Coordinates: 47°20′N 13°20′E / 47.333°N 13.333°E / 47.333; 13.333
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Republic of Austria
Republik Österreich (German)
Anthem: "Bundeshymne der Republik Österreich"
"National Anthem of the Republic of Austria"
Location of Austria (dark green)

– in Europe (green & dark grey)
– in the European Union (green)  –  [Legend]

and largest city
48°12′N 16°21′E / 48.200°N 16.350°E / 48.200; 16.350
Official languageGerman[a][b]
Official regional languages
Ethnic groups
  • 26.4% no religion
  • 8.3% Islam
  • 1.2% other
GovernmentFederal parliamentary republic[5]
• President
Alexander Van der Bellen
Karl Nehammer
Federal Council
National Council
• Name
1 November 996
• Duchy
17 September 1156
• Archduchy
6 January 1453
• Empire
11 August 1804
30 March 1867
12 November 1918
10 September 1919
1 May 1934
• Anschluss
13 March 1938
27 April 1945
27 July 1955
• Total
83,871 km2 (32,383 sq mi) (113th)
• Water (%)
0.84 (2015)[6]
• April 2022 estimate
Neutral increase 9,027,999[7] (98th)
• Density
107.6/km2 (278.7/sq mi) (106th)
GDP (PPP)2022 estimate
• Total
Increase $700.203 billion[8] (43rd)
• Per capita
Increase $64,750[8] (14th)
GDP (nominal)2022 estimate
• Total
Increase $479.820 billion[8] (33rd)
• Per capita
Increase $53,320[8] (17th)
Gini (2021)Positive decrease 26.7[9]
HDI (2021)Increase 0.916[10]
very high · 25th
CurrencyEuro () (EUR)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
• Summer (DST)
Date[citation needed]
Driving sideright
Calling code+43
ISO 3166 codeAT

Austria (German: Österreich),[c] formally the Republic of Austria (German: Republik Österreich),[d] is a landlocked country in Central Europe, lying in the Eastern Alps.[12] It is a federation of nine provinces, one of which is the capital, Vienna, the most populous city and province. Austria is bordered by Germany to the northwest, Czechia to the north, Slovakia to the northeast, Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west. The country occupies an area of 83,871 km2 (32,383 sq mi) and has a population of 9 million.[13]

Austria emerged from the remnants of the Eastern and Hungarian March at the end of the first millennium. Originally a margraviate of Bavaria, it developed into a duchy of the Holy Roman Empire in 1156 and was later made an archduchy in 1453. In the 16th century, Vienna began serving as the empire's administrative capital and Austria thus became the heartland of the Habsburg monarchy. After the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, Austria established its own empire, which became a great power and the dominant member of the German Confederation. The empire's defeat in the Austro-Prussian War of 1866 led to the end of the Confederation and paved the way for the establishment of Austria-Hungary a year later.

After the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914, Emperor Franz Joseph declared war on Serbia, which ultimately escalated into World War I. The empire's defeat and subsequent collapse led to the proclamation of the Republic of German-Austria in 1918 and the First Austrian Republic in 1919. During the interwar period, anti-parliamentarian sentiments culminated in the formation of an Austrofascist dictatorship under Engelbert Dollfuss in 1934. A year before the outbreak of World War II, Austria was annexed into Nazi Germany by Adolf Hitler, and it became a sub-national division. After its liberation in 1945 and a decade of Allied occupation, the country regained its sovereignty and declared its perpetual neutrality in 1955.

Austria is a parliamentary representative democracy with a popularly elected president as head of state and a chancellor as head of government and chief executive. Major cities include Vienna, Graz, Linz, Salzburg, and Innsbruck. Austria has the 17th highest nominal GDP per capita with high standards of living; it was ranked 25th in the world for its Human Development Index in 2021.

Austria has been a member of the United Nations since 1955[14] and of the European Union since 1995.[15] It hosts the OSCE and OPEC and is a founding member of the OECD and Interpol.[16] It also signed the Schengen Agreement in 1995,[17] and adopted the euro currency in 1999.[18]


The German name for Austria, Österreich, derives from the

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.[21] At the time, the Danube basin of Austria (Upper and Lower Austria) was the easternmost extent of Bavaria.


Museum of Natural History Vienna

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.[22]

Middle Ages

After the fall of the Roman Empire, the area was invaded by

The first record showing the name Austria is from 996, where it is written as

Frederick II in 1246, the line of the Babenbergs was extinguished.[25]

As a result,


In the 14th and 15th centuries, the

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

Joanna the Mad, the heiress of Castile and Aragon, thus acquiring Spain and its Italian, African, Asian and New World appendages for the Habsburgs.[27][28]

In 1526, following the

Long War of 1593 to 1606. The Turks made incursions into Styria nearly 20 times,[30] of which some are cited as "burning, pillaging, and taking thousands of slaves".[31] 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

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

During the long reign of Emperor Leopold I (r. 1658–1705) and following the successful defence of Vienna against the Turks in 1683 (under the command of the King of Poland, John III Sobieski),[32] a series of campaigns resulted in bringing most of Hungary to Austrian control by the Treaty of Karlowitz in 1699.


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).

From that time, Austria became the birthplace of classical music and played host to different composers including Joseph Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Franz Schubert.

19th century

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, which was highly unsuccessful in the beginning, with successive defeats at the hands of Napoleon, meaning the end of the old Holy Roman Empire in 1806. Two years earlier,[33] the Empire of Austria was founded. From 1792 to 1801, the Austrians had suffered 754,700 casualties.[34] In 1814, Austria was part of the Allied forces that invaded France and brought to an end the Napoleonic Wars

It emerged from the

1848 revolutions aiming to create a unified Germany.[35]

Map of the German Confederation with its 39 member states

The various different possibilities for a united Germany were: a

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,[35] Austria had to leave the German Confederation and no longer took part in German politics.[36][37]

After the defeated Hungarian Revolution of 1848, 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.[38] The Austrian-Hungarian rule of this diverse empire included various groups, including Germans, Hungarians, 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.

An ethnic 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.[39] 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 idolised 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.[40]

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".[41] 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 by Germany.[42]

A lot of Austrian pan-German nationalists protested passionately against minister-president

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.[43]

Early 20th century

As the

Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1908.[44]
assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo in 1914 by Bosnian Serb Gavrilo Princip[45] 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.[46]

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

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.[47]

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.[48]


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.[49][50][51] The desire for Anschluss (annexation of Austria to Germany) was a popular opinion shared by all social circles in both Austria and Germany.[52] 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).[53] The Treaty of Saint Germain and the Treaty of Versailles explicitly forbade union between Austria and Germany.[54][55] The treaties also forced German-Austria to rename itself as "Republic of Austria" which consequently led to the first Austrian Republic.[56][57]

Over three million German-speaking Austrians found themselves living outside the new Austrian Republic as minorities in the newly formed or enlarged states of

German Bohemia (Czechoslovakia). The status of German Bohemia (Sudetenland) later played a role in sparking the Second World War.[59]

The border between Austria and the

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.[60] 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[clarification needed] after Black Tuesday.


"self-switch-off of Parliament", established an autocratic regime tending towards Italian fascism.[61][62] The two big parties at this time, the Social Democrats and the Conservatives, had paramilitary armies;[63] the Social Democrats' Schutzbund was now declared illegal, but was still operative[63] as civil war broke out.[61][62][64]

In February 1934, several members of the Schutzbund were executed,

Austrofascists imposed a new constitution ("Maiverfassung") which cemented Dollfuss's power, but on 25 July he was assassinated in a Nazi coup attempt.[66][67]

Adolf Hitler speaking at Heldenplatz, Vienna, 1938

His successor Kurt Schuschnigg acknowledged the fact that Austria was a "German state" and he also believed that Austrians were "better Germans" but he wished that Austria would remain independent.[68] 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 the government, while German troops occupied the country, which prevented Schuschnigg's referendum from taking place.[69] On 13 March 1938, the Anschluss of Austria was officially declared. Two days later, Austrian-born Adolf 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 which confirmed 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 they 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, Roma and Sinti were not allowed to vote.[70] 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%.[71] Although most Austrians favored 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.[72] 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,[73] since many Germans from both Austria and Germany saw it as completing the long overdue unification of all Germans into one state.[74]

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

On 12 March 1938, Austria was annexed by the

Aryanisation of the wealth of Jewish Austrians started immediately in mid-March, with a so-called "wild" (i.e. extra-legal) phase, but it was soon structured legally and bureaucratically so the assets which Jewish citizens possessed could be stripped from them. At that time, Adolf Eichmann, who grew up in Austria, was transferred to Vienna and ordered to persecute the Jews. During the November pogrom in 1938 ("Reichskristallnacht"), Jews and Jewish institutions such as synagogues were subjected to violent attacks in Vienna, Klagenfurt, Linz, Graz, Salzburg, Innsbruck and several cities in Lower Austria.[75][76][77][78][79] 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 his property would have been expropriated and he would have been shot immediately if he were caught.[80] In 1938, the Nazis renamed Austria the "Ostmark",[69] a name which it had until 1942, when it was renamed the "Alpine and Danubian Gaue" (Alpen-und Donau-Reichsgaue).[81][82]

Though Austrians made up only 8% of the population of the Third Reich,

Reichsgau, besides the main camp KZ-Mauthausen, there were numerous sub-camps in all provinces where Jews and other prisoners were killed, tortured and exploited.[85] At this time, because the territory was outside the operational radius of Allied aircraft, the armaments industry was greatly expanded through the forced labor of concentration camp prisoners, this was especially the case with regard to the manufacture of fighter planes, tanks and missiles.[86][87][88] Ahead of the period of Nazi occupation, new underground national resistance movements
in opposition to Nazism emerged.

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's headquarters in Vienna were uncovered,[89] 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 where V-1 flying bombs, V-2 rockets, Tiger tanks and aircraft (Messerschmitt Bf 109, Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet, etc.) were manufactured, information which was important to the success of Operation Crossbow and Operation Hydra, both of which were preliminary missions before the launch of 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 group's aim was to cause Nazi Germany to lose the war as quickly as possible and re-establish an independent Austria.[90][91][92]

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.[93] (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. The total number of military deaths from 1939 to 1945 was 260,000.[94] The total number of Jewish Holocaust victims was 65,000.[95] About 140,000 Jewish Austrians had fled from the country in 1938–39. Thousands of Austrians had taken part in serious Nazi crimes (hundreds of thousands of people died in the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp alone), a fact which was officially acknowledged by Chancellor Franz Vranitzky in 1992.

Contemporary era

office sites worldwide.

Moscow Declaration in 1943, a subtle difference was seen in the treatment of Austria by the Allies.[93] 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[97] (see Allied-occupied Austria

On 15 May 1955, after talks which lasted for years and were influenced by the

National Day, a public holiday.[99]

The status of South Tyrol was a lingering problem between Austria and Italy. To this day, there are 20 different squares in Austrian cities called "Südtiroler Platz" (South Tyrolean Square) in memory of the loss of the Austrian territories in the south of Tyrol. The separation led to the division of Tyrol into North Tyrol, South Tyrol, and East Tyrol, with North Tyrol and East Tyrol not bordering each other and both being part of Austria. After riots (South Tyrolean independence movement) due to repression of the German-speaking population by fascist-minded Italians in the 1950s and 1960s, the dispute was officially settled by the 1980s with a great degree of autonomy being granted to South Tyrol by the Italian national government. In modern times, both Tyrol and South Tyrol enjoy prosperity due to tourism, which has completely flattened the conflict.

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).[100] 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.[101]

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.

accused of war crimes.[102]

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.[103]

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. Werner Fasslabend (ÖVP) in 1997).[citation needed] 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.[citation needed] Since Liechtenstein joined the Schengen Area in 2011, none of Austria's neighbouring countries performs border controls towards it anymore.[104]

Government and politics

The Austrian Parliament Building in Vienna


nine provinces is based on the constitution of 1920, amended in 1929, which was reenacted on 1 May 1945.[105]

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

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.[106]

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.[107]

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[108]
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 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.

Since 2006

The Federal Chancellery on Ballhausplatz

After general elections held in October 2006, the Social Democratic Party (SPÖ) emerged as the strongest party, and the Austrian People's Party (ÖVP) came in second, having lost about 8% of its previous polling.[109][110] Political realities prohibited any of the two major parties from forming a coalition with smaller parties. In January 2007 the People's Party and SPÖ formed a grand coalition with the social democrat Alfred Gusenbauer as Chancellor. This coalition broke up in June 2008.

Elections in September 2008 further weakened both major parties (SPÖ and ÖVP) but together they still held 70% of the votes, with the Social Democrats holding slightly more than the other party. They formed a coalition with Werner Faymann from the Social Democrats as Chancellor. The Green Party came in third with 11% of the vote. The FPÖ and the deceased Jörg Haider's new party Alliance for the Future of Austria, both on the political right, were strengthened during the election but taken together received less than 20% of the vote. On 11 October 2008, Jörg Haider died in a car accident.[111]

In the legislative elections of 2013, the Social Democratic Party received 27% of the vote and 52 seats; People's Party 24% and 47 seats, thus controlling together the majority of the seats. The Freedom Party received 40 seats and 21% of the votes, while the Greens received 12% and 24 seats. Two new parties, Stronach and the NEOS, received less than 10% of the vote, and 11 and nine seats respectively.[112]

On 17 May 2016, Christian Kern from Social Democrats (SPÖ) was sworn in as new chancellor. He continued governing in a "grand coalition" with the conservative People's Party (ÖVP). He took the office after former chancellor, also from SPÖ, Werner Faymann's resignation.[113]

On 26 January 2017, Alexander Van der Bellen was sworn in as the mostly ceremonial – but symbolically significant – role of Austrian president.[114]

After the Grand Coalition broke in Spring 2017 a snap election was proclaimed for October 2017. The Austrian People's Party (ÖVP) with its new young leader Sebastian Kurz emerged as the largest party in the National Council, winning 31.5% of votes and 62 of the 183 seats. The Social Democratic Party (SPÖ) finished second with 52 seats and 26.9% votes, slightly ahead of the Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ), which received 51 seats and 26%. NEOS finished fourth with 10 seats (5.3 percent of votes), and PILZ (which split from the Green Party at the start of the campaign) entered parliament for the first time and came in fifth place with 8 seats and 4.4% The Green Party failed with 3.8% to cross the 4% threshold and was ejected from parliament, losing all of its 24 seats.[115] The ÖVP decided to form a coalition with the FPÖ. The new government between the centre-right wing and the right-wing populist party under the new chancellor Sebastian Kurz was sworn in on 18 December 2017,[116] but the coalition government later collapsed in the wake of the "Ibiza" corruption scandal[117] and new elections were called for 29 September 2019. The elections lead to another landslide victory (37.5%) of the Austrian People's Party (ÖVP) who formed a coalition-government with the reinvigorated (13.9%) Greens, which was sworn in with Kurz as chancellor on 7 January 2020.[118]

On 11 October 2021, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz resigned, after pressure triggered by a corruption scandal. Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg of ÖVP succeeded him as chancellor.[119] Following a corruption scandal involving the ruling People's Party, Austria got its third conservative chancellor in two months after Karl Nehammer was sworn into office on 6 December 2021. His predecessor Alexander Schallenberg had left the office after less than two months. ÖVP and the Greens continued to govern together.[120]

A year after Karl Nehammer was sworn into office, his government became involved in a scandal related to Austria's veto of Bulgaria and Romania's accession to the Schengen Area.[121] In those two countries, the Austrian veto caused a considerable outrage. Because of the controversial vote, Romania withdrew its ambassador from Vienna.[122] Citizens of Romania were advised by the government not to travel to Austria for skiing, and a boycott against Austrian companies like OMV and Raiffeisen is still ongoing.[123]

Foreign relations

The European Parliament: Austria is one of the 27 EU members.

The 1955

Federal Assembly
passed a constitutional article in which "Austria declares of her own free will her perpetual neutrality." The second section of this law stated that "in all future times Austria will not join any military alliances and will not permit the establishment of any foreign military bases on her territory." Since then, Austria has shaped its foreign policy on the basis of neutrality, but rather different from the neutrality of Switzerland.

Austria began to reassess its definition of neutrality following the fall of the Soviet Union, granting overflight rights for the UN-sanctioned action against Iraq in 1991, and since 1995, it has developed participation in the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy. Also in 1995, it joined NATO's Partnership for Peace (although it was careful to do so only after Russia joined) and subsequently participated in peacekeeping missions in Bosnia. Meanwhile, the only part of the Constitutional Law on Neutrality of 1955 still fully valid is to not allow foreign military bases in Austria.[124] Austria signed the UN's Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty,[125] which was opposed by all NATO members.[126]

Austria attaches great importance to participation in the

U.S. Helsinki Commission


The manpower of the Austrian Armed Forces (German: Bundesheer) mainly relies on conscription.[127] All males who have reached the age of eighteen and are found fit have to serve a six months compulsory military service, followed by an eight-year reserve obligation. Both males and females at the age of sixteen are eligible for voluntary service.[15] Conscientious objection is legally acceptable and those who claim this right are obliged to serve an institutionalised nine months civilian service instead. Since 1998, women volunteers have been allowed to become professional soldiers.

The main sectors of the Bundesheer are Joint Forces (Streitkräfteführungskommando, SKFüKdo) which consist of Land Forces (Landstreitkräfte), Air Forces (Luftstreitkräfte), International Missions (Internationale Einsätze) and Special Forces (Spezialeinsatzkräfte), next to Joint Mission Support Command (Kommando Einsatzunterstützung; KdoEU) and Joint Command Support Centre (Führungsunterstützungszentrum; FüUZ). Austria is a landlocked country and has no navy.

Austrian Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon fighter aircraft

In 2012, Austria's defence expenditures corresponded to approximately 0.8% of its GDP. The Army currently has about 26,000[128] soldiers, of whom about 12,000 are conscripts. As head of state, the Austrian president is nominally the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces. Command of the Austrian Armed Forces is exercised by the minister of defence, as of May 2020: Klaudia Tanner.

Since the end of the Cold War, and more importantly the removal of the former heavily guarded "Iron Curtain" separating Austria and its Eastern Bloc neighbours (Hungary and former Czechoslovakia), the Austrian military has been assisting Austrian border guards in trying to prevent border crossings by illegal immigrants. This assistance came to an end when Hungary and Slovakia joined the EU Schengen Area in 2008, for all intents and purposes abolishing "internal" border controls between treaty states. Some politicians have called for a prolongation of this mission, but the legality of this is heavily disputed. In accordance with the Austrian constitution, armed forces may only be deployed in a limited number of cases, mainly to defend the country and aid in cases of national emergency, such as in the wake of natural disasters.[129] They may only exceptionally be used as auxiliary police forces.

Within its self-declared status of permanent neutrality, Austria has a tradition of engaging in UN-led peacekeeping and other humanitarian missions. The Austrian Forces Disaster Relief Unit (AFDRU), in particular, an all-volunteer unit with close ties to civilian specialists (e.g. rescue dog handlers) enjoys a reputation as a quick (standard deployment time is 10 hours) and efficient SAR unit. Currently, larger contingents of Austrian forces are deployed in Bosnia and Kosovo.[citation needed]

Administrative divisions

Austria is a

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 province.

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


A topographic map of Austria showing cities with over 100,000 inhabitants
A glacial region in winter, close to the valley Ötztal in Tyrolia. The highest peak is the Wildspitze (3,768 metres (12,362 ft)), the second highest mountain in Austria.

Austria is a largely mountainous country because of its location in the Alps.[132] 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 and 18° E.

It can be divided into five areas, the biggest being the

Vienna basin makes up the remaining 4%.[133]

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.[134] Austria had a 2018 Forest Landscape Integrity Index mean score of 3.55/10, ranking it 149th globally out of 172 countries.[135]


Köppen-Geiger climate classification map for Austria[136]

The greater part of Austria lies in the cool/temperate

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,[137] with average temperatures in the mid-20s and a highest temperature of 40.5 °C (105 °F) in August 2013.[138]

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.[138][139][140]


Austria consistently ranks high in terms of

privatisation has reduced state holdings to a level comparable to other European economies. Labour movements are particularly influential, exercising large influence on labour politics and decisions related to the expansion of the economy. Next to a highly developed industry, international tourism is the most important part of the economy of Austria

Germany has historically been the main trading partner of Austria, making it vulnerable to rapid changes in the

German economy. Since Austria became a member state of the European Union, it has gained closer ties to other EU economies, reducing its economic dependence on Germany. In addition, membership of the EU has drawn an influx of foreign investors attracted by Austria's access to the single European market and proximity to the aspiring economies of the European Union. Growth in GDP reached 3.3% in 2006.[142] At least 67% of Austria's imports come from other European Union member states.[143]

EU single market

Austria indicated on 16 November 2010 that it would withhold the December installment of its contribution to the EU bailout of Greece, citing the material worsening of the Greek debt situation and the apparent inability of Greece to collect the level of tax receipts it had previously promised.[144]


BayernLB. As of February 2014, the HGAA situation was unresolved,[145] causing Chancellor Werner Faymann to warn that its failure would be comparable to the 1931 Creditanstalt event.[146]

Since the fall of communism,

Austrian companies have been quite active players and consolidators in Eastern Europe. Between 1995 and 2010, 4,868 mergers and acquisitions with a total known value of 163 bil. EUR with the involvement of Austrian firms have been announced.[147] The largest transactions with involvement of Austrian companies[148] have been: the acquisition of Bank Austria by Bayerische Hypo- und Vereinsbank for 7.8 billion EUR in 2000, the acquisition of Porsche Holding Salzburg by Volkswagen Group for 3.6 billion EUR in 2009,[149] and the acquisition of Banca Comercială Română by Erste Group for 3.7 bil. EUR in 2005.[150]

Tourism in Austria accounts for almost 9% of its gross domestic product.[151] In 2007, Austria ranked 9th worldwide in international tourism receipts, with 18.9 billion US$.[152] In international tourist arrivals, Austria ranked 12th with 20.8 million tourists.[152]

Infrastructure and natural resources


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,[153] 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.[154] Together with other renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and biomass powerplants, the electricity supply from renewable energy amounts to 62.89%[155] of total use in Austria, with the rest being produced by gas and oil power plants.

Compared to most European countries, Austria is ecologically well endowed. Its biocapacity (or biological natural capital) is more than double of the world average: In 2016, Austria had 3.8 global hectares[156] of biocapacity per person within its territory, compared to the world average of 1.6 global hectares per person. In contrast, in 2016, they used 6.0 global hectares of biocapacity – their ecological footprint of consumption. This means that Austrians use about 60 percent more biocapacity than Austria contains. As a result, Austria is running a biocapacity deficit.[156]


Children in Austria, near Au, Vorarlberg

Austria's population was estimated to be nearly 9 million (8.9) in 2020 by

Statistik Austria.[157] The population of the capital, Vienna, exceeds 1.9 million[158]
(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; 928,700 (10.5%) were born outside the EU and 762,000 (8.6%) were born in another EU member state.[159] There are more than 483,100 descendants of foreign-born immigrants.[160]

Turks form one of the largest ethnic groups in Austria, numbering around 350,000.[161] 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.[162] Together, Serbs, Croats, Bosniaks, Macedonians, and Slovenes make up about 5.1% of Austria's total population. The Council of Europe estimates that approximately 25,000 Romani people live in Austria.[163]

The total fertility rate (TFR) in 2017 was estimated at 1.52 children born per woman,[164] below the replacement rate of 2.1, it remains considerably below the high of 4.83 children born per woman in 1873.[165] In 2015, 42.1% of births were to unmarried women.[166] Austria had the 14th oldest population in the world in 2020, with the average age of 44.5 years.[167] The life expectancy in 2016 was estimated at 81.5 years (78.9 years male, 84.3 years female).[168]

Statistics Austria estimates that the population will grow to 10.55 million people by 2080 due to immigration.[169]

Largest cities

Largest cities or towns in Austria
Statistik Austria 1 January 2014
Province Pop. Rank
Province Pop.
1 Vienna Vienna 1,812,605 11 Wiener Neustadt Lower Austria 42,273 Linz
2 Graz Styria 269,997 12 Steyr Upper Austria 38,120
3 Linz Upper Austria 193,814 13 Feldkirch Vorarlberg 31,428
4 Salzburg Salzburg 146,631 14 Bregenz Vorarlberg 28,412
5 Innsbruck Tyrol 124,579 15 Leonding Upper Austria 26,174
6 Klagenfurt
96,640 16 Klosterneuburg Lower Austria 26,395
7 Villach
60,004 17 Baden Lower Austria 25,229
8 Wels Upper Austria 59,339 18 Wolfsberg
9 Sankt Pölten Lower Austria 52,145 19 Leoben Styria 24,466
10 Dornbirn Vorarlberg 46,883 20 Krems Lower Austria 24,085


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 Bavarian-Austrian: an Upper Germanic local language or collection of 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%).[170]

The Austrian provinces

Carinthia and Styria are home to a significant indigenous Slovene-speaking minority while in the easternmost province, Burgenland (formerly part of the Hungarian portion of Austria-Hungary), there are significant Hungarian- and Croatian-speaking minorities; Croatian, Hungarian, and Slovene are also recognized as official languages beside German in these Austrian provinces.[1][2]

Bilingual sign of Oberwart (in Hungarian Felsőőr) in Burgenland

According to census information published by

Statistik Austria for 2001[170] there were a total of 710,926 foreign nationals living in Austria. Of these, the largest by far are 283,334 foreign nationals from the former Yugoslavia (of whom 135,336 speak Serbian; 105,487 Croatian; 31,591 Bosnian–i.e. 272,414 Austrian resident native speakers in total, plus 6,902 Slovenian and 4,018 Macedonian

The second largest population of linguistic and ethnic groups are the Turks (including minority of Kurds) with a number of 200,000 to 300,000 who currently live in Austria.[171]

The next largest population of linguistic and ethnic groups are the 124,392 who speak German as their

former Soviet Union
); 123,417 English; 24,446 Albanian; 17,899 Polish; 14,699 Hungarian; 12,216 Romanian; 10,000 Malayali; 7,982 Arabic; 6,891 Slovak; 6,707 Czech; 5,916 Persian; 5,677 Italian; 5,466 Russian; 5,213 French; 4,938 Chinese; 4,264 Spanish; 3,503 Bulgarian. The numbers for other languages fall off sharply below 3,000.

In 2006, some of the Austrian provinces introduced standardised tests for new citizens, to assure their language ability, cultural knowledge and accordingly their ability to integrate into the Austrian society[172] (for the national rules, see Austrian nationality law–Naturalisation).

Ethnic groups


"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

ethnic group,[177] that is closely related to neighbouring Germans, Liechtensteiners and German-speaking Swiss.[178] Today 91.1% of the population are regarded as ethnic Austrians.[179]

The birthplaces of foreign-born naturalised residents of Austria


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

Of the remaining number of Austria's people who are of non-Austrian descent, many come from surrounding countries, especially from the former

Yugoslav wars and other conflicts, also form an important minority group in Austria. Since 1994 the RomaSinti
have been an officially recognised ethnic minority in Austria.

An estimated 13,000 to 40,000

Carinthia (the Carinthian Slovenes) as well as Croats (around 30,000)[185] and Hungarians in Burgenland were recognised as a minority and have had special rights following the Austrian State Treaty (Staatsvertrag) of 1955.[98] The Slovenes in the Austrian province 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.[186]

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,[citation needed] pointing to the fact that Yugoslav troops entered the province 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 "

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.[citation needed


Religion in Austria (2021)[187]

  Roman Catholicism (55.2%)
  Protestantism (3.8%)
  Old Catholicism (0.1%)
  Other Christians (4.2%)
  Islam (8.3%)
  Buddhism (0.3%)
  Hinduism (0.1%)
  Judaism (0.1%)
  Other religions (0.7%)
  Unaffiliated (22.4%)

Austria was historically a strongly Catholic country, having been the centre of the

Protestant Reformation (begun in 1517) was spreading across Europe, the Habsburgs enacted measures of Counter-Reformation as early as 1527 and harshly repressed Austrian Protestantism, albeit a minority of Austrians remained Protestant.[188] A few decades after the fall of the Habsburg monarchy at the end of the World War I, and the transformation of Austria into a federal republic, at least since the 1970s there has been a decline of Christianity (with the exception of Orthodox churches) and a proliferation of other religions, a process which has been particularly pronounced in the capital province Vienna.[189]

In 2001, about 74% of Austria's population were registered as Roman Catholic,

Protestants.[190] Austrian Christians, both Catholic and Protestant,[e] 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.[191]
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

Jewish. Additionally, 26.600 Buddhists and 10.100 Hindus lived in Austria in 2021.[187][194]

According to the Eurobarometer Poll 2010,[195]

  • 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."


Stiftsgymnasium Melk is the oldest Austrian school.

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

education (called Kindergarten in German), free in most provinces, 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


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.

The University of Vienna
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

. 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 campus of JKU University of Linz

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).[196] 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.[197]


Life Expectancy in Austria over time
Life Expectancy in Austria over time

Even though Austria has a 0.9 health index and a life expectancy of 81 years,[198] the country still faces numerous problems when it comes to health, one example being that 2 in 5 Austrians have a chronic condition. Cancer is a big problem in the country, as about 21,500 people died of this condition in 2019, having lung cancer as the primary cause of cancer deaths, probably linked to several risk factors in the country's population, as it is estimated that 40% of deaths in the country are caused by smoking, dietary risks, alcohol, low physical activity, and air pollution. One of the most costly health services in the EU is located in Austria. In 2019, health spending per capita ranked third in the EU. Health-related out-of-pocket expenditures are higher than the EU average.[199]

Medical personnel

Medical Personnel Number per 10,000 people
Medical Doctors 51.2
Nursing and Midwifery 70.9
Dentists 5.7
Pharmacists 7.1

With 5.2 physician per 1,000 inhabitants Austria has among the highest physician density in OECD countries. Overall, the country has 271 hospitals with a total of 45,596 physicians (data from 2017), about 54% of which work (also or primarily) in hospitals. Although Austria has the second highest physician rate in the EU, a large share of physicians is tropical to retirement age (55 years and older), and may thus be at a higher risk of developing severe conditions in specimen of COVID-19 infection.

The number of nurses in Austria has been subject to debate in recent years with regard to definitions of qualifications and their interpretation in cross-country comparisons. A new mandatory health professional's registry was set up in 2018. However, for the elapsing of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, compulsory registration has been suspended. This implies that professional activities in long-term superintendency are moreover possible without registration until the end of the pandemic by late spring 2022 (Transition without the pandemic is still to be defined).[200]



Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

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

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.

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.[201]

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

Austria singer Conchita Wurst won the Eurovision Song Contest in 2014.[202]

Cinema and theatre

Arnold Schwarzenegger is a well-known Austrian and American actor.

Golden Globe for his critically acclaimed film The White Ribbon

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

Karl Popper

Austria was the cradle of numerous scientists with international reputation. Among them are

quantum physicists are Anton Zeilinger and Peter Zoller renown for important developments in quantum optics and quantum information

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

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. Austria was ranked 17th in the Global Innovation Index in 2022, up from 21st in 2019.[203][204][205][206][207]



Food and beverages

Austria's cuisine is derived from that of the

" (milk-cream strudel).

In addition to native regional traditions, the cuisine has been influenced by

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 Schnitzel
, a traditional Austrian dish

Typical Austrian dishes include

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.[208]

Beer is sold in 0.2-litre (a Pfiff), 0.3-litre (a Seidel, kleines Bier or Glas Bier) and 0.5-litre (a Krügerl or großes Bier or Halbe) measures. At festivals one litre Maß and two-litre Doppelmaß in the Bavarian style are also dispensed. The most popular types of beer are lager (known as Märzen in Austria), naturally cloudy Zwicklbier and wheat beer. At holidays like Christmas and Easter bock beer is also available.

The most important wine-producing areas are in Lower Austria, Burgenland, Styria and Vienna. The Grüner Veltliner grape provides some of Austria's most notable white wines[209] and Zweigelt is the most widely planted red wine grape.[210]


Carinthia, Most, a type of cider or perry
, is widely produced.


, of which there are around 20,000 in Austria, is known as Selbstgebrannter or Hausbrand.

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.[citation needed] Red Bull, the highest-selling energy drink in the world, was introduced by Dietrich Mateschitz, an Austrian entrepreneur.


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,

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.[212]

Ski racer Franz Klammer won a gold medal at the 1976 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck.

A popular

Sturm Graz

Besides football, Austria also has professional national leagues for most major team sports, including the

Spanish Riding School of Vienna
is located in Vienna.

Zeltweg Airfield

number 1 in the ATP ranking. 2020 US Open winner Dominic Thiem is also another prominent tennis player having been as high as world number 3 and also been in the finals of the French Open and Australian Open. Other well known Austrian tennis players include 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.[214][215]

See also


  1. ^ There is an official dictionary, the Österreichisches Wörterbuch, published on commission by the Ministry of Education, Science and Research.
  2. ^ Croatian, Czech, Hungarian, Romani, Slovak, and Slovene are officially recognised by the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (ECRML).
  3. ^ Pronunciation: /ˈɒstriə/ , /ˈɔːs-/;[11] German: Österreich [ˈøːstɐʁaɪç] , Bavarian: Östareich, Alemannic German: Öschtreich, Eschtrych
  4. ^ German: Republik Österreich [ʁepuˈbliːk ˈʔøːstɐʁaɪç]
  5. Reformed


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External links


47°20′N 13°20′E / 47.333°N 13.333°E / 47.333; 13.333