a dominant figure in European classical music from the 1960s until his death.

International pop super star Johann Hölzel, also known by his stage name Falco was born in Vienna, Austria 19 February 1957.

Conchita Wurst is also a renowned singer from the Austrian stock.

Art and architecture

Botanischer Garten Der Universität, Wenen, Oostenrijk Aug 02, 2019 04-27-11 PM
The Belvedere Palace, an example of Baroque architecture

Among Austrian Artists and architects one can find the painters Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller, Rudolf von Alt, Hans Makart, Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka, Egon Schiele, Carl Moll, and Friedensreich Hundertwasser, the photographers Inge Morath and Ernst Haas, and architects like Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach, Otto Wagner, Adolf Loos, and Hans Hollein (recipient of the 1985 Pritzker Architecture Prize). Contemporary artist Herbert Brandl.

Cinema and theatre

Arnold Schwarzenegger by Gage Skidmore 4
Arnold Schwarzenegger is a well-known Austrian and American actor

Sascha Kolowrat was an Austrian pioneer of filmmaking. Billy Wilder, Fritz Lang, Josef von Sternberg, and Fred Zinnemann originally came from the Austrian Empire before establishing themselves as internationally relevant filmmakers. Willi Forst, Ernst Marischka, and Franz Antel enriched the popular cinema in German-speaking countries. Michael Haneke became internationally known for his disturbing cinematic studies, receiving a Golden Globe for his critically acclaimed film The White Ribbon (2010).

The first Austrian director to receive an Academy Award was Stefan Ruzowitzky. A number of Austrian actors also pursued international careers, among them Peter Lorre, Helmut Berger, Curd Jürgens, Senta Berger, Oskar Werner, and Klaus Maria Brandauer. Most notably, Hedy Lamarr and Arnold Schwarzenegger became international movie stars in Hollywood. Christoph Waltz rose to fame with his performances in Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained, earning him the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 2010 and 2012. Max Reinhardt was a master of spectacular and astute theatre productions. Otto Schenk not only excelled as a stage actor, but also as an opera director.

Science and philosophy

Austria was the cradle of numerous scientists with international reputation. Among them are Ludwig Boltzmann, Ernst Mach, Victor Franz Hess and Christian Doppler, prominent scientists in the 19th century. In the 20th century, contributions by Lise Meitner, Erwin Schrödinger and Wolfgang Pauli to nuclear research and quantum mechanics were key to these areas' development during the 1920s and 1930s. A present-day quantum physicist is Anton Zeilinger, noted as the first scientist to demonstrate quantum teleportation.

In addition to physicists, Austria was the birthplace of two of the most noteworthy philosophers of the 20th century, Ludwig Wittgenstein and Karl Popper. In addition to them, biologists Gregor Mendel and Konrad Lorenz as well as mathematician Kurt Gödel and engineers such as Ferdinand Porsche and Siegfried Marcus were Austrians.

A focus of Austrian science has always been medicine and psychology, starting in medieval times with Paracelsus. Eminent physicians like Theodore Billroth, Clemens von Pirquet, and Anton von Eiselsberg have built upon the achievements of the 19th-century Vienna School of Medicine. Austria was home to Sigmund Freud, founder of psychoanalysis, Alfred Adler, founder of Individual psychology, psychologists Paul Watzlawick and Hans Asperger, and psychiatrist Viktor Frankl.

The Austrian School of Economics, which is prominent as one of the main competitive directions for economic theory, is related to Austrian economists Carl Menger, Joseph Schumpeter, Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk, Ludwig von Mises, and Friedrich Hayek. Other noteworthy Austrian-born émigrés include the management thinker Peter Drucker, sociologist Paul Felix Lazarsfeld and scientist Sir Gustav Nossal.

Literature

Complementing its status as a land of artists and scientists, Austria has always been a country of poets, writers, and novelists. It was the home of novelists Arthur Schnitzler, Stefan Zweig, Thomas Bernhard, and Robert Musil, of poets Georg Trakl, Franz Werfel, Franz Grillparzer, Rainer Maria Rilke, Adalbert Stifter, Karl Kraus and children's author Eva Ibbotson.

Famous contemporary playwrights and novelists are Nobel prize winner Elfriede Jelinek, Peter Handke and Daniel Kehlmann.

Food and beverages

Austria's cuisine is derived from that of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Austrian cuisine is mainly the tradition of Royal-Cuisine ("Hofküche") delivered over centuries. It is famous for its well-balanced variations of beef and pork and countless variations of vegetables. There is also the "Mehlspeisen" tradition of bakeries, which created particular delicacies such as Sachertorte, "Krapfen" which are doughnuts usually filled with apricot jam or custard, and "Strudel" such as "Apfelstrudel" filled with apple, "Topfenstrudel" filled with a type of cheese curd called "topfen", and "Millirahmstrudel" (milk-cream strudel).

In addition to native regional traditions, the cuisine has been influenced by Hungarian, Czech, Polish, Jewish, Italian, Balkan and French cuisines, from which both dishes and methods of food preparation have often been borrowed. The Austrian cuisine is therefore one of the most multicultural and transcultural in Europe.

Wiener-Schnitzel02
Wiener Schnitzel, a traditional Austrian dish

Typical Austrian dishes include Wiener Schnitzel, Schweinsbraten, Kaiserschmarren, Knödel, Sachertorte and Tafelspitz. There are also Kärntner Kasnudeln, which are pockets of dough filled with Topfen, potatoes, herbs and peppermint which are boiled and served with a butter sauce. Kasnudeln are traditionally served with a salad. Eierschwammerl dishes are also popular. The sugar block dispenser Pez was invented in Austria, as well as Mannerschnitten. Austria is also famous for its Mozartkugeln and its coffee tradition. With over 8 kg per year it has the sixth highest per capita coffee consumption worldwide.

Local soft drinks such as Almdudler are very popular around the country as an alternative to alcoholic beverages. Another popular drink is the so-called "Spezi", a mix between Coca-Cola and the original formula of Orange Fanta or the more locally renowned Frucade. Red Bull, the highest-selling energy drink in the world, was introduced by Dietrich Mateschitz, an Austrian entrepreneur.

Sports

Bergisel
Innsbruck hosted the 1964 and 1976 Winter Olympics, as well as the 2012 Winter Youth Olympics, the first in history.

Due to the mountainous terrain, alpine skiing is a prominent sport in Austria and is extremely valuable in the promotion and economic growth of the country. Similar sports such as snowboarding or ski-jumping are also widely popular. Austrian athletes such as Annemarie Moser-Pröll, Franz Klammer, Hermann Maier, Toni Sailer, Benjamin Raich, Marlies Schild & Marcel Hirscher are widely regarded as some of the greatest alpine skiers of all time, Armin Kogler, Andreas Felder, Ernst Vettori, Andreas Goldberger, Andreas Widhölzl, Thomas Morgenstern & Gregor Schlierenzauer as some of the greatest ski jumpers of all time. Bobsleigh, luge, and skeleton are also popular events with a permanent track located in Igls, which hosted bobsleigh and luge competitions for the 1964 and 1976 Winter Olympics held in Innsbruck. The first Winter Youth Olympics in 2012 were held in Innsbruck as well.

Fischer Sports franz-klammer 1976
Ski racer Franz Klammer won a gold medal at the 1976 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck.

A popular team sport in Austria is football, which is governed by the Austrian Football Association. Austria was among the most successful football playing nations on the European continent placing 4th at the 1934 FIFA World Cup, 3rd at the 1954 FIFA World Cup and 7th at the 1978 FIFA World Cup. However, recently Austrian football has not been internationally successful. It also co-hosted the 2008 UEFA European Football Championship with Switzerland. The national Austrian football league is the Austrian Bundesliga, which includes teams such as record-champions SK Rapid Wien, FK Austria Wien, Red Bull Salzburg and Sturm Graz.

Besides football, Austria also has professional national leagues for most major team sports, including the Austrian Hockey League for ice hockey, and the Österreichische Basketball Bundesliga for basketball. Horseback riding is also popular; the famed Spanish Riding School of Vienna is located in Vienna.

Niki Lauda is a former Formula One driver who was three times F1 World Champion, winning in 1975, 1977 and 1984. He is currently the only driver to have been champion for both Ferrari and McLaren, the sport's two most successful constructors. Other known Austrian F1 drivers are for example Gerhard Berger and Jochen Rindt. Austria also hosts F1 races (Austrian Grand Prix); now held at Red Bull Ring, in the past also at Österreichring and Zeltweg Airfield.

Thomas Muster is a former tennis player and one of the greatest clay courters of all time. He won the 1995 French Open and in 1996 he was ranked number 1 in the ATP Ranking. Other well known Austrian tennis players include the 2020 US Open winner Dominic Thiem, Horst Skoff and Jürgen Melzer.

Sport played a significant role in developing national consciousness and boosting national self-confidence in the early years of the Second Republic after World War II, through events such as the Tour of Austria cycle race and through sporting successes such as the national football team's run to third at the 1954 World Cup and the performances of Toni Sailer and the rest of the "Kitzbühel Miracle Team" in the 1950s.

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