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Republic of Austria

Republik Österreich

CAPITAL: Vienna (Wien)

FLAG: The flag consists of a white horizontal stripe between two red stripes.

ANTHEM: Land der Berge, Land am Ströme (Land of Mountains, Land on the River).

MONETARY UNIT: The euro replaced the schilling as the national currency in 2002. The euro is divided into 100 cents. There are coins in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents and 1 euro and 2 euros. There are notes of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500 euros. 1 = $1.25475 (or $1 = 0.79697) as of 2005.

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES: The metric system is in use.

HOLIDAYS: New Year's Day, 1 January; Epiphany, 6 January; May Day, 1 May; Assumption, 15 August; National Day, 26 October; All Saints' Day, 1 November; Immaculate Conception, 8 December; Christmas, 25 December; St. Stephen's Day, 26 December. Movable religious holidays include Easter Monday, Ascension, Whitmonday, and Corpus Christi. In addition, there are provincial holidays.

TIME: 1 pm = noon GMT.


Austria, with an area of 83,858 sq km (32,378 sq mi), is a land-locked country in Central Europe, extending 573 km (356 mi) ew and 294 km (183 mi) ns. Comparatively, Austria is slightly smaller than the state of Maine. Bounded on the n by Germany and the Czech Republic, on the e by Hungary, on the s by Slovenia and Italy, and on the w by Liechtenstein and Switzerland, Austria has a total boundary length of 2,562 km (1,588 mi).

While not making any territorial claims, Austria oversees the treatment of German speakers in the South Tyrol (now part of the autonomous province of Trentino-Alto Adige), which was ceded to Italy under the Treaty of St.-Germainen-Laye in 1919.

Austria's capital city, Vienna, is located in the northeastern part of the country.


Most of western and central Austria is mountainous, and much of the flatter area to the east is hilly, but a series of passes and valleys permits travel within the country and has made Austria an important bridge between various sections of Europe. The principal topographic regions are the Alps, constituting 62.8% of Austria's land area; the Alpine and Carpathian foothills (11.3%); the Pannonian lowlands of the east (11.3%); the granite and gneiss highlands of the Bohemian Massif (10.1%); and the Vienna Basin (4.4%).

The highest point of the Austrian Alps is the Grossglockner, 3,797 m (12,457 ft). The Danube (Donau) River, fully navigable along its 350-km (217-mi) course through northeastern Austria, is the chief waterway, and several important streamsthe Inn, Enns, Drava (Drau), and Murare tributaries to it. Included within Austria are many Alpine lakes, most of the Neusiedler See (the lowest point in Austria, 115 m/377 ft above sea level), and part of Lake Constance (Bodensee).


Climatic conditions depend on location and altitude. Temperatures range from an average of about -7 to -1°c (20 to 30°f) in winter to about 18 to 24°c (65 to 75°f) in July. Rainfall ranges from more than 102 cm (50 in) annually in the western mountains to less than 66 cm (26 in) in the driest region, near Vienna.


Plants and animals are those typical of Central Europe. Austria is one of Europe's most heavily wooded countries, with 47% of its area under forests. Deciduous trees (particularly beech, birch, and oak) and conifers (fir) cover the mountains up to about 1,200 m (4,000 ft); above that point fir predominates and then gives way to larch and stone pine. There is a large variety of wildlife. Although chamois are now rare, deer, hare, fox, badger, marten, Alpine chough, grouse, marmot, partridge, and pheasant are still plentiful. The birds of the reed beds around the Neusiedler See include purple heron, spoonbill, and avocet. The ibex, once threatened, has begun breeding again. Hunting is strictly regulated.


The Ministry of Health and Environmental Protection, established in 1972, is responsible for the coordination at the national level of all environmental protection efforts, addressing its efforts toward problems including waste disposal, pollution, noise, sulfur dioxide, and carbon monoxide levels, as well as emissions by the iron, steel, and ceramics industries. A toxic waste law enacted in 1984 established strict regulations for the collection, transport, and disposal of dangerous substances. The Austrian government has imposed strict regulations on gas emissions, which helped to reduce sulphur dioxide by two-thirds over an eight-year period beginning in 1980. In 1992 Austria was among the 50 countries with the highest level of industrial carbon dioxide emissions, producing 56.6 million metric tons of emissions, or 7.29 m tons per capita. In 1996, the level rose to 59.3 million metric tons. In 2000, the total was 60.8 million metric tons.

Austrians continue to fight the problem of acid rain which has damaged 25% of the country's forests. In general, environmental legislation is based on the "polluter pays" principle. The water resources fund of the Ministry for Buildings and Technology distributed more than s20 billion for canalization and waste-water purification plants between 1959 and the early 1980s; the Danube and the Mur have been the special focus of efforts to improve water quality.

Endangered species include Freya's damselfly and the dusky large blue butterfly. As of 2002, there were at least 83 species of mammals, 230 breeding and wintering bird species, and over 3,000 species of plants. According to a 2006 report issued by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), threatened species included 5 types of mammals, 8 species of birds, 7 species of fish, 22 types of mollusks, 22 other invertebrates, and 3 species of plants. Endangered species include Freya's damselfly, slender-billed curlew, bald ibis, Danube salmon, and the European mink. About 33% of the total land area is protected, including19 Ramsar wetland sites.


The population of Austria in 2005 was estimated by the United Nations (UN) at 8,151,000, which placed it at number 92 in population among the 193 nations of the world. In 2005, approximately 15% of the population was over 65 years of age, with another 16% of the population under 15 years of age. There were 96 males for every 100 females in the country. According to the UN, the annual population rate of change for 200510 was expected to be 0.1%, a rate the government viewed as too low. The projected population for the year 2025 was 8,396,000. The population density was 97 per sq km (252 per sq mi).

The UN estimated that 54% of the population lived in urban areas in 2005, and that urban areas were growing at an annual rate of just 0.08%. The capital city, Vienna (Wien), had a population of 2,179,000 in that year. Other large cities and their estimated populations include Graz, 237,810; Linz, 188,968; Salzburg, 145,000; and Innsbruck, 140,000.


Every Austrian has the constitutional right to migrate. For several years after the end of World War II (1945), fairly large numbers of Austrians emigrated, mostly to Australia, Canada, and the United States, but as the economy recovered from war damage, emigration became insignificant. Austria retains the principle of the right of asylum, and the benefits of Austrian social legislation are granted to refugees and displaced persons. Between 1945 and 1983, 1,942,782 refugees from more than 30 countries came to Austria, of whom about 590,000 became Austrian citizens (including some 302,000 German-speaking expatriates from Czechoslovakia, Romania, and Yugoslavia). Following the political upheavals in Hungary in 1956, Czechoslovakia in 1968, and Poland in 1981, Austria received large numbers of refugees from these countries: 180,432 Hungarians, about 100,000 Czechs and Slovaks, and 33,142 Poles. Between 1968 and 1986, 261,857 Jewish emigrants from the Soviet Union passed through Austria, about one-third of them going to Israel and the rest to other countries, primarily the United States. Of Austrians living abroad, some 186,900 were residents of Germany in 1991. Estimated as of 2005, Austria had a net migration rate of 1.97 migrants per 1,000 population.

In 2003 of Austria's roughly eight million inhabitants, 9.4% were foreign residents, with about two-thirds of them coming from the successor states of the former Yugoslavia, Germany, and Turkey. Between 1985 and 2001, over 254,000 foreigners were naturalized. Austria's proportion of foreign-born residents in 2001 was even higher than that of the United States, reaching a level of 12.5%.

By the end of 2004 there were 38,262 asylum seekers and 18,319 refugees in Austria. The majority of those seeking asylum were from the Russian Federation, Serbia and Montenegro, Moldova, India, Turkey, China, and Pakistan. Approximately 16% of the asylum seekers were from the Russian Federation alone. Citizenship legislation has been changed to allow foreign spouses to become citizens only after five years of marriage to the same Austrian spouse.

In 2003, the foreign labor force was 11.8% of the total labor force. Turkish workers traditionally have had the highest unemployment rate of all foreign worker groups.


Austrians are a people of mixed Dinaric, Nordic, Alpine, and East Baltic origin. In a 2001 census, about 91.1% of respondents were Austrian. Minority groups include Croatians, Slovenes, Slovaks, Romas, Czechs, Serbs, Bosniaks, and Hungarians. These make up about 4% of the population. Turks make up about 1.6% of the population and Germans constitute less than 1%.


The official national language is German and nearly 99% of the inhabitants speak it as their mother tongue. People in Vorarlberg Province speak German with an Alemannic accent, similar to that in Switzerland. Slovene is the official language in Carinthia and both Croatian and Hungarian are official languages in Burgenland. In other provinces, Austrians speak various Bavarian dialects. There are also small groups of Czech, Slovak, and Polish speakers in Vienna.


As of 2001, about 74% of the people were Roman Catholic, but reports indicate that only about 17% of all Roman Catholics were active participants in formal religious service. About 4.7% of the population belonged to the Lutheran and Presbyterian churches (Evangelical Church, Augsburg and Helvetic Confessions). Muslims accounted for about 4.2% of the population. The Jewish community stood at about 0.1% of the population; and Eastern Orthodox (Russian, Greek, Serbian, Romanian, Bulgarian) at 2.2%. Other Christian churches had accounted for about 0.9% of the population. These include the Armenian Apostolic Church, the New Apostolic Church, the Syrian Orthodox Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints, and the Methodist Church of Austria, among others. The Church of Scientology reportedly had somewhere between 5,000 and 6,000 members and the Unification Church had about 700 members. Other small groups within the country, which are termed as "sects" by the government, include: Hare Krishna, the Divine Light Mission, Eckankar, the Osho movement, Sai Baba, Sahaja Yoga, Fiat Lux and the Center for Experimental Society Formation. About 12% of respondents claimed to be atheists and 2% indicated no religious affiliation at all.

The constitution provides for freedom of religion and this right is generally respected in practice. The government is secular, but many Roman Catholic holidays are celebrated as public holidays. Religious organizations are divided into three legal categories under the 1874 Law on Recognition of Churches and the 1998 Law on the Status of Religious Confessional Communities, and each division offers a different level of rights. Those divisions are: officially recognized religious societies, religious confessional communities, and associations. There were 13 officially recognized religious societies in 1998. The Ecumenical Council of Austrian Churches provides an interfaith forum for discussions on a variety of issues. Pro Oriente, an international organization of Catholic and Orthodox churches, also holds an active chapter in the country.


Austria has a dense transportation network. The Federal Railway Administration controls some 90% of Austria's 6,021 km (3,745 mi) of railways in 2004, which is made up of standard and narrow gauge track. Of the 5,565 km (3,461 mi) of standard-gauge track, 3,859 km (2,400 mi) are electrified, while 146 km (91 mi) of the 456 km (284 mi) of narrow-gauge track are electrified.

In 2003, paved highways totaled 133,718 km (83,172 mi) and included 1,677 km (1,043 mi) of expressways. In 2003, there were 4,054,308 passenger cars, and 335,318 commercial vehicles in use.

Austria has 358 km (223 mi) of inland waterways, over 80% of which are navigable by engine-powered vessels. Most of Austria's overseas trade passes through the Italian port of Trieste; the rest is shipped from German ports. In 2005, the oceangoing merchant fleet of Austria consisted of 8 ships of 1,000 GRT or over, with a capacity of 29,624 GRT.

In 2004, there were an estimated 55 airports in Austria. As of 2005, a total of 24 had paved runways, and there was also one heliport. Of the six major airports in AustriaSchwechat (near Vienna), Graz, Innsbruck, Klagenfurt, Linz, and SalzburgSchwechat is by far the most important. In 2003, Austrian air carriers provided flights for 6.903 million passengers and carried 431,000 freight ton km.


Human settlements have existed in what is now Austria since pre-historic times. In 14 bc, the region, already overrun by various tribes, including the Celts, was conquered by the Romans, who divided it among the provinces of Noricum, Pannonia, and Illyria. The Romans founded several towns that survive today: Vindobona (Vienna), Juvavum (Salzburg), Valdidena (Innsbruck), and Brigantium (Bregenz). After the fall of the Roman Empire, Austria became (about ad 800) a border province of Charlemagne's empire until the 10th century, when it was joined to the Holy Roman Empire as Österreich ("Kingdom of the East").

From the late 13th to the early 20th century, the history of Austria is tied to that of the Habsburg family. In 1282, Rudolf von Habsburg (Rudolf I, newly elected German emperor) gave Austria (Upper and Lower Austria, Carinthia, Styria, and Carniola) to his sons, Albrecht and Rudolf, thus inaugurating the male Habsburg succession that would continue unbroken until 1740. The highest point of Habsburg rule came in the 1500s when Emperor Maximilian I (r.14931519) arranged a marriage between his son and the daughter of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain. Maximilian's grandson became King Charles I of Spain in 1516 and, three years later, was elected Holy Roman emperor, as Charles V. Until Charles gave up his throne in 1556, he ruled over Austria, Spain, the Netherlands, and much of Italy, as well as over large possessions in the Americas. Charles gave Austria to his brother Ferdinand, who had already been elected king of Hungary and Bohemia in 1526; the Habsburgs maintained their reign over Austria, Bohemia, and Hungary until 1918.

When the last Habsburg king of Spain died in 1700, France as well as Austria laid claim to the throne. The dispute between the continental powers erupted into the War of the Spanish Succession (170114) and drew in other European countries in alliance with the respective claimants. At the end of the war, Austria was given control of the Spanish Netherlands (Belgium), Naples, Milan, and Sardinia. (It later lost Naples, together with Sicily, in the War of the Polish Succession, 173335.) In 1740, after the death of Charles VI, several German princes refused to acknowledge his daughter and only child, Maria Theresa, as the legitimate ruler of Austria, thus provoking the War of the Austrian Succession (174048). Maria Theresa lost Silesia to Prussia but held on to her throne, from which she proceeded to institute a series of major internal reforms as ruler of Austria, Hungary, and Bohemia. After 1765, she ruled jointly with her son, Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II (r.176590). Following his mother's death in 1780, Joseph, an enlightened despot, sought to abolish serfdom and introduce religious freedom, but he succeeded only in creating considerable unrest. Despite the political turmoil, Austria's cultural life flourished during this period, which spanned the careers of the composers Haydn and Mozart.

During the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars, Austria suffered a further diminution of territory. In 1797, it gave up Belgium and Milan to France, receiving Venice, however, in recompense. In 1805, Austria lost Venice, as well as the Tyrol and part of Dalmatia, to Napoleon. Some restitution was made by the Congress of Vienna (181415), convened after Napoleon's defeat; it awarded Lombardy, Venetia, and Istria and restored all of Dalmatia to Austria, but it denied the Habsburgs the return of former possessions in Baden and the Netherlands.

From 1815 to 1848, Austria, under the ministry of Prince Klemens von Metternich, dominated European politics as the leading power of both the German Confederation and the Holy Alliance (Austria, Russia, and Prussia). Unchallenged abroad, the reactionary Metternich achieved peace at home through ruthless suppression of all liberal or nationalist movements among the people in the Habsburg Empire. In 1848, however, revolutions broke out in Hungary and Bohemia and in Vienna itself; Metternich resigned and fled to London. Although the revolutions were crushed, Emperor Ferdinand I abdicated in December. He was succeeded by his 18-year-old nephew, Franz Josef I, who was destined to occupy the Austrian throne for 68 years, until his death in 1916. During his reign, Austria attempted to set up a strong central government that would unify all the Habsburg possessions under its leadership. But nationalist tensions persisted, exacerbated by outside interference. In 1859, in a war over Habsburg-controlled Lombardy, French and Sardinian troops defeated the Austrians, ending Austrian preeminence in Italian politics; and in 1866, Prussia forced Austria out of the political affairs of Germany after the Seven Weeks' War. In 1867, Hungarian nationalists, taking advantage of Austria's weakened state, compelled Franz Josef to sign an agreement giving Hungary equal rights with Austria. In the ensuing Dual Monarchy, the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary were united under one ruler. Each country had its own national government, but both shared responsibility for foreign affairs, defense, and finance. Self-government for the empire's Magyar (Hungarian) population was balanced by continued suppression of the Slavs.

On 28 June 1914, at Sarajevo, Serbian patriots, members of the Slavic movement, assassinated Archduke Francis Ferdinand, nephew of the emperor and heir to the Austrian throne. Their act set off World War I, in which Austria-Hungary was joined by Germany (an ally since 1879), Italy (a member, with the first two, of the Triple Alliance of 1882), and Turkey. They became known as the Central Powers. In 1915, Italy defected to the side of the AlliesFrance, Russia, the United Kingdom, and (from 1917) the United States. After the defeat of the Central Powers and the collapse of their empires in 1918, Austria, now reduced to its German-speaking sections, was proclaimed a republic. The Treaty of St.-Germainen-Laye (1919) fixed the borders of the new state and forbade it any kind of political or economic union with Germany without League of Nations approval.

During the next decade, Austria was plagued by inflation, food shortages, unemployment, financial scandals, and, as a consequence, growing political unrest. The country's two major political groupings, the Christian Socialist Party and the Social Democratic Party, were almost equal in strength, with their own private paramilitary movements. A small Austrian Nazi party, advocating union with Germany, constituted a third group. In March 1933, Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss, leader of the Christian Socialists, dissolved the Austrian parliament, suspended the democratic constitution of 1920, and ruled by decree, hoping to control the unrest. In February 1934, civil strife erupted; government forces broke up the opposition Social Democratic Party, executing or imprisoning many persons. Dollfuss thereupon established an authoritarian corporate state along Fascist lines. On 25 July, the Nazis, emboldened by Adolf Hitler's rise in Germany, assassinated Dollfuss in an abortive coup. Kurt von Schuschnigg, who had served under Dollfuss as minister of justice and education, then became chancellor. For the next four years, Schuschnigg struggled to keep Austria independent amid growing German pressure for annexation (Anschluss ). On 11 March 1938, however, German troops entered the country, and two days later Austria was proclaimed a part of the German Reich. In 1939, Austria, now known as Ostmark, entered World War II as part of the Axis alliance.

Allied troops entered Austria in April 1945, and the country was divided into US, British, French, and Soviet zones of occupation. Declaring the 1920 constitution in force, the occupying powers permitted Austrians to set up a provisional government but limited Austrian sovereignty under an agreement of 1946. Austria made effective use of foreign economic aid during the early postwar years. The United States and the United Kingdom supplied $379 million worth of goods between 1945 and 1948; another $110 million was provided by private organizations; and Marshall Plan aid amounted to $962 million. Inflation was checked by the early 1950s, and for most of the remainder of that decade the economy sustained one of the world's highest growth rates.

On 15 May 1955, after more than eight years of negotiations, representatives of Austria and the four powers signed, at Vienna, the Austrian State Treaty, reestablishing an independent and democratic Austria, and in October all occupation forces withdrew from the country. Under the treaty, Austria agreed to become permanently neutral. As a neutral nation, Austria has remained outside the political and military alliances into which postwar Europe is divided. Economically, however, it has developed close links with Western Europe, joining EFTA in 1960 and concluding free-trade agreements with the EEC (now the EU) in 1972. Because of its location, Austria served as an entrepôt between the Western trade blocs and the CMEA, with which it also had trade relations. Austria was twice the site of US-USSR summit meetings. In June 1961, President John F. Kennedy and Premier Nikita S. Khrushchev conferred in Vienna, and in June 1979, presidents Jimmy Carter and Leonid I. Brezhnev signed a strategic arms limitation agreement in the Austrian capital. Austria joined the EU in 1995 and European economic and monetary union in 1999.

On 8 July 1986, following elections in May and June, former UN Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim was sworn in as president of Austria. During the presidential campaign, Waldheim was accused of having belonged to Nazi organizations during World War II and of having taken part in war crimes while stationed in Greece and Yugoslavia with the German army from 1942 to 1945; he denied the charges. After his inauguration, diplomats of many nations made a point of avoiding public contact with the new president, and on 27 April 1987, the US Justice Department barred him from entering the United States. To the dismay of many leaders, Pope John Paul II granted Waldheim an audience at the Vatican on 25 June.

Waldheim declined to run for a second term, and in July 1992, Thomas Klestil was elected federal president and he was reelected on 19 April 1998. Relations with Israel, which had been strained under Waldheim's presidency, returned to normal.

The growing strength of Austria's Freedom Party, headed by Jörg Haider, is evidence of a turn to the right in Austrian politics. Although the party did not capture the votes it wanted to in the 17 December 1995 legislative elections, in the elections for European Parliament on 14 October 1996 the aggressively nationalist, anti-immigrant, anti-European Freedom Party took 28% of the vote, 2% behind the Social Democrats. The People's Party and Social Democrats remained together in a coalition throughout the 1990s and prepared Austria for entry into the European economic and monetary union. Cautious reforms took place, and the administration privatized state-owned enterprises, brought down inflation to less than 1% in 1998, and reduced the budget deficit to 2%. Average growth rates between 1997 and 2000 were over 2%. Unemployment fell to 4% in 2000. However, the global economic downturn that began in 2001 caused Austria's economy to suffer; coupled with costs resulting from severe flooding in August 2002, Austria's budget deficit increased sharply. In 200405 the economy rebounded: GDP growth was once again at 2%, allowing Austria to retain its position among the top European economies.

The Freedom Party scored a triumph in the general election of October 1999, coming in second behind the Social Democrats with 27% of the vote. After the traditional coalition of Social Democrats and the conservative People's Party failed to reach agreement on the next government in early 2000, the leader of the People's Party, Wolfgang Schüssel, turned to Haider and the Freedom Party to form a new administration. President Klestil had no choice but to accept the new coalition agreement. Its installation on 3 February 2000 provoked widespread protests both within Austria and from other members of the European Union. The EU partners decided to boycott Austria in all official meetings, a decision that caused a severe crisis in the EU itself. Haider resigned as party chairman in April 2000 although he remained governor of Carinthia. His withdrawal from federal politics did not soften the views of the EU, which imposed diplomatic sanctions on Austria. (They were lifted in September 2000.) A power struggle within the Freedom Party between Haider and Austria's Vice-Chancellor and Freedom Party chair Susanne Riess-Passer in September 2002 resulted in Riess-Passer's resignation, along with that of two Freedom Party ministers. The People's Party/Freedom Party coalition government collapsed, and new elections were called for 24 November 2002. In those elections, Schüssel's People's Party made wide gains; the Freedom Party suffered a major defeat. It dropped to 10% of the vote, down from its 2000 showing of 27%. Despite these results, and after failed negotiations with the Social Democrats and Greens, Schüssel formed a coalition government with the Freedom Party, which was sworn in on 1 April 2003. Schüssel subsequently moved closer to the right, notably on asylum and immigration issues (in October 2003, his government introduced a package of asylum legislation which are seen as the most restrictive in Europe). In April 2005, the Freedom Party split when Haider left to form the Alliance for Austria's Future. Members of both groups remain in government.

After the new government took office in 2003, it launched a series of austerity measures designed to save the government 8 billion. Early retirement was to be cancelled, cuts were planned in public services and the health care system was to be reformed, and, most controversially, drastic cuts were proposed in the nation's pension system. As a result, approximately 500,000 Austrians took part in nationwide strikes in May 2003, the largest in 50 years.

In January 2001, the Austrian government and several Austrian companies agreed to provide $360 million to a general settlement fund to compensate Jews who had their property and assets seized by the Nazis during World War II. Each victim of Nazi persecution was to receive $7,000. Austria also created a social fund to pay pensions to survivors no longer living in the country, in the amount of $100 million.

Following the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Austria passed a Security and Defense Doctrine, representing a shift in Austria's longstanding policy of neutrality. Although Austria will not participate in military alliances requiring mutual defense commitments, the country is gradually moving towards closer integration with European security structures, which would allow for participation in the EU rapid reaction force and NATO's Partnership for Peace program. Austria contributed peacekeeping forces to the former Yugoslavia, and supported NATO strikes on Serbia during the Kosovo conflict. Austria contributed 60 soldiers to the international military protection force in Afghanistan following the USled military campaign there.

In April 2004, Heinz Fischer was elected president. In May 2005, the Austrian parliament ratified the EU constitution. However, the rejection of that constitution by the French and Dutch in referenda held later in May and June 2005 doomed the plan for further European union indefinitely. Concerns about immigration, poor economies, EU expansion, and loss of national identity are some of the reasons French and Dutch voters gave for rejecting the constitution.


The second Austrian republic was established on 19 December 1945. According to the constitution of 1920, as amended in 1929, Austria is a federal republic with a democratically elected parliament. The president, elected by popular vote for a six-year term, appoints a federal chancellor (Bundeskanzler ), usually the leader of the largest party in parliament, for a term not exceeding that of parliament (four years); upon the chancellor's proposal, the president nominates ministers (who should not serve in parliament at the same time) to head the administrative departments of government. The ministers make up the cabinet, which formulates and directs national policy. Cabinet ministers serve out their terms subject to the confidence of a parliamentary majority. The president is limited to two terms of office.

The parliament, known as the Federal Assembly (Bundesvers-ammlung ), consists of the National Council (Nationalrat ) and Federal Council (Bundesrat ). The Bundesrat has 62 members, elected by the country's unicameral provincial legislatures (Landtage ) in proportion to the population of each province. The Nationalrat has 183 members (prior to 1970, 165 members), elected directly in nine election districts for four-year terms by secret ballot on the basis of proportional representation. All citizens 25 years of age or older are eligible to serve in parliament; all citizens 18 years of age or older may vote. Voting is compulsory for presidential elections. The electoral law was amended in February 1990 to extend the franchise to Austrians living permanently or temporarily abroad. All legislation originates in the Nationalrat; the Bundesrat exercises only a suspensory veto.


The restoration of the republic in 1945 revived political activity in Austria. In general elections that November, the Austrian People's Party (Österreichische VolksparteiÖVP), successor to the prewar Christian Socialists, emerged as the strongest party, with the reborn Socialist Party of Austria (Sozialistische Partei ÖsterreichsSPÖ) trailing slightly. The ÖVP and SPÖ, controlling 161 of the 165 seats in the Nationalrat, formed a coalition government and worked closely with the Allies to construct an independent and democratic Austria. This coalition held until after the elections of 1966, when the ÖVP, with a majority of 11 seats, formed a one-party government headed by Chancellor Josef Klaus. In 1970, the SPÖ won a plurality in the Nationalrat and was able to put together a minority Socialist government under its leader, Bruno Kreisky. Kreisky remained in power until 1983longer than any other non-Communist European head of government. The Socialist Party was renamed the Social Democratic Party in 1991, and began to advocate free-market oriented policies. It has also supported Austria's entry into the EC (now EU).

The ÖVP, also referred to as Austria's Christian Democratic Party, favors free enterprise, competition, and the reduction of class differences. Organized into three constituenciesbusinessmen, farmers, and employeesit advocates provincial rights and strongly supports the Catholic Church. The SPÖ, also known as the Social Democratic Party, advocates moderate reforms through democratic processes. It favored continued nationalization of key industries, economic planning, and widespread social welfare benefits. It is closely allied with the Austrian Trade Union Federation and its constituent unions. The economic policy differences between the two parties diminished in the 1990s as both recognized the need to introduce structural reforms and bring down budget deficits. Their main disagreements are on the pace of change, rather than on the need to introduce reforms.

A third political group, the Union of Independents (Verband der UnabhängigenVdU), appeared in 1949. Strongly antisocialist, with anticlerical, panGerman elements, it challenged the coalition in the elections of that year, winning 16 seats. By the mid-1950s, however, the VdU, consistently denied a voice in government by the two major parties, had begun to disintegrate. In 1955, it was reorganized, under new leadership, as the Freedom Party of Austria (Freiheitliche Partei ÖsterreichsFPÖ). In 1970, with six seats in the Nationalrat, the FPÖ was accepted as a negotiating partner by the SPÖ. The party favors individual initiative over collective security. By the turn of the 21st century, under the leadership of Jörg Haider, the FPÖ was an extreme nationalist, anti-immigrant, anti-European party. In June 1992, FPÖ dissidents founded the Free Democratic Party. In 2005, Haider split from the FPÖ to form the Alliance for the Future of Austria (BZÖ).

The Communist Party of Austria (Kommunistische Partei ÖsterreichsKPÖ) has declined steadily in strength since the end of World War II. It has had no parliamentary representation, for example, since 1959, when it lost the three seats won in 1956. The KPÖ was the first party in the Nationalrat to propose, in 1953, that Austria become a neutral nation.

In the elections of 24 April 1983, dominated by economic issues, the SPÖ (with 47.8% of the vote) won 90 seats, down from 95 in 1979; the ÖVP (with 43.21%) 81; and the FPÖ (with 4.97%) 12. The KPÖ polled 0.66% of the vote but won no seats. Two new environmentalist groups, the United Greens of Austria (Vereinten Grünen Österreichs) and the Alternative ListAustria (Alternative Liste Österreichs), likewise failed to gain representation in the Nationalrat, although they collectively polled more than 3% of the total vote. In May, Kreisky, having failed to win a clear majority, resigned. He was succeeded as party leader and chancellor by Fred Sinowatz, who proceeded to form a coalition government with the FPÖ.

Following the election of Kurt Waldheim to the presidency in June 1986, Sinowatz resigned and was succeeded by Franz Vranitzky, a former finance minister. The SPÖ-FPÖ coalition broke down in September 1986. Following parliamentary elections on 23 November 1986, a new government was sworn in on 21 January 1987, with Vranitzky from the SPÖ as chancellor and Alois Mock, FPÖ chairman, as vicechancellor and prime minister.

In the general election of 7 October 1990, the "grand coalition" continued. The 183 seats in the Nationalrat were distributed as follows: SPÖ (80), ÖVP (60), FPÖ (33), and the Green Alternative (10). It also governed after the 1995 elections.

The 1999 elections finally brought change and was a watershed event. In the legislative election held on 3 October 1999, the 183 seats in the Nationalrat were distributed as follows: SPÖ (65), ÖVP (52), FPÖ (52), Greens (14), and Liberal Forum (0). Compared to the 1995 elections, the SPÖ lost 6 seats, the Liberal Forum lost all of its 10 seats and had no representation in the new National Assembly, the ÖVP retained more or less its share of the vote, while the Greens went from 9 to 14 seats and the FPÖ went from 40 seats to 52 seats and became, together, with the People's Party, the second-largest bloc in parliament. The leader of the ÖVP, Wolfgang Schüssel, formed a coalition with the FPÖ, and became chancellor.

Following the 24 November 2002 elections, party strength in the Nationalrat was distributed as follows: ÖVP, 42.3% (79 seats); SPÖ, 36.5% (69 seats); FPÖ, 10% (18 seats); the Greens, 9.5% (17 seats); the Liberal Forum, 1% (no seats); and the KPÖ, 0.6% (no seats). Schüssel remained chancellor, and formed a government with the FPÖ, as he was unable to persuade the SPÖ and the Greens to join in a coalition with the ÖVP. As of 2005, a coalition government comprising the ÖVP and Jörg Haider's Alliance for the Future of Austria, which split from the FPÖ that April, was ruling the country.

In the presidential election held on 25 April 2004, Heinz Fischer of the SPÖ was elected president with 52.4% of the vote, defeating Benita Ferrero-Waldner of the ÖVP (47.6% of the vote). Fischer succeeded Thomas Klestil, who had served as president since 1992.


Austria is divided into nine provinces (Länder): Vienna (Wien), Lower Austria (Niederösterreich), Upper Austria (Oberösterreich), Styria (Steiermark), Carinthia (Kärnten), Tyrol (Tirol), Salzburg, Burgenland, and Vorarlberg. The relationship between the provinces and the central government is defined by the constitution. Most administrative, legislative, and judicial authorityincluding taxation, welfare, and policeis granted to the central government. The Länder, which enjoy all residual powers, act as executors of federal authority.

Each province has its own unicameral legislature, elected on the basis of proportional representation. All legislation must be submitted through the provincial governor (Landeshauptmann ) to the competent federal ministry for concurrence. If such concurrence is not obtained, the provincial legislature can reinstate the bill by majority vote. In case of prolonged conflict between the federal authorities and the provincial legislatures, the Constitutional Court may be appealed to for settlement.

The provincial governor, elected by the provincial legislature (Landtag ), is assisted by a cabinet (Landesrat ) consisting of ministries analogous to those at the federal level. Each province is divided into several administrative districts (Bezirke ), each of which is under a district commissioner (Bezirkshauptmann ). Local self-government is vested in popularly elected communal councils which, in turn, elect various local officers, including the mayor (Bürgermeister ) and his deputies. There are some 2,300 communities in Austria, as well as 15 cities that have independent charters and fall directly under provincial authority rather than that of the districts. Vienna is both a municipality and a province.


Austria in 2005 had 140 local courts (Bezirksgerichte ) with civil jurisdiction. There were also 20 provincial and district courts (Landesgerichte and Kreisgerichte ) with civil and criminal jurisdiction and four higher provincial courts (Oberlandesgerichte ) with criminal jurisdiction, located in Vienna, Graz, Innsbruck, and Linz. The Supreme Court (Oberster Gerichtshof ), in Vienna, acts as the final appellate court for criminal and civil cases. The Constitutional Court (Verfassungsgerichtshof ) has supreme jurisdiction over constitutional and civil rights issues. The Administrative Court (Verwaltungsgerichtshof ) ensures the legal functioning of public administration. A central auditing authority controls financial administration. Judges are appointed by the federal government and cannot be removed or transferred. Trial by jury was reintroduced in 1951. There is no capital punishment.

The judiciary is independent of the other branches. Judges are appointed for life and can only be removed for specific reasons established by law and only after formal court action has been taken.

Before the mid 1990s, the law allowed for detention of suspects for 48 hours without judicial review and up to two years of detention during the course of a criminal investigation. Amendments to the law in 1994 required more stringent judicial review of pretrial and investigative detention. Criminal defendants are afforded a presumption of innocence, public trials, and jury trial for major offenses, as well as a number of other procedural rights.


As of 2005, Austria's active armed forces totaled 39,900 personnel plus another 9,500 civilians. In addition, another 60,000 reservists undergo refresher training annually. The Army is the largest service in terms of manpower, with 33,200 personnel in 2005. Equipment included 114 main battle tanks, 220 light tanks, 637 armored personnel carriers, and 684 artillery pieces. Austria's Air Force in 2005 had 6,700 active personnel, which operated 40 combat capable aircraft, which included 12 fighters. There were also 17 transport and 44 training aircraft. The 2005 defense budget totaled $2.29 billion. Austrian armed forces in 2005 were deployed to 12 countries or regions under UN, NATO or European Union command.


The Federal Constitutional Law on the Neutrality of Austria, adopted on 26 October 1955, bound the nation to neutrality and banned it from joining any military alliances or permitting the establishment of foreign military bases on its territory. However, since 1995, the country has been rethinking this position on neutrality. In December 2001, Austria adopted a Security and Defense Doctrine; although Austria will not participate in military alliances requiring mutual defense commitments, the country is gradually moving toward greater integration with European security arrangements, which would allow for participation in the EU rapid reaction force and NATO's Partnership for Peace program.

Austria became a member of the UN on 14 December 1955. It is a member of ECE and all the nonregional specialized agencies, such as FAO, IFC, ILO, WHO, and the World Bank. The country became a member of the WTO 1 January 1995 and of the OSCE on 30 January 1992. Vienna has served an important role as a meeting place and headquarters site for a variety of international activities. The headquarters of OPEC, IAEA, UNIDO, and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis are located in Vienna. Austria belongs to the Council of Europe, the OECD, the Paris Club, the European Space Agency, and the European Union. Austria's interest in the Third World is exemplified by membership in the Asian and Inter-American development banks and by its permanent observer status with the OAS.

Austria is part of the Australia Group, the Zangger Committee, and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Austrian troops have been part of UN peacekeeping forces in Kosovo (est. 1999), Western Sahara (est. 1991), Ethiopia and Eritrea (est. 2000), Georgia (est. 1993), and Cyprus (est. 1964).

In environmental cooperation, the country is part of the Antarctic Treaty; the Basel Convention; Conventions on Biological Diversity, Whaling, and Air Pollution; Ramsar; CITES; the International Tropical Timber Agreements; the Kyoto Protocol; the Montréal Protocol; MARPOL; and the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.


Liberalization inspired by the EU and greater acceptance of the values of competition have transformed Austria's economy since the 1980s. Previously, the state maintained a strong presence in the Austrian economy, but in the 21st century private enterprise increasingly takes on a primary position. Basic industries, including mineral production, heavy industry, rail and water transport, and utilities, were nationalized during 194647 and in 1970 were reorganized under a state-owned holding company, the Austrian Industrial Administration (Österreichische Industrieverwaltungs-AktiengesellschaftÖIAG). In 1986, the ÖIAG was renamed the Österreichische Industrieholding AG, and a process of restructuring and privatization took place that traversed the 1990s and early 2000s. German companies in particular took advantage of the privatization of Austrian firms.

Austria's period of unparalleled prosperity lasted from the 1950s through the early 1970s; the economy was characterized by a high rate of growth, modest price increases, and a favorable climate in industrial relations. By 1975, Austrian industry, the single most important sector of the economy, had more than quadrupled in value over 1945. But the general economic slowdown that followed the oil price hike of late 1973 affected Austria as it did other European countries. During 197881, annual real growth averaged 2.6%, about standard for the OECD countries, but there was no real growth in 1981 and only 1.1% growth in 1982, as Austria endured its most prolonged recession since World War II. The following years saw an improvement. Between 1984 and 1991, annual real GDP growth averaged 2.8%. In 1992, it was 1.7%. Following the mild recession in 1993, Austria's economydriven by strong exports, investment, and private consumptionexpanded an average of 2% throughout the 1990s. GDP growth stood at 2.4% in 2004, and dropped to an estimated 1.7% in 2005. GDP growth was forecast at 1.8% for 2006, and to accelerate to 2.1% for 2007. Despite the impact of high oil prices projected for 2006, inflation was expected to ease over the 200607 period. The inflation rate (at consumer prices) stood at 1.8% in 2004.

Due in large measure to a global economic downturn and resulting low domestic demand, in 2002 Austria was experiencing its worst slowdown in over a decade. However, in 2001, Austria balanced its budget for the first time in 30 years, in part due to an increase in taxes. (The only countries with higher tax burdens than Austria are Denmark, Finland, and Sweden.) However, the conservative government led by the Austrian People's Party that came into power in November 2002 gave less priority to maintaining a balanced budget, and by 2003, the budget deficit was -1.1%, and was expected to rise to -2% in 2006, with a modest improvement in 2007. Austria's ratio of government debt to GDP remained high among European countries in the early 2000s, at over 65%. Austria benefited from its proximity to the faster-growing economies of Central and Eastern Europe in the early 2000s, but was negatively impacted by the low growth in Germany, its largest trading partner. Severe flooding in Central Europe during August 2002 resulted in extra budget outlays for flood damage. The unemployment rate stood at 4.5% in 2004. Austria profits from a high productivity rate. It has also met with success in privatizing most of its large manufacturing firms. Austria in the early 2000s invested in high-growth industries such as telecommunications, biotechnology, medical and pharmaceutical research, and electronics.


The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports that in 2005 Austria's gross domestic product (GDP) was estimated at $269.4 billion. The CIA defines GDP as the value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a given year and computed on the basis of purchasing power parity (PPP) rather than value as measured on the basis of the rate of exchange based on current dollars. The per capita GDP was estimated at $32,000. The annual growth rate of GDP was estimated at 1.9%. The average inflation rate in 2005 was 2.3%. It was estimated that agriculture accounted for 2.3% of GDP, industry 30.8%, and services 66.9%.

According to the World Bank, in 2003 remittances from citizens working abroad totaled $2.294 billion or about $284 per capita and accounted for approximately 0.9% of GDP.

The World Bank reports that in 2003 household consumption in Austria totaled $144.16 billion or about $17,819 per capita based on a GDP of $253.1 billion, measured in current dollars rather than PPP. Household consumption includes expenditures of individuals, households, and nongovernmental organizations on goods and services, excluding purchases of dwellings. It was estimated that for the period 1990 to 2003 household consumption grew at an average annual rate of 2.3%. It was estimated that in 1999 about 3.9% of the population had incomes below the poverty line.


In 2005, the labor force was estimated at 3.49 million workers. As of 2005, an estimated 70% of the workforce was engaged in the services sector, 27% in industry, and 3% in agriculture. Foreign laborers, mainly from the former Yugoslavia and Turkey, constitute a significant part of the total workforce. The unemployment rate has risen slightly in recent years, from 3.6% in 1994 to 4.8% in 2002. As of 2005, Austria's unemployment rate was estimated at 5.1%.

Workers were organized into the 13 trade unions affiliated in the Austrian Trade Union Federation (Österreichische Gewerk-schaftsbundÖGB), accounting for an estimated 47% of the na-tion's workforce, as of 2005. This confederation negotiates collective bargaining agreements with the Federal Economic Chamber (Bundeskammer der gewerblichen Wirtschaft) representing employers. Although the right to strike is recognized, strikes are rarely used due to cooperation between labor and management. Collective bargaining is prevalent. Disputes over wages, working hours, working conditions, and vacations are settled by a labor court or an arbitration board.

The workweek is set at a maximum of 40 hours, although most Austrian workers put in 3838.5 hours per week. A 50% differential is generally paid for overtime on weekdays, 100% on Sundays and holidays. In addition, it is required that an employee be given at least 11 hours off between workdays. There is no national minimum wage. Most employees are covered by collective bargaining agreements, which set wages by industry. However, the unofficial accepted minimum is $14,880 to $17,360 per year which provides a family with a decent standard of living. The minimum legal age for employment is 15 years, and this is effectively enforced.


Although small, the agricultural sector is highly diversified and efficient. Most production is oriented toward local consumption.

Of Austria's total area, about 18% was arable in 2002; meadows and pasturelands constituted another 24%. The best cropland is in the east, which has the most level terrain. Farms are almost exclusively family-owned. Most holdings are small or medium-sized and, in many cases, scattered. As of 2003, agriculture employed 4.5% of the labor force. In 2003, agriculture (together with forestry) contributed 2.3% to Austria's total GDP.

The use of farm machinery has been increasing steadily; 330,000 tractors were in operation in 2002, up from 78,748 in 1957. Austria today uses less land and manpower and produces more food than it did before World War II (193945). Better seeding and more intensive and efficient application of fertilizers have helped raise farm yields and have enhanced self-sufficiency in foodstuffs. Agriculture is highly protected by the government; overproduction, especially evidenced by recurring grain surpluses, requires a hefty subsidy to be paid by the government in order to sell abroad at market prices. Nevertheless, the Austrian government has been able to maintain farm income, although Austria has some of the highest food costs in Europe.

Chief crops, in terms of sown area and yield, are wheat, rye, oats, barley, potatoes, and sugar beets. Austria is near self-sufficiency in wheat, oats, rye, fruits, vegetables, sugar, and a number of other items. Major crop yields in 2004 included (in tons) sugar beets, 2,935,000; barley, 1,007,000; wheat, 1,719,000; potatoes, 693,000; rye, 213,000; and oats, 139,000. Vineyards yielded 351,000 tons of grapes crushed for wine.


Dairy and livestock breeding, traditionally the major agricultural activities, account for about three-fifths of gross agricultural income.

Milk, butter, cheese, and meat are excellent, and Austria is self-sufficient in dairy products and in most meats. In 2004, livestock included 3,245,000 hogs, 2,052,000 head of cattle, 325,000 sheep, 85,000 horses, and 11,600,000 million poultry. Meat and poultry production in 2004 totaled 996,000 tons. During 2004, Austrian dairy farms produced 3,559,000 tons of milk, 169,000 tons of cheese, and 32,000 tons of butter. In 2004, some 88,700 tons of eggs were produced, which satisfied over 90% of domestic demand. By specializing in quality strains of cattle, hogs, and horses, Austrian breeders have gained wide international recognition. Livestock products, primarily milk, account for about 35% of agricultural exports.


Fishing is not important commercially, and fish do not constitute a large part of the Austrian diet. Commercial catches consist mainly of carp and trout. The total catch in 2003 was 2,605 tons. Aquacultural production in 2003 was 2,233 tons, mostly rainbow trout. A sizable segment of the population engages in sport fishing.


Austria has the second-largest percentage of forest in the European Union. About 47% of Austria's total area is forested, mostly in the foothills and mountains. Styria, in the southeast, is 60% covered with forests, while Burgenland in the east has only 32% forest coverage. About two-thirds of the trees are coniferous, primarily spruce; beech is the most important broadleaf type.

Over-cutting during World War II (193945) and in the post-war period resulted in a decline in timber production from 9.5 million cu m (335 million cu ft) in 1936 to a low of about 7.1 million cu m (251 million cu ft). From 1950 to 2003, sawn lumber output rose from 4,000 cu m (141,000 cu ft) to 10.5 million cu m (370.7 million cu ft). Competition reduced the number of sawmills from 5,100 in 1950 to 1,400 in 2003, with about 10,000 employees. Bark beetle infestations adversely affected production in the mid-1990s. Total roundwood yield was 17.1 million cu m (602 million cu ft) in 2003. In 2004, about 7.8 million cu m (247 million cu ft) of softwood lumber logs were produced. To prevent over cutting, export restrictions have been introduced, and reforestation on both public and private land is compulsory. Exports of raw timber and cork are supplemented by exports of such forestry products as paper, cardboard boxes, prefabricated houses, toys, matches, turpentine, and volatile oils. Austria is the world's fourth-largest softwood lumber exporter, with shipments valued at 1.28 billion in 2003.


After a period of postwar expansion, mineral production has stagnated in recent decades, and metals mining continues to decline, because of high operating costs, increased foreign competition, low ore grades, and environmental problems. All the metal mines in the country were closed, except an iron ore operation at Erzberg (producing 1.8 million tons of iron ore and concentrate in 2000) and a tungsten operation at Mittersill, which was the West's largest underground tungsten mine. Most of the growth in the mineral resources area was in the production of industrial minerals, the area in which future mining activities will most likely be concentrated, mostly for domestic consumption.

Austria produces 2.5% of the world's graphite, ranking 10th in the world, and is one of the world's largest sources of high-grade graphite. In 2000, estimated output was 12,000 metric tons, down from 30,000 metric tons in 1996. The country produces 1.6% of the world's talc, ranking ninth, with a reported output in 2003 of 137,596 tons of crude talc and soapstone. The country's only producer of talc, Luzenac Naintsch AG, operated three mines, in the Styria region, and produced a range of talc, chloritic talc, dolomite talc, and chlorite-mica-quartz ores.

Output of other minerals in 2003 output in metric tons, include: limestone and marble, 24,477,000 metric tons; dolomite, 6,079,000 metric tons, for the domestic cement industry, along with calcite and limestone; gypsum and anhydrite, 1,004,000 metric tons; brine salt, 3,422,000 cubic meters (salt mines are owned by the government, with plans to privatize the operations); tungsten, 1,400 tons; pumice (trass), 4,000 tons; and crude kaolin, 100,000 metric tons. Gold production in 2003 was 25 kg. Crude magnesite production was reported at 767,000 metric tons in 2003.

Lignite production has been declining since 1963. In 2003, lignite production totaled 1,152,000 metric tons. Production of bituminous coal declined steadily after World War II, and in 1968 ceased altogether.


Austria is one of the foremost producers of hydroelectric power in Europe. The most important power facilities are publicly owned; 50% of the shares of the large private producers are owned by provincial governments.

In 2000, net electricity generation was 58.8 billion kWh, of which 28.5% came from fossil fuels, 68.6% from hydropower, none from nuclear energy, and the remainder from other sources. In the same year, consumption of electricity totaled 54.8 million kWh. Total installed capacity at the beginning of 2001 was 14.2 million kW. In 2000 petroleum accounted for 39% of energy consumption, natural gas 20%, coal 10%, nuclear energy 0%, and hydroelectric power 31%. During the winter, when there is less flowing water for hydroelectric power, domestic electricity demands must be supplemented by imports from neighboring countries.

Oil, first produced in 1863, is found both in Upper Austria, near Wolfsegg am Hausruck, and in Lower Austria, in the vicinity of Vienna. After reaching a peak of about 3,700,000 tons in 1955, oil production gradually declined to 22,000 barrels per day in 2000. Natural gas production was 1.698 billion cu m (60 billion cu ft) in 1998, far short of domestic needs; consumption amounted to 6.862 billion cu m (242 billion cu ft) in that year.


Industrial output has increased vastly since the beginning of World War II and contributed 30.8% of the GDP in 2004. The industrial production growth rate in 2004 was 3.3%. In 1946, the federal parliament nationalized basic industries. Major parts of the electric and electronics, chemical, iron and steel, and machinery industries remained state controlled until the 1990s, when the Austrian government embarked upon a privatization program. As of 2005, the steel, aluminum, and petroleum industries were majority-owned by private shareholders. Other privatizations in the early 2000s were the Austrian tobacco company, the Vienna airport company, Telekom Austria, Voest-Alpine Steel, and Boehler Uddeholm, an important tool and specialty steel manufacturer.

Iron and steel production greatly expanded its output after 1937. A total of 155,403 automobiles were manufactured in 2001 and 24,988 heavy trucks were produced in 2000. The sale of automotive parts and equipment was a $3 billion industry in 2004, albeit a decline from $3.35 billion in 2003 and $3.87 billion in 2002.

Traditionally, the most important sectors of the textile industry have been embroidery, spinning, weaving, and knitting. However, foreign competition cut into the Austrian textile industry. Following the expiration of the World Trade Organization's longstanding system of textile quotas at the beginning of 2005, the EU signed an agreement with China in June 2005, imposing new quotas on 10 categories of textile goods, limiting growth in those categories to between 8% and 12.5% a year. The agreement runs until 2007, and was designed to give European textile manufacturers time to adjust to a world of unfettered competition. Nevertheless, barely a month after the EU-China agreement was signed, China reached its quotas for sweaters, followed soon after by blouses, bras, T-shirts, and flax yarn. Tens of millions of garments piled up in warehouses and customs checkpoints, which affected both retailers and consumers.

The chemical industry, which was relatively unimportant before World War II, now ranks second in value of production, behind the mechanical and steel industry. Other leading industries, in terms of production value and employment, are electrical and electronic machinery and equipment, pulp and paper, ceramics, and especially foodstuffs and allied products. Austria has always been famous for its skilled craftsmen, such as glassblowers, goldsmiths, jewelers, lacemakers, potters, stonecutters, and wood-carvers.

The country is taking steps to change its image from one in which traditional "rust belt" industries such as steel and heavy engineering dominate. In 2005, the electronics, biotechnology, and medical and pharmaceutical sectors were high growth industries.


Numerous research institutes in Austria play an important role in conducting and coordinating advanced agricultural, medical, scientific, and technical research. The Austrian Research Council supports and coordinates scientific research. The major learned society is the Austrian Academy of Sciences (founded in 1847 and headquartered in Vienna). The Austrian Science Foundation (founded in 1967) and the Austrian Industrial Research Fund together form the Austrian Research Council, which supports and coordinates scientific, applied, and industrial research and development and advises federal and state governments on scientific matters. The Natural History Museum and the Trade and Industrial Museum of Technology, both in Vienna and founded in 1748 and 1907, respectively, each have large libraries.

Austria has 11 universities offering training in basic and applied sciences and 13 federal colleges of technology. In 2004, provisional data showed Austrian spending on research and development (R&D) as totaling 5.273 billion, of which 41.5% came from business, 36.7% from the government and 21.5% from foreign sources. In 198797, science and engineering students accounted for 29% of college and university enrollments. In 2002, of all bachelor's degrees awarded, 26.5% were in the sciences (natural, mathematics and computers, and engineering). As of 1998 (the latest year for which data was available), there were 2,346 researchers and 993 technicians per million people, that were actively engaged in R&D. In 2002, hightech exports were valued at $8.433 billion and accounted for 15% of all manufactured exports.


Vienna is the commercial, banking, and industrial center. Railroad lines passing through it connect Austria with all neighboring countries. Vienna is also the major, but not the only, distribution center; every large provincial city is the hub of marketing and distribution for the surrounding area. Most items are sold in privately owned general or special stores, but consumer cooperatives are also active. Though small specialty shops have accounted for about 90% of retail establishments, larger outlets and shopping malls are becoming popular. For instance, close to the small village of Parndorf, Burgenland, 40 minutes outside of Vienna, there is a designer outlet featuring more than 90 department stores and specialty shops selling over 350 international brands. Although modeled after the American shopping mall, the McArthur Glen Designer Outlet resembles an Austrian baroque village.

By law, most Austrian shops may be open no more than 66 hours per week. Legal shopping hours are from 6 am to 7:30 pm Monday through Friday, and 6 am to 5 pm on Saturdays. However, normal business hours are from 8 or 9 am to 6 pm, Mondays through Fridays. Saturday shopping hours are normally 8 or 9 am to 12 or 1 pm. Banks usually stay open from 8 am to 12:30 pm and from 1:30 to 3 pm (5:30 pm on Thursday) on the weekdays. Retail establishments are governed by stricter rules than in the United States. Sunday hours are generally not permitted.

Advertising is displayed in newspapers, periodicals, and trade journals, and on posters on public conveyances, public stands, and billboards. Considerable advertising is done in cinemas. International fairs are held every spring and autumn in Vienna, and specialized fairs are held regularly in Dornbirn, Graz, Innsbruck, Klagenfurt, Ried im Innkreis, and Wels.


Austria depends heavily on foreign trade. During the Cold War, the government consistently maintained strong ties with the West while being careful to preserve the country's neutrality. In 1972, Austria achieved association with the EEC without encountering much Soviet opposition. Austria formerly had long-term bilateral trade agreements with CMEA nations, and played an important role as a mediator in EastWest trade dealings. It applied

Country Exports Imports Balance
World 89,216.3 91,516.5 -2,300.2
Germany 28,370.2 37,502.2 -9,132.0
Italy-San Marino-Holy See 8,007.6 6,426.8 1,580.8
Switzerland-Liechtenstein 4,937.1 3,860.3 1,076.8
United States 4,621.2 3,533.0 1,088.2
France-Monaco 3,968.6 3,554.3 414.3
United Kingdom 3,939.6 2,092.0 1,847.6
Hungary 3,588.6 2,967.5 621.1
Czech Republic 2,725.8 2,973.3 -247.5
Spain 2,281.8 1,587.9 693.9
Netherlands 1,844.2 2,742.6 -898.4
() data not available or not signiïcant.

for membership in 1989, ushering a new era in relations with the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Austria became a member of the EU in 1995, and a member of the EMU in 1999; euro notes and coins were introduced in place of the Austrian schilling in 2002.

Austria's commodity trade pattern has changed significantly since the 1930s. Because of its increasing self-sufficiency in agricultural production, expansion in output of certain basic industries, and development of new industries, Austria is no longer as dependent as in pre-World War II years on imports of food and raw materials.

The rise in industrial capacity has resulted in an extensive rise in export volume, with finished and semifinished goods accounting for well over 80% of the total export value. The major industry and export commodity in Austria is the automobile and its components, made up of plates and sheets of iron or steel, internal combustion engines and piston parts, motor vehicle parts and accessories, and complete passenger motor cars. These exports comprise a large portion of Austria's exports, while machinery and paper products continue to be important commodities. Medicinal and pharmaceutical product exports are increasing, but are still low compared to those of the automobile industry.

Approximately 71% of Austria's trade is with EU nations. Although Germany, Italy, and the United States remain Austria's main trading partners, expanding trade with the new EU members of Central and Eastern Europe that joined the EU in May 2004 represent a sizeable element of Austrian economic activity.

In 2004, exports totaled an estimated $102.7 billion, and the total value of imports was estimated at $101.2 billion, for a trade surplus of $1.5 billion.


Revenues in 2004 were estimated at $142.5 billion; expenditures were estimated at $146.4 billion. Austria's current account balance in 2004 was estimated at -$3.283 billion.


The Austrian National Bank (Österreichische Nationalbank), originally opened on 2 January 1923 but taken over by the German

Current Account -1,363.0
    Balance on goods 1,140.0
       Imports -88,479.0
       Exports 89,619.0
    Balance on services 1,662.0
    Balance on income -1,836.0
    Current transfers -2,330.0
Capital Account -12.0
Financial Account -457.0
    Direct investment abroad -7,061.0
    Direct investment in Austria 7,276.0
    Portfolio investment assets -18,414.0
    Portfolio investment liabilities 22,992.
    Financial derivatives -744.0
    Other investment assets -15,117.0
    Other investment liabilities 10,610.0
Net Errors and Omissions -203.0
Reserves and Related Items 2,036.0
() data not available or not significant.

Reichsbank in 1938, was reestablished on 3 July 1945. The bank is a corporation with capital shares fixed by law at s150 million; 50% of the shares are, by law, owned by the government. The central bank and the bank of issue, it preserves the domestic purchasing power of the Austrian currency and its value in terms of stable foreign currencies, and controls external transactions affecting the balance of payments. It also sets reserve requirements for credit institutions.

The Austrian banking system also includes joint-stock banks, banking houses, and private banks, as well as postal savings banks, private savings banks, mortgage banks, building societies, and specialized cooperative credit institutions. The most important credit institutions are the joint-stock commercial banks, the two largest of which, the Creditanstalt-Bankverein and the Österreichische Länderbank, were nationalized in 1946; shares representing 40% of the nominal capital of the two were sold to the public in 1957.

On 12 January 1997, the coalition partners, after long and intensive negotiations, agreed to sell Credit and staff-Bankverein to the indirectly state-owned Bank Austria, which is dominated by the senior coalition party, the Social Democratic Party (SPO). The sale created a financial and industrial giant in Austria, which holds about one-quarter of the assets of all financial institutions.

The International Monetary Fund reports that in 2001, currency and demand depositsan aggregate commonly known as M1were equal to $52.9 billion. In that same year, M2an aggregate equal to M1 plus savings deposits, small time deposits, and money market mutual fundswas $171.2 billion.

A special decree of Empress Maria Theresa (1 August 1771) provided for the establishment of a stock exchange in Vienna. From the mid-19th century to the beginning of World War I, it was the main capital market of middle and eastern Europe, and from 1918 to 1938, it had continuous international importance as an equity market for the newly founded nations originating from the former monarchy. The exchange also deals in five Austrian and seven foreign investment certificates. The Austrian Traded Index has grown steadily in the past few years, growing 8.71% in 2002, and averaging a growth rate of 10.15% in the past five years. Market capitalization as of December 2004 stood at $85.815 billion, with the index up 57.4% at 2,431.4 from the previous year. There were 99 companies listed on the Wiener Borse AG in 2004.


Insurance in Austria is regulated by the Ministry of Finance under legislation effective 1 January 1979. Motor-vehicle third-party liability, aviation accident and third-party liability, workers' compensation, product liability, professional indemnity for certain professions, and nuclear-risk liability coverage are compulsory. Armed sportsmen, accountants, pipeline operators, and notaries are also required to carry liability insurance. In 2003, the value of all direct premiums written totaled $14.996 billion, of which non-life premiums accounted for the largest portion at $8.410 billion. The nation's top nonlife insurer for 2003 was Allianz Elementar with gross nonlife written premiums of $983.5 million. Austria's top life insurer that same year was Sparkassen-Vericherung, with gross life written premiums of $857.5 million.


The government's proposed annual budget is submitted to the Nationalrat before the beginning of each calendar year (which coincides with the fiscal year). Within certain limits, the Finance Minister can subsequently permit the maximum expenditure levels to be exceeded, but any other excess spending must receive the approval of the Nationalrat in the form of a supplementary appropriations bill or an amendment to the budgetary legislation. Annual expenditures, which in the early 1960s rose markedly owing to increases in defense expenditures, social services, federal operations, and capital expenditures, were less expansionary in 196570. During the 1970s, the annual budget again began to rise, expenditures increasing at a faster rate than revenues, but by

Revenue and Grants 85,652 100.0%
  Tax revenue 45,783 53.5%
  Social contributions 33,848 39.5%
  Grants 365 0.4%
  Other revenue 5,657 6.6%
Expenditures 87,934 100.0%
  General public services 13,710 15.6
  Defense 1,911 2.2%
  Public order and safety 2,683 3.1%
  aEconomic affairs 5,653 6.4%
  Environmental protection 230 0.3%
  Housing and community amenities 1,007 1.1%
  Health 11,403 13.0%
  Recreational, culture, and religion 651 0.7%
  Education 9,005 10.2%
  Social protection 41,681 47.4%
() data not available or not significant.

the mid-1980s, both expenditures and revenues were increasing at about the same rate. As a result of a minirecession in 1993, the budget deficit widened to 4.7% of GDP in 1994. The increase in the budget deficit was mainly due to the government's decision to let automatic stabilizers work, when it became apparent that business activity was slowing down. Rising budget deficits present an economic challenge to the government. Despite these problems, Austria managed to meet the criteria necessary to join the European Monetary Union (EMU) in 1999.

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) estimated that in 2005 Austria's central government took in revenues of approximately $148.6 billion and had expenditures of $154.5 billion. Revenues minus expenditures totaled approximately -$5.9 billion. Public debt in 2005 amounted to 64.5% of GDP. Total external debt was $510.6 billion.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reported that in 2002, the most recent year for which it had data, central government revenues were 85,652 million and expenditures were 87,934 million. The value of revenues was us$80,606 million and expenditures us$82,537 million, based on an exchange rate for 2002 of us$1 = 1.0626 as reported by the IMF. Government outlays by function were as follows: general public services, 15.6%; defense, 2.2%; public order and safety, 3.1%; economic affairs, 6.4%; environmental protection, 0.3%; housing and community amenities, 1.1%; health, 13.0%; recreation, culture, and religion, 0.7%; education, 10.2%; and social protection, 47.4%.


The income tax for individuals in 2005 was progressively set up to 50% on a four-bracket progressive schedule: 21% (on taxable income from 3,640 to 7,270; 31% (7,270 to 21,800); 41% (21,800 to 50,870); and 50% above 51,000. Married people are taxed separately. Payroll withholding tax is in effect.

Taxes are levied on corporations (25% on distributed and undistributed profits), trade income, real estate, inheritance, dividends, gifts, and several miscellaneous services and properties. A value-added tax was introduced 1 January 1973 at a basic rate of 16%. The standard rate in 2005 was 20%. A reduced rate of 10% applied to basic foodstuffs, agricultural products, rents, tourism, and entertainment; banking transactions are exempt and exports are untaxed. There was also an augmented rate of 32% on automobiles, airplanes, and ships.

Capital gains and dividend income are taxed at 25% and are withheld at the source. There is no wealth tax. In accordance with EU guidelines, tax exemptions and reductions are included in incentive packages for investment in economically depressed and underdeveloped areas along Austria's eastern border.


Austria is committed to a program of progressive trade liberalization. As a member of the European Union, non-EU imports are covered by the EU's common tariff policy, the TARIC (integrated tariff). For most manufactured goods, this tariff results in the addition of a 3.5% duty. Import quotas affect other imports such as raw materials or parts. In addition, imports are levied an import value-added tax, which is 20% for everything except food products, for which it is 10%.

Import licenses are required for a variety of products, including agricultural produce and products, tobacco and tobacco products, salt, war materials, and poisons. An automatic licensing procedure is applied to certain products. Free-trade zones are located at Graz, Linz, Bad Hall, and Vienna.


Between 1948 and 1954, an estimated $4 billion was invested in the Austrian economy. Austria raised foreign capital largely through loans rather than as direct investment. Many post-World War II projects were financed by US aid; US grants and loans in the post-war period totaled about $1.3 billion before they began to taper off in 1952. To stimulate domestic and foreign investment, especially in underdeveloped areas of Austria, two specialized investment credit institutions were founded in the late 1950s.

The Austrian government welcomes productive foreign investment, offering a wide range of assistance and incentives at all levels ranging from indirect tax incentives to direct investment grants. Until 2006, 41% of Austria's land area is eligible for support under various EU structural reform programs. In 2005, Austria lowered its corporate tax from 34% to 25%, making the investment climate more agreeable to foreign companies. Of particular interest are investments in industries that are seeking to create new employment in high technology, promoting capital-intensive industries linked with research activities, improving productivity, replacing imports, increasing exports, and are environmentally "friendly." Austria has strict environmental laws, rejects nuclear energy, and has tight restrictions on biotech products. Full foreign ownership is permitted, except in nationalized sectors, and such enterprises have the same rights and obligations as domestic companies.

Austria has sizeable investments in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, and continues to move low-tech and labor-intensive production to those regions. Austria has the potential to attract EU firms seeking convenient access to developing markets in Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkans.

Following record inflows in 2000 and 2001 and a significant drop in 2002, foreign direct investment rebounded in 2003 to $8.1 billion, equal to 2.9% of GDP, the third highest ever. New FDI in the first half of 2004 amounted to $2.1 billion. This raised the value of FDI stock in Austria to $62 billion by mid-2004. New Austrian direct investment abroad reached $7.7 billion in 2003, equal to 2.7% of GDP. In the first half of 2004, the amount was $3.1 billion. This raised the value of Austrian direct investment stock abroad to $61.5 billion by mid-2004.


The federal government held a majority share in two of the three largest commercial banks and all or most of the nation's electricity, coal and metal mining, and iron and steel production, as well as part of Austria's chemical, electrical, machine, and vehicle industries. The republic's share in the nationalized industries was handed over on 1 January 1970 to the Austrian Industrial Administration Co. (Österreichische Industrieverwaltungs-AktiengesellschaftÖIAG), of which the government was the sole shareholder. The ÖIAG, in line with the government's industrialization program, regrouped the nationalized industries into six sectors: iron and steel; nonferrous metals; shipbuilding and engineering; electrical engineering; oil and chemicals; and coal. This was later regrouped into five sections: steel; metals; machinery and turnkey operations; electronics, petroleum, petrochemicals and plastics; and chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and fertilizers.

The nationalized establishments operated according to free-enterprise principles and did not receive tax concessions. Private investors were subsequently allowed to buy shares in them. The government, however, maintained voting control in these transactions. The legislation providing for ÖIAG's reorganization of the iron and steel industry included codetermination provisions granting employees the right to fill one-third of the seats on the board of directors. The postal, telephone, and telegraph services and radio and television transmission were state monopolies, as was the trade in tobacco, alcohol, salt, and explosives.

During the 1970s, the government placed new emphasis on centralized economic planning. Key elements in the new policy were the planning of public investment, selective promotion of private sector investment, coordinated expansion of the energy sector and state-owned industry, and assistance for the structural improvement of agriculture. Special emphasis was given to the reform of the handicrafts industry.

In 1986, the ÖIAG was renamed the Österreichische Industrie-holding AG, and a process of restructuring and privatization took place in 1993. In 1996, the post and telecommunications monopoly was privatized, and other companies were split up and taken over by foreign, and especially German, companies. The agricultural sector has gone through substantial reform through the EU's common agricultural policy. Computer software and services, telecommunications, advertising, and Internet services are growing commercial enterprises.

In the 21st century, Austria needs to emphasize its knowledge-based sectors of the economy, continue to deregulate the service sector, and encourage greater participation in the labor market of its aging population. The aging phenomenon, together with already high health and pension costs, poses problems in tax and welfare policies.


Austria has one of the most advanced and comprehensive systems of social legislation in the world. The General Social Insurance Bill of 1955 unified all social security legislation and greatly increased the scope of benefits and number of insured. All wage and salary earners must carry sickness, disability, accident, old age, and unemployment insurance, with varying contribution levels by employer and employee for each type of insurance. Health insurance is available to industrial and agricultural workers, federal and professional employees, and members of various other occupational groups. For those without insurance or adequate means, treatment is paid for by public welfare funds.

Unemployment benefits mostly range from 4050% of previous normal earnings. After three years' service, regular benefits are paid up to between 20 and 30 weeks; thereafter, for an indefinite period, a worker, subject to a means test, may receive emergency relief amounting to 9295% of the regular benefit. Work injury laws were first enacted in 1887. Citizens are eligible for old age pensions after age 65 (men) and age 60 (women) if they have 35 years of contributions paid or credited. In 2004 the age for retirement began increasing by one month per quarter.

Employers must contribute 4.5% of payroll earnings to a family allowance fund. Family allowances are paid monthly, depending on the number of dependent children, with the amount doubled for any child who is severely handicapped. The state provides school lunches for more than 100,000 children annually. In addition, it administers the organization of children's holiday programs and provides for the care of crippled children, for whom there is a state training school. The state also grants a special birth allowance and a payment for newlyweds setting up their first home; unmarried people establishing a common household may apply for tax remission. The government provides maternity benefits, takes care of destitute old people, and provides for war victims and disabled veterans. Administration of social insurance is carried out in the provinces by autonomous bodies in which both employers and employees are represented. Payment is also made to victims of political persecution during the Nazi era and to victims of violent crime.

Women make up an increasing percentage of the work force. Austrian women earn 79% as much as men. While the number of women in government is low in relation to the overall population, there are female members of parliament, cabinet ministers, state secretaries, town councilors, and mayors. The law proscribes sexual harassment in the workplace, and the government generally enforces these laws. It is believed that violence against women is a widespread problem, and cases generally remain unreported. The government provides shelters and hotlines for victims. Children's rights are fully protected by law.

The constitution provides for the freedoms of religion and assembly, and the government respects these rights. A growing problem is rightwing extremism and the emergence of neo-Nazi groups. Racial violence against ethnic minorities in Austria is evident. In 2005, Austria adopted an Equal Treatment Bill to combat racism and discrimination.


Austria's federal government formulates health policy directive and public hygiene standards are high. The country spent an estimated 8.2% of GDP on health care annually as of 1999 and, in recent years, has expanded its public health facilities. Virtually every Austrian has benefits of health insurance. In principle, anyone is entitled to use the facilities provided by Austria's health service. The costs are borne by the social insurance plan or, in cases of hardship, by the social welfare program.

As of 2004, there were an estimated 324 physicians and 589 nurses per 100,000 people. Life expectancy in 2005 was 78.92 years. The infant mortality rate for that year was 4.66 per 1,000 live births that year. In 1999, 6% of births were low weight. Improvement has been made in lowering the under-age-five mortality rate from 43 children per 1,000 in 1960 to 5 per 1,000 in 2004. An estimated 90% of married women (ages 1549) used contraceptives.

As of 1999, Austria immunized its one-year-old children as follows: diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus (90%) and measles (90%). The overall death rate in 2002 was 10 per 1,000 people, and in 1999 there were 16 cases of tuberculosis per 100,000 people. The HIV/AIDS prevalence was 0.30 per 100 adults in 2003. As of 2004, there were approximately 10,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in the country. There were an estimated 100 deaths from AIDS in 2003. Vienna's medical school and research institutes are world famous; spas (with thermal springs), health resorts, and sanatoriums are popular among Austrians as well as foreigners.


During the First Republic (191938), Vienna and several other Austrian municipalities supported a progressive housing policy and built model apartment houses for workers. From the end of World War II until 1967, 157,386 small homes were built under the Federal Accommodation Fund, and 75,663 damaged homes were repaired under the Housing Reconstruction Fund. A system of subsidies for public housing has since been decentralized, and control turned over to local authorities. The Housing Improvement Act of 1969 provided for state support for modernization of outdated housing.

In 2003, there were an estimated 3,863,262 dwellings in the nation. About 74% of all dwellings were privately owned. As of 1990, 25% of Austria's housing stock had been built before 1919; 19% between 1971 and 1980; 18% between 1961 and 1970; 15% between 1945 and 1960; 13% after 1981; and 10% between 1919 and 1944. About 53,000 new dwellings were completed in 2000 and 41,914 were built in 2002.


The Austrian educational system has its roots in the medieval monastic schools that flourished toward the end of the 11th century. The present state education system goes back to the school reforms introduced by Maria Theresa in 1774. In 1869, the Imperial Education Law unified the entire system of compulsory education.

In 1962, Austria's education system was completely reorganized under a comprehensive education law, and compulsory education was extended from eight to nine years. Since 1975, all schools are coeducational and education at state schools is free of charge. Primary education lasts for four years. After primary school, pupils may either attend a general secondary school (Hauptschule ), which is organized into two four-year courses of study (lower and upper secondary), or an academic secondary school, which also covers an eight-year program. Financial support is provided for postsecondary schooling. Secondary age students may also choose a five-year vocational program. Those who complete their studies at secondary or higher vocational school are qualified to attend the universities. Disabled students either attend special schools or are mainstreamed into regular classrooms. The primary language of instruction is German. The school year runs from October to June.

In 2001, about 84% of children ages three to five attended pre-school programs. Primary school enrollment in 2003 was estimated at about 90% of age-eligible students; 89% for boys and 91% for girls. The same year, secondary school enrollment was about 89%, with equal percentages of boys and girls. The pupil to teacher ratio for primary school was at about 13:1 in 2003; the ratio for secondary school was about 11:1.

Austria maintains a vigorous adult education system. Almost all adult education bodies owe their existence to private initiative. The Ministry of Education, under the auspices of the Development Planning for a Cooperative System of Adult Education in Austria, has joined private bodies in setting up projects for enhancing the quality of adult education programs. As of 2003, public expenditure on education was estimated at 5.7% of GDP.

As of 2002, the adult literacy rate was estimated at 98%. There are 12 universitylevel institutions and six fine-art colleges offering 430 subjects and about 600 possible degrees. There are several other institutes of higher education throughout the country. In 2003, about 49% of the tertiary age population were enrolled in some type of higher education program.


Austria is rich in availability of large library collections and is filled with strong, unique collections. The largest and most important of Austria's 2,400 libraries is the Austrian National Library, which contains more than 2.6 million books and over 3 million non-book materials. It includes nine special collections: manuscripts and autographs, incunabula (old and precious prints), maps and globes, music, papyri, portrait and picture archives, Austrian literature archives, pamphlets and posters, and a theater collection. The National Library serves as a center for the training of professional librarians, prepares the Austrian national bibliography, and provides a reference service for Austrian libraries. The largest university libraries are the University of Vienna (5.5 million volumes), Graz University (3 million), and Innsbruck University (1.4 million). There are at least 12 prominent scientific libraries in the country, primarily associated with universities. Austria also has several hundred private libraries, such as the renowned libraries in the monasteries at Melk and Admont. The Austrian Institute of Economic Research in Vienna maintains an internationally renowned research library and electronic databases on international economic trends and forecasts.

The Haus-, Hof-, and Staatsarchiv, founded in Vienna in 1749, was combined in 1945 with the Allgemeine Verwaltungsarchiv to form the Austrian State Archives. The Archives' collection ranks as one of the most important in the world, with more than 100,000 manuscripts and documents, some dating as far back as the year 816. Most notable are the state documents of the Holy Roman Empireincluding those of the Imperial Court Council (from 1555), the Imperial Court Chancellery (from 1495), and the Mainz Imperial Chancellery (from 1300); documents of the subsequent Austrian State Chancellery; and those of the Austro-Hun-garian Foreign Ministry.

There are over 700 museums in Austria, including art museums, archaeology and history museums, science and technology museums, and regional museums. There are eight recognized historical sites in the country. The most important museums had their origins in the private collections of the House of Habsburg. The Museum of Fine Arts (Kunsthistorisches Museum) in Vienna (1871) contains a vast collection of Flemish, Italian, and German paintings by old masters. It also houses distinguished collections of Egyptian and Oriental objects, classical art, sculpture and applied art, tapestries, coins, and old musical instruments. The Albertina Museum houses the world's largest graphic art collection, including the most extensive collection in existence of the works of Albrecht Dürer. The Secular Treasury (Schatzkammer) houses the jewels and insignia of the Holy Roman Empire and of all the Austrian emperors. The numerous collections formerly in the possession of the imperial court have in large part been brought together for display in the Natural History Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, and the Hofburg (Innsbruck). Vienna's Schönbrunn Palace contains a collection of imperial coaches from the Habsburg court. The Austrian Gallery in Belvedere Castle (Vienna), formerly the summer palace of Prince Eugene of Savoy, houses unique examples of medieval Austrian art as well as works of 19th- and 20th-century Austrian artists. The Museum of Modern Art was opened in Vienna's Palais Liechtenstein in 1979; incorporated into it was the Museum of the 20th Century, founded in 1962. Also of interest is Vienna's Lipizzaner Museum, featuring the city's famous white horses, and a museum of Sigmund Freud's apartment and office.

There are also other castles, manor houses, monasteries, and convents, many of which date from the Middle Ages and which are of interest for their architecture as well as for their contents. Important scientific collections are housed in the Natural History Museum, the Museums of Anthropology and Folklore, and the Technical Museum, all in Vienna; the Joanneum, in Graz; the Ferdinandeum, in Innsbruck; the Carolino Augusteum and the House of Nature, in Salzburg; and the Folk Museum, in Hallstatt, Upper Austria, which contains local prehistoric discoveries dating from the 4th and 3rd centuries bc. Salzburg has two historical museums dedicated to Mozartthe house where he was born and another house in which he lived. In Vienna, there is a museum dedicated to Sigmund Freud.

The Jewish Museum Vienna contains a memorial to Austrian victims of the Holocaust and a 40,000-volume research library on the history of the Jews in Austria and Vienna. There is also a Holocaust memorial at the site of the Maunthausen concentration camp.


The Austrian Post and Telegraph Administration operates all telephone, telegraph, teletype, and postal services. In 2003, there were an estimated 481 mainline telephones for every 1,000 people. The same year, there were approximately 879 mobile phones in use for every 1,000 people.

Oesterreichischer Rundfunk (ORF) is the primary public broadcasting company in Austria. The first national commercial television license was granted to ATV in 2000. Commercial radio stations began in the 1990s. As of 2001, there were a total of about 2 AM and 65 FM radio stations in the country and 10 television stations. In 2003, there were an estimated 763 radios and 637 television sets for every 1,000 people. Nearly 157 of every 1,000 people held subscriptions to cable television. The same year, there were 369.3 personal computers for every 1,000 people and 462 of every 1,000 people had access to the Internet. There were 1,586 secure servers in the country in 2004.

As of 2005, Austria had 15 national and regional daily newspapers. Vienna accounts for about half of total readership. The two most widely read papers are the tabloids Kronen Zeitung (circulation 850,000 in 2005) and Der Kurier (circulation 172,000 in 2005). Other leading dailies (with 2005 circulation figures unless noted) include Kleine Zeitung (171,405 in 2004), Oberöster-reichische Nachrichten (in Linz, 123,000 in 2002), Salzburger Nachrichten (126,000), Tiroler-Tageszeitung (in Innsbruck, 103,600 in 2002), and Die Presse (76,000), and Der Standard (71,000). Neue Zeit, published in Graz, is a major daily for the Social Democrat party with a circulation of about 66,100 in 2002. The leading periodicals include the weeklies WochenpresseWirtschaftswoche and Profil and the monthly Trend which had a circulation of 95,000 in 1995.

Freedom of the press is constitutionally guaranteed and there is no state censorship; the Austrian Press Council is largely concerned with self-regulatory controls and the effective application of a code of ethics. The Austrian Press Agency is independent of the government and operates on a nonprofit basis; most major newspapers share in its financing.


The Federal Economic Chamber, including representatives of commerce, industry, trade, and transport, has official representatives in most counties. Every province has an economic chamber organized in the same way as the federal chamber. District chambers of agriculture are combined into provincial chambers, which are further consolidated in a national confederation. Provincial chambers of labor are combined in a national chamber. Austria has a committee on the International Chamber of Commerce.

The Federation of Austrian Industrialists, with an organizational membership of almost 5,000, is subdivided into departments for trade, industry, finance, social policies, and communications, with sections for press relations and organization. There are associations of bankers, insurance companies, and publishers, as well as other commercial and professional groups.

Austria has a large number of scholarly associations, as well as several groups dedicated to the support and promotion of various arts and sciences. The latter include the Association for Sciences and Politics, the Austrian Academy of Sciences, the Austrian Association of Music, the Austrian Physical Society, the Austrian P.E.N. Center, and the Austrian Science Fund. Filling a specialty niche, Vienna is home to the International Confederation of Accordionists and the International Gustav Mahler Society.

The Austrian Medical Chamber is a notable institution for the promotion of health education, research, and policy making. There are numerous associations representing a wide variety of specialized medical fields and promoting research for the treatment and prevention of particular diseases and conditions.

The Austrian Sports Federation represents over three million athletes in the country in promoting education and competition in a wide variety of sports. There are numerous association for particular sports, including Frisbee, football (soccer), baseball, golf, ice hockey, tennis, and badminton. There is an Austrian Paralympic Committee, an Olympic Committee, and a Special Olympics committee.

The Austrian Union of Students (AUS), the national university student coordinating body, is incorporated under Austrian federal public law to serve as a legal representative body for Austrian university students through Federal Ministries responsible for higher education and through the National Parliament. The secretariat of the National Unions of Students of Europe (ESIB) is housed within the AUS. Other youth organizations, representing a variety of concerns and interests, include the Austrian Socialist Youth Organization, Young Austrian People's Party, Union of Liberal Youth, Communist Youth of Austria, Austrian Catholic Youth Group, Cartel Association of Austrian Catholic Student Unions, Protestant Youth Welfare Organization, Protestant Student Community, Austrian Trade Union Youth Organization, Austrian Friends of Nature Youth Organization, Junior Chamber Austria, and Austrian Alpine Youth Organization. Scouting organizations are also present for both boys and girls.

Organizations of Greenpeace, The Red Cross, and Amnesty International are also present. There are active chapters of Lions Clubs and Kiwanis International.


Austria ranks high among European tourist countries. It has a yearround tourist season: in winter, tourists come to the famous skiing resorts and attend outstanding musical events in Vienna; in summer, visitors are attracted by scenery, sports, and cultural festivals, notably in Vienna and Salzburg. Of the 4,000 communities in Austria, nearly half are considered tourist centers.

Tourist attractions in the capital include 15 state theaters and the Vienna State Opera (which also houses the Vienna Philharmonic); the Vienna Boys' Choir; St. Stephen's Cathedral; the Schönbrunn and Belvedere palaces; and the Spanish Riding Academy, with its famous Lippizaner stallions. Just beyond the city boundary are the Vienna Woods, with their picturesque wine taverns.

About 40 or 50 towns and villages qualify as major resorts for Alpine skiing, and Innsbruck has been the site of two Winter Olympics, in 1964 and 1976. Mountaineering is another Austrian specialty, with Austrian climbers having scaled high peaks all over the world. Austrians have frequently taken titles in world canoeing championships. Football (soccer) is a very popular sport. Austria also puts on a number of prominent annual events for cyclists. Probably the most challenging tour on the amateurs' program is the "Tour d'Autriche," which has been held every year since 1949. This race through Austria's mountains covers a total distance of almost 1,500 kilometers. Motor racing, motorcycle racing and speedway racing are also extremely popular sports in Austria.

Foreign tourist traffic is the leading single source of foreign exchange, and tourism is a major contributor to the Austrian economy. An estimated 13,748,371 foreign visitors arrived in Austria in 2003. Receipts from tourism amounted to $16 billion. That year there were 282,614 rooms in hotels, inns, and pensions with 631,085 beds and a 36% occupancy rate. The average length of stay was four nights.

Visitors entering Austria for a short stay need only a valid passport if from the United States or the European Union countries, but an Austrian visa is required for visits exceeding three months.

In 2005, the US Department of State estimated the daily cost of staying in Austria at $255 to $276.


Political Figures

Monarchs who played a leading role in Austrian and world history include Rudolf I of Habsburg (121891), founder of the Habsburg dynasty and Holy Roman emperor from 1273; Maria Theresa (171780), who succeeded to the Habsburg dominions by means of the Pragmatic Sanction of 1740; her son Joseph II (174190), the "benevolent despot" who became Holy Roman emperor in 1765; Franz Josef (18301916), emperor of Austria at the outbreak of World War I; and his brother Maximilian (Ferdinand Maximilian Josef, 18321867), who became emperor of Mexico in 1864, ruling on behalf of Emperor Napoleon III of France, and was deposed and executed. Prince Klemens Wenzel Nepomuk Lothar von Metternich (17731859), Austrian foreign minister from 1809 to 1848, was the architect of the European balance of power established at the Congress of Vienna in 1815. Adolf Hitler (18891945), born in Braunau, was dictator of Germany from 1933 until his death. Leading Austrian statesmen since World War II are Bruno Kreisky (19111990), Socialist Party chairman and chancellor of Austria from 1970 to 1983; and Kurt Waldheim (b.1918), Austrian diplomat and foreign minister, who was UN secretary-general from 1971 to 1981 and was elected to the presidency in June 1986.

Artists, Writers, and Scientists

Austria has produced many excellent artists, writers, and scientists but is probably most famous for its outstanding composers. Beginning in the 18th century and for 200 years, Vienna was the center of European musical culture. Among its great masters were Franz Joseph Haydn (17321809), Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (175691), Franz Schubert (17971828), Anton Bruckner (182496), Gustav Mahler (18601911), Hugo Wolf (18601903), Arnold Schönberg (18741951), Anton von Webern (18831945), and Alban Berg (18851935). Although born in northwestern Germany, Ludwig van Beethoven (17701827) and Johannes Brahms (183397) settled in Vienna and spent the rest of their lives there. Composers of light music, typical of Austria, are Johann Strauss, Sr. (180449), Johann Strauss, Jr. (182599), Dalmatian-born Franz von Suppé (Francesco Ezechiele Ermenegil-do Cavaliere Suppe-Demelli, 181995), Hungarian-born Franz Lehár (18701948), and Oskar Straus (18701954). Outstanding musicians are the conductors Clemens Krauss (18931954), Karl Böhm (18941981), and Herbert von Karajan (190889); the pianists Artur Schnabel (18821951) and Alfred Brendel (b.1931); and the violinist Fritz Kreisler (18751962).

Leading dramatists and poets include Franz Grillparzer (17911872), Nikolaus Lenau (180250), Ludwig Anzengruber (183981), and Hugo von Hofmannsthal (18741929). Novelists and short-story writers of interest are Adalbert Stifter (180568), Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach (18301916), Arthur Schnitzler (18621931), Hermann Bahr (18631934), Stefan Zweig (18811942), Robert Musil (18801942), Hermann Broch (18861952), Yakov Lind (b.1927), Peter Handke (b.1942), and Elfriede Jelinek (b.1946), who won the 2004 Nobel Prize in Literature. Although born in Czechoslovakia, the satiric polemicist Karl Kraus (18741936), the poet Rainer Maria Rilke (18751926), the novelist and short-story writer Franz Kafka (18831924), and the poet and novelist Franz Werfel (18901946) are usually identified with Austrian literary life. Film directors of Austrian birth include Max Reinhardt (Maximilian Goldman, 18731943), Erich von Stroheim (Erich Oswald Stroheim, 18851957), Fritz Lang (18901976), Josef von Sternberg (18941969), Otto Preminger (190586), and Billy Wilder (19062002). Internationally known performers born in Austria include Lotte Lenya (Karoline Blamauer, 190081) and Maximilian Schell (b.1930).

Architects and Artists

Two great architects of the Baroque period were Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach (16561723) and Johann Lucas von Hildebrandt (16681745). Three prominent 20th-century painters were Gustav Klimt (18621918), Oskar Kokoschka (18861980), and Egon Schiele (18901918).


Psychoanalysis was founded in Vienna by Sigmund Freud (18561939) and extended by his Austrian colleagues Alfred Adler (18701937), Otto Rank (18841939), Theodor Reik (18881969), and Wilhelm Reich (18971957). Eugen Böhm-Bawerk (18511914) and Joseph Alois Schumpeter (18831950) were out-standing economists. A renowned geneticist was Gregor Johann Mendel (182284). Christian Johann Doppler (180353), a physicist and mathematician, described the wave phenomenon known today as the Doppler shift. Lise Meitner (18781968) was the physicist who first identified nuclear fission. Austrian Nobel Prize winners in physics are Erwin Schrödinger (18871961), in 1933; Victor Franz Hess (18831964), authority on cosmic radiation, in 1936; and atomic theorist Wolfgang Pauli (19001958), discoverer of the exclusion principle, in 1945. Winners of the Nobel Prize in chemistry are Fritz Pregl (18691930), who developed microanalysis, in 1923; Richard Zsigmondy (18651929), inventor of the ultramicroscope, in 1925; biochemist Richard Kuhn (19001967), a pioneer in vitamin research, in 1938; and biochemist Max Ferdinand Perutz (19142002) for research in blood chemistry, in 1962. Winners of the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine are otologist Robert Bárány (18761936), in 1914; psychiatrist Julius Wagner-Jauregg (18571940), for developing a treatment for general paresis, in 1927; Karl Landsteiner (18681943), discoverer of blood groups, in 1930; German-born pharmacologist Otto Loewi (18731961), for his study of nerve impulse transmission, in 1936; Carl Ferdinand Cori (18961984) and his wife, Gerti Theresa Radnitz Cori (18961957), whose work with enzymes led to new ways of fighting diabetes, in 1947; and Konrad Lorenz (19031989), discoverer of the "imprinting" process of learning, in 1973. In 1974, Friedrich August von Hayek (18991992), a noted monetary theorist, was awarded the Nobel Prize in economics.


The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Baroness Berta Kinsky von Suttner (b.Prague, 18431914), founder of the Austrian Society of Peace Lovers and author of Lay Down Your Arms!, in 1905; and to Alfred Hermann Fried (18641921), a prolific publicist for the cause of international peace, in 1911. One of the most influential philosophers of the contemporary age was Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein (18891951). Rudolf Steiner (18611925), the founder of anthroposophy, was an Austrian. Theodor Herzl (b.Budapest, 18601904), founder of the Zionist movement, was an early advocate of the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine. Simon Wiesenthal (b.Poland, 19082005), a Nazi concentration-camp survivor, searched for Nazi war criminals around the world.


Austrians have excelled in international Alpine skiing competition. In 1956, Toni Sailer (b.1935) won all three Olympic gold medals in men's Alpine skiing events. Annemarie Moser-Pröll (b.1953) retired in 1980 after winning a record six women's World Cups, a record 62 World Cup races in all, and the 1980 women's downhill skiing Olympic championship. Franz Klammer (b.1953), who won the 1976 men's downhill Olympic title, excited spectators with his aggressive style. Arnold Schwarzenegger (b.1947) was once the foremost bodybuilder in the world and became a successful Hollywood actor and governor of California.


Austria has no territories or colonies.


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Basic Data
Official Country Name: Republic of Austria
Region: Europe
Population: 8,131,111
Language(s): German
Literacy Rate: 98%
Academic Year: September-June
Number of Primary Schools: 3,703
Compulsory Schooling: 9 years
Public Expenditure on Education: 5.4%
Foreign Students in National Universities: 27,172
Libraries: 2,016
Educational Enrollment: Primary: 381,927
  Secondary: 793,485
  Higher: 240,632
Educational Enrollment Rate: Primary: 100%
  Secondary: 103%
  Higher: 48%
Teachers: Primary: 31,251
  Secondary: 79,806
  Higher: 26,356
Student-Teacher Ratio: Primary: 12:1
  Secondary: 9:1
Female Enrollment Rate: Primary: 100%
  Secondary: 102%
  Higher: 49%

History & Background

Austria has an area of 32,376 square miles and a population of 8.1 million inhabitants, of which 98 percent are German-speaking. Austria officially recognizes six ethnic minorities, primarily in the southern and eastern provinces: Croatian, Roma, Slovak, Slovenian, Czech, and Hungarian. Seventy-eight percent of the population is Roman-Catholic, 5 percent Protestant, and 4.5 percent other religions. Austria is therefore characterized by a relatively homogeneous population, which nevertheless seeks to accommodate diversity. This commitment to accommodation is to a considerable extent a product of the various stages of the nation's historical development. The history of this small, land-locked European republic has reflected and shaped the continent's turbulent history for the past three millennia. Several distinct stages of Austrian history have played a central role in the establishment of its national identity.

During the fifth century A.D., Austria found itself at the crossroads of major successive incursions and migrations, including the Germanic tribes from the north, as well as the Huns, Avars, and Magyars from the east. The threat from the eastern Magyars was finally ended in the decisive battle of Lechfeld in 955 A.D. Shortly thereafter, in 976 A.D., a period of stability and development was ushered in under the rule of the house of Babenberg. Of particular interest during this ascendency in Austria's medieval importance was the establishment of several monasteries and religious orders that greatly fostered a climate of scholarship and learning.

By the end of the thirteenth century, the house of Habsburg emerged as the dominant political force in Austria, a position it was to hold nearly uninterruptedly until 1918. The University of Vienna was founded in 1365. Following a period of territorial expansion during the fourteenth century, the Habsburgs, under Albert V, assumed the crown of the Holy Roman Empire in 1438 and retained a virtual monopoly over it until Emperor Franz renounced the title of Holy Roman Emperor in 1806 in favor of the hereditary title of Emperor of Austria.

A further period of expansion and alliances through marriage extended Austria's empire during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries to include Flanders, Burgundy, Bohemia, and Hungary. The sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were characterized by Austria's position as easternmost line of defense against the expansionist Turks, and it was a decisive victory in 1683 by the Austrian forces under Prince Eugene of Savoy that finally ended the threat of Turkish expansion into Western Europe.

The Austrian eighteenth century stood largely under the aegis of the formidable figure of Empress Maria Theresia, who ruled from 1740 to 1780. She stands in many respects at the threshold of the modern age in Austrian affairs, particularly in the administrative reform of the educational system. The spirit of reform was fortuitously continued under her successor, Joseph II. Following the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire, Austria emerged from the changing political landscape wrought by reaction to the Congress of Vienna and the Revolution of 1848 as a politically and economically advanced member of the European community of powers. With the establishment of the Vienna Polytechnic in 1815, Austria recognized the relationship between education, commerce, and industry that promoted dramatic growth during the Industrial Revolution. Austria's first constitution dates from shortly after 1848 and pays early tribute to the changing realities of the European nation state.

The Austro-Hungarian Empire: In 1866 Emperor Franz Joseph, who dominated nineteenth-century Austria as much as Empress Maria Theresia had dominated the eighteenth, was defeated by the armies of Prussia. The Austrian constitution was modified in 1867 and, in recognition of the more limited role that Austria was to play henceforth with its German neighbors, the Austro-Hungarian Doppelmonarchie (dual monarchy) was established. Although it was an Austrian, the heir-apparent Archduke Franz Ferdinand, whose assassination in Sarajevo triggered the cataclysm of World War I, Austria itself quickly ceded the field of battle to the greater powers of Europe, who continued the war until 1919.

The winds of change and disillusionment that had brought down the monarchy in Russia and Germany at the end of World War I also claimed the Austrian monarchy. The last Austrian emperor, Karl, abdicated in 1918, and on November 12, 1918, the Austrian Republic was proclaimed by the Provisional National Assembly. In several political and economic respects, the shock of the war's aftermath mirrored developments in neighboring Germany. During the first years of the First Republic, intense battling between increasingly radical forces challenged the credibility and sapped the authority of successive governments. Resurgent nationalism, in its extreme Fascist incarnations, seized the imaginations of Austria's German neighbors to the north and Italy in the south.

In March 1938, finally, German troops marched into Austria and a subsequent plebiscite in April 1938 confirmed Austria's de facto annexation to the German Empire. By the time World War II broke out in 1939, Austria's military, economy, and political infrastructure had been largely integrated into Germany's war efforts.

The Second Republic: When Germany collapsed in 1945, Austria experienced, along with other targets of Germany's aggressive expansionism, a sense of liberation. After U.S., Soviet, and British troops had entered Austria by March 1945, a Provisional Government was proclaimed under Karl Renner on April 27. Following a long series of negotiations with the occupying powers, Austria finally regained sovereignty through the Austrian State Treaty, signed by all parties on May 15, 1955. On October 26, 1955, the Austrian parliament affirmed the country's permanent neutrality. Austria's reintegration into the community of nations was acknowledged formally on December 15, 1955, when it was admitted into the United Nations.

According to its constitution, the democratic Republic of Austria consists of nine independent provinces. The constitution furthermore guarantees all civil rights commonly associated with a modern, democratic republic, including: equality before the law, individual liberty, freedom of opinion, and an independent judiciary. Legislative competence is vested in the parliament, which is divided into the Nationalrat (National Council) and the Bundesrat (Federal Council). The National Council is elected in equal, direct, and secret elections according to a proportional-representation system. The 183 delegates currently represent the Social Democratic Party, the People's Party, the Freedom Party, and the environmentalist Green Party.

The Federal Council consists of 54 delegates who are elected by the respective provincial legislatures. In general terms, the Federal Council acknowledges formally, and represents the interests of, the provinces. Executive competencies are divided between the federal president and the federal government. The president is elected by general, equal, and free ballot for a term of six years. The powers of the federal president include appointment of the federal chancellor and ministers, convocation and, under specific circumstances, dissolution of the National Council.

The federal government consists of the federal chancellor and federal ministers. While the federal chancellor and cabinet together enjoy broad competencies in governing the country, a vote of no confidence can be invoked to relieve members of the federal government from office. The interests of the provinces are represented by the provincial government, headed by the provincial governor. The competencies of the provincial governments are further delegated to subordinated district and municipal governments.

The Second Republic has enjoyed a remarkable stability and level of support. Domestic and international crises have not substantially challenged the legitimacy of Austria's political foundations. Two international crises have, however, suggested that Austria faces questions about its past association with anti-democratic forces. The first crisis involved Kurt Waldheim, Austrian president and former general secretary of the United Nations, whose tenure was overshadowed by international criticism of Waldheim's alleged role as officer during World War II. The second crisis involves Jörg Haider, Provincial Governor of Carinthia and one-time leader of the Freedom Party, whose anti-European and anti-immigration policies have given rise to concern, within Austria and abroad, about the rise to prominence of right-wing extremism in Austrian politics and society.

Until the eighteenth century, Austrian education was dominated by the Church. Since the introduction and promotion of monastic schools throughout the Carolingian empire in the late ninth and tenth centuries, education was the province of the clergy for most of the Middle Ages. The strict control of the Roman Catholic clergy became even more pervasive during the Counter-Reformation in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The monastic schools not only oversaw the basic education of the nobility, but were also one of the few avenues out of their situation available to poor but talented sons of commoners, be it as members of the clergy, tutors to the gentry, or as administrative assistants.

The situation changed with the advent of the Enlightenment and a general European spirit of fostering education as a necessary means to a desirable end. The origin of systematic efforts on behalf of Austrian public education goes back to the educational reforms in 1774 under Empress Maria Theresia. Although economic constraints led to the establishment of fewer new schools than envisioned, the notion of mandatory and public education became a fundamental element of public policy.

Legislation to guarantee academic freedom in science and teaching was enacted in 1867. Two years later, in 1869, the entire compulsory-education system was unified under the Imperial Primary Schools Act. Compulsory education was raised from a period of six to eight years. The basic elements of the 1869 act established the foundation of Austrian educational policy, to assure the best possible education to students without regard to gender, status, national origin, or religion.

Reforms instituted in 1918 under the Viennese superintendent of instruction, Otto Glöckel, built upon the concept of generally accessible and optimal educational opportunities by advocating for the importance of considering the child's educational development and aptitude in matters of academic progress.

Constitutional & Legal Foundations

The Federal Constitutional Law of 1920, and subsequent amendments, confirmed the authority of the federal government in educational legislation and policy implementation. The Hauptschule (general secondary school), a compulsory school for students 10- to 14-years-old, was introduced in 1927. With the exception of universities, amendments to federal legislation governing education require a 2/3 majority of the National Council.

In the interest of representing the broadest possible spectrum of parties, legislation is generally developed in cooperation with the so-called "social partners," which may include employers' and employees' associations, labor unions, agricultural representatives, and similar interested parties. Significant legislation has reaffirmed fundamental tenets of Austrian educational policy, while at the same time recognizing specific needs and changing circumstances. Since the inception of the Second Republic, the Austrian educational system was codified and revised comprehensively through the comprehensive 1962 School Organization Act. It included extending compulsory education from eight to nine years, reorganization of teacher training, and expanded educational training, as well as the promotion of a uniform educational system. The act also guaranteed free access to educational opportunities and made schools co-educational.

Likewise in 1962, Federal School Superintendency Act was enacted as an administrative complement to the School Organization Act. The act deals with issues of educational jurisdiction and governance, as well as school inspection and administration. In the same year, the complementary Private Schools Act was enacted.

Subsequent legislation further coordinated and clarified specific educational-policy issues. The 1974 School Education Act dealt comprehensively with the issue of tracking, student transfer and promotion, examinations, schools as learning communities, as well as the relationship between parents, students, and teachers. Given the historical context, the School Acts reflect a wide-spread desire to liberalize the educational process, a desire which was affected by the European protest movements, which had already sought, in many cases successfully, to reform the encrusted and exclusionary hierarchies of the universities. Co-determination was further codified in the 1990 Student Government Act.

In 1985, two items of legislation updated and codified specific issues of educational policy: The Compulsory Education Act, and The School Lessons Act, which regulates the number of weekly classroom hours for the various types of schools. Standardization of testing criteria for diplomas and certificates was addressed in the 1997 Professional Certification Act. The extent to which Austria seeks to establish clear and comprehensive guidelines for the implementation of educational policies is reflected in a number of specific laws, including the 1949 Religious Education Act, which deals with religious instruction in public schools.

Sensitivity to ethnic minorities in Austria is reflected in the 1959 Minority-Education Act for Carinthia and the more recent 1994 Minority-Education Act for Burgenland. In recognition of the need to accommodate nontraditional learners, Austria continues to promote fluid and permeable access to educational opportunities through the 1997 School Education Act for the Employed. Such legislative initiatives confirm Austria's continuing commitment to use the resources of the federal government to guide, promote, coordinate, and supervise educational policies.

Educational SystemOverview

The Austrian educational system reflects three distinct learning stages and educational philosophies. Compulsory education for all children who are permanent residents of Austria, regardless of national origin, ranges from ages of 6 to 15. Compulsory education is divided approximately between a uniform four-year primary school, a minimum of four years at a secondary school, and, depending on aptitude and interest, a minimum of one year in a pre-professional program.

The secondary schools reflect differences in aptitude and interests in their curricula, length of study, admission criteria, and diplomas. Secondary schools are generally divided into a lower and upper level. Given the different emphases of the various types of secondary schools, and the qualifications to which they lead, the issue of tracking students at a relatively young age into academic, technical, or vocational secondary schools requires that important decisions about a child's educational future must be made relatively early. In its attempt to provide a more permeable secondary educational system for children, Austria continues to develop alternative means securing the necessary qualifications to transfer among available types of secondary schools.

The postsecondary schools include universities, colleges, academies, and professional institutes, access to which is based upon successful completion of requirements for graduation from secondary school. Since the secondary school diploma is sufficient entitlement for most university study, there is in most cases no separate academic entrance requirement or admissions test. The postsecondary schools, like the secondary schools, have sought to liberalize access to university-level study by establishing equivalency criteria for alternative admission and providing greater access to non-traditional students.

Although Austrian schools are co-educational, traditional patterns of enrollment continue to reflect gender-based disparities. The number of females who complete no more than compulsory education, for example, is still considerably higher than males. Lack of apprenticeship opportunities for vocational qualification likewise affects females more than males. Finally, females continue to limit selection of vocational, professional, and academic programs of study to more traditional areas, thus avoiding educational and career opportunities in fields like mathematics, computer science, and engineering.

In response to such gender-based disparities, the government has developed special initiatives, the most comprehensive of which is the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Cultural Affairs' Action Plan 2000, which includes "99 Steps for Promoting Equal Opportunity in School and Adult Education" and calls for such measures as targeted educational advising, increased school autonomy, and administrative decentralization, as well as a comprehensive survey of parents and students on specific issues of educational quality.

The school calendar varies somewhat from province to province, and with respect to certain specialized schools, but the academic year for primary and secondary schools lasts from September to July. The school week includes regular instruction on varying Saturdays. The school day generally ends in early afternoon and by noon on Saturdays. Not all classes are taught every day, and students must pay relatively close attention to their respective schedules. The calendar for Austrian universities is divided into two semesters, with the academic year beginning in October and ending in June.

The primary language of instruction is German, although there is emphasis at all educational levels on learning foreign languages. More than 90 percent of all 10- to 19-year-old students are trained in at least one foreign language. There are opportunities for learning subject matter in a foreign language at secondary schools, including general subjects like history, economics, and geography. In addition, there are opportunities for ethnic minorities to receive instruction in their native language. Bilingual education has been introduced through pilot projects such as the International Bilingual School in Graz. The grading system in Austrian primary and secondary schools is based upon a numeric scale ranging from 1 (very good) to 5 (failing), with 4 generally considered to be a passing grade. The reliance upon numerical grades as the principal assessment instrument contributes to a relatively high rate of repeaters. In the 1994-1995 school year, 2 percent of students in compulsory schools, approximately 8 percent of students in general academic secondary schools, and 13 percent of students in postsecondary vocational schools had to repeat a grade.

Certain optional courses, particularly at the primary level, are not graded. These include cultural enrichment courses like choir and drama. On the other hand, certain required courses, particularly at the academic secondary level, are weighted in terms of their importance. In addition, such weighted courses are important when students wish to transfer into a higher-achievement secondary school or pursue study at specific postsecondary institutions.

Private schools, which provide primary and secondary education, as well as some teacher training, are administered primarily under the auspices of the Roman Catholic Church. They account for roughly 10 percent of Austrian schools and teachers. Since there is no history of private universities in Austria, the federal government maintains a virtual monopoly over higher education.

Austria fosters a number of initiatives to integrate modern technology and practically oriented principles into the academic and training curriculum. In seeking to promote foreign-language education, general textbooks increasingly include material written in a foreign language. Multimedia and Internet-assisted language instruction is promoted to bridge the access gap between urban and rural schools. Austria also aggressively pursues opportunities for international exchange programs.

The integration of new technology into the classroom is furthermore aided by ancillary educational innovations like "training firms," in which schools provide a base for carefully supervised student business ventures. Business operations encourage the practical application of information technology on behalf of an optimal transition from school to career.

Although such initiatives are presently coordinated and initiated through the central authority of the federal and provincial governments, there is indication that the movement toward school autonomy is gaining more wide-spread acceptance. Such movement toward autonomy has already been largely accepted for technical and vocational schools, on which the pressure to adapt to rapidly changing conditions is particularly great. It is hoped that increased autonomy will not only allow the Austrian educational system to adapt more flexibly and efficiently to the demands of the future, but that an enlarged and diversified marketplace of ideas will promote the kind of healthy competition that will benefit Austria's economic and cultural position in the world.

Foreign influences on Austrian education have increased in recent years on the strength of several impulses, the most important of which has come with the admission of Austria into the European Union in 1995 and the EU's ongoing initiatives to coordinate key activities of member states' educational policies for optimal transferability within the EU.

Preprimary & Primary Education

Although preprimary education is not part of the Austrian compulsory education system, it plays an important role in two respects. First, the number of nursery schools and accredited day care facilities continues to increase as working parents seek supervised, structured, and high-quality care for children who are not old enough yet to enter primary school. Second, the demand for appropriately qualified staff in preprimary education has created additional educational and career-training opportunities for students. Of the 27,389 staff members employed during the 1999-2000 school year in 5,321 preprimary facilities, more than one-half (13,794) had some form of appropriate certification. The specific needs of preprimary education have also given an impulse to secondary and postsecondary vocational and professional schools to devise specifically targeted curriculum options and certification modes.

Compulsory education begins with enrollment in a primary school on September 1 of the year following a child's sixth birthday. Exceptions may be made for early enrollment in the case of children who are born between September 1 and December 31, provided that they possess the requisite physical and intellectual maturity to participate successfully in instruction.

Similarly, enrollment may be deferred in the case of students who are deemed not to be ready yet for regular instruction. Such children may receive instruction in a preschool group (Vorschulgruppe ) or a preschool year (Vorschule ), both located in primary schools, to acclimate them to regular classroom instruction and, thus, avoid potential failure in early schooling. Preschooling is also available to early-admission students who are not, in fact, ready yet for regular classroom instruction. Performance is not assessed or graded.

The principal educational objective of Austrian primary education is to provide all children with a basic and well-balanced general education that promotes social, emotional, intellectual, and physical development. Primary schooling is divided into two essential levels. The first two years are taken together as a unit. Students who have attended the first year may move to the second year without regard to assessment. In addition to required subjects, students may also pursue special interests in nongraded classes, such as singing in a school choir.

Beginning in the third year, or Elementary Level II, compulsory but non-graded foreign-language study begins. With the exception of English and French, the choice of languages clearly reflects Austria's ethnic diversity and geographic context, since they include Croatian, Czech, Hungarian, Italian, Slovak, and Slovenian.

Given sufficient demand, remedial classes may be offered to add an extra period of instruction per week in compulsory subjects like language and mathematics. In addition, tutors may be employed to assist special-needs students and students whose native language is not German. With the exception of religious education, classes are taught by classroom teachers.

Following completion of the last, or fourth, year of primary school, there is an assessment of the student's aptitude for one of several types of secondary schools. This preliminary "tracking" has important implications for the student's future educational and career options.

The premise of a comprehensive and uniform education in the primary school calls by law for the integration of normal and special-needs students. Special-needs schools are available to students whose parents or guardians choose such instruction instead of conventional schooling, but the emphasis is clearly on an integrative approach to education wherever feasible. The integration of normal and special-education schools has been aided by the establishment of Special Education Centers, which assists in developing and implementing integrative measures by working in cooperation with experts, regional compulsory schools, other special education centers, the district education board, the special education administrator, and community agencies. In addition to integrated classes, special tutors supplement normal classroom instruction within the context of the student's specific needs.

In certain cases students are mentally or physically disadvantaged to the point where they are unable to participate in normal classroom instruction. In other cases parents or guardians prefer to have disadvantaged children taught in special schools. For such students the special school provides an alternative to the integrative model. The curriculum of the special school varies to some degree from the normal primary school, since it includes grades that already fall into the range of normal secondary schools. The first level comprises grades 1 to 3, the second level grades 4 and 5, and the secondary level comprises grades 6 to 8. Special-needs schools are available for a variety of disabilities, including physically handicapped, speech impaired, hearing impaired, visually impaired, and emotionally disturbed children.

Secondary Education

The Austrian secondary-school system plays a key role in the preparation of students for further vocational, technical, and academic education. The fundamental philosophy is to provide a diverse spectrum of educational opportunities that accommodate the interests and aptitudes of all students. Since secondary schools are separated physically by academic type, each with distinctive academic programs, the issue of transfer from one type to another is an important one. Early tracking of students by aptitude and interest has historically limited opportunities for mobility through education. Moreover, such limitations tended to affect disproportionately children from rural and lower socio-economic backgrounds. Similarly, the children of educated parents were more likely to pursue academic courses of study. The two-track educational system, which fundamentally separated vocational and academic tracks in secondary education and which limited transferability, had the effect of perpetuating a student profile and placement, which was based more upon social and economic factors than assessment of student aptitude.

Fundamental reforms initiated by the 1962 School Organization Act, amended and revised though subsequent legislation, have sought to increase the permeability among types of secondary schools; expand the range of vocational, professional, and academic educational options available to students; refine student assessment instruments in the primary and lower secondary schools; and lengthen the period of observation and, hence, opportunities for optimal student assessment, before recommendations are made about student placement into vocational, technical/professional, or academic tracks. Postprimary education takes place in one of several types of secondary schools, which may in turn be grouped into two larger categories: general secondary school and the academic secondary school.

Students who have completed four years of primary school advance to the general secondary school. The four-year course of study at the GSS is similar to the primary school in the sense that it is designed to provide all students with a basic general education. Students are also prepared, however, for continuing education and training in vocations, or for further education. To that end, the GSS is divided into a largely uniform two-year lower level and a specialized upper level that includes further education or training ranging in length from one to five years. The upper-level secondary schools are distinguished not only by type, but also by name. In some cases the different names reflect traditional distinctions between vocational, technical/professional, and academic preparatory schools. In other cases, the names reflect particular courses of study that have been developed in response to changing economic and educational needs.

At the lower level, students are ability-streamed in German, mathematics, and foreign language. It is possible to transfer between ability groups at any time. Schools are free to modify certain aspects of their curriculum, within the context of legislated school autonomy, to emphasize particular strengths or specializations such as foreign languages, sports, fine arts, and computer science. Individual schools frequently profile an area of specialization on their web pages. During the third and fourth year of the lower general secondary school, increasing emphasis is placed on assessment of student aptitude and interest with respect to recommendations about the student's further education or training. To assist students in exploring appropriate vocational options, a number of programs are available, including career-guidance classes, on-site training internships, as well as regularly scheduled field trips to businesses and companies.

After completion of the four-year general secondary school, students have several options available for further training or education. The various types of upper-level secondary schools reflect differences in length of further study, as well as increasing specialization in the course of study offered. Moreover, the various types of upper-level secondary schools differ in the postsecondary higher education to which they provide access. The basic types of upper-level secondary schools include vocational track, technical/professional track, and academic track.

The prevocational year is designed to prepare students for apprenticeship programs in specific careers and for possible further education after apprenticeship or employment. German, mathematics, and English, the required modern foreign language for the prevocational year, continue to be taught in achievement groups. Students also have the opportunity to visit companies and businesses, vocational schools for apprentices, and to attend special vocational training workshops. The mixture of academic and practical learning is designed to prepare students for future careers, to nurture individual abilities, and to provide students with the necessary skills to pursue vocational certification.

In addition to required core courses, the prevocational year offers instruction in fields of specialization, which correspond to the major vocational employment sectors, including: metalworking, electronics, civil engineering, timber and woodworking, commerce, secretarial work, service-sector employment, and tourism. Given the emphasis on vocational preparation, all students have access to computers. While most graduates of the pre-vocational year continue their training by entering an apprenticeship program, students who meet admission requirements may apply for further formal education in various technical and vocational schools or colleges, or to transfer to a secondary academic school.

Various types of technical and vocational schools are designed to prepare students for careers which require more advanced qualifications and skills. Students who enter one of the Compulsory Vocational Schools, usually in conjunction with an apprenticeship program, receive an optimal blend of up-to-date theoretical and practical learning. This dual system also offers advantages to Austrian employers, since vocational schools can often provide the kind of training that is difficult to impart on the job or that companies cannot always afford to provide. The relationship between the educational and employment sector is, therefore, mutually beneficial.

The curriculum of the technical and vocational schools is designed under the auspices of the Vocational Training Act, the Commercial Code, and the accreditation of vocational qualifications rests with the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs. The Vocational Training Act is the legal basis for business-based apprentice training. There are some 240 legally recognized, accredited, and protected skilled trades in which apprentices may be trained. Technical and vocational schools specialize in a variety of areas, including engineering, business, tourism, fashion and clothing, agriculture and forestry, and social service professions.

The most popular apprenticeship trades for females, who account for slightly more than 30 percent of all apprentices, are in retail merchandising, hair styling, and office staffing. Almost half of male apprentices are concentrated in the skilled-trade sector. The most popular career is auto mechanic, followed by electrician.

Approximately 40 percent of Austrian students enter apprenticeship programs after compulsory schooling. Some 120,000 apprentices are trained in approximately 40,000 companies. Slightly less than half of apprenticeship program graduates continue to work for the company in which they were apprenticed. At the end of the contracted apprenticeship period the apprentice may take the Apprenticeship Leaving Exam, which is divided into a written and oral practical and theoretical examination. The Apprenticeship Leaving Exam qualifies students for admission to the Master Craftsman Exam and subsequent certification, and it provides access to further education. Students who do not immediately pursue the dual system of apprenticeship training may continue their education in Medium and Higher Level Technical and Vocational Schools. Depending upon particular fields of study, technical and vocational schools offer three to five-year programs. They are organized variously as full-time secondary or postsecondary schools. Working students may participate in evening courses. Distance-learning opportunities further increase accessibility.

The most important fields of study in medium and higher-level technical and vocational schools are three-year programs in social work, family services, counseling, elderly and handicapped care, as well as one-year pre-nursing and forestry service programs. Programs available at Medium-Level Agricultural Colleges vary depending upon field of concentration and previous training.

Higher Level Technical and Vocational Schools offer both a broader general education and more in-depth theoretical preparation in certain professional fields. The five-year programs of study culminate in the Matriculation Exam, which is prerequisite for admission to highereducation courses of study.

The introduction of the Technical and Vocational Education Examination in 1997 has added a fundamentally new dimension to certification. It is recognized to be equivalent to the Matriculation Exam and consists of a four-part examination in German, mathematics, a modern foreign language, and a subject area of the candidate's choice. The subject area is one in which the candidate has professional experience. The importance of the Reifeprüfung and TVE as a broadly recognized diploma is underscored by the fact that, since 1995, the European Union has accepted the equivalency of these secondary-school diplomas to qualifications acquired through technical and vocational training in other EU member countries.

The third form of secondary school, Academic Secondary Schools (or AHS), has traditionally been the university-preparatory track. The AHS comprises an eight-year course of study beyond primary school and ends with the Reifeprüfung (Matriculation Exam). The AHS is divided equally into a lower and an upper level Admission to the AHS from primary school requires a grade of "very good" or "good" in the key subjects of German, reading, and mathematics. In the event of inadequate grades, a positive written referral by the primary school may be accepted. Students who wish to transfer into an AHS from a general secondary school must give evidence of excellent past achievement and likely placement in the highest general secondary school achievement group in German, mathematics, and a modern foreign language. The minimum grade in other subjects is "satisfactory." Consistent placement in the top general secondary school achievement group is prerequisite for transfer into the upper-level AHS. The AHS may require a placement or entrance exam in one or more subjects of students wishing to transfer from a general secondary or other school. Required core courses for AHS students include: German, two foreign languages, history and social studies, geography and economics, mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology and ecology, psychology and philosophy, music education, art, crafts, and computer science, beginning in the ninth grade.

The first two grades of the AHS are uniform. Thereafter, students continue for the next two grades in one of three basic types. The different designations for the AHS do not reflect qualitative differences, but rather differences in curricular emphases: Gymnasium, general comprehensive with Latin as one of the foreign languages; Realgymnasium, with greater emphasis on science and technology; and Wirtschaftskundliches Realgymnasium, with greater emphasis on economics. During the last four years of the AHS, students in the Gymnasium add Greek or a second modern foreign language. Students in the Realgymnasium add Latin or a second foreign language, along with more specialized courses in science and technology. Students in the Wirtschaftskundliche Realgymnasium add Latin or a second foreign language, along with more specialized courses in domestic sciences, nutrition, and economics.

In addition to core courses, AHS students are required to take additional specialized courses ranging from 8 to 12 courses per week, depending on AHS type. Three special types of upper-level AHS are available for students with particular aptitudes or interests: upper-secondary academic school for science, upper-secondary academic school specializing in instrumental music, and upper-secondary academic school specializing in fine arts. Finally, evening courses and, under selected pilot projects, distance-learning opportunities are available to non-traditional students or working students to complete the requisite course work for attaining the all-important Matriculation Exam.

The Matriculation Exam is a school-leaving certificate that provides access to higher education. It emphasizes practically oriented learning, independent working, general command of subject matter, and foreign languages. The tests include both written and oral exams. The subjects in which the students are tested differ with respect to the type of secondary school attended. Each student, however, has to do a written exam in the core subjects of German, mathematics and foreign language. Students who opt for a fourth written exam only have to do three oral exams, all others have to do four. In addition, students' individual interests are accommodated by offering a choice among various types of written and oral exams. Instead of doing a fourth written exam, students may also choose to do a written project in the first semester of the eighth year. The written project becomes the basis for discussion during the oral exam and is designed to prepare students for independent university-level study. The oral exam, furthermore, comprises a combination of specialized subject matter and general knowledge in selected required and elective courses. The Matriculation Exam certifies that the student has acquired a broad general education and has thus met standard entry qualifications for university study. The student has also acquired specialized knowledge and skills for more specialized education or training in postsecondary courses, at a postsecondary college or on the job. Finally, the Matriculation Exam indicates that the student has learned a number of important life-learning skills, including study habits and the ability to work both cooperatively and independently.

In that context, the Matriculation Exam is not only the indispensable prerequisite for university study but is also a key qualification for entry into higher management, civil service, and technical careers. In recognition of the important role that the Matriculation Exam plays in the opportunities open to students, the Austrian educational authorities continue to explore options for making the process of attaining the Matriculation Exam more permeable without jeopardizing the traditional commitment to academic excellence which characterizes the AHS.

Higher Education

The organization and differentiation of Austrian higher education institutions reflect an educational philosophy that is, in many respects, similar to secondary education. The accent is on a variety of postsecondary options that meet specific professional needs, permit qualification at the highest level of one's career, and offer academic programs of study at a university. Most types of higher-education institutions combine research and teaching. This ensures that earned qualifications represent high intellectual standards and state-of-the-art research. Unless otherwise noted, admission requires the Matriculation Exam, TVE diploma, and/or a Higher Education Entrance Examination.

Several types of postsecondary colleges provide further education and certification in particular professional fields: Postsecondary Para-Medical College leading to certification in fields like physiotherapy, radiology, and dietetics; Postsecondary College for Social Work leading to advanced certification in fields like youth and family counseling and crisis intervention; Postsecondary Teacher Training College leading to certification of teachers in primary, lower secondary, special education, and the prevocational year; Postsecondary Vocational Education College, leading to certification for technical/vocational schools and colleges; and Postsecondary Religious Education College, leading to certification for religious-education teachers in primary and secondary schools.

An important innovation in the development of advanced courses of study came in 1993 with the enactment of the Advanced Professional Studies Act. It marked the establishment of a new type of postsecondary educational institution in Austria. Advanced postsecondary professional studies offer advanced professional and academic training in specific fields. The course of study differs from most other postsecondary courses of study in the fact that admission requires several years of professional experience in the field of study. Approval of particular advanced postsecondary professional courses of study rests with an independent Advanced Postsecondary Professional Studies Council, and specific courses of study may be offered under the auspices of state or public corporations.

Postsecondary programs comprise a minimum of six semesters of study and, where required, practical training. Graduates of advanced postsecondary professional courses of study earn the academic degree of Master's Degree or Certified Engineer with the designation FH. These postsecondary degrees are internationally recognized. During the 1998-1999 academic year, 46 courses of advanced study were offered. Of the 7,869 students enrolled, some 2,202 were female (Statistisches Jahrbuch 2001). The most popular fields of advanced study include technology, business administration, and tourism.

There are 13 Austrian universities and 6 colleges for music and the arts, all of which are public. The number of private universities and colleges is very small, and they do not play a significant role in Austrian higher education. They include the IMADEC University (Vienna) and the International University (Vienna), both of which have a strong international business and law basis, and the Catholic Theological Private University (Linz).

The tradition of Austrian university education is long and internationally respected. The University of Vienna, founded in 1365, is the oldest university in the German-speaking countries. The most recent addition, the Danube University of Krems, was established in 1994. Its focus is on postgraduate professional and continuing-education courses of study. Although Austrian universities remain under the authority of the federal government and its various ministries, there have been significant initiatives to move Austrian universities toward greater autonomy. The 1993 University Organisation Act grants universities greater flexibility in matters of internal organization and statutes, while the federal government is responsible for strategic planning and funding. The 1997 University Studies Act coordinates policies on admissions requirements, degree programs, and academic degrees. The 1998 Universities of the Arts Organisation Act granted full university status to the former arts and music academies.

Prerequisite for admission to university study is the Matriculation Exam or its equivalent, which may include the Higher-Education Entrance Exam or the Technical/Vocational Exam, or TVE. In addition, some courses of study at university and admission to the arts and music universities require an aptitude or entrance examination. Information about admission requirements for foreign students is coordinated under NARIC, the Austrian National Academic Recognition Information Center.

Students pay a small student fee per semester. Austrian students, European Union citizens, and some groups of foreign students do not pay tuition for university education. All other foreign students pay a nominal tuition fee. All students are entitled to state-supported health insurance, and most Austrian students are entitled to some form of financial assistance. Foreign students may be eligible for need-based and merit-based public and private financial assistance, grants, or scholarships.

Austrian universities are organized on the principle of shared faculty and administrative governance. The most important administrative bodies are the Rektor (Chancellor), the Dekan (Dean), and the Institutsvorstand (Academic Program Chair). They are elected by various university committees, each of which represents, to a greater or lesser degree, tenured and non-tenured faculty members, other staff, and students. The university's overall curriculum is coordinated by a Studienkommission (Curriculum Committee).

Coordination among universities is promoted at the federal level through the Federal Ministry for Education, Science, and Cultural Affairs, at the administrative level through the österreichische Rektorenkonferenz (Standing Conference of Austrian Rectors), and at the curricular level through Gesamtstudienkommissionen (Joint Curricular Commissions).

During the 1998-1999 academic year, 228,936 students were enrolled in Austrian universities (Statistisches Jahrbuch 2001). Women made up 48 percent and foreign students 13 percent of total enrollment, respectively. Of the 15,789 graduates from Austrian universities during the same year, women made up 46 percent and foreign students 10 percent of the total. Despite increasing female enrollments during the past decade, women constituted only 7.7 percent of the 2,001 faculty members and slightly less than 30.0 percent of all instructional staff at Austrian universities.

The following three kinds of academic degrees are awarded by Austrian universities: Diplom (Diploma) degrees after the conclusion of a corresponding degree program, which lasts from eight to twelve and eight to sixteen semesters at university and art colleges, respectively. Graduates of regular degree programs are conferred with the title of Magister/Magistra (gender specific titles: men/women) abbreviated Mag., for most degree programs or Diplom-Ingenieur/Diplom-Ingenieurin, (gender specific titles: men/women), abbreviated Dipl.-Ing or DI for specific degree programs in engineering and applied sciences. Doktor (Doctor) degrees come after the conclusion of a corresponding doctoral program. Graduates are conferred with the academic title of Doktor/Doktorin, (gender specific titles: men/women) abbreviated Dr. Special programs of study lead to Masters degrees after the conclusion of a corresponding university course program at the graduate level, consisting of a minimum of 70 semester credit hours: Master of Advanced Studies, abbreviated MAS, or Master of Business Administration, abbreviated MBA.

The most popular degree programs are social sciences and economic, liberal arts, law, and the natural sciences, which together represent more than half of the total number of degree-seeking students enrolled in the 24 general programs of study. Almost half of the 28,956 foreign students studying at Austrian universities during the 1998-1999 academic year came from Italy, Germany, Bulgaria, and Turkey. Foreign study is encouraged and supported. In addition to the federal funding that universities receive to cultivate international relations in the areas of research, cooperation with universities abroad is promoted through a variety of different initiatives, including subsidized university partnerships, bilateral governmental agreements with other countries in the form of scientific-technical or cultural exchanges, and multilateral agreements under the auspices of international organizations.

Federally-funded scholarships facilitate the exchange of students in both directions: for Austrians to study abroad at foreign universities and for students from abroad to study at Austrian universities. The Austrian Exchange Service provides information for foreign students wishing to study at Austrian universities. In addition, there are bilateral scholarship arrangements that exist under the auspices of cultural and other special agreements as well as a network of treaties on the academic recognition of secondary school leaving certificates, examinations and academic degrees. Austria is a signatory to the UNESCO Convention on the Recognition of Studies, Diplomas, and Degrees Concerning Higher Education in the States Belonging to the European Region and the European Convention on the Equivalence of Diplomas.

Austria's membership in the European Union has increased the country's integration into important common educational and research initiatives undertaken in the EU. In March 1995, the European Union launched the comprehensive pilot SOCRATES program for the promotion of educational cooperation of all kinds and at all levels. It consists of ERASMUS (for universities and university-level education), COMENIUS (for schools), and transfer measures (in particular LINGUA for the promotion of learning foreign-language learning, adult education, as well as open-and distance-learning). More than half of its large budget has been allocated for higher education.

In December 1994, the European Union's new program for vocational and professional education and training, LEONARDO DA VINCI, was launched. At least 25 percent of the total budget is allocated to promote cooperation between universities and the private sector. In particular, Austria acknowledges its geographic and ethnic proximity to eastern Europe by fostering direct exchange and equivalency agreements with countries like Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Yugoslavia. In 1990, the Austrian Academic Exchange Service established the Office of Exchange Program with Central and Eastern Europe to coordinate targeted programs on a national level. CEEPUS, the Central European Program for University Studies is a multilateral treaty between Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia. It coordinates collaboration in the areas of education and continuing education, especially with respect to transferability.

Austria has more than 50 research libraries open to the public. The Austrian National Library in Vienna, founded in 1526, is the largest. A further approximately 200 public research libraries have restricted access. There are also several hundred private libraries in Austria. The university libraries in Vienna, Graz, and Innsbruck are the largest. For historical records, the National Archives in Vienna remains an indispensable source. Together, libraries and archives play a crucial role as repositories of published research. Interlibrary loan arrangements and technology make holdings at specialized libraries and archives increasingly accessible to students and researchers.

Administration, Finance, & Educational Research

The administration of legislated educational affairs is vested at the federal level in the Federal Ministry for Education, Science, and Cultural Affairs. The Ministry's key departments responsible for education include General-education schools, Vocational training, Educational affairs, Adult Education, Teacher and Pedagogue training, and Universities and Postsecondary institutes. The ministry has wide-ranging authority regarding essential educational matters, including teacher training, including administrative staff, continuing teacher training, and professional development. There are a number of other jobs and departments it is responsible for as well.

The ministry has the authority to delegate certain administrative functions to provincial and local district educational boards. Standing and ad-hoc committees assist the ministry and its departments in developing and implementing policies that reflect a broad range of interests. Committees include, where appropriate, parent and teacher representatives as voting members appointed by the federal ministry. In addition, advisory bodies representing recognized churches, the superintendent of the provincial school boards, school inspectors, and other interest groups assist the ministry in formulating and implementing policy. While the federal ministry retains central administrative authority over much of the educational system, regional and district school boards have considerable control over key aspects of the educational system.

Individual provinces have specific legislation that vests educational authority either in the regional education board or in the provincial government. The regional education board, or the provincial government, has responsibility for appointments and is hence the official employer of teachers in compulsory public schools. With the exception of teacher training and postsecondary professional schools, the provincial education board also issues and enforces guidelines governing the structure, organization, and maintenance of general-education schools.

Responsibilities that are not delegated to the regional education boards or provincial governments remain under the control of the Federal Ministry for Education, Science, and Cultural Affairs, with the exception of universities, as well as schools of agriculture and forestry, for which special provisions and administrative authorities have been established.

University administration has been codified separately under the 1966 General University Education Act, the 1975 University Organisation Act, and more recently the 1993 University Organisation Act.

In the case of agriculture and forestry, considerable authority for educational affairs is vested in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management. Direct public expenditures in 1997 for all educational institutions in Austria accounted for 6.0 percent of total GDP. An additional 0.5 percent of total expenditures were covered through private sources (Statistisches Jahrbuch 2001).

In this respect, Austria lies somewhat above the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development) average with respect to public expenditures for education, but it lags behind the OECD average for private educational funding.

Nonformal Education

Nonformal educational opportunities in Austria are adult education and instructional-technology initiatives, including distance-learning. Adult education refers to learning opportunities that are pursued after the completion of formal education for various purposes, such as life-long learning for personal enrichment, attainment levels of certification after the completion of formal education and, in most cases, after substantial working experience. Updating skills and qualifications related directly to one's career, required for promotion, or maintaining certification. Unlike school and university education, adult education in Austria is not regulated by constitutional law. The 1973 Promotional Measures Act remains a key legislative foundation for adult education, since it provides for Federal Centers for the Promotion of Adult Education.

Adult-education courses are offered in schools for working individuals by various interest groups, private providers, and under the coordination of the Austrian Conference of Adult-Education Institutions. The most important providers of further career training are the quasi-private Vocational Training Institute and the Institute for Economic Development. Although adult-education initiatives are now further coordinated in a department of the Federal Ministry of Education, Science, and Cultural Affairs, the nature of adult education calls for the involvement of other managing and funding agencies, including the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, the Federal Ministry of Science and Transport, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, as well as the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs.

Personal-enrichment courses and programs are offered under the auspices of the Austrian Adult-Education Centers. One of the key challenges confronting nontraditional learning in a centrally legislated and administered system is the development and integration of new learning technology opportunities, both in all levels of formal schooling and in adult education.

Distance-education programs have been offered in Austria since 1979 under the coordination of the Inter-University Research Institute for Distance-Education Programs. Courses including mathematics and teacher education have been developed. For other distancelearning courses and degree-level programs of study students may enroll through the Open University in Hagen, Germany, which offers normal degree courses in economics, law, social sciences, education, and management. Currently, some 2,000 Austrian students are enrolled in these programs. Other forms of nontraditional and outreach education include short-term courses), supplementary courses, specialization courses, study-abroad programs, senior-citizen access to courses, and complementary courses for graduates of foreign universities.

Austrian universities are entitled to develop distance-learning courses under the 1997 University Studies Act. Together with initiatives toward greater autonomy in schools and universities, distance education is likely to play an increasingly important role as a customized, site-independent, learning facilitator.

Teaching Profession

Principal and continuing, in-service teacher training in Austria reflects the different types of primary, secondary, and postsecondary schools, as well as the relative vocational, technical, and academic emphases which they pursue. In addition, teacher-education training includes preparation of preprimary educators and noninstructional educational staff. Admission to teachereducation programs requires the Reifeprüfung, or its equivalent, and special aptitude tests in some cases.

Preprimary teachers are prepared in Kindergarten Teacher-Training Colleges. The three-year course of study ends with a teaching certification.

Teachers in primary, lower secondary, special-needs schools, and the pre-vocational year are trained in Teacher Training Colleges. The teacher-training colleges are also centers for educational research and hence prepare non-instructional educational staff. Student teaching is supervised in schools that are affiliated with the colleges. Vocational teachers at the secondary and postsecondary level combine a high degree of pedagogical, subject-specific, and vocational expertise in their field. They are prepared in Vocational Teacher-Training Colleges.

Teachers in academic secondary schools are university-trained. The minimum course of study is nine semesters, which includes practice teaching. Candidates are required to earn a second diploma in a subject area and to complete a probationary teaching period. The qualifications for university teaching staff vary considerably, but generally require a minimum qualification of a first degree (Diplom ) for instructors. Advancement to the rank of professor requires an earned doctorate and requires a further, advanced documentation of significant scholarly, scientific, or creative accomplishment (Habilitation ). Candidates for professorships are called berufen by the university.

Austria recognizes tenure. Austrian teachers are civil servants. Salary and benefits issues are therefore negotiated between the government and the trade union that represents most teachers, the Public Service Union. In 1999 the average monthly salary for teachers was less than one percent higher than the average for civil servants in general. The salary for university teachers was approximately 30 percent above the average for civil servants, and the salary for school administrative staff was almost 80 percent higher. The Austrian Research Information Service (AURIS) offers comprehensive access to educational research.


The Austrian educational system reflects a tradition of comprehensive learning in all areas of personal and professional life. Its highly stratified and hierarchical organization permits a degree of coordination among various principal participants in the vocational, academic, research, and economic sectors. The synergy between the various "social partners" and the availability of diverse avenues toward initial and further qualification provides a high degree of stability, which benefits both employers and employees. Employers contribute to the educational process by providing the vocational and professional infrastructure within which students can learn "on the job." Employees bring a high degree of practical and theoretical preparation to the work place.

The hierarchical nature of Austrian education can also be an impediment to flexibility, however. The fact that matters of educational administration and policy implementation devolve from the federal level means that there is a potential delay in reacting to changing educational, vocational, or social circumstances. Developments in the employment sector, for example, materially affect the number of apprenticeships available. This fact, in turn, affects career guidance counseling, as well as development of new curricula and educational methodologies, for example in information technology.

The history of Austrian education during the past four decades has been characterized by an increasing shift toward a more open, accessible series of permeable educational options. Much has been done to make the rigid tracking system, particularly into the secondary schools, more flexible, to allow more opportunity for transfer between vocational, professional, and academic courses of study. In addition to greater permeability, federal legislation has sought to recognize the exigencies of regional, economic, and demographic differences by phasing in greater school autonomy, particularly in the upper secondary and postsecondary vocational and technical sector. The introduction of largely customized vocational-courses represents an important step in that direction.

Other initiatives have failed because of the constitutionally mandated two-thirds majority requirement for key changes in educational legislation. An example is the Social Democrats' attempt to replace the formal distinction between the Hauptschule (general secondary school) and the AHS (academic secondary school) with a more unified, comprehensive secondary school. In the area of higher education, the steady increase in student enrollments has strained the capacity and infrastructure of many universities. In addition, critics continue to point to the relatively high percentage of students who do not complete their degree programs "on time," or not at all, to suggest that greater permeability in the secondary schools has led to a lowering of academic standards, which in turn affects the intellectual preparation of students for university study.

As the Austrian educational system becomes more integrated into the European Union's comprehensive transfer model, the question of reform will necessarily be debated in a broader context. Given the traditional strengths of the Austrian educational system at all levels, there is every reason to believe that Austrian will not only be a recipient of European Union directives, but that it will also have a voice in shaping them.


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Buchberger, Friedrich, and Irina Buchberger. "Success for All? Description and Analysis of Measures to Combat Failure at School in Austria." European Journal of Teacher Education, 21, nos. 2 and 3 (1998): 143-60.

Egger, Rudolf, and Wolfgang Grilz, eds. Bildung an der Grenze. Graz: Leykam, 1999.

Kahr-Dill, Brigitte. Austria: Development of Education, 1990-92. Wien: Bundesministerium für Unterricht und Kunst, 1992.

Konrad, Helmut. "State and Universitythe Austrian Example." In Higher Education in Europe. New York: Garland, 1997.

Persy, Elisabeth, and Eva Tesar, eds. Die Zukunft der Schulen der Vierzehn-bis Neunzehnjährigen. Frankfurt am Main: P. Lang, 1997.

Plank, Friedrich H. Education in Austria: a Concise Presentation. Vienna, Federal Ministry of Education and the Arts, 1991.

Schmid, Eleanor, trans. Education and Vocational Training: An Overview of the Austrian System. Vienna: Federal Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs, 1996.

Schratz, Michael, et al. "Changes in Postgraduate Research Training in Austria." European Journal of Education 33, 2 (1998), 183-97.

Steiner, Kurt, ed. Modern Austria. Palo Alto, CA: Society for the Promotion of Science and Scholarship, 1981.

Wissenschaftliche Hochschulen in Österreich. Wien: Bundesministerium für Wissenschaft und Forschung, 1974.

Siegfried Christoph

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Republic of Austria

Major Cities:
Vienna, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Graz, Linz

Other Cities:
Baden, Bregenz, Dornbirn, Eisenstadt, Enns, Klagenfurt, Leoben, Steyr, Villach, Wels, Wiener Neustadt


This chapter was adapted from the Department of State Post Report 1999 for Austria. Supplemental material h been added to increase coverage of minor cities, facts have been updated, and some material has been condensed. Readers are encouraged to visit the Department of State's web site at for the most recent information available on travel to this country.


Nature heaved mountains to the sky and gouged deep green valleys in Austria; the Alps and their foothills cross from west to east and cover three-fourths of the pear-shaped republic.

Its nine provinces shape a nation of diverse charm. In the Tirol, winter sees garlanded cattle return to valley farms from summer pasture on meadow heights, and skiers claim the slopes. Neighboring Salzburg, too, is a paradise of winter sports and summer hiking; its namesake city holds a famed festival rich with the music of a land that gave the world such greats as Mozart, Schubert, Strauss, and Haydn. Pine-forested and rocky peaks of these provinces contrast with the blue lakes of Carinthia and the green vineyards of Styria.

Vienna, capital and once the core of the far-flung Austro-Hungarian domain, lifts its baroque silhouette above the plains of a brown river-immortalized as the beautiful Blue Danube waltz.

A quarter of Austria's population lives in Vienna along the winding streets of a past grand age or in one of the many modern apartment houses built by a booming economy. Steady expansion of mining, metal-working, and hydroelectric power has more than doubled Austria's industrial output since 1938, though one of six Austrians still farms the mountainous land. Hard work has not changed Austria's Gemutlichkeit, the gay, relaxed outlook that runs through its life like the swirling lilt of a Viennese waltz.

Vienna is one of Europe's oldest capitals. Noted for its physical beauty and rich culture life, Vienna is a cosmopolitan city that has historically served as a bridge between East and West. It is host to several important United Nations agencies. The dramatic changes in Eastern Europe since 1989 and Austria's entry into the European Union have highlighted the country's role in Europe's rapidly evolving political and economics institutions, including the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), based in Vienna. An assignment to Vienna offers a challenging, professional environment as well as attractive recreational and travel opportunities



Vienna, Austria's capital and largest city, is located in the Danube basin at the eastern end of the European Alpine range, near the borders of Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia. Initially established as a Roman outpost and trading center on the banks of the Danube, Vienna evolved, under centuries of Habsburg rule, into one of the world's most important capitals.

In the 19th Century the city was the leading capital in Central Europe. After the Habsburg Empire was dissolved in late 1918, however, the imperial city became the capital of a state unsure of its own identity. The political and economic crises of the 1920's and 1930's, World War II, and the postwar occupation stifled progress and reduced the city to an impoverished remnant of its once great past. It was sometimes referred to as "a head without a body."

Since 1966, however, the city has undergone a rejuvenation. The newcomer's first impressions are those of activitynew construction, renovation, street repairs, and traffic. The city's center lies within the First District, surrounded by the Ring (site of the old city walls, but now a broad thoroughfare). The main shopping area, fine hotels and restaurants, as well as many historic palaces and churches, are located in or very near to this district.

Knowledge of German is very important and helpful for professional effectiveness and full enjoyment of Austrian culture, although English is widely spoken.


The Austrian market provide adequate quality and quantities of virtually all foods.

Local Austrian stores and markets are well stocked and are widely patronized by the U.S. community. Fresh vegetables, fruits, chicken, pork, veal, and beef are in good supply. Meat prices are higher than those in Washington. Cuts of meat differ, and meat is not aged.


Clothing worn in Vienna is much like that worn in the northeastern U.S. Most Austrians dress conservatively. No special requirements or taboos exist.

Men: Ready-made suits are more limited in size and style than in the U.S. Tailors are good and materials are plentiful, but again, very expensive. Men may not find the style and fit of Austrian shoes entirely to their taste.

Women: The more expensive women's shops carry a wide variety of clothing of good style and quality. Generally, however, the selection of ready-made clothing is more limited than in the U.S. and much more expensive. Fabrics of all types are available, and dressmakers are generally good, but both are expensive.

Women will find low-heeled shoes indispensable for Vienna's many cobblestone streets. Good quality women's shoes are readily available here, but narrow widths and small sizes are hard to find and are expensive. It is best to buy shoes before leaving the U.S. Warm, thick-soled boots are a necessity.

Women may wish to bring ball gowns to wear at any of Vienna's many balls held during Fasching season (between January 1 and Mardi Gras).

Children: Although expensive and somewhat limited, local children's clothing is attractive and of excellent quality. Rainboots bought here are worn without shoes. Many parents have difficulty finding shoes to fit their children's feet.

Supplies and Services

Cosmetics are available on the local market. Many women bring or order their favorite brands of cosmetics from the U.S. Most sundry supplies are sold on the local market, but are quite expensive.

Mothers may wish to bring a supply of baby bottles, nipples, and sterilizers. Baby furniture is sold locally but is expensive.

All basic community services such as dressmaking, tailoring, shoe repair, dry-cleaning, laundries, beauty shops, etc., are available locally, but expensive. Repair service for radios, phonographs, and electrical appliances is adequate but usually slow. Remember that most Austrians take a month's vacation in summer, and many shops, laundries, dry-cleaners, etc., are closed during that time.

Domestic Help

The rising Austrian living standard and low employment rate have led to a severe shortage of domestic help, and domestics are increasingly expensive. The basic monthly salary for a general, full-time, live-in servant is normally can be somewhat high, since the cost of food, health, and social insurance, vacation, and Christmas bonus must also be considered. Specific wage information may be obtained from the Vienna Retail Price Schedule, DSP-33. Extra catering help is available for entertaining, but is expensive.

Employers should insist that their servants have medical exams and chest X-rays before hiring them.

Religious Activities

The Vienna Community Church, an English-speaking interdenominational church with Sunday school and an American pastor, was established in 1957 by English-speaking Protestants in Vienna. Roman Catholic services in English are held at the Votive Kirche and confessions are heard in English. An Anglican-Episcopal Church, Christ Church (affiliated with the British Embassy), a Church of Christ Scientist, a Baptist Chapel, and a Methodist Church also have services in English.

German language Catholic masses are conducted daily and German services are conducted in several Lutheran churches, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Reformed Church, several Methodist churches, several Baptist churches, and a Greek Orthodox church. A Quaker meeting is held weekly. Services at a Jewish Synagogue are conducted in Hebrew.


The American International School (A.I.S.), operated under the sponsorship of the American and Canadian Ambassadors, offers a full curriculum from nursery school through grade 12. Over 50 nationalities are represented from among the school's 800 students. The director, the majority of the faculty, and about one-third of the student body are American.

While using the latest American teaching techniques, the school also takes advantage of local cultural resources. The result is an intellectually stimulating program which makes maximum use of the advantages afforded by the school's international staff and student body.

The elementary grades program includes art, music, Austrian studies and culture, and physical education, as well as a traditional U.S. curriculum. A daily course in German is compulsory for Grades 1-12 and four times a week in kindergarten. The high school college-preparatory program is designed to meet the admission requirements of the best American colleges and universities. The regular U.S.-style curriculum is complemented by the International Baccalaureate Program, a course of studies leading to a diploma recognized by universities around the world. Academic standards are high. Children returning to the U.S. have been accepted at leading colleges and universities.

The physical plant of the school, built in 1964, is designed to provide an educational environment like that in the U.S. The buildings include a library, science labs, cafeteria, and new (1987) gymnasium. Athletic fields and a large wooded area are part of the 17-acre complex.

If you have received firm notice of an assignment here and are planning to enroll your children, write directly to the school, giving the ages and grades of the children. The address is Salmannsdorferstrasse 47, A-1190 Vienna, Austria.

Applicants for the first grade must be 6 years old by September 1 in the year of their entry; for the kindergarten they must be 5 by the same date. The school presently has no boarding facilities.

The Vienna International School (V.I.S.), located at Strasse der Menschenrechte 1, A-1220 Vienna, Austria, offers instruction in all grades, but follows a predominantly British curriculum, and has a more international faculty and student body than the A.I.S.

The Vienna Bilingual School (VBS) incorporates German/English bilingual teaching from Kindergarten to upper secondary school. VBS is a state school program and no fee is required. Inquiries can be addressed to VS 10, Selma-Lagerloef-Gasse 20, 1100 Vienna, Austria.

The French school, le Lycee Francais, is located at Liechtensteinstrasse 37a, A-1090 Vienna, Austria and has classes from kindergarten through high school. A branch of the worldwide Sacred Heart Schools, operated by the Sacred Heart Catholic Order, has a German-language curriculum and is coordinated with other Sacred Heart schools.

The Danube International School (D.I.S.) is an independent, nondenominational co-educational day school with courses designed for students seeking an international education in Vienna. The school was founded in 1992 by parents of the Vienna business community. Students are drawn from the diplomatic, international and local business communities and consists of grades K-12 with an approximate enrollment of 280 students from over 30 different countries. At the elementary level, the International Schools Curriculum Project forms the basis of the curriculum, while the Middle School is strongly influenced by the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programs. In the High School the curriculum enables students to be accepted by a range of colleges and universities throughout the world, including the U.S. Contact the registrar for further information: Gudrunstrasse 184, A-1100 Vienna, Austria, Tel: 043-1-603-02-46, Fax: 043-1-603-02-48.

The Vienna Christian School (V.C.S.) was founded in 1986 and is a private Christian school for grades 1-12. VC.S. has joined with the Network of International Christian Schools (NICS). NICS is an International Network of Christian Schools whose goal is to provide excellent academic training in a non-denominational setting. VC.S. serves children from abroad range of backgrounds, including business, diplomatic, United Nations, and missionary communities. VC.S. follows a basic American curriculum taught by certified teachers (in English), which leads to a fully recognized High School diploma. The full program included middle and high school art, sports, music, and drama. In 1996-1997 school year enrollment was 130 representing 23 different countries. The VC.S. consists of 2 buildings, 20 classrooms, and 1 library. The faculty at VC.S. is made up of U.S., U.K., Canada, and Austrian backgrounds. The VC.S. is located in Vienna's 19th District in the north part of the city; Kreilplatz 1/2, A-1190 Vienna. The phone number when calling from the U.S. is: 01143-1-318-82-11.

There are many private and state run nursery schools for ages 3-6.


Tourism is extremely important in Austria and the quality and number of the country's sports facilities are undoubtedly among the principal reasons.

The ski slopes at Kitzbuehel and on the Arlberg (Lech, Zuers), only 6-8 hours from Vienna, are among the best in the world. Good skiing can also be found less than 2 hours from Vienna at Semmering. Excellent ski equipment can be purchased or rented in Vienna or at the ski resorts, although at a higher cost than in the U.S.

Hunting in Austria is varied and excellent. It is, however, quite expensive. The overall season for all game is long. Game is abundant, e.g., roebuck, stag, snipe, pheasant, etc.

Both a hunting license, "Jagdkarte," and hunting permission card, "Jagderlaubnis," are necessary before taking part in a hunt. Hunting premiums are charged in accordance with the type of game taken. These charges vary, but are generally very high by U.S. standards. Hunting is by invitation only and always done on game preserves. Contacts can be arranged to secure invitations through local tourist agencies.

To secure a hunting license, the applicant must present proof of his hunting ability, usually a valid certificate from a hunting organization in another country. Lacking a valid license, a hunting proficiency exam is administered by local authorities. Two sporting guns (unloaded) can be imported. Ammunition is available locally.

Fishing in Austria is also excellent. One can obtain permits to fish by invitation or by joining the Austrian Fishing Association "Oesterreichische Fischerei Gesellschaft," which assigns specific sections of a stream. To save money, bring your own fishing equipment; however, all types of equipment including spinners and flies may be purchased locally.

Vienna has several riding stables and many tennis and squash courts. A number of health clubs exist throughout the city. Ice skating is available all year round at the Stadthalle and from October through March at three other locations around Vienna. Three 18-hole golf courses are within 20 miles of Vienna; one is located at Prater Park.

Memberships at any of these golf courses can be arranged through the UNIDO Golf Club at reduced prices. By joining the Austrian Golf Association, one may also gain entrance to play on some of the finest courses in Europe. Sailboating and swimming on the Old Danube (now a beautiful lake) or at one of the many indoor or outdoor pools, biking, and hiking in the Vienna Woods are other favorite pastimes. Jogging is becoming increasingly popular in Vienna.

Touring and Outdoor Activities

The beauty of its rustic landscape, the network of good highways, and the comfortable accommodations of its "Gasthaeuser" (inns) make Austria a paradise for those who love the outdoors.

The "Wachau", an area between Melk and Krems along the Danube, is famous for its vineyards, fruit trees, castles, and churches. The monastery at Melk contains one of the world's finest old libraries and a wealth of paintings, tapestries, and art objects.

The Province of Burgenland (an hour's drive southeast from Vienna) is an area of gently rolling hills dotted with vineyards, spas, and castles. Lake Neusiedl, a favorite Viennese resort area on the Austro-Hungarian border, has gained worldwide fame as a bird sanctuary; it also provides good sailing.

The central part of Austria, the "Salzkammergut", a beautiful recreation area with high mountains, lakes, hunting, fishing, ski resorts, old castles, and churches, is about 3 hours from Vienna.

Eastern European points accessible by car include Budapest (4 hours), Prague (5 hours), and Bratislava (1 hour). Visas are no longer required for visits to these cities by U.S. passport holders.

People generally travel to vacation areas by private car, but the daily trains and buses throughout the country are excellent and inexpensive. The Salzburg-Vienna autobahn affords rapid, easy access to Munich and the rest of southern Germany.


Vienna is the musical capital of Europe. The Vienna State Opera, the Vienna Philharmonic, the Vienna Symphony, and the Volksoper are outstanding. The talents of world-famous conductors and virtuosos are on display throughout the year, although the opera houses close for July and August of each year. Tickets are very expensive. The Vienna Festival, held annually from mid-May to mid-June, is one of the high points of Viennese cultural life.

The Vienna theater also enjoys a worldwide reputation. Paced by the famed Burgtheater, the many theaters present the classical works of Goethe and Schiller (in German) as well as the most recent Broadway hits.

There are 3 theaters in Vienna presenting stage plays in English, the Fundus, the International Theatre, and the English Theatre. In addition, there are 4 movie theaters which offer original language movies (primarily in English).

Except for July and August and a short period during the winter, Sunday morning dawns with a special treat for the Viennese: the famous "Lipizzaner" white horses of the Spanish Riding School perform in the Riding Hall of the Hofburg, and the Vienna Boys' Choir sings in the Hofburg Chapel. During the summer, "Lipizzaner" performances are also shown on Wednesday afternoons. Tickets must be ordered by mail 6 to 8 weeks in advance or purchased through a Viennese ticket agent.

Vienna has many good restaurants with varying prices. Restaurants in the hills overlooking the city are popular, especially in summer. The wine drinking cellars and gardens in Grinzing and Neustift are famous for their "Heurigen" (new wine) and folk song atmosphere. (The typically Viennese word, "Heurige", refers not only to the new wine itself, but also to the establishments in which it is served and to special occasions celebrated in those establishments.)

Social Activities

The American community in Vienna is not a tightly knit, highly organized social group. This is understandable when one considers that a metropolis like Vienna offers so much in the way of recreation, entertainment, and varied social contacts. Social recreation generally takes the form of cocktail parties, buffet suppers, dinners, receptions and "Heurigen."

The American Women's Association, open to all American women in Vienna, meets from September to June. They publish "Living in Vienna," which many find to be a useful guide for daily survival in the city.

The American International School has a limited extracurricular program for students, including athletic teams. The U.S. Embassy sponsors Boy Scout Troop 427 and Cub Scout Pack 427, both of which are official members of the Transatlantic Council of Boy Scouts of America. The American International Baseball Club, Little League, is open to 6-15 year olds.

An English-speaking, mixed bowling league competes once a week for about 9 months of the year.


Salzburg, "die schöne Stadt," is one of the world's most beautiful cities, both in its surroundings and in its architecture. It lies at an altitude of 1,400 feet, and is divided by the Salzach River into the "new" and "old" parts. While the city itself has a population of only 138,000, it is visited yearly by more than a million-and-a-half tourists.

Archaeological finds date the founding of the city to the Stone Age. During the Roman period to about A.D. 500, the Old City, then called Juvavum, was important as the center of administrative government. Early in the eighth century, Salzburg began to develop around the monastery of St. Peter. In the year 800 (approximately), it became the seat of an archbishopric and was an ecclesiastical residence for almost one thousand years. Following the city's secularization in 1802, it was given to Archduke Ferdinand, and then, between 1805 and 1815, Salzburg fell successively to Austria, France, and Bavaria. The Congress of Vienna (1814-1815) returned the city to Austria. The city of Salzburg is the capital of the province of the same name (population approximately 441,500).

The dominant architectural feature of Salzburg is the Hohensalzburg, an 11th-century fortress some 400 feet above the city. The views from the ramparts are spectacular. Below the fortress are many examples of baroque architecture, including the ancient palaces of medieval archbishops, domed churches, and spacious squares with some of the most remarkable fountains in Europe. The tall, narrow, and well-kept houses lining the streets of the Old City testify to the pride the Salzburgers have in their tradition. The Residenz, built late in the 16th century for Archbishop Wolf Dietrich, opens its state apartment to view.

Next to the Residenz is Salzburg's huge cathedral, and nearby is St. Peter's Romanesque basilica, with its adjoining burial ground. The lovely old Mirabell gardens lie across the river.

Schools for Foreigners

Some American children attend schools in Salzburg, but classes are taught only in German. A small, two-room school at the U.S. base in Berchtesgaden teaches grades one through eight (staff dependents), and commuting is by bus.

Two American-style boarding schools at the secondary level are in the area: International Preparatory School at Moostrasse 106, A-5020, Salzburg; and Sea Pines Abroad at A-5324, Faistenau bei Salzburg.

Arrangements for students to attend the American International School (AIS) in Vienna must be made in advance. No established boarding facilities are at the AIS and living arrangements must be approved by the school before admission is granted.

Special Educational Opportunities

The University of Salzburg is open to students of all nationalities, and many U.S. students attend. In addition, the world-renowned Mozarteum offers advanced instruction to students of music. The Orff Institute, administratively connected to the Mozarteum, offers combined instruction in music and rhythmics, according to the musical education principles of the composer Carl Orff. The Institute is open to all age levels. The Summer Academy of the Mozarteum offers music instruction for advanced students during the summer months.

Recreation and Entertainment

Vacationers generally travel by private car, but the daily trains and buses throughout Austria are excellent and inexpensive. The Salzburg-Vienna autobahn affords rapid, easy access to Munich and southern Germany.

A trip from Salzburg to Bregenz on Lake Constance (the Bodensee) provides one of the most spectacular drives in Europe, passing the length of Salzburg, Tyrol, and Vorarlberg. Quiet mountain valleys, particularly in the Langau area, afford a glimpse of native customs and dress unchanged by modern fashions. The area is rarely visited by tourists.

Skiing opportunities near Salzburg are practically limitless, with slopes ranging from beginners to competition only a short distance away. For those wishing to go to better known ski areas, Innsbruck is two hours ways, and both Kitzbühel and Zell am See are even closer.

Salzburg offers good tennis (indoor and outdoor) and golf. A small but picturesque golf course is located at Klessheim, on the outskirts of the city, and a rugged nine-hole course is operated by the Berchtesgaden center. Sailing is a popular summer sport on the lakes within a short distance from the city.

Salzburg, the birthplace and home of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, is one of the most music-oriented cities of the world. Part of the house on Getreidegasse where Mozart was born is now a museum and there is a commemorative statue on the Mozart Platz. The Festspiele, celebrated here annually from mid-July through August since 1925, draws thousands of music-loving tourists from all over the world and features widely known conductors and performers. The Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and its conductor, are special favorites, and the highlight of the season is the open-air performance of the medieval play, Jedermann (Everyman). Since 1920, this morality play by Hugo Von Hofmannsthal, has been performed in the cathedral square.

Music festivals are not confined to summer, however. Throughout the year, various programs are given. The Mozart Festival is held in the last week of January and during Easter week, when it again features the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in opera and concert performances. At the time of Whitsunday, concerts are also featured as separate festivals. The Salzburg Marionettes are a special attraction all year.

Salzburg's restaurants are good, although rather expensive, and many offer sweeping panoramic views of the surrounding area.

There is no American community here as such, but an Austro-American Society has periodic meetings to discuss matters of mutual interest. The American Chamber of Commerce in Austria holds one or two functions each year in Salzburg or its immediate vicinity. Discussions, for the most part, are in German.

A tourist office is located at Sigmund-Haffner-Gasse 16/1/2, A-5010 Salzburg.


Innsbruck, a famous winter and summer resort, is also a market and transportation center. With a population of 117,000, it is the capital of the Tyrol (or Tirol) Province (pop. 586,000), and is situated on the Inn River amidst soaring alpine ranges. Its main street, the Maria-Theresien-Strasse, offers a breathtaking view of the surrounding snow-capped mountain peaks.

Innsbruck, meaning "bridge over the Inn," was named for the bridge first built in the 12th century. Established as a fortified town by 1180, Innsbruck supplanted Merano as the capital of the Tyrol in 1420. Today, a visitor may walk down arcaded streets and cobbled passages lined with shops displaying beautiful embroidery, leather work, and carvings made by hand in the surrounding countryside. Innsbruck's university was founded in 1677. The city hosted the Winter Olympic Games in 1964 and 1976, and a museum shows videos of highlights from these games.

There are many interesting sites in Innsbruck. The Hofkirche, or Court Church, built between 1553 and 1563, is an architectural marvel. There is a memorial tomb to Emperor Maximilian I; 24 scenes in marble high-relief cover the sides and depict the emperor's life. Around the tomb stand 28 bronze figures which portray his real and legendary ancestors and relatives. The grave of Andreas Hofer and other 1809 freedom fighters may be found here. The tomb of Archduke Ferdinand II and his morganatic wife are in the Silver Chapel. The wooden organ, dating to 1600, is still played today.

The Fürstenburg, a 15th-century house, has a balcony with a gilded copper roofthe Goldenes Dachl. The late-Gothic structure, built under Maximilian in 1500, has 2,657 gold-plated tiles. Annasäule, St. Ann's Column, located on Maria-Theresien-Strasse, was erected in 1706 in thanksgiving for the successful defense against Bavarian invasion during the War of the Spanish Succession. Innsbruck has many museums, including the Ferdinandeum, containing the largest Gothic collection in Austria; and the Tyrolean Regional Museum, containing a history of mining and field sports.

The nearby Alps offer the visitor to Innsbruck another form of entertainment. Hiking, fishing, and swimming may be done in the mountains. Unforgettable views of these mountains can be seen by train, aerial cable cars, bus, gondola lifts, or by walking.

A tourist office is located at Bozner Platz 6, A-6010, Innsbruck.


Graz is Austria's second largest city (242,000), and capital of Styria (Steiermark) Province (1,118,000). It is both an industrial and cultural center and lies on the Mur River, 35 miles north of the Slovenia border and 120 miles southwest of Vienna.

Graz, derived from the Slavic word for fortress, was probably founded in the 12th century. At that time, a fortress was constructed on the mountain peak, Schlossberg, overlooking the Mur River. In the following century, the settlement was enclosed within fortifications, which later served as a bulwark against Turkish invasions. The city's glory days were during the 15th and 17th centuries when it was the seat of the Hapsburg emperors and the imperial capital of an empire reaching to the Adriatic Sea. The original part of the city is built along the eastern bank of the Mur, overshadowed by Castle Hill, where the famous 16th-century Uhrtrum, or clock tower, stands as a symbol of the city.

Graz is usually forgotten by tourists who tend to visit Vienna, Salzburg, Innsbruck, and the alpine resorts. Its lack of public attention, however, seems to be part of its charm, as the Old World lives on in a way that has long since disappeared in other parts of the continent. The city today exhibits many examples of late Gothic, Renaissance, and early baroque architecture. Spires, towers, and green copper domes overlook sharply peaked, rust-brown roofs. Special decorative touches include painted facades on old buildings, delicate statuary, and ornate rococo trim. There are beautiful parks and gardens, accessible via wide, tree-lined boulevards.

A medieval cathedral and several churches from the 15th century are among Graz's main attractions. The city's square, the Hauptplatz, laid out in 1164, faces the neo-Renaissance city hall. Cobblestone streets lined with 17th-century buildings fan out from the square. Most mornings, a bustling open-air market is set up around the statue of Archduke Johann.

The main thoroughfare, the Herrengasse, is closed to all traffic except streetcars. Here on the Herrengasse is the Landhaus, or Styrian parliament, designed in 1557 by Italian architect Domenico dell'Allio. The Landhaus has a vast inner courtyard resembling the architect's native Florence. Close by is an armory which displays 30,000 medieval weapons and armor, the largest collection of its kind in the world.

The state university at Graz dates from the 16th century, and it was here that Johannes Kepler (1571-1630), the German astronomer, taught for several years. The new university, constructed between 1890 and 1895, is known for medical studies.

There are many fine restaurants in Graz, and especially interesting are the low-vaulted cellar (Keller ) restaurants. Menus usually feature authentic peasant specialties. Graz is known for its wine as well as its beer. The Graz Festival of drama, music, and dance takes place in late June and early July. Styrian Autumn, in October, is a month-long festival of the performing and graphic arts.

The tourist office in Graz is located at Landhaus, Herrangasse 16, A-8010.


Linz, the nation's largest port, is a Danube city in northwest Austria, 120 miles west of Vienna and 60 miles east of Passau, Germany. It is the capital of Upper Austria (Oberösterreich, population 1,270,000), as well as the country's third largest city, with a population of approximately 204,000. Important commercially and industrially, Linz manufactures iron, steel, machinery, and textiles.

Originally a Roman trading settlement called Lentia, Linz's history is varied and colorful, mainly because of its location at the crossroads of Europe's main north-south and east-west travel routes. Linz grew from a small market village in the ninth century, to the provincial capital of the Holy Roman Empire in 1489. It became a center of technological pioneering late in the 19th century. The first railway line on the continent connected Linz with Cěské Budějovice in southern Bohemia.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the world's first metal airplane was built in Linz. Here, too, Johannes Kepler completed his main work, Harmonices Mundi, which laid the foundation for space exploration. The university in Linz is named in his honor. The city suffered considerable damage during World War II and was occupied by U.S. troops on May 6, 1945.

Linz today combines past and present, culture and industry. Architecturally, all styles can be seen in the city. Austria's oldest church, the Martinskirche (Church of St. Martin), was built in the eighth century in Romanesque style. Here also is St. Florian, the 17th-century baroque cathedral where the composer Anton Bruckner was organist; today the city's congress center and concert hall, the Brucknerhaus, is named for him, and the Bruckner Festival, held each September, has earned the hall and the city an international reputation in the music world. A neo-Gothic cathedral, the Neuer Dom, was built between 1862 and 1924. The tower is 145 feet high; the cathedral can hold 20,000 people.

The old marketplace is surrounded by baroque and rococo facades, while the main square with its Trinity Column is one of the largest and most beautiful town squares in Europe. The Provincial Museum gives a representative picture of the history and folklore of the city and surrounding countryside, as well as housing collections of indigenous and international art.

The restaurants in Linz offer a fresh and wide variety of food, since the city lies in the center of a fertile, arable, and market gardening region. Wine is the only commodity not produced locally.

Linz offers a broad variety of leisure-time activities. The Pöstlingberg, the hill overlooking the city, is more than a place of pilgrimage; the grotto railway is a fairy tale world for children, and the terraces are decked with botanical specimens. The railway was built in 1898 and is Europe's steepest mountain track, making the trip from the suburb of Urfahr to the top of Pöstlingberg in 16 minutes. Linz also offers facilities for golf, horseback riding, tennis, swimming, and skating.

The official tourist office in Linz is located at Schillenstr. 50, A-4010. There is also an office in the main train station.


BADEN (also called Baden bei Wien) is located in eastern Austria 15 miles southwest of Vienna, on the Schwechat River. Since Roman times, when it was called Aquae Pannonicae, Baden has been a popular spa resort. Lush villas and fashionable hotels adorn the city. There are parks, a museum, and a summer theater here. Architectural reminders of when Baden was a Roman settlement are prevalent. The city served as Soviet headquarters during the occupation of Austria, 1945-55. The population here is about 23,000.

BREGENZ , the capital of Vorarlberg Province (306,000), is located in extreme western Austria. Situated on Lake Constance (in German, the Bodensee), 78 miles northwest of Innsbruck, Bregenz is a lake port and a winter sports resort. An ancient Celtic settlement and an important Roman station, Bregenz was chartered as a city around 1200. Ruled by the counts of Montfort and later the Hapsburgs, Bregenz became the administrative center of Vorarlberg in 1726. Today, with a population of 27,000, Bregenz is the site of a hydroelectric plant. Its industries include chemicals, electronic equipment, and textiles. A museum of Roman and Celtic artifacts is located in the city. Bregenz Forest, the densely wooded highland known for its scenic beauty, is nearby. The Bregenz Lake Festival, in July and August, is held on the wharf amphitheater.

Six miles south of Bregenz is the manufacturing town of DORNBIRN. With a population of nearly 40,000, Dornbirn manufactures electrical equipment, machinery, and textiles.

EISENSTADT , situated in eastern Austria near the Hungarian border, is the capital of Burgenland (272,000). Composer Joseph Haydn (1732-1809), who lived in Eisenstadt from 1760 to 1790 under the patronage of the Esterházy family, is buried in the 18th-century church, Bergkirche. The Esterházy palace, built in the 14th century and restored in 17th-century baroque style, still stands. Until 1921, Eisenstadt was a part of Hungary and it maintains a distinct Hungarian atmosphere. With a population of approximately 10,000 today, the city produces wine and manufactures textiles. Every five years (the most recent in 1991), passion plays are staged on Saturday and Sunday at the nearby St. Margarethen stone quarry from mid-June through early September. The plays are performed on the country's largest outdoor stage, in a quarry that the Romans used 2,000 years ago.

The town of ENNS is situated in the north halfway between Linz and Steyr. Enns is one of the oldest towns in Austria, having received a charter in 1212. It is located on an old trade route across the Danube, and was a prosperous market town during the Middle Ages.

KLAGENFURT , the capital of Carinthia (Kärnten) Province (537,000), is a popular winter resort, surrounded by the mountain lakes of southern Austria near the Italian border. Chartered as a city in 1279, Klagenfurt reached the height of its commercial importance in the 18th century. Its current population is 90,000. A theological seminary and a large cathedral are located here. Austria's warmest lake, Wörther See, and the surrounding beaches are nearby. Near Klagenfurt, the Austrian Alpine International Academy at A-9161 Maria Rain is open to American students (kindergarten through grade 12) interested in English-language classes.

LEOBEN is located in Styria, southeastern Austria, on the Mur River, about 27 miles northwest of Graz. Situated in a coal mining region, Leoben is an industrial center with large ironworks, textile mills, and breweries. A preliminary peace treaty, superseding the Treaty of Campo Formio, was signed between France and Austria in Leoben on April 18, 1797. The population today is about 35,000. Less than 10 miles northeast is Bruck, or Bruck an der Mur. Bruck has a population of 18,000 and manufactures paper and iron goods. Knittelfeld, 12 miles southwest of Leoben, with a population of 14,000, is also an industrial city. It dates to the early 13th century.

STEYR (Steier), situated in northern Austria 20 miles south of Linz, has been an iron working center since the Middle Ages. An industrial center located on the Steyr River at its confluence with the Enns, the city produces motor vehicles, tractors, sporting firearms, and iron goods. With a current population of nearly 40,000, Steyr has many well-preserved historic buildings. Among them are Lamberg Castle, built in the 10th century and restored in the 18th century; a 15th-century Gothic parish church; and an 18th-century town hall.

Situated on the Drau River, 21 miles west of Klagenfurt, in southwest Austria, VILLACH is the commercial and trade center of Carinthia Province. Lead from mines in Bleiburg is used here for manufacturing. Villach also trades timber. Among the city's sites is the 15th-century St. Jacob's Church, in Gothic style with a tall detached tower. The population is approximately 88,000 here. Nearby Warmbad Villach is known for its mineral baths.

Just west of Enns in Oberösterreich (Upper Austria) is WELS. With a population of 51,000, it is the second largest city in the province, located about 120 miles east of Vienna. Situated on a site occupied since prehistoric times, Wels is a manufacturing and commercial city producing agricultural machinery and textiles. There are natural-gas deposits and hydroelectric power in Wels. Architecture here is in the late Gothic and baroque styles. The castle where Emperor Maximilian I died in 1519 is located in Wels. Founded in 15 B.C., the city's ancient name was Ovilava.

WIENER NEUSTADT , located 35 miles southwest of Vienna, has a current population of 35,500. An industrial city that is also a railroad junction, Wiener Neustadt manufactures textiles and leather goods, and brews beer. Founded about 1193, the city was at the height of its prosperity in the 15th century. Severely damaged during World War II, Wiener Neustadt was occupied by Soviet troops on April 3, 1945. A visitor to the city may see a 13th-century cathedral, a 13th-century castle, and three towers of medieval fortifications.


Geography and Climate

Austria, located in the heart of Europe, is about the size of Maine. It shares a common border with two members of NATO: the Federal Republic of Germany and Italy; three former East Bloc countries: Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia; neutral Switzerland; recently independent Slovenia; and the Principality of Liechtenstein. Austria is primarily mountainous, with the Alps and their approaches dominating the western and southern provinces. The eastern provinces and Vienna are located in the Danube basin.

Temperature extremes in Vienna vary between summer highs of 85°F and-4°F in winter. October may be damp and rainy, and light snowfalls occur in November and December. Snow, sometimes heavy, and frost can occur from January until mid-March. April, May, and early June offer pleasant spring weather, and summers are often delightful.

Vienna sometimes becomes uncomfortably hot in July and August, especially in the city's center, but the suburbs, particularly those which are elevated, are pleasant. The city is subject to rapid and marked changes in atmospheric pressures with accompanying winds. One such wind, the Foehn, carries warm air from the south. It has a special meaning for the Viennese since many people blame it for peculiar human behavior. Average annual precipitation in Vienna is 26.89 inches.

The mountainous regions have long, cold winters with heavy snowfall and bright, crisp days. The Danube basin usually has less snow, is more damp, and therefore has more gray and overcast days than the higher altitudes.


Austria's population is 8.0 million; about 1.6 million live in Vienna. As opposed to the ethnic diversity of the old empire, the present-day population is fairly homogenous. Of the six officially recognized minorities, only 2 show significant numbers: about 18,000 Croatians in Burgenland and some 15,000 Slovenes in Carinthia. In addition, significant numbers of individuals of Turkish, North African, and East European origin have recently settled in the country, residing mostly in Vienna. An estimated 40,000 Bosnian refugees are residing in Austria. Many Austrians, particularly in the Vienna area, have relatives in the neighboring Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary. German is the first language of about 92% of the population.

Approximately 78% of the Austrian population is Roman Catholic. In contrast to the clericalism which strongly influenced Austrian affairs as late as the 1930s, the present church hierarchy is not politically active.

Public Institutions

The Republic of Austria is a federal state with nine provinces, one of which is Vienna. The government is parliamentary. A Council of Ministers headed by the Chancellor is responsible to the legislature. The directly elected President has predominately ceremonial responsibilities.

The legislature is bicameral with the Nationalrat (lower house) exercising real legislative authority. The Bundesrat (upper house) only reviews legislation passed by the Nationalrat and has delaying, not absolute veto, powers.

Since World War II, Austria has been politically stable. The two coalition parties-Social Democrats (SPO) and People's Party (OVP) have the support of about 66% of the electorate. The remaining 34% is divided among the Freedom Party (FPO), the Liberal Forum (LIF), and the Greens. Extremist parties have virtually no influence on government policy.

The Social Democratic Party traditionally draws its constituency from blue and white-collar workers, so that much of its strength lies in the urban and industrialized areas. In the past, the party advocated heavy state involvement in Austria's key industries, the extension of social security benefits, and a full-employment policy. In the mid-1980s, the party began to swing toward free market-oriented economic policies and balancing the federal budget.

The traditional constituency of the People's Party has been among farmers and businesses. Its centers of strength are the rural regions of Austria. In economic matters, the party advocates conservative financial policies and privatization of much of Austria's nationalized industry. It advocates Austrian membership in NATO.

The Freedom Party has been the major opposition party. Recently, the party's mixture of populism and antiestablishment themes has won increased support. In provincial elections in Vienna in 1996 the Freedom Party moved into second position in city government with 28%. Nationally, it attracts approximately 22% of the vote. In February 1993 the Liberal Forum was established as a result of a split from the Freedom Party.

The Austrian parliamentary elections, held in December 1995, produced an SPOOVP coalition government. The Social Democratic Party under its former chairman, Chancellor Franz Vranitzky, reached 38%. The People's Party, however, dropped to 28% of the vote. The Freedom Party, under Joerg Haider, increased its share of the electorate from 5% in 1986 to 22% in 1995. The LIF and Greens each polled 5%. National Parliamentary elections were held in October, 1999.

The Austrian State Treaty of 1955 ended the four-power occupation and recognized Austria as an independent and sovereign state. The Federal Assembly passed a constitutional law declaring Austria's "perpetual neutrality." Austrian neutrality prohibits membership in military alliances and the establishment of foreign military bases on Austrian soil. Over the years, neutrality came to symbolize much more than the law stated. With its decision to join the European Union January 1, 1995-and following the demise of the Warsaw Pact-Austria has begun reassessing its definition of neutrality.

Austrian foreign policy is shaped by neutrality and the concept of "solidarity" under UN mandates. For example, Austrians serve in Bosnia (IFOR/SFOR), and in UN peace-keeping missions in Golan, Cyprus, etc. Austrian leaders also emphasize the unique role the country plays as a link between East and West and between the industrialized and developing countries. Austria is active in the UN; several UN agencies, including the International Atomic Energy Agency and the UN Drug Control Programs, Space Program, and Center for International Crime Prevention, are headquartered in the Vienna International Center, which opened in 1979. The U.S. has a Mission (UNVIE) to these organizations headed by an American Ambassador, who also represents the U.S. at the organization charged with the implementation of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. In addition, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) operates from Vienna and the Austrians play an active role. The U.S. Mission to OSCE is also headed by an Ambassador. USOSCE is also responsible for covering the Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies, which is headquartered in Vienna. The International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) have their headquarters in Vienna.

Arts, Science, and Education

Austria is a paradise for the arts. The Vienna State Opera, "Staatsoper," the Burgtheater, and the "Volksoper" rank among the world's leading cultural organizations.

The great Vienna orchestras include the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and the Vienna Symphony Orchestra. The "Musikverein" and the "Konzerthaus" present special concerts and recitals by internationally famous artists.

Visitors from all over the world are attracted to Austria each year by a variety of festivals: the Vienna Festival in May/June; the Salzburg Mozart week in January; the Salzburg Festivals at Easter, Pentecost, and in August; the "Sound of Easter" concerts in Vienna; the Carinthian Summer Festival; the Bregenz Festival; and the avant gar de Styrian Fall Festival in Graz. Vienna is the home of the Vienna Boys' Choir and the celebrated Spanish Riding School which features the beautiful white Lipizzaner horses.

Interest in science and research is promoted by the universities, the Austrian Institute for Historical Research, and a number of think tanks, among them the Institute for Human Sciences and the Institute for Culture Studies, "IFK." The Institute for Advanced Studies is also located here.

Austria has 18 institutions of higher learning with university status, 6 of which are music and fine arts colleges. Recently, a number of polytechnics, so-called "Fachhochschulen," have been added. The total student body in Austrian universities is about 266,000, about 29,000 of whom are foreigners. Austrian universities are free for Austrian citizens. Foreigners in most cases have to pay a tuition fee of approximately US$325.00 per semester. Austria's institutions of higher learning are open to qualified Americans in most departments. However, some fields-varying from university to university-have restricted access due to limited study and laboratory facilities. In these cases admission will be granted on a competition basis. American citizens planning to study in Austria should therefore check with the pertinent department prior to planning their studies abroad.

With the exception of the various language departments, most courses at Austrian universities are given in German. Therefore, a good knowledge of the language is one of the prerequisites for studying at an Austrian institution of higher learning. The other requirement relevant for American citizens is a high school diploma. For instruction in the arts, particularly music and voice, excellent private teachers are available.

Also, a considerable number of American colleges and universities have branches in Austria with programs varying from 3 weeks to an academic year. Webster University offers a full undergraduate program with courses in art, history, political science, economics, management, international relations, German, and English. The internationally renown Salzburg Seminar it Schloss Leopoldskron, Salzburg, each year attracts young scholars and professionals in a variety of fields from Europe, the U.S., and around the world.

Austrian education follows the traditional European system. School attendance is mandatory from 6 years until the age of 15, when students either continue their education or enter an apprenticeship program.

Commerce and Industry

Austria's economy since 1945 has been characterized by steady growth rates, low inflation, a stable currency, and increasing integration into the European economy. Key features of the economic landscape include the "social partnership," a consensus-building mechanism among government, business (represented by the Federal Economic Chamber) and labor (represented by the Labor Chamber and the Austrian Trade Union Federation). This partnership has helped bring about a high level of social services, wage increases in line with productivity, peaceful labor/management relations, and relatively low unemployment.

Most sectors of the economy have undergone important structural changes in the past few years, in response to Austria's entry into the European Union on January 1, 1995. This brought both new opportunities and new competition. Currently, exports of goods and services account for about 42% of Gross Domestic Product. Some 35% of Austria's total trade is with Germany; another 25% is with other members of the EU, and 17% with Central Eastern Europe.

As a traditional gateway to Eastern Europe, Austria is an important center for the U.S. and other Western companies. About 150 of the 3 80 American firms in Austria base their Eastern European activities in Vienna. Austrian companies are also among the top investors in the East, especially in Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia.



Austrian law requires liability insurance in the legal minimum amounts for all motor vehicles with Austrian registration, including motor vehicles belonging to diplomatic missions and to all personnel of diplomatic missions. The law also requires that motor vehicles be insured with companies approved by the Austrian Ministry of Finance.


Public transportation in Vienna is excellent. A network of streetcars, buses, and subways which maintain dependable service at reasonable fares, covers the city. Public transportation operates from 5:30a.m. until about midnight, thereafter there is a special "night service."

Many taxis are available 24 hours a day at stands in Vienna. Prices are relatively high, and drivers expect a tip of 10% beyond the meter price.


Rail transportation to most parts of Europe is frequent, fast, and reliable.

Many major international airlines have regular direct or connecting service to and from Vienna. Almost all of Europe's principal cities are easily accessible by air and rail.


Telephone and Telegraph

Telephone and telegraph service to all countries is available through the Austrian post at standard international rates.

Monthly telephone charges are more expensive than in the U.S. as all calls are metered. An international station-to-station telephone call from Austria to the U.S. is normally more expensive than a call of the same duration placed from the U.S.


International mail deliveries to and from the U.S. are reliable and frequent; transit time varies between 5 and 15 days for airmail and 3-5 weeks for surface mail. Parcel post services are available at international rates, and delivery to the U.S. takes 4-6 weeks.

Customs declarations are required on all outgoing packages. Customs clearances are required on all incoming packages.

Radio and TV

The Austrian Broadcasting Corporation, ORF, is financed out of user fees and advertisement and governed by a board ("Kuratorium") of representatives from the broadcast industry, the government, and the public sector. ORF is known for its excellent news coverage, produced in Austria. Entertainment programming relies heavily on German series and U.S. and German movies. News and information programming is not overtly censured and the executive board has the obligation to see to it that all political voices are heard. ORF does exercise censorship on excessive violence in entertainment programs. The international community relies heavily on ORF's foreign language "Blue Danube Radio" which operates primarily in English and has community service programs and music tailored to the tastes of the English speaking community.

ORF continues to have a de facto monopoly on local broadcasting, despite large-scale privatization of radio frequencies which began in April 1998. Several out of a planned 53 private radio stations licensed by a new "Regional Radio Authority" instituted under the Office of the Austrian Chancellor are now operating. The new stations are a long-term result of a liberalization process of the Austrian broadcast media scene which started in 1993, when the European Court of Justice ruled against Austria's broadcasting monopoly. A law permitting private regional radio stations came into effect in 1994 and limited the participation of print-media owners to 26 percent in one radio station and 10 percent in each of two other stations, to avoid media concentration. Laws permitting the introduction of private (terrestrial) television are planned for the near future. Cable television provides a broad variety of foreign television broadcast, including CNN, and there are several avenues of procuring direct TV or satellite system reception for monthly fees.

American radios will work with voltage transformers, but the television broadcasting system is different from that of the U.S. Compatible European television sets are sold locally, as are multisystem receivers, which can also be obtained at military shopping facilities in Germany.

Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals

The International Herald Tribune, The Wall Street Journal, and USA Today are sold at newsstands and hotels throughout Vienna's First District, usually the same day they are published. Austria Today, a local newspaper in English, is published weekly. Six general circulation daily German-language newspapers are published in Vienna. Three, Der Standard, Kurier and Die Presse, offer serious coverage of international and local news, as does the Salzburger Nachrichten, published in Salzburg but widely available in Vienna. Other European newspapers are available at local newsstands, as are some popular American magazines. Imported publications are expensive.

A fairly good supply of books in English may be purchased at leading bookstores, but they are expensive. The facilities of Amerika Haus and the British Council Library are also available to the TriMission community. Since children's English-language books are in short supply, families should bring them from the U.S. or order them from the U.S. or British publishing firms.

Health and Medicine

Medical Facilities

Primary medical and dental care in Austria, while somewhat more expensive than in the US, is excellent. Austrian hospitals are well staffed and well equipped. Most patients requiring hospitalization (including deliveries) remain in Vienna.

Local pharmacies are well stocked with European pharmaceuticals, many of which are the same as their U.S. equivalent. Prices are similar to those in the U.S.

Community Health

Disease prevalence in Vienna is similar to that of any major American city. All milk is pasteurized and all water is safe and pure. No special precautions/immunizations need be taken for a tour in Vienna. However, please ensure that your standard immunizations/boosters are valid.

Preventive Measures

In certain parts of Austria and Central Europe, there is a danger of contracting an encephalitis from viruses carried by several common tick species. While not all ticks carry the tick-borne Encephalitis virus (FSME-viren), those that do are frequently found in wooded, low-lying areas, such as the Vienna Woods. An excellent and effective vaccine, developed in Austria, is highly recommended for all persons living in Vienna who expect to enjoy outdoor activities, such as walking and jogging.

Drinking water in Vienna has an inadequate level of natural fluoride and none is added.


Passage, Customs & Duties

If driving a car from any other part of Europe or the Middle East, a traveler should get a copy of the International Road signs and learn them; the signs are standard throughout Western Europe.

Roads in Austria are generally good to excellent. But one should not drive over Alpine passes in midwinter unless the car is equipped with chains and is in excellent condition; even then the roads are hazardous.

Vehicles must be covered by liability insurance valid in Austria as evidenced by an international (green) insurance card. If the car is not already insured, temporary insurance must be bought at the border. U.S. or international license plates may be used for up to 2 months or until Austrian plates are issued.

A passport required. A visa is not required for business or tourist stays up to three months. For further information concerning entry requirements for Austria, travelers should contact the Embassy of Austria at 3524 International Court, NW., Washington, D.C. 20008, Tel: (202) 895-6767, or the nearest Austrian Consulate General in Chicago, Los Angeles, or New York. The Austrian Embassy to the United States maintains a webpage in English that answers in detail, questions concerning the laws and regulations of Austria, including residency, driver's license requirements, and permission to work. For additional information visit

U.S. citizens are encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Vienna or at the Consular Agency in Salzburg and obtain updated information on travel and security within Austria. The U.S. Embassy in Vienna is located at Boltzmanngasse 16 in the Ninth District. The Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy is located in the Marriott Building, on the fourth floor of Gartenbaupromenade 2, in the First District. The telephone number for both the Embassy and the Consular Section is (43)(1) 31-339. There is also a Consular Agency in Salzburg at Alter Markt 1, Telephone (43) (662) 84-87-76, open Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 9:00 A.M. to 12:00 noon. U.S. citizens in Salzburg who require assistance outside of these hours may contact the U.S. Embassy in Vienna. The Embassy also maintains a website, at with security updates and other information helpful to American citizens.


The Austrian Veterinary Service has strict rules about the entry of pets shipped by air to Vienna. The following requirements apply: rabies shots must be current; a valid veterinarian's certificate must be furnished with a statement that there has been no rabies among domestic or wild animals in the original municipality of the animals concerned or in the neighboring municipalities within the last l4 days before shipment; and permission must be obtained by the carrier from the Austrian Government (Ministry for Health and Environmental Protection).

Kennels are available locally.

No quarantine restrictions for household pets exist in Austria as long as the pets have the above documentation.

Currency, Banking, & Weights and Measures

As a member of the European Community, the Austrian monetary unit is the euro, which is divided into 100 cent. Coins in circulation are 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 cent and 1 & 2 Euro. Bank notes are 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 euros. The exchange rate approximates 1.15 euro to $1 US.

ATMs that accept U.S. credit and bank cards can be found throughout Austria. Austria has no currency restrictions on the import of reasonable amounts of foreign currency; export is limited.

Austria uses the metric system.

There is no exemption from paying the value-added tax (VAT) which is included in the price of most goods and services.


Jan. 1New Year's Day

Jan. 6Epiphany


Mar/Apr.Easter Monday*

Apr. 27Second Republic Day

May 1Labor Day

May/JuneAscension Day*


May/JunePentecost Monday*

May/JuneCorpus Christi*

Aug. 15Assumption Day*

Oct. 26National Day

Nov. 1All Saint's Day

Dec. 8Immaculate Conception

Dec. 25Christmas

Dec. 26St. Stephen's Day



These titles are presented as a general indication of the material published on this country. The Department of State does not endorse unofficial publications.

Barea, Ilsa. Vienna, Legend and Reality. The Camelot Press Ltd.: London, 1967.

Crankshaw, Edward. The Fall of the House of Habsburg. (Cardinal Books) Sphere: London, l974.

Janik, Allan and Stephen Toulmin. Wittgenstein's Vienna. Touchstone-Clarion, Paperback. Simon & Schuster, l974.

Jelavich, Barbara. Modern Austria: Empire and Republic, 1815-1986. Cambridge University Press: New York, 1987.

Johnson, Lonnie. Introducing Austria. Osterreischer Bundesverlag: Vienna, 1987.

Johnston, William M. The Austrian Mind: An Intellectual and Social History. University of California Press: Berkeley, 1972.

Jones, J. Sidney. Vienna Inside-Out. Vienna: Jugend und Volk Verlag, 1979.

Schorske, Carl. Findesiecle Vienna: Politics and Culture. Knopf: New York, 1980.

Waldheim, Kurt. Austrian Example. Macmillan, 1973.

It is recommended that travel books be purchased in the U.S. since English language books are not always available and are very expensive in Vienna.

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Basic Data

Official Country Name: Republic of Austria
Region (Map name): Europe
Population: 8,150,835
Language(s): German
Literacy rate: 98.0%
Area: 83,858 sq km
GDP: 189,029 (US$ millions)
Number of Daily Newspapers: 16
Total Circulation: 2,503,000
Circulation per 1,000: 374
Number of Nondaily Newspapers: 120
Newspaper Consumption (minutes per day): 57
As % of All Ad Expenditures: 31.10
Number of Television Stations: 45
Number of Television Sets: 4,250,000
Television Sets per 1,000: 521.4
Television Consumption (minutes per day): 221
Number of Cable Subscribers: 999,540
Cable Subscribers per 1,000: 123.4
Number of Satellite Subscribers: 1,450,000
Satellite Subscribers per 1,000: 177.9
Number of Radio Stations:
Number of Radio Stations: 63
Number of Radio Receivers: 6,080,000
Radio Receivers per 1,000: 745.9
Radio Consumption (minutes per day): 61
Number of Individuals with Computers: 2,270,000
Computers per 1,000: 278.5
Number of Individuals with Internet Access: 2,100,000
Internet Access per 1,000: 257.6

Background & General Characteristics

As of the early 2000s, Austria had a population of eight million people; nearly a fifth of its residents lived in the capital, Vienna. The population was ethnically, religiously, and linguistically homogenous, 78 percent Roman Catholic and 98 percent German-speaking. The country was divided into nine provinces. In the west the Vorarlberg borders Switzerland; Tyrol borders Germany and Italy. Carinthia borders Croatia and Slovenia to the south. Styria and Burgenland are bounded by Hungary and Slovakia in the east. Lower Austria (Niederösterreich, which surrounds Vienna) borders the Czech Republic, and Upper Austria (Oberösterreich) borders Germany to the north. The Salzburg province lay between Tyrol and the other provinces, sharing a short border with the German state of Bavaria. About 300,675 aliens also resided in Austria, around 60 percent of them workers (or their descendants) from the former Yugoslavia or Turkey who came during the post World War II reconstruction era. A small Slovenian minority lived in southern Carinthia, and groups of Croatians and Hungarians lived in Burgenland.

Public education began in 1774 and became compulsory in 1869. As of 2002, the literacy rate was 98 percent. A high standard of living and a long life expectancy (eighty-one years for women, and seventy-five for men) created a strong market for print media. Three-fourths of Austrians read a daily paper, spending a half-hour to do so, and three-quarters of an hour on weekends. On average Austrians watched about two-and-one-half hours of television per day, considerably less than in the United States. Surprisingly high numbers of young Austrians read newspapers: 68.6 percent of those between the ages of 14 and 19, and 72.6 percent of young people between 20 and 24. The better educated and self employed are more likely to read newspapers (80-85 percent of them do so) than unskilled workers or those who lack secondary education, about two-thirds of whom read a daily paper. Beginning in 1995 a private association, Zeitung in der Schule (Newspapers in the Schools) encouraged mainstream readership by providing free subscriptions and instructional materials for school classes, serving 60,500 pupils in 2000-01.

The first printing press arrived in Vienna in 1483, spurring development of early newssheets and broadsides. Der postalische Mercurius, a twice-weekly paper which first appeared in 1703, soon became an official organ of government, and its descendant, the latter-day Wiener Zeitung, could thus claim to be the oldest daily newspaper continuing as of 2002 in existence.

The democratic revolution of 1848 sparked an explosion of newspapers; about 90 dailies soon appeared in Vienna. Die Presse, also later titled Die neue freie Presse, was founded in 1848 and survived the political repression which followed the unsuccessful revolution. Karl Marx contributed articles as the paper's London correspondent between 1861 and 1862. Censorship of the press was officially abolished in 1862, although true freedom of the press could not be warranted until nearly a century later. The paper attracted a liberal middle class audience, especially assimilated Jews who opposed the clerical, conservative press. The Zionist Theodor Herzl served as Paris correspondent and literary critic for Die Presse from 1891 to 1904. Suppressed by the Nazis in 1938, the paper continued as of 2002 as the oldest of the country's general-purpose quality newspapers, defining itself as conservative and politically independent.

In the second half of the nineteenth century, compulsory education, the resulting increase in literacy, coupled with industrialization, urbanization, and the rise of the social democratic movement created an increasing demand for newspapers. In 1889 the Socialist Party founded the Arbeiter Zeitung, whose circulation reached 100,000 in the 1920s. During the 1930s a much smaller version was printed in Czechoslovakia and smuggled into Austria. Sensational tabloids sprang up in the late 1800s, among them the Illustrierte Kronen Zeitung, Austria's largest daily paper as of 2002.

The Hapsburg monarchy ruled Austria from 1273 until the end of the World War I. The Austro-Hungarian Empire governed Hungary, parts of Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Italy, and much of the territory that in the early 2000s was called Slovenia, Croatia, Yugoslavia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Vienna, a capital city designed for an empire of 50 million, presided in 2002 over a federal republic of some eight million Austrians. The city boasted a long and prestigious tradition of theater, opera, and music. In the early 2000s, it was the nation's press capital as well, home of the largest newspapers, the national press agency, the journalists union, and press club.

Austria's modern press began to develop rapidly after World War I in the transition from the Hapsburg monarchy to a federal democracy. The lifting of a ban on street sales of newspapers in 1922 stimulated the rise of a tabloid press, and within a few years Austrian newspapers were circulating 1.5 million copies, of which 1.2 million were in Vienna. The Nazi takeover in 1938, however, suppressed political expression. Before that, Die Presse had been forced to cease publication because several of its editors were Jewish. The Wiener Neueste Nachrichten became the leading Nazi organ. Of the 22 dailies in Vienna at the time of the Anschluss, only four remained in operation at the end of World War II.

The victorious Allies divided Austria and its capital into four zones of occupation; the country did not regain full independence until 1955. The Allies set up newspapers in their zones of occupation, first the Soviets' Österreichische Zeitung, which appeared in April 1945. The American occupying powers established Salzburger Nachrichten and Oberösterreichische Nachrichten in their zone, and the French and Americans supported the Tiroler Tageszeitung. These three papers were soon transferred to Austrian ownership. The postwar period also saw the appearance of the Kleine Zeitung, re-founded in Styria and Carinthia by the Catholic Press Association. Kurier, launched by the Americans, was bought by an Austrian industrialist in 1954; for decades it was the country's second largest newspaper with a circulation of nearly a half million. With the exception of the Soviets' Österreichische Zeitung, all of these dailies continued to occupy a strong position in Austria in the early 2000s. The socialist daily Express was taken over by Kronen Zeitung in 1975, making that center-left newspaper larger than its rival, the right-wing Kurier. The small tabloid Wiener Zeitung, with a circulation around 30,000 in the 1970s, held exclusive rights to publish government notices and advertising until 1996.

Die Presse was re-founded in 1946 as a weekly paper in Vienna, and then in 1948 it resumed daily publication. The Federal Chamber of Commerce owned an 80 percent share in Die Presse, whose independence and journalistic freedom were nonetheless guaranteed. In 1985 it became the first European newspaper to install an electronic editing system, and in 1993 the paper introduced color photos and graphics. The Federal Chamber of Commerce withdrew from ownership in 1991, and Styria Verlag, publisher of the Kleine Zeitung, took overDie Presse. Two years later it adopted a smaller format, necessitated by print machinery, and the need to compete for kiosk display space with the smaller Standard, founded in 1988 as the youngest of the country's dailies continuing in existence as of 2002. In September 1996 Die Presse went online and rapidly gained readers, claiming 316,000 in 1997. Its liberal opposition stance meant boycotting the nationwide spelling reform in 1997 and publishing prices in Euros as well as Austrian schillings before the Euro replaced national currencies in 2002.

Political party ownership of newspapers appeared to be a safeguard against the type of censorship and propaganda which had existed under the Nazis, but the role of parties in the press declined throughout the second half of the twentieth century. The postwar period witnessed the appearance of Neues Österreich, published by the fledgling provisional Austrian government and its newly established political parties: the Christian Democrats, Socialists, and Communists. The conservative Austrian People's Party founded the Kleines Volksblatt (which ceased in 1970); the Socialists resumed publication of the Arbeiter Zeitung, and the Communists created the Volksstimme. Neue Zeit also began as a weekly owned by the Socialist Party in 1945 and was purchased by its employees in 1987. It had 16,000 subscribers and an estimated 80,000 readers in the late 1990s. Yet even a $2 million press subsidy from the federal government in 2000 did not suffice to prevent bankruptcy, and the paper ceased publication in 2001. The Socialists' Arbeiter Zeitung, begun in 1889, followed a similar path to independence as a left liberal paper in 1989 and was renamed Neue Arbeiter Zeitung, only to close for good two years later. The Austrian People's Party's (ÖVP) Neue Volkszeitung was sold to a private corporation in 1989, with the ÖVP retaining just a 10 percent share. In 1953 newspapers owned by political parties accounted for half of all circulation, while in 2002 for only 2.2 percent or 62,000 copies combined. Those papers remaining in party ownership were the two owned by the Austrian People's Party, Neues Volksblatt and Salzburger Volkszeitung, and the Socialists' Neue Kärntner Tageszeitung, which was managed and distributed by the largest Austrian media conglomerate, Mediaprint, from 1990 into the early 2000s.

Given its high concentration of population, Vienna is also Austria's press and media capital, with five daily general-purpose newspapers: Neue Kronen Zeitung, Kurier, Die PresseDer StandardWiener Zeitung and the financial daily, Wirtschaftsblatt. Krone, (the newspaper's abbreviated title) published regional editions in Salzburg, Styria (Graz), Tyrol (Innsbruck), Oberösterreich (Linz), and Carinthia (Klagenfurt). Kurier published regional editions in Graz, Innsbruck, Linz, and Salzburg. Other cities large enough to have their own daily newspapers were (in order of size) Graz (Kleine Zeitung ), Salzburg (Salzburger Nachrichten ), Linz (Oberösterreichische Nachrichten), and Bregenz (Vorarlberger Nachrichten and Neue Vorarlberger Tageszeitung ). Salzburger Nachrichten was the only national newspaper not headquartered in Vienna. Two federal states, Niederösterreich and Burgenland, depended on neighboring Vienna for their news and had no dailies of their own, although a short-lived daily, Guten Tag Niederösterreich, was launched in 1990.

By far the largest Austrian newspaper is Vienna's tabloid Neue Kronen Zeitung, also the most widely circulated Austrian newspaper abroad. It was published daily and featured short articles that occupied less space than the numerous color photographs and cursory coverage of politics, culture, sports, and large numbers of classified ads. A photo of a naked female model always appeared on page six or seven. It sold over twice as many copies as its next closest rival, Kleine Zeitung (Graz). The tab loid Kleine Zeitung brought out more substantial news coverage, more international news of politics, economics, culture, and sports, and fewer color photos. In third place was Kurier. The country's most influential papers, those most widely quoted and distributed abroad, were Die Presse, Der Standard, and Salzburger Nachrichten. The latter was a standard sized independent paper, offering more color photos than Die Presse or Der Standard in its reports on politics, economics, and sports. Styria Media, Inc. published Kleine Zeitung and owned 51 percent ofDie Presse. As of February 2001 it also owned 98 percent of Croatia's largest newspaper, Vecernji List.

Neue Kronen Zeitung 's leadership in circulation and advertising revenues was occasionally challenged between 1985 and 2000. In April 1988 Oscar Bronner of Berlin's Springer publishing house, launched a new liberal daily, Der Standard, the first new daily in previous 16 years. Der Standard was a quality paper of standard format with a distinctive salmon-pink color, rivaling Die Presse. It appealed to a younger audience, claiming that 57 percent of its readers were under 40. It offered broad coverage of international news, economics, politics, culture, and a substantial editorial section on its last page. In 1992 a former owner of Krone, Kurt Falk, launchedTäglich Alles, printed in four-color intaglio. sold for three schillings at first, about a third the price of other tabloids, but it doubled in price five years later. It fought to gain readership by distributing free copies and offering games and prizes. It featured sensational headlines, a large television section, and took a strong stance opposing the European Union. A year after its start-up, it boasted 1.1 million readers, but soon it lost advertising revenue because of its sensationalism and political stance. It reached second place with 423,000 daily copies sold in 1998 but lost money and closed for good in August 2000, though it continued to appear online. In April 2001 Neue Zeit, with a subscription list of 26,000 and some 80,000 estimated readers, declared bankruptcy and folded. Kleine Zeitung gained the most in circulation with the demise of Neue Zeit and Täglich Alles.

Another new daily, Wirtschaftsblat, began publication in 1995 with an initial print run of 58,000, intending to compete with Der Standard. It was financed by an Austrian syndicate and the Swedish publishing group Bonnier and distributed by Mediaprint. It published financial and economic news Tuesdays through Saturdays and was available only by subscription.

Through the 1980s and 1990s, the media scene in Austria was characterized by shrinkage in the number of daily newspapers and increasingly overlapping ownership, with several major papers owned partially by foreign firms. In 1998 Austria had 17 dailies, or 28 titles (accounting for regional editions), with a total circulation estimated at 2.9 million. In 2002 Austria was home to 15 daily newspapers, a small number in relation to its population. Switzerland, with a slightly smaller population of 7,283,000 has 88, and Germany, whose population is 10 times the size of Austria's, has 375 daily papers. Even after Austria's entry into the European Union in 1995, foreign newspapers failed to gain a readership in Austria, despite the common language the country shares with Germany. Three-fourths of those who read a daily newspaper choose an Austrian publication.

Media development in the postwar age was characterized by a lack of political opposition, with overlapping membership in the political establishment, government, and big business. Not until the late 1970s did Austrian newspapers begin to investigate, question, and oppose government policies, such as those surrounding nuclear power and ecological issues. The Chernobyl catastrophe of 1986 and the resulting popular rejection of nuclear power in Austria resulted in increased environmental coverage and greater questioning of government decisions, a process strengthened by the formation of Austria's Green Party in the 1980s.

News weeklies

In the early 2000s, among Austria's 40-odd news weeklies were several regional newspapers with local news for rural areas less well served by the large national dailies. The two newspaper-format weeklies were Niederösterreichische Nachrichten , whose 27 local editions reach 10.7 percent of the weekly news market in Lower Austria, and Oberösterreichische Rundschau with 11 percent of the market in Upper Austria. Lower Austria (Niederösterreich), which surrounds Vienna, had no regional daily to compete with the larger city papers. Many other weeklies were political party organs, or published by the Catholic Church.

One special niche filled by weekly papers was to serve minority groups which spoke languages other than German. Klagenfurt in Carinthia was home to three Slovenian language weeklies, Nedelja, Slovenski Vestnik, and Nas Tednik. A Croatian language weekly, Hrvatske Novine, was published in Eisenstadt in Burgenland. These papers might receive special press subsidies or be partially supported by the Catholic Church.

Austria's weekly news magazines reflected the same pattern of consolidation under overlapping ownership as the country's dailies. Profil and Trend, founded in 1970, were the first Austrian news magazines to outsell such German publications as Der Spiegel. Kurt Falk, half owner of Krone, launched Die ganze Woche in 1985 and sold it in 2001 to a company owned by his sons. With a press run of 700,000 and a reach of 37 percent, it became the third largest mass-media organ in the country, after Krone and ORF, Austria's public radio monopoly. In the mid 1990s Wochenpresse, which reported weekly on economic news, ceased publication, and Profil moved further to the left along the political spectrum

Brothers Wolfgang and Helmut Fellner introduced News, then TV-Media and, around 1997, Format, which reported every Monday on news, politics, economics, and science. Three-fourths of Fellner publishing was then sold to Bertelsmann, (Germany's largest book publisher) with a 30 percent share in News then owned by Media-print (WAZ). News reached 19.3 percent of the market in 2000, Format 7.1 percent, and Profil another 9.4 percent. The rival weekly, Trend, reported on economics and sold about 64,209 copies weekly, with a market reach of 8.1 percent. In early 2001 News and Trend /Profil merged, giving Bertelsmann and WAZ control over 59 percent of the Austrian news weekly market.

Economic Framework

Austria enjoyed economic stability and increasing prosperity after 1945. The most significant recent economic and political developments resulted from Austria's joining the European Union (1995) and adopting the EU's Euro as its official currency, in 2000 for banking and paper transactions, and for all trade and purchasing in 2002.

The three largest newspapers, Neue Kronen Zeitung, Kurier, and Kleine Zeitung and Oberösterreichische Nachrichten were all tabloids, measuring approximately 9 by 12 inches and costing 9 or 10 schillings (US$.70 to US$.80). The quality papers read by the better educated and more affluent (Die Presse, Der Standard, and Salzburger Nachrichten) were about equal in size of reader-ship and larger in format: about 12 by 18 inches. Die Presse cost the same price as the tabloids, while Salzburger Nachrichten and Der Standard cost about US$1.00 per issue. These three papers were distributed nationally by subscription, with a combined circulation of 321,000, or about 11.3 percent of the total national circulation of daily newspapers. Kleine Zeitung also touted that 93 percent of its copies were sold by subscription. The average monthly subscription in 2000 for six days of postal delivery cost around US$17.50, but the quality papers Die Presse and Der Standard cost about US$26 per month. Newspapers might be purchased as single copies at state-controlled tobacco shops or kiosks or subscribers might pick up their copies there, an arrangement that cost less than home delivery. The financial daily, Wirtschaftsblatt, which cost about US$1.50 per issue, was the most expensive of all.

Neue Kronen Zeitung , Kurier, and Kleine Zeitung dominated Sunday sales, since regional dailies and Presse and Standard did not publish on Sundays. The Wiener Zeitung did not publish Saturdays or Sundays and was available by subscription only. Many papers charged higher daily prices Wednesday through Saturday or on weekends.

Austria's Österreichische Auflagen Kontrolle (Circulation Control, ÖAK,) was founded in 1994 to verify circulation counts for advertisers. In 2000 the ÖAK revised the way newspaper circulation was calculated and the Neue Kronen Zeitung and Kurier participated in the count for the first time. According to the revised definition, papers were evaluated by the number sold on week-days during the third quarter of 2000. The findings indicated that Neue Kronen Zeitung sold the most with 874,442 copies reflecting 43.4 percent of the market.

In the mid-range of distribution was Die Presse (76,216 copies, 5.4 percent). The smallest distribution registered was for Neue Vorarlberger Tageszeitung (7,426 copies, 0.8 percent) (VÖZ-Jahrbuch Presse 2001Dokumentationen, Analysen, Fakten , November 2001). Two small papers, whose circulation was estimated at 20,000-25,000, did not participate in the official circulation count: Neue Kärntner Tageszeitung (Klagenfurt) with a reach of 1.2 percent, and Neues Volksblatt (Linz).

Sources estimated that the Neue Vorarlberger Tageszeitung sold fewer than 10,000 copies. In the 10,000 to 25,000 circulation range there were two papers: Salzburger Volkszeitung and the Wiener Zeitung, which specialized for decades in government announcements and advertising. Wirtschaftsblatt, financial information from the Viennese stock exchange, was the only daily in the 25,000 to 50,000 bracket. Five newspapers sold between 50,000 and 100,000 copies: the two large format Viennese quality papers Der Standard and Die Presse, and Tiroler Tageszeitung, Salzburger Nachrichten, andVorarlberger Nachrichten. Some 100 to 500 copies were sold daily by the Oberösterreichische Nachrichten, Kurier, and Kleine Zeitung. Only the Neue Kronen Zeitung sold over 500 copies per day.

The economic framework of Austrian newspaper publishing in 2002 had been shaped by a series of mergers and the advent of foreign media conglomerates during the 1980s and 1990s. Germany's Westdeutsche allgemeine Zeitung publishing group (WAZ) entered the Austrian market in November 1987, purchasing 45 percent of Kronen Zeitung and increased its share to 50 percent in 1993. With a print run of nearly 2 million per day and a 43 percent share of the market, Krone dominated thescene. Westdeutsche allgemeine Zeitung purchased 45 percent of Krone 's closest rival, Kurier, in 1988 and increased its share to 49 percent in 1993. By 1992 Krone and Kurier were also publishing regional editions for the provinces. Austrian media analysts referred to this concentration of media power in German hands as KroKu-WAZ, an acronym blending Krone, Kurier, and Westdeutsche allgemeine Zeitung. In 1988 WAZ founded a company called Mediaprint, which managed and distributed these two major dailies, as well as the Socialists' smaller Kärntner Tageszeitung. The group bought a 74 percent share in the Viennese publisher Vorwärts, where the heavily indebted Arbeiter Zeitung was printed. That old Socialist daily was forced to cease in 1991. In 2002 Mediaprint employed a workforce of 3,500, and its papers reached over half of all Austrian newspaper readers.

Another major German player in the Austrian media market was Oscar Bronner, of Germany's Springer publishing group. In the 1960s he launched two weekly magazines, Profil and Trend. In 1988 he initiated theStandard, in which Germany's Süddeutsche Zeitung also owned a share. That paper originally reported on political and business news on days when the Viennese stock exchange was open, but soon it expanded to cover culture and sports as well. In 1989 the Springer Company bought a half share in the Tiroler Tageszeitung. Mediaprint (WAZ) launched a price war against Tiroler Tageszeitung in 1999, reducing subscription prices to its papers Krone and Kurier in Tyrol by nearly one half, to just $13 per month. At the same time, Mediaprint raised its prices in Vienna, Niederösterreich, and Burgenland by 7.2 percent. The Tiroler Tageszeitung complained to the courts, which ordered Mediaprint to cease taking advantage of its dominant market position.

These media conglomerates competed in distribution as well as advertising and subscription sales. In the mid 1990s the left-liberal Standard sued Mediaprint for refusing to distribute its paper, while still distributing other newspapers not owned by Mediaprint (Wirtschaftsblatt ), but Standard lost the suit. In addition to the very common distribution via subscription or kiosk sales, the Neue Kronen Zeitung and Kurier sold papers by hawking them on the streets, in cafes, and in traffic during rush hours.

Daily newspapers attracted about 30 percent of all the money spent on advertising in Austria, with another 23 percent going to television and 8 percent to radio. Weeklies and other magazines accounted for an additional 23 percent of money spent on advertising. In the 1990s revenues from advertising accounted for over half the revenues of newspaper publishers, becoming more lucrative than newspaper sales. At the same time, papers needed to continue to attract a readership interested in and capable of purchasing the products advertised. Thus the better-educated, more affluent consumer was the newspaper publisher's target audience. In 2000 Austrian advertisers spent $2.24 billion, of which $1.257 billion, or 54 percent, went to print media. Fifty-two per cent of print advertising went to daily newspapers, and 48 percent to magazines.

Like newspaper sales, advertising revenues were concentrated at the top of the circulation pyramid, with Mediaprint's Kronen Zeitung and Kurier attracting about two thirds of all advertising revenues, leaving a much smaller share for lesser competitors. Regional papers struggled to support themselves through small classified ads, regional advertising, and sales. Through the 1980s newspapers lost advertising revenue to television and radio, where advertising on Sundays and holidays became legal. In 2002 the Mediaprint papers and large regional dailies Kleine Zeitung, Oberösterreichische Nachrichten, Salzburger NachrichtenTiroler Tageszeitung, and Vorarlberger Nachrichten, all turned a profit.

Until 2002, newspapers received preferential postal rates, which accounted for only 17 percent of the true cost of mailing publications; however, this cost affected more weeklies than daily newspapers, which were often bought at kiosks or tobacco shops. Regional newspapers in rural areas were most dependent on the postal delivery system. Despite objections by the Association of Austrian Newspapers, postal rates were raised in two stages, effective January 1, 2002 and January 1, 2003. When the transition was to be complete, rates for mailings up to sixty grams would have risen 282 percent over 2001, and rates for mailings heavier than 100 grams would have risen 157 percent. Saturday postage rates would have increased at an even higher rate. In 2001 the former rivals Standard and Presse began a common home delivery system to residents of Vienna, Niederösterreich, and northern Burgenland. However, home delivery by the publisher was the most expensive method of distribution.

In 1985 Die Presse was the first Austrian paper to use an all-electronic editing format. Der Standard made the leap to on-line publishing in February 1995, followed in September by Vorarlberger Nachrichten. That paper began four-color printing in 1994, and Täglich Alles began printing in four-color intaglio in 1992. In 1995 the Tiroler Tageszeitung opened a modern four-color printing plant as well. By 2002, four-color offset printing was the industry standard.

Mediaprint, as the country's largest newspaper publisher, also had the newest printing facilities. In 1989 it purchased 35 percent of one of Austria's largest offset printing firms, Tusch Druck. Its new printing plant in St. Addrä/Lavanttal opened in summer 2002 and employed 180 workers. It printed a total of 300,000 copies of its two major dailies, Krone and Kurier, and the entire print run of the Kärntner Tageszeitung.

The two largest suppliers of newsprint were Steyrermühl (in 2002 part of UPM Kymmene), and Bruck/Norske Skog, part of a Norwegian paper producer, the second largest in Europe. Norske Skog, located in Graz, produced 120,000 metric tons of newsprint a year, while Steyrermühl, located in the town of the same name in Upper Austria, produced 480,000 metric tons of news-print and uncoated magazine paper. Each year a group within the Association of Austrian Newspapers would negotiate a general agreement with these two producers, and then individual publishers would negotiate the details. There was no shortage of newsprint in Austria, but price increases in the double digits appeared in 2001. About three-fourths of the paper and cardboard produced in Austria was exported.

Press Laws

The Austrian constitution guarantees freedom of the press, and there is no state censorship of the media. A Media Act of 198l guaranteed objective and impartial reporting, ensured the independence of journalists and broadcasters, and required all media to disclose their ownership. The Media Act also protected individuals from invasion of their privacy, slander, libel, and defamation of character. Anyone who believed these guarantees have been violated had recourse to the Austrian Press Council, an independent watchdog agency founded in 1961 by the Association of Austrian Newspapers and the Austrian Journalists Union. The Austrian Press Council also represented interests of the press, radio, and television in negotiations with government agencies. The Media Act was amended in 1993 to require media to present opposing viewpoints and to offer citizens the right of rebuttal.

In the early 2000s, all newspapers, regardless of size, ownership, or general financial condition, received a general press subsidy, under an arrangement which originated in the mid 1970s. Beginning in 1973, Austrian newspapers were subject to a value added tax at a reduced rate of 10 percent. After complaints by the newspaper editors and publishers association, state subsidies for newspapers and magazines were introduced in 1975 in order to ensure the survival of a broad spectrum of public opinion. While the existence of such government subsidies might reduce press criticism of the state, a governing committee of representatives of the chancellor's office, the journalists' trade union, and the Association of Austrian Newspapers ensured that such pressure did not apply. In 2001 the country spent about $64 million on general newspaper subsidies awarded to the 16 dailies then in existence. Larger newspapers received more funding, so the subsidy did not effectively promote the publication of smaller papers or a broader range of viewpoints. Effective in the early 2000s, Austria could not refuse the general press subsidy to newspapers dominated by foreign ownership because doing so is prohibited by the European Union.

A Press Promotion Law of 1985 defined recipients of a second, special press subsidy (amounting to more than the general subsidy) as "daily newspapers of particular importance for the formation of public opinion which do not have any dominant market position." To qualify for special press subsidies, a paper had to reach between 1 percent and 15 percent of the population of its province, or a maximum of 5 percent nationwide. Advertising must not amount to more than 22 percent of total pages. In 1993 the press subsidy system was revised and new regulations were put into place to control future mergers in the media industry. In 2001 six papers received special subsidies totaling $80 million, excluding Neue Zeit, which closed, despite having received a special subsidy of $2 million the previous year. The Standard and Salzburger Nachrichten were denied subsidies for exceeding the limit on the proportion of space that could be devoted to advertising three times within the previous five years. The special subsidies awarded amounted to $2.8 for Die Presse, $1.5 million for theKärntner Tageszeitung, around one million apiece for the Neues Volksblatt and the Neue Vorarlberger Tageszeitung, and slightly under one million for the Wirtschafts blatt. Beginning in 1979 subsidies were also awarded for the education and training of journalists, to a total of nearly three-quarters of a million dollars in 1997. Since 1983 further subsidies supported the modernization or construction of new printing plants. Provinces may also subsidize newspapers, in some cases through direct investment, elsewhere through measures such as tax breaks for new printing plants.

Austria did not enact major anti-trust legislation until 1993, believing that media consolidation strengthened the country's position against outside competition. But the large role played by Westdeutsche allgemeine Zeitung and other foreign owners stimulated a change of philosophy. Those media conglomerates already in existence, however, such as Mediaprint, were not obliged to diversify. Wiener Zeitung lost its monopoly on federal government announcements and advertising in 1996 because the monopoly violated regulations of the European Union, which Austria had joined a year earlier. Formerly owned by a department of Austria's State Printers, it became independent in 1997.

In January 2001 a legal decision based on Austrian cartel law defined the media market in such a way as to find no violation in the concentration of ownership in weekly news publications. Yet discussions about the necessity of examining the joint impact of print, radio, and television and of reforming cartel law and breaking up existing conglomerates rather than merely forbidding new mergers have surfaced in the Austrian media.

The Association of Austrian Newspapers (which in 2002 maintained a Web site at often lobbied the federal government on matters affecting the media. In 2001 the organization urged repeal of a law requiring that advertisements to be subject to a special tax, which could range as high as 30 percent. Austrian firms could advertise their products and services in foreign media without paying the special tax. This policy, unique to Austria, placed the country at a disadvantage in attracting advertising in the international market.

Austria also regulated the content and nature of advertising, which had to be identified as such, not masked as advice or commentary. Advertisers had to be able to prove the truth of statements made about their products. Newspapers could refuse to publish certain advertisements or newspaper inserts without stating any cause. Austrian law prohibited advertising directed at children from attempting to persuade them that the possession or enjoyment of certain products is a goal in and of itself and warned that parents should not be portrayed as negligent nor children as inferior if they do not own or buy certain products. Violence in advertising was forbidden. The dignity of women should be respected in advertising, and women should not be portrayed as incompetent in using technology or driving, for example, or shown predominantly as housewives or lower-ranking employees.


Austria had several federal laws which guaranteed freedom of expression and prohibited censorship, particularly a 1981 federal law on the press and other journalistic media. This law required all media to disclose their ownership and stipulated that confiscation or withdrawal from publication could occur only after a court order. Broadcasting must be objective and must represent a diversity of opinion. Private citizens were protected from libel, slander, defamation, or ridicule in the media.

All major media groups subscribed to Ehrenkodex für die österreichische Presse (the code of ethics of the Austrian press). It stated that readers must be able to differentiate between factual reporting and editorial commentary. Journalists should not be subject to external influences, whether personal or financial. The economic interests of the publisher should not influence content to the point of falsifying or suppressing information. Racial or religious discrimination was not permissible, nor was the denigration or mockery of any religious teaching by recognized churches or religious communities. The intimate sphere of public figures had to be respected, especially where children were concerned. Protection of the individual's rights must be carefully weighed against public interest, which might mean exposure of serious crimes or risks to public security or public health. Photographs of the intimate sphere of public figures could only be published if the public interest outweighed voyeurism. Retouched photographs or photo montages should be identified as such. Travel and tourism reports should mention the social and political background of the region, for example serious human rights violations. Reporting on automobiles should contain energy consumption and environmental information. Moreover, courtroom television, live radio broadcasts, and photography of court proceedings were prohibited. Journalists who quoted pre-trial court proceedings could be punished with up to six months in prison.

Violations of this code of ethics were brought before the Austrian Press Council for deliberation. It represented the press within federal government bodies, ensured press freedom, and watched over citizen complaints. While the Press Council lacked legal means to enforce its decisions, it was generally respected by over 100 print media who subscribed to its code of ethics. In 2001 the Austrian Press Council debated 35 violations of the code of ethics, many concerned with the publication of sensational or gruesome photographs. Other cases concerned failure to disclose conflicting financial interests, inappropriate portrayal of public figures, and unfair coverage of a political party. The Council's sanctions were limited to requiring offenders to publish apologies or rebuttals; it had no authority to impose legal penalties or financial settlements. Its jurisdiction was limited to the content of print media and excluded their business dealings such as attempts to recruit readers. Furthermore, it had no authority over online publications.

State-Press Relations

After World War II, Austrian media policy aimed to establish strong national media, with interlocking interests represented in newspaper publishing, the state monopoly radio system, and the Austrian Press Agency. The arrival of German groups, such as the Westdeutsche allgemeine Zeitung, stimulated calls for revisions of media policy, yet Austrian cartel law functioned to protect those conglomerates already in power, such as Mediaprint, and as of 2002 no breakup had occurred. Two years before Austria joined the European Union, the European Court for Human Rights condemned Austria's radio monopoly, ORF. Further impetus toward action came from the need for a legal framework governing the development and use of the Internet as a broadcast medium. While private radio and television existed in Austria in 2002, it did not yet rival the formidable public network. Overall, the thrust of media policy had been to use federal funds to subsidize newspapers, magazines, printing plants, and even the education and training of journalists, rather than to dismantle the media conglomerates and promote stronger competition to diversify Austria's print and broadcast media.

In the early 2000s, protection of the freedom of information attracted greater attention. The Austrian Press Council watched over infringements against freedom of the press or the right to know, which it saw as threatened by military and police security, particularly in the wake of terrorist attacks on the United States in September 2001.

Attitude toward Foreign Media

In the early 2000s, foreign journalists were welcome in Austria and did not need special permission to gather news in the country. Foreign news agencies such as the Associated Press, Reuters, Agence France-Presse, TASS, and the German news agency had headquarters in Vienna. Foreign newspapers were available in the major cities, and foreign radio broadcasts and television stations might be received wherever the country's terrain made reception feasible.

News Agencies

The Austrian Press Agency (APA) founded in 1946 was, as of 2002, the country's leading organization of journalists and reporters and the largest source of information about Austria. The country's national radio broadcast monopoly was its largest shareholder. It maintained correspondents in each of the provincial capitals and at European Union headquarters in Brussels. All of Austria's major newspapers and the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation (ORF) were represented in its governance structures.

As of 2002, it produced over 180,000 news reports annually, covering domestic and foreign affairs, economics, culture, science, education, and sports. It also supplied photographs and graphics for print or on-line media. Its services included data banks, content management, information technology, multi-media services, financial reports, and an original text service, which enabled public relations agencies or offices to send press releases directly into the APA system. It published a financial monitor with news of the Vienna stock exchange. In 2001 its reports were circulated to 37 news agencies, 281 daily papers, 48 weeklies, 171 radio and television broadcasters, and 100 press offices. Its headquarters in Vienna housed the International Press Center, and the agency maintained an important Web site:

Vienna was also home to the Concordia Press Club, founded in 1859, a professional organization of reporters, editors, and publishers. Concordia gave prestigious annual awards each May for human rights and freedom of the press ( The Austrian Journalists Club (, Concordia, and the Austrian Press Agency were all headquartered in Vienna.

Broadcast Media

Austrian radio began in 1924 with the establishment of Österreichische Radioverkehr AG (RAVAG) in Vienna, a corporation whose shares (82 percent) were publicly owned and funded by users' fees. Radio advertising began in 1937, as music and art programming gave way to Nazi propaganda. At the end of World War II, the four Allied Powers established the Austrian Radio Corporation (Österreichischer Rundfunk, ORF) for radio broadcasts, and television broadcasts began in 1957. Broadcasting was regulated by the federal government rather than the nine provinces, and it was overseen by the Österreichische Rundfunk Gesellschaf t, where proportional representation from several constituencies was intended to ensure fair use of the airwaves. The late 1960s saw new provisions for public citizens to broadcast counter statements if they felt they had been misrepresented on the air. Subsequent statutes also guaranteed journalistic freedom and objective reporting. In 1967 ORF became politically and economically independent. These provisions for its independence were extended in 1974 to ensure objectivity, a wider variety of opinion, and fair and balanced programming. By 1970 ORF consisted of three radio networks and two television channels. During the cold war years, Austrian news was eagerly received in Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia, where many people continued to know German. Unlike the overtly political broadcasts that West Germany aimed at the German Democratic Republic during those years, ORF maintained strict neutrality in radio and television news. As of 2002 ORF maintained regional studios in all nine provinces and broadcasts on four networks, as well as to the United States, Africa, Asia, Australia, and the Near East.

Demand for opening the airwaves to private broadcasters began in the 1980s, a campaign led by the Association of Austrian Newspapers, which expected to own and control most private facilities. Media politics became a hotly debated topic in national elections, and disagreements between the Austrian Socialist Party and the Austrian People's Party over the ownership of frequencies delayed diversification for a decade. Private radio stations did not begin broadcasting until 1988, and then only in Styria and Vorarlberg. Regional and local licenses in the remaining provinces were finally granted and private broadcasting on 43 local networks began there in 1998. Antenne Radio, one of the largest private radio networks, broadcasted in Styria, Carinthia, Salzburg, and Vienna but achieved only modest success. Five years after its founding, Antenne Steiermark (Styria) reached just 24 percent of the regional market.

As of 2002, the result of this gradual liberalization process had not brought significant diversification; the most powerful media players remained dominant. In that year and estimated two-thirds of Austrians watched domestic television broadcasts and 80 percent listen to ORF. Private radio reached only around 15 to 25 percent of the market in its own province and attracted chiefly younger listeners, one-third of Austrians between the ages of 14 and 49. Newspaper conglomerates dominated the private airwaves as well as the country's print media. In 1998 a new Viennese radio station, Wiener Antenne Radio began broadcast, with Die Presse owning a 24 percent share, and another large share in the hands of Fellner publishing. Krone Media, Bertelsmann publishing, the Tiroler Tageszeitung, and Vorarlberger Nachrichten were also major players in regional markets. A ruling prohibiting newspapers from holding more than a 26 percent share in a regional radio station or more than a 10 percent share in two others, which must be in different provinces, was lifted in 2001. In that year Neue Kronen Zeitung established a private foundation to own a majority share in Danube Radio Vienna, broadcasting as 92.9 FM Krone Hitradio. Its one dozen stations reached 5.7 million people, making it a strong competitor of Antenne Radio.

ORF held the largest share in the Austrian Press Agency which prevented it from supplying audio news to private radio stations, thus ensuring ORF's virtual monopoly on the dissemination of news. Its first program, Ö1, broadcasts news headlines three times a day, with longer broadcasts in the evening. The remaining three ORF stations broadcasted a mix of music, talk shows, and cultural reports.

In 1988 ORF, Swiss public television, and Germany's Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen (its second public television channel) joined forces to offer satellite programming for the three German-speaking countries. About 41 percent of Austrian households had satellite television and received about a dozen foreign channels. The most popular were Germany's public television networks Allgemeine Rundfunk Deutschlands (ARD) and Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen (ZDF). Cable television viewers preferred SAT, Pro Sieben, and RTL. Two-thirds received CNN and about one-third received Euronews. Border areas closest to Germany, Switzerland, and Italy also received foreign radio broadcasts, although Austria's mountainous landscape made transmission difficult in some locations.

Each state studio of ORF local television broadcasted a half-hour local news program Mondays through Fridays and headlines as much as five times a day. News and politics consumed about 16-18 percent of television broadcast time, but only about 17-19 percent of television viewers watch the news.

Austria's print and broadcast media often shared journalists and collaborated in formulating media policy. In 1985, for example, ORF and VÖZ agreed to the expansion of radio and television advertising into Sundays and holidays, with the proviso that ORF renounce future broadcasts of regional advertising in local television markets. Another agreement in effect from 1987 to 1995 provided for local daily and weekly newspapers to establish private regional radio pilot programs under the aegis of ORF. This maneuver effectively excluded entities other than newspapers from access to radio.

The Association of Austrian Newspapers generally succeeded in insisting that ORF should be funded by user fees rather than advertising, which accounted for about 42 percent of its revenues in the early 2000s. ORF was also prohibited from airing advertising of a regional nature. ORF's four broadcast networks reached 75.9 percent of possible listeners in Austria (5.3 million people), and private radio served only about 22.8 percent, or 1.6 million. In April 2001 Austria established a new regulatory authority for radio, KommAustria, with jurisdiction over the distribution of private television broadcast licenses and the responsibility to watch over the increasingly interwoven telecommunications networks.

Electronic News Media

Austria was relatively late in developing widespread Internet access, in part because of high telephone rates from the provinces for long-distance calls to Internet service providers. Austria's first Internet sites were produced by universities. Media Analyse, an Austrian monitoring agency, found that in 1999 some 7.4 percent of Austrians had used the Internet on the day preceding their survey, just under a half million people. Computers were still not ubiquitous in Austrian schools, nor were information literacy skills part of the general curriculum. In Vienna, teletext access was also available through cable television for about 220,000 subscribers.

Through the mid 1990s all Austrian dailies established Web sites on the Internet. Der Standard, the first Austrian newspaper to appear online, was still ranked first as of 2002, with over 280,000 hits daily. Several regional papers followed the lead of Vorarlberger Nachrichten, which offered regional news via Internet beginning in September 1995. In 2002 Der Standard and the weekly Falte r offered Vienna online, Oberöster reichische Nachrichten covered Upper Austrian regional news, and the Kleine Zeitung published Styria and Carinthia online. The Austrian Press Agency supported and assisted these electronic developments.

In 2001 the Association of Austrian Newspapers demanded protection of intellectual property of journalists and reports because electronic news digests supplied headline news on line without crediting the sources and thereby reduced demand for printed papers.

Education & TRAINING

The universities of Vienna and Salzburg had departments of communication and journalism where students could earn a master's degree or a doctorate. (Austria had no real equivalent of the American baccalaureate degree). The University of Salzburg's Institute for Communication Science also prepared an annual report on the state of journalism in Austria. Kuratorium für Journalis tenausbildung (the Board of Trustees for Journalist Training), founded in 1979, was also located in Salzburg and Vienna. Journalists might be admitted to its Journalisten Kolleg (educational programs) after passing an examination; no particular academic degree was required. It offered 12-week training seminars spread over a 9-month period, covering such topics as electronic media, online publishing, interview techniques, and press law.

Until 2001, journalists were represented through the Union for Art, Media, and Freelance Work, Journalists Section, headquartered in Vienna. In June 2001, some 97.2 percent of Austria's 3,651 unionized journalists voted to separate from that labor union and establish their own media union together with printers. Afterward, they were represented by the Print and Paper Union, Journalists Section. In general Austrian employers and employees viewed themselves as social partners cooperating to reach common goals without labor disputes that would disrupt production. Thus, as of the early 2000s, Austria's postwar media history was free of major strikes.


Austria's remaining 15 daily newspapers might, as of 2002, face further shrinkage in coming years. Particularly the small dailies, such as Neue Vorarlberger Tageszeitungand the Neue Kärntner Tageszeitung, might be more dependent on the special press subsidy or might become vulnerable to bankruptcy as they face increasing competition for advertising revenues, rising newsprint costs, and higher postage rates which become effective in 2003. Austria's strong system of public transportation would continue to support newspaper readership; in contrast to Americans who commute to work by car, Austrians travel by train, subway, or streetcar, past kiosks where they can buy a daily paper and in vehicles where they can read instead of drive.

Print media appeared subject to change only through economic concerns; an examination of the membership of organizations such as the Association of Austrian Newspapers, the Austrian Press Agency, or the Board of Trustees for Journalists' Training revealed very few women or minorities. Journalism and its leadership appeared to be securely in the hands of the interlocking hierarchies of government, Catholicism, and the established business community.

Significant Dates

  • 1988: WAZ acquires a 45 percent share in Krone and Kurier, founds Mediaprint to handle the joint printing, distribution, and advertising sales of its papers.
  • 1987-1991: this year marks the end of political party-owned newspapers Arbeiter Zeitung and Volksstim me (KPÖ).
  • 1988: Der Standard is launched.
  • 1992: Täglich Alles is launched by Kurt Falk in four-color intaglio.
  • 1994: Vorarlberger Nachrichten is first traditional Austrian newspaper to print in four colors.
  • 1995: Der Standard is first online newspaper in the German language in the world.
  • 1995: Wirtschaftsblatt is launched with an initial run of 58,000 copies.
  • 1996: Wiener Zeitung loses its monopoly on the publication of government announcements and job postings.
  • 2000: Täglich Alles ceases print publication but is still available online.
  • 2001: Neue Zeit ceases publication.


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Helen H. Frink

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Republic of Austria

Republik Österreich



Austria is a landlocked country situated in southern Central Europe. Slightly smaller than Maine, it occupies a territory of approximately 84,000 square kilometers (32,000 square miles), which includes much of the mountainous territory of the eastern Alps and the Danube region. From east to west, Austria stretches to 580 kilometers (360 miles) and 294 kilometers (183 miles) from south to north. In total, the country has 2,708 kilometers (1,682 miles) of borders. It shares borders with 8 European countries: Germany (820 kilometers), the Czech Republic (469 kilometers), Italy (430 kilometers), Slovenia (330 kilometers), Hungary (354 kilometers), Switzerland (167 kilometers), Slovakia (103 kilometers), and Liechtenstein (35 kilometers).

Austria is a federal state comprised of 9 provinces: Burgenland, Carinthia, Lower Austria, Salzburg, Styria, Tyrol, Upper Austria, Vorarlberg, and Vienna. The major cities of Austria and their populations are Vienna (1.64 million), Graz (237,810), Linz (203,044), Salzburg (143,978) and Innsbruck (118,112).

Austria has always been a junction for communication, trade, and cultural exchange in Europe. The capital, Vienna, located on both banks of the Danube River, in the northeast of the country near Slovakia and Hungary, was once the political and economic center of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (1867-1918). It is now the headquarters to some of world's most important organizations, such as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). Other international organizations based in Vienna include the Organization for Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its Fund for International Development and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA).


Austria has a population of 8,139,299 (July 2000 est.). The country is highly urbanized and densely populated, with 651 people per square kilometer (251 per square mile). Nearly two-thirds of the people live in urban areas. About 4.0 million are male and 4.2 million (51.5 percent) are female. Due to improved health conditions and a low birthrate, Austria has experienced the rapid growth of its elderly population. Average life expectancy for those born in 2000 was 73.9 year for males and 80.2 years for females. About 21 percent of the population was under 18 years old. If current trends continue, by 2030, the number of children under 18 will drop to only 17 percent. The fertility rate is an estimated 9.9 per 1,000 people, and infant mortality is 6.7 per 1,000 live births. An estimated 99 percent of Austrians age 15 and older can read and write, and there is 1 teacher for every 11 pupils.


Approximately 98 percent of the population is German. The remainder of the population is divided among a number of ethnic groups, including the Neo-Latins, Slavs, Magyars, Croats, Hungarians, Romany, Sinti, Czechs, and Slovaks. Burgenland province is home to a number of Croats and Hungarians. The majority of Austrian Slovenes live in the Gail, Rosen, and Jaun valleys of southern Carinthia and in some villages in the southern part of Styria. Romany and Sinti live mostly in Burgenland and to some extent in Vienna. Many Czechs and Slovaks also reside in Vienna and in Lower Austria, particularly in the Marchfeld and Tullnerfeld regions. The country receives refugees from a variety of nationalities, many of whom are from the former Yugoslavia.


Roman Catholics constitute 78 percent of the Austrian population; a further 5 percent are Protestant, and most of them belong to the Augsburg confession. About 4.5 percent of the population belongs to various other religious groups, while another 9 percent are nondenominational, and the remaining 3.5 percent of the people do not belong to any religion. Every young person over the age of 14 can freely choose his or her religion according to Austrian law. Religious education in Austrian schools is not restricted to the Roman Catholic confession, but most schools are Roman Catholic.


Austria has a small, yet open, economy with exports of goods and services accounting for 47 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP). In the past 2 decades Austria has enjoyed higher economic growth and lower unemployment than many European countries. The recession in the early 1990s led to a downward trend in annual GDP growth, from 4.2 percent in 1990 to 0.4 percent in 1994. Since 1995, however, due to positive merchandise export and investment activities brought about by membership in the European Union, the economy has experienced fairly constant growth, with annual GDP growth rates for 1998, 1999, and 2000 of 3.3 percent, 2.8 percent, and 2.7 percent respectively.

The country has a strong economic infrastructure with well developed industry, banking, transportation, services, and commercial facilities. Most of Austria's industrial and commercial enterprises are small. However, there are a number of large industrial enterprises employing thousands of people, mainly in iron and steel works and chemical plants. Overall, industry accounted for an estimated 32 percent of gross domestic product in 1998, with an average growth rate of nearly 3 percent. Though forming a relatively small component of the GDP1.3 percent in 1998agriculture also plays a vital role in Austria. Austrian farmers provide about 80 percent of the domestic food requirements of the country and contribute to export earnings with processed food items. Farms in Austria, like those of other mountainous European countries, are small and fragmented, with production being relatively expensive. Since Austria became a member of the EU in 1995, its agricultural sector has been undergoing reforms to comply with the EU's common agricultural policy.

Export growth was very strong during 2000. Trade with other EU countries accounts for nearly two-thirds of Austria's total imports and exports. Approximately 35 percent of the total exports went to Germany and 10 percent went to Italy. Austria's location is of immense importance for its economic growth. Vienna is one of three capitals forming a strategic Central European triangle. Slovakia's capital, Bratislava, and Hungary's capital, Budapest, are within short distances to Vienna. Expanding trade and investment in the emerging markets of Central and Eastern Europe continues to be a major element of Austrian economic activity. Exports to that region increased significantly since 1989, reaching an estimated 17 percent of Austrian exports by 1998. Austrian firms have sizable investments inand continue to move labor-intensive, low-tech production tothe region. Although the Austrian government and businesses support the European Union's plans to offer membership to several East European countries, they insist that the candidates meet EU economic standards before accession. They have also favored a transition period for the free movement of labor and services to prevent severe competition in the Austrian labor market during accession.

For many years, the government and its state-owned industries played a primary role in the Austrian economy. Many of the country's largest firms were nationalized after World War II to protect them from Soviet takeover as war reparations. These included all oil production and refining, the largest commercial banks, and the principal companies in river and air transportation, railroad equipment, electric machinery and appliances, mining, iron, steel, and chemical manufacturing, and natural gas and electric power production. Although the government retains substantial control over the economy, many of these enterprises were privatized in the 1980s and 1990s. Through privatization efforts including the 1996-1998 budget consolidation programs and austerity measures, Austria brought its total public sector deficit down to 2.1 percent of GDP in 1999 and public debt to 63.1 percent of GDP in 1998. After the formation of a new government in February 2000, Austria promoted further economic liberalization , privatization, reform of the welfare system, and abolition of the system of political patronage (where those in political power protect and support certain businesses). An opinion poll published at the end of May 2000 showed that 43 percent of Austrians were in favor of these reforms, and 23 percent were against.

Membership in the EU has brought economic benefits and challenges. An influx of foreign investors, for example, have been attracted by Austria's access to the single European market. Austria also has made progress in increasing its international competitiveness. Since Austria is a member of the European Monetary Union (EMU), its economy is closely integrated with other EU member countries, especially Germany. Although economists have generally agreed that the economic effects of the EMU on Austria, such as the use of a common currency, have been and will be positive, support for the EU in late-2000 fell to an all-time low. According to a poll by the national newspaper Die Presse, on 27 October 2000, only 34 percent of Austrians thought that their country has benefited from EU membership; the figure was 45 percent in autumn of 1999. Some Austrians have asked for their country's complete withdrawal from the EU. It is not likely that such initiatives will get very far, however, with the Austrian chancellor having attacked the idea of withdrawal as a "betrayal of the European idea."


Austria has a well-developed market economy and a federal republic form of government; the state has historically played a large role in the economy, though that role decreased dramatically at the end of the 20th century. Governed by 2 major parties, the Social Democrats (SPO) and the conservative People's Party (OVP), Austria has enjoyed political stability and economic growth since 1945. The SPO, which garnered 33 percent of the votes in the 1999 national legislative elections, traditionally draws its constituency and much of its strength from the urban and industrial areas. In the past, the SPO has advocated heavy state involvement in strategic industries, the extension of social security benefits, and a full-employment policy. In the mid-1980s, the party shifted more toward the advocacy of free market economics and the balancing of the federal budget. The OVP's traditional constituency has been among farmers, large and small businesses, and lay Catholic groups. Its center of strength is rural Austria. The OVP has also advocated conservative financial policies and privatization of previously nationalized industries. The OVP received 27 percent of the votes in the 1999 election.

The major opposition to both parties during the late 1990s and early 2000s elections was the populist right-of-center Freedom Movement Party, headed by the controversial Jörg Haider, characterized as an ultranationalist (one who supports the nation at any cost), and a xenophobe (one who fears foreigners). Haider made several strong remarks praising Nazi policies. The rise of the Freedom Movement Partyfrom 5 percent of the votes in the 1983 election to 27 percent in 1999was credited to voters who were disappointed by the employment opportunities in Austria. A system known as Proporz, supported by the ruling parties, distributed most top jobs in state business and public service to members of those parties. After the fall of the Iron Curtain in November 1989, when the U.S.S.R. started to loosen its control on the borders of its Eastern satellites, cheap and skilled labor came into Austria from Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Slovenia. Many Austrian workers lost their jobs to the immigrants who were willing to work for lower pay and fewer benefits. In addition, many farmers were dissatisfied over the EU agrarian policy put into place after 1995, which lowered prices for agricultural products. In addition, the lack of professional chances in the civil service and in many other state institutions due to the EU budget criteria aroused the dissatisfaction of many young people who were seeking traditionally secure government jobs. Haider's Freedom Movement Party, which was against immigration and interference from the European Union, won increasing support.

In February 2000 the conservative People's Party, which wanted to establish an effective and legitimate government that would enjoy the support of Parliament, formed a coalition with the Freedom Party. Nearly 54 percent of the electorate voted for the new federal government. The European Union condemned Austria's new coalition, froze diplomatic contacts, and imposed sanctions , accusing Haider of being a racist, xenophobe, and Nazi sympathizer. Austria criticized the European Union for interfering in a democratically elected government. Demonstrations in Austria and throughout Europe followed. Haider did not join the government, and in February 2000 he resigned from the Freedom Movement Party to concentrate on his role as governor of the Carinthia province. In September 2000, the European Union lifted sanctions against Austria. Haider was expected to wield influence from the sidelines, however.

Austria's federal structure of government involves a high degree of decentralization with the executive and legislative functions shared between the Federation (federal government) and the Länder (provinces). The Länder play a significant role in federal legislation, having independent regional legislations which cooperate with the Federation in the execution of the federal legislation. According to the constitution of 1920, the head of the country is the president, who is elected by popular vote every 6 years and who represents Austria in its international relations and serves as commander-in-chief of the armed forces. Thomas Klestil, who was elected on 8 July 1992, was elected to a second term on 19 April 1998, with 63 percent of votes. The president is limited to 2 consecutive terms or a total of 12 years in office. Presidential elections are scheduled for the spring of 2004. The president appoints the head of the government, a federal chancellor, who appoints others to the executive branch. With the chancellor's recommendation, the president appoints the ministers. The president also appoints judges. After 4 February 2000, chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel of the OVP headed Austria's government.

The constitution of Austria provides for a distinct division of power among the executive, the legislative, and the judicial branches of government. Executive authority is vested in the federal government composed of the federal chancellor, a vice-chancellor, and other ministers. Legislative authority is vested in the bicameral (2-chambered) Federal Assembly composed of the Nationalrat (National Council or lower chamber) and the Bundesrat (Federal Council or upper chamber). Legislative authority is concentrated in the 183 members of the Nationalrat who are elected by direct popular vote for 4-year terms according to proportional representation . The Bundesrat consists of 64 members elected by the legislatures of the 9 provinces for 4-or 6-year terms, also according to proportional representation, with each province guaranteed at least 3 representatives. The Bundesrat reviews legislation passed by the Nationalrat and can send legislation back for reconsideration, but the Nationalrat need only pass the legislation a second time to override a veto. Furthermore, the Bundesrat can only initiate legislation by way of the government. The 2 chambers meeting as the Federal Assembly can propose a national referendum, if needed. The highest courts of Austria's independent judiciary are the Constitutional Court, which has jurisdiction over constitutional matters; the Administrative Court, which handles bureaucratic disputes; and the Supreme Court, which deals with civil and criminal cases. All cases initiated in the Administrative and Supreme Courts can be appealed to the Constitutional Court. The president appoints justices of all 3 courts for specific terms.

The federal government is responsible for developing and implementing the domestic and foreign policies of Austria and sets economic policy in consultation with what is known as the social partnership, consisting of the representative bodies of businesses, farmers, and labor. Designed to minimize social unrest, this consensual approach has come under criticism for slowing the pace of economic reforms, particularly in inflexible labor and product markets. With an increasing number of decisions being made at the EU level, the influence of the social partnership has declined significantly. The government no longer has majority ownership in companies such as OMV (oil and gas), Voest (steel and plant engineering) and Elin (electrical machinery and equipment). Subsidy programs have also been scaled back to conform to EU regulations.

In 1997, the government completed an ambitious 10-year privatization program, which included the privatization of steel, aluminum, petroleum, engineering, banking, and other entities. The sale of the Postal Savings Bank and the Austrian Tobacco Company were underway in 2001. Furthermore, the federal railroads were excluded from federal budget accounts, and the newly reorganized Post und Telekom Austria (PTA) (postal and communications company) was divested as a private corporation and was required by law to list its shares on the stock market. Another focus of economic policy was employment creation. Austria has been one of the foremost supporters of the EU's national employment plans, which place strong emphasis on training and education, removal of bureaucratic hurdles, more labor flexibility, and a favorable climate for business start-ups. While some of these plans have been implemented, the government has failed to completely do away with the governing parties' special relationships with business and labor representatives.

The major source of government revenue comes from taxes. The corporate income and capital gains tax rate is 34 percent. A withholding tax of 25 percent applies to dividends, except for those paid to Austrian companies, and interest. A 20 percent tax rate applies to royalties. Only the Austrian-source income of non-resident companies is subject to taxation. When Austria joined the European Union, the government was forced to accelerate structural reforms and to liberalize its economy. Most non- tariff barriers to merchandise trade were removed, and cross-border capital movements were fully liberalized.

The 1996-97 economic program enabled the government to cut the federal deficit to 3.7 percent of gross domestic product in 1996, and to 2.6 percent in 1997. Because of this program, which included tax increases, the share of total taxes in gross domestic product reached a high of 44.8 percent in 1997. In 2000 the government cut taxes. The tax reform was expected to reduce the burden on taxpayers by approximately US$2.2 billion by 2003. These reforms included greater tax privileges for old age, a decrease in marginal tax rates, and an increase in the standard tax credit from US$592 to US$817 per year. These measures will ease the burden on the taxpayer by between US$268 and US$469 a year. About two-thirds of the entire reduction of the tax burden will benefit people earning monthly incomes of less than ATS, 000 (US$1,540). Through these measures, the tax burden on the majority of incomes is expected to be lowered in real terms.

Regarding the taxation of enterprises, the 2000 tax reform package contained 2 new provisions: Interest payments on personal equity will be taken into consideration for taxation purposes, and a tax allowance of US$335,000 will be introduced for inheritance (gift) tax in the case of enterprise transfers. Moreover, the research contribution and apprenticeship allowance will be increased. Private provision for old age will be promoted. In addition, regarding the taxation of capital gains from the disposal of securities, the retention period will be prolonged from 1 year to 2 years.

Relative to the gross domestic product, this tax reform is more comprehensive than the previous ones implemented in 1989 and 1994. The main emphasis of the reform is on easing the tax burden on private consumption. Consumer demand is expected to continue to increase by a cumulative 1.8 percent per year in real terms by 2005. Since direct incentives for investors are extremely modest, investments are not expected to grow significantly. Higher domestic demand, which also results in higher imports, is expected to only modestly contribute to the growth of GDP by 2005. The labor market is thought to be able to absorb another 9,300 employees. Price increases are expected to be insignificant at 0.2 percent.


A distinctive feature of the Austrian energy sector is its diversified sources of supply. In 2000, the total primary energy supply included liquid fuels (38 percent), natural gas (24 percent), hydropower (13 percent), other renewable resources (13 percent) and coal (12 percent). Nuclear power is legally banned, following a referendum on the subject in 1978. The renewable resources share in Austria's energy supply increased from 16 percent in 1973 to 26 percent in 2000. The government plans to completely liberalize the electricity market by 2003. Preparations are also under way to open up the natural gas market.

For decades, the telecommunications industry was a monopoly in Austria, with the state-owned Post and Telecom Austria (PTA) being the only national supplier of networks and telecommunication services. Because of EU liberalization directives, the government enforced legislation to open the telecom and energy sectors to competition. The Austrian telecommunications sector now exhibits much liberalization, though high interconnection fees are still a problem. Austria has a highly developed telecommunications system with 4 million telephones, 27 radio stations, 47 television stations, and 4 satellite

Country Newspapers Radios TV Sets a Cable subscribers a Mobile Phones a Fax Machines a Personal Computers a Internet Hosts b Internet Users b
1996 1997 1998 1998 1998 1998 1998 1999 1999
Austria 296 753 516 139.1 282 N/A 233.4 252.01 1,840
United States 215 2,146 847 244.3 256 78.4 458.6 1,508.77 74,100
Germany 311 948 580 214.5 170 73.1 304.7 173.96 14,400
Hungary 186 689 437 146.5 105 17.7 58.9 93.13 600
aData are from International Telecommunication Union, World Telecommunication Development Report 1999 and are per 1,000 people.
bData are from the Internet Software Consortium ( and are per 10,000 people.
SOURCE: World Bank. World Development Indicators 2000.

ground stations. Radio, television, telephone, and telegraph systems were all state monopolies until the broadcasting system was converted into a joint-stock company in 1957. The Austrian Broadcasting Company operates 3 radio and 2 television stations nationwide. Telephone and telegraph communications are directed by the Austrian postal and telecommunications service. More than 20 daily newspapers are published. Daily newspaper circulation averages more than 3.7 million. Influential dailies include Die Presse (published in Vienna) and Salzburger Nachrichten (published in Salzburg).

Austria has an excellent network of transportation and communication; due to its strategic location and relative political neutrality, Austria has established itself as a broker and an international place of encounter among nations. This role is exemplified by the countless summit meetings and conferences which the country hosts every year. Austria is also anticipating the increasing importance of its transport sector as an essential European communications hub. A factor of the growing importance of the transportation web is the growing European energy transit network (the transport of oil, natural gas and electricity), much of it passing through Austria.

A landlocked and mountainous country, Austria depends on roads and rail passage for a major share of its foreign trade. In the transportation segment, it has 200,000 kilometers (124,000 miles) of roads and 6,028 kilometers (3,744 miles) of railroads, of which about 5,388 kilometers (3,347 miles) are state owned and 640 kilometers (398 miles) privately owned. Furthermore, more than 350 kilometers (217 miles) of inland waterways carry approximately one-fifth of the country's total trade. The main river ports are Linz, Vienna, Salzburg, Graz, Klagenfurt, and Innsbruck. The Danube River, the only navigable waterway with barges carrying up to 1,800 tons, is an important connection between the North Sea, Germany, and the Black Sea. In terms of air connection, Austria has 55 civil airports, 20 with paved runways. The main international airport is Schwechat located in southeast Vienna.

International flights are available from the airports in Graz, Innsbruck, Klagenfurt, Linz, and Salzburg.


Austria is one of the wealthiest and most stable of the EU member countries. It has a free market economy with a strong emphasis on social factors favoring the economically less privileged and providing conditions for equitable wages and pricing. Service, industry, and agriculture are the 3 major sectors of the Austrian economy. The foremost products are foodstuffs, luxury commodities, mechanical engineering, steel, chemicals, and vehicles. Within the vehicle sector, the production of engines and transmissions is the most important, accounting for an export quota of more than 90 percent. Austria manufactures as many as 800,000 engines per year for major car manufacturers. In the electronic engineering field, Austria is known for its production of customized electronics products such as microprocessors and integrated circuits for airbags, ABS braking systems, and components for Airbus airliners and for high-speed trains.

Approximately 3 percent of all Austrians work in agriculture and forestry. In 1998 that sector accounted for 1.3 percent of Austria's gross domestic product. Although about 41 percent of Austria's total area is thought to be suitable for agriculture, currently about 18 percent of the surface area is actually covered by farmland. Another 27 percent of the country's area is considered as grassland and nearly half (47 percent) is woods and forests. With its 20,000 organic farmers, Austria occupies a leading position in Europe in the branch of organic agriculture.

In 1998, Austrian industry (commodities manufacturing, energy, and mining) accounted for 32.4 percent of the GDP and employed 29 percent of the workforce. In the field of raw materials and energy generation, Austria possesses ample resources. It has major deposits of iron ore and non-ferrous metals. It also has its own resources of oil and natural gas and is the EU's number-one generator of hydroelectric power. However, the constant growth of the industrial sector necessitates a significant amount of supplementary imports. This is also true of fuels and energy and of the electricity which generates industry.

There are an unusually high number of medium-size enterprises in Austria's commercial industrial sector. Austrian industry covers practically every branch of manufacturing starting from basic goods to the labor-intensive production of finished goods. Plant construction (encom-passing the planning, delivery, and assembly of industrial facilities) is among the most important industries of the country. Plant construction and electronics sectors are strongly export-oriented. Another export-oriented sector is Austria's handicrafts, famous worldwide for, among other things, costume jewelry, ceramics, and glassware.


The agriculturally productive land of Austria covers 28.1 million hectares (69.5 million acres), or 94 percent of the total area. The provinces having the largest proportion of arable land are in the southern parts of the country. The total value of agricultural exports in 2000 was US$2.85 billion and that of imports was US$4.56 billion. A large amount of agricultural exports go to neighboring Italy.


Austrian farms, like those of other West European mountainous countries, are small and fragmented. Their products are relatively expensive, with an emphasis on cash crops . Although Austrian farmers provide about 80 percent of domestic food requirements of the country, the agricultural contribution to the gross domestic product has declined since 1950. The principal agricultural products are wheat, rye, oats, barley, corn, potatoes, sugar beets, and cattle turnips. Besides these principal crops, other crops of considerable magnitude are: buckwheat, flax, tobacco, fuller's thistle, and cabbage. The principal garden products are kitchen vegetables and fruit, of which large quantities are exported. The best fruit districts are in Upper Austria and Styria. The primary meat products are beef and veal, chicken, duck, game, goose, horse, lamb, pork, rabbit, and turkey. The most valuable agricultural exports in 2000 were non-alcoholic beverages, chocolate products, beef, pastry, and processed fruit. Large quantities of wheat and maize are imported, much of it from neighboring Hungary. Important exports are barley, oats, milk, beef, and pork.


Forests occupy just over one-third of the productive area of Austria or 98,000 square kilometers (38,000 square miles). As much as 85 percent of all Austrian forests are dominated by tall timber, such as oak, pine, beech, ash, elm, and spruce, which are important in the paper and pulp industry and in building construction. In 2000 about 17 million cubic meters (590 million cubic feet) of round wood was cut. A comprehensive reforestation and conservation program has been in progress since the early 1950s to compensate for damage inflicted during WWII and for postwar over-cutting of forest trees. Economic development in 1998 and the opening towards the EU market have also affected forestry. Although the number of employees and production decreased slightly, investments in forestry increased.


The fisheries of Austria are very extensive. The numerous rivers of Austria swarm with a great variety of fish. The lake fisheries are largely developed and employ about 4,000 vessels and over 16,000 fishermen. Fishing for sport in the mountain streams is popular and constitutes a large source of income. However, most table fish are imported.


The essential industries in Austria are construction, machinery, vehicles and parts, food processing, chemicals, lumber and wood processing, paper and paperboard, communications equipment, energy production, and mining. Austria has favorable conditions for industrial activity, including a very well developed infrastructure , a rich source of raw material, and a skilled, moderately expensive labor force . Industrial output in 2000 (including energy production) grew by an estimated 6.8 percent over the previous year. The biggest growth rate, 11.1 percent, was recorded for capital goods , while production of consumer goods expanded by 2.6 percent.


The Austrian manufacturing industry consists of a few large organizations, most of which operate under government control, and a great number of small and medium-size production units. Manufacturing remains focused on medium-technology sectors producing intermediate and capital goods, much of it bound as exports to neighboring Germany. Due to its well-established export markets, the manufacturing sector has a relatively low level of research and development expenditure, at 1.6 percent of gross domestic product in 1999, as compared to the EU average of 1.9 percent. The principal manufacturing products are textiles, metals, alcoholic beverages, leather, paper, sugar, glass, porcelain, earthenware, chemicals, and scientific and musical instruments. Because of the traditional popularity of Austrian wood, glass, textile, and ceramic handicrafts, many establishments produce such goods. The principal industrial products are pig iron, crude steel, rolled steel, motor vehicles, cement, fertilizers, paper, and cotton, woolen, and synthetic yarns and fabrics. Annual production of crude steel totaled about 3.95 million metric tons in 2000. The textile industry in all its branches (cotton, woolen, linen, silk, flax, and hemp) is a historic industry and is mostly concentrated in the southern part of the country.


The annual production of principal minerals in 2000 included lignite coal (1.8 million metric tons), iron ore (1.6 million metric tons), crude oil (1.2 million metric tons), magnetite (1.0 million metric tons), salt (702,000 metric tons), and zinc ore (16,450 metric tons). Other substances commercially mined included copper, lead, antimony, bauxite, tungsten, and natural gas. Austria has numerous hydroelectric installations, which together produce nearly two-thirds of the country's electrical output. More than 51 billion kWh of electricity are generated each year.


Austria has an advanced industrial economy with a significant service sector. The service sector contributes more than 66 percent of the gross domestic product and employs 68 percent of the population. There is a substantial amount of foreign investment in the service sector. Foreign interests control most of the large computer-servicing firms, whereas tourism is in the hands of local interests. Management consultancy has also come to play a larger role in the Austrian economy, especially given Austria's role as a link between Eastern and Western Europe.


Because of its wealth of cultural and recreational facilitiesincluding historical sites and winter and summer resorts in the spectacular mountainsAustria has a large tourism industry, which acts as a major earner of foreign exchange. More than 8 percent of Austrians are employed in the tourism industry. Tourism is based on the services of traditional agriculture in the Alpine region of Austria, where tourists appreciate the cultural landscape safeguarded by farmers. As many as 17,000 farmers annually rent private rooms to holiday-makers. In 1998, this category accounted for about 15 million overnight stays out of the total 111 million overnight stays in Austria. Austria's major cities are also a major attraction, for they boast some of the most impressive architecture in Europe and are known for the quality of their theatre, music, and museum art. According to the World Tourism Organization, Austria had 16.7 million visitors in 1997 and these visitors spent US$12.4 billion in the country. Increasingly, however, Austria has experienced a decline in the numbers of overnight stays due to its high prices compared to Eastern European countries.


The contribution of the financial services sector to gross domestic product amounted to 6.3 percent in 2000. It employed some 110,000 people, or 3.6 percent of the workforce. The sector grew by 4.1 percent per year over the 1996-2000 period. Austrians' propensity to save, at about 25 percent of gross domestic product, has contributed to the success of the financial services. Austria's domestic savings to GDP ratio in 1999, according to the World Bank, was more than Germany's 23 percent or the United States' 15 percent. With about 1,000 banks, Austria has more than twice as many banks as neighboring Switzerland. Central and Eastern Europe comprise one area where Austria's banks have a competitive lead over European rivals. Raiffeisen Zentralbank has 2,500 staff and 80 branches in Central Europe and Bank Austria has 100,000 personal customers in the region. In addition to its presence in Western Europe, Austrian bank exposure abroad is also found in neighboring Hungary and the Czech Republic. Bank Austria has also been active in Russia.


At the turn of the 21st century Austria was undergoing a major shift in the nature of its retail establishments from a system based on small, locally-owned shops to one based on larger franchises and foreign-owned chains. EU membership has brought the entrance of large grocery, clothing, and household goods stores to the country, often driving family-owned businesses out of business. Small shops and boutiques once made up nearly 90 percent of the retail sector, but that number began shrinking in 1995. By 1999 large shopping centers and malls accounted for 12 percent of retail sales, and 33 new malls were in development in 2001. German retail chains represent the dominant foreign presence in the retail sector.

Franchising is a small but growing factor in the Austrian economy. Experts estimate that it accounts for about US$830 million in annual sales or just over 2 percent of total retail sales (compared to almost 50 percent in the United States). Current growth in the franchise market of Austria is around 10 percent annually. About 1 in 3 franchise systems operating in the country is of local origin. The top foreign participant in the Austrian franchising economy is Germany, with around 20 percent of the franchise systems, followed by the United States, with about 5 percent of all the systems.


Austria's economy is dependent on foreign trade and closely linked to the economies of other EU countries, particularly Germany. Austria trades with some 150 countries, with the European Union accounting for about two-thirds of the total. Beside a variety of goods, Austria exports money in the form of investments. It is a major investor in the former Eastern European countries, with some 40 percent of all direct foreign investments in that part of the world coming from Austria. Another important branch of Austria's foreign trade sector is transit trade for goods and services traveling east and west across Europe.

Austrian exporters sold merchandise worth US$65.6 billion in 2000, up from US$62.9 billion in 1999. In 2000, Austria's international trade continued to grow. The trade balance deficit dropped from 8.4 percent to 5.6 percent of the export volume, reaching its lowest level since 1945. The sound economic situation in Central and Eastern Europe, the booming economy in the United States, and the moderate economic development in the European Union, as well as the favorable exchange rate were the main contributing factors. What grew strongest was foreign trade with the Eastern European countries and the United

Trade (expressed in billions of US$): Austria
exports Imports
1975 7.519 9.394
1980 17.489 24.444
1985 17.239 20.986
1990 41.265 49.146
1995 57.642 66.386
1998 62.767 68.277
SOURCE: International Monetary Fund. International Financial Statistics Yearbook 1999.

States. Exports to Eastern Europe rose 23 percent in 2000 and imports 29 percent, while exports to North America increased by about one-third. Exports to the European Union rose 12 percent, while imports grew by 10 percent. Exports to Asia climbed by almost one-fifth in 2000, while those to Latin America showed a modest rise of 9 percent.

EU countries absorb the majority of Austrian exports and provide the majority of imports. In 1999, EU countries purchased 65 percent of Austria's exports, with Germany taking 36 percent, Italy 9 percent, and France 5 percent. Switzerland and Hungary each purchased 5 percent of Austria's exports. In 1999, 70 percent of all imports came from EU countries, with Germany providing 42 percent, Italy 8 percent, and France 5 percent. The United States is Austria's largest non-European trading partner, taking 4.5 percent of Austrian exports and providing 5 percent of its imports. Although the accession of Austria to the European Union has brought stiffer competition from European producers, U.S. exports to Austria increased considerably in the mid to late 1990s. Some U.S. exporters, particularly those in the data processing hardware and semiconductor sectors, are confronted with higher customs tariffs and regulations. Others have benefited from lower EU tariffs.

The EU ban on beef imports from cattle treated with hormones severely restricted U.S. exports of beef to Austria. Despite a World Trade Organization decision that the ban was inconsistent with the rules of international trade, the European Union did not lift the ban. Furthermore, the European Union ruled out the possibility of importing U.S. poultry or products containing poultry. The import of genetically modified foodwhat some Europeans call "Frankenstein food"with the United States being the primary producer, was also banned. Austria went even further than its EU partners: Novartis corn and Monsanto BT corn, for example, which were major genetically modified foods approved by the European Commission, were banned imports in Austria.

Exchange rates: Austria
euros per US$1
Jan 2001 1.0659
2000 1.0854
1999 0.9386
1998 12.379
1997 12.204
1996 10.587
Note: Amounts prior to 1999 are based on Austrian schillings per US dollar.
SOURCE: CIA World Factbook 2001 [ONLINE].


Austria has pursued moderate, stable, long-term fiscal and monetary policies . Throughout the decade, the money supply was constantly growing, as well as Austria's exports, imports, government revenue and spending, gross domestic product, and income. The Austrian currency, the schilling, is strong and convertible. Once called the alpine dollar, the Austrian schilling has become one of the most stable currencies in the world. The Austrian schilling depreciated against the dollar in 1996 and 1997 but was stable against most European currencies. With the decision on the European Monetary Union in place, fluctuations of the schilling against the currencies of the other 10 European Monetary Union participants were minimal during the remainder of 1998. The dollar continued to strengthen against the schilling during the first half of 1998 and 1999 parallel to its rise against the Euro.

In 1999, Austria adopted the euro, the common currency of the European Union, at a fixed conversion rate of ATS13.76 to Euro1. At the same time, Austria surrendered its sovereign power to formulate monetary policy to the European Central Bank (ECB), in line with other EU member states participating in the European Monetary Union. Austria's central bank, the Österreichische National Bank (ANB), is a full participant in the European System of Central Banks. The government successfully met all convergence criteria due to austerity measures implemented in 1996-97 and is pursuing a policy of further reducing the fiscal deficit and the public debt. The ECB's focus on maintaining price stability in formulating exchange rate and monetary policies is viewed by the ANB as a continuation of the hard schilling policy the ANB pursued since 1981. By fixing the Austrian schilling to the German mark, the government successfully kept inflation under control and promoted stable economic growth.


The World Bank ranks Austria seventh in the world in terms of annual per capita income. The annual gross

GDP per Capita (US$)
Country 1975 1980 1985 1990 1998
Austria 18,857 22,200 23,828 27,261 30,869
United States 19,364 21,529 23,200 25,363 29,683
Germany N/A N/A N/A N/A 31,141
Hungary 3,581 4,199 4,637 4,857 4,920
SOURCE: United Nations. Human Development Report 2000; Trends in human development and per capita income.

domestic product per capita is estimated to have surpassed US$30,000 by the late-1990s. Living standards are very high, and due to socialist policies of the federal government, the incidence of poverty is minimal. In 2000, the mean unemployment rate stood at 7.1 percent, and the mean gross monthly income was US$1,922.

There is no legally mandated minimum wage in Austria. Instead, minimum wage scales are set in annual collective bargaining agreements between employers and employee organizations. Workers whose incomes fall below the poverty line are eligible for social welfare benefits. Over half of the workforce works a maximum of about 38.5 hours per week, a result of collective bargaining agreements. The Labor Inspectorate ensures the effective protection of workers by requiring companies to meet Austria's extensive occupational health and safety standards. The Austrian system of social insurance is comprehensive, including sickness, disability, accident, old-age, and unemployment benefits; allowances for families with children; and rent aid. The program is financed by compulsory employer and employee contributions. Health insurance and some other types of insurance are voluntary for individuals who are self-employed. Health conditions and facilities in Austria are considered excellent.

Distribution of Income or Consumption by Percentage Share: Austria
Lowest 10% 4.4
Lowest 20% 10.4
Second 20% 14.8
Third 20% 18.5
Fourth 20% 22.9
Highest 20% 33.3
Highest 10% 19.3
Survey year: 1987
Note: This information refers to income shares by percentiles of the population and is ranked by per capita income.
SOURCE: 2000 World Development Indicators [CD-ROM].
Household Consumption in PPP Terms
Country All Food Clothing and footwear Fuel and power a Health care b Education b Transport & Communications Other
Austria 20 10 11 4 9 9 38
United States 13 9 9 4 6 8 51
Germany 14 6 7 2 10 7 53
Hungary 25 5 17 6 20 12 15
Data represent percentage of consumption in PPP terms.
aExcludes energy used for transport.
bIncludes government and private expenditures.
SOURCE: World Bank. World Development Indicators 2000.


Austria was ranked number-one in the World Competitiveness Report of 1999 for quality of life, providing high-performance infrastructure and rapidly falling telecommunications and energy costs. It also has one of the best records of price stability in the world. Corporate tax rates are one of the lowest among leading industrial nations.

There is a strong labor movement in Austria. The Austrian workforce is 3.7 million, 40 percent being females. About 45 percent of the total Austrian labor force belongs to the 14 unions that make up the Austrian Trade Union Federation. Membership in unions is voluntary, but all wage earners are required by law to join their respective chambers of labor. Guarantees in the Austrian constitution governing freedom of association cover the rights of workers to join unions and engage in union activities. The Austrian Trade Union Federation (OGB) comprises constituent unions with a total membership of about 1.5 million. Since 1945, the OGB has pursued a moderate, consensus-oriented wage policy, cooperating with industry, agriculture, and the government on a broad range of social and economic issues in what is known as Austria's social partnership.

Compared to other EU member states, Austria has the third lowest unemployment rate, with only the Netherlands and Luxembourg providing better job opportunities. (The European Union's average unemployment rate was 8.5 percent by the end of 2000.) In addition, Austria prides herself on having the lowest youth unemployment rate in Europe. In the past, both the federal government and the state governments spent billions of schillings to provide vocational training to those who left school at the end of compulsory education and to help others achieve secondary school qualifications. Now that more companies are willing to take on apprentices, the government has decided to restructure its vocational programs.

At a time of prosperity for the Austrian economy, however, the country received unexpectedly poor ratings from the Union of Industrial and Employers' Confederations of Europe (UNICE). It sharply criticized Austria for underfunding research and development. The organization also pointed out that Austria had far too few highly trained information technology personnel. UNICE expected a shortage of 13,000 qualified information technology workers.


1918. Austro-Hungarian empire collapses at the end of World War I, and the Republic of Austria is formed.

1922. Austria receives a loan from the League of Nations, pledging to remain independent for 20 years.

1930s. Dictatorship of Engelbert Dollfuss occurs.

1934. In February civil war breaks out, and the Socialist Party is outlawed.

1934. A coup d'etat by the National Socialists fails in July, and Dollfuss is assassinated by the Nazis.

1938. Austria is incorporated into Germany's Third Reich.

1945. In April Soviet troops liberate the eastern part of Austria, including Vienna. Austria is divided.

1945. Under the Potsdam agreements, the Soviets take control of German assets in their zone of occupation.

1955. All occupation forces are withdrawn, and Austria becomes free and independent.

1955. The Nationalrat enacts the Federal Constitutional Law, declaring the country's permanent neutrality. Austria becomes a member of the United Nations.

1979. Austria gains a permanent seat in the United Nations.

1972. Austria signs a free trade agreement with the European Community, abolishing all industrial tariffs.

1995. Austria becomes a full member of the European Union, together with Finland and Sweden.

1995. Austria joins NATO's Partnership for Peace program.


Forecasts for economic growth in 2001 have been positive. A double-digit growth rate is expected in industrial output, retail trade has grown by 5 percent, and tourism is booming. Gross domestic product is likely to advance by 3.1 percent rather than the predicted 2.8 percent. Interest rates will rise slightly but remain low. Demand for Austrian goods is up, and this makes for full order books in the country's exporting industries. In addition to increased sales abroad, recent tax breaks are being used by private households for additional consumer spending rather than stocking up their savings accounts. Business confidence is buoyant given the competitive position of Austria's industry, strong foreign investment, and good export opportunities. Inflation is expected to remain lower than the EU average. The challenges that face the Austrian economy in the future will be securing the greatest possible congruence of its economic policy with common EU policies, most notably in the fields of trade, agriculture, regional development, taxation, and monetary policy.

On the agricultural side, Austria's organic farming and food industry may serve as an example to the world as an alternative to genetically modified food and hormone-treated cattle and poultry. With its ban on imports of genetically modified food, mostly produced in North America, and the outbreak of mad cow disease in Europe and foot-and-mouth disease worldwide, the already well-established organic farming of Austria is expected to continue to grow, generating record profits. Austria also faces social challenges of containing its right wing nationalists, as manifested by the ultranationalist Freedom Movement Party, and upholding the rights of thousands of non-ethnic Austrian and non-European immigrants who now compose an increasingly larger part of Austrian society.


Austria has no territories or colonies.


Burtscher, Wolfgang. Austria. <>. Accessed February 2001.

Economist Intelligence Unit. Austria: Country Commerce. London: The Economist Intelligence Unit, 2000.

. Austria: Country Profile, 2000-2001. London: TheEconomist Intelligence Unit, 2001.

. Austria: Country Report, January 2001. London: TheEconomist Intelligence Unit, 2001.

European Union. EuroStat. <>. Accessed February 2001.

Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. Austrian Market Report 1999. <>. Accessed February 2001.

Federal Press Service. Austria: Facts and Figures. Vienna:Federal Press Service, 1993.

International Energy Agency. Energy Policies of IEA Countries: Austria 1998 Review. Paris: OECD, 1998.

International Monetary Fund. World Outlook 2000. <>. Accessed February 2001.

Pacher, Sigurd. "The Economic Development of The SecondRepublic." Austrian Information. <>. Accessed February 2001.

Population Reference Bureau. 2000 World Population Data Sheet. <>. Accessed February 2001.

United States Census Bureau. International Database 2000. <>. Accessed February 2001.

University of Wuerzberg. Austria-Constitution. <>. Accessed February 2001.

Payam Foroughi

Raissa Muhutdinova-Foroughi




Austrian schilling (ATS). One Austrian schilling equals 100 groschen. There are 20, 50, 100, 500, 1,000, and 5,000 schilling notes, and 1, 5, 10, 20, and 50 schilling coins. There are also 10 and 50 groschen coins. In January 1999 Austria introduced the new European currency, the euro, for all electronic transactions. One euro had a fixed rate of 13.7603 Austrian schillings. It is planned that by 2002, euro bills and coins will replace the currencies in all European Union (EU) countries, including Austria.


Machinery and equipment, paper and paperboard, metal goods, chemicals, iron and steel, textiles, and foodstuffs.


Machinery and equipment, chemicals, metal goods, oil and oil products, and foodstuffs.


US$190.6 billion (purchasing power parity, 1999 est.).


Exports: US$62.9 billion (1999 est.). Imports: US$69.9 billion (1999 est.).

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Austria (ô´strēə), Ger. Österreich [eastern march], officially Republic of Austria, federal republic (2005 est. pop. 8,185,000), 32,374 sq mi (83,849 sq km), central Europe. It is bounded by Slovenia and Italy (S), Switzerland and Liechtenstein (W), Germany and the Czech Republic (N), and Slovakia and Hungary (E). Its capital and by far its largest city is Vienna.

Land and People

The Alps traverse Austria from west to east and occupy three fourths of the country. The highest peak in Austria is the Grossglockner (12,460 ft/3,798 m) in the Hohe Tauern group. The scenic beauty of Tyrol, the Salzkammergut, Innsbruck, the Austrian Alps, Kärnten, and Salzburg city, and the attractions of Vienna and other cultural centers have made Austria a major European tourist center. The country is drained by the Danube and its tributaries, the Inn, the Enns, the Mürz, and the Mur.

Its nine provinces (Ger. Bundesländer) are Vorarlberg, Tyrol, Salzburg, Carinthia, Styria, Upper Austria, Lower Austria, Burgenland, and Vienna. Over 91% of Austrians are of Germanic ethnic origin, and some 74% are Roman Catholics. German is the official language, but Slovene, Croatian, and Hungarian are also spoken. Since 1945, Austria has received nearly 2 million refugees from the former Yugoslavia and elsewhere in Europe, though many of these continued on to other destinations. There are universities in Vienna, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Graz, Klagenfurt, Leoben, and Krems an der Donau.


Forestry, cattle raising, and dairying are prevalent throughout the alpine provinces; Vorarlberg has an ancient textile industry. About 3% of the population is employed in mostly small-scale agriculture; the country is nearly self-sufficient in terms of food production. In Upper and Lower Austria and in Burgenland, tillage agriculture predominates: the chief crops are potatoes, sugar beets, fruit, barley, rye, and oats.

Manufacturing is diversified and accounts for over 30% of the gross national product. More than half of the industries are concentrated in the Vienna basin; Linz, Steyr, Graz, Leoben, Innsbruck, and Salzburg are the other chief industrial centers. Many of the country's industries were nationalized after World War II, together with the largest commercial banks. The chief manufactures are machinery, vehicles, iron and steel, communications equipment, chemicals, and paper and wood products. Food processing is also important, and many minerals necessary for industry (graphite, iron, magnesium, copper, zinc, and lignite) are found in Austria. The country also has deposits of crude oil and salt, and is rich in hydroelectric power. In recent years, service industries, including a large banking sector, have become important to Austria's economy, and they now employ some 70% of the nation's workforce. Tourism is also important. The main trading partners are Germany, Italy, Switzerland, and the United States.


Austria is governed under the constitution of 1920 as revised in 1929, and has a mixed presidential-parliamentary form of government. The president, who is the head of state, is elected by popular vote for a six-year term and nominates the chancellor (prime minister) and confirms the cabinet. The chancellor, who is head of government, heads the cabinet, which is responsible to the house of representatives (Nationalrat) of parliament. The House of Representatives is popularly elected according to proportional representation. The upper house of parliament, the Senate (Bundesrat), is chosen by the provincial assemblies. Administratively, Austria is divided into nine states.


During the past 10 centuries, the term Austria has designated a variety of geographic and political concepts. In its narrowest sense Austria has included only the present-day provinces of Upper and Lower Austria, including Vienna; in its widest meaning the term has covered the far-flung domains of the imperial house of Hapsburg. Its present connotation—German-speaking Austria—dates only from 1918. This article deals mainly with the history of German-speaking Austria. For wider historical background, see Holy Roman Empire; Hapsburg; Austro-Hungarian Monarchy; Hungary; Bohemia; and Netherlands, Austrian and Spanish.

The Rise of Austria

Austria is located at the crossroads of Europe; Vienna is at the gate of the Danubian plain, and the Brenner Pass in W Austria links Germany and Italy. From earliest times Austrian territory has been a thoroughfare, a battleground, and a border area. It was occupied by Celts and Suebi when the Romans conquered (15 BC–AD 10) and divided it among the provinces of Rhaetia, Noricum, and Upper Pannonia. After the 5th cent. AD, Huns, Ostrogoths, Lombards, and Bavarians overran and devastated the provinces. By c.600, Slavs from the east had occupied all of modern Styria, Lower Austria, and Carinthia.

In 788, Charlemagne conquered the area and set up the first Austrian (i.e., Eastern) March in the present Upper and Lower Austria, to halt the inroads of the Avars. Colonization was encouraged, and Christianity (which had been introduced under the Romans) was again spread energetically. After Charlemagne's death (814) the march soon fell to the Moravians and later to the Magyars, from whom it was taken (955) by Emperor Otto I. Otto reconstituted the march and attached it to Bavaria, but, in 976, Otto II bestowed it as a separate fief on Leopold of Babenberg, founder of the first Austrian dynasty. Emperor Frederick I raised (1156) Austria to a duchy, and, in 1192, Styria also passed under Babenberg rule.

The 11th and 12th cent. saw the height of Austrian feudalism and also witnessed the marked development of towns as the Danube was converted to a great trade route. After the death (1246) of the last Babenberg, King Ottocar II of Bohemia acquired (1251–69) Austria, Styria, Carinthia, and Carniola. Fearing his power, the German princes elected (1273) Rudolf of Hapsburg German king. Rudolf I asserted (1282) his royal prerogative to reclaim the four duchies from Ottocar and incorporate them in his domains. After the murder (1308) of Rudolf's son, Albert I, the German princes balked at electing another member of the ambitious family.

Albert's ducal successors enlarged the Hapsburg holdings by acquiring Tyrol (1363) and Trieste (1382) and extended their influence over the ecclesiastic states of Salzburg, Trent, and Brixen (see Bressanone), which, however, remained independent until 1803. Marriage allowed Albert II to be elected German king in 1438. Beginning with Albert II, the rulers of the Holy Roman Empire were always chosen from the Hapsburg dynasty. Despite their vast imperial preoccupations, the emperors always considered German Austria the prized core of their dominions. During the long reign of Frederick III (1440–93), the protracted Hapsburg wars with France began. In 1526, Austria, Bohemia, and Hungary were united under one crown (see Ferdinand I, emperor). In the same year Vienna was besieged for two weeks by troops of the Ottoman Empire under Sulayman the Magnificent, who had made a forceful advance into Europe. The Turkish threat to Austria ebbed and then climaxed again in the second siege of Vienna in 1683.

The patterns of medievalism were weakening in Austria, especially as the money economy spread, and in the 16th cent. the commercial revolution diminished the importance of Austrian trade routes and of the ancient gold and silver mines of Tyrol and Carinthia. Economic and political instability in the 16th cent. precipitated the spread of the Protestant Reformation, which the Hapsburg rulers attempted to counter by nurturing the Counter Reformation. The alliance then formed between church and state continued throughout the history of the monarchy.

The Austrian peasantry, especially in Tyrol, had gained some advantages in the Peasants' War of 1524–26; in general, however, the rising, backed by some Protestants but not by Luther, was defeated. Suppression of Protestantism was at first impossible, and, under Maximilian II, Lutheran nobles were granted considerable toleration. Rudolph II and Matthias pursued policies of partial Catholicization, and, under Ferdinand II, anti-Protestant vigor helped to precipitate the Thirty Years War (1618–48). Protestant Bohemia and Moravia, defeated by the Austrians at the White Mt. (1620), became virtual Austrian provinces. Austria proper remained relatively unscathed in the long holocaust; after the Peace of Westphalia the Hapsburg lands emerged as a distinct empire, whereas the Holy Roman Empire drifted into a mere shadow existence.

The Austrian Empire

The monarchy, although repressive of free speech and worship, was far from absolute; taxation and other powers rested with the provincial estates for a further century. Emperor Charles VI (1711–40), whose dynastic wars had drained the state, secured the succession to the Hapsburg lands for his daughter, Maria Theresa, by means of the pragmatic sanction. Maria Theresa's struggle with Frederick II of Prussia in the War of the Austrian Succession (see Austrian Succession, War of the) and the Seven Years War opened a long struggle for dominance in the German lands.

Except for the loss of Silesia, Maria Theresa held her own. The provincial estates were reduced in power, and an efficient centralized bureaucracy was created; as the nobles were attracted to bureaucratic service their power as a class was weakened. Maria Theresa's husband, Francis I, became Holy Roman emperor in 1745, but his position was largely titular. The major event of Maria Theresa's later reign was the first partition of Poland (1772; see Poland, partitions of); in that transaction and in the third partition (1795) Austria renewed its eastward expansion.

Joseph II, who succeeded her, impetuously carried forward the reforms which his mother had cautiously begun. His attempts to further centralize and Germanize his scattered and disparate dominions met stubborn resistance; his project to consolidate his state by exchanging the Austrian Netherlands for Bavaria was balked by Frederick II. An exemplar of "benevolent despotism" and a disciple of the Enlightenment, Joseph also decreed a series of revolutionary agrarian, fiscal, religious, and judicial reforms; however, opposition, especially from among the clergy and the landowners, forced his successor, Leopold II, to rescind many of them. In Joseph's reign the Austrian bourgeoisie began to emerge as a social and cultural force. Music and architecture (see Vienna) flourished in 18th-century Austria, and modern Austrian literature (see German literature) emerged early in the 19th cent.

In the reign of Francis II, Austria was drawn (1792) into war with revolutionary France (see French Revolutionary Wars) and with Napoleon I. The treaties of Campo Formio (1797) and Lunéville (1801) preluded the dissolution (1806) of the Holy Roman Empire, and in 1804, Francis II took the title "Francis I, emperor of Austria." His rout at Austerlitz (1805) led to the severe Treaty of Pressburg (see Pressburg, Treaty of).

An upsurge of patriotism resulted in the renewal of war with Napoleon in 1809; Austria's defeat at Wagram led to the even more humiliating Peace of Schönbrunn (see under Schönbrunn). Austria was forced to side with Napoleon in the Russian campaign of 1812, but in 1813 it again joined the coalition against Napoleon; an Austrian, Prince Karl Philipp von Schwarzenberg, headed the allied forces. The Congress of Vienna (1814–15; see Vienna, Congress of) did not restore to Austria its former possessions in the Netherlands and in Baden but awarded it Lombardy, Venetia, Istria, and Dalmatia.

As the leading power of both the German Confederation and the Holy Alliance, Austria under the ministry of Metternich dominated European politics. Conservatism and the repression of nationalistic strivings characterized the age. Nevertheless, the Metternich period was one of great cultural achievement, particularly in music and literature.

The revolutions of 1848 shook the Hapsburg empire but ultimately failed because of the conflicting economic goals of the middle and lower classes and because of the conflicting nationalist aspirations that set the revolutionary movements of Germans, Slavs, Hungarians, and Italians against each other. Revolts were at first successful throughout the empire (see Risorgimento; Galicia; Bohemia; Hungary); in Vienna the revolutionists drove out Metternich (Mar., 1848). Emperor Ferdinand granted (April) a liberal constitution, which a constituent assembly replaced (July) with a more democratic one. After a new outbreak Vienna was bombarded, and the revolutionists were punished by troops under General Windischgrätz. Prince Felix zu Schwarzenberg became premier and engineered the abdication of Ferdinand in favor of Francis Joseph.

Absolutism returned with the dissolution of the constituent assembly. Austrian leadership in Germany was reasserted at the Convention of Olmütz in 1850. Alexander Bach intensified (1852–59) Schwarzenberg's centralizing policy, thus heightening national tensions within the empire. But economic prosperity was promoted by the lowering of internal tariff barriers, and several reforms dating from 1848 were upheld, notably the complete abolition of feudal dues.

The military and political weakness of the empire was demonstrated by the Austrian loss of Lombardy in the Italian War of 1859. Attempts to solve the nationalities problem—the "October Diploma" (1860), which created a central legislature and gave increased powers to the provincial assemblies of nobles, and the "February Patent," which transferred many of these powers to the central legislature—failed. Prussia seized the opportunity to drive Austria out of Germany. After involving Austria in the war over Schleswig-Holstein in 1864, Bismarck found an easy pretext for attacking. Overwhelmingly defeated by Prussia at Sadová (or Sadowa; also know as the battle of Königgrätz) in 1866 (see Austro-Prussian War), Austria was forced to cede Venetia to Italy. With this debacle Austria's political role in Germany came to an end.

A reorganization of the government of the empire became inevitable, and in 1867 a compromise (Ger. Ausgleich) with Hungarian moderate nationalists established a dual state, the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. But the realm, a land of diverse peoples ruled by a German-Magyar minority, increasingly became an anachronism in a nationalistic age. Failure to provide a satisfactory status for the other nationalities, notably the Slavs, played a major role in bringing about World War I. Important developments in Austrian society during this period were the continued irresponsibility of the nobility and the backwardness of the peasantry, the growth of a socialist working class, widespread anti-Semitism stimulated by the large-scale movement to Austria of poor Jews from the eastern provinces, and extraordinary cultural creativity in Vienna.

The disastrous course of the war led to the breakup of the monarchy in 1918. Charles I renounced power; after a peaceful revolution staged by the Socialist and Pan-German parties, German Austria was proclaimed (Nov. 12) a republic and a part of Greater Germany.

Modern Austria

The Treaty of Saint-Germain (1919) fixed the present Austrian borders and forbade (as did the Treaty of Versailles) any political or economic union (Ger. Anschluss) with Germany. This left Austria a small country with some 7 million inhabitants, one third of whom lived in a single large city (Vienna) that had been geared to be the financial and industrial hub of a large state. The Dual Monarchy had been virtually self-sufficient economically; its breakup and the consequent erection of tariff walls deprived Austria of raw materials, food, and markets. In the postwar period, starvation and influenza exacted a heavy toll, especially in Vienna. These ills were followed by currency inflation, ended only in 1924 by means of League of Nations aid, following upon chronic unemployment, financial scandals and crises, and growing political unrest.

"Red" Vienna, under the moderate socialist government of Karl Seitz, became increasingly opposed by the "Black" (i.e., clericalist) rural faction, which won the elections of 1921. The cabinet of Social Democrat Karl Renner was succeeded by Christian Socialist and Pan-German coalitions under Schober, Seipel, and others. Unrest culminated, in 1927, in violent riots in Vienna; two rival private militias—the Heimwehr of the monarchist leader E. R. von Starhemberg and the Schutzbund of the socialists—posed a threat to the authority of the state. Economic crisis loomed again in the late 1920s. National Socialism, feeding in part on anti-Semitism, gained rapidly and soon absorbed the Pan-German party.

Engelbert Dollfuss, who became chancellor in 1932, though irreconcilably opposed to Anschluss and to National Socialism, tended increasingly toward corporative fascism and relied heavily on Italian support. His stern suppression of the socialists precipitated a serious revolt (1934), which was bloodily suppressed by the army. Soon afterward a totalitarian state was set up, and all independent political parties were outlawed. In July, 1934, the National Socialists assassinated Dollfuss but failed to seize the government.

Kurt von Schuschnigg succeeded Dollfuss. German pressure on Austria increased; Schuschnigg was forced to legalize the operations of the National Socialists and to appoint members of that party to cabinet posts. Schuschnigg planned a last-minute effort to avoid Anschluss by holding a plebiscite, but Hitler forced him to resign. In Mar., 1938, Austria was occupied by German troops and became part of the Reich. Arthur Seyss-Inquart became the Nazi governor.

In 1943, the Allies agreed to reestablish an independent Austria at the end of World War II. In 1945, Austria was conquered by Soviet and American troops, and a provisional government was set up under Karl Renner. The pre-Dollfuss constitution was restored with revisions; the country was divided into separate occupation zones, each controlled by an Allied power.

Economic recovery was hindered by the decline of trade between Western and Eastern Europe and by the division into zones. Austria was formally recognized by the Western powers in 1946, but because of Soviet disagreement with the West over reparations, the occupation continued. On May 15, 1955, a formal treaty between Great Britain, France, the United States, the USSR, and Austria restored full sovereignty to the country. The treaty prohibited the possession of major offensive weapons and required Austria to pay heavy reparations to the USSR. Austria proclaimed its perpetual neutrality. In 1955 it was admitted to the United Nations.

By the 1960s unprecedented prosperity had been attained. Austria had joined the European Free Trade Association in 1959, but association with the European Economic Community (Common Market) was held back by Soviet opposition. Politically, a nearly equal balance of power between the conservative People's party and the Socialist party resulted in successive coalition cabinets until 1966, when the People's party won a clear majority. They were ousted by the Socialists in the 1970 elections, and Bruno Kreisky became chancellor. A long-standing dispute with Italy over the German-speaking population of the Trentino–Alto Adige region of Italy was dealt with in a treaty ratified in 1971.

In 1983 the Socialist government fell, and the Socialists were forced to form a coalition with the far-right Freedom party. Austria captured world attention in 1986 when former UN secretary-general Kurt Waldheim was elected president despite allegations that he had been involved in atrocities as a German army staff officer in the Balkans during World War II. Also in 1986 the Socialists (subsequently the Social Democrats) and the People's party again joined together in a "grand coalition," with Social Democrat Franz Vranitzky as chancellor; it retained control of the government through the 1990s.

Austria began a partial privatization of state-owned industries in the late 1980s and entered the European Union (EU) in 1995. Waldheim was succeeded as president in 1992 by Thomas Klestil, the candidate of the People's party; Klestil was reelected in 1998. In 1997, Chancellor Vranitzky resigned and was replaced by Social Democrat Viktor Klima.

In the Oct., 1999, elections, the People's party placed third, just barely behind the far-right Freedom party, whose leader, Jörg Haider, was criticized as demagogic and nativist. The electoral results complicated the formation of a stable new government, which was only achieved in Feb., 2000, when Wolfgang Schüssel of the People's party became chancellor of a People's party–Freedom party coalition. Austria was quickly ostracized by other EU nations because of the Freedom party's participation in the government, and Haider—who had not joined the government—subsequently resigned as party leader. The sanctions imposed by the EU came to be regarded as threatening by smaller EU countries, however, and on the recommendation of an EU fact-finding commission they were lifted in Sept., 2000. Feuding within the Freedom party led to the collapse of the government two years later.

Elections in Nov., 2002, were a major setback for the Freedom party, which was a distant third, while the People's party won a plurality. Despite the collapse of their coalition several months before, the People's party again formed (Feb., 2003) a government with the Freedom party, with Schüssel as chancellor. A little more than a year later, in Apr., 2004, Heinz Fischer, a Social Democrat, was elected president; his victory, the first by a Social Democrat since 1986, was regarded as a sign of voter unhappiness with the government. A split in the Freedom party led party leader Haider to form (2005) the Alliance for Austria's Future and exclude extremist Freedom party members, and the Alliance replaced the Freedom party in the government.

In the Oct., 2006, parliamentary elections the Social Democrats won the largest number of seats, besting the People's party, but Social Democratic leader Alfred Gusenbauer needed to form a coalition in order to govern, and by the end of 2006 he had not succeeded in doing so. The Freedom party finished third in the voting, while Haider's Alliance finished fifth, after the Greens. In Jan., 2007, the Social Democratic and People's parties formed a coalition government with Gusenbauer as chancellor, but the government collapsed in July, 2008.

The Sept., 2008, elections saw the Social Democrats again win a plurality, but with slightly less than 30% of the vote; the two far-right parties combined nearly equaled that. Haider died in an automobile accident the following month. In December, the Social Democratic–People's party coalition was re-formed, with Social Democrat Werner Faymann as chancellor. Fischer was reelected president in Apr., 2010. The share of the vote won by the Social Democratic and People's parties further eroded, to 27% and 24% respectively, in the Sept., 2013, parliamentary elections; two months later, they again formed a coalition government, with Faymann as chancellor.


See R. A. Kann, The Multinational Empire: Nationalism and National Reform in the Habsburg Monarchy, 1848–1918 (1950, repr. 1970); V. L. Tapie, The Rise and Fall of the Habsburg Monarchy (tr. 1971); K. Waldheim, The Austrian Example (tr. 1973); E. Wangermann, The Austrian Achievement, 1700–1800 (1973); W. M. Johnston, The Austrian Mind: An Intellectual and Social History, 1848–1938 (1976); K. Steiner et al., ed., Modern Austria (1981); B. Head, State and Economy in Australia (1983); B. Jelavich, Modern Austria: Empire and Republic, 1815–1986 (1987); M. A. Sully, A Contemporary History of Austria (1990).

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The history of psychoanalysis in Austria is practically indistinguishable from that of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society until the end of the Second World War. The group known as the Wednesday Psychological Society, which met regularly after 1902 in Freud's apartment, later renamed itself the Wiener psychoanalytische Vereinigung (Vienna Psychoanalytic Society) and was admitted as a regional group into the International Psychoanalytical Association, which had just been founded. In 1911, following the defection of its first president, Alfred Adler, Freud assumed the presidency. When Carl Gustav Jung and the members of the Zurich society left the psychoanalytic movement, Vienna became the sole center of influence.

After a period of inactivity caused by the First World War, the society resumed its activities and, with its youngest members playing an important role, quickly established a treatment facility in 1922 and a training institute in 1924. Only in 1936, after years of migration, was the Vienna society able to take possession of the premises at Berggasse 7, where it was housed along with its training institute, treatment facility, and publishing house.

Between 1934 and 1938 Austria developed politically into an authoritarian Catholic state. Although most members of the society had shown themselves to be sympathetic to the Social-Democrats, its administration made a conscious decision to abstain from politics. On March 14, 1938, the day after German troops entered Austria and after a number of analysts had already left the country, the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society held its last meeting. Members unanimously decided that those who felt threatened should leave Austria, and that the society's headquarters would be transferred to wherever Freud happened to be. With the exception of Alfred Winterstein and August Aichhorn, the 68 active and honorary members and approximately 36 candidates left the city. Freud left with his family on June 4, 1938. Between 1938 and 1945 a branch of the Deutsches Reichsinstitut für psychologische Forschung und Psychotherapie (State Institute for Research in Psychology and Psychotherapy), directed first by Aichhorn and then by Begsattel, was established in Vienna. Under Aichhorn's presidency a group of analysts and psychologists attempted to free themselves of the command of the Reichsinstitut. In 1944 this secret group had 14 training candidates, 7 of whom later became psychoanalysts.

Following the fall of National Socialism and the end of the Second World War, Austrian analysts did two things during the period of reconstruction: first, they reconstructed the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society and got it readmitted to the International Psychoanalytical Association, and second, they attempted to bring into the fold analysts and organizations that, under the title of depth psychology, held orientations considered marginal or unorthodox.

The inauguration of the new Vienna Psychoanalytic Society took place in 1946, with August Aichhorn as president. With assistance from Anna Freud, international recognition followed shortly, although it would take decades before the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society made any significant contact with the world psychoanalytic movement. After Aichhorn's death in 1949, Alfred Winterstein became the new president, a post he held until 1957. Under the direction of Wilhelm Solms-Rödelheim, the society continued to grow. The 1971 International Psychoanalytic Congress, held in Vienna, helped solidify the society's renewed links to international psychoanalysis.

Meanwhile, the Austrian and international student movement grew, and there was renewed interest in psychoanalysis generally. The Sigmund Freud Gesellschaft (Sigmund Freud Society), founded in 1968, together with the sociopsychiatrist Hans Strotzka and the cofounder of the Sigmund Freud Society Harald Leupold-Löwenthal, did much to make psychoanalysis better known to the population at large. Hans Hoff, professor of psychiatry, also helped establish this receptive climate.

Between 1972 and 1974 the presidents of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society included Alois Becker, Harald Leupold-Löwenthal, Peter Schuster, Wolfgang Berner, and Wilhelm Burian. Krista Placheta became president in 1998. As of 2005, Christine Diercks was president of the society.

In 1986 the society moved to new offices at Gonzagagasse 11. As of 1988 the society had seventy members and approximately a hundred candidates, more than the number of members in the former Vienna society. With the post-1968 generation of psychoanalysts came a relaxation of the older, authoritarian climate of discussion and a broader range of issues. Two central themes for the society in the 1980s were anti-Semitism inside and outside the field of psychoanalysis and its history during and after the war. In addition, the society held debates on the relation between psychoanalysis and psychotherapy. These discussions led to a training seminar on psychoanalytic psychotherapy, which became an integral part of the general training program.

In 1989, at the annual meeting of the Vienna society, the assembled members voted, by a margin of one vote, to join the Dachverband für Psychotherapie (a supervisory organization), and later it voted to join the Psychotherapiebeirat (Psychotherapy Advisory Committee). In 1993 the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society was legally recognized as a training organization for psychotherapy and was a leader in this field.

From 1945 Igor Caruso, an important representative of the various groups associated with psychoanalysis, worked to make psychotherapy more accessible to a greater portion of the population. During the years following the war, he and the discussion circle of which he was a member succeeded in creating a psychoanalytic organization that remained in operation for a number decades. Known as theÖsterreichische Arbeitskreise für Tiefenpsychologie (Austrian Working Group on Depth Psychology) and later renamed the Österreichische Arbeitskreise für Psychanalyse (Austrian Working Group on Psychoanalysis), it initiated throughout the country a series of teaching and clinical initiatives that were Freudian in orientation.

In 1947 Caruso created the Wiener Arbeitskreise für Tiefenpsychologie (Vienna Working Group on Depth Psychology), an autonomous scientific community composed primarily of physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, and theologians, most of whom were close in age. The first candidates were trained privately and without any specific professional requirements, since the group defined itself primarily as a venue for scientific discussion. For this reason an increasing number of members of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society participated in these discussions, although some of them found the intellectual climate overly imbued with Catholicism. Because of the working group's unorthodox approach, the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society was forced to define strict boundaries between the two organizations at the start of the 1950s. These boundaries may have led the Vienna working group, whose training guidelines were largely those used by psychoanalytic societies having a strictly Freudian orientation, to introduce a more formal and systematic structure for itself. The Vienna working group and the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society differed in ideological orientation. In place of psychological analysis, the Vienna working group aimed at an existential synthesis in the form of a universal humanity, blended different trends in depth psychology, and harked to Jung rather than Freud.

With the 1952 publication of Caruso's book Psycho-analyse und Synthese der Existenz (Existential Psychology: From Analysis to Synthesis, 1964), the working group's program became more focused. After 1953 there were no explicit references to Jung's depth psychology and increasingly specific references to psychoanalysis. "Psychoanalysis" was initially understood in its technical sense, and the human aspect inherent in Freudian theory and its offshoots was enlarged in the direction of a personal psychoanalysis.

Caruso's book was translated into six languages, and thus served to spread his ideas internationally, especially in South America, where his ideas where well received. In fact, a number of South American candidates received their training in Vienna. Another example of cross-border activity is the 1954 Brussels symposium on the "Psychology of the Individual," attended by some forty psychoanalysts from several European countries. Presenters included Jacques Lacan, who gave a talk on the internal dialectics of the person in the theory and technique of psychoanalysis. As a result of his talk, Lacan became a corresponding member of the Vienna Working Group on Depth Psychology, a status he maintained until his death.

Theoretically, the working group focused on the concept of symbols and attempted to find a connection between Freudian ego psychology and personal philosophical concepts. There were increasing interdisciplinary attempts to bridge psychiatry, ethology, sociology, group dynamics (especially that of Raoul Schindler), and psychoanalysis. This expansion resulted in the founding, in Innsbruck in 1958, of the International Secretariat of the Working Groups on Depth Psychology, which was replaced in 1966 by the Internationale Föderation der Arbeitskreise für Tiefenpsychologie (International Federation of Working Groups on Depth Psychology) because of the growing number of participant associations.

During the 1960s different attempts to found a second world association, independent of the orthodox International Psychoanalytical Association, were made at the instigation of the German Psychoanalytic Association. Caruso and his working groups rebuffed these attempts in spite of the number of exchanges and conferences within the Internationale Arbeitsgemeinschaft psychoanalytischer Gesellschaften (Inter-national Working Group of Psychoanalytic Societies), founded in 1962 in Amsterdam. At this time the theoretical orientation of the working groups moved further and further away from fundamental theological concepts of Catholicism. There were increasing references to the Freudian foundations of psychoanalysis and greater emphasis on the psychosociological aspects of the field, which resulted from a growing interest in thinkers like G. W. F. Hegel, Karl Marx, and Herbert Marcuse. In 1972, when Caruso obtained the psychology chair at the University of Salzburg, a number of circles and working groups were formed outside Vienna, and these helped spread awareness of psychoanalysis throughout Austria. In addition to the Linz Circle, created in 1958, these included groups for the study of depth psychology launched in Graz and Linz in 1973 and in Salzburg in 1974, followed by the foundation of the Austrian Society for the Study of Child Psychoanalysis in Salzburg in 1976.

This gathering trend toward orthodoxy found concrete expression when the Vienna Working Group on Depth Psychology renamed itself the Vienna Working Group on Psychoanalysis in 1988. Shortly thereafter all the other depth psychology groups followed its example. Until 1992 these groups were all governed by the Directorate of Austrian Working Groups, which was replaced in 1992 by the Wissenschaftliche Gesellschaft der Arbeitskreise für Psychoanalyse inÖsterreich (Scientific Society of Working Groups for Psychoanalysis in Austria). This society produced the journal Texte: Psychoanalyse,Ästhetik, Kulturkritik, the only (quarterly) Austrian journal on psychoanalysis, edited by E. List, Johannes Ranefeld, G. F. Zeilinger, and August Ruhs. Because the society met IPA standards, which the working groups had followed since 1970, it asked to be admitted to the International Psychoanalytical Association in 1997, with Ranefeld as president. A commission of inquiry was established in October 1998.

Between 1985 and 1990 an interdisciplinary group of Viennese scientists, in collaboration with the Institut culturel français, organized a two-year international seminar entitled "Psychoanalysis and Structuralism: Freud and Lacan," which included some of the best known representatives of the Lacan school. This resulted in the formation of the Neue wiener Gruppe/Lacan-Schule, composed of an "aesthetic" section (under the direction of Walter Seitter) and a "clinical" section (under the direction of August Ruhs). It organized regular interdisciplinary conferences, usually followed by one or more publications.

In 1984 a group of students founded the Werkstatt für Psychoanalyse und Gesellschaftskritik (Workshop on Psychoanalysis and Social Criticism) in Salzburg. Until 1996 the organization refused to accept any form of orthodoxy or dogmatism and insisted on maintaining a political focus. The Werkblatt, the organization's publication, is still published, although the organization itself no longer exists.

In 1967 Eric Pakesch, a student of Caruso, created a chair of medical psychology and psychotherapy in the Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz . At the suggestion of Hans Strotzka, a popular psychoanalyst and sociopsychiatrist, the Institute of Depth Psychology and Psychotherapy was founded in 1971 within the School of Medicine of the University of Vienna. It was intended to house psychoanalysis along with the other generally recognized schools of psychotherapy in a single facility. Eventually, psychoanalysis became its primary focus, and in the current university depth psychology clinic, run by Marianne Springer-Kremser, all practitioners use psychoanalysis or depth psychology, with the exception of one practitioner who uses systemic family therapy. A psychoanalytic focus can also be found at the university institutes of medical psychology (and psychotherapy) in the universities of Graz, Innsbruck, and Vienna (directed by W. Pieringer, G. Schüssler, and G. Sonneck, respectively). The Psychology Institute of the University of Klagenfurt, under the direction of Professor J. Menschik-Bendele, also has a strong psychoanalytic orientation.

Legislation on psychoanalysis instituted in 1992 had important repercussions for the field of psychoanalysis in Austria, for it drastically reduced the autonomy of psychoanalytic societies in their training activities and therapeutic practices. Psychoanalysis became recognized as equivalent to other therapeutic practices, so it had to comply with the general training program for psychotherapists. Before becoming a psychoanalyst, candidates had to complete a two-year program required for all forms of psychotherapy. Since health insurance recognized only some psychoanalytic treatments and reimbursement was partial, the five principal Viennese psychoanalytic and depth-psychology associations decided to create a parent organization in 1997 to make special agreements with insurers for long-term psychoanalytic treatment. For the first time in the history of psychoanalysis in Austria, member and nonmember associations of the International Psychoanalytical Association worked together in an organization to promote their mutual interest. Thanks to the concerted efforts of these societies, the Viennese municipal health service began to offer analyses for fifty citizens, without restriction as to duration or the frequency of treatment. Sixty years after Vienna's Ambulatorium shut down under Nazi administration, this treatment center reopened in 1999 and represented another sign of reawakened interest in psychoanalysis. Finally, plans for the Wiener Arbeitskreis für Psychaonalyse to join the IPA moved forward when it was granted study group status in 2003.

Another important parent organization for psychoanalysis is the Sigmund Freud Society and Sigmund Freud Museum at Berggasse 19 in Vienna. The society, founded in November 1968 with the help of Anna Freud, succeeded in creating a museum where Freud had his consulting room. In addition to supporting research into the history of psychoanalysis and its founders, the society holds discussions on important contemporary clinical, sociocultural, and therapeutic issues in a spirit of interdisciplinary cooperation. Harold Leupold-Löwentahal, president of the Society from 1976 to 1998, was succeeded by Johannes Schülein, who presided until 2003, and Dieter Bogner. The library, with 25,000 volumes, represents one of the major collections of its kind in Europe and includes archives with over 50,000 records of all kind. Since 1997, at the instigation of American artist Josef Kosuth and Austrian art dealer Peter Pakesch, the Sigmund Freud Society has acquired a collection that demonstrates the influence of psychoanalysis on contemporary art. In 2003, under director Inge Scholz-Strasseralbeit against the wishes of many Viennese psychoanalyststhe museum turned into a private foundation. This event led to a noticeable coolness between the administration and the city's psychoanalytic societies.

August Ruhs


Caruso, Igor A. (1964). Existential psychology: from analysis to synthesis (Eva Krapf, Trans.). New York: Herder and Herder. (Original work published 1952)

Huber, Wolfgang. (1977). Psychoanalyse inÖsterreich seit 1933. Vienna: Geyer.

Parth, Walter. (1998). Vergangenheit, die fortwirkt. Texte: Psychoanalyse,Ästhetik, Kulturkritik, 2, 61-75.

Reichmayr, Johannes. (1994). Spurensuche in der Geschichte der Psychoanalyse. Frankfurt am Main: S. Fischer.

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The Republic of Austria is one of Europe's smaller countries, covering a landlocked area somewhat less than that of Hungary or Portugal. The 2001 census population of the country was 8.0 million, approximately the same as that of Sweden or Bulgaria.

Family Values

Abundant evidence suggests that the family and family-related values enjoy approval in all social groups and age cohorts. Three-quarters of Austrians hold that they need a family to be happy (Schulz 1996); results from the Family and Fertility Survey 1996 indicate that nine out of ten Austrians (but only three-fourths of Germans) between the ages of twenty-one and thirty-nine would like to see more weight given to family life in the future (Fux and Pfeiffer 1999). Austrians also view the traditional nuclear family as the standard, that is, family defined as a social group consisting of a man and a woman (married to each other) as parents and their children. Asked about the ideal family size, almost two-thirds of Austrians prefer two children, with almost another third favoring three children; only 1 percent consider childlessness as the best way of life. Around 80 percent in the Population Policy Acceptance Survey view the increasing number of divorces as a negative trend in society. However, Austrians view divorces between childless couples much less negatively, and a great majority opposes more restrictive divorce laws.

Compared to other European societies, Austrians appear to hold conservative attitudes toward abortion and divorce. Furthermore, according to the European Value Study, they give greater support to the traditional separation of gender roles and the homemaker role for mothers. At the same time, they highly appreciate the financial aspect of women's contribution to household income. There seems to be broad agreement—even among the older generation—that married women should be working outside home in the period between the wedding and the birth of the first child, as well as in the period after the children have left school. However, Austrians remain conservative about employment outside the home for women with small children. More than 80 percent agree that pre-school children suffer when their mothers are employed for pay (Fux and Pfeiffer 1999).

A large majority of Austrians disapprove of abortion (between 83% and 67% in various surveys)—which can be legally performed within the first three months of pregnancy if the mother is unmarried or the couple does not want any more children. A minority of one-third oppose abortion in case of an expected birth defect.

Thus, Austrians' subjective attitudes could not be much more positive toward marriage and family, albeit defined in a rather traditional mode. At the same time, the evidence suggests a wide variety of existing living arrangements, including consensual unions and couples living apart together— i.e., married couples and families maintaing separate households. It also points to a growing number of more complex family forms, including continuation marriages—i.e., remarriage and the formation of a new family following divorce and family disruption—and middle-aged unmarried couples with children from previous relationships.

Sociodemographic Trends

In general, trends in Austria parallel those in most other (Western) European countries (Kytir and Münz 1999). Couples delay the birth of the first child; childlessness is increasing, but most women do become mothers; out-of-wedlock births are increasing; the age at first marriage is rising; a growing proportion of people do not marry at all; the number of divorces is growing; and life expectancy is higher than ever.

After an extended period of nearly zero population growth between the early 1970s and the late 1980s, the population increase accelerated again when a large group of females reached childbearing age, and a growing number of immigrant foreign workers and refugees and their families entered the country. In the foreseeable future, a long period of stable or even reduced population is projected.

Since 1963, fertility has declined more or less continuously. In 1999, the birth rate reached an all-time low of 1.31 children per woman—one of the lowest in the world, only slightly higher than in Spain, Italy, Greece, and the Czech Republic. In 2000 there was a slight increase to 1.34 children per woman. Families with four or more children have almost completely disappeared among groups born after 1940. The mean age of mothers at first birth (twenty-seven years in 1998) is still low, for example, two years younger than in the Netherlands.

Obviously, ideal and actual family sizes differ greatly. This discrepancy can partly be explained because women and couples postpone their desire to have children. Women want to enter the labor force or remain there, and they view successful parenthood as difficult to combine with gainful employment. In multiple cases, what were intended to be temporary postponements result in lifelong childlessness (Lutz 2000).

With 31 percent of births by unmarried women, Austria ranks lower than Scandinavian countries, but higher than Southern Europe. Distinct regional differences in attitudes toward outof-wedlock births are reflected in ancient rural inheritance patterns and religious traditions. In some parts of Austria, it is traditional and acceptable for single women to have children, and the percentage of illegitimate first-borns may be as high as 75 percent. The mother's chances of later marriage are not seriously affected. The social pattern whereby women consciously reject marriage but not motherhood is found only in small, urban, progressive groups.

Despite the widespread use of birth control, 40 percent of all first births are described in retrospect as "unplanned" (Family Fertility Survey 1996, cited in Kytir and Münz 1999). In any case, the transition to parenthood is a critical life event; currently, almost all mothers of a newborn child—including those with higher levels of education—leave their paid employment at least temporarily (for one year or longer). At the same time, couples often return to a gender-oriented traditional division of labor with fathers assuming responsibility for supporting the family financially (Beham 1999).

Living Arrangements

Marriage as a legal institution is losing ground. Since the 1960s, age-specific marriage rates (taking into account the age structure of the population) have dropped by a half. This trend signals profound structural and behavioral changes: extended education; more insecure part-time and flexible jobs; and new self-fulfillment values that do not promote early commitment. It is estimated (Kytir and Münz 1999) that among the younger generation now in their late teens or early twenties, the number of life-long never married men and women could reach 30 and 25 percent, respectively.

The divorce rate has increased steadily since the end of the 1960s. As of the early twenty-first century, statistics suggested that four out of ten marriages would end in divorce, up from only two in the early 1970s. There is a clear relationship between the number of children in a marriage and the probability of divorce—more than one-third of all terminated marriages were childless as of 2000. The most frequently cited reasons for divorce are unfulfilled demands for personal happiness, harmony, and sexual fulfillment (Benard and Schlaffer 1995).

At least among young people, other forms of cohabitation are replacing legally authorized marriage. A large majority of all childless young couples start their conjugal life in consensual unions. As standard behavior, this is accepted even by a majority of elderly people (Prinz 1998). At the same time, more people in their twenties are remaining in the parental household. Consequently, the life phase of postadolescence (from nineteen to under thirty years) has changed in character. Since the mid-1970s the mean age at first marriage has increased considerably and was as of 2000 over twenty-seven years for women and thirty for men (which is still low by Scandinavian standards). However, the birth of a child still leads to marriage in many cases; three-fourths of all one-year-old children live with both parents. Rosemarie Nave-Herz (1989) speaks of a "child-oriented marriage pattern."

The most striking feature of household composition is the high rate of intergenerational coresidence: 22 percent of Austrians live in households consisting of at least three adults (usually parents and grandparents) plus children; this is approximately the same rate as in Ireland, Portugal, and Spain, and three times higher than in Germany, Denmark, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands (European Commission household panel 1995, cited in Fotakis 2000).

The family life of the various ethnic groups (Turks, Serbs, Croats, etc.) living in Austria probably deviates from the social patterns described above. Unfortunately, this research area has been neglected, although foreign families make up an increasing proportion of the population: The proportion of marriages including at least one non-Austrian partner is around 20 percent (2000); one out of five newborn babies has at least one foreign parent.

Consequences of Increased Life Expectancy

The enormous reduction in mortality in the course of the twentieth century has had massive repercussions on family life: The survival of all newborn children is practically guaranteed; the smaller number of children reduces drastically the life phase dominated by childcare; and despite the rising divorce rate, more couples than ever remain married for many years. Furthermore, Austrians now may well live for thirty or so years in a three- or even four-generation family.

This development has sparked a debate on the effects of these longstanding multigenerational constellations, such as money transfers and assistance patterns (Rosenmayr 1999). For instance, the popular belief is that many women between forty and sixty are caught between competing responsibilities for children and grandchildren and their aging parents (sandwich generation). Empirically, however, only about one-fourth of middle-aged women are actually in this situation (Hörl and Kytir 1998).

Family and Social Policy

In comparison with most other European countries, Austria's family-related social policy expenditures are generous. The European Commission household panel (1996, cited in Giorgi 1999) found that for the poorest households, family and other transfer payments contribute a substantial part (31%) of household income. Moreover, kindergartens (where available) are highly subsidized or free. Education (including schoolbooks and travel expenses) is free up through the secondary level; university fees were not collected until 2001.

A key question in modern family policy is how women are able to combine parenthood with participation in the labor market. Few possibilities are available for flexible labor arrangements for mothers, and deficits remain in the supply of kindergartens, particularly for children under five years old and in rural areas.

In January 2002 a new type of child allowance (Kinderbetreuungsgeld) became available. The allowance (amounting to 436 euro per month, per child) is not conditional on prior employment of the parents and will be paid for three years (provided that both parents share childcare responsibilities; otherwise for two-and-a-half years). In addition, the parent (usually the mother) may be employed out of the home. The goal of this new legislation is to improve the flexibility in combining work and family tasks.

Quality of Marital and Family Relations

The dominant pattern of family life is still a household of parents and one or more children, at least until parents reach the age of fifty. However, many scholars have observed that people are more freely defining the family as a group and personalizing the conjugal relationship at the same time that traditional roles are changing (Beck-Gernsheim 1998; Goldberg 1998; Schulz 1996; Weiss 1995). Each family member demands that others recognize his or her very own concept of what a family is. Individual claims for happiness are considered normal. Thus, marital partners most frequently mention as central gratifications in relationships sexuality, communication, and the feelings of security, protection, and of being loved.

Likewise, the wish to have children is rooted in the desire to be needed and to give life a deeper meaning. In the past several decades emotional bonding between fathers and children seems to have become more intense, resulting, for example in increased joint leisure activities (Werneck 1996).

A change towards more egalitarian sex-role attitudes has taken place, too. Men's daily behavior reflects this shift only slightly because women still perform the major proportion of domestic work (Bacher and Wilk 1996).

Intergenerational relationships are characterized by more emotional and nonhierarchical interactions and self-determination on the part of children, who are allowed to make their own decisions regarding clothing, hairstyle, leisure activities, and other areas. Grandparents and grandchildren have regular contact, highly valued by both sides (Wilk 1993). Little is known, however, about the impact of these relationships in such areas as the transfer of values.

Despite the emphasis on highly individualized and emotionalized family relations, long-term intergenerational solidarity is unbroken. Providing care, support, and shelter for the young, the old, the sick, and the disabled remains one of the most important tasks that families fulfill for society.


Bacher, J., and Wilk, L. (1996). "Geschlechtsspezifische Arbeitsteilung—Ausmafl und Bedingungen männlicher Mitarbeit im Haushalt." In Österreich im Wandel: Werte, Lebensformen und Lebensqualität 1986 bis 1993, ed. M. Haller, K. Holm, K. M. Müller, W. Schulz, and E. Cyba. Vienna: Verlag für Geschichte und Politik.

Beck-Gernsheim, E. (1998). Was kommt nach der Familie?Einblicke in neue Lebensformen. Munich: Beck.

Beham, M. (1999). "Übergang zur Elternschaft." In 4.Österreichischer Familienbericht, ed. Bundesministerium für Umwelt, Jugend und Familie. Vienna.

Benard, C., and Schlaffer, E. (1995). Sind Sie noch zu retten? Warum Ihre Ehe schief ging. Vienna: Deuticke.

Fotakis, C. (2000). "Wie sozial ist Europa?" Family Observer 2:32–40.

Fux, B., and Pfeiffer, C. (1999). "Ehe, Familie, Kinderzahl: Gesellschaftliche Einstellungen und individuelle Zielvorstellungen." In 4. Österreichischer Familienbericht, ed. Bundesministerium für Umwelt, Jugend und Familie. Vienna.

Giorgi, L. (1999). "Über die soziale Lage österreichischer Familien." In 4. Österreichischer Familienbericht, ed. Bundesministerium für Umwelt, Jugend und Familie. Vienna.

Goldberg, C. (1998). "Familie in der Post-Moderne." In Postmodernes Österreich?, ed. M. Preglau and R. Richter. Vienna: Signum.

Hörl, J., and Kytir, J. (1998). "Die 'Sandwich-Generation': Soziale Realität oder gerontologischer Mythos? Basisdaten zur Generationenstruktur der Frauen mittleren Alters in Österreich." Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie 50:730–741.

Kytir, J., and Münz, R. (1999). "Langfristige demografische Entwicklungen und aktuelle Trends." In 4. Österreichischer Familienbericht, ed. Bundesministerium für Umwelt, Jugend und Familie. Vienna.

Lutz, W. (2000). "Determinants of Low Fertility and Ageing Prospects for Europe." In Family Issues between Gender and Generations, ed. European Commission. Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities.

Nave-Herz, R. (1989). "Zeitgeschichtlicher Bedeutungswandel von Ehe und Familie in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland." In Handbuch der Familienund Jugendforschung, Band 1, ed. R. Nave-Herz and M. Markefka. Neuwied: Luchterhand.

Prinz, C. (1998). "Lebensgemeinschaften mit Kindern in europäischer Perspektive." In Lebens- und Familienformen—Tatsachen und Normen, ed. L. A. Vaskovics and H. Schattovits. Vienna: Österreichisches Institut für Familienforschung.

Rosenmayr, L. (1999). "Über Generationen. Begriffe, Datenbezug und sozialpolitische Praxisrelevanz." In Sozialpolitik und Ökologieprobleme der Zukunft, ed. H. Löffler and E. W. Streissler. Vienna: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften.

Schulz, W. (1996). "Wertorientierungen im Bereich von Ehe und Familie." In Österreich im Wandel: Werte, Lebensformen und Lebensqualität 1986 bis 1993, ed. M. Haller, K. Holm, K.M. Müller, W. Schulz, and E. Cyba. Vienna: Verlag für Geschichte und Politik.

Weiss, H. (1995). "Liebesauffassungen der Geschlechter. Veränderungen in Partnerschaft und Liebe." Soziale Welt 46:119–137.

Werneck, H. (1996). "Übergang zur Vaterschaft. Eine empirirsche Längsschnittstudie auf der Suche nach den 'Neuen Vätern'." Ph.D. diss. University of Vienna.

Wilk, L. (1993). "Grofleltern und Enkelkinder." In Generationsbeziehungen in postmodernen Gesellschaften, ed. K. Lüscher and F. Schultheis. Constance: Universitätsverlag.

josef hÖrl

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AUSTRIA. A geographic term used to describe the two "archduchies" of Austria above and below the Enns River, "Austria" is also applied to all of the hereditary possessions of the German Habsburgs that were situated along the southeastern flank of the Holy Roman Empire. In addition, it is a political term for the diverse dynastic conglomerate ruled by the "House of Austria," including Bohemia and Hungary.


This larger conglomeration of states, or Gesamtstaat, was formed during the lifetime of Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I (ruled 14931519), who forged a series of fortuitous dynastic alliances with the heiresses of Burgundy (1477), Spain (1496), and Hungary-Bohemia (1515). Maximilian's elder grandson succeeded him as Emperor Charles V (ruled 15191556) and ceded the Austrian lands to his brother Ferdinand, who was elected king of Bohemia (1526) and Hungary (1527) following the last Jagellon king's death after the Ottoman victory at Mohács (1526). His eventual election as Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand I (ruled 15581564) completed a division of the Habsburg dominions that left the dynasty's Burgundian, Spanish, Italian, and vast American possessions in the hands of a "Spanish" branch ruled by Charles and his heirs, while a succession of "Austrian" Habsburg emperors ruled the largely contiguous Austro-Hungarian-Bohemian conglomerate.

Contemporaries attributed the dynasty's success to Maximilian's marriage policies, immortalized by the words "Let the strong fight wars. Thou, happy Austria, marry. What Mars bestows on others, Venus gives to thee!" But the key factor behind these alliances lay in the widespread appreciation of the Habsburgs' role as a useful counterpoise to the dual threats posed by the Ottomans in the east and France in the west.


The monarchy was linguistically and confessionally diverse. Whereas German dominated the Austrian lands (with Slovene and Italian spoken in the south), it was a close second to Czech in the Bohemian lands, and, in Magyar-speaking Hungary, prevailed only in the towns. Moreover, the reconquest and resettlement of the Hungarian plain and Transylvania that began in the late seventeenth century added many South Slavs and Romanians. The acquisition of the formerly Spanish Netherlands and Italy (1714) added French, Flemish, and Italian, much as the annexation of Galicia (1772) and Bukovina (1775) contributed large numbers of Poles, Ukrainians, and Yiddish-speaking Jews. Whereas this linguistic kaleidoscope changed little over the centuries, the Reformation brought major changes in religion. By the mid-sixteenth century, Protestants constituted a majority in most areas of Habsburg domination. Catholicism reasserted itself during the Counter-Reformation, however, which left a 1015 percent Lutheran minority in the Austrian and Bohemian lands, while Hungary split evenly between Catholics and a mix of Calvinist Magyars, Orthodox South Slavs, and German Lutherans.

The Austrian economy struck a balance between the prevailing agriculture (and animal husbandry in the Hungarian plain), substantial mining throughout the Alps and Carpathians, and industrial production in Bohemia, Upper Austria, and later in the Austrian Netherlands and northern Italian lands.


Although the Habsburgs valued the imperial title and always visualized themselves as German princes, their inability to assert full sovereignty within the Holy Roman Empire gradually induced them to focus attention on developing their hereditary German (Austrian and Bohemian) lands, while treating Hungary more like a colony, at least until the eighteenth century. Beginning with Ferdinand I, the Habsburgs gradually coopted imperial institutions such as the Aulic Council (Reichshofrat), or shifted functions to competing bodies, including an exchequer (Hofkammer), war council (Hofkriegsrat), and "Austrian" chancery. They were less innovative in dealing with the Estates. Having acquired the Bohemian and Hungarian lands by inheritance and election, the Habsburgs were at pains to respect their corporate privileges and autonomy. Not to do so risked passive resistance or outright rebellion, which could be assisted by foreign adversaries. As a result, the prevailing political culture favored reaching consensus with the Estates on major issues, a policy that helped sustain the Habsburg dominions' separate cultural, linguistic, and constitutional development.


Given the contrived construction of this central European Gesamtstaat, its common historical development owed much to the policies of individual rulers. Ferdinand I and his son Maximilian II (ruled 15641576) spent much of their reigns resisting the Ottoman seizure of most of Hungary, while attempting to peacefully accommodate the aspirations of the empire's emerging Protestant majority. The Spanish-educated sons of Maximilian II, Rudolf II (ruled 15761612) and Matthias (ruled 16121619), cautiously embraced the Counter-Reformation, which led to widespread armed resistance, most notably in Bohemia, where the Defenestration of Prague sparked the beginning of the Thirty Years' War (16181648). After Ferdinand II (ruled 16201637) and his foreign allies had crushed the Bohemian revolt at White Mountain (1620), he purged much of the kingdom's nobility and constitution to enhance royal authority. Systematic Catholicization was carried out there and in the Austrian lands by him and his son, Ferdinand III (ruled 16371657), even as they reluctantly accepted religious compromise in the rest of Germany. Leopold I (ruled 16581705) completed the process of creating a mutually reliant, trilateral ruling elite of crown, church, and nobility that found artistic expression in the flamboyant Austrian baroque. Catholic religious persecution, principally by Hungary's magnates, led to a major rebellion that was soon assisted by a massive Ottoman invasion and siege of Vienna (1683). The city was delivered by an Austro-German-Polish relief force commanded by Poland's King John III Sobieski (16291696), which crushed the Ottomans at the battle of Kahlenberg. Leopold followed up the city's relief by reconquering Hungary at the head of a Holy League (16841699). Hungary was also enjoined to revise its constitution in 1687, eliminating the electoral kingship and the nobility's right to resist royal authority (jus resistendi). Although Leopold reaffirmed Protestant religious freedom, renewed persecution and heavy wartime taxation inspired the Rákóczi Revolt (17031711). Joseph I (ruled 17051711) eventually pacified the country militarily while granting generous terms in the 1711 treaty at Szatmár that essentially defined Hungary's status for the next two centuries. The martial exploits of Prince Eugene of Savoy (16631736) permitted Joseph to salvage the Italian and Dutch possessions from the dynasty's extinct senior line in the War of the Spanish Succession (17011714) and enabled his brother Charles VI (ruled 17111740) to round off Hungary's frontiers with the acquisition of the Banat of Temesvár after another Turkish war (17161718). With the male line facing extinction, Charles issued the Pragmatic Sanction (1713), which established the monarchy's indivisibility and the right of female succession. His daughter Empress Maria Theresa (ruled 17401780) withstood a concerted attempt at partition in the War of the Austrian Succession (17401748) but lost the rich Bohemian crownland of Silesia to Prussia. A vain attempt to reconquer it in the Seven Years' War (17561763) was sandwiched between two great reform periods that marked the monarchy's transition from the ideology of the Counter-Reformation to a more rational governmental system based on the prevailing German fiscal-administrative science of cameralism and select European Enlightenment ideas. Attempts by Joseph II (ruled 17651790) to carry out more sweeping changes without the Estates' consent led to widespread resistance that his brother, Leopold II (ruled 17901792), quelled by repealing his most radical reforms. Nonetheless, a generation of political and cultural reform had prepared the Habsburg Monarchy for the ensuing tumult caused by the French Revolution. Indeed, the early modern period had witnessed the emergence and consolidation of both the House of Austria and the territorial conglomerate (Gesamtstaat) that it governed as major components of the European world.

See also Austrian Succession, War of the (17401748) ; Austro-Ottoman Wars ; Ferdinand I (Holy Roman Empire) ; Ferdinand II (Holy Roman Empire) ; Ferdinand III (Holy Roman Empire) ; Habsburg Dynasty: Austria ; Holy Roman Empire ; Hungary ; Joseph I (Holy Roman Empire) ; Joseph II (Holy Roman Empire) ; Leopold I (Holy Roman Empire) ; Maria Theresa (Holy Roman Empire) ; Maximilian I (Holy Roman Empire) ; Maximilian II (Holy Roman Empire) ; Seven Years' War (17561763) ; Spanish Succession, War of the (17011714) ; Vienna .


Blanning, T. C. W. Joseph II. London and New York, 1994.

Evans, R. J. W. The Making of the Habsburg Monarchy 1550 1700: An Interpretation. Oxford and New York, 1979.

Fichtner, Paula. Emperor Maximilian II. New Haven, 2001.

. Ferdinand I of Austria: The Politics of Dynasticism in the Age of the Reformation. New York, 1982.

Ingrao, Charles. The Habsburg Monarchy, 16181815. 2nd ed. Cambridge, U.K., and New York, 2000.

. In Quest and Crisis: Emperor Joseph I and the Habsburg Monarchy. West Lafayette, Ind., 1979.

Macartney, C. A. Maria Theresa and the House of Austria. London, 1969.

McKay, Derek. Prince Eugene of Savoy. London, 1977.

Spielman, John P. Leopold I of Austria. New Brunswick, N.J., 1977.

Charles Ingrao

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Official name: Republic of Austria

Area: 83,858 square kilometers (32,378 square miles)

Highest point on mainland : Grossglockner (3,798 meters/12,461 feet)

Lowest point on land: Neusiedler See (115 meters/377 feet)

Hemispheres : Eastern and Northern

Time zone: 1 p.m. = noon GMT; has Daylight Savings Time

Longest distances: 573 kilometers (356 miles) from east to west; 294 kilometers (183 miles) from north to south

Land boundaries : 2,562 kilometers (1,592 miles) total boundary length; Czech Republic, 362 kilometers (225 miles); Germany, 784 kilometers (487 miles); Hungary, 366 kilometers (227 miles); Italy, 430 kilometers (267 miles); Liechtenstein, 35 kilometers (22 miles); Slovakia, 91 kilometers (57 miles); Slovenia, 330 kilometers (205 miles); Switzerland, 164 kilometers (102 miles)

Coastline: None

Territorial sea limits: None


Centrally situated at the heart of central Europe and bordering eight different countries, Austria historically has been a political, economic, and cultural crossroads. For hundreds of years, the small, landlocked country (does not have access to the sea) was at the center of a great empirethe Hapsburg regime that ruled much of Europe until World War I (1914-18). Austria has an area of 83,858 square kilometers (32,378 square miles), or slightly less than the state of Maine.


Austria has no territories or dependencies.


Austria has a transitional climate, with Atlantic maritime (ocean) influences in the north, a continental climate in the east, and an Alpine climate in the south and southwest. The coldest temperatures in Vienna are experienced in January and the warmest are in July. In the fall and spring, a warm, dry southern wind called the föhn moderates temperatures in the Alpine regions. It can also bring fog, and contributes to avalanches by causing snow to melt suddenly and fall from high elevations. Precipitation is heaviest in the mountains (as high as 102 centimeters or 40 inches annually) and lighter in the eastern plains (under 76 centimeters or 30 inches), especially east of the Neusiedler See. Average annual rainfall is 86 centimeters (34 inches) at Innsbruck in the mountainous Tyrol region, and 66 centimeters (26 inches) in Vienna.

Season Months Average temperature: °Celsius (°Fahrenheit)
Summer June to August 15°C to 25°C (59°F to 77°F)
Winter November to March 4°C to 1°C (25°F to 34°F)


Austria's topography is dominated by the Alpine mountains (called the Alps) that extend eastward from Switzerland, covering the western two-thirds of the country. Austria's two other major regions are the Bohemian Highlands bordering the Czech Republic to the north, and the eastern lowlands, which include the Vienna Basin (lowland region), named for the capital city.


Austria is a landlocked nation.


The many lakes in Austria's mountain valleys contribute to the country's scenic beauty. The largest lake that Austria does not share with another country is the Neusiedler See. It is over 32 kilometers (20 miles) long and about 8 kilometers (5 miles) wide. At the opposite end of Austria, at its furthest northwestern tip, is a small part of Lake Constance (also known as the Bodensee), which lies along the course of the Rhine River, where Austria, Switzerland, and Germany meet. It is one of the largest lakes in Western Europe. There are well-known lake regions in the provinces of Salzburg, Upper Austria, and Styria. The Salzkammergut region near Salzburg includes a district that has about seventy lakes, of which the largest include the Attersee, the Mondsee, and the Traunsee. The southern province of Carinthia, which alone boasts a total of over twelve hundred lakes, is home to five of the most famous, known as the Five Sister Lakes (Funf Schwesterseen). The Drava (Drau) River Valley, where Carinthia is located, is known for other picturesque lakes, including the Faakersee.


Austria's principal river is the Danube (Donau), the second-longest river in Europe, which originates in Germany and flows south-eastward to the Black Sea. The Danube flows eastward for 350 kilometers (217 miles) within Austria's borders, through the northern part of the country; Vienna, the Austrian capital, is situated on its banks. Three of Austria's other major riversthe Inn, Salzach, and Ennsare tributaries of the Danube that flow eastward through the central part of the country. The major rivers in the southeast are the Mur and Mürz, in the industrial province of Styria. The Leitha flows northeast, draining the area from the Semmering Pass to the Hungarian border.


Austria has no desert regions.


East of the Alpine mountains is a region of low hills and level plains that forms part of the Hungarian Plain and constitutes Austria's lowland region. Even here, however, the land is often hilly, with elevations averaging 150 to 400 meters (500 to 1,300 feet). The Vienna Basin in the north contains the most productive agricultural land in the country.

The Northern Alpine Forelands is a region of foothills and valleys that lies between Austria's northern Alpine ranges and the Danube River valley. There are also foothills at the southeastern edge of the Alpine system, leading to the plains region bordering Hungary. Other hilly regions include the Waldviertel (wooded quarter) and Mühlviertel (mill district), rugged forested areas near the borders with Germany and the Czech Republic.


More than three-fourths of Austria is mountainous. The Alps spread across the western and southern parts of the country, dividing into three major groups as they fan out across the land. The northern Alps section extends across the northern portion of the provinces of Vorarlberg and Tyrol in the west. This range continues through central and southern Salzburg and Upper Austria provinces, reaching as far as the Vienna Woods in the east. Many of its peaks rise above 2,400 meters (8,000 feet). The central group of mountains is the largest and has the highest elevations. Many of its peaksincluding the Grossglockner, the highest point in Austriaexceed 3,000 meters (10,000 feet), The major ranges of the central Alps include the Hohe Tauern and Niedere Tauern, and the Otztaler, Zillertaler, Lechtaler, and Kitzbühel Alps. Austria's southern Alps belong to a group of ranges that lies mostly in northern Italy. Within Austria, they occupy a relatively narrow strip in the southeast, along Austria's borders with Italy and Slovenia, within the province of Carinthia. They include the Karawanken mountain range.


Austria has several deep caves, including a cave near Salzburg that is 1,600 meters (5,100 feet) deep. The caves are not open to tourists.


North of the Danube River and northwest of Vienna lie the granite and gneiss (granite-like) highlands of the Bohemian Massif, a plateau region that extends northward into the Czech Republic at elevations of up to 1,200 meters (4,000 feet). These highlands account for roughly one-tenth of Austria's total area.


A bridge in Austria has the highest columns (184 meters / 607 feet) of any bridge in the world. The roads through the mountainous terrain of Austria travel through numerous long tunnels, some as long as 8 kilometers (5 miles).


Although the composer Johann Strauss Jr. immortalized the Danube River in his famous waltz entitled "On the Beautiful Blue Danube," the Danube River is not blueits waters appear either greenish or brown.

Lonely Planet World Guide: Destination Austria. (accessed June 22, 2003).



Austria. Oakland, CA: Lonely Planet, 1996.

Frommer's Austria. New York: Macmillan, 1997.

Rice, Christopher, and Melanie Rice. Essential Austria. Lincolnwood, IL: Passport Books, 2000.

Web Sites

Austrian Press and Information Service. (accessed February 17, 2003).

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The Habsburgs were the princely family that provided the dukes and archdukes of Austria starting in 1282, the kings of Hungary and Bohemia from 1526 onward, and the emperors of Austria from 1804 to 1918. From 1438 to 1806 (with one interruption, 17421745) the Habsburgs were emperors of the Holy Roman Empire and from 1516 to 1700 kings of Spain. All dynastic politics hinge on fertile marriages. Without legitimate heirs, dynasties regularly fall into civil war or foreign conquest. While this was true for all the early modern monarchies, the House of Habsburg seemed for a time to have perfected dynastic practice. Emperor Maximilian I (ruled 14931519) cultivated the motto, "Bella gerant alii, tu felix Austria nube" (What others achieve by war, let you, happy Austria, achieve by marriage). This policy was most evident in the arrangements made by Emperor Frederick III (ruled 14401493) for his son Maximilian I, who first married Mary of Burgundy (14571482) in 1477 and produced a son, Philip I (called "The Handsome," ruled Castile 15041506). Maximilian's marriage to Mary created claims to the Burgundian inheritance intheLow Countries as well as the duchy of Burgundy itself. After Mary's death in 1482, Maximilian married Anne of Brittany (14771514) by proxy in 1490, but this marriage was never consummated because in 1491 King Charles VIII of France (ruled 14831498) took Anne for himself. So in 1493 Maximilian married Bianca Maria Sforza, niece of Lodovico Sforza of Milan (14521508).

In all of these efforts one sees evidence of careful dynastic planning, which is even more obvious in the advantageous marriage Maximilian I arranged in 1496 for his son Philip I to Joanna (Juana) of Castile (ruled Castile 15041555; Aragón 15161555), the daughter of Ferdinand II of Aragón (ruled Sicily 14681516; Castile 14741504; Aragón 14791516; Naples 15041516) and Isabella of Castile (ruled 14741504). Although the unfortunate Joanna became mentally disordered in the early sixteenth century and was queen in name only, she bore six children, including the future Emperor Charles V (ruled 15191556; Charles I of Spain 15161556), who continued his family's dynastic planning by marrying Isabel of Portugal (15031539) in 1526. Thus it was that, without major military conquests, Charles V came to inherit the Austrian and southwest German homelands of the Habsburgs, the Low Countries, Burgundy, Spain, and all the Spanish possessions (including Spain's New World colonies and the Kingdom of Naples and Sicily). In 1519, after intense lobbying, he was also elected Holy Roman emperor, bringing sovereignty over most of the German lands. Such a family empire was obviously too large to control, and Charles spent much of his life fighting the kingdom of France and the Turks in the Mediterranean. He turned his Austrian homelands over to his brother Ferdinand I (ruled 15581564), who pursued his own dynastic politics by marrying Anne, the daughter of Wladislav II, king of Hungary and Bohemia. Meanwhile his sister Mary married the son of Wladislav, King Louis II (ruled 15161526), who died childless at the battle of Mohács in 1526. This left Ferdinand I with a legitimate claim to both kingdoms, and from then until 1918 the Habsburgs were rulers of Austria, Bohemia, and those parts of Hungary not controlled by the Ottoman Turks.

What marriage could assemble, however, its failures could also destroy. This first became clear with Emperor Rudolf II (ruled 15761612), who failed to marry and was succeeded by his brother Matthias (ruled 16121619). Matthias married late in life but did not have children. When Matthias died, the stage was set for a bitter controversy over succession, especially in the Bohemian lands, where the crisis marked the beginning of the Thirty Years' War (16181648). Habsburg dynastic policy ran into another snag when Emperor Charles VI (ruled 17111740) died with no surviving male heirs in 1740. Using a "Pragmatic Sanction," he had arranged that his hereditary lands should go to his daughter, Maria Theresa (17171780), but this international agreement did not restrain King Frederick II of Prussia (ruled 17401786) from seizing Silesia and exciting the War of the Austrian Succession (17401748). Although Silesia was lost for good, Maria Theresa and her husband, Francis Stephen of Lorraine (Emperor Francis I, ruled 17451765), reestablished Habsburg rule over the Holy Roman Empire as well as in the Austrian, Bohemian, and Hungarian hereditary lands. Thus despite dynastic crises, strategic marriages decisively shaped the history of central Europe and nowhere more than among the Habsburgs.

See also Charles V (Holy Roman Empire) ; Charles VI (Holy Roman Empire) ; Ferdinand I (Holy Roman Empire) ; Ferdinand II (Holy Roman Empire) ; Ferdinand III (Holy Roman Empire) ; Francis II (Holy Roman Empire) ; Frederick III (Holy Roman Empire) ; Habsburg Territories ; Holy Roman Empire ; Joseph I (Holy Roman Empire) ; Joseph II (Holy Roman Empire) ; Leopold I (Holy Roman Empire) ; Maria Theresa (Holy Roman Empire) ; Matthias (Holy Roman Empire) ; Maximilian I (Holy Roman Empire) ; Maximilian II (Holy Roman Empire) ; Rudolf II (Holy Roman Empire) .


Hamann, Brigitte, ed. Die Habsburger: Ein biographisches Lexikon. 2nd ed. Vienna, 1988. Reprint, Munich, 2001.

Ingrao, Charles W. The Habsburg Monarchy, 16181815. 2nd ed. New York, 2000.

Mamatey, Victor S. The Rise of the Habsburg Empire, 1526 1815. New York, 1971.

Tanner, Marie. The Last Descendant of Aeneas: The Hapsburgs and the Mythic Image of the Emperor. New Haven, 1993.

H. C. Erik Midelfort

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(For ancient magic among the Teutonic people of Austria, see the entry on the Teutons; see also Hungary ).


As Spiritualism spread across Europe in the 1860s and 1870s, it also spread into Austria. The movement was first promulgated by Constantine Delby of Vienna, an adherent of the French Spiritism of Allan Kardec. Delby founded a Spiritualist society and started a journal. Despite his efforts, the society found little support and was kept alive primarily by Delby's enthusiasm. Spiritualism never obtained much foothold in Vienna. A number of Austrians, particularly the world-famous mediums and brothers, Willi and Rudi Schneider (from Braunau) began their work in Austria, but received most of their fame outside the country. In fact, experts in Great Britain where much of the investigation into Rudi's abilities were conducted have offered the opinion that had he been allowed to remain in the comfortable world of his native country, his gift might have developed better. Still, he was never caught in any sort of fraud, as was often the case during the seances he conducted.

Two other famous Austrians involved in the world of the paranormal and parapsychology worth mentioning were Erik Jan Hanussen, and Hans Holzer. Hanussen was known as the "Prophet of the Third Reich," who had written a book on stage telepathy, based on his experience in performance since the age of 12. He had successfully defended himself against fraudulent clairvoyance in court by demonstrating his long-practiced techniques well-enough to have the charges dismissed. He reportedly believed in Hitler and his plan to lead Germany so strongly, that while some reports indicate he might have been Jewish, Hanussen donated money to Nazi officials in order to get to meet him. That meeting occured in 1931 and Hanussen spoke to the leader on the occult. By 1933 as a favorite of the Third Reich, he opened his "Palace of the Occult" and presented his vision of the burning of a large public buildingonly the day before the Reichstag (the seat of the German government) was burned. The day after that, Hitler declared himself dictator. That was in February. One month later, he fell into disfavor and was arrested. On April 7, he was found dead. How much he truly influenced Hitler, another famous Austrian, in his belief in the occult cannot be confirmed.

Holzer who was born in 1920, and a naturalized American, became famous in the 1960s for his work as a "ghost-hunter," appearing on television talk shows and serving as a favorite of celebrities. While he continued to pursue his work, his investigations were considered unreliable, in great part due to his faulty historical data.

It was quite otherwise in Budapest (and at this time Hungary was then part of the larger Austrian Empire). Here a considerable amount of interest was awakened, and many persons of note began to take part in the circles that were being formed there. Among these persons were Anton Prohasker and Dr. Adolf Grunhut. At length a society was formed, and Baron Edmund Vay was elected president. A Mr. Lishner, of Budapest, built a séance room, which the society rented. At that time there were some 110 members, all professing Christians. Vay served as the honorary president, and Grunhut as the active president. The principles of the society, indeed the basis of it, were taken from the Geist Kraft Stoff of Baroness Adelma Vay and the works of Kardec. It never encouraged paid mediumship. All the officers were voluntary and honorary. It had no physical medium, but good trance, writing, and seeing mediums.

Psychical Research

Though Austria has not been a center of parapsychology, there is an Austrian Society for Psychic Research (c/o Prof. Dr. H. Hofman, c/o Technische Hochschule, Gusshausstr. 25, Vienna). Possibly the best known figure in Austrian parapsychology is Andreas Resch, who edited Imago Mundi (former publication of the International Society for Catholic Parapsychologists). Resch has conducted courses in parapsychology at Lateran University in Rome. Resch now edits Grenzgebiete der Wissenschaft as the organ of the Institut für Grenzgebiete der Wissenschaft und von Imago Mundi (Resch Verlag, Maximilianstr. 8. Postfach 8 A-6020 Innsbruck).

There is also an International School for Psycho-Physical Training (Bartlemae 17, 9110 Poertschach/ Woerthersee, Kaernten, Austria) and the Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Parapsycholige (Himmelspfortgasse 9/Tür 11, A-1010 Vienna) headed by Gustav Pscholka. Franz Seidl, an electronics engineer from Vienna, has experimented with paranormal taped voices (now generally known as electronic voice phenomenon ).


Berger, Arthur S., and Joyce Berger. The Encyclopedia of Parapsychology and Psychical Research. New York: Paragon House, 1991.

Noah's Ark Society. "The Mediumship of Rudi Schneider." June 6, 2000.

Institut für Grenzgebiete der Wissenschaft. June 6, 2000.

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Country statistics


83,850sq km (32,374sq mi) 8,032,926

capital (population):

Vienna (1,550,123)


Federal multi-party republic

ethnic groups:

Austrian 98%, Czech, Slovak, Slovene, Croat, Hungarian, Romany, Turkish


German (official)


Roman Catholic 78%, Lutheran 5%, Muslim 2%


Euro = 100 cents

Landlocked republic in the heart of Europe. Austria lies at the crossroads of Europe. Mountains constitute about 75% of total land area. The River Danube flows through the Vienna basin, Austria's main farming region. Southern Austria contains ranges of the e Alps, which rise to 3979m (12,457ft) at Gross Glockner. Graz is the major southern city. Salzburg lies close to the German border.

Climate and Vegetation

Westerly winds bring rain and snow and help moderate temperatures. Easterly winds bring cold weather in winter and hot weather in summer. Crops are grown on 18% of the land, and another 24% is pasture. Austria has the highest proportion of forest (39%) in Europe.

History and Politics

Austria was part of the Holy Roman Empire, and in 1526 it was united with Bohemia and Hungary. Under Habsburg rule it became the most important state in the empire. The succession of Maria Theresa (1740) prompted the War of the Austrian Succession. Joseph II's reforms encountered fierce resistance. The French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars, culminating in defeat at Austerlitz, led to the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire (1806). Through the auspices of Prince Metternich, however, Austria continued to dominate European politics. The Revolutions of 1848 forced the succession of Franz Joseph. Austrian power further declined after the Austro-Prussian War (1866). In 1867 Austria and Hungary set up the Austro-Hungarian Empire, whose disregard for individual nationalities precipitated World War 1. The defeat of the Central Powers led to the establishment of an Austrian republic. Anschluss (union) with Germany was forbidden. Engelbert Dollfuss established a totalitarian state, but was unable to stem the rise of Germany. In 1938 Germany annexed Austria, and they jointly fought in World War 2. In 1945, the Allies partitioned and occupied Austria. In 1955, Allied forces withdrew and Austria became a neutral federal republic. A succession of coalition governments was halted by the election of a People's Party government (1970), led by Bruno Kreisky, who was chancellor until 1983. In 1995 Austria joined the European Union (EU). In 2000, Austria endured seven months of EU sanctions after the far-right Freedom Party joined a government coalition.


Austria is a wealthy nation (2000 GDP per capita, US$25,000), which, despite abundant hydroelectric power, depends on the import of fossil fuels. Its leading economic activity is metal manufacture. Dairy and livestock farming are the main agricultural activities. Austria's 7 million annual visitors (1995) are drawn by its historic cities and the winter sports facilities, especially in the Tirol.

Political map

Physical map


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Austria during the Renaissance was a duchy of central Europe that had importance as the seat of the Habsburg dynasty. In 1273, Count Rudolf of the Habsburg family was appointed king of Germany. Five years later his sons Albert and Rudolf became the rulers of Austria, a small domain along the Danube River. Habsburg archdukes reigned in Austria for more than six hundred years afterward. They brought new territories under their control through marital alliances. In the fifteenth century the Habsburg king Frederick III became Holy Roman Emperor, and from that point on the Habsburgs remained in possession of this title. Archduke Maximilian married a princess of Burgundy in 1477, bringing that wealthy realm of northwestern Europe under the Habsburgs' control. Through another marriage, Maximilian's son Philip reigned in Castile, Aragon, and Italian possessions. By the time of Emperor Charles V, the Habsburgs also were in control of Bohemia and Hungary, making their realm the largest in Europe.

Patronage of artists and scholars by the Habsburgs made Vienna an important center of the Renaissance in central Europe. The royal court attracted noted artists, sculptors, architects, and composers. Many Dutch composers were employed at the sixteenth-century courts of the Habsburgs. One of the notable Renaissance humanists to make his home in Austria was Enea Silvio Piccolomini, who was the royal poet laureate of Emperor Frederick III, later the emperor's secretary, and finally Pope Pius II in 1458. The University of Vienna, under the leadership of Conradus Celtis, drew scholars from throughout the empire. Celtis had the works of ancient authors translated into German, staged ancient Roman plays in Vienna, and founded a college for poets. He had come to the capital at the invitation of Maximilian I, who also commissioned work from Albrecht Dürer and several other German masters. The Schloss Neugebaude, an imperial villa, and the Hofburg, the Habsburg palace in Vienna, were built in the classical style then popular in Italy.

See Also: Dürer, Albrecht; Habsburg dynasty

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Culture Name


Alternative Names

Republic of Austria; Republik Osterreich


Identification. The origins of present-day Austria can be traced back to prehistoric times. The Danube River valley was populated as long ago as the Paleolithic Age (50,000 b.c.e.8000 b.c.e.). Austria was inhabited by Celtic peoples from prehistory until it fell under Roman control in the first century b.c.e. By the late second century c.e., peoples such as the Slavs, Germans, Huns, and Bohemians began to raid Austria. Christianity, which became the official religion of the Roman Empire, had become established in the region by the end of the fourth century.

Austrians call their country Osterreich (eastern empire). The name dates to about c.e. 800, when Charlemagne, emperor of the Germanic Franks, took control of the region, naming it Eastern March because it was meant to stem invasions by marauders from the east. (A march is a protective zone set up to defend a border area.) In the tenth century, German king Otto I named it Ostarichi (eastern kingdom), from which the modern German name, Osterreich, derives. The Latin name, Austria, had appeared by the twelfth century.

Nine provinces comprise Austria. Because the country is landlocked and bordered by eight other countries with their own distinctive cultures, the people of each province tend to be different. Surrounded by so many other cultures, Austria has often been subjected to cultural "invasions," which are a source of the differences among the provinces. Another source of the diversity is the Alps, which cover 62 percent of the country. The distinctions also occurred because different groups settled in Austria. In addition to the Celts, Romans, Asians, Hungarians, and Germanic groups, many groups from central Europe arrived during the Middle Ages (5001500).

With the advent of Communism in Eastern Europe, many people fled to Austria from the former Czechoslovakia and Hungary. Despite pronounced provincial differences, however, the people of Austria are proud of their country and their independent identity as Austrians.

Location and Geography. Located in south-central Europe, Austria is a landlocked, mountainous country, with an area of approximately 32,375 square miles (83,850 square kilometers). It shares borders with Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein. Its western portion is a narrow strip that extends between Germany and Italy. The Danube River, Austria's only navigable waterway, flows from southeastern Germany across northern Austria. Areas of major settlement are in the Danube valley and in the lowlands or hills north, east, and south of the Alps.

Austria is divided into nine provinces, Vorarlberg, Tirol, Salzburg, Upper Austria, Carinthia, Styria, Burgenland, Lower Austria, and Vienna, the capital city and a major river port on the Danube.

The Alps are the distinguishing physical feature of Austria, dominating the western, southern, and central regions of the country, with the highest point at Grossglockner, 12,457 feet (3,797 meters). Although the Alps usually did not demarcate the provinces' political boundaries, they were often impassable. Many inhabitants of Alpine valleys were thus isolated and developed their own distinct dialects, dress, folklore, and architecture, and could easily determine the origins of outsiders. Modern mass media and mobility have diminished many of these distinctions.

Demography. The 1998 population count was 8,078,449 (2000 estimate, 8,131,111), about 95 percent of whom were ethnic Austrian. Other numerically significant ethnic groups include Slovenes, Croats, and Czechs. Austria has one of the world's lowest birthrates, and much of the population is under age twenty-five or over sixty-five. About 65 percent of the population is urban, the largest city by far being Vienna (1.64 million).

Linguistic Affiliation. Austria is the only country other than Germany where the official language is German, and approximately 98 percent of the population speaks High German or a dialect of it. Austrian German sounds "softer" from that of Germany, and German speakers can easily discern the difference. There are also regional dialects of German, such as Weinerisch, spoken in Vienna. Austria's Slavic minority, located mostly in the south and the east, speak Slovenian and Croatian as their first language. English is taught in all schools as a second language.

Symbolism. The black eagle on the Austrian coat of arms is the national emblem. The civic crown on its head represents Austria's middle classes; a sickle in its left talon represents its farmers; a hammer in the right, its artisans; and broken silver chains hanging from each talon represent freedom from Nazi German control. The red and white bars of Austria's national flag adorn its breast. These represent the blood-stained tunic worn by Duke Leopold V of Babenberg after the Battle of Ptolemais in 1191. Austria's national anthem is "Land of the Mountains, Land on the River."

The edelweiss, Leontopodium alpinum, one of the most famous Alpine plants, is also widely associated with Austria. Celebrated in The Sound of Music, the edelweiss has white star-shaped flowers and grows on rocks and in crevices.

History and Ethnic Relations

Emergence of the Nation. Austria's geographical location at the crossroads of Europe determined its historical multiethnic makeup. In the late ninth century, Slavs and Magyars (Hungarians) advanced westward along the Danube River valley and overran the area. They were defeated by the German king Otto I at the Battle of the Lech in 955. Otto established a strong march (protective zone) along Germany's eastern border to keep tribes to the east at bay. Many German colonists settled in the region.

Austria emerged as a distinct political entity in 976 when Otto II gave the area to the Bavarian nobleman Leopold of Babenberg, largely to keep the Magyars at bay. Austria flourished culturally and economically under the three-hundred-year reign of the Babenberg dynasty, who built great fortresses and beautiful monasteries. The Danube became an important trade route, and Vienna was made the capital. Roman Catholicism and German ethnicity took hold in the area.

When the last duke of Babenberg died without an heir in 1246, the Holy Roman emperor Rudolf of Habsburg wrested control in 1278, marking the beginning of the 640-year Habsburg dynasty, one of the most powerful and dynamic in European history. The Habsburgs were extremely successful in expanding their empire through politically motivated marriages. The empire became so extensive that at various times it included Austria and surrounding countries, northern Italy, Spain and its American territories, and parts of Germany.

By the seventeenth century, Austria was the foremost German state and a major European power. The dominant theme of Austrian history during this period was war, especially under threats from the Ottoman Empire during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The Ottomans launched two great sieges of Vienna (1529 and 1683), but both failed and the Turks were repelled to southeastern Europe.

With the death of Charles VI in 1740, his daughter Maria Theresa (r. 1740-1780) became ruler, although she had to fight off rivals to the throne. Reigning over a golden age in Austria's history, Maria Theresa ruled for forty years. Although she lost Silesia to the Prussians, sheand later her son, Joseph II (r. 1765-1790), who ruled with her jointly beginning in 1765presided over Austria's transformation into a modern state. She established centralized control of the state, set up a civil service, introduced public education, expanded industry, and reformed the military and the legal system. The cultural life of Austria also thrived during this period.

The turmoil accompanying the French Revolution and Napoleon Bonaparte's rise to power spelled the end of the Holy Roman Empire and also a weakening of Austria. The French revolutionary government, in an effort to expand French territory, declared war on Austria in 1792 and began to capture Habsburg territory. Austrian emperor Franz II allied with Britain, Prussia, and Russia to fight the French. The conflict continued until the Congress of Vienna in 1814-1815, convened to plan a permanent settlement of European territorial boundaries.

The congress created the German Confederation, a union of thirty-nine small German states with Austria in permanent control of the presidency. Austria also regained much of the territory it had lost to Napoleon.

The provisions of the Congress of Vienna confirmed Austria as the dominant European power. Even after Emperor Franz Joseph I (r. 1848-1916) suffered defeat by the Prussians in 1866, losing some lands, what became known as Austria Hungary remained a great power. On 12 November 1918, at the end of World War I and after the dissolution of the Habsburg Empire after the assassination of its heir, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, a new German Austrian stateknown as the First Republicwas established. It was only about one-fourth the size of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

In March 1938, Nazi German troops occupied Austria, renaming it Ostmark and annexing it as part of Germany. This annexation was known as the Anschluss. Adolf Hitler enlisted Austrian soldiers in the German army until the end of World War II in 1945. After the war, Allied forces occupied Austria, which was divided into four zones. Nullifying the Anschluss, on 27 April 1945 they reestablished an independent Republic of Austria under its 1920 constitution as amended in 1929. Not until the State Treaty of October 1955, however, did the four Allied powersthe United States, Great Britain, France, and the Soviet Unionend their occupation of Austria. Austria's status as a neutral nation was incorporated into the constitution by the Federal Constitutional Law on Neutrality of 26 October 1955.

National Identity. Although Austria during the Habsburg Empire was made up of many ethnic groups, the strongest group remained the Germans, and they considered themselves German by culture even though they were loyal to their provinces. During the late 1800s, Austrians began to support the nationalist ideal. Germans in AustriaHungary divided into three political groups, called Lager (camps)the German Liberals, the Social Democratic Workers' Party, and the Christian Social Party. After World War I, during Austria's First Republic, these camps grew stronger and more divisive, to the point of armed conflict by the 1930s. After the assassination of Christian Social leader Engelbert Dollfuss by Austrian Nazis, the Christian Social Party continued its regime under the leadership of Kurt von Schuschnigg.

Following the Anschluss and then Allied occupation after World War II, Austrian political party leaders discussed ways to rebuild their country and overlook their political differences. After the Nazi war atrocities, Austria no longer wanted to be a part of Germany, and the rise of Communism in Eastern Europe made parliamentary democracy more attractive than ever. However, by 1956 only one-half of Austrians saw themselves as a nation, whereas 46 percent still identified with their German culture. By the late 1980s, nearly 80 percent of Austrians embraced their identity as a distinct nation.

Ethnic Relations. Although the Austrian population is strongly homogeneous, there are sizable Croatian (in Burgenland), Slovene (in Carinthia), Hungarian, Czech, and Slovak minorities, and the preservation of their language and culture is guaranteed by Austria's constitutional law. During the late twentieth century, however, the number of Austrians declaring membership in their ethnic groups dropped by large percentages.

Since 1945, Austria has accepted immigrants, refugees, and transmigrants seeking political asylum from Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, as well as from South America, Iran, Uganda, and Afghanistan. Gypsies and Jews, who have lived in Austria for centuries, are also considered minority groups. Gypsies maintain much of their life of freedom, and as a result have not become a part of the larger society. Some anti-Semitism still exists in Austria, but attitudes changed somewhat during the 1980s and 1990s.

After World War II, workers arrived from southern Europe, North Africa, and the Balkans to help rebuild northern Europe. Many are still considered "guest workers," although they and their families have made permanent homes in Austria. In 2000, immigrants made up 9 percent of Austria's population. Austria's political conservatives unjustly blame immigrants for taking jobs from native Austrians and for rising crime. Many foreign workers hold low-paying jobs and therefore live in poorer neighborhoods in urban areas, especially in Vienna.

Because of widespread public concern about immigrants, the government tightened immigration controls and strengthened its border patrol in the late 1990s.

Urbanism, Architecture, and the Use of Space

Approximately one-third of the Austrians live in the five largest citiesVienna, Graz, Linz, Salzburg, and Innsbruckwith the remainder inhabiting small towns and the countryside.

Most urban dwellers live in four- or five-story apartment buildings, high-rise buildings, or single-family homes. Many rural areas are dominated by farmhouses that have been in the family for hundreds of years. Usually made of stone and wood, the farmhouses are often equipped with a bell tower to announce mealtimes to those working in the fields. Because of the Alps, Austrian farms are small and isolated, making production relatively expensive.

Western provinces have wooden chalets with steep, pointed roofs, like those in Switzerland, whereas the eastern Danubian houses exhibit more of a Slavic influence, with simple design and stucco plastering.

Urban architecture reflects the broad architectural styles and related cultural movements that have appeared throughout Europe's history, including the Romanesque and Gothic styles, most notable in churches and monasteries, of the Middle Ages. Other important historical styles include Renaissance, rococo, historicism, and modern.

The church, the state, and the nobility celebrated the ascendancy of the Habsburgs with extravagance, exemplified in large-scale building. The Italian-inspired architecture of the baroque period reflects a combination of religious piety and worldly opulence. Austrian architects created a distinctive national style, Austrian baroque, that featured irregular or undulating outlines, dynamic use of bold and delicate colors, and rich ornamentation.

Vienna achieved its modern-day look in the second half of the nineteenth century with the rise of a prosperous middle class. The medieval wall surrounding the city was razed, freeing up a large tract of land that resulted in the laying out of the Ringstrasse, a great boulevard enclosing the city on three sides (the Danube bordered the fourth). Reviving old architectural styles (historicism), architects and city planners erected buildings with a great diversity of retrograde styles, including Gothic, High Renaissance, and Greek.

Architects in the early 1900s opted for the functionality of modernism, especially in public buildings and transportation systems. Vienna has been in the forefront in providing and maintaining public housing. After the 1960s, architects rejected functionality for illusion and sensualism, focusing on architecture as structures in which individuals "participate".

"Plague columns" are a distinctive type of Austrian monument, erected in town squares throughout the nation in thanks to the Trinity or the Virgin Mary for deliverance from deadly plagues.

Food and Economy

Food in Daily Life. Austrian cooking is one of the most varied in Europe and includes German, Hungarian, Czech, and northern Italian influences.

A typical Austrian's day begins with a light breakfast of coffee or milk with bread and butter or jam. Sausage served with mustard on a hard roll is a typical midmorning snack. Lunch is usually the main meal of the day and consists of soup and a main course of meatsausage, the widely popular Wiener schnitzel (breaded veal), chicken, beef, pork or fish. Fresh vegetables, dumplings, noodles, or potatoes often accompany the main course. A salad may conclude the meal.

Austrian city dwellers often take a midafternoon coffee break at a national institution, the coffeehouse. Part of the Austrian way of life, the coffeehouse serves as a meeting place and a source for breakfast or a snack or light lunch. Most coffee-houses, which usually also serve alcohol, have their own distinctive atmosphere. The evening meal usually consists of light fare, perhaps cold meats, cheese, or smoked fish with bread and wine or beer.

Basic Economy. Before World War II, Austrian farmers produced 72 percent of the nation's food requirements. With wider use of commercial fertilizers, mechanization, and scientific methods, they steadily increased that percentage to 90 by the mid-1990s, even though less than 20 percent of the land is suitable for farming. Major crops are wheat and other grains, sugar beets, and potatoes. Austria also grows a variety of other vegetables and fruits, as well as grapes for making wine. Most farmers breed pigs, sheep, and dairy cattle, from which they obtain meat, wool, milk, cheese, and butter.

With increased mechanization, the number of people employed in agriculture decreased, and by the mid-1990s about 7 percent of the population held agricultural jobs. Most farms are small and are owned and operated by families. Many farm families supplement their income by renting out rooms or serving as tour guides or ski instructors.

Austria produces some petroleum and natural gas to meet its own needs, and it also mines coal, iron ore, copper, lead, zinc, antimony, and graphite, used in industry. Its rivers are harnessed to produce hydroelectric energy that provides a substantial portion of the nation's energy needs, with a surplus to export to neighboring countries. Abundant forests provide materials for lumber, paper products, and fuel. Conservation has helped protect farmland from landslides and erosion.

Austria's basic unit of currency is the schilling. Banking and finance are also an important part of the economy.

Land Tenure and Property. Austria's urban property market is weak, with many people renting rather than buying housing. Most farms are less than fifty acres (twenty hectares); nearly half are about twelve acres (five hectares) or less. About 70 percent of Austria's forest lands are privately held, with the remainder owned by the federal and provincial governments and by the Roman Catholic Church. Inherited wealth is more highly respected than earned wealth.

Commercial Activities. Austria is highly industrialized, but expert craftsmanship is also valued and can be found in products such as leather goods, pottery, jewelry, woodcarvings, and blown glass. Tourism contributes a substantial portion to the economy, especially ski resorts in the Alps and cultural attractions in Vienna and Salzburg. Agricultural products such as wheat, corn, wine, dairy products, and meat are also produced for sale.

Major Industries. Manufacturing is the strongest sector of the Austrian economy, accounting for one-third of the workforce and about 40 percent of the gross domestic product. Iron ore is Austria's most important mineral resource, and metal and metal products, especially iron and steel, lead the manufacturing sector. Major products include motor vehicles, locomotives, heavy machinery and equipment, customized electronics, and tools. Other principal manufactured goods include chemicals, petroleum, graphite, wood and paper products, textiles, tobacco products, beverages, and processed foods.

Trade. Germany is Austria's principal trading partner, with Austria importing crude oil, machinery and equipment, chemical and manufacturing products, pharmaceuticals, and some foods. Austria's major exports are machinery and equipment, electronics, paper products, clothing and textiles, metals, and transportation equipment. Austria joined the European Union (EU) in 1995. It also conducts wide-ranging foreign trade with Italy, Switzerland, and other EU countries, as well as the United States, Japan, and other Asian countries.

Division of Labor. Craftsmen serve as apprentices for several years before becoming journeymen and, finally, master craftsmen. Farming is done mainly by families who own the land. Immigrants from a number of nations are employed as unskilled labor and service industry workers. Professional, white collar, factory, and government jobs are held mainly by native Austrians.

Social Stratification

Classes and Castes. Austrian society was traditionally highly stratified, with well-defined social distinctions. In the early 1800s, the three major social classes were aristocrats, "citizens," and peasant-farmers or peasant-serfs. At the beginning of the twentieth century, a small aristocracy remained, along with a small middle class of entrepreneurs, a larger working class, and a large class of peasant-farmers (about 55 percent of the population). During the period between World War I and World War II, these classes developed separate political affiliations as well, dividing the people into camps based on beliefs in either social democracy, conservative Christian politics, or liberalism. These camps dissolved after World War II, and a growing middle class effected change in the social structure.

Prosperity, mobility, and more government benefits in the late twentieth century resulted in a higher standard of living for nearly all Austrians. There are more middle-class citizens than any other group, and education is considered the means to upward mobility. Equality is promoted throughout Austria, although foreign workers, immigrants, and Gypsies are still generally less accepted by the middle class.

Symbols of Social Stratification. An older Austrian family lineage and inherited wealth are still symbols of respect in Austrian culture. Austrians whose families have lived in the country for several generations gain more acceptance than those who are recent immigrants. Symbols of wealth today may be a second home and more material possessions, rather than land, as in earlier centuries.

Political Life

Government. Austria is a federal republic based on parliamentary democracy. Its constitution was adopted in 1920 and has been amended several times. The federal government has a legislative, an executive, and a judicial branch. The bicameral legislature is known as the Bundesversammlung (Federal Assembly). It is composed of the lower house of parliament, the Nationalrat (National Council), made up of representatives from the political parties, and the upper house, the Bundesrat (Federal Council), representing the nine provinces.

Each of the nine provinces has a provincial government that provides for enforcement of federal laws and policies, and sets laws regarding municipal affairs, education of young children, tourism, and other local matters.

Leadership and Political Officials. Austria has a federal president, elected by the people, who serves as head of state. The president has the power to appoint the chancellor and members of the cabinet and other government posts, to dismiss members, and even, on rare occasions, to dissolve the Nationalrat. However, governmental power rests chiefly with the chancellor (prime minister) and the cabinet, who write most laws. They in turn are responsible to the Nationalrat, which must approve all their actions. Members of the parliament are elected by the people.

From 1945 until 1986, two major political parties, the Social Democratic Party of Austria (SPO) and the Austrian People's Party (OVP) worked together in democratic governance of Austria. As traditional political alliances broke down in the late twentieth century, however, more "floating" voters made it possible for smaller political party candidates to gain a higher percentage of the vote. These parties included the controversial Freedom Party of Austria (FPO), a right-wing party headed by charismatic young leader Jorg Haider. Other, less powerful, small parties are the Liberal Forum and the environmentalist party, the Greens.

In February 2000, the OVP and the Freedom Party formed a coalition, causing the European Union to impose sanctions against Austria because of Haider's alleged racism and Nazi sympathies. Austrians demonstrated to protest the EU's interference in its national politics. Haider stepped down from the party, and the EU lifted its sanctions in September.

Social Problems and Control. Austria has traditionally been a peaceful nation with a low crime rate. Police and the law are respected, but since the 1980s some security personnel have been accused of improper conduct and excessive use of force. A variety of political beliefs are tolerated in Austria, and Vienna has long been a center of peace talks between foreign nations and a meeting place for international organizations such as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). As a result, violence and terrorist attacks have occasionally broken out against visiting members of nations in conflict, although involvement of the Austrian army and tough sentencing of terrorists by Austrian courts have curbed such incidents.

Austrian police divisions are the Federal Police, whose jurisdiction includes Vienna and other urban areas, and the Gendarmerie, responsible for rural and all other areas of Austria. The State Police is a national secret service division.

The criminal court system hears cases of crimes and misdemeanors. Jail and prison sentences tend not to be lengthy, and an effort is made to rehabilitate those incarcerated. Certain acts, such as vagrancy and prostitution, have been decriminalized at the federal level but may still be prohibited by local governments.

Military Activity. On 26 October 1955, Austria, by constitutional law, declared its permanent neutrality. It is prohibited from entering into military alliances, and foreign countries are prohibited from establishing military bases on Austrian soil. However, Austria's military does participate in some United Nations peacekeeping missions in other countries.

Although it remains a neutral country, Austria is prepared to defend itself from attack with the Bundesheer (Federal Army), which has an air force but no navy. Military service is on a conscript and volunteer basis. Austrian women have never served in the military. Main objectives until the 1990s were to deter outside forces from crossing Austria in military campaigns against surrounding nations by defending Austria's "key zones" (major routes of military advance) and "area security zones" (remaining Austrian territory). The Austrian security policy was restructured from 1993 to 1995, under the New Army Structure, which focuses on resolving border crises that might occur during instability in neighboring nations, resulting in an influx of refugees.

Austria accepted observer status in the Western European Union in 1995 and participates in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's (NATO) Partnership for Peace. It is a long-standing member of the United Nations, the Council of Europe, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OCSE).

Social Welfare and Change Programs

Austria has one of the world's most highly developed and inclusive social welfare programs, funded by direct and indirect taxes. Benefits include unemployment pay and disability, retirement, and survivor pensions. Health insurance is required by the state and covers 99 percent of Austrians. Workers pay into these plans, but the poor and disadvantaged receive equal benefits. Parents receive many benefits, such as monthly support payments for maternity and paternity leave and child maintenance payments for children, from birth through completion of higher education. Unwed mothers and large low-income families receive additional benefits.

Nongovernmental Organizations and Other Associations

Austria owes much of its success to its Social Partnership, which brings together farmers, employers and employees, and trade unions. Trade unions and professional groups help gain rights for Austrian workers as well as helping to regulate economic and social matters. Unions use collective bargaining to help set wages and salaries and worker benefits. Professional groups serve to regulate quality of services, pricing, and competition within the professions. Agricultural groups work to improve farming methods and promote production. The major nongovernmental economic organizations are the Austrian Trade Union Federation; the Federation of Austrian Industrialists; the Federal Chamber of Trade and Commerce (or Federal Economic Chamber); the Conference of Presidents of the Chamber of Agriculture; the Regulation of the Professions; and the various chambers of labor, which are public corporations, whereas trade unions are private, volunteer organizations. Membership in a chamber of labor is compulsory for all workers. These organizations work together and with government through a representative council called the Parity Commission, which sets general principles for solving economic problems. Since the late 1980s, the Social Partnership has been criticized for lack of concern over the environment and for social groups that are not represented, such as pensioners, students, and many women.

Catholic Action is the main lay organization of the Roman Catholic Church. Austria's many sports organizations are affiliated with the Austrian Federal Sports Organization.

Gender Roles and Statuses

Division of Labor by Gender. In spite of efforts to equalize the workforce, a majority of Austrians still consider it women's work to do household chores, cook, and care for children. A growing number of men in younger families help with child care, cooking, and shopping, however. Austrian women hold jobs outside the home less frequently than do women in most other European countries. Except for those with college degrees, women are under-represented in business and the professions and generally hold jobs that require less education and fewer skills. Women make up only about 40 percent of government workers.

The Relative Status of Women and Men. Since the mid-1970s, the Austrian legislature has passed a number of measures aimed at equalizing the treatment of men and women in the workforce. However, most women are still paid less than men for doing the same type of job. The Women's Omnibus Law, passed in 1993, provides for compensation for women who have been discriminated against in the workplace because of their gender or who have faced sexual harassment. The Equal Treatment Law of 1979 has continued to fight discrimination against women.

Austrian men, especially among older and rural families, are still considered the head of the family. Men have compulsory military service and work in industry, farming, trades, and professions. Austrian men face stresses from uncertain areas, however, as evidenced by their uncommonly high suicide rate.

Marriage, Family, and Kinship

Marriage. Austria saw a boom in marriages from 1945 through the 1960s, a golden age for the economy. Today, however, fewer young people marry, more couples divorce, and more live together and raise children without marrying. More women are opting for having a child but not marrying. Couples marry later in life, and many educated women choose their profession over a family. No-fault divorce was legalized in the 1980s, and divorce has increased, especially in urban areas.

Most weddings are still held in a Roman Catholic Church, although religion plays a lesser part in the lives of urban residents in the late twentieth century.

Domestic Unit. The domestic unit varies in Austria. Added to the basic unit of husband, wife, and children are households with a single parent and child, homes of divorced or widowed women and men, single professionals, and households where a man and woman live and raise children outside of marriage. Households in rural areas are still usually conventional, with married couples and several children and possibly grandparents and other relatives living under the same roof.

Inheritance. Inheritance of farms varies according to region, with the most common practice being the passing of the property to one son. Remaining siblings then receive cash for their share of the property. In other areas, one heir receives the house and a large share of land, with the rest divided among other family members.


Infant Care. Infants are well cared for by Austrian parents, with both mother and father allowed paid time off from work when a child is born. Families in urban areas tend to be small, and each child receives plenty of attention. In larger farming families, siblings and other relatives may be available to help care for infants. Most infants receive a traditional baptism in the Roman Catholic Church.

Child Rearing and Education. Austrians, whether married or not, receive a special government payment each month to help provide for children. This continues until the child completes college or vocational training. Parents of handicapped children receive double payments, and thousands of children receive free school lunches. Children's holiday programs are organized by the government, and disabled children receive special training. Austrian children are raised to reflect the Austrian community spirit of peace and compromise as a means of resolving conflict. They are taught to respect others and to appreciate the arts, their beautiful environment, and their heritage.

Austria's education system is one of the world's best, and Austria has a literacy rate of 99 percent. All children have an equal right to free education, with free transportation to and from school and free textbooks provided. Schooling is coeducational and is compulsory through the ninth grade. Between ages six and ten, all children attend a primary school. After age ten, children are separated through a "two-track" system in which some students attend a general secondary school for four more years, and the remainder attend an upper-level secondary school until age eighteen. The decision about which secondary school to attend was once made by children and their parents immediately after primary school, but education reforms since the 1980s have made this decision more flexible, resulting in a larger percentage of children choosing the upper-level schools. Debate over the two-track system continued in the 1990s.

After secondary school, students have the option of attending a university or a vocational school to pursue a specific career. In addition to public schools, the Roman Catholic Church also operates primary and secondary schools that make up about 10 percent of Austria's schools.

Higher Education. Students who graduate from upper-level secondary schools may apply to a university. Austria has twelve universities and six fine arts colleges. The University of Vienna, founded in 1365, is the oldest in German-speaking Europe. A university education is free for Austrians, although foreign students pay tuition. Once available only to wealthy males, university training is now available to all Austrian students who pass an entrance exam. As a result, since the 1960s annual enrollment at universities has increased from about 19,000 to 200,000. Women account for about half of the university students, although nearly all professors are male.


Most Austrians greet one another formally, by shaking hands and saying, "Gruss Gott" (greet God) or "Gruss dich" (greet you). Upon leaving, they shake again and say "Auf Wiedersehen" (good-bye). Older Viennese men may kiss the hand of a lady on introduction, or say "Kuss die Han" (I kiss your hand) and click their heels together. Women enjoy having doors opened for them. When dining, everyone at the table joins in a toast, saying "Prost," and "Guten Appetit" is exchanged before beginning to eat. The formal titles Frau (for a woman) and Herr (for a man) are universally used.


Religious Beliefs. Freedom of religion and worship is guaranteed in Austria. About three-fourths of Austrians are Roman Catholic. Many Austrians practice "baptismal certificate Catholicism," in which they are Catholic by baptism and religious formality but do not hold Catholic beliefs on central issues. Another major religion in Austria is Protestantism, and many foreign workers are Muslim or Serbian Orthodox. There is also a small community of Jews, mostly post World War II immigrants and their families, although the Jews have a long history in Vienna, beginning in the tenth century.

Religious Practitioners. Catholic priests, Islamic teachers and mosque officials, Protestant ministers, and Jewish rabbis make up the majority of religious practitioners.

Rituals and Holy Places. Cathedrals and churches are found throughout Austria. One of the most magnificent cathedrals in Austria is Saint Stephen's, or Stephansdom, in Vienna, built during the fifteenth century. The Augustinian abbey and the statue of Saint Florian in the town of Saint Florian are also important religious sites.

Cathedrals contain carvings depicting the life of Christ, at which worshipers stop to pray. A number of monasteries of the Cistercian order of monks, founded in the twelfth century, still function. A popular pilgrimage and tourist destiny is Melk, a Benedictine monastery on the Danube River. In the countryside, crucifixes are erected at crossroads, and numerous wayside shrines offer a place to rest and pray.

Death and the Afterlife. Austrians rely on the churches for funerals, and most hold to the beliefs of their religious faith about the afterlife. Austria has one of the highest suicide rates in Europe, especially among men. Vienna is the site of the large Zentalfriedhof (Central Cemetery), which contains the memorial tombs of such famous composers as Beethoven, Brahms, and Schubert, as well as a memorial to Mozart. Wealthy Austrians are buried in elaborate mausoleums, but nearly all graves are well tended, with flowers neatly arranged.

Medicine and Health Care

Austria's health care system is well developed, with 99 percent of its people protected by health insurance plans. These are funded by workers, employers, and the federal, provincial, and local governments. Everyone covered by health insurance is entitled to free outpatient and inpatient treatment. Physicians contract with health insurance agencies but are free to maintain private practices, and patients are free to go to the doctor of their choice.

Cardiovascular diseases, cancer, cirrhosis of the liver, and accidents are the major causes of death. Life expectancy for newborn males in 1998 was 74.3 years, and for females 80.7 years.

Secular Celebrations

Major celebrations include Fasching, a Carnival celebration held the week before Lent begins, and the Almahtrieh, a September celebration of the return of herders from Alpine pastures, in which cows decorated with ribbons and bells are led into town in a procession. Austrians also celebrate National Day on 26 October; Independence Day, 12 November; Nikolo (Saint Nicholas) Day, 6 December; New Year's Day, 1 January.

The Arts and Humanities

Support for the Arts. The arts are highly respected in Austria, and Vienna was known during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries as a world center of culture, especially in music. It was home to some of the greatest classical composers, including Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, and Brahms. During that time, the Habsburg family and the Roman Catholic Church were chief supporters of the arts. Austria is sometimes known as "the Land of Music." Annual festivals throughout the country feature Austrian orchestras, choirs, and other groups. The best known is the Salzburg Summer Festival, founded in 1920. Austria is famous for its Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and Vienna Boys' Choir.

The Vienna State Opera is a state institution that supports Austria's premier cultural home, the Vienna Opera House, one of the most opulent in the world. It accommodates Austrians on a budget by providing standing room on graded aisles with rails to support viewers during a long opera.

Austrian children have compulsory music and art classes in primary and secondary schools, and private music schools and conservatories abound. Provincial theaters and orchestras bring the arts to rural and town dwellers. The arts are responsible for stimulating a large portion of the tourist trade in Austria as well and so are considered excellent investments for private supporters.

Literature. Because it is written in German, Austrian literature is often considered a part of German literature, and the first significant literature in German appeared in Austria in the form of epic poems and songs around 1200. Seventeenth-century minister Abraham a Sancta Clara wrote prose about the social classes that left a permanent mark on Austrian literature. Adalbert Stifter was the best-known fiction writer of the nineteenth century, and Rainer Maria Rilke was a gifted philosophical poet of the twentieth century. Several Austrian writers wrote plays and operas in addition to verse and fiction. Among them were Hugo von Hofmannsthal, who, with innovative dramatist Max Reinhardt, annually produced the mystery play Everyman at the Salzburg Festival. The works of early-twentieth-century novelists Franz Werfel and Franz Kafka are world famous. Well-known interwar novelists are Heimito von Doderer and Robert Musil. Thomas Bernhard and Peter Handke achieved fame in the late twentieth century.

Coffeehouses, especially in Vienna, have long been known as a gathering place for writers and poets. Today, many coffeehouses feature literary readings as part of the culture that makes them so popular.

Graphic Arts. As capital of the illustrious Habsburg Empire, Vienna was a center for the fine arts as well as for music and the theater. Realist painter Ferdinand G. Waldmuller and painter Hans Makart were the most famous of the nineteenth century. Gustav Klimt painted in the unconventionally sensuous "secession" style, founded in 1897. Oskar Kokoschka painted the realities of World War I. In the twentieth century, artists such as Herbert Boeckl painted ornamentation on residential blocs and cathedrals. Anton Kolig and Josef Mikl were abstract painters, and Ernest Fuchs and Anton Lehmden were known for "fantastic realism."

The Albertina museum in the Hofburg quarter of Vienna houses a world-famous collection of graphic arts, featuring prints, drawings, and water-colors by artists such as Michelangelo, da Vinci, Rubens, Cezanne, Manet, Modigliani, and Schiele.

Performance Arts. Religious drama flourished, especially in Tirol, during the Middle Ages. During the Counter-Reformation, Jesuit priests wrote countless religious dramas and staged plays at Jesuit schools. Vienna became the center for German-speaking drama during the 18th century. Vienna's Burgtheater was the most eminent during the nineteenth century, when playwright Franz Grillparzer's plays were first performed there. Social dramas, folk farces, and satires also premiered during the nineteenth century. Around 1900, the Vienna School of dramatists, led by Austrian playwright Arthur Schnitzler, created a new style of playwriting in Europe, featuring psychological drama. The Salzburg Festival showcases drama as well as music.

The State of the Physical and Social Sciences

The sciences are well developed in Austria, and every effort is made to stay in the forefront of research and development, especially with Austria's entry into the European Union in 1995. Research is divided into science-oriented and business-oriented research. Science research is carried out mainly by the universities, whereas business research falls under independent companies and private and state-funded research institutes.

Among Austrians winning the Nobel Prize in the sciences are Julius Wagner-Jauregg (1927, therapy of paralysis); Erwin Schrodinger (1933, physics); Wolfgang Pauli (1945, "Pauli Principle" in quantum theory); and Konrad Lorenz and Karl von Frisch (1973, behavioral science). Famous psychologist Sigmund Freud (18561939) did most of his work in Vienna.

Austria participates in the European Space Agency, The European Council for Nuclear Research, the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Although Austria has pledged not to acquire nuclear weapons and its voters declined the adoption of nuclear energy, Austria is the headquarters for the International Atomic Energy Agency as a center for research and negotiations.


Austria in Pictures. Rev. ed., 1991. Berenger, Jean. A History of the Habsburg Empire: 1273 1700, translated by C. A. Simpson, 1994.

Brook-Shepherd, Gordon. The Austrians: A Thousand-Year Odyssey, 1997.

Honan, Mark. Austria, 1999.

Jelavich, Barbara. Modern Austria: Empire and Republic, 1815 1986, 1987.

Ladika, Susan. "Europe's Unsettling Immigrants." The World & I, 1 May 2000, p. 70.

Robertson, Ian. Blue Guide: Austria, 1992.

Sheehan, Sean. Austria, 1995.

Solsten, Eric, and David E. McClave, eds. Austria: A Country Study, 1994.

Sully, Melanie A. A Contemporary History of Austria, 1990.

Sweeny, J., and J. Weidenholzer. Austria: A Study in Contemporary Achievement, 1988.

Web Sites

"Republic of Austria."

U.S. Department of State. Background Notes: Austria. July 2000.

Robert H. Griffin and Ann H. Shurgin

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The people of Austria are called Austrians. Austrians are of mixed European origin.

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Austria. Name under which the Austrian ‘Emperor's Hymn’, comp. by Haydn, is found in many hymnals.

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Austriabarrier, carrier, farrier, harrier, tarrier •Calabria, Cantabria •Andrea • Kshatriya • Bactria •Amu Darya, aria, Zaria •Alexandria •Ferrier, terrier •destrier •aquaria, area, armamentaria, Bavaria, Bulgaria, caldaria, cineraria, columbaria, filaria, frigidaria, Gran Canaria, herbaria, honoraria, malaria, pulmonaria, rosaria, sacraria, Samaria, solaria, tepidaria, terraria •atria, gematria •Assyria, Illyria, Styria, SyriaLaurier, warrior •hypochondria, mitochondria •Austria •auditoria, ciboria, conservatoria, crematoria, emporia, euphoria, Gloria, moratoria, phantasmagoria, Pretoria, sanatoria, scriptoria, sudatoria, victoria, Vitoria, vomitoria •Maurya •courier, Fourier •currier, furrier, spurrier, worrier •Cumbria, Northumbria, Umbria •Algeria, anterior, bacteria, Bashkiria, cafeteria, criteria, cryptomeria, diphtheria, exterior, hysteria, Iberia, inferior, interior, Liberia, listeria, Nigeria, posterior, Siberia, superior, ulterior, wisteria •Etruria, Liguria, Manchuria, Surya

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AUSTRIA , country in Central Europe.

Middle Ages

Jews lived in Austria from the tenth century. However the history of the Jews in Austria from the late Middle Ages was virtually that of the Jews in *Vienna and its environs. In the modern period, Austrian Jewish life was interwoven with that of other parts of the Hapsburg Empire. Austria's position as the bulwark of the Holy Roman Empire against the Turks, as a transit area between Europe and the Middle East, and later as a center attracting East European Jewry, conferred on Austrian Jewry, and on legal formulations of their status, an importance far beyond its size and its national boundaries.

According to legend, a Jewish kingdom named *Judaesaptan was founded in the territory in times before recorded history. Jews apparently arrived in Austria with the Roman legions. They are mentioned in the Raffelstatten customs ordinance (c. 903–06) among traders paying tolls on slaves and merchandise. The earliest Jewish tombstone in the region, found near St. Stephan (Carinthia), dates from 1130. The first reliable evidence of a permanent Jewish settlement is the appointment (1194) of Shlom the Mintmaster. During the reign of Frederick i of Babenberg (1195–98) there was an influx of Jews from Bavaria and the Rhineland. A synagogue is recorded in Vienna in 1204. By then, Jews were also living in *Klosterneuburg, *Krems, Tulln, and *Wiener Neustadt. In the 13th century, Austria became a center of Jewish learning and leadership for the German and western Slavonic lands. Prominent scholars included *Isaac b. Moses, author of Or Zaru'a, *Avigdor b. Elijah ha-Kohen, and Moses b. Ḥasdai *Taku. At this time, Jews held important positions, administering the taxes and mints, and in trade. *Frederick ii of Hohenstaufen granted the Jews of Vienna a charter in 1238. In 1244 Duke Frederick ii of Babenberg granted the charter known as the "Fredericianum" to the Jews in the whole of Austria. It became the model for similar privilegia granted to the Jews of Bohemia, Hungary, and Poland during the 13th century. *Rudolph of Hapsburg confirmed the charter in 1278, in his capacity as Holy Roman Emperor. It was ratified by the emperors Ludwig iv of Bavaria in 1330 and Charles iv in 1348. Although Jews were excluded by the charter from holding public office, two are mentioned as royal financiers (comites camerae) in 1257. Immigration from Germany increased in the second half of the 13th century, but meanwhile the Jews encountered growing hostility, fostered by the church (for example, by the ecclesiastical Council of Vienna, 1267). Four instances of *blood libel occurred. The massacres of Jews in Franconia instigated by *Rindfleisch spread to Austria. Some protection was afforded by Albert i, who in 1298 endeavored to suppress the riots and imposed a fine on the town of St. Poelten. However, in 1306, he punished the Jews in *Korneuburg on a charge of desecration of the *Host. *Frederick i (1308–30) canceled a debt owed by a nobleman to a Jewish moneylender, thus introducing the usage of the pernicious Toetbrief. He also prohibited Jews in his domains from manufacturing or selling clothes. Under *Albert ii wholesale massacres of Jews followed the host libel in *Pulkau. A fixed Jewish tax is mentioned for the first time in 1320. Rudolph iv (1358–65), who unified all the legal codes then extant, retained the former enactments granting Jewish judicial autonomy, and took measures to prevent Jews from leaving Austria. The position of the Jews became increasingly precarious during the reigns of *Albert iii and Leopold iii. Cancellation of debts owed to Jews, confiscations of their property, and economic restrictions multiplied. In consequence, they became greatly impoverished. Their wretchedness culminated when *Albert v ordered the arrest of all the Jews after the host libel in Enns (1420); 270 Jews were burnt at the stake that year, a calamity remembered in Jewish annals as the *Wiener gesera. The rest were expelled and the property of the victims was confiscated. Austria became

notorious among Jewry as "Ereẓ ha-Damim" ("the bloodstained land").

Jewish settlement was subsequently renewed, and despite the persecutions, Austria became a center of spiritual leadership and learning for the Jews in southern Germany and Bohemia. The teachings of its sages and usages followed in its communities were accepted by Jews in many other countries. Austrian usage helped to determine the form of rabbinical ordination *(semikhah), mainly owing to the authority of R. *Meir b. Baruch ha-Levi. His colleague R. Abraham *Klausner compiled Sefer Minhagim, a Jewish custumal, which was widely used.

During the reign of Ladislaus (1440–57), the Franciscan John of *Capistrano incited popular feelings against the Jews, leading to the expulsion of almost all of them from Austria proper. Under *Frederick iii (1440–93) the position improved; with papal consent he gave protection to Jewish refugees and permitted them to settle in *Styria and *Carinthia. Yeshivot were again established, and under the direction of Israel *Isserlein, the yeshivah in Wiener Neustadt provided guidance for distant communities. Hostility to the Jews on the part of the Estates caused Emperor *Maximilian i (1493–1519) to expel the Jews from Styria and Carinthia in 1496, after receiving a promise from the Estates that they would reimburse him for the loss of his Jewish revenues. However, he permitted the exiles to settle in Marchegg, *Eisenstadt, and other towns then annexed from Hungary. A few Jews, including Meyer *Hirshel, to whom the emperor owed money, settled in Vienna.

*Ferdinand i (1521–64) agreed only in part to requests by the Estates to expel the Jews, ordering their exclusion only from towns holding the "privilege" de non tolerandis Judaeis, i.e., the right to exclude Jews. Ferdinand employed a Jew in the mint. In 1536 a statute regulating the Jewish status (Judenordnung) was published, which included a clause enforcing the wearing of the yellow *badge on their garments.

Counter-Reformation to 19th Century

In the period of the Counter-Reformation, during the reigns of Maximilian ii (1564–76), *Rudolphii (1576–1612), and Matthias (1612–19), there were frequent expulsions and instances of oppression. Under Rudolph the Jewish population in Vienna increased; certain families enjoying special court privileges ("hofbefreite Juden") moved there and were permitted to build a synagogue.

In 1621 *Ferdinandii allotted the Jews of Vienna a new quarter outside the city walls. In the rural areas the jurisdiction over the Jews and their exploitation for fiscal purposes increasingly passed to the local overlords. Important communities living under the protection of the local lordships existed in villages such as Achau, Bockfliess, Ebenfurth, Gobelsburg, Grafenwoerth, Langenlois, Marchegg, Spitz, Tribuswinkel, and Zwoelfaxing. In Vienna also, *Ferdinandiii (1637–57) temporarily transferred Jewish affairs to the municipality. The *Chmielnicki massacres in Eastern Europe (1648–49) brought many Jewish refugees to Austria, among them important scholars. The situation of the Jews deteriorated under *Leopold i (1657–1705). In 1669 a commission for Jewish affairs was appointed, in which the expulsion of the Jews from Vienna and the whole of Austria was urged by Bishop Count Kollonch. In the summer of that year, 1,600 Jews from the poorer and middle classes had to leave Vienna within two weeks; and in 1670 the wealthy Jews followed. The edict of expulsion remained nominally in force until 1848, although sometimes transvened. A number of *Court Jews in particular, such as Samuel *Oppenheimer, Samson *Wertheimer, Simon Michael, and Joseph von Geldern, were permitted to live in Vienna. Their households included Jewish clerks and servants. In 1752 it is estimated that there were 452 Jews living in Vienna, all of whom were connected with 12 tolerated families. Restrictive legislation was enforced in most localities in the Hapsburg Empire; often Jews were segregated from Christians. In 1727, in order to limit the Jewish population, the *Familiants laws were introduced, allowing only the oldest son of a Jewish family to marry. They remained in force until 1848. By the peace treaty of Passarowitz between Austria and Turkey (1718), Jews who were Turkish subjects were permitted to live and trade freely in Austria. Their position was thus more favorable than that of Jews who were Austrian subjects. In 1736, Diego d'*Aguilar founded the "Turkish community" in Vienna.

The Jewish policy of Maria Theresa (1740–80) wavered between the mercantilism which stood to gain from increased settlement of wealthy Jews and their participation in economic activities, and her own deeply ingrained enmity toward the Jews. A special decree was issued in 1749 encouraging Jews to found manufacturing establishments. The Judenordnung of 1753 regulated all aspects of Jewish public and private life, and was based on full judicial autonomy for the communities. At this time some Jewish financiers and industrialists, such as Nathan von *Arnstein, Lazar Auspitz, Bernhard *Eskeles, Israel *Hoenigsberg, and Abraham *Wetzlar, moved to Vienna, having the status of "Tolerierte" (tolerated) Jews. Some of them received titles for activities benefiting the Hapsburg Empire; many of their descendants left Judaism. The annexation of *Galicia in 1772 more than doubled the Jewish population of the monarchy, and inaugurated a continuous stream of migration from there, mainly to Vienna.

From the end of the 18th century, with the growing centralization of the government of the empire and new political developments, the position of the Jews in Austria proper became increasingly linked with the history of the empire as a whole. As part of his endeavors to modernize the empire, *Joseph ii (1780–90) attempted to make the Jews into useful citizens by introducing reforms of their social mores and economic practices and abolishing many of the measures regulating their autonomy and separatism. Although not altering the legal restrictions on Jewish residence (mainly affecting Vienna) or marriage, he abolished in 1781 the wearing of the yellow badge and the poll tax hitherto levied on Jews. Joseph ii's Toleranzpatent, issued in 1782, in which he summarized his previous proposals, is the first enactment of its kind in Europe. Jews were directed to establish German-language elementary schools for their children, or if their number did not justify this, to send them to general schools. Jews were encouraged to engage in agriculture and ordered to discontinue the use of Hebrew and Yiddish for commercial or public purposes. It became official policy to facilitate Jewish contacts with general culture in order to hasten assimilation. Jews were permitted to engage in handicrafts and to attend schools and universities. Jewish judicial autonomy was abolished in 1784. Jews were also inducted into the army, which in due course became one of the careers where Jews in Austria enjoyed equal opportunities, at least in the lower commissioned ranks. The "tolerated" Jews in Vienna and the intellectuals who, influenced by the enlightenment movement (see *Haskalah), tended toward assimilation, accepted the Toleranzpatent enthusiastically. The majority, however, considered that it endangered their culture and way of life without giving them any real advantages. The implementation of these measures promoted the assimilation of increasingly broader social strata within Austrian Jewry. In 1792 the Jewish Hospital was founded in Vienna, which benefited Jews throughout the empire for many years. In 1803, there were 332 Jewish families living in Austria proper (including Vienna), and approximately 87,000 families throughout the Hapsburg Empire.

19th Century

The position of the Jews in Austria deteriorated after the death of Joseph ii, though the Toleranzpatent remained in force. Francis i (1792–1835) introduced the Bolletten-tax (see *Taxation), and ordered that measures should be taken against "Jewish superstitions" and "vain rabbinical argumentation." Efforts to "enlighten" the Jews during his reign included the activities of Herz *Homberg, whose catechism "Benei Zion" was introduced into schools for the teaching of religion. Until 1856, Jews were compelled to pass an examination in it before they were permitted to marry. A decree issued in 1820 required all rabbis to study philosophy, and to use only the "language of the state" for public prayers; Jewish children were required to attend Christian schools. The period between the issue of the Toleranzpatent and 1848 saw further fundamental changes in Jewish life. A number of Jews were instrumental in the expansion and modernization of industry, transportation, commerce, and banking in the Hapsburg Empire. Lazar Auspitz, Michael *Biedermann, and Simon von *Laemel developed the textile industry; Salomon Mayer *Rothschild built the first railway; the Rothschilds, Arnstein-Eskeles, and *Koenigswarters were the outstanding bankers and were on the board of the newly founded National Bank. Many Jews had a university education and became prominent in journalism and German literature. Prominent among them were Moritz *Saphir, Ludwig August *Frankl, Moritz *Hartmann, and Leopold *Kompert. The less wealthy classes of Jews also prospered, opening workshops, or selling and peddling products of the developing industries. Their heightened awareness of human dignity evoked by their economic and cultural attainments and the relaxation of humiliating restrictions emphasized the basic inequality of their status, even among the wealthy and the nobility. It was even more bitterly resented on the background of Jewish emancipation in France, the liberalizing edict passed in Prussia in 1812, and the budding liberal, revolutionary, and nationalist ideologies in Europe.

During the Congress of Vienna (1814–15), Nathan von Arnstein with other Jewish notables applied unsuccessfully to the emperor for the conferment of civil rights on Austrian Jewry. Joseph von *Wertheimer's anonymously published work on the status of Austrian Jewry (1842) advocated extensive reforms. In 1846 the humiliating *oathmore Judaico was abolished. The number of Jews actively participating in the 1848 revolution, such as Adolf Fischhof, Joseph Goldmark, Ludwig August Frankl, Hermann *Jellinek (the brother of Adolf *Jellinek and later executed) – some of whom fell victims in the street fighting, among them Karl Heinrich *Spitzer – in part reflected the spread of assimilation among Jews who identified themselves with general political trends, and in part expressed the bitterness of those already assimilated. The new election law passed in 1848 imposed no limitation on the franchise and eligibility to elective offices. Five Jewish deputies, Fischhof and Goldmark from Vienna, Abraham Halpern of Stanislavov, Dov Berush *Meisels of Cracow, and Isaac Noah *Mannheimer of Copenhagen, were elected to the revolutionary parliament meeting at Kromeriz (Kremsier; 1848–49). On the other hand, the revolution resulted in anti-Jewish riots in many towns, and the newly-acquired freedom of the press produced venomous antisemitic newspapers and pamphlets (see Q. *Endlich, S. *Ebersberg, S. *Brunner). Isidor *Busch published his short-lived but important periodical Oesterreichisches Central-Organ fuer Glaubensfreiheit, Cultur, Geschichte und Literatur des Judenthums, in which Leopold Kompert was the first to advocate emigration as a solution of the Jewish problem in Austria (and initiated the Auf nach Amerika! ("Forward to America!") movement). After the revolution the specifically Jewish taxes were abolished by parliament. The imposed constitution ("Octroyierte Verfassung") of 1849 abrogated discrimination on the basis of religion. The hated Familiantengesetz became ineffective. Freedom of movement in the empire was granted. As a result old communities were dissolved and new ones emerged. Some Jews were admitted to state service. On Dec. 31, 1851, the imposed constitution was revoked. Although religious freedom was retained in principle, Jews were again required to obtain marriage licenses from the authorities, even if the number of marriages was no longer limited. The right of Jews to acquire real estate was suspended. Other restrictions were introduced up to 1860. In 1857 the establishment of new communities was prohibited in Lower Austria. Attempts were made to expel Jews from cities, based on the rights afforded by medieval charters. In 1860 a new, more liberal, legislation was promulgated, although in some parts of Austria Jews still were unable to hold real estate. In general, however, the position of the Jews was now improved. Jewish financiers in partnership with members of the nobility founded new industries and banks, outstanding among them the Creditanstalt. Jews founded leading newspapers and many became journalists. In 1862 Adolf *Jellinek, the successor of Isaac Noah Mannheimer, founded his modernized bet ha-midrash in Vienna. The new constitution of Austria-Hungary of Dec. 21, 1867, again abolished all discrimination on the basis of religion. The Vienna community then rapidly grew, attracting Jews from all parts of the monarchy. Jews increasingly entered professions hitherto barred to them and assimilation also increased. Communal organization remained, based on laws of 1789; in towns where there had not formerly been a Jewish community, only a "congregation for worship" (*Kultusverein) could be established. A law issued in 1890 authorized the existence of one undivided community in each locality, supervising all religious and charitable Jewish institutions in the area, and entitled to collect dues; only Austrian citizens were eligible for election to the communal board. In 1893 a rabbinical seminary, the *Israelitisch-Theologische Lehranstalt, was founded which also provided instruction for teachers of religion, and received aid from the authorities.

The upper strata of Austrian Jewry identified themselves with German culture and liberal trends. This was reflected in the views of Jewish members in both houses of parliament such as Ignaz *Kuranda, Heinrich Jacques, Rudolph *Auspitz, Moritz von *Koenigswarter, and Anselm von *Rothschild. The German Schulverein (Association for German minority schools) supported Jewish schools in non-German towns.


Toward the latter part of the 19th century, antisemitism rapidly developed in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the blood libel case of *Tisza-Eszlar being followed by rioting and other false accusations. Antisemitism manifested two tendencies. The Catholic-religious form later found expression through Karl *Lueger and his *Christian-Social party; and in its pan-Germanic nationalistic form it was expressed by Georg von *Schoenerer and his party (see *antisemitic political parties). The government, however, opposed antisemitic propaganda. The manifestation of antisemitism brought a change in ideological attitude on the part of the Jews, strengthening the national elements. Efforts were made to combat antisemitism in Austro-Hungary by Joseph Samuel *Bloch with the help of his weekly Oesterreichische Wochenschrift (founded 1884) and the Oesterreichisch-Israelitische Union (later *Union Oesterreichischer Juden), founded in 1885. An association to combat antisemitism ("Verein zur Abwehr des Antisemitismus"), consisting of members of the higher strata of Austrian society, was founded in 1891 under the presidency of Arthur Gundaccar Freiherr von Suttner (1850–1902). The historian Heinrich *Friedjung continued to urge complete Jewish integration into the German nation. Some Jews ascribed the wave of anti-Jewish hostility to the immigration at this period of masses of "uncultured" Jews from Eastern Europe. In opposition to the assimilationist Oesterreichisch-Israelitische Union a Juedisch-politischer Verein (later Juedisch-nationale Partei) advocated an independent Jewish policy. Jewish nationalist ideology penetrated Austrian circles through the influence of Perez *Smolenskin, Leon *Pinsker, and Nathan *Birnbaum. The first Jewish national students' society, *Kadimah, was founded in Vienna in 1882.


Vienna was the city of Theodor *Herzl, and the Zionists combined to strengthen the Jewish national viewpoint and opposition to assimilation. Herzl was opposed not only by the majority of the Jewish community executive and by his employees, the prestigious "Neue Freie Presse," but also by Chief Rabbi Moriz Guedemann, the successor of Adolf Jellinek. After the passage of the General Franchise Law in 1907, four representatives of the Jewish National Party were elected to parliament. They founded a Jewish *"Parlamentsklub." In the 1911 elections the Jewish national candidates were not returned. The Zionist influence in Jewish public life increased during World War i and was significantly reinforced after Hirsch (Zevi) Perez *Chajes became chief rabbi of Vienna in 1918.

During the war, 36,000 Jewish refugees arrived in Vienna from Galicia and Bukovina alone. The *Zentralstelle fuer juedische Kriegsfluechtlinge was formed to provide them with social assistance. The Zionist social worker and politician Anitta Mueller Cohen founded numerous social institutions to support the refugees. Many stayed on after the war and influenced the revival of Jewish culture and life in hitherto stagnant communities. In 1918 there were 300,000 Jews in 33 communities in the Austrian Republic, with 200,000 Jews living in Vienna in 1919. Distribution of the communities was as follows: ten in Burgenland, one in Carinthia, sixteen in Lower Austria, one in Salzburg, one in Styria, one in Tyrol, two in Upper Austria, one in Vorarlberg. (See Table: Jews in Austrian Provinces.)

Province 1910 1934
Lower Austria9,2877,716

After 1918

jewish rights and political activity

The Treaty of St. Germain (1919) guaranteed the Jews *minority rights. The Zionists founded a Jewish National Council (Juedischer Nationalrat). On November 5 they forced Alfred Stern, a former city councillor and the assimilationist president of the Jewish community since 1903, to resign. Stern died on December 1 at age 88. His successor became in 1920 the Generaloberstabsarzt (senior medical officer of the Austrian-Hungarian army) Alois Pick, who remained in office until 1932. A Jewish militia (Juedische Stadtschutzwache) was founded and protected Jews in the postwar unrests.

The Zionist Robert *Stricker was elected to the first Austrian National Assembly in February 1919. In October 1920, due to a change of the election law, he was not reelected. Besides his political involvement as board member and later vice president of the Jewish community Stricker also edited the Juedische Zeitung, the daily the Wiener Morgenzeitung, and the Neue Welt. Three Zionists (Jakob Ehrlich, Bruno Pollack-Parnau, and Leopold Plaschkes) were also elected to the Vienna city parliament. Jews who had settled in Austria after the outbreak of the war were deprived of the right to vote, and the reorganization of the Vienna electoral districts also adversely affected the Jewish voting strength. Special measures disqualifying the war refugees from becoming Austrian citizens were introduced in 1921. In the postwar era, many Zionist youths intending to immigrate to Ereẓ Israel passed through Austria. In 1919 therefore the first Palaestinaamt (Palestine Office) was founded in Vienna, directed by Emil Stein and Egon Michael Zweig. Among Jews, chiefly in Vienna, the Social-Democratic Party gained many supporters, attracting the lower-middle-class electorate. Some of its leaders of Jewish descent, such as Otto *Bauer and Julius Deutsch, were widely popular; in Jewish affairs they adhered to a policy of assimilation. Their leading positions, however, drew antisemitic invective. The Social Democrats were careful to avoid the label of a Jewish party and the display of too many Jews in prominent positions.

In the period 1919–1939, a number of Jewish educational institutions opened their doors to students. These included the Jewish Realgymnasium (since 1927 named Chajesgymnasium), the Paedagogium (a Hebrew teachers' seminary), and a seminary for religion teachers. The Jewish community maintained a museum – the oldest Jewish museum worldwide, opened in 1896 – a famous library, which was directed by the historian Bernhard Wachstein, and a renowned historical commission. In 1927 Chief Rabbi Chajes died; he was succeeded in 1932 by David Feuchtwang, who also was the honorary head of the Vienna Mizrachi. After Feuchtwang's death in 1936 the scholar Israel Taglicht became chief rabbi. In addition, youth movements had many supporters. Reforms were introduced in communal institutions and new ones were established. These included the Organisation fuer juedische Wanderfuersorge ("Organization for the Care of Jewish Migration"), established in 1930 to cope with the huge transitory Jewish migration, which became even greater with the influx of emigrants from Germany after 1933. From 1932 until 1938 the Zionists formed the majority in the executive of the Vienna Jewish community.

After the suppression of the Social Democrats in 1934, the Jewish situation declined, mainly through an insidious discrimination. Jews were quietly deprived of their means of existence under various pretexts while the authorities continued to emphasize that all citizens had equal civic status. In schools Jewish and non Jewish pupils were segregated. Jews were permitted to join the Vaterlaendische Front which in 1934 replaced the political parties. In January 1938 it was proposed that Jewish youth should be organized in a separate subdivision of the youth division of the Front. This the Zionists accepted willingly, but it angered those in favor of assimilation.

The Christlich-Soziale Partei (*Christian Social Party), which formed the majority of the governments in Austria, under Ignaz Seipel, Engelbert *Dollfuss, and Kurt von Schuschnigg, was not racist antisemitic; the dependence of Austria on the League of Nations and the Western powers, and the growing menace of National Socialism, made the government play down antisemitism and seek Jewish support.

Federal Chancellor Schuschnigg sent Desider *Friedmann, the president of the Vienna community from 1932 until 1938, on a mission abroad to mobilize support for the Austrian currency. There was a wide discrepancy between the attitude of the government and of the Austrian public toward the Jews. When, for instance, Schuschnigg congratulated Sigmund *Freud on his birthday in 1936, the letter was not published in the press. On the other hand, the official policy to emphasize everything specifically Austrian enhanced the reputation of writers and intellectuals of Jewish origin living there. Outstanding were the writers Franz *Werfel, Stefan *Zweig, Arthur Schnitzler, Richard Beer-Hofmann, Felix *Salten, Hermann Broch, Peter *Altenberg, and Alfred *Polgar, the musicians Bruno *Walter and Arnold *Schoenberg, and the theatrical producer Max *Reinhardt.

In 1932 the Austrian association of Jewish frontline fighters (Bund Juedischer Frontsoldaten Österreichs) was founded. It was headed by Major-General Emil von *Sommer and later by Captain Sigmund Edler von Friedmann and had about 20,000 members. Efforts to combat antisemitism, including reminders of the part played by Jewish soldiers in World War i, could do nothing to counter the violent hatred against the Jews ingrained in wide sectors of the Austrian population. Many Jews, outstanding among them Emil von Sommer – who founded in 1934 the monarchist association of Jewish frontline fighters (Legitimistische Jüdische Frontkämpfer) – yearning for Hapsburg rule, became monarchists.

[Nathan Michael Gelber and

Meir Lamed /

Evelyn Adunka (2nd ed.)]

The Holocaust

1938–1939. The liquidation of Austrian Jewry began with the Anschluss (annexation) to Germany on March 13, 1938. According to the Israelitische Kultusgemeinde, the Jewish community of Vienna, there were at the time 181,778 Jews in Austria, of whom 91.3% (165,946) were living in Vienna. According to Himmler's statistics, however, the number of Austrian Jews persecuted under the *Nuremberg Laws reached 220,000; in addition, tens of thousands of persons of Jewish descent were affected by the racial laws. The new Nazi regime immediately introduced decrees and perpetrated acts of violence of an even greater scope and cruelty than those then practiced in the Reich itself. The Jews were denied basic civil rights, and they and their property were at the mercy of organized and semi-organized Nazi gangs. The activities of Jewish organizations and congregations were forbidden. Many Jewish leaders were imprisoned, and several were murdered in *Dachau concentration camp. A fine of 800,000 schillings ($30,800) was levied on the Jewish communities. At the same time, the first pogroms took place in Vienna and in the provinces, and synagogues, including the Great Synagogue of Vienna, were desecrated and occupied by the German Army. The main victims of systematic terrorization were the Austrian Jewish intelligentsia and property owners. The former were immediately banned from any public activity, from educational and scientific institutions and from the arts. Many of them – including Sigmund Freud, Stefan Zweig, and Hermann *Broch – were among the first Austrian Jewish refugees. Freud left for London by plane but before he left he gathered his disciples, pioneers of psychoanalysis, and invoked the memory of Rabban *Johanan ben Zakkai, who after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem made the Torah portable. The biggest property owners were arrested by the Gestapo and forced to turn over their property, most especially their artworks. Some of those who refused were murdered and many others were sent to Dachau, where they were either killed or committed suicide. In addition, street attacks and brutal persecution became daily occurrences in the lives of Austrian Jews of all social classes. The dramatic change in circumstances led to great despair among Austrian Jews. In March alone, 311 cases of suicide were registered in the Viennese community, and in April, 267. During these two months, at least 4,700 Jews escaped from Austria. Systematic deportation of Jews and the confiscation of their property began in several Austrian provinces. The ancient Jewish communities of *Burgenland were deported over the Czech border. A group of 51, which was returned to Austria, was sent up and down the Danube for four months and denied entry to all the countries bordering on the river. As a result of the persecutions, a stream of Jews from the provinces, most of them destitute, began to flow to Vienna. In May 1938 the Viennese Jewish community renewed its activities and several of its leaders were released from prison in order to help organize mass emigration which the Nazi authorities encouraged. The Zionist Palestine Office in Vienna was permitted to organize both legal and "illegal" immigration to Palestine. In the same month, the Nuremberg Laws were officially enforced in Austria. In August 1938, under *Eichmann's aegis, the "Zentralstelle fuer juedische Auswanderung" was established in Vienna, headquartered in a confiscated Rothschild palace. This organization was to be responsible for the "solution of the Jewish problem" in Austria. Its "efficient" methods of persecution and deportation were later copied in Germany and in several of the German-occupied countries. A special body, the Vermoegensverkehrsstelle, was responsible for the transfer of Jewish property to non-Jews. With the help of the major Jewish welfare organizations in the world, the community and the Palestine Office were able to assist in the emigration of thousands of Jews. The importance of this aid grew with the straitened circumstances of Austrian Jewry; as against 25% of the emigrants who needed financial assistance in May and July 1938, 70% needed assistance in July and August 1939. Between July and September 1938 emigration reached a monthly average of 8,600. Hundreds of training courses were organized to prepare emigrants for new occupations in the countries of immigration. (In Vienna, these had 31,306 participants up to the end of 1939.) Thousands of young people received agricultural training at the farm owned by the *He-Ḥalutz Zionist movements (in August 1939, there were 1,801 people in 18 training camps) and *Youth Aliyah wards received special agricultural and technical training. The community also took care of those whose education had been interrupted by their expulsion from educational institutions, and of the thousands of Jews whose livelihoods had been taken from them and who were in urgent need of assistance. In October 1938 antisemitic riots again broke out and Jews were once more deported from various places. On the eve of the Day of Atonement (October 5) thousands of Jewish families were evicted from their homes in certain districts of Vienna and elsewhere, and ordered to leave the country, though this decree was subsequently canceled through the intervention of Eichmann. On October 10, Hitler gave personal instructions "to act for the deportation of 27,000 Viennese Jews of Czech nationality." On October 28, thousands of Jews who were Polish nationals were deported into the no-man's-land on the German-Polish border. Of these, only 1,300 were able to cross the frontier. The rest remained in Austria as stateless persons (see *Germany). During the pogroms of November 9–11 (see *Kristallnacht), approximately 8,000 Jews were arrested, and of these 5,000 were sent to Dachau. Six hundred and eighty others committed suicide or were murdered that single night. In Vienna alone, 42 synagogues were burned and 4,038 Jewish shops were looted. Almost all Jewish homes were destroyed and cemeteries desecrated. Synagogues were also destroyed in Graz, Salzburg, Klagenfurt, Linz, Innsbruck, Baden, Eisenstadt, Berndorf, and Bad Voeslau. In Linz, all the Jewish inhabitants were arrested, and all Jews in the district were ordered to move to Vienna within three days. The president of the Innsbruck Jewish community, Richard Berger, was murdered and the chief rabbi of Graz and Styria, David Herzog, was almost beaten to death. He was able to immigrate to England, where he wrote his memoirs (published in 1995). One-third of the fine of a billion marks ($83,300,000) imposed on the whole of the German Reich Jewry was levied on Austrian Jews. During the November pogroms employees of the Jewish community and the Palestine Office were released from prison and ordered to continue organizing emigration. In February 1939 began the publication of the official Jewish newspaper, Juedisches Nachrichtenblatt, under the supervision of the Gestapo. The paper appeared until the end of 1943, and was intended to inform the Jewish public of official decrees. Most of those arrested during the pogroms were released before the end of April 1939, having agreed to leave the country as soon as possible. At the end of April 1939, under a special law, almost all Austrian Jews were evicted from their homes, and most were gathered into certain streets in selected districts of Vienna. By the eve of World War ii, 109,060 had succeeded in emigrating and only 66,260 Jews were left in Austria. Only 438 still lived outside Vienna while whole regions, such as Salzburg and Carinthia, were devoid of Jews. With the exception of isolated cases, all were deprived of a livelihood and all 25,898 factories and places of business belonging to Jews had been confiscated and shut. With the outbreak of war in September 1939, emigration opportunities lessened, and 17,000 Jews possessing entry visas to enemy countries were forbidden to use them. In the new wave of arrests, hundreds of Austrian Jews were sent to concentration camps. All Jews lived under martial law and additional restrictions were imposed upon them. On October 20, 922 Viennese Jews were exiled to Nisko on the San River. (Some of the Nisko deportees succeeded in crossing the border into the Soviet Union; the remaining 152 were returned to Vienna in April 1940.) In November 1939 Eichmann informed the leaders of the community that all Jews who did not emigrate within one year would be exiled to occupied Poland. During the first four months of the war, 11,240 Jews succeeded in immigrating to neutral countries. Of the 53,403 persons registered with the Viennese community at the end of 1939, 45,140 were dependent on social welfare. However, the community continued to arrange technical training in preparation for emigration, and 5,017 children of school age studied in its 14 educational institutions. Among the community's projected activities for 1940 was its own gradual dissolution, so that, by the end of that year, it would be merely an institution for the care of 24,000 aged and infirm, who were unable to emigrate.

1940–1945. Between February and March 1941, desperate attempts to continue limited emigration resulted in the deportation of 5,000 Jews to five places in the *Lublin district. It is assumed that all met their death within the year, being murdered either locally or in the gas chambers of *Belzec. From October to the beginning of November, another 5,486 Jews were deported to the *Lodz Ghetto. After the official prohibition on emigration, there remained approximately 40,000 Austrian Jews. Very few could leave the country after this date. Of the 128,500 who had emigrated up to that time, 30,800 had gone to England, 24,600 to other European countries, 28,600 to the United States, 9,200 to Palestine, and 39,300 to 54 other countries. At the end of 1941, with the Nazi occupation of territories in the Soviet Union, 3,000 Austrian Jews were deported to the ghettos of Riga, Minsk, and Kovno; many were put to death upon arrival in the vicinity of these ghettos. After the Wannsee Conference, Eichmann announced to the Viennese community his general Aussiedlung ("evacuation") program under which 3,200 more Austrian Jews were deported to Riga, 8,500 to Minsk, and 6,000 to Izbica and several other places in the Lublin region. This last group was almost entirely exterminated. Between June and October, 13,900 people were deported to *Theresienstadt, most of them aged 65 and over. On Oct. 10, 1942, the last transport of 1,300 persons left for Theresienstadt. There still remained 7,000 Jews in Austria (about 8,000 according to the Nuremberg Laws). The majority were spared because they were married to non-Jews. All able-bodied persons were compelled to do forced labor. On November 1, 1942, the Israelitische Kultusgemeinde was dissolved and the Aeltestenrat der Juden in Wien took over its remaining duties. It represented Austrian Jewry in dealings with the authorities, and was responsible for running the Jewish hospital, the home for the aged, the soup kitchen, and burying the dead. This council was headed by Josef Loewenherz (the former Zionist vice president and executive director of the Vienna Jewish community) from 1938 until the end of the war. In 1942 Desider Friedmann and Robert Stricker were deported to Theresienstadt; from there they were taken to Auschwitz in autumn 1944 and murdered after their arrival.

Loewenherz's deputy was the former community rabbi and lecturer at the Israelitisch-theologische Lehranstalt Benjamin Murmelstein. In January 1943 he was deported to the ghetto Theresienstadt. In December 1944 he became the "Judenaelteste" (Elder of the Jews) of Theresienstadt after Jakob Edelstein and Paul Eppstein. In June 1945 Murmelstein was arrested by the Soviet authorities. He was imprisoned in Leitmeritz and accused of collaboration with the Nazis. After 18 months the Czechoslovak prosecutor released him for lack of evidence. Murmelstein later went to Italy; he lived in Rome as a businessman and private scholar, researching in the Vatican library, until his death in 1989.

Isolated deportation continued from January 1943 until March 1945, and consisted of not more than a hundred persons in each transport. At least 216 Jews were sent to *Auschwitz and 1,302 Jews to Theresienstadt. Most of the victims were former communal workers, and Jews whose non-Jewish spouses had died.

In the summer of 1943, there were still approximately 800 Jews left in Vienna. They had gone underground and were secretly helped by members of the community and the Budapest Jewish rescue committee (Va'adat ha-Haẓẓalah). A few managed to escape to Hungary, but many others were caught by the Gestapo and sent to Auschwitz. Some managed to stay underground until Vienna fell to the Soviet Army. In July and December 1944, approximately 60,000 Hungarian Jews were deported to Vienna and Lower Austria, to be employed by the Nazis in building fortifications. A few were permitted to receive treatment at the Vienna Jewish hospital. Just before Vienna was liberated, 1,150 were deported to Theresienstadt. During the last months of the war, thousands of Jewish evacuees from various concentration camps crossed Austria. A few remained in Vienna and the Vienna district or were transferred to Austrian camps. The remnant of the Viennese Jewish community organized itself into a committee to save the victims, and extended help to them in conjunction with the International Red Cross and Jewish welfare organizations. A report by the Red Cross representative described the last synagogue in the Third Reich located in the cellar of the Viennese Jewish hospital. Of the approximately 50,000 Jews deported from Austria to ghettos and extermination camps only 1,747 returned to Austria at the end of the war. (The largest group of survivors, which numbered 1,293, was liberated from the Theresienstadt Ghetto.) Among the Austrian victims of the Holocaust there were over 20,000 Austrian Jews who had migrated to other European countries later conquered by the Nazis. The number of Austrian Jewish victims of the Holocaust is estimated at 65,000. One of the largest and most terrible of concentration camps, *Mauthausen, where thousands of European Jews met their death, was situated in Austria. A large part in the campaigns to exterminate European Jewry was played by Austrian Nazis, including Eichmann, *Globocnik, *Kaltenbrunner and Hitler himself. In 1946, a documentation committee (Juedisch historische Dokumentation) was set up in Vienna by Tuvia Friedman for the tracing and prosecution of Nazi war criminals.

[Dov Kulka]

Early Postwar Period

At the end of World War ii, there were many displaced persons in Austria, most of them from Hungary. They had been sent to Austrian concentration camps during the last two years of the war. Their number was then estimated at about 20,000. Though some returned to their countries of origin after the liberation, postwar Austria had one of the largest concentrations of still unsettled Jewish displaced persons. It was the main transit country for Jewish refugees from Poland, Hungary, Romania, and other East European countries, on their way to Palestine or to the main concentration of refugees in the American Zone of Germany. The number of displaced persons reached its peak in late 1946, when it was estimated at 42,500, of whom over 35,000 were in the American-occupied area of Austria, i.e., in the western part of the country. The most important and biggest displaced persons' camp in Vienna was the "Rothschildspital," the former hospital of the Jewish community, which was later sold and demolished in 1960. Head of the committee of former concentration camp prisoners and Jewish refugees was Bronislaw Teichholz. The number of the refugees later dropped, particularly as a result of mass emigration following the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. By 1953 only 949 refugees were left in displaced persons camps.

In May 1945 Josef Loewenherz was arrested by the Soviet occupation authorities and taken to Czechoslovakia. After several weeks he was released. With the help of his family he immigrated via London to the United States, where he died in 1960. The same as Murmelstein, he never came to Vienna again.

The secretary of state of the new Austrian government, who was responsible for the Jewish community, the prominent Communist writer Ernst Fischer, appointed in summer 1945 the 75-year-old well known physician Dr. Heinrich Schur, who had survived, because he was married to a non-Jewess, as the first provisional chairman of the Jewish community. After complaints about Schur's age and inability to cope with the many problems of the community Fischer appointed in September 1945 as Schur's successor the Communist journalist David Brill, who had worked as a journalist and private secretary of the chairman of the Communist party in Austria, Johann Koplenig. Brill organized, together with other party members, the first free elections of the community executive, for which only one party, called "Unity" (Einigkeit), stood, and where Brill was confirmed as community president. His group also founded in January 1946 the first Jewish newspaper, called Der Neue Weg (The New Way). Brill bitterly complained there that the Jewish survivors of the concentration camps were treated as if they were criminals and he actually wrote that the Jews in Austria at that time were really not allowed to live. In February 1946 he stated in an unpublished report that all the Jews in Vienna were filled with disgust for the present and the future. Both the Jewish community and the reports of mainly Jewish visitors and correspondents from abroad, which were published in the Jewish press worldwide, warned Austrian Jews against returning. In the first years the Jewish community lived from the American Care parcels, and from the contributions of the American Joint Distribution Committee, which lasted until the 1960s.

In 1946 the community celebrated the 120-year-jubilee of the only surviving synagogue, the famous Stadttempel in the Seitenstettengasse, which was built in the backyard of other houses, because of the Austrian law in the 19th century. Nevertheless provisional benches could only be erected in 1947. The temple could be restored to its former glory only in 1963. It took some three years, until 1948, until a new chief rabbi, Akiba Eisenberg, the former rabbi of the city of Györ in Hungary, could be found for the spiritually deserted Jewish community. Eisenberg was a very outspoken person and a strong Zionist. He remained chief rabbi until his death in 1983.

After the second elections for the community executive in 1948, in which several parties stood for election, the blind lawyer David Schapira, a survivor of Theresienstadt and devoted Labour Zionist (of the Poale Zion), became president. He was the head of the so-called Jewish Federation and was strongly supported by Ernest Stiassny, the director of the Vienna office of the World Jewish Congress, who founded an association of Austrian Jews as a counter-institution against the then Communist-led Jewish community. During Schapira's term of office, in August 1949, the remains of Theodor Herzl were transferred to the State of Israel according to his last will. The ceremony and the surrounding festivities were the biggest and most impressive demonstration of the existence and will to survive of the Viennese Jewish community after the Shoah. The State of Israel sent the then 78-year-old Isidor Schalit, once a close collaborator of Herzl and a member of the famous student union Kadimah, to Vienna. The various Zionist associations organized 14 events. This was only one example of the many activities of the Zionist movement (that included the always quarreling Zionist Federation, the Landesverband, the Poale Zion, the General Zionists, the Revisionists, the Mizrachi, the wizo, and the youth organizations) until the late 1960s. They organized many lectures and courses as well as convening large conferences three times. The Zionist Federation was strongly supported by the two emissaries S.J. Kreutner and Aron Zwergbaum from the Organization Department of the World Zionist Organization in Jerusalem. Their aim was not only aliyah, but also education, fostering of Jewish identity, and a democratic takeover of the Jewish community executive, at which they were no longer successful after 1952. A Hebrew school, which was supported by the Zionists, had to close down in 1967 because of lack of pupils and funding. The culmination of the community's support of Israel was reached when after Israel's Six-Day War, in a financially strained situation, the Jewish community sent a check of ats 10 million to Israel with the help of a bank credit.

After two short and turbulent presidencies of the General Zionist Wolf Hertzberg and the Communist Kurt Heitler, both of them lawyers, there began in 1952 the long era of the rule of the Social Democratic party Bund werktaetiger Juden (Union of Working Jews). They stood for an assimilationist and strongly anti-Communist policy. Their first president was the lawyer Emil Maurer, who had been governor (Bezirksvorsteher) of the seventh district of Vienna until 1934, had been imprisoned in the concentration camps Dachau and Buchenwald in 1938, and had immigrated to Britain in 1939. Although Maurer was on good terms with several prominent Socialist Austrian politicians, the Jewish community did not succeed in achieving a satisfying result for the restitution of property. Maurer's successor in 1963 was Ernst Feldsberg, a bank official and survivor of Theresienstadt. In the 1930s he had been a board member of the Union Oesterreichischer Juden and a member of the executive of the Jewish community. Feldsberg was undoubtedly the most active functionary of the Jewish community in many of its bodies both before and after the Shoah.

In the 1960s the building of a community center failed because of lack of funding, although the cornerstone was laid in a public ceremony in the presence of prominent politicians. Community plans to erect a Jewish museum, for which a provisional room was opened in 1964 and closed a few years later, and to reorganize and open the library, failed. In 1966 the Jewish community opened a youth center. In 1967 the ceremonial hall in the main Jewish cemetery was built. In June 1975 the cornerstone was laid for a monument to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust at the site of the former concentration camp of Mauthausen.

The Jewish community published from 1958 the monthly Die Gemeinde. The Association of Jewish Students began, in 1952, to publish an outstanding cultural journal, Das Juedische Echo, which continued as an annual. Among its founders was Leon Zelman, who from 1978 was the director of the Jewish Welcome Service. The General Zionists published Die Stimme (from 1947 until 1963), the revisionist Zionists publish Heruth (1957– ) and Die Neue Welt und Judenstaat (from 1948 until 1952). It was continued as a cultural Jewish journal under the name Die Neue Welt and from 1974 it has appeared as Illustrierte Neue Welt, edited by Joanna Nittenberg.

In 1967 Desider Stern of the Vienna B'nai B'rith lodge Zwi Perez Chajes organized an exhibition of 400 books by German Jewish authors and published an expanded catalogue in 1970 with 700 entries, which became one of the most important reference works for the studies of literature in exile. The exhibition was later also shown in Germany and South America, but the Hebrew University was not interested in it.

In 1961 Simon *Wiesenthal settled in Vienna. As in Linz he directed the documentation center for Nazi criminals, first as an official of the association of Austrian Jewish communities. After a conflict with the executive director of the Vienna Jewish community Wilhelm Krell he left this position and founded the "Bund juedischer Verfolgter des Naziregimes" (Union of the Jewish Persecuted of the Nazi Regime). The Bund also stood for the elections to the board of the Jewish community, tried in vain to break the majority, and published in its journal – Der Ausweg (The Way Out) – numerous reports about its defects and its cold, bureaucratic character.

Feldsberg's successor was the lawyer Anton Pick. In the interwar years he was a functionary of the Socialist Democratic Party, close to their leader Otto Bauer, and had spent time in Palestine, where he published articles in Davar. In 1976 younger members of the community founded a new party, called the "Alternative." Their aim was the renewal of the Jewish community and their most important reproach concerned the selling of a great deal of real estate at cheap prices to the city of Vienna, which began in the 1960s and which the opposition, the group of Simon Wiesenthal and the Zionists, polemically called the "second Aryanization." They and a second list, called the "Young Generation" (Junge Generation), eventually gained the majority of the community board and produced the next two presidents, the lawyer Ivan Hacker from 1981 until 1987 and the furrier Paul Grosz.

The number of Jews living in Austrian communities rose with the return of several thousand Jews from camps in Eastern Europe, from the countries to which they had fled (mainly Great Britain, China, and Palestine), and from their hiding places. A small percentage of displaced persons settled in Austrian towns. The number of Jews in these communities reached a peak in 1950 with 13,396 registered. As in the past, the large majority lived in Vienna (12,450), and the rest in the capitals of the provinces (Laender) of Graz, Linz, Salzburg, and Innsbruck. From 1950 their number began to decrease. In 1965, 9,537 persons were registered as members of the community, of whom 8,930 lived in Vienna. It is estimated that another 2,000 Jews, not registered as community members, lived in the country. Thereafter the number of Jews remained more or less stable, with a slight tendency to fall. The ancient communities of Burgenland, on the Austro-Hungarian border, which before the Anschluss had numbered about 4,000 persons, were not rebuilt. In 1968 nearly 65% of Austrian Jewry was aged 50 and over. Austria became a country of transit for the Jewish migration from Eastern Europe to Israel and the West. In general, these travelers spent only a few days in Austria, in camps in and around Vienna. However, after the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, about 20,000 Jewish refugees fled to Austria. Most continued on their way after a short while, between 200 and 300 remaining in Austria.


The tradition of antisemitism was not uprooted in Austria, nor confined to ex-Nazis or neo-Nazis, who found sanctuary in the Freiheit (Freedom) Party. Only a few months after the end of World War ii, a leader of the large Christian Party (the People's Party), Leopold Kunschak, declared that he had always been antisemitic. This did not prevent his being elected president of Parliament. The universities were often the scene of antisemitic demonstrations. There was the case of the Austrian university professor Taras Borodajkewycz, who boasted about his Nazi past and made vicious antisemitic remarks during his lectures. A demonstration with about 6,000 students against and 1,000 for him escalated into a street riot. In the course of it an elderly demonstrator was mortally beaten by a neo-Nazi student, who was later sentenced to ten months' imprisonment. Borodajkewycz was suspended on most of his pay.

The official attitude toward Nazi criminals, when brought to trial, was generally lenient; among the cases that aroused international indignation was the acquittal of the brothers Johann and Wilhelm Mauer, accused of mass murder in the Stanislaw Ghetto. Public pressure caused their retrial and sentence. In 1964 Franz Murer, who was responsible for the murder of the Jews of Vilna, was acquitted. Although the Austrian Supreme Court quashed this verdict, Murer was not tried again.

There was an antisemitic campaign against Bruno *Kreisky, leader of the Social Democratic Party, of Jewish origin, who served for several years as foreign minister. After an election victory in 1970 Kreisky became federal chancellor (prime minister), the first Jew to hold this high office. Kreisky's governments from 1970 until 1983 included six former Nazis, for which he was publicly attacked by Simon Wiesenthal. In the 1970s Bruno Kreisky made libelous vicious lying attacks on Wiesenthal. The Kreisky-Wiesenthal affair was followed by a series of court actions, in which Kreisky and the Austrian journalist Peter Michael Lingens, who attacked the chancellor, were eventually found guilty. Only in the 1990s did the climate change and many official Austrian honors bestowed on Wiesenthal.

Negotiations between the executive committee for Jewish claims on Austria, headed by Nahum *Goldmann, and the Austrian government started in 1953, but the process of legislation on the return of property and the payment of indemnification to victims of Nazi persecution was concluded only in 1962 and was considered inadequate. No satisfactory progress was made with regard to the solution of problems stemming from the Nazi period. Legislation on indemnification to victims of Nazi persecution did not satisfy the most elementary demands and could not compare with that of West Germany. On the other hand, Austria showed a humanitarian approach in granting transit facilities or temporary residence for Jews and as a result played a major role in enabling Soviet Jews to leave the country when they received permission to immigrate to Israel. They were first housed in Schoenau Castle, but it was closed as a result of a terrorist attack in September 1973. Two armed Arab terrorists took three Russian-Jewish immigrants and an Austrian customs official hostage, and the government succumbed to their demands to close the transit camp. After the Yom Kippur War, however, the emigration of Russian Jews from the U.S.S.R. attained unprecedented proportions and Austria continued to grant them facilities in a former army camp in Woellersdorf starting in December, and in September 1974 the camp site was again moved to Simmering, near Vienna.

[Chaim Yahil /

Evelyn Adunka (2nd ed.)]

The 1980s

It was estimated that no less than 90% of the Jews of Austria resided in Vienna at the end of the 1970s, the remainder being in small communities in Salzburg, Linz, and Graz. Some 7,500 Jews were registered members of the Jewish community of Vienna, and it was estimated that there were between 3,000 and 4,000 who were not registered. More than two-thirds of the community was over the age of 60 and the major share of the communal budget was expended on aid to the aged, of whom nearly 1,000 were supported from communal funds.

On August 29, 1981, Arab terrorists attacked the Seitenstettengasse synagogue in Vienna, killing two and wounding 18. Police who were guarding the synagogue apprehended the perpetrators (police guards had been on duty at the synagogue from 1979 when an Arab terrorist group claimed it was responsible for causing an explosion on the synagogue grounds).

In 1985 the first conference of the World Jewish Congress in Vienna was overshadowed by the populist Freedom Party's defense minister's act of sending his official helicopter to pick up the Nazi war criminal Walter Reder when he was released from an Italian prison. (He had slaughtered 1,500 Italian civilians.)

The year 1986 was dominated by the election of President Kurt Waldheim – the most important event of the 1980s for the Austrian state and the Jewish community, causing a most serious crisis for both. The World Jewish Congress charged Waldheim with wartime involvement in Nazi activities in the Balkans as a staff member of General Löhr, who was executed as a war criminal by the Yugoslavs in 1947. During Waldheim's election campaign strong antisemitic feelings were openly expressed by parts of the population, and also by several politicians and the media, especially by the two dailies, Die Presse and Die Neue Kronen Zeitung. The latter, which had a circulation of 1.5 million in a country of 7 million, had already published in 1974 a notorious series about the Jews by Viktor Reimann which was strongly attacked as antisemitic and discontinued. Waldheim's election was opposed by many intellectuals and artists, who formed a new club called "New Austria" and organized demonstrations, symposia, vigils, press conferences, and publications in order to recall Austria's responsibility for the Nazi crimes. Many Jews considered emigrating and felt homeless again. Israel recalled its ambassador and replaced him by a chargé d'affaires. The coolness between the two countries lasted until Waldheim left the presidency in 1992.

Because of the Waldheim affair the so-called "Bedenkjahr" (year of commemoration), which in 1988 marked the 50th anniversary of the "Anschluss" of Austria to Nazi Germany, was taken very seriously. At the state ceremony and the festive event in Parliament on March 11 the leading role was played by the socialist Austrian chancellor Franz Vranitzky. Whole series of symposia, exhibitions, lectures, discussion groups, etc., were organized, especially at universities and schools (including many events fostering Christian-Jewish dialogue). This was a new experience for Austria, at last confronting historic truth. In June 1988 the heads of the Austrian Jewish community, Chief Rabbi Chaim Eisenberg and President Paul Grosz, were received by Pope John Paul ii during his visit to Vienna. In July Helmut Zilk, the mayor of Vienna, commissioned from the sculptor Alfred Hrdlicka a monument to commemorate "the victims of war and fascism" in the center of Vienna. It shows a kneeling Jew being forced by the Nazis to clean the streets in 1938. This caused great controversy in the Jewish community because of the Jew's humiliating posture.

In June 1987 the deputy mayor of Linz, Carl Hoedl, wrote an open letter to Edgar *Bronfman, head of the *World Jewish Congress, comparing his attitude to Waldheim with the "show trial of the Jews about Jesus." In November of that year Michael Graff, the general secretary of the People's Party, resigned after saying: "As long as there is no proof that Waldheim strangled six Jews with his own hands, there will be no problem"; however, he remained active in politics.

communal and cultural life

In September 1981, the Austrian Constitutional Law amended the Israelitengesetz of 1890 after an application by Benjamin Schreiber, the head of the Vienna Agudah. The amendment allowed more than one Kultusgemeinde in any geographic region.

In 1982 the Austrian Jewish museum in Eisenstadt near Vienna – the first in Austria – was opened. It was initiated by Kurt Schubert, the founder of the institute of Jewish studies of the University of Vienna. Its director is Johannes Reiss.

In 1983 the late Chief Rabbi Akiba Eisenberg was succeeded by his son Chaim Eisenberg, who was still serving in 2005. In 1988 he was appointed chief rabbi of Austria, a title which did not exist before the Holocaust.

In 1984 a series of events called "Versunkene Welt" on the lost culture of Eastern Jewry was organized by Leon Zelman's Jewish Welcome Service. In 1984 the Art Nouveau Synagogue in St. Poelten was renovated and in its building was established a new Institute for the History of the Jews of Austria. It was directed until 2004 by Klaus Lohrmann; his successor was Martha Keil.

In 1983 the city of Vienna began inviting former Jewish citizens to visit their old home for a week. Organized by the Jewish Welcome Service, headed by Leon Zelman, several thousand Viennese Jews returned to Vienna in the framework of the program.

Several new institutions were built or founded, among others the Jewish community center in 1980, the Jewish High School (the Chajesgymnasium) in 1984, a second Jewish high school by Chabad in 1987, and a Jewish trade school in 1997. In 1999 the Lauder Chabad Campus was opened. It was named after Ronald *Lauder, the former U.S. ambassador to Vienna, who financed it. The square in front of it was named for the Lubavitcher Rebbe Menachem Mendel *Schneersohn. (He is the only rabbi after whom a square or street has been named in Vienna.)

In 1988 the home for the care of the aged was enlarged and named after Maimonides (Maimonides Zentrum). The historic Stadttempel, the main synagogue of Vienna, was reopened after its renovation in the presence of Chancellor Vranitzky, who in 1989 received the gold medal of the Austrian Zwi Perez Chajes B'nai B'rith lodge. In 1988 the Vienna yeshivah was founded; it included a boarding school and was praised in 1991 by the well-known former Viennese rabbi Schmuel (Schmelke) Pinter from London in the highest terms. In 1989 the Jewish Institute of Adult Education was founded by Kurt Rosenkranz. It also organized guest performances of Yiddish theater groups from Tel Aviv, Montreal, and Bucharest. After ten years, in 1998, it published a Festschrift.

The 1990s and After

From 1990 a Liberal Jewish congregation called Or Chadasch functioned in Vienna. Its president from the beginning through the year 2005 was the dermatologist Theodor Much. It had many visiting and some permanent rabbis; amongst the latter were Michael Koenig, Walter Rothschild, Robert L. Lehmann, Eveline Goodman-Thau, and in 2004/5 Irit Shillor. In February 2004 it opened its own synagogue and community center, with the financial help of the city of Vienna and the Austrian government, in rent-free premises belonging to the Jewish community.

In 1992 President Klestil opened the Sephardi Center with two synagogues, a Bukharian and a Georgian one. In March 1993 the newly built synagogue of Innsbruck – which had about 40 members – was consecrated.

In June 1993 the Vienna Jewish community organized a large-scale commemoration of Aaron Menczer, the charismatic leader of Viennese Youth Aliyah, who was murdered in 1943 in Auschwitz. His surviving pupils unveiled a large memorial to Menczer in the foyer of the Stadttempel.

After the retirement of Chief Cantor Abraham Adler in 1993 the Jewish community took on Israeli-born Shmuel Barzilai, another first-rate chief cantor.

In September 1994, the Vienna Jewish community opened the Esra psychological and social case center, an outpatient center particularly for people suffering from the so-called Holocaust syndrome. In 2004 it celebrated its first ten years of existence with a main speech given by the new Social-Democrat Austrian president Heinz Fischer and publication of a Festschrift.

In June 1991 Vranitzky made a speech in Parliament, in which he fully acknowledged Austria's moral guilt and responsibility for the Nazi crimes – the first such speech by the head of an Austrian government. In 1993 an Austrian Gedenkdienst was founded, which gave young Austrians the opportunity to work at Holocaust memorial sites instead of doing compulsory military or civilian service. Up to 2002 about 150 young men and some women had worked in the framework of this service in 15 countries.

In 2001 the Archive for the Austrian Resistance (Dokumentationsarchiv des oesterreichischen Widerstands) finished a project to document the Austrian victims of the Holocaust. The names and data of 62,000 victims were published on their website and on a cd-rom.

In 1998 the Austrian Parliament decided to inaugurate a commemoration day for the victims of racism and violence. The day is commemorated around May 5, the day of the liberation of the Austrian concentration camp Mauthausen.

The real estate tycoon Ariel Muzicant initiated the Austrian Historical Commission of the Republic of Austria. It was founded in 1998, headed by the distinguished judge and head of the Administrative Court Clemens Jabloner, and operated until 2003. In 47 projects, 160 historians were asked "to investigate and report on the whole complex of expropriation in Austria during the Nazi regime and on restitution and/or compensation (including other financial or social benefits) after 1945 by the Republic of Austria." All the reports were published by the German publisher Oldenbourg.

In several official statements the Austrian Republic promised – at last – to pay adequate compensation to the surviving Austrian victims of National Socialism. In summer 1995 a National Fund was established by the Austrian Parliament, which was endowed with 500 million ats. It was directed by Hannah Lessing and paid about 20,000 Austrian victims of National Socialism 70,000 ats as individual compensation and 80,000 ats for stolen property and apartments.

In 1996 more than 600 art objects, whose owners could not be identified, were at last paid for by the Republic of Austria to the Jewish community. They were sold at the internationally acclaimed Mauerbach auction by Christie's (named for the former monastery where they were hidden). The proceeds of 155 million ats were given to Jewish and some non-Jewish Holocaust victims.

In April 1998 Ariel Muzicant was elected president of the Vienna Jewish community. He was the first president born after the Holocaust. In 2002 he was reelected.

In November 1998 the synagogue of Vienna's Josefstadt district in the Neudeggergasse was reproduced in full size for six weeks in commemoration of the pogrom in November 1938. Former Jewish residents of the district were invited, a book was published, and a film was made by the Austrian filmmaker Käthe Kratz.

In June 1999 the Vienna Jewish community celebrated the 150th anniversary of its existence with a gathering of 1,300 people in the Vienna Burgtheater.

In October 2000 a monument to the Austrian victims of the Shoah, showing a stylized library of untitled books in a 70-sq.-m. space, designed by the British artist Rachel Whiteread and initiated by Simon Wiesenthal, was unveiled on the historic Judenplatz in the heart of the city of Vienna. The Vienna Jewish museum opened a branch in the historic Mizrachi building on the Judenplatz. It showed a multimedia reconstruction of the Vienna Or Sarua synagogue, which was destroyed in the *Wiener Gesera in 1420 and which was discovered in the course of the excavation of the monument. In 2000 the Mizrachi published a Festschrift about its first 100 years; in 2001 it began to organize a series of symposia on the history of the Jews of Vienna, in the course of which the first volume of the new edition of the talmudic commentary Or Zaru'a by Rabbi *Isaac ben Moses of Vienna was launched.

In November 2000 the newly built synagogue of Graz, the second largest city of Austria, was consecrated.

The square in front of the synagogue was named after Chief Rabbi David Herzog. The Graz Jewish community then had 135 members. At the University of Graz a Center for Jewish Studies was established.

In January 2001 the Vienna Jewish community celebrated the 175th anniversary of the historic Stadttempel together with President Thomas Klestil and tenor Neil Shicoff. In contrast to the jubilees in 1976 and 1988 they did not publish a Festschrift.

In June 2001 the Jewish community of Salzburg – which had 70–80 members – celebrated its 100th jubilee together with President Thomas Klestil. In 2004, at the University of Salzburg, a Center for Jewish Cultural Studies was founded.

In 1999 the Jewish community founded a Holocaust victim's information and support center. In 2000 the Austrian Reconciliation Fund was created in order to compensate forced laborers in the NS era. In January 2001 U.S. President Bill Clinton's deputy secretary of finance and chief negotiator for restitution Stuart *Eizenstat and the Austrian government agreed on the sum of $360 million. With this money the General Settlement Fund, which is administered by the National Fund, was created. The Fund received about 20,000 applications, but was still not effective. Austria demanded a legally binding guarantee that no further legal action would be taken by anyone for restitution, which was not possible because of several ongoing class actions in the U.S. In June 2002 the Jewish communities signed an agreement with the Austrian federal provinces, which pledged to pay 18.2 million Euro in the next five years as restitution for stolen community property. The city of Vienna promised to rebuild the premises of the historic Jewish Ha-Koaḥ sports club.

From 1945 until 1980 the community had to sell 170 of its 230 real estate properties in order to cover its deficit. After 1980 it had to apply for bank credit in order to cover its expenses. In 2003 the financial situation of the community became extremely difficult. Reports in the national and international press spoke about the possible closing down of the Jewish community. In the end the insolvency of the Jewish community was prevented through an advance payment of half of the Austrian provincial restitution money. Finally, in May 2005 an agreement was reached for payment of 18.2 million Euro by the Republic of Austria to the Vienna Jewish community, which therefore withdrew its applications to the General Settlement Fund.

Beginning in the 1980s, in Vienna and in the provinces a number of plaques or monuments commemorating destroyed synagogues or Jewish communities were erected. In November 2002 Austrian President Thomas Klestil unveiled a monument in memory of the 65,000 Austrian Holocaust victims in the hall of the Stadttempel.

In 2001 a Center for Austrian Studies, financed by the Austrian Society of the Friends of the Hebrew University, was opened at the Hebrew University. Its academic chair was Robert S. Wistrich; its first director was Professor Hanni Mittelmann.

In autumn 2003 the federal land of Lower Austria, the city of Baden, and the Jewish community of Vienna decided to finance the renovation of the historic synagogue in Baden near Vienna.

In February 2004 a rabbinical conference of the Chabad movement was held in Vienna, with more than a hundred rabbis participating. The guest of honor was Romano Prodi, head of the eu commission, who was personally blessed by the Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Israel, Yonah Metzger.

In July 2004 a square on the Vienna park ring was named after Theodor Herzl. Austria, Hungary, and Israel issued, uniquely, a joint and identical stamp with the portrait of Herzl. The city of Vienna held its fifth international Herzl Symposium.

In autumn 2004 the statutes of the Vienna Jewish community were changed and the federal association of the Austrian Jewish communities (Bundesverband der israelitischen Kultusgemeinden) became the Israelitische Religionsgesellschaft. This meant that instead of being an association it was now a state corporation (Koerperschaft des oeffentlichen Rechts).

In November 2004 the Vienna Jewish community had 6,894 members. It was estimated that altogether about 14,000 Jews lived in Austria.

communal and cultural life

From 1990 Chief Rabbi Chaim Eisenberg organized an annual cantorial concert with distinguished international cantors. In 1993 and 1994 they took place in the former synagogues of Mikulov (Nikolsburg) and Trebitsch in Moravia in order to help with their renovations. In spring 1992 a week of Jewish culture was for the first time part of the Vienna "Festwochen." It was organized in collaboration with the city of Vienna, and attracted over 10,000 people. From 1990 Vienna also had a Jewish street festival and annual Jewish film festival.

In 1991 a Jewish museum opened in Hohenems in the Austrian province of Vorarlberg; its director was Hanno Loewy. In November 1993 the Jewish Museum of the city of Vienna, which was initiated by the Vienna mayor Helmut Zilk, was opened in the historic Palais Eskeles in the heart of Vienna by the Vienna-born mayor of Jerusalem, Teddy Kollek. Its first director was the German-Jewish historian Julius H. Schoeps; his successor in 1998 was Karl-Albrecht Weinberger. The city of Vienna bought the famous Judaica collection of Max Berger for the museum. In November 1994 the library of the Vienna Jewish community (with 30,000 volumes) was reopened. It could be made public only with the aid of the Vienna Jewish Museum, which had the library on permanent loan.


When in October 1991 the Jewish cemetery of Vienna was desecrated, 10,000 people took part in a silent march against antisemitism in Vienna. In October 1992, the Jewish cemetery of Eisenstadt was desecrated and Chancellor Vranitzky and Paul Grosz attended a commemorative ceremony.

In spring 1991 Jörg Haider, the populist leader of the Freedom Party, praised the "decent and proper employment policies" in Nazi Germany, for which he was voted out of office as governor of Carinthia. A year later a committee of prominent artists and publicists organized a "concert for Austria" on the Heldenplatz in Vienna against rightist tendencies in Austrian politics. Elie *Wiesel was invited to speak from the huge balcony, the first person since Hitler to speak from there. Even more people – about 250,000 – took part in a "sea of lights" in January 1993 opposing a petition of Haider's Freedom Party against the immigration of foreigners, which was signed by 417,000 people, far fewer than expected.

In May 1992 the popular columnist of the country's most widely read daily Neue Kronen Zeitung, Richard Nimmerrichter, published two articles in which he asserted that relatively few Jews had been gassed and that anyone who survived Hitler would also survive Mr. Grosz, the president of the Vienna Jewish community. The Jewish community and Paul Grosz subsequently sued Nimmerrichter, winning partial victories in eight trials and getting the newspaper to moderate its tone.

In 1995 German television showed a video of a meeting of former ss-men in the Austrian village of Krumpendorf with Heinrich Himmler's daughter as guest of honor. At the meeting Jörg Haider praised the ss-men for having remained decent and despite enormous pressures loyal to their convictions until today.

Opinion polls throughout these years showed that the number of antisemites in the Austrian population can be estimated at 20%.

In 1994 and 1995, Austria was shocked by several neo-Nazi terrorist bombings. In December 1993, a letter bomb was sent to the popular Social Democrat mayor of Vienna, Helmut Zilk, which cost him his left hand and almost killed him. In the same week, letter bombs were sent to several politicians, journalists, and other people working for the integration of foreigners; three of them were injured. The letter bombs were sent by the mentally ill Austrian neo-Nazi and antisemite Franz Fuchs. He also planted a bomb which killed four gypsies. He was sentenced to life imprisonment and committed suicide.

In 1997 the monthly magazine Wiener published an article by Thomas Köpf entitled "Scandal in the Jewish Community, Good Business with a Bad Conscience," which was full of antisemitic stereotypes and phrases and illustrated with a red Magen David composed of bank notes. The Jewish community responded with a press conference and a court order and received an apology.

[Evelyn Adunka (2nd ed.)]

Austria-Israel Relations

The establishment of relations between Austria and Israel was involved with the question of whether the 1938 Anschluss, by which Austria became part of Nazi Germany, should influence the relations between the two countries. The government of Israel adopted the thesis that was at the basis of the Austrian "State Treaty"; that is, that Austria was the victim of Nazi aggression in 1938. However, the adoption of this policy encountered obstacles of public opinion in Israel arising out of Austria's identification with Germany. Great significance was ascribed to Austria's unsatisfactory response to Jewish claims for restitution and indemnification for crimes committed by the Nazi regime in Austria. This situation gradually changed as a result of Austria's friendly attitude to Israel in the context of the implementation of the "State Treaty," which imposed complete neutrality upon her. Austria's political stand at the un, as well as in other international arenas, and her support of Israel during the *Six-Day War, contributed much to the development of friendly ties. Relations were established on a consular level almost immediately after the formation of the State of Israel. From 1956, normal diplomatic relations existed, which soon were on the ambassadorial level. Friendship leagues exist in the two states, as well as mutual chambers of commerce. Trade between Israel and Austria steadily increased since 1948. In 1968 Israel exported $6.8 million worth of goods to Austria, headed by citrus fruits (of which Israel was the main supplier to Austria) and phosphates and chemicals. Austria exported $6.2 million worth of goods to Israel, chiefly timber and machinery. By 2002 the figures had risen to $68 million (mostly manufactured goods) and $154 million, respectively.

[Yohanan Meroz]

Austria declared itself in favor of Security Council Resolution 242 of November 1967. It voted for the right of Yasser Arafat, then leader of the plo, to address the United Nations General Assembly, but the Austrian delegation abstained on the vote to grant the plo observer status at the un.

The visit of Israel foreign minister Shimon Peres in November 1992 and his official invitation to President Klestil and Chancellor Vranitzky to Israel, together with the inauguration of several Austrian-Israeli projects, marked a new era in the relationship of the two countries.

In 1994 four leading Austrian politicians – President Thomas Klestil, Chancellor Franz Vranitzky, Vice Chancellor Erhard Busek, and the president of Parliament, Heinz Fischer – visited Israel. This demonstrated the excellent relations between Austria and Israel since Kurt Waldheim's presidency ended in 1992 (see above). In his capacity as Austria's science minister, Busek inaugurated a new chair for Austrian culture and history at the Hebrew University, named after the former archbishop of Vienna, Cardinal Franz Koenig. Vranitzky was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Hebrew University. In May 1995 a multifunctional encounter hall in the renovated high school in Reḥavia in Jerusalem was opened, which was financed by the Austrian branch of the Jerusalem Foundation on the initiative of Professor Leon Zelman of the Jewish Welcome Service. An Austrian committee for the support of Amcha, an organization for the psychological and social treatment of victims of the Holocaust, collected money for Simon Wiesenthal House in Ramat Gan.

In 1997 Prime Minister Benjamin Netanjahu visited Austria. During his visit in the Stadttempel he appealed to the Jews of Austria to immigrate to Israel.

In 2002 the Austrian minister for foreign affairs Benita Ferrero-Waldner and the secretary of state for the arts Franz Morak and the then president of Parliament Heinz Fischer visited Israel. In December 2003 the charge d'affaires of the state of Israel Avraham Toledo was appointed ambassador. (In 2000 Israel formerly withdrew its ambassador because of the inclusion of Jörg Haider's Freedom Party in the Austrian government.) In October 2004 the first state visit of an Israeli president took place in Austria. During four days President Moshe *Katzav visited amongst other places the Stadttempel and the Mauthausen concentration camp.

[Evelyn Adunka (2nd ed.)]


J. Fraenkel (ed.), The Jews of Austria. Essays on their Life, History and Destruction (1967), includes bibliography; S. Eidelberg, Jewish Life in Austria in the xvth Century… (1962); D. van Arkel, Anti-semitism in Austria (1966); P.G.J. Pulzer, Rise of Political Anti-semitism in Germany and Austria (1964); idem, in: Journal of Central European Affairs, 23 (1963), 131–42; R.A. Kann, Study in Austrian Intellectual History (1960); idem, in; jsos, 10 (1948), 239–56; Silberner, in: hj, 13 (1951), 121–39; J.S. Bloch, Reminiscences (1927); Freud, in: blbi, 3 (1960), 80–100; J. von Wertheimer, Juden in Oesterreich, 2 vols. (1892); J.E. Scherer, Rechtsverhaeltnisse der Juden in den deutsch-oesterreichischen Laendern (1901); N.M. Gelber, Aus zwei Jahrhunderten (1924); S. Baron, Judenfrage auf dem Wiener Kongress (1920); M.J. Kohler, Jewish Rights at the Congress of Vienna… (1918); S. Krauss, Wiener Geserah vom Jahre 1421 (1920); L. Moses, Juden in Niederoesterreich (1935); Festschrift zur Feier des 50jährigen Bestandes der Union oesterreichischer Juden (1937); I. Smotricz, Mahpekhat 1848 be-Ostriyyah (1957); Y. Toury, Mahpekhah u-Mehumah be-1848 (1967), index. holocaust: T. Guttmann, Dokumentenwerk…, 2 vols. (1943–45); O. Karbach, in: jsos, 2 (1940), 255–78; H. Rosenkranz, in: Yad Vashem Bulletin, 14 (1964), 35–43; idem: Kristallnacht in Oesterreich (1968); H. Gold, Geschichte der Juden in Wien (1966); H. Gold, Geschichte der Juden in Oesterreich (1971); G. Reitlinger, The Final Solution (1953), index; R. Hilberg, Destruction of the European Jews (1961), index; H.G. Adler, Theresienstadt (Ger., 19602); I. Friedmann, in: jsos, 27 (1965), 147–67, 236, 249; J. Moser, Die Judenverfolgung in Oesterreich 1938–1945 (1966). postwar period: F. Wilder-Okladek, The Return-Movement of Jews to Austria after the Second World War (1969); A. Tartakower, Shivtei Yisrael, 2 (1966), 315–23; Y. Bauer, Flight and Rescue (1970); L.O. Schmelz, in: Deuxième colloque sur la vie juive dans l'Europe contemporaire (Eng. 1967). add. bibliography: T. Albrich, Wir lebten wie sie. Juedische Lebensgeschichten aus Tirol und Vorarlberg (1999); H. Brettl, Die juedische Gemeinde von Frauenkirchen (2003); D.A. Binder, G. Reitter, and H. Ruetgen, Judentum in einer antisemitischen Umwelt. Am Beispiel der Stadt Graz 1918–1938 (1988); K.H. Burmeister (ed.), Rabbiner Dr. Aron Tänzer. Gelehrter und Menschenfreund 1871–1937 (1987); D. Ellmauer, H. Embacher, and A. Lichtblau (eds.), Geduldet, geschmaeht und vertrieben. Salzburger Juden erzählen (1998); H. Embacher (ed.), Juden in Salzburg. History, Cultures, Facts (2002); M.M. Feingold (ed.), Ein Ewiges Dennoch. 125 Jahre Juden in Salzburg (1993); D. Herzog, Erinnerungen eines Rabbiners 1882–1940 (1995); Israelitische Kultusgemeinde Graz, Geschichte der Juden in Suedost-Oesterreich (1988); R. Kropf (ed.), Juden im Grenzraum (1993); G. Lamprecht (ed.), Juedisches Leben in der Steiermark (2004); A. Lang, B. Tobler, and G. Tschoegl (eds.), Vertrieben. Erinnerungen burgenlaendischer Juden und Juedinnnen (2004); E. Lappin (ed.), Juedische Gemeinden. Kontinuitaeten und Brueche (2202); A. Lichtblau (ed.), Als haetten wir dazugehoert. Oesterreichisch-juedische Lebensgeschichten aus der Habsburgermonarchie (1999); C. Lind, …es gab so nette Leute dort. Die zerstoerte juedische Gemeinde St. Poelten (1998); idem, …sind wir doch in unserer Heimat als Landmenschen aufgewachsen…. Der Landsprengel der Israelitischen Kultusgemeinde St. Poelten (2002); idem, Der letzte Jude hat den Tempel verlassen. Juden in Niederoesterreich 1938–1945 (2004); G. Milchram, Heilige Gemeinde Neunkirchen (2000); P. Schwarz, Tulln ist judenrein! (1997); W. Neuhauser-Pfeiffer and K. Ransmaier, Vergessene Spuren. Die Geschichte der Juden in Steyr (1993); F. Polleroß (ed.), Die Erinnerung tut zu weh. Juedisches Leben uns Antisemitismus im Waldviertel (1996); J. Reiss (ed.), Aus den sieben Gemeinden (1997); W. Sotill, Es gibt nur einen Gott und eine Menschheit. Graz und seine juedischen Mitbuerger (2001); S. Spitzer (ed.), Beitraege zur Geschichte der Juden im Burgenland (1994); S. Spitzer, Die juedische Gemeinde von Deutschkreuz (1995); S. Spitzer, Bne Chet. Die oesterreichischen Juden im Mittelalter (1997); R. Streibel, Ploetzlich waren sie alle weg. Die Juden der ‚Gauhauptstadt Krems' und ihre Mitbuerger. (1991); W. Wadl, Geschichte der Juden in Kaernten in Mittelalter (1981); A. Walzl, Die Juden in Kärnten und das Dritte Reich (1987).

For further bibliography see *Vienna.

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Compiled from the January 2008 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:

Republic of Austria



Area: 83,857 sq. km. (32,377 sq. mi.); slightly smaller than Maine.

Cities: Capital—Vienna (2005 pop. 1.63 million). Other citiesGGraz, Linz, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Klagen-furt.

Terrain: Alpine (64%), northern highlands that form part of the Bohemian Massif (10%), lowlands to the east (26%).

Climate: Continental temperate.


Nationality: Noun and adjective—Austrian(s).

Population: (2006) 8,281,948.

Annual growth rate: (2006) 0.4%.

Ethnic groups: Germans 91%, Turks, Serbs, Croats, Slovenes, and Bosniasns; other recognized minorities include Hungarians, Czechs, Slovaks, and Roma.

Religions: Roman Catholic 73.6%, Lutheran 4.7%, Muslim 4.2%, other 5.5, no confession 12.0%.

Languages: German 92%.

Education: Years compulsory-9. Attendance-99%. Literacy-98%.

Health: (2006) Infant mortality rate—3.6 deaths/1,000. Life expectancy—men 77.1 years, women 82.7 years.

Work force: (2006, 4.12 million) Services-67%; agriculture and forestry-5%, industry-28%.


Type: Federal Parliamentary democracy.

Constitution: 1920; revised 1929 (reinstated May 1, 1945).

Government branches: Executive—federal president (chief of state), chancellor (head of government), cabinet. Legislative—bicameral Federal Assembly (Parliament). Judicial—Constitutional Court, Administrative Court, Supreme Court.

Political parties: Social Democratic Party, People's Party, Freedom Party, Greens, Alliance—Future-Austria.

Suffrage: Universal over 18.

Political subdivisions: Nine Bundeslander (federal states).

Defense: (2007) 0.8% of GDP.


GDP: (2006) $322.4 billion

Real GDP growth rate: (2006) 3.3%.

Per capita income: (2006) $38,925.

Natural resources: Iron ore, crude oil, natural gas, timber, tungsten, magnesite, lignite, cement.

Agriculture: 1.7% of 2006 GDP) Products—livestock, forest products, grains, sugarbeets, potatoes.

Industry: (30.7% of 2006 GDP) Types—iron and steel, chemicals, capital equipment, consumer goods.

Services: 67.6% of 2006 GDP.

Trade: (2006) Exports—$129.7 billion: iron and steel products, timber, paper, textiles, electrotechnical machinery, chemical products, foodstuffs. Imports—$130.3 billion: machinery, vehicles, chemicals, iron and steel, metal goods, fuels, raw materials, foodstuffs. Principal trade partners—European Union, Switzerland, U.S., and China.


Austrians are a homogeneous people; 91% are native German speakers. However, there has been a significant amount of immigrants, particularly from former Yugoslavia and Turkey, over the last two decades. Only two numerically significant autochthonous minority groups exist—18,000 Slovenes in Carinthia (south central Austria) and about 19,400 Croats in Burgenland (on the Hungarian border). The Slovenes form a closely-knit community. Their rights as well as those of the Croats are protected by law and generally respected in practice. Some Austrians, particularly near Vienna, still have relatives in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary. About 74% of all Austrians are Roman Catholic. The church abstains from political activity. Small Lutheran minorities are located mainly in Vienna, Carinthia, and Burgenland. Small Islamic (immigrant) communities have arisen in Vienna and Vorarlberg.

Austrian history dates back nearly 2,000 years, when Vindobona (Vienna) was an important Roman military garrison along the Danube. The city grew through the Middle Ages and in 788, the territory that is present-day Austria was conquered by Charlemagne, who encouraged the adoption of Christianity. In 976, Leopold von Babenberg became the first in his family to rule the territory; the Babenberg line of succession lasted until the death of Frederick II in 1246. There was a brief interregnum when the territory was ruled by Otakar II of Bohemia, but in 1276 Rudolf I defeated Otakar II at Durnkrut and became the first Habsburg to ascend to the throne.

The Habsburg Empire

Although never unchallenged, the Habsburgs ruled Austria for nearly 750 years. Through political marriages, the Habsburgs were able to accumulate vast land wealth encompassing most of Central Europe and stretching even as far as the Iberian Peninsula. During the 16th Century, the Ottoman Empire gained strength and in 1529, the Ottoman army surrounded Vienna. The Habsburgs held their ground and the Ottomans retreated, to return again in 1683. This time, Vienna was successfully defended by Polish King Jan Sobieski III. To this day Austrians are still proud of defending their territory from the invading Ottomans.

Habsburg rule in Europe was particularly unsettled in the 18th and 19th Centuries, when various wars were fought over their landholdings. Emperor Charles VI (1711-1740) and his daughter Maria Theresa (1740-1780) ruled the Empire during these tumultuous times. Maria Theresa was only able to take the throne as a result of the Pragmatic Sanction, which allowed a female to ascend when there was no male heir. She became a great reformer within the Empire, advocating many changes, most notably in the educational system. Maria Theresa's son Josef II (1780-1790) continued many of her reforms and he himself has been described as an enlightened absolutist.

In 1848 Franz Josef I ascended to the throne and remained in power until his death in 1916. With a reign spanning from the Revolutions of 1848 to World War I, Franz Josef saw many milestones in Austrian history. The Compromise of 1867 allowed some minor sovereignty to the territory of Hungary and created what became known as the Dual Monarchy. Under the new system, Franz Josef remained the head of state (Emperor of Austria/King of Hungary), but the Hungarians were now permitted to have a parliament and legislate on their own.

The old Habsburg Empire slowly began to deteriorate in the beginning of the 20th Century. This deterioration culminated in the June 28, 1914, assassination of Archduke (and heir to the throne) Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophia. This incident sparked the beginning of World War I and assured the end to the Habsburg domination of Central Europe. In 1919, the Treaty of St. Germain officially ended Habsburg rule and established the Republic of Austria.

Political Turmoil During the Inter War Years Leads to Anschluss

In the years leading up to the Nazi period, Austria experienced sharpening political strife among the traditional parties, which since 1918 had created their own paramilitary organizations. By the late 1920s and early 1930s, these organizations were engaged in strikes and violent conflicts. Unemployment rose to an estimated 25%. In line with similar trends among other Central European countries, a corporatist and authoritarian government came into power in Austria under Engelbert Dollfuss, who abolished existing political parties and Austria's Constitutional Court. The Social Democrats, now excluded from the political process, took up arms, and a brief civil war ensued in February 1934. Austrian National Socialists (NS) launched an unsuccessful coup d’etat in July 1934 and murdered Dollfuss. The Nazi leaders were, however, arrested, tried, and received death sentences. Following this unsuccessful coup, the Austrian President asked an ultra-conservative Christian Social leader, Kurt Schuschnigg, to form a government. Like Dollfuss, Schuschnigg sought to appease his neighbors and, at the same time, obtain support from Britain and France against pressures from Hitler's Germany, but without success due to the authoritarian trends in Austria and Austria's poor image in the West. In February 1938, under renewed threats of military intervention from Germany, Schuschnigg was forced to accept Austrian National Socialists (Nazis) in his government. On March 12, Germany sent its military forces into Austria, an action that received enthusiastic support among most Austrians, and Schuschnigg was forced to resign. He and many other political leaders were arrested and imprisoned until 1945.

The Holocaust in Austria

The dissolution of the Austrian Empire and consequent loss of territory following World War I, as well as the political strife of the 1930s, set the stage on March 13, 1938, for Germany's Anschluss (“Annexation”) of Austria and the beginning of the Nazi period, the darkest chapter in Austria's history, during which most of the Jewish population of the country was murdered or forced into exile. Other minorities, including the Sinti and Roma, homosexuals, and many political opponents of the Nazis also received similar treatment. Prior to 1938, Austria's Jewish population constituted 200,000 persons, or about 3 to 4 percent of the total population. Most Jews lived in Vienna, where they comprised about 9 percent of the population. Following Anschluss, the Germans rapidly applied their anti-

Jewish laws in Austria. Jews were forced out of many professions and lost access to their assets. In November 1938, the Nazis launched the Kri-stallnacht pogrom in Austria as well as in Germany. Jewish businesses were vandalized and ransacked. Thousands of Jews were arrested and deported to concentration camps. Jewish emigration increased dramatically. Between 1938 and 1940, over half of Austria's Jewish population fled the country. Some 35,000 Jews were deported to the Ghettos in Eastern Europe. Some 67,000 Austrian Jews (or one-third of the total 200,000 Jews residing in Austria) were sent to concentration camps. Those in such camps were murdered or forced into dangerous or severe hard labor that accelerated their death. Only 2,000 of those in the death camps survived until the end of the war.

Austria Post World War II

At the Moscow conference in 1943, the Allies declared their intention to liberate and reconstitute Austria. In April 1945, both Eastern-and Western-front Allied forces liberated the country. Subsequently, the victorious allies divided Austria into zones of occupation similar to those in Germany with a four-power administration of Vienna. Under the 1945 Potsdam agreements, the Soviets took control of German assets in their zone of occupation. These included 7% of Austria's manufacturing plants, 95% of its oil resources, and about 80% of its refinery capacity. The properties returned to Austria under the Austrian State Treaty.

This treaty, signed in Vienna on May 15, 1955, came into effect on July 27, and, under its provisions, all occupation forces departed by October 25, 1955. Austria became free and independent for the first time since 1938.

Austrian Compensation Programs and Acknowledgement of its Nazi Role

During the immediate postwar period, Austrian authorities introduced certain restitution and compensation measures for Nazi victims, but many of these initial measures were later seen as inadequate and containing flaws and injustices. There is no official estimate of the amount of compensation made under these programs. More disturbing for many was the continuation of the view that prevailed since 1943 that Austria was the “first free country to fall a victim” to Nazi aggression. This “first victim” view was in fact fostered by the Allied Powers themselves in the Moscow Declaration of 1943, in which the Allies declared as null and void the Anschluss and called for the restoration of the country's independence. The Allied Powers did not ignore Austria's responsibility for the war, but nothing was said explicitly about Austria's responsibility for Nazi crimes on its territory. With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, greater attention was given in many countries to unresolved issues from World War II, including Austria. On November 15, 1994, Austrian President Thomas Klestil addressed the Israeli Knesset, noting that Austrian leaders “… spoke far too rarely of the fact that some of the worst henchmen of the NS dictatorship were in fact Austrians…. In the name of the Republic of Austria, I bow my head before the victims of that time.” Since 1994, Austria has committed to providing victims and heirs some one billion dollars in total compensation.


The Austrian president convenes and concludes parliamentary sessions and under certain conditions can dissolve Parliament. However, no Austrian president has dissolved Parliament in the Second Republic. The custom is for Parliament to call for new elections if needed. The president requests a party leader, usually the leader of the strongest party, to form a government. Upon the recommendation of the Federal Chancellor, the president also appoints cabinet ministers.

The Federal Assembly (Parliament) consists of two houses—the National Council (Nationalrat), or lower house, and the Federal Council (Bundesrat), or upper house. Legislative authority resides in the National Council. Its 183 members serve for a maximum term of four years in a three-tiered system, on the basis of proportional representation. The National Council may dissolve itself by a simple majority vote or the president may dissolve it on the recommendation of the Chancellor. The nine state legislatures elect the 62 members of the Federal Council for 5- to 6-year terms. The Federal Council only reviews legislation passed by the National Council and can delay but not veto its enactment.