AUSTRIAN Facts & Figures

Size: 32,377 square miles

Population: 8,414,638.00

Capital: Vienna

Currency: Euro

Weather / Climate:

The greater part of Austria lies in the cool/temperate climate zone in which humid westerly winds predominate. With over half of the country dominated by the Alps, the alpine climate is the predominant one. 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 – 0 °C), summer temperatures can be relatively warm, with average temperatures in the mid-20s and record temperatures in the mid to high 30s° C(68°Fahrenheit).

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AUSTRIAN languages

German is Austria's official language and is spoken natively by 88.6% of the population—followed by Turkish (2.3%), Serbian (2.2%), Croatian (1.6%), Hungarian (0.5%), Bosnian (0.4%) and Slovenian (0.3%).[7]

The official German used in education, publications, announcements and websites is Austrian German, which is mostly identical to the German used in Germany but with some vocabulary differences. In terms of native language, however, various local Austro-Bavarian (Alemannic in Vorarlberg) are spoken instead, and Standard German is more or less a second language to Austrians. The dialects more or less qualify for classification as separate languages but are not treated as such, even though Austro-Bavarian is sometimes used in media and more so in TV comedy shows.

The Austrian federal states of Carinthia and Styria are home to a significant indigenous Slovene-speaking minority while in the easternmost state, Burgenland (formerly part of the Hungarian portion of Austria–Hungary), there are significant Hungarian- and Croatian-speaking minorities. Of the remaining number of Austria's people that are of non-Austrian descent, many come from surrounding countries, especially from the former East Bloc nations. So-called guest workers (Gastarbeiter) and their descendants, as well as refugees from the Yugoslav wars and other conflicts, also form an important minority group in Austria. Since 1994 the RomaSinti (gypsies) have been an officially recognised ethnic minority in Austria.

According to census information published by Statistik Austria for 2001[7] 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 135,376 speak Serbian; 105,487 Croatian; 31.551 Bosnian -- i.e. basically there are altogether 272,414 Austrian resident native speakers of what was officially called Serbo-Croatian until the disintegration of Yugoslavia, and is still considered as a single language by linguists the world over -- plus 6,902 Slovenian and 4,018 Macedonian speakers).

The next largest population of linguistic and ethnic groups are the 124,392 who speak German as their mother tongue even though they hail from outside of Austria (mainly immigrants from Germany, some from Switzerland and South Tyrol, Italy); 123,417 who speak Turkish; 25,155 English; 24,446 Albanian; 17,899 Polish; 14,699 Hungarian; 12,216 Romanian; 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 populations of the rest fall off sharply below 3,000. Between 200,000 and 300,000 ethnic Turks (including minority of Turkish Kurds) currently live in Austria. They are the largest single immigrant group in Austria,[76] closely followed by the Serbs.[77]

As of 2006, some of the Austrian states introduced standardised tests for new citizens, to assure their language ability, cultural knowledge and accordingly their ability to integrate into the Austrian society.[78] For the national rules, see Austrian nationality law – Naturalisation

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Austria's population estimate in April 2011 was 8,414,638.[2] The population of the capital, Vienna, exceeds 1.7 million[11] (2.2 million including the suburbs), representing about a quarter of the country's population. It is known for its vast cultural offerings and high standard of living.

Viennais by far the country's largest city. Graz is second in size, with 250,099 inhabitants, followed by Linz (188,968), Salzburg (150,000), and Innsbruck (117,346). All other cities have fewer than 100,000 inhabitants.

An estimated 13,000 to 40,000 Slovenes in the Austrian state of Carinthia (the Carinthian Slovenes) as well as Croats (around 30,000)[79] and Hungarians in Burgenland were recognised as a minority and have enjoyed special rights following the Austrian State Treaty (Staatsvertrag) of 1955.[54] 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 enjoy special rights, although the State Treaty of 27 July 1955 states otherwise.[citation needed]

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. Many Carinthians are afraid of Slovenian territorial claims,[citation needed] 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 recently deceased governor, 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 states that 65% of Carinthians are not in favour of an increase of bilingual topographic signs, since the original requirements set by the State Treaty of 1955 have already been fulfilled according to their point of view.

Another interesting phenomenon is the so called "Windischen-Theorie"[80] 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

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Austrian cuisineis a style of cuisine native to Austria and composed of influences from throughout the former Austro-Hungarian Empire. Regional influences from Italy, Hungary, Germany and the Balkans have had an effect on Austrian cooking, and in turn this fusion of styles was influential throughout the Empire.

Austrian cuisine is most often associated with Viennese cuisine, but there are significant regional variations.

Breakfast is of the "continental" type, usually consisting of bread rolls with either jam or cold meats and cheese, accompanied by coffee, tea or juice. The midday meal was traditionally the main meal of the day, but in modern times as Austrians work longer hours further from home this is no longer the case. The main meal is now often taken in the evening.

A mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack of a slice of bread topped with cheese or ham is referred to as a Jause, and a more substantial version akin to a British "Ploughman's Lunch" is called a Brettljause after the wooden board on which it is traditionally served.

Popular dishes of Vienna

· Rindsuppe(beef soup) a clear soup with golden colour.

· Tafelspitz, beef boiled in broth, often served with apple and horseradish and chives sauce)

· Gulasch, a hotpot similar to Hungarian pörkölt - Austrian goulash is eaten often with rolls, bread or dumplings ("Semmelknödel")

· Beuschel(a ragout containing calf lungs and heart)

· Liptauer, spicy cheese spread, eaten on a slice of bread

· Selchfleisch(smoked, then cooked meat) with Sauerkraut and dumplings.

· Powidl a thick sweet and spicy jam made from plums.

· Apfelstrudel, apple strudel

· Topfenstrudel cream cheese strudel

· Millirahmstrudel (milk-cream strudel, Milchrahmstrudel)

· Palatschinken pancakes similar to French Crêpes, filled with marmalade, jam, sprinkled with sugar etc. They are also served in savory versions i.e. with spinach and cheese.

· Kaiserschmarrn soft, fluffy pancake ripped into bites and slightly roasted in a pan, served with applesauce or stewed plums.

· Germknödel, a fluffy yeast dough dumpling filled with spicy plum jam (Powidl), garnished with melted butter and a mix of poppy seeds and powdered sugar, sometimes served with vanilla cream.

· Marillenknödel a dumpling stuffed with an apricot and covered with streusel and powdered sugar. The dough is made of potatoes or Topfen.


The most popular meats in Austria are pork, beef and chicken. The famous Wiener Schnitzel is traditionally made of veal. Pork in particular is used extensively, with many dishes using offal and parts such as the snout and trotters. Austrian butchers use a number of special cuts of meat, including "Tafelspitz" (beef), and "Fledermaus" (pork), named for its shape which resembles a bat. Austrian cuisine has many different sausages, like "Frankfurter", "Debreziner" (named after Debrecen in Hungary), or "Burnwurst", "Blunzn" made out of pig-blood and "Grüne Würstl" - green sausages. Green means raw in this context – the sausages are air dried and are consumed boiled. Bacon in Austria is called "Speck", bacon can be smoked, raw, salted, spiced etc. Bacon is used in many traditional recipes as a salty spice. Vanillerostbraten is a beef dish prepared with lots of garlic.


Austriahas an old hunting tradition since there are many woods across the country. In the Autumn season many restaurants in Austria traditionally offer game on their menu along with seasonal vegetables and fruits like pumpkins from Styria. Usual games are:

·  Deer "Hirsch"

·  Wild Boar "Wildschwein"

·  Roe Deer "Reh"

·  Fallow Deer "Damhirsch"

·  Brown hare "Hase/Feldhase"

·  Common pheasant "Fasan"

·  Duck "Ente"

·  Grey partridge "Rebhuhn"


Linzer Torte

Austrian cakes and pastries are a well-known feature of its cuisine. Perhaps the most famous is the Sachertorte, a chocolate cake with apricot jam filling, traditionally eaten with whipped cream. Among the cakes with the longest tradition is the Linzer torte. Other favourites include the caramel-flavoured Dobostorte and the delicately-layered Esterhazy Torte, named in honor of Prince Esterházy (both originating from Hungary during the Austro-Hungarian empire), as well as a number of cakes made with fresh fruit and cream. Punschkrapfen is a classical Austrian pastry, a cake filled with cake crumbs, nougat chocolate, apricot jam and then soaked with rum.

These cakes are typically complex and difficult to make, and are generally not baked at home but eaten at a café or bought by the slice from a bakery. A "Konditorei" is a specialist cake-maker, and the designations "Café-Konditorei" and "Bäckerei-Konditorei" are common indicators that the café or bakery in question specialises in this field.


Austrian desserts are usually slightly less complicated than the elaborate cakes described above. The most famous of these is the Apple Strudel, layers of thin pastry surrounding a filling of apple, usually with cinnamon and raisins. Other strudels are also popular, such as those filled with sweetened curd cheese called Topfen, sour cherry (Weichselstrudel), sweet cherry and poppy seed strudel (Mohnstrudel).

Another favourite is Kaiserschmarr'n, a rich fluffy sweet thick pancake made with raisins and other fruits, broken into pieces and served with a fruit compote (traditionally made of plums called Zwetschkenröster) for dipping, while a speciality of Salzburg is the meringue-like "Salzburger Nocken". The Danish pastry is said to originate from Vienna and in Denmark is called wienerbrød (Viennese bread). The Danish pastry uses a dough in the classic cuisine referred to as "Viennese Dough", made of thin layers of butter and flour dough, imported to Denmark by Austrian bakers hired during a bakery strike amongst the bakery workers in Danish bakeries in 1850.



Einspänner, it is classically served in a glass

Austriais credited in popular legend with introducing coffee to Europe after bags of coffee beans were left behind by the retreating Turkish army after the Battle of Vienna in 1683. Although the first coffehouses had appeared in Europe some years earlier, the Viennese café tradition became an important part of the city's identity.

Coffee is served in a variety of styles, particularly in the Viennese cafés. An Austrian Mokka or kleiner Schwarzer is similar to espresso, but is extracted more slowly. Other styles are prepared from the Mokka:

·  großer Schwarzer- a double Mokka

·  kleiner Brauner or großer Brauner- single or double Mokka plus milk

·  Verlängerter- "lengthened" (i.e. diluted) Mokka with more water plus milk

·   Melange- half Mokka, half heated milk, often topped with foamed milk

·   Franziskaner- Melange topped with whipped cream not foamed milk

·   Kapuziner- kleiner Schwarzer plus whipped cream

·   Einspänner- großer Schwarzer topped with whipped cream

·   Wiener Eiskaffee- iced Mokka with vanilla ice cream, topped with whipped cream

Italian styles such as cappuccino, espresso and caffè latte are also commonly served.

Traditionally, coffee is served with a glass of still water.

Drinking coffee together is an important social activity in Austrian culture. It is quite common for Austrians to invite friends or neighbors over for coffee and cake. This somewhat routine activity can be compared to the British afternoon tea tradition. It is also very common to go to a coffeehouse for dating.

Hot chocolate

Viennese hot chocolate is very rich, containing heavy cream in addition to chocolate, and sometimes thickened further with egg yolk.

Soft drinks

Almdudler is an Austrian soft drink based on mountain herbs and with a flavour reminiscent of elderflower beverages. It is considered the 'national drink of Austria', and is popularly used as a mixer with white wine. The popular energy drink Red Bull became popular in the West starting in Austria. The headquarters of Red Bull is located at Fuschl next to Salzburg.


Beer is generally sold in the following sizes: 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 Hoibe). At festivals one litre Maß and two litre Doppelmaß in the Bavarian style are also dispensed. The most popular types of beer are pale lager (known as Märzen in Austria), naturally cloudy Zwicklbier, and wheat beer. At holidays like Christmas and Easter bock beer is also available.

Austrian beers are typically in the pale lager style, with the exceptions noted above. A dark amber "Vienna Style" lager was pioneered in the city during the 19th century but is now not common there.


Wine is principally cultivated in the east of Austria. 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 and Zweigelt is the most widely planted red wine grape. Southern Burgenland is a region that mainly grows red grapes while the "Seewinkel" area around the Neusiedlersee has more mixed wine cultures. Wine is even grown within the city limits of Vienna - the only European capital where this is true - and some is even produced under the auspices of the city council.

Young wine (i.e. wine produced from grapes of the most recent harvest) is called Heuriger and gives its name to inns in Vienna and its surroundings which serve Heuriger wine along with food. In Styria, Carinthia and Burgenland the heuriger inns are known as Buschenschanken.

Other alcoholic drinks

In Upper Austria, Lower Austria, Styria and Carinthia, Most, a type of cider or perry is widely produced, whilst Sturm, a semi-fermented grape-juice is drunk after the grape harvest.

At the close of a meal, schnapps of typically up to 60 % alcohol or fruit brandy is drunk, which in Austria is made from a variety of fruits (for example apricots), as well as rowanberries, gentian roots, various herbs and even flowers. The produce of small private schnapps distilleries, of which there are around 20,000 in Austria, is known as Selberbrennter or Hausbrand. A very high percentage schnaps is called "Umblachter" and has up to 85% Alcohol.

Taken from Wikipedia

Places to go in AUSTRIA

Austrian trip start point should be Vienna – abundant in Imperial palaces, churches, opulent coffee houses and the MuseumsQuartier’s cultural riches. Vienna offers a unique blend of imperial traditions and stunning modern architecture. It is famous for its cultural events, cosy wine tavern and the very special Viennese charm. It is a mix of old and new, best illustrated by the old Spanish riding stables with the largest baroque façade housing contemporary museum architecture. It is also home to classical music, Opera House and the Ball season.

Salzburg is the birth place of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and is dominated by churches, castles and palaces. This picturesque old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Sight. It is encircled by mountains and the Salzach River, complete with cobbled street, narrow alleyways and elegant squares. It is full of baroque splendour. The city has developed an incredibly rich musical life with the Salzburg Festival considered to be one of the most important Musical festivals in the world. While an air of cosmopolitan sophistication hangs over the elegant shops, restaurants, lanes and squares of the Old Town, an altogether different, but just as interesting culture is encountered in the many Bierstuben selling locally brewed beer.

Nearby Saalbach-Hinterglemm ski resort has one of Austria's biggest ski areas, with some of the finest intermediate slopes you’ll find anywhere. The ski slopes are located on both sides of the Glemm Valley, so you can easily do a complete circuit of what the resort calls its ‘ski circus’ in a day. At one end is the main resort of Saalbach, a classic Austrian village with onion-domed church, cobbled streets and a lively night-time scene, at the other, about 4km/2.5 miles away, is the smaller and more relaxed village of Hinterglemm.

Bad Gastein is a sizable resort town that has a long history dating back beyond the arrival of snow sports in the area. Bad Gastein is located in the Gastein Valley within the Westerly Austrian province of Salzburgerland. The local Hohe Tauern Mountains are a part of the Alps. Originally a spa resort, the records of the healing powers of its 17 natural springs date back at least to the 13th century, and the resort remains a major year-round spa and wellness destination to this day. There is water everywhere, in many indoor spas and out in streams, rivers and a spectacular local waterfall. Thanks to this status, the resort’s infrastructure and the range of shopping, restaurants and other activities available are far better than for many seasonal ski resorts. It also makes Bad Gastein a good choice for those with non-skiers in their party.

Mayrhofen ski resort is a lovely, comprehensive ski town of picturesque Tirolean architecture and beautiful valley views. It is located in the Austrian Tirol's Ziller Valley, in the northwest of the country. Mayrhofen has a long history as a tourist resort, partly for mountain sports, including summer climbing and hiking, that dates back more than a century. Winter sports development has been a little more recent, with the first ski lifts installed in 1954. In modern times Mayrhofen's comparatively low altitude may be a concern, if global warming projections prove correct, but the lifts go very high and the slopes have extensive snowmaking coverage, so long as it's cold enough.

Sölden is one of the great success stories of world skiing in recent decades. Sölden is located in the Ötztal Alps of Western Austria in the province of Tirol. Although a little less known internationally, its success amongst enthusiasts is due to Sölden's great ski area with lots of long fast runs served by the latest lifts, combined with high-quality accommodation and facilities. Having very reliable snow cover helps too, thanks to its glaciers and a sizable investment in snowmaking. The village, which has thankfully managed to maintain a traditional Tirolean look despite its growth as a tourist resort in recent years, has built a reputation for its lively nightlife.

Ischgl has grown over the past few decades to become one of the world’s leading ski resorts. Ischgl is located in the Paznaun region of the Austrian province of Tirol. It is not one of the ‘classic’ resorts that can claim a century or more of winter sports heritage, but more like Vail or Val Thorens there was little or no skiing here 50 years ago. That can be hard to believe now, as the ski area has expanded for hundreds of kilometres over the border into Switzerland (the only ski link between the two nations), and done so with style and world class quad, six and eight-seater chairlifts, some with heated-seats, to whisk skiers and boarders around the slopes. Despite the rapid expansion, development has been kept in the Tirolean architectural style to maintain a traditional feel. Ischgl has also developed a reputation as being one of the liveliest resorts in the Alps with busy night spots and international superstars performing at start and end of season concerts, bringing tens of thousands of visitors to the resort.

For summer holidaymakers in particular, Klagenfurt is ideally located by Lake Wörthersee, one of Europe’s largest and warmest alpine lakes. The city is, however, enjoyable throughout the year with its Mediterranean climate, sunny winter days, colourful autumn and a mild spring.

Innsbruck, known as the capital city of Tirol and sometimes as the capital of the Alps, offers a fairly unique winter holiday proposition. Innsbruck's maze of narrow streets is a place where past and future meet seamlessly in the heart of Alps. Post-modern international architecture adds to this fascinating blend. You have a major airport and rail hub making access very easy and there are of course all the facilities of a city – hundreds of shops, restaurants and numerous other year-round attractions. Then there’s the skiing itself – there are eight separate ski areas to explore around the city, mostly 20 minutes to an hour away but all included on a single lift pass, which also includes the bus service between the city (in many cases right from your hotel) to the slopes, all for a surprisingly reasonable price.

The Styrian capital Graz, with roots dating back to the Roman age, lies on both sides of the River Mur. This fantastic city is well-known for its striking buildings and architectural highlights.

Eisenstadt, despite being Austria’s smallest provincial capital, is former seat of the Esterhazy noble family range and has plenty to offer its guests.

Bregentz, Vorarlberg’s capital, is delightfully located at Lake Constance, Central Europe’s third largest lake, and offers a dense cultural programme coupled with a wide range of outdoor activities.

As more and more of us strive to live a less energy-intense lifestyle, Austria is now firmly on the map as an eco destination. Organic products are on offer whilst the consumption of energy and waste is carefully watched. People who live green at home also have high demands on holiday which Austria can without a doubt cater for. Austria is one of the world's best destinations for sustainable tourism, as recently recognised in the World Economic Forum's Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report.

Grosses Walsertal in Vorarlberg is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The motto for its inhabitants is “use nature without harming it”. The Biosphere Reserve comprises several regions which all share one vision: to find a balance between the needs of man and nature and live in a way that is compatible with nature’s limited resources.

Propstei St. Gerold is a monastery in Walsertal that was awarded the Austrian Environment Seal for its environment-friendly concept. The monastery accommodates up to 60 guests. Their “Oasis 2000” project is designed to provide free holidays for people who could not otherwise afford a holiday. Propstei St. Gerold is a place of encounter and exchange, a place where there is no TV so people communicate more. Horses play an important role at Propstei which offers hippo therapy, physical therapy riding and regular horseback riding lessons. The Propstei also organises workshops and seminars on different topics such as dance, Zen Buddhism, Feldenkrais and fasting. An interesting place to visit is nearby Marul, Austria’s first all organic farming village.

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Doing business in AUSTRIA

For the business person who works internationally, doing business in a foreign country brings with it certain intercultural communication challenges. From the simple differences in the way people meet, greet and eat to the more complex differences in communication, presentations and negotiation it is always a benefit to get to understand  a country's business culture, protocol and etiquette.

This guide to doing business in Austria offers some introductory points around the topic of business culture and etiquette. It is not intended to summarise all 'doing business tips' nor meant to stereotype the Austrians. Rather, it highlights some important key areas for consideration when doing business in Austria such as how to meet and greet, communicate and conduct business meetings.

Meeting and Greeting

Handshakes are the norm in Austria when entering a meeting.  It is important that you shake hands with all attendees and that your handshake is firm and confident and that eye contact is maintained. 

Austrians adhere to a fairly formal culture and it is unlikely that body contact will progress beyond the handshake (e.g. pat on the back etc.) unless you are family or close friends.

When doing business in Austria you should use honorific titles where necessary.  After the initial meeting, in which an individual will be introduced with their honorific title and surname, it the surname can be dropped and the honorific title only used.
If someone does not have an honorific title, then you should use 'Herr' to address a man and 'Frau' to address a woman with their surname.
You should wait for your Austrian hosts to determine when it's appropriate to move to the use of first names.


When doing business in Austria you will notice that Austrians are very direct in their communication and tend not to furnish their speech with pleasantries or non verbal body language cues.  Since they expect to be taken at their word, you should therefore not take offence at this. Individuals from indirect cultures often it a challenge to accustom to this particular style.

Austrians only employ minimal body language when conversing and appreciate personal space during any interaction.  You may find however, that as you get to know people better, that they become more animated or emotive in their communication.

Meetings and Negotiation

Austrians place great emphasis on supporting data and as such, if presenting an idea or proposal during a meeting, it is recommended that you back your presentation up with graphs or other supporting data which clearly demonstrates the points you are making.
You will find that your hosts are meticulous about detail and it is important therefore that the data is robust and does not lay grounds for challenge.  You are also advised to have any materials translated into both English and German.

Taken from Wikipedia

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