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Austria

Austria

Overview
Austria officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe
Central Europe
Central Europe or alternatively Middle Europe is a region of the European continent lying between the variously defined areas of Eastern and Western Europe...

. It is bordered by the Czech Republic
Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in Central Europe. The country is bordered by Poland to the northeast, Slovakia to the east, Austria to the south, and Germany to the west and northwest....

 and Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 to the north, Slovakia
Slovakia
The Slovak Republic is a landlocked state in Central Europe. It has a population of over five million and an area of about . Slovakia is bordered by the Czech Republic and Austria to the west, Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east and Hungary to the south...

 and Hungary
Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

 to the east, Slovenia
Slovenia
Slovenia , officially the Republic of Slovenia , is a country in Central and Southeastern Europe touching the Alps and bordering the Mediterranean. Slovenia borders Italy to the west, Croatia to the south and east, Hungary to the northeast, and Austria to the north, and also has a small portion of...

 and Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 to the south, and Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

 and Liechtenstein
Liechtenstein
The Principality of Liechtenstein is a doubly landlocked alpine country in Central Europe, bordered by Switzerland to the west and south and by Austria to the east. Its area is just over , and it has an estimated population of 35,000. Its capital is Vaduz. The biggest town is Schaan...

 to the west. The territory of Austria covers 83855 square kilometres (32,377 sq mi) and has a temperate and alpine climate
Alpine climate
Alpine climate is the average weather for a region above the tree line. This climate is also referred to as mountain climate or highland climate....

. Austria's terrain is highly mountainous due to the presence of the Alps
Alps
The Alps is one of the great mountain range systems of Europe, stretching from Austria and Slovenia in the east through Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Germany to France in the west....

; only 32% of the country is below 500 metres (1,640 ft), and its highest point is 3798 metres (12,461 ft).
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Timeline

996   Emperor Otto III issues a deed to Gottschalk, Bishop of Freising, which is the oldest known document using the name ''Ostarrîchi'' (Austria in Old High German).

1192   Richard the Lion-Heart is captured and imprisoned by Leopold V of Austria on his way home to England after signing a treaty with Saladin ending the Third crusade.

1246   With the death of Duke Frederick II, the Babenberg dynasty ends in Austria.

1335   Otto the Merry, Duke of Austria, becomes Duke of Carinthia.

1379   Treaty of Neuberg, splitting the Austrian Habsburg lands between the Habsburg Dukes Albert III and Leopold III.

1571   Austrian nobility is granted freedom of religion.

1709   Battle of Malplaquet: Great Britain, Netherlands and Austria fight against France.

1718   The Treaty of Passarowitz between the Ottoman Empire, Austria and the Republic of Venice is signed.

1740   Maria Theresa takes the throne of Austria. France, Prussia, Bavaria and Saxony refuse to honour the Pragmatic Sanction and the War of the Austrian Succession begins.

1743   Great Britain, Austria and Savoy-Sardinia sign the Treaty of Worms.

 
Encyclopedia
Austria officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe
Central Europe
Central Europe or alternatively Middle Europe is a region of the European continent lying between the variously defined areas of Eastern and Western Europe...

. It is bordered by the Czech Republic
Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in Central Europe. The country is bordered by Poland to the northeast, Slovakia to the east, Austria to the south, and Germany to the west and northwest....

 and Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 to the north, Slovakia
Slovakia
The Slovak Republic is a landlocked state in Central Europe. It has a population of over five million and an area of about . Slovakia is bordered by the Czech Republic and Austria to the west, Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east and Hungary to the south...

 and Hungary
Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

 to the east, Slovenia
Slovenia
Slovenia , officially the Republic of Slovenia , is a country in Central and Southeastern Europe touching the Alps and bordering the Mediterranean. Slovenia borders Italy to the west, Croatia to the south and east, Hungary to the northeast, and Austria to the north, and also has a small portion of...

 and Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 to the south, and Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

 and Liechtenstein
Liechtenstein
The Principality of Liechtenstein is a doubly landlocked alpine country in Central Europe, bordered by Switzerland to the west and south and by Austria to the east. Its area is just over , and it has an estimated population of 35,000. Its capital is Vaduz. The biggest town is Schaan...

 to the west. The territory of Austria covers 83855 square kilometres (32,377 sq mi) and has a temperate and alpine climate
Alpine climate
Alpine climate is the average weather for a region above the tree line. This climate is also referred to as mountain climate or highland climate....

. Austria's terrain is highly mountainous due to the presence of the Alps
Alps
The Alps is one of the great mountain range systems of Europe, stretching from Austria and Slovenia in the east through Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Germany to France in the west....

; only 32% of the country is below 500 metres (1,640 ft), and its highest point is 3798 metres (12,461 ft). The majority of the population speak local Austro-Bavarian
Austro-Bavarian
Bavarian , also Austro-Bavarian, is a major group of Upper German varieties spoken in the south east of the German language area.-History and origin:...

 dialects of German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

 as their native language, and German in its standard form is the country's official language. Other local official languages are Burgenland Croatian, Hungarian
Hungarian language
Hungarian is a Uralic language, part of the Ugric group. With some 14 million speakers, it is one of the most widely spoken non-Indo-European languages in Europe....

 and Slovene.

The origins of modern-day Austria date back to the time of the Habsburg dynasty when the vast majority of the country was a part of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. During the 17th and 18th centuries, Austria became one of the great powers of Europe and, in response to the coronation of Napoleon I
Napoleon I
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader during the latter stages of the French Revolution.As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815...

 as the Emperor of the French
Emperor of the French
The Emperor of the French was the title used by the Bonaparte Dynasty starting when Napoleon Bonaparte was given the title Emperor on 18 May 1804 by the French Senate and was crowned emperor of the French on 02 December 1804 at the cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris, in Paris with the Crown of...

, the Austrian Empire
Austrian Empire
The Austrian Empire was a modern era successor empire, which was centered on what is today's Austria and which officially lasted from 1804 to 1867. It was followed by the Empire of Austria-Hungary, whose proclamation was a diplomatic move that elevated Hungary's status within the Austrian Empire...

 was officially proclaimed in 1804. In 1867, the Austrian Empire
Austrian Empire
The Austrian Empire was a modern era successor empire, which was centered on what is today's Austria and which officially lasted from 1804 to 1867. It was followed by the Empire of Austria-Hungary, whose proclamation was a diplomatic move that elevated Hungary's status within the Austrian Empire...

 was reformed into Austria-Hungary
Austria-Hungary
Austria-Hungary , more formally known as the Kingdoms and Lands Represented in the Imperial Council and the Lands of the Holy Hungarian Crown of Saint Stephen, was a constitutional monarchic union between the crowns of the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary in...

.

When the Habsburg (Austro-Hungarian) Empire collapsed in 1918 with the end of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, Austria used German Austria
German Austria
Republic of German Austria was created following World War I as the initial rump state for areas with a predominantly German-speaking population within what had been the Austro-Hungarian Empire, without the Kingdom of Hungary, which in 1918 had become the Hungarian Democratic Republic.German...

 („Deutschösterreich”, later „Österreich”) as the state name in an attempt for union with Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 but was forbidden due to the Treaty of Saint Germain. The First Austrian Republic
First Austrian Republic
The Republic of Austria encompasses the period of Austrian history following the signing of the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye of September 1919, the settlement after the end of World War I which put an end to the Republic of German Austria, continuing up to World War II...

 was established in 1919. In the 1938 Anschluss
Anschluss
The Anschluss , also known as the ', was the occupation and annexation of Austria into Nazi Germany in 1938....

, Austria was occupied and annexed by Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

. This lasted until the end of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 in 1945, after which Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 was occupied by the Allies and Austria's former democratic constitution was restored. In 1955, the Austrian State Treaty
Austrian State Treaty
The Austrian State Treaty or Austrian Independence Treaty re-established Austria as a sovereign state. It was signed on May 15, 1955, in Vienna at the Schloss Belvedere among the Allied occupying powers and the Austrian government...

 re-established Austria as a sovereign state, ending the occupation. In the same year, the Austrian Parliament
Parliament of Austria
In the Parliament of Austria is vested the legislative power of the Republic of Austria. The institution consists of two chambers,* the National Council and* the Federal Council ....

 created the Declaration of Neutrality
Declaration of Neutrality
The Declaration of Neutrality was a declaration by the Austrian Parliament declaring the country permanently neutral. It was enacted on 26 October 1955 as a constitutional act of parliament, i.e., as part of the Constitution of Austria....

 which declared that the Second Austrian Republic would become permanently neutral
Neutral country
A neutral power in a particular war is a sovereign state which declares itself to be neutral towards the belligerents. A non-belligerent state does not need to be neutral. The rights and duties of a neutral power are defined in Sections 5 and 13 of the Hague Convention of 1907...

.

Today, Austria is a parliament
Parliament
A parliament is a legislature, especially in those countries whose system of government is based on the Westminster system modeled after that of the United Kingdom. The name is derived from the French , the action of parler : a parlement is a discussion. The term came to mean a meeting at which...

ary representative democracy
Representative democracy
Representative democracy is a form of government founded on the principle of elected individuals representing the people, as opposed to autocracy and direct democracy...

 comprising nine federal states
States of Austria
Austria is a federal republic made up of nine states, known in German as Länder . Since Land is also the German word for a country, the term Bundesländer is often used instead to avoid ambiguity. The Constitution of Austria uses both terms...

. The capital and largest city, with a population exceeding 1.6 million, is Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

. Austria is one of the richest countries in the world, with a nominal per capita GDP of $48,350 (2011 est.). The country has developed a high standard of living and in 2011 was ranked 19th in the world for its Human Development Index
Human Development Index
The Human Development Index is a composite statistic used to rank countries by level of "human development" and separate "very high human development", "high human development", "medium human development", and "low human development" countries...

. Austria has been a member of the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 since 1955, joined the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 in 1995, and is a founder of the OECD
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development is an international economic organisation of 34 countries founded in 1961 to stimulate economic progress and world trade...

. Austria also signed the Schengen Agreement
Schengen Agreement
The Schengen Agreement is a treaty signed on 14 June 1985 near the town of Schengen in Luxembourg, between five of the ten member states of the European Economic Community. It was supplemented by the Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement 5 years later...

 in 1995, and adopted the European currency, the Euro
Euro
The euro is the official currency of the eurozone: 17 of the 27 member states of the European Union. It is also the currency used by the Institutions of the European Union. The eurozone consists of Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg,...

, in 1999.

Etymology



The German name for Austria, , derives from the word Ostarrîchi, which first appears in the "Ostarrîchi document" of 996. This word is probably a translation of Medieval Latin
Medieval Latin
Medieval Latin was the form of Latin used in the Middle Ages, primarily as a medium of scholarly exchange and as the liturgical language of the medieval Roman Catholic Church, but also as a language of science, literature, law, and administration. Despite the clerical origin of many of its authors,...

  into a local (Bavarian) dialect. The name means "Eastern borderlands". It was a prefecture of Bavaria created in 976. The word "Austria" is a Latinisation of the German name and was first recorded in the 12th century.

Friedrich Heer
Friedrich Heer
Friedrich Heer was a historian born in Vienna. He received a PhD at the University in Vienna in 1938. Even as a student he came into conflict with pan-German thinking historians as a staunch opponent of National Socialism....

, one of the most important Austrian historians in the 20th century, stated in his book Der Kampf um die österreichische Identität (The Struggle Over Austrian Identity), that the Germanic form Ostarrîchi was not a translation of the Latin word, but both resulted from a much older term originating in the Celtic languages
Celtic languages
The Celtic languages are descended from Proto-Celtic, or "Common Celtic"; a branch of the greater Indo-European language family...

 of ancient Austria: more than 2,500 years ago, the major part of the actual country was called Norig by the Celtic population (Hallstatt culture
Hallstatt culture
The Hallstatt culture was the predominant Central European culture from the 8th to 6th centuries BC , developing out of the Urnfield culture of the 12th century BC and followed in much of Central Europe by the La Tène culture.By the 6th century BC, the Hallstatt culture extended for some...

); according to Heer, no- or nor- meant "east" or "eastern", whereas -rig is related to the modern German Reich, meaning "realm". Accordingly, Norig would essentially mean Ostarrîchi and Österreich, thus Austria. The Celtic name was eventually Latinised to Noricum
Noricum
Noricum, in ancient geography, was a Celtic kingdom stretching over the area of today's Austria and a part of Slovenia. It became a province of the Roman Empire...

after the Romans conquered the area that encloses most of modern day Austria, in approximately 15 BC. Noricum later became a Roman province
Roman province
In Ancient Rome, a province was the basic, and, until the Tetrarchy , largest territorial and administrative unit of the empire's territorial possessions outside of Italy...

 in the mid 1st century AD.

History



Settled in ancient times, the Central Europe
Central Europe
Central Europe or alternatively Middle Europe is a region of the European continent lying between the variously defined areas of Eastern and Western Europe...

an land that is now Austria was occupied in pre-Roman times by various Celt
Celt
The Celts were a diverse group of tribal societies in Iron Age and Roman-era Europe who spoke Celtic languages.The earliest archaeological culture commonly accepted as Celtic, or rather Proto-Celtic, was the central European Hallstatt culture , named for the rich grave finds in Hallstatt, Austria....

ic tribes. The Celtic kingdom of Noricum
Noricum
Noricum, in ancient geography, was a Celtic kingdom stretching over the area of today's Austria and a part of Slovenia. It became a province of the Roman Empire...

 was later claimed by the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 and made a province. Present day Petronell-Carnuntum in Eastern Austria was an important army camp turned capital city in what became known as the Upper Pannonia province. Fifty thousand people called Carnuntum
Carnuntum
Carnuntum was a Roman army camp on the Danube in the Noricum province and after the 1st century the capital of the Upper Pannonia province...

 home for nearly 400 years.

After the fall of the Roman Empire the area was invaded by Bavarians, Slavs and Avars. The Slavic tribe of the Carantanians migrated into the Alps
Slavic settlement of the Eastern Alps
Slavic settlement of the Eastern Alps region was a historic process that took place between the 6th and 9th century AD, having culminated in the final quarter of the 6th century...

 and established the realm of Carantania, which covered much of eastern and central Austrian territory. Charlemagne
Charlemagne
Charlemagne was King of the Franks from 768 and Emperor of the Romans from 800 to his death in 814. He expanded the Frankish kingdom into an empire that incorporated much of Western and Central Europe. During his reign, he conquered Italy and was crowned by Pope Leo III on 25 December 800...

 conquered the area in 788 AD, encouraged colonisation and introduced Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

. As part of Eastern Francia
Eastern Francia
East Francia , also known as the Kingdom of the East Franks or Francia Orientalis, was the realm allotted to Louis the German by the 843 Treaty of Verdun...

, the core areas that now encompass Austria were bequeathed to the house of Babenberg
Babenberg
Originally from Bamberg in Franconia, now northern Bavaria, an apparent branch of the Babenbergs or Babenberger went on to rule Austria as counts of the march and dukes from 976–1248, before the rise of the house of Habsburg.-One or two families:...

. The area was known as the marchia Orientalis
March of Austria
The March of Austria was created in 976 out of the territory that probably formed the earlier March of Pannonia. It is also called the Margraviate of Austria or the Bavarian Eastern March. In contemporary Latin, it was the marchia Austriae, Austrie marchionibus, or the marcha Orientalis...

and was given to Leopold of Babenberg in 976.

The first record showing the name Austria is from 996 where it is written as Ostarrîchi
Ostarrîchi
The German name of Austria, , derives from the Old High German word . A variant is recorded in the Ostarrîchi Document of 996. This word is thought to be a translation of Latin Marchia Orientalis into a local dialect. This was a march, or borderland, of the Duchy of Bavaria created in 976. Reich...

, referring to the territory of the Babenberg March. In 1156 the Privilegium Minus
Privilegium Minus
The Privilegium Minus is a document issued by Emperor Frederick I on September 17, 1156. It included the elevation of the Margraviate of Austria to a Duchy, which was given as an inheritable fief to the House of Babenberg. Its recipient was Frederick's paternal uncle Margrave Henry II Jasomirgott...

 elevated Austria to the status of a duchy. In 1192, the Babenbergs also acquired the Duchy of Styria. With the death of Frederick II in 1246, the line of the Babenbergs went extinct.

As a result Ottokar II of Bohemia
Ottokar II of Bohemia
Ottokar II , called The Iron and Golden King, was the King of Bohemia from 1253 until 1278. He was the Duke of Austria , Styria , Carinthia and Carniola also....

 effectively assumed control of the duchies of Austria, Styria and Carinthia. His reign came to an end with his defeat at Dürnkrut at the hands of Rudolph I of Germany
Rudolph I of Germany
Rudolph I was King of the Romans from 1273 until his death. He played a vital role in raising the Habsburg dynasty to a leading position among the Imperial feudal dynasties...

 in 1278. Thereafter, until World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, Austria's history was largely that of its ruling dynasty, the Habsburgs.

In the 14th and 15th centuries, the Habsburgs
Habsburg Monarchy
The Habsburg Monarchy covered the territories ruled by the junior Austrian branch of the House of Habsburg , and then by the successor House of Habsburg-Lorraine , between 1526 and 1867/1918. The Imperial capital was Vienna, except from 1583 to 1611, when it was moved to Prague...

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

The Habsburgs began also to accumulate lands far from the hereditary lands. In 1477 Archduke Maximilian
Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor
Maximilian I , the son of Frederick III, Holy Roman Emperor and Eleanor of Portugal, was King of the Romans from 1486 and Holy Roman Emperor from 1493 until his death, though he was never in fact crowned by the Pope, the journey to Rome always being too risky...

, only son of Emperor Frederick III
Frederick III, Holy Roman Emperor
Frederick the Peaceful KG was Duke of Austria as Frederick V from 1424, the successor of Albert II as German King as Frederick IV from 1440, and Holy Roman Emperor as Frederick III from 1452...

, married the heiress Maria of Burgundy
County of Burgundy
The Free County of Burgundy , was a medieval county , within the traditional province and modern French region Franche-Comté, whose very French name is still reminiscent of the unusual title of its count: Freigraf...

, thus acquiring most of the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 for the family. His son Philip the Fair
Philip I of Castile
Philip I , known as Philip the Handsome or the Fair, was the first Habsburg King of Castile...

 married the heiress of Castile
Crown of Castile
The Crown of Castile was a medieval and modern state in the Iberian Peninsula that formed in 1230 as a result of the third and definitive union of the crowns and parliaments of the kingdoms of Castile and León upon the accession of the then King Ferdinand III of Castile to the vacant Leonese throne...

 and Aragon
Crown of Aragon
The Crown of Aragon Corona d'Aragón Corona d'Aragó Corona Aragonum controlling a large portion of the present-day eastern Spain and southeastern France, as well as some of the major islands and mainland possessions stretching across the Mediterranean as far as Greece...

, and thus acquired Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 and its Italian, African and New World
New World
The New World is one of the names used for the Western Hemisphere, specifically America and sometimes Oceania . The term originated in the late 15th century, when America had been recently discovered by European explorers, expanding the geographical horizon of the people of the European middle...

 appendages for the Habsburgs. In 1526 following the Battle of Mohács
Battle of Mohács
The Battle of Mohács was fought on August 29, 1526 near Mohács, Hungary. In the battle, forces of the Kingdom of Hungary led by King Louis II of Hungary and Bohemia were defeated by forces of the Ottoman Empire led by Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent....

, Bohemia
Bohemia
Bohemia is a historical region in central Europe, occupying the western two-thirds of the traditional Czech Lands. It is located in the contemporary Czech Republic with its capital in Prague...

 and the part of Hungary
Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

 not occupied by the Ottomans came under Austrian rule. Ottoman expansion into Hungary led to frequent conflicts between the two empires, particularly evident in the so-called Long War
Long War (Ottoman wars)
The Long War took place from 1591 or 1593 to 1604 or 1606 and was one of the numerous military conflicts between the Habsburg Monarchy and the Ottoman Empire that developed after the Battle of Mohács.- History :The major participants of this war were the Habsburg Monarchy ,...

 of 1593 to 1606. The Turks made incursions into Styria nearly twenty times; burning, pillaging, and taking thousands of
slaves.

During the long reign of Leopold I (1657–1705) and following the successful defense of Vienna
Battle of Vienna
The Battle of Vienna took place on 11 and 12 September 1683 after Vienna had been besieged by the Ottoman Empire for two months...

 in 1683 (under the command of the King of Poland, John III Sobieski
John III Sobieski
John III Sobieski was one of the most notable monarchs of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, from 1674 until his death King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania. Sobieski's 22-year-reign was marked by a period of the Commonwealth's stabilization, much needed after the turmoil of the Deluge and...

), a series of campaigns
Great Turkish War
The Great Turkish War refers to a series of conflicts between the Ottoman Empire and contemporary European powers, then joined into a Holy League, during the second half of the 17th century.-1667–1683:...

 resulted in bringing all of Hungary to Austrian control by the Treaty of Karlowitz
Treaty of Karlowitz
The Treaty of Karlowitz was signed on 26 January 1699 in Sremski Karlovci , concluding the Austro-Ottoman War of 1683–1697 in which the Ottoman side had been defeated at the Battle of Zenta...

 in 1699.

Emperor Charles VI relinquished many of the fairly impressive gains the empire made in the previous years, largely due to his apprehensions at the imminent extinction of the House of Habsburg. Charles was willing to offer concrete advantages in territory and authority in exchange for other powers' worthless recognitions of the Pragmatic Sanction
Pragmatic sanction
A pragmatic sanction is a sovereign's solemn decree on a matter of primary importance and has the force of fundamental law. In the late history of the Holy Roman Empire it referred more specifically to an edict issued by the Emperor....

 that made his daughter Maria Theresa
Maria Theresa of Austria
Maria Theresa Walburga Amalia Christina was the only female ruler of the Habsburg dominions and the last of the House of Habsburg. She was the sovereign of Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Bohemia, Mantua, Milan, Lodomeria and Galicia, the Austrian Netherlands and Parma...

 his heir. With the rise of Prussia
Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

 the Austrian–Prussian dualism
German dualism
Austria and Prussia had a long running conflict and rivalry for supremacy in Central Europe during the 18th and 19th centuries, called in Germany. While wars were a part of the rivalry, it was also a race for prestige to be seen as the legitimate political force of the German-speaking peoples...

 began in Germany. Austria participated, together with Prussia and Russia, in the first and the third of the three Partitions of Poland
Partitions of Poland
The Partitions of Poland or Partitions of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth took place in the second half of the 18th century and ended the existence of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, resulting in the elimination of sovereign Poland for 123 years...

 (in 1772 and 1795).

Austria later became engaged in a war with Revolutionary France, at the beginning highly unsuccessful, with successive defeats at the hands of Napoleon meaning the end of the old Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

 in 1806. Two years earlier, in 1804, the Empire of Austria
Austrian Empire
The Austrian Empire was a modern era successor empire, which was centered on what is today's Austria and which officially lasted from 1804 to 1867. It was followed by the Empire of Austria-Hungary, whose proclamation was a diplomatic move that elevated Hungary's status within the Austrian Empire...

 was founded. In 1814 Austria was part of the Allied forces that invaded France and brought to an end the Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...

.

It thus emerged from the Congress of Vienna
Congress of Vienna
The Congress of Vienna was a conference of ambassadors of European states chaired by Klemens Wenzel von Metternich, and held in Vienna from September, 1814 to June, 1815. The objective of the Congress was to settle the many issues arising from the French Revolutionary Wars, the Napoleonic Wars,...

 in 1815 as one of four of the continent's dominant powers and a recognised great power
Great power
A great power is a nation or state that has the ability to exert its influence on a global scale. Great powers characteristically possess military and economic strength and diplomatic and cultural influence which may cause small powers to consider the opinions of great powers before taking actions...

. The same year, the German Confederation
German Confederation
The German Confederation was the loose association of Central European states created by the Congress of Vienna in 1815 to coordinate the economies of separate German-speaking countries. It acted as a buffer between the powerful states of Austria and Prussia...

, was founded under the presidency of Austria. Because of unsolved social, political and national conflicts the German lands were shaken by the 1848 revolution aiming to create a unified Germany. A unified Germany would have been possible either as a Greater Germany, or a Greater Austria or just the German Confederation
German Confederation
The German Confederation was the loose association of Central European states created by the Congress of Vienna in 1815 to coordinate the economies of separate German-speaking countries. It acted as a buffer between the powerful states of Austria and Prussia...

 without Austria at all. As Austria was not willing to relinquish its German-speaking territories to what would become the German Empire of 1848
Unification of Germany
The formal unification of Germany into a politically and administratively integrated nation state officially occurred on 18 January 1871 at the Versailles Palace's Hall of Mirrors in France. Princes of the German states gathered there to proclaim Wilhelm of Prussia as Emperor Wilhelm of the German...

, the crown of the newly formed empire was offered to the Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm IV. In 1864, Austria and Prussia
Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

 fought together against Denmark
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

 and successfully freed the independent duchies of Schleswig
Schleswig
Schleswig or South Jutland is a region covering the area about 60 km north and 70 km south of the border between Germany and Denmark; the territory has been divided between the two countries since 1920, with Northern Schleswig in Denmark and Southern Schleswig in Germany...

 and Holstein
Holstein
Holstein is the region between the rivers Elbe and Eider. It is part of Schleswig-Holstein, the northernmost state of Germany....

. Nevertheless as they could not agree on a solution to the administration of the two duchies, they fought in 1866 the Austro-Prussian War
Austro-Prussian War
The Austro-Prussian War was a war fought in 1866 between the German Confederation under the leadership of the Austrian Empire and its German allies on one side and the Kingdom of Prussia with its German allies and Italy on the...

. Defeated by Prussia in the Battle of Königgrätz
Battle of Königgrätz
The Battle of Königgrätz , also known as the Battle of Sadowa, Sadová, or Hradec Králové, was the decisive battle of the Austro-Prussian War, in which the Kingdom of Prussia defeated the Austrian Empire...

, Austria had to leave the German Confederation
German Confederation
The German Confederation was the loose association of Central European states created by the Congress of Vienna in 1815 to coordinate the economies of separate German-speaking countries. It acted as a buffer between the powerful states of Austria and Prussia...

 and subsequently no longer took part in German politics.

The Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867, the Ausgleich, provided for a dual sovereignty, the Austrian Empire
Austrian Empire
The Austrian Empire was a modern era successor empire, which was centered on what is today's Austria and which officially lasted from 1804 to 1867. It was followed by the Empire of Austria-Hungary, whose proclamation was a diplomatic move that elevated Hungary's status within the Austrian Empire...

 and the Kingdom of Hungary
Kingdom of Hungary
The Kingdom of Hungary comprised present-day Hungary, Slovakia and Croatia , Transylvania , Carpatho Ruthenia , Vojvodina , Burgenland , and other smaller territories surrounding present-day Hungary's borders...

, under Franz Joseph I
Franz Joseph I of Austria
Franz Joseph I or Francis Joseph I was Emperor of Austria, King of Bohemia, King of Croatia, Apostolic King of Hungary, King of Galicia and Lodomeria and Grand Duke of Cracow from 1848 until his death in 1916.In the December of 1848, Emperor Ferdinand I of Austria abdicated the throne as part of...

. The Austrian-Hungarian rule of this diverse empire included various Slavic
Slavic peoples
The Slavic people are an Indo-European panethnicity living in Eastern Europe, Southeast Europe, North Asia and Central Asia. The term Slavic represents a broad ethno-linguistic group of people, who speak languages belonging to the Slavic language family and share, to varying degrees, certain...

 groups including Croats
Croats
Croats are a South Slavic ethnic group mostly living in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and nearby countries. There are around 4 million Croats living inside Croatia and up to 4.5 million throughout the rest of the world. Responding to political, social and economic pressure, many Croats have...

, Czechs, Poles
Poles
thumb|right|180px|The state flag of [[Poland]] as used by Polish government and diplomatic authoritiesThe Polish people, or Poles , are a nation indigenous to Poland. They are united by the Polish language, which belongs to the historical Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages of Central Europe...

, Rusyns
Rusyns
Carpatho-Rusyns are a primarily diasporic ethnic group who speak an Eastern Slavic language, or Ukrainian dialect, known as Rusyn. Carpatho-Rusyns descend from a minority of Ruthenians who did not adopt the use of the ethnonym "Ukrainian" in the early twentieth century...

, Serbs
Serbs
The Serbs are a South Slavic ethnic group of the Balkans and southern Central Europe. Serbs are located mainly in Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and form a sizable minority in Croatia, the Republic of Macedonia and Slovenia. Likewise, Serbs are an officially recognized minority in...

, Slovaks
Slovaks
The Slovaks, Slovak people, or Slovakians are a West Slavic people that primarily inhabit Slovakia and speak the Slovak language, which is closely related to the Czech language.Most Slovaks today live within the borders of the independent Slovakia...

, Slovenes and Ukrainians
Ukrainians
Ukrainians are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Ukraine, which is the sixth-largest nation in Europe. The Constitution of Ukraine applies the term 'Ukrainians' to all its citizens...

, as well as large Italian
Italian people
The Italian people are an ethnic group that share a common Italian culture, ancestry and speak the Italian language as a mother tongue. Within Italy, Italians are defined by citizenship, regardless of ancestry or country of residence , and are distinguished from people...

 and Romanian
Romanians
The Romanians are an ethnic group native to Romania, who speak Romanian; they are the majority inhabitants of Romania....

 communities.

As a result, ruling Austria–Hungary became increasingly difficult in an age of emerging nationalist movements, causing a high reliance on the use of an expanded secret police. Yet the government of Austria tried its best to be accommodating in some respects: The Reichsgesetzblatt, publishing the laws and ordinances of Cisleithania
Cisleithania
Cisleithania was a name of the Austrian part of Austria-Hungary, the Dual Monarchy created in 1867 and dissolved in 1918. The name was used by politicians and bureaucrats, but it had no official status...

, was issued in eight languages, all national groups were entitled to schools in their own language and to the use of their mother tongue at state offices, for example. The government of Hungary to the contrary tried to magyarise
Magyarization
Magyarization is a kind of assimilation or acculturation, a process by which non-Magyar elements came to adopt Magyar culture and language due to social pressure .Defiance or appeals to the Nationalities Law, met...

 few ethnic entities. Thus the wishes of ethnic group
Ethnic group
An ethnic group is a group of people whose members identify with each other, through a common heritage, often consisting of a common language, a common culture and/or an ideology that stresses common ancestry or endogamy...

s dwelling in both parts of the dual monarchy hardly could be solved.

20th century


The assassination
Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria
On 28 June 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir presumptive to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and his wife, Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg, were shot dead in Sarajevo, by Gavrilo Princip, one of a group of six Bosnian Serb assassins coordinated by Danilo Ilić...

 of Archduke Franz Ferdinand
Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria
Franz Ferdinand was an Archduke of Austria-Este, Austro-Hungarian and Royal Prince of Hungary and of Bohemia, and from 1889 until his death, heir presumptive to the Austro-Hungarian throne. His assassination in Sarajevo precipitated Austria-Hungary's declaration of war against Serbia...

 in Sarajevo
Sarajevo
Sarajevo |Bosnia]], surrounded by the Dinaric Alps and situated along the Miljacka River in the heart of Southeastern Europe and the Balkans....

 in 1914 by Bosnian Serb Gavrilo Princip
Gavrilo Princip
Gavrilo Princip was the Bosnian Serb who assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife, Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg, in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914...

) was used by leading Austrian politicians and generals to persuade the emperor to declare war on Serbia, thereby risking and prompting the outbreak of World War I which led to the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Over one million Austro-Hungarian soldiers died in World War I.

On 21 October 1918, the elected German members of the Reichsrat (parliament of Imperial Austria) met in Vienna as the Provisional National Assembly for German Austria (Provisorische Nationalversammlung für Deutschösterreich). On 30 October the assembly founded the State of German Austria by appointing a government, called Staatsrat. This new government was invited by the emperor to take part in the decision on the planned armistice with Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

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

The Treaty of Saint-Germain
Treaty of Saint-Germain
The Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, was signed on 10 September 1919 by the victorious Allies of World War I on the one hand and by the new Republic of Austria on the other...

 of 1919 (for Hungary the Treaty of Trianon
Treaty of Trianon
The Treaty of Trianon was the peace agreement signed in 1920, at the end of World War I, between the Allies of World War I and Hungary . The treaty greatly redefined and reduced Hungary's borders. From its borders before World War I, it lost 72% of its territory, which was reduced from to...

 of 1920) confirmed and consolidated the new order of Central Europe
Central Europe
Central Europe or alternatively Middle Europe is a region of the European continent lying between the variously defined areas of Eastern and Western Europe...

 which to a great part had been established in November 1918, creating new states and resizing others. Over 3-million German speaking Austrians found themselves living outside of the newborn Austrian Republic as minorities in the newly formed or enlarged respective states of Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia was a sovereign state in Central Europe which existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until 1992...

, Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia refers to three political entities that existed successively on the western part of the Balkans during most of the 20th century....

, Hungary
Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

 and Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

. This included the provinces of South Tyrol
South Tyrol
South Tyrol , also known by its Italian name Alto Adige, is an autonomous province in northern Italy. It is one of the two autonomous provinces that make up the autonomous region of Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol. The province has an area of and a total population of more than 500,000 inhabitants...

 and German Bohemia
German Bohemia
German Bohemia was a region in Czech Republic established, for a short period of time, after World War I. It included parts of northern and western Bohemia once largely populated by ethnic Germans...

, the latter of which would play a role in sparking WWII. The South Tyrol question would become a lingering problem between Austria and Italy until it was officially settled by the 1980s with a large degree of autonomy being granted by the Italian national government. Between 1918 and 1919 Austria was known as the State of German Austria
German Austria
Republic of German Austria was created following World War I as the initial rump state for areas with a predominantly German-speaking population within what had been the Austro-Hungarian Empire, without the Kingdom of Hungary, which in 1918 had become the Hungarian Democratic Republic.German...

 . Not only did the Entente powers
Allies of World War I
The Entente Powers were the countries at war with the Central Powers during World War I. The members of the Triple Entente were the United Kingdom, France, and the Russian Empire; Italy entered the war on their side in 1915...

 forbid German Austria to unite with Germany, they also rejected the name German Austria in the peace treaty to be signed; it was therefore changed to Republic of Austria in late 1919.

After the war inflation began to devaluate the Krone, still Austria's currency. In the autumn of 1922 Austria was granted an international loan supervised by the League of Nations
League of Nations
The League of Nations was an intergovernmental organization founded as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first permanent international organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace...

. The purpose of the loan was to avert bankruptcy, stabilise the currency and improve its general economic condition. With the granting of the loan, Austria passed from an independent state to the control exercised by the League of Nations. In 1925 the Schilling, replacing the Krone by 10,000:1, was introduced. Later it was called the Alpine dollar due to its stability. From 1925 to 1929 the economy enjoyed a short high before nearly crashing after Black Friday.

The First Austrian Republic
First Austrian Republic
The Republic of Austria encompasses the period of Austrian history following the signing of the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye of September 1919, the settlement after the end of World War I which put an end to the Republic of German Austria, continuing up to World War II...

 lasted until 1933 when Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss
Engelbert Dollfuss
Engelbert Dollfuss was an Austrian Christian Social and Patriotic Front statesman. Serving previously as Minister for Forest and Agriculture, he ascended to Federal Chancellor in 1932 in the midst of a crisis for the conservative government...

, using what he called "self-switch-off of Parliament" , established an autocratic regime tending toward Italian fascism
Italian Fascism
Italian Fascism also known as Fascism with a capital "F" refers to the original fascist ideology in Italy. This ideology is associated with the National Fascist Party which under Benito Mussolini ruled the Kingdom of Italy from 1922 until 1943, the Republican Fascist Party which ruled the Italian...

. The two big parties at this time, the Social Democrats and the Conservatives, had paramilitary armies; the Social Democrats' Schutzbund
Republikanischer Schutzbund
The Republikanischer Schutzbund was a paramilitary organization established in 1923 by the Sozialdemokratische Arbeiterpartei Österreichs to secure power in the face of rising political radicalization after World War I....

 was now declared illegal but still operative as civil war
Austrian Civil War
The Austrian Civil War , also known as the February Uprising , is a term sometimes used for a few days of skirmishes between socialist and conservative-fascist forces between 12 February and 16 February 1934, in Austria...

 broke out.

In February 1934 several members of the Schutzbund were executed, the Social Democratic party was outlawed and many of its members were imprisoned or emigrated. On 1 May 1934, the Austrofascists
Austrofascism
Austrofascism is a term which is frequently used by historians to describe the authoritarian rule installed in Austria with the May Constitution of 1934, which ceased with the forcible incorporation of the newly-founded Federal State of Austria into Nazi Germany in 1938...

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

His successor, Kurt Schuschnigg
Kurt Schuschnigg
Kurt Alois Josef Johann Schuschnigg was Chancellor of the First Austrian Republic, following the assassination of his predecessor, Dr. Engelbert Dollfuss, in July 1934, until Germany’s invasion of Austria, , in March 1938...

, struggled to keep Austria independent as "the better German state", but on 12 March 1938, German troops occupied the country while Austrian Nazis took over government. On 13 March 1938, the Anschluss
Anschluss
The Anschluss , also known as the ', was the occupation and annexation of Austria into Nazi Germany in 1938....

of Austria was officially declared. Two days later native Austrian Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

, did what he called the "re-unification" of his home country with the rest of Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 on Vienna's Heldenplatz
Heldenplatz
The Heldenplatz is a historical plaza in Vienna. Many important actions took place here, most notably Adolf Hitler's announcement of the Anschluss of Austria to the German Reich in 1938.-The Plaza:...

. He established a plebiscite confirming the union with Germany in April 1938.

Austria was incorporated into the Third Reich and ceased to exist as an independent state. The Aryanisation of the wealth of Jewish Austrians started immediately mid-March with a so called "wild" (i.e. extra-legal) phase but soon was structured legally and bureaucratically to strip Jewish citizens of any asset they may have possessed. The Nazis called Austria "Ostmark
Ostmark (Austria)
Ostmark was the name used by Nazi propaganda to replace that of the formerly independent Austria after the Anschluss annexation of that country by Nazi Germany in 1938....

" until 1942 when it was again renamed and called "Alpen-Donau-Reichsgaue". Some of the most prominent Nazis were of Austrian origin, including Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

, Ernst Kaltenbrunner
Ernst Kaltenbrunner
Ernst Kaltenbrunner was an Austrian-born senior official of Nazi Germany during World War II. Between January 1943 and May 1945, he held the offices of Chief of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt , President of Interpol and, as a Obergruppenführer und General der Polizei und Waffen-SS, he was the...

, Adolf Eichmann
Adolf Eichmann
Adolf Otto Eichmann was a German Nazi and SS-Obersturmbannführer and one of the major organizers of the Holocaust...

, Franz Stangl
Franz Stangl
Franz Paul Stangl was an Austrian-born SS commandant of the Sobibor and Treblinka extermination camps during the Operation Reinhard phase of the Holocaust. He was arrested in Brazil in 1967, extradited and tried in West Germany for the mass murder of 900,000 people, and in 1970 was found guilty...

, and Odilo Globocnik
Odilo Globocnik
Odilo Lotario Globocnik was a prominent Austrian Nazi and later an SS leader. He was an acquaintance of Adolf Eichmann, who played a major role in the extermination of Jews and others during the Holocaust...

, as were 40% of the staff at Nazi extermination camps. Vienna fell on 13 April 1945, during the Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 Vienna Offensive
Vienna Offensive
The Vienna Offensive was launched by the Soviet 3rd Ukrainian Front in order to capture Vienna, Austria. The offensive lasted from 2–13 April 1945...

 just before the total collapse of the Third Reich. The invading Allied powers, in particular the Americans, planned for the supposed "Alpine Fortress Operation" of national redoubt that was largely to have taken place on Austrian soil in the mountains of the eastern Alps. However it never materialized because of the rapid collapse of the Reich.

Karl Renner
Karl Renner
Karl Renner was an Austrian politician. He was born in Untertannowitz in the Austro-Hungarian Empire and died in Vienna...

 and Adolf Schärf
Adolf Schärf
Adolf Schärf was, from 1957 to his death, the sixth President of Austria. Born into a poor working class family, he put himself through law school working part time and with a scholarship granted for academic excellence...

 (Socialist Party of Austria [Social Democrats and Revolutionary Socialists]), Leopold Kunschak (Austria's People's Party [former Christian Social People's Party]) and Johann Koplenig (Communist Party of Austria) declared Austria's secession from the Third Reich by the Declaration of Independence on 27 April 1945 and set up a provisional government
Provisional government
A provisional government is an emergency or interim government set up when a political void has been created by the collapse of a very large government. The early provisional governments were created to prepare for the return of royal rule...

 in Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

 under state Chancellor Renner the same day, with the approval of the victorious Red Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

 and backed by Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

. (The date is officially named the birthday of the second republic.) At the end of April, most of Western and Southern Austria still was under Nazi rule. On 1 May 1945, the federal constitution of 1929, which had been terminated by dictator Dollfuss on 1 May 1934, was declared valid again.

Total military deaths from 1939–1945 are estimated at 260,000. Jewish Holocaust victims totaled 65,000. About 140,000 Jewish Austrians had fled the country in 1938–39. Thousands of Austrians had taken part in serious Nazi crimes, a fact officially recognised by Chancellor Franz Vranitzky
Franz Vranitzky
Franz Vranitzky is an Austrian politician. A member of the Social Democratic Party of Austria , he was Chancellor of Austria from 1986 to 1997.-Early life and career:...

 in 1992.

Much like Germany, Austria was divided into British, French, Soviet and American zones and governed by the Allied Commission for Austria. As forecast in the Moscow Declaration
Moscow Declaration
The Moscow Declaration was signed during the Moscow Conference on October 30, 1943. The formal name of the declaration was "Declaration of the Four Nations on General Security". It was signed by the foreign secretaries of the Governments of the United States, the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union...

 in 1943, there was a subtle difference in the treatment of Austria by the Allies. The Austrian Government, consisting of Social Democrats, Conservatives and Communists (until 1947) and residing in Vienna, which was surrounded by the Soviet zone, was recognised by the Western Allies
Western Allies
The Western Allies were a political and geographic grouping among the Allied Powers of the Second World War. It generally includes the United Kingdom and British Commonwealth, the United States, France and various other European and Latin American countries, but excludes China, the Soviet Union,...

 in October 1945 after some doubts that Renner could be Stalin's puppet. Thereby the creation of a separate Western Austrian government and the division of the country could be avoided. Austria, in general, was treated as though it had been originally invaded by Germany and liberated by the Allies.

On 15 May 1955, after talks which lasted for years and were influenced by the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

, Austria regained full independence by concluding the Austrian State Treaty
Austrian State Treaty
The Austrian State Treaty or Austrian Independence Treaty re-established Austria as a sovereign state. It was signed on May 15, 1955, in Vienna at the Schloss Belvedere among the Allied occupying powers and the Austrian government...

 with the Four Occupying Powers. On 26 October 1955, after all occupation troops had left, Austria declared its "permanent neutrality" by an act of parliament, which remains to this day but has been implicitly overlapped by constitutional amendments concerning Austria as member of the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 from 1995 onwards.

The political system of the Second Republic is based on the constitution of 1920 and 1929, which was reintroduced in 1945. The system came to be characterised by Proporz
Proporz
Proporz is a long standing doctrine within the politics of the second Austrian republic. However, recent developments, both internal and external, have arguably weakened the influence of the Proporz system in Austrian politics.- The underlying principle :...

, meaning that most posts of political importance were split evenly between members of the Social Democrats and the People's Party. Interest group "chambers" with mandatory membership (e.g. for workers, business people, farmers) grew to considerable importance and were usually consulted in the legislative process, so that hardly any legislation was passed that did not reflect widespread consensus. Since 1945 a single-party government took place only 1966–1970 (Conservatives) and 1970–1983 (Social Democrats). During all other legislative periods, either a grand coalition of Conservatives and Social Democrats or a "small coalition" (one of these two and a smaller party) ruled the country.

Following a referendum in 1994, at which consent reached a majority of two thirds, the country became a member of the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 on 1 January 1995.

The major parties SPÖ and ÖVP have contrary opinions about the future status of Austria's military non-alignment: While the SPÖ in public supports a neutral role, the ÖVP argues for stronger integration into the EU's security policy; even a future NATO membership is not ruled out by some ÖVP politicians. In reality, Austria is taking part in the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy
Common Foreign and Security Policy
The Common Foreign and Security Policy is the organised, agreed foreign policy of the European Union for mainly security and defence diplomacy and actions. CFSP deals only with a specific part of the EU's external relations, which domains include mainly Trade and Commercial Policy and other areas...

, participates in the so-called Petersburg Agenda (including peace keeping
Peacekeeping
Peacekeeping is an activity that aims to create the conditions for lasting peace. It is distinguished from both peacebuilding and peacemaking....

 and peace creating tasks) and has become member of NATO's "Partnership for Peace"; the constitution has been amended accordingly. Since 2008, due to the Schengen Agreement
Schengen Agreement
The Schengen Agreement is a treaty signed on 14 June 1985 near the town of Schengen in Luxembourg, between five of the ten member states of the European Economic Community. It was supplemented by the Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement 5 years later...

, the only neighbouring country performing border controls towards Austria is Liechtenstein
Liechtenstein
The Principality of Liechtenstein is a doubly landlocked alpine country in Central Europe, bordered by Switzerland to the west and south and by Austria to the east. Its area is just over , and it has an estimated population of 35,000. Its capital is Vaduz. The biggest town is Schaan...

.

Politics


The Parliament of Austria
Parliament of Austria
In the Parliament of Austria is vested the legislative power of the Republic of Austria. The institution consists of two chambers,* the National Council and* the Federal Council ....

 is located in Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

, the country's largest city and capital. Austria became a federal, parliamentary, democratic republic
Republic
A republic is a form of government in which the people, or some significant portion of them, have supreme control over the government and where offices of state are elected or chosen by elected people. In modern times, a common simplified definition of a republic is a government where the head of...

 through the Federal Constitution of 1920.
The political system of the Second Republic with its nine states
States of Austria
Austria is a federal republic made up of nine states, known in German as Länder . Since Land is also the German word for a country, the term Bundesländer is often used instead to avoid ambiguity. The Constitution of Austria uses both terms...

 is based on the constitution of 1920 and 1929, which was reenacted on 1 May 1945. The head of state is the Federal President
President of Austria
The President of Austria is the federal head of state of Austria. Though theoretically entrusted with great power by the constitution, in practice the President acts, for the most part, merely as a ceremonial figurehead...

 (Bundespräsident), who is directly elected by popular vote. The chairman of the Federal Government is the Federal Chancellor
Chancellor of Austria
The Federal Chancellor is the head of government in Austria. Its deputy is the Vice-Chancellor. Before 1918, the equivalent office was the Minister-President of Austria. The Federal Chancellor is considered to be the most powerful political position in Austrian politics.-Appointment:The...

, who is appointed by the president. The government can be removed from office by either a presidential decree or by vote of no confidence in the lower chamber of parliament, the Nationalrat
National Council of Austria
The National Council is one of the two houses of the Austrian parliament. According to the constitution, the National Council and the complementary Federal Council are peers...

. Voting for the federal president and for the Parliament used to be compulsory in Austria, but this was abolished in steps from 1982 to 2004.

The Parliament of Austria consists of two chambers. The composition of the Nationalrat (183 seats) is determined every five years (or whenever the Nationalrat has been dissolved by the federal president on a motion by the federal chancellor, or by Nationalrat itself) by a general election in which every citizen over 16 years (since 2007) has voting rights
Suffrage
Suffrage, political franchise, or simply the franchise, distinct from mere voting rights, is the civil right to vote gained through the democratic process...

. While there is a general threshold of 4 percent for all parties at federal elections (Nationalratswahlen), there remains the possibility to gain a direct seat, or , in one of the 43 regional election districts.

The Nationalrat is the dominant chamber in the formation of legislation in Austria. However, the upper house of parliament, the Bundesrat
Federal Council of Austria
The Federal Council of Austria or Bundesrat is the second chamber of the Austrian parliament, representing the nine States of Austria on federal level. As part of a bicameral legislature alongside of the National Council of Austria , it can be compared with an upper house or a senate...

, has a limited right of veto
Veto
A veto, Latin for "I forbid", is the power of an officer of the state to unilaterally stop an official action, especially enactment of a piece of legislation...

 (the Nationalrat can—in almost all cases—ultimately pass the respective bill by voting a second time. This is referred to as Beharrungsbeschluss, lit. "vote of persistence"). A convention, called the was convened on 30 June 2003 to decide upon suggestions to reform the constitution, but failed to produce a proposal that would receive the two-thirds of votes in the Nationalrat necessary for constitutional amendments and/or reform.

With legislative and executive, the courts are the third column of Austrian state powers. Notably the Constitutional Court (
Verfassungsgerichtshof) may exert considerable influence on the political system by ruling out laws and ordinances not in compliance with the constitution. Since 1995, the European Court of Justice
European Court of Justice
The Court can sit in plenary session, as a Grand Chamber of 13 judges, or in chambers of three or five judges. Plenary sitting are now very rare, and the court mostly sits in chambers of three or five judges...

 may overrule Austrian decisions in all matters defined in laws of the European Union. Austria also implements the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights
European Court of Human Rights
The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg is a supra-national court established by the European Convention on Human Rights and hears complaints that a contracting state has violated the human rights enshrined in the Convention and its protocols. Complaints can be brought by individuals or...

, since the European Convention on Human Rights
European Convention on Human Rights
The Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms is an international treaty to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms in Europe. Drafted in 1950 by the then newly formed Council of Europe, the convention entered into force on 3 September 1953...

 is part of the Austrian constitution.

Recent developments


After general elections held in October 2006, the Social Democrats
Social Democratic Party of Austria
The Social Democratic Party of Austria is one of the oldest political parties in Austria. The SPÖ is one of the two major parties in Austria, and has ties to trade unions and the Austrian Chamber of Labour. The SPÖ is among the few mainstream European social-democratic parties that have preserved...

 emerged as the largest party, whereas the People's Party
Austrian People's Party
The Austrian People's Party is a Christian democratic and conservative political party in Austria. A successor to the Christian Social Party of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it is similar to the Christian Democratic Union of Germany in terms of ideology...

 lost about 8% in votes. Political realities prohibited any of the two major parties from forming a coalition with smaller parties. In January 2007 the People's Party and Social Democrats formed a grand coalition with the social democrat Alfred Gusenbauer
Alfred Gusenbauer
Alfred Gusenbauer is an Austrian career politician who until 2008 spent his entire professional life as an employee of the Social Democratic Party of Austria or as a parliamentary representative. He headed the SPÖ from 2000 to 2008, and served as Chancellor of Austria from January 2007 to...

 as Chancellor. This coalition broke up in June 2008. Elections in September 2008 further weakened both major parties (Social Democrats and People's Party) but together they still held more than 50% of the votes with the Social Democrats holding the majority. They formed a coalition with Werner Faymann from the Social Democrats as Chancellor. The positions of the Freedom Party and the deceased Jörg Haider
Jörg Haider
Jörg Haider was an Austrian politician. He was Governor of Carinthia on two occasions, the long-time leader of the Austrian Freedom Party and later Chairman of the Alliance for the Future of Austria , a breakaway party from the FPÖ.Haider was controversial within Austria and abroad for comments...

's new party Alliance for the Future of Austria
Alliance for the Future of Austria
The Alliance for the Future of Austria , abbreviated to BZÖ, is a conservative liberal political party in Austria. The party has sixteen seats in the National Council....

, both parties on the political right, were strengthened during the election.

Foreign relations



The 1955 Austrian State Treaty
Austrian State Treaty
The Austrian State Treaty or Austrian Independence Treaty re-established Austria as a sovereign state. It was signed on May 15, 1955, in Vienna at the Schloss Belvedere among the Allied occupying powers and the Austrian government...

 ended the occupation of Austria following World War II and recognised Austria as an independent and sovereign state. On 26 October 1955, the Federal Assembly
Federal Assembly of Austria
The Federal Assembly is the name given to a formal joint session of the two houses of the Austrian federal parliament, the National Council and the Federal Council....

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

Austria began to reassess its definition of neutrality following the fall of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, granting overflight rights for the UN
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

-sanctioned action against Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 in 1991, and, since 1995, it has developed participation in the EU's
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). Also in 1995, it joined the Partnership for Peace and subsequently participated in peacekeeping missions in Bosnia. Meanwhile, the only part of the Constitutional Law on Neutrality of 1955 still valid fully is not to allow foreign military bases in Austria.

Austria attaches great importance to participation in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development is an international economic organisation of 34 countries founded in 1961 to stimulate economic progress and world trade...

 and other international economic organisations, and it has played an active role in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). As an OSCE participating State, Austria’s international commitments are subject to monitoring under the mandate of the U.S. Helsinki Commission.

Military


The manpower of the Austrian Armed Forces mainly relies on conscription
Conscription
Conscription is the compulsory enlistment of people in some sort of national service, most often military service. Conscription dates back to antiquity and continues in some countries to the present day under various names...

. All males who have reached the age of eighteen and are found fit have to serve a six months military service
Military service
Military service, in its simplest sense, is service by an individual or group in an army or other militia, whether as a chosen job or as a result of an involuntary draft . Some nations require a specific amount of military service from every citizen...

, followed by an eight year reserve obligation. Both males and females at the age of sixteen are eligible for voluntary service. Conscientious objection
Conscientious objector
A conscientious objector is an "individual who has claimed the right to refuse to perform military service" on the grounds of freedom of thought, conscience, and/or religion....

 is legally acceptable and those who claim this right are obliged to serve an institutionalised nine months civilian service
Zivildienst
Zivildienst is the civilian branch of the national service systems in Austria and Switzerland. In Germany as well Zivildienst was the alternative service to military service until suspension of conscription in 2011...

 instead. Since 1998, women volunteers have been allowed to become professional soldiers.

The main sectors of the Bundesheer are Joint Forces (Streitkräfteführungskommando, SKFüKdo) which consist of Land Forces (Landstreitkräfte), Air Forces (Luftstreitkräfte), International Missions (Internationale Einsätze) and Special Forces (Spezialeinsatzkräfte), next to Mission Support (Kommando Einsatzunterstützung; KdoEU) and Command Support (Kommando Führungsunterstützung; KdoFüU). Austria is a landlocked country and has no navy
Navy
A navy is the branch of a nation's armed forces principally designated for naval and amphibious warfare; namely, lake- or ocean-borne combat operations and related functions...

.

In 2004, Austria's defence expenditures corresponded to approximately 0.9% of its GDP. The Army currently has about 45,000 soldiers, of whom about half are conscripts. As head of state, Austrian President
President of Austria
The President of Austria is the federal head of state of Austria. Though theoretically entrusted with great power by the constitution, in practice the President acts, for the most part, merely as a ceremonial figurehead...

 (currently Heinz Fischer
Heinz Fischer
Heinz Fischer GColIH is the President of Austria. He took office on 8 July 2004 and was re-elected for a second and last term on 25 April 2010. Before he took office, Fischer was a member of the Social Democratic Party of Austria...

) is nominally the Commander-in-Chief of the Bundesheer. In practical reality, however, command of the Austrian Armed Forces is almost exclusively exercised by the Minister of Defense, currently Norbert Darabos
Norbert Darabos
Norbert Darabos is an Austrian politician. Since 11 January 2007, he is Minister of National Defence first in the Gusenbauer cabinet, then in the Faymann cabinet. He is a member of the Social Democratic Party of Austria . Darabos is part of the ethnic minority of the Burgenland Croats...

.
Since the end of the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

, and more importantly the removal of the former heavily guarded "Iron Curtain
Iron Curtain
The concept of the Iron Curtain symbolized the ideological fighting and physical boundary dividing Europe into two separate areas from the end of World War II in 1945 until the end of the Cold War in 1989...

" separating Austria and Hungary, the Austrian military has been assisting Austrian border guards in trying to prevent border crossings by illegal immigrants
Illegal immigration
Illegal immigration is the migration into a nation in violation of the immigration laws of that jurisdiction. Illegal immigration raises many political, economical and social issues and has become a source of major controversy in developed countries and the more successful developing countries.In...

. This assistance came to an end when Hungary joined the EU Schengen Area
Schengen Area
The Schengen Area comprises the territories of twenty-five European countries that have implemented the Schengen Agreement signed in the town of Schengen, Luxembourg, in 1985...

 in 2008, for all intents and purposes abolishing "internal" border controls between treaty states. Some politicians have called for a prolongation of this mission, but the legality of this is heavily disputed. In accordance with the Austrian constitution, armed forces may only be deployed in a limited number of cases, mainly to defend the country and aid in cases of national emergency, such as in the wake of natural disaster
Natural disaster
A natural disaster is the effect of a natural hazard . It leads to financial, environmental or human losses...

s. They may generally not be used as auxiliary police forces.

Within its self-declared status of permanent neutrality, Austria has a long and proud tradition of engaging in UN-led peacekeeping and other humanitarian missions. The Austrian Forces Disaster Relief Unit
Austrian Forces Disaster Relief Unit
The Austrian Forces Disaster Relief Unit is an Urban search and rescue and disaster relief unit of the Austrian federal army ....

 (AFDRU), in particular, an all-volunteer unit with close ties to civilian specialists (e.g. rescue dog handlers) enjoys a reputation as a quick (standard deployment time is 10 hours) and efficient SAR
Search and rescue
Search and rescue is the search for and provision of aid to people who are in distress or imminent danger.The general field of search and rescue includes many specialty sub-fields, mostly based upon terrain considerations...

 unit. Currently, larger contingents of Austrian forces are deployed in Bosnia
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina , sometimes called Bosnia-Herzegovina or simply Bosnia, is a country in Southern Europe, on the Balkan Peninsula. Bordered by Croatia to the north, west and south, Serbia to the east, and Montenegro to the southeast, Bosnia and Herzegovina is almost landlocked, except for the...

, Kosovo
Kosovo
Kosovo is a region in southeastern Europe. Part of the Ottoman Empire for more than five centuries, later the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija within Serbia...

 and, since 1974, in the Golan Heights.

Administrative divisions


As a federal republic
Federal republic
A federal republic is a federation of states with a republican form of government. A federation is the central government. The states in a federation also maintain the federation...

, Austria is divided into nine states
States of Austria
Austria is a federal republic made up of nine states, known in German as Länder . Since Land is also the German word for a country, the term Bundesländer is often used instead to avoid ambiguity. The Constitution of Austria uses both terms...

 . These states are then divided into district
District
Districts are a type of administrative division, in some countries managed by a local government. They vary greatly in size, spanning entire regions or counties, several municipalities, or subdivisions of municipalities.-Austria:...

s and statutory cities . Districts are subdivided into municipalities . Statutory Cities have the competencies otherwise granted to both districts and municipalities. The states are not mere administrative divisions but have some legislative authority distinct from the federal government, e.g. in matters of culture, social care, youth and nature protection, hunting, building, and zoning ordinances. In recent years, it has been discussed whether today it is appropriate for a small country to maintain ten parliaments.

Geography



Austria is a largely mountain
Mountain
Image:Himalaya_annotated.jpg|thumb|right|The Himalayan mountain range with Mount Everestrect 58 14 160 49 Chomo Lonzorect 200 28 335 52 Makalurect 378 24 566 45 Mount Everestrect 188 581 920 656 Tibetan Plateaurect 250 406 340 427 Rong River...

ous country due to its location in the Alps
Alps
The Alps is one of the great mountain range systems of Europe, stretching from Austria and Slovenia in the east through Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Germany to France in the west....

. The Central Eastern Alps
Central Eastern Alps
The Central Eastern Alps comprise the main chain of the Eastern Alps with its highest peaks, located between the Northern Limestone Alps and the Southern Limestone Alps, from which they differ in geological composition....

, Northern Limestone Alps
Northern Limestone Alps
The Northern Limestone Alps are the ranges of the Eastern Alps north of the Central Eastern Alps located in Austria and the adjacent Bavarian lands of southeastern Germany. The distinction from the latter group, where the higher peaks are located, is based on differences in geological composition...

 and Southern Limestone Alps
Southern Limestone Alps
The Southern Limestone Alps are the ranges of the Eastern Alps south of the Central Eastern Alps mainly located in northern Italy and the adjacent lands of Austria and Slovenia. The distinction from the Central Alps, where the higher peaks are located, is based on differences in geological...

 are all partly in Austria. Of the total area of Austria (84000 km² or 32,433 sq mi), only about a quarter can be considered low lying, and only 32% of the country is below 500 metres (1,640 ft). The Alps of western Austria give way somewhat into low lands and plains in the eastern part of the country.

Austria lies between latitudes 46°
46th parallel north
The 46th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 46 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Europe, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America, and the Atlantic Ocean....

 and 49° N
49th parallel north
The 49th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 49 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Europe, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America, and the Atlantic Ocean....

, and longitudes
9th meridian east
The meridian 9° east of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, Europe, Africa, the Atlantic Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

 and 18° E
18th meridian east
The meridian 18° east of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, Europe, Africa, the Atlantic Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

.

It can be divided into five areas, the biggest being the Eastern Alps
Eastern Alps
Eastern Alps is the name given to the eastern half of the Alps, usually defined as the area east of the Splügen Pass in eastern Switzerland. North of the Splügen Pass, the Posterior Rhine forms the border, and south of the pass, the Liro river and Lake Como form the boundary line.-Geography:The...

, which constitute 62% of nation's total area. The Austrian foothills at the base of the Alps
Alps
The Alps is one of the great mountain range systems of Europe, stretching from Austria and Slovenia in the east through Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Germany to France in the west....

 and the Carpathians
Carpathian Mountains
The Carpathian Mountains or Carpathians are a range of mountains forming an arc roughly long across Central and Eastern Europe, making them the second-longest mountain range in Europe...

 account for around 12% and the foothills in the east and areas surrounding the periphery of the Pannoni low country amount to about 12% of the total landmass. The second greater mountain area (much lower than the Alps) is situated in the north. Known as the Austrian granite
Granite
Granite is a common and widely occurring type of intrusive, felsic, igneous rock. Granite usually has a medium- to coarse-grained texture. Occasionally some individual crystals are larger than the groundmass, in which case the texture is known as porphyritic. A granitic rock with a porphyritic...

 plateau
Plateau
In geology and earth science, a plateau , also called a high plain or tableland, is an area of highland, usually consisting of relatively flat terrain. A highly eroded plateau is called a dissected plateau...

, it is located in the central area of the Bohemian Mass and accounts for 10% of Austria. The Austrian portion of the Vienna basin
Vienna Basin
The Vienna Basin is a sedimentary basin between the Alps and the Carpathian Mountains...

 comprises the remaining 4%.

The six highest mountains in Austria are:
Name Height (m) Height (ft) Range
Großglockner
Großglockner
The Grossglockner is, at 3,798 m above sea level, Austria's highest mountain and the highest mountain in the Alps east of the Brenner Pass...

 
Hohe Tauern
Hohe Tauern
The Hohe Tauern or High Tauern are a mountain range on the main chain of the Central Eastern Alps, comprising the highest peaks east of the Brenner Pass. The crest forms the southern border of the Austrian state of Salzburg with Carinthia and East Tyrol, while a small part in the southwest belongs...

Wildspitze
Wildspitze
Wildspitze is the highest mountain in the Ötztal Alps and the second highest mountain in Austria after the Großglockner. The large number of glaciers and relatively easy routes make it popular with ice climbers ....

 
Ötztal Alps
Ötztal Alps
The Ötztal Alps are a mountain range in the central Alps of Europe, part of the Central Eastern Alps. They are arrayed at the head of the Ötztal, a side valley of the Inn River southwest of Innsbruck, Austria; the line of summits forms part of Austria's border with Italy.The western border is the...

Weißkugel
Weißkugel
Weißkugel is the second highest mountain in the Ötztal Alps and the third highest mountain in Austria. Featuring many glaciers, it lies on the border between Austria and Italy. The easiest way to climb it is over its southern side. It was first climbed in 1850 by J.A...

 
Ötztal Alps
Ötztal Alps
The Ötztal Alps are a mountain range in the central Alps of Europe, part of the Central Eastern Alps. They are arrayed at the head of the Ötztal, a side valley of the Inn River southwest of Innsbruck, Austria; the line of summits forms part of Austria's border with Italy.The western border is the...

Großvenediger
Großvenediger
Großvenediger is generally considered to be Austria's fourth highest mountain...

 
Hohe Tauern
Hohe Tauern
The Hohe Tauern or High Tauern are a mountain range on the main chain of the Central Eastern Alps, comprising the highest peaks east of the Brenner Pass. The crest forms the southern border of the Austrian state of Salzburg with Carinthia and East Tyrol, while a small part in the southwest belongs...

Similaun
Similaun
Similaun is a mountain in the Schnalskamm group of the Ötztal Alps/Venoste Alps. It is on the Austrian-Italian border. At 3,606 m high, it is Austria's sixth highest summit. It was first ascended in 1834 by Josef Raffeiner and Theodor Kaserer. It is most famous for being the mountain on whose...

 
Ötztal Alps
Ötztal Alps
The Ötztal Alps are a mountain range in the central Alps of Europe, part of the Central Eastern Alps. They are arrayed at the head of the Ötztal, a side valley of the Inn River southwest of Innsbruck, Austria; the line of summits forms part of Austria's border with Italy.The western border is the...

Großes Wiesbachhorn
Großes Wiesbachhorn
The Großes Wiesbachhorn is a mountain in the federal state of Salzburg, Austria and, at , is the third-highest peak of the Hohe Tauern range....

 
Hohe Tauern
Hohe Tauern
The Hohe Tauern or High Tauern are a mountain range on the main chain of the Central Eastern Alps, comprising the highest peaks east of the Brenner Pass. The crest forms the southern border of the Austrian state of Salzburg with Carinthia and East Tyrol, while a small part in the southwest belongs...



Phytogeographically
Phytogeography
Phytogeography , also called geobotany, is the branch of biogeography that is concerned with the geographic distribution of plant species...

, Austria belongs to the Central European province of the Circumboreal Region
Circumboreal Region
The Circumboreal Region is a floristic region within the Holarctic Kingdom in Eurasia and North America, as delineated by such geobotanists as Josias Braun-Blanquet and Armen Takhtajan....

 within the Boreal Kingdom
Boreal Kingdom
The Boreal Kingdom or Holarctic Kingdom is a floristic kingdom identified by botanist Ronald Good , which includes the temperate to Arctic portions of North America and Eurasia. Its flora is inherited from the ancient supercontinent of Laurasia...

. According to the WWF
World Wide Fund for Nature
The World Wide Fund for Nature is an international non-governmental organization working on issues regarding the conservation, research and restoration of the environment, formerly named the World Wildlife Fund, which remains its official name in Canada and the United States...

, the territory of Austria can be subdivided into four ecoregions: the Central European mixed forests, Pannonian mixed forests, Alps conifer and mixed forests and Western European broadleaf forests.

Climate


The greater part of Austria lies in the cool/temperate climate zone in which humid westerly winds predominate. With over half of the country dominated by the Alps
Alps
The Alps is one of the great mountain range systems of Europe, stretching from Austria and Slovenia in the east through Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Germany to France in the west....

, the alpine climate
Alpine climate
Alpine climate is the average weather for a region above the tree line. This climate is also referred to as mountain climate or highland climate....

 is the predominant one. In the east—in the Pannonian Plain and along the Danube valley
Danube
The Danube is a river in the Central Europe and the Europe's second longest river after the Volga. It is classified as an international waterway....

—the climate shows continental features with less rain than the alpine areas. Although Austria is cold in the winter (−10 – 0 °C
Celsius
Celsius is a scale and unit of measurement for temperature. It is named after the Swedish astronomer Anders Celsius , who developed a similar temperature scale two years before his death...

), summer temperatures can be relatively warm, with average temperatures in the mid-20s and a highest temperature of 39.7 °C (103.5 °F).

Economy


Austria is the 12th richest country in the world in terms of GDP (Gross domestic product
Gross domestic product
Gross domestic product refers to the market value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a given period. GDP per capita is often considered an indicator of a country's standard of living....

) per capita, has a well-developed social market economy
Social market economy
The social market economy is the main economic model used in West Germany after World War II. It is based on the economic philosophy of Ordoliberalism from the Freiburg School...

, and a high standard of living
Standard of living
Standard of living is generally measured by standards such as real income per person and poverty rate. Other measures such as access and quality of health care, income growth inequality and educational standards are also used. Examples are access to certain goods , or measures of health such as...

. Until the 1980s, many of Austria's largest industry firms were nationalised; in recent years, however, privatisation
Privatization
Privatization is the incidence or process of transferring ownership of a business, enterprise, agency or public service from the public sector to the private sector or to private non-profit organizations...

 has reduced state holdings to a level comparable to other European economies. Labour movement
Labour movement
The term labour movement or labor movement is a broad term for the development of a collective organization of working people, to campaign in their own interest for better treatment from their employers and governments, in particular through the implementation of specific laws governing labour...

s are particularly strong in Austria and have large influence on labour politics. Next to a highly developed industry, international tourism is the most important part of the national economy.

Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 has historically been the main trading partner of Austria, making it vulnerable to rapid changes in the German economy. However, since Austria became a member state of the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 it has gained closer ties to other European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 economies, reducing its economic dependence on Germany. In addition, membership in the EU has drawn an influx of foreign investors attracted by Austria's access to the single European market and proximity to the aspiring economies of the European Union. Growth in GDP accelerated in recent years and reached 3.3% in 2006. Austria indicated on 16 Nov 2010 that it would withhold the December installment of its contribution to the EU bailout of Greece citing material worsening of the Greek debt situation and apparent inability of Greece to collect the level of tax receipts it had previously promised.

Since the fall of communism, Austrian companies have been quite active players and consolidators in Eastern Europe. Between 1995 and 2010, 4'868 mergers & acquisitions
Mergers and acquisitions
Mergers and acquisitions refers to the aspect of corporate strategy, corporate finance and management dealing with the buying, selling, dividing and combining of different companies and similar entities that can help an enterprise grow rapidly in its sector or location of origin, or a new field or...

 with a total known value of 163 bil. EUR with the involvement of Austrian firms have been announced. The largest transactions with involvement of Austrian companies have been: the acquisition of Bank Austria
Bank Austria
UniCredit Bank Austria AG is a Central and Eastern European bank, 96.35% owned by UniCredit Group.BA-CA's history goes as far back as 1855, the year the Creditanstalt was founded. In 1991, Zentralsparkasse und Kommerzialbank and Oesterreichische Laenderbank merged to form Bank Austria. In 1997,...

 by Bayerische Hypo- und Vereinsbank
HypoVereinsbank
UniCredit Bank Aktiengesellschaft is the sixth-largest private German financial institution, with a strong presence in Bavaria. The company is based in Munich, and together with Deutsche Bank, Dresdner Bank, Commerzbank and Deutsche Postbank, it belongs to the Cash Group...

 for 7.8 bil. EUR in 2000, the acquisition of Porsche Holding Salzburg
Porsche
Porsche Automobil Holding SE, usually shortened to Porsche SE a Societas Europaea or European Public Company, is a German based holding company with investments in the automotive industry....

 by Volkswagen Group
Volkswagen Group
Volkswagen Group is a German multinational automobile manufacturing group. , Volkswagen was ranked as the world’s third largest motor vehicle manufacturer and Europe's largest....

 for 3.6 bil. EUR in 2009, and the acquisition of Banca Comercială Română
Banca Comerciala Româna
Banca Comercială Română , a member of Erste Group, is a universal bank serving both retail and corporate clients. BCR is the most important financial services provider in Romania, managing assets worth over EUR 16 billion. BCR is the most valuable Romanian financial brand...

 by Erste Group
Erste Group
Erste Group Bank AG is one of the largest financial services providers in Central and Eastern Europe and focuses on retail and SME banking. More than 50,000 employees are serving clients in over 3,000 branches in 8 countries .Erste Group was founded in 1819 as the first Austrian savings bank...

 for 3.7 bil. EUR in 2005.

Currency


In Austria, the euro
Euro
The euro is the official currency of the eurozone: 17 of the 27 member states of the European Union. It is also the currency used by the Institutions of the European Union. The eurozone consists of Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg,...

 was introduced as an accounting currency on 1 January 1999, and euro coins and banknotes entered circulation on 1 January 2002. As a preparation for this date, the minting of the new euro coins started as early as 1999, however all Austrian euro coins introduced in 2002 have this year on it; unlike other countries of the Eurozone
Eurozone
The eurozone , officially called the euro area, is an economic and monetary union of seventeen European Union member states that have adopted the euro as their common currency and sole legal tender...

 where mint year is minted in the coin. Eight different designs, one per face value, were selected for the Austrian coins. In 2007, to adopt the new common map like the rest of the Eurozone countries, Austria changed the common side of its coins.

Before adopting the Euro in 2002 Austria had maintained use of the Austrian schilling
Austrian schilling
The schilling was the currency of Austria from 1924 to 1938 and from 1945 to 1999, and the circulating currency until 2002. The euro was introduced at a fixed parity of €1 = 13.7603 schilling to replace it...

 which was first established in December 1924. The Schilling was abolished in the wake of the Anschluss
Anschluss
The Anschluss , also known as the ', was the occupation and annexation of Austria into Nazi Germany in 1938....

 in 1938 and was reintroduced after the end of the World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 in November 1945.

Austria has one of the richest collection of collectors' coins in the Eurozone, with face value ranging from 10 to 100 euro (although a 100,000 euro coin was exceptionally minted in 2004). These coins are a legacy of an old national practice of the minting of silver and gold coins. Unlike normal issues, these coins are not legal tender
Legal tender
Legal tender is a medium of payment allowed by law or recognized by a legal system to be valid for meeting a financial obligation. Paper currency is a common form of legal tender in many countries....

 in all the eurozone. For instance, a €5 Austrian commemorative coin cannot be used in any other country.

Energy


In 1972, the country began construction of a nuclear-powered
Nuclear power
Nuclear power is the use of sustained nuclear fission to generate heat and electricity. Nuclear power plants provide about 6% of the world's energy and 13–14% of the world's electricity, with the U.S., France, and Japan together accounting for about 50% of nuclear generated electricity...

 electricity-generation station at Zwentendorf
Zwentendorf
Zwentendorf an der Donau is a small market municipality in Lower Austria, Austria, with 3,280 inhabitants. It is located at , in the Tullnerfeld on the southern bank of the Danube. The place attained celebrity as the site of the only Austrian nuclear power station, which was established here, but...

 on the River Danube
Danube
The Danube is a river in the Central Europe and the Europe's second longest river after the Volga. It is classified as an international waterway....

, following a unanimous vote in parliament. However, in 1978, a referendum
Referendum
A referendum is a direct vote in which an entire electorate is asked to either accept or reject a particular proposal. This may result in the adoption of a new constitution, a constitutional amendment, a law, the recall of an elected official or simply a specific government policy. It is a form of...

 voted approximately 50.5% against nuclear power, 49.5% for, and parliament subsequently unanimously passed a law forbidding the use of nuclear power to generate electricity.

Austria currently produces more than half of its electricity by hydropower
Hydropower
Hydropower, hydraulic power, hydrokinetic power or water power is power that is derived from the force or energy of falling water, which may be harnessed for useful purposes. Since ancient times, hydropower has been used for irrigation and the operation of various mechanical devices, such as...

. Together with other renewable energy
Renewable energy
Renewable energy is energy which comes from natural resources such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, and geothermal heat, which are renewable . About 16% of global final energy consumption comes from renewables, with 10% coming from traditional biomass, which is mainly used for heating, and 3.4% from...

 sources such as wind
Wind power
Wind power is the conversion of wind energy into a useful form of energy, such as using wind turbines to make electricity, windmills for mechanical power, windpumps for water pumping or drainage, or sails to propel ships....

, solar
Solar power
Solar energy, radiant light and heat from the sun, has been harnessed by humans since ancient times using a range of ever-evolving technologies. Solar radiation, along with secondary solar-powered resources such as wind and wave power, hydroelectricity and biomass, account for most of the available...

 and biomass
Biomass
Biomass, as a renewable energy source, is biological material from living, or recently living organisms. As an energy source, biomass can either be used directly, or converted into other energy products such as biofuel....

 powerplants, the electricity supply from renewable energy amounts to 62.89% of total use in Austria, with the rest being produced by gas
Natural gas
Natural gas is a naturally occurring gas mixture consisting primarily of methane, typically with 0–20% higher hydrocarbons . It is found associated with other hydrocarbon fuel, in coal beds, as methane clathrates, and is an important fuel source and a major feedstock for fertilizers.Most natural...

 and oil
Petroleum
Petroleum or crude oil is a naturally occurring, flammable liquid consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights and other liquid organic compounds, that are found in geologic formations beneath the Earth's surface. Petroleum is recovered mostly through oil drilling...

 powerplants.

Demographics




Austria's population estimate in April 2011 was 8,414,638. The population of the capital, Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

, exceeds 1.7 million (2.2 million including the suburbs), representing about a quarter of the country's population. It is known for its vast cultural offerings and high standard of living.

Vienna is by far the country's largest city. Graz
Graz
The more recent population figures do not give the whole picture as only people with principal residence status are counted and people with secondary residence status are not. Most of the people with secondary residence status in Graz are students...

 is second in size, with 250,099 inhabitants, followed by Linz
Linz
Linz is the third-largest city of Austria and capital of the state of Upper Austria . It is located in the north centre of Austria, approximately south of the Czech border, on both sides of the river Danube. The population of the city is , and that of the Greater Linz conurbation is about...

 (188,968), Salzburg
Salzburg
-Population development:In 1935, the population significantly increased when Salzburg absorbed adjacent municipalities. After World War II, numerous refugees found a new home in the city. New residential space was created for American soldiers of the postwar Occupation, and could be used for...

 (150,000), and Innsbruck
Innsbruck
- Main sights :- Buildings :*Golden Roof*Kaiserliche Hofburg *Hofkirche with the cenotaph of Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor*Altes Landhaus...

 (117,346). All other cities have fewer than 100,000 inhabitants.

According to Eurostat
Eurostat
Eurostat is a Directorate-General of the European Commission located in Luxembourg. Its main responsibilities are to provide the European Union with statistical information at European level and to promote the integration of statistical methods across the Member States of the European Union,...

, in 2010 there were 1.27 million foreign-born residents in the Austria, corresponding to 15.2% of the total population. Of these, 764 000 (9.1%) were born outside the EU and 512 000 (6.1%) were born in another EU Member State.

Language


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

The official German used in education, publications, announcements and websites is Austrian German
Austrian German
Austrian German , or Austrian Standard German, is the national standard variety of the German language spoken in Austria and in the autonomous Province of South Tyrol...

, which is mostly identical to the German used in Germany but with some vocabulary differences. In terms of native language, however, various local Austro-Bavarian
Austro-Bavarian
Bavarian , also Austro-Bavarian, is a major group of Upper German varieties spoken in the south east of the German language area.-History and origin:...

 (Alemannic
Alemannic German
Alemannic is a group of dialects of the Upper German branch of the Germanic language family. It is spoken by approximately ten million people in six countries: Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, France and Italy...

 in Vorarlberg
Vorarlberg
Vorarlberg is the westernmost federal-state of Austria. Although it is the second smallest in terms of area and population , it borders three countries: Germany , Switzerland and Liechtenstein...

) are spoken instead, and Standard German is more or less a second language to Austrians. The dialects more or less qualify for classification as separate languages but are not treated as such, even though Austro-Bavarian is sometimes used in media and more so in TV comedy shows.

The Austrian federal states of Carinthia
Carinthia (state)
Carinthia is the southernmost Austrian state or Land. Situated within the Eastern Alps it is chiefly noted for its mountains and lakes.The main language is German. Its regional dialects belong to the Southern Austro-Bavarian group...

 and Styria
Styria (state)
Styria is a state or Bundesland, located in the southeast of Austria. In area it is the second largest of the nine Austrian federated states, covering 16,401 km². It borders Slovenia as well as the other Austrian states of Upper Austria, Lower Austria, Salzburg, Burgenland, and Carinthia. ...

 are home to a significant indigenous Slovene-speaking minority
Carinthian Slovenes
Carinthian Slovenes are the Slovene-speaking population group in the Austrian State of Carinthia. The Carinthian Slovenes send representatives to the National Ethnic Groups Advisory Council...

 while in the easternmost state, Burgenland
Burgenland
Burgenland is the easternmost and least populous state or Land of Austria. It consists of two Statutarstädte and seven districts with in total 171 municipalities. It is 166 km long from north to south but much narrower from west to east...

 (formerly part of the Hungarian portion of Austria–Hungary), there are significant Hungarian
Hungarian language
Hungarian is a Uralic language, part of the Ugric group. With some 14 million speakers, it is one of the most widely spoken non-Indo-European languages in Europe....

- and Croatian
Croatian language
Croatian is the collective name for the standard language and dialects spoken by Croats, principally in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Serbian province of Vojvodina and other neighbouring countries...

-speaking minorities. Of the remaining number
Number
A number is a mathematical object used to count and measure. In mathematics, the definition of number has been extended over the years to include such numbers as zero, negative numbers, rational numbers, irrational numbers, and complex numbers....

 of Austria's people that are of non-Austrian descent, many come from surrounding countries, especially from the former East Bloc
Eastern bloc
The term Eastern Bloc or Communist Bloc refers to the former communist states of Eastern and Central Europe, generally the Soviet Union and the countries of the Warsaw Pact...

 nations. So-called guest workers
Foreign worker
A foreign worker is a person who works in a country other than the one of which he or she is a citizen. The term migrant worker as discussed in the migrant worker page is used in a particular UN resolution as a synonym for "foreign worker"...

 (Gastarbeiter) and their descendants, as well as refugees from the Yugoslav wars
Yugoslav wars
The Yugoslav Wars were a series of wars, fought throughout the former Yugoslavia between 1991 and 1995. The wars were complex: characterized by bitter ethnic conflicts among the peoples of the former Yugoslavia, mostly between Serbs on the one side and Croats and Bosniaks on the other; but also...

 and other conflicts, also form an important minority group
Minority group
A minority is a sociological group within a demographic. The demographic could be based on many factors from ethnicity, gender, wealth, power, etc. The term extends to numerous situations, and civilizations within history, despite the misnomer of minorities associated with a numerical statistic...

 in Austria. Since 1994 the Roma–Sinti
Sinti
Sinti or Sinta or Sinte is the name of a Romani or Gypsy population in Europe. Traditionally nomadic, today only a small percentage of the group remains unsettled...

 (gypsies) have been an officially recognised ethnic minority in Austria.

According to census
Census
A census is the procedure of systematically acquiring and recording information about the members of a given population. It is a regularly occurring and official count of a particular population. The term is used mostly in connection with national population and housing censuses; other common...

 information published by Statistik Austria
Statistik Austria
The Statistik Austria is the name with which the Austrian statistical office appears in public matters.In 2000 a bill transformed the Österreichisches Statistisches Zentralamt into the Statistik Austria.Statistik Austria is an independent, not profit-seeking institution with public...

 for 2001 there were a total of 710,926 foreign nationals living in Austria. Of these, the largest by far are 283,334 foreign nationals from the former Yugoslavia
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was the Yugoslav state that existed from the abolition of the Yugoslav monarchy until it was dissolved in 1992 amid the Yugoslav Wars. It was a socialist state and a federation made up of six socialist republics: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia,...

 (of whom 135,376 speak Serbian; 105,487 Croatian; 31.551 Bosnian – i.e. basically there are altogether 272,414 Austrian resident native speakers of what was officially called Serbo-Croatian
Serbo-Croatian
Serbo-Croatian or Serbo-Croat, less commonly Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian , is a South Slavic language with multiple standards and the primary language of Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro...

 until the disintegration of Yugoslavia, and is still considered as a single language by linguists the world over – plus 6,902 Slovenian and 4,018 Macedonian speakers).

The next largest population of linguistic and ethnic groups are the 124,392 who speak German as their mother tongue
First language
A first language is the language a person has learned from birth or within the critical period, or that a person speaks the best and so is often the basis for sociolinguistic identity...

 even though they hail from outside of Austria (mainly immigrants from Germany, some from Switzerland and South Tyrol
South Tyrol
South Tyrol , also known by its Italian name Alto Adige, is an autonomous province in northern Italy. It is one of the two autonomous provinces that make up the autonomous region of Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol. The province has an area of and a total population of more than 500,000 inhabitants...

, Italy); 123,417 who speak Turkish; 25,155 English; 24,446 Albanian; 17,899 Polish; 14,699 Hungarian; 12,216 Romanian; 7,982 Arabic; 6,891 Slovak; 6,707 Czech; 5,916 Persian; 5,677 Italian; 5,466 Russian; 5,213 French; 4,938 Chinese; 4,264 Spanish; 3,503 Bulgarian. The populations of the rest fall off sharply below 3,000. Between 200,000 and 300,000 ethnic Turks
Turkish people
Turkish people, also known as the "Turks" , are an ethnic group primarily living in Turkey and in the former lands of the Ottoman Empire where Turkish minorities had been established in Bulgaria, Cyprus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Greece, Kosovo, Macedonia, and Romania...

 (including minority of Turkish Kurds) currently live in Austria. They are the largest single immigrant group in Austria, closely followed by the Serbs
Serbs
The Serbs are a South Slavic ethnic group of the Balkans and southern Central Europe. Serbs are located mainly in Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and form a sizable minority in Croatia, the Republic of Macedonia and Slovenia. Likewise, Serbs are an officially recognized minority in...

.

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

Ethnic groups



An estimated 13,000 to 40,000 Slovenes in the Austrian state of Carinthia
Carinthia (state)
Carinthia is the southernmost Austrian state or Land. Situated within the Eastern Alps it is chiefly noted for its mountains and lakes.The main language is German. Its regional dialects belong to the Southern Austro-Bavarian group...

 (the Carinthian Slovenes
Carinthian Slovenes
Carinthian Slovenes are the Slovene-speaking population group in the Austrian State of Carinthia. The Carinthian Slovenes send representatives to the National Ethnic Groups Advisory Council...

) as well as Croats
Croats
Croats are a South Slavic ethnic group mostly living in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and nearby countries. There are around 4 million Croats living inside Croatia and up to 4.5 million throughout the rest of the world. Responding to political, social and economic pressure, many Croats have...

 (around 30,000) and Hungarians in Burgenland were recognised as a minority and have enjoyed special rights following the Austrian State Treaty of 1955. The Slovenes in the Austrian state of Styria
Styria (state)
Styria is a state or Bundesland, located in the southeast of Austria. In area it is the second largest of the nine Austrian federated states, covering 16,401 km². It borders Slovenia as well as the other Austrian states of Upper Austria, Lower Austria, Salzburg, Burgenland, and Carinthia. ...

 (estimated at a number between 1,600 and 5,000) are not recognised as a minority and do not enjoy special rights, although the State Treaty of 27 July 1955 states otherwise.

The right for bilingual topographic signs for the regions where Slovene- and Croat-Austrians live alongside the German speaking population (as required by the 1955 State Treaty) is still to be fully implemented. Many Carinthians are afraid of Slovenia
Slovenia
Slovenia , officially the Republic of Slovenia , is a country in Central and Southeastern Europe touching the Alps and bordering the Mediterranean. Slovenia borders Italy to the west, Croatia to the south and east, Hungary to the northeast, and Austria to the north, and also has a small portion of...

n territorial claims, pointing to the fact that Yugoslav troops entered the state after each of the two World Wars
World war
A world war is a war affecting the majority of the world's most powerful and populous nations. World wars span multiple countries on multiple continents, with battles fought in multiple theaters....

 and considering that some official Slovenian atlases show parts of Carinthia as Slovene cultural territory. The recently deceased governor, Jörg Haider
Jörg Haider
Jörg Haider was an Austrian politician. He was Governor of Carinthia on two occasions, the long-time leader of the Austrian Freedom Party and later Chairman of the Alliance for the Future of Austria , a breakaway party from the FPÖ.Haider was controversial within Austria and abroad for comments...

, has made this fact a matter of public argument in autumn 2005 by refusing to increase the number of bilingual topographic signs in Carinthia. A poll by the Kärntner Humaninstitut conducted in January 2006 states that 65% of Carinthians are not in favour of an increase of bilingual topographic signs, since the original requirements set by the State Treaty of 1955 have already been fulfilled according to their point of view.

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

Religion


Main Denominations in Austria
year population Catholics percentage Lutherans percentage
1951 6,933,905 6,170,084 89.0 % 429,493 6.2%
1961 7,073,807 6,295,075 89.0 % 438,663 6.2%
1971 7,491,526 6,548,316 87.4 % 447,070 6,0%
1981 7,555,338 6,372,645 84.3 % 423,162 5,6%
1991 7,795,786 6,081,454 78.0 % 338,709 5.0%
2001 8,032,926 5,915,421 73.6 % 376,150 4.7%
2005 8,250,000 5,662,782 68.5 % -
2008 8,350,000 5,579,493 66.8 % 328,346 3.9%
2009 8,376,761 5,530,000 66.0 % 325,314 3.9%
2010 8,404,252 323,863 3.8%

At the end of the 20th century, about 74% of Austria's population were registered as Roman Catholic, while about 5% considered themselves Protestants. Austrian Christians are obliged to pay a mandatory membership fee (calculated by income—about 1%) to their church; this payment is called "Kirchenbeitrag" ("Ecclesiastical/Church contribution").

Since the second half of the 20th century, the number of adherents and churchgoers has declined. Data for the end of 2005 from the Austrian Roman Catholic church lists 5,662,782 members, or 68.5% of the total Austrian population, and a Sunday church attendance of 753,701 or 9% of the total Austrian population. Data for the end of 2008 published by the Austrian Roman Catholic church shows a further reduction to 5,579,493 members or 66.8% of the total Austrian population, and a Sunday church attendance of 698,527 or 8% of the total Austrian population. The Lutheran church also recorded a loss of 47904 adherents between 2001 and 2008.

About 12% of the population declared that they have no religion
Irreligion
Irreligion is defined as an absence of religion or an indifference towards religion. Sometimes it may also be defined more narrowly as hostility towards religion. When characterized as hostility to religion, it includes antitheism, anticlericalism and antireligion. When characterized as...

. in 2001. Of the remaining people, around 340,000 are registered as members of various Muslim communities, mainly due to the influx from Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo
Kosovo
Kosovo is a region in southeastern Europe. Part of the Ottoman Empire for more than five centuries, later the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija within Serbia...

. About 180,000 are members of Orthodox Churches (mostly Serbs
Serbs
The Serbs are a South Slavic ethnic group of the Balkans and southern Central Europe. Serbs are located mainly in Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and form a sizable minority in Croatia, the Republic of Macedonia and Slovenia. Likewise, Serbs are an officially recognized minority in...

), about 21,000 people are active Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses is a millenarian restorationist Christian denomination with nontrinitarian beliefs distinct from mainstream Christianity. The religion reports worldwide membership of over 7 million adherents involved in evangelism, convention attendance of over 12 million, and annual...

 and about 8,100 are Jewish
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

.

The Austrian Jewish
History of the Jews in Austria
The history of the Jews in Austria likely originates in an exodus of Jews from the Roman occupation of Israel. During the course of many centuries, the political status of the community rose and fell many times: during certain periods, the Jewish community prospered and enjoyed political equality,...

 Community of 1938—Vienna alone counted more than 200,000—was reduced to around 4,500 during the Second World War
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, with approximately 65,000 Jewish Austrians killed in the Holocaust
The Holocaust
The Holocaust , also known as the Shoah , was the genocide of approximately six million European Jews and millions of others during World War II, a programme of systematic state-sponsored murder by Nazi...

 and 130,000 emigrating. The large majority of the current Jewish population are post-war immigrants, particularly from eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe is the eastern part of Europe. The term has widely disparate geopolitical, geographical, cultural and socioeconomic readings, which makes it highly context-dependent and even volatile, and there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"...

 and central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

 (including Bukharan Jews). Buddhism
Buddhism in Austria
Buddhism is a legally recognized religion in Austria and it is followed by more than 10,000 Austrians.Although still small in absolute numbers , Buddhism in Austria enjoys widespread acceptance...

 was legally recognised as a religion in Austria in 1983.

According to the most recent Eurobarometer Poll
Eurobarometer
Eurobarometer is a series of surveys regularly performed on behalf of the European Commission since 1973. It produces reports of public opinion of certain issues relating to the European Union across the member states...

 2005,
  • 54% of Austrian citizens responded that "they believe there is a God".
  • 34% answered that "they believe there is some sort of spirit or life force".
  • 8% answered that "they do not believe there is any sort of spirit, God, or life force".


While northern and central Germany was the origin of the Reformation
Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

, Austria and Bavaria were the heart of the Counter-Reformation
Counter-Reformation
The Counter-Reformation was the period of Catholic revival beginning with the Council of Trent and ending at the close of the Thirty Years' War, 1648 as a response to the Protestant Reformation.The Counter-Reformation was a comprehensive effort, composed of four major elements:#Ecclesiastical or...

 in the 16th and 17th centuries, when the absolute monarchy of Habsburg
Habsburg
The House of Habsburg , also found as Hapsburg, and also known as House of Austria is one of the most important royal houses of Europe and is best known for being an origin of all of the formally elected Holy Roman Emperors between 1438 and 1740, as well as rulers of the Austrian Empire and...

 imposed a strict regime to restore Catholicism's power and influence among Austrians. The Habsburg
Habsburg
The House of Habsburg , also found as Hapsburg, and also known as House of Austria is one of the most important royal houses of Europe and is best known for being an origin of all of the formally elected Holy Roman Emperors between 1438 and 1740, as well as rulers of the Austrian Empire and...

s for a long time viewed themselves as the vanguard of Catholicism
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 and all other confessions and religions were repressed.

In 1781, in the era of Austrian enlightenment, Emperor Joseph II
Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor
Joseph II was Holy Roman Emperor from 1765 to 1790 and ruler of the Habsburg lands from 1780 to 1790. He was the eldest son of Empress Maria Theresa and her husband, Francis I...

 issued a Patent of Tolerance for Austria that allowed other confessions a limited freedom of worship
Freedom of religion
Freedom of religion is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or community, in public or private, to manifest religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance; the concept is generally recognized also to include the freedom to change religion or not to follow any...

. Religious freedom was declared a constitutional right in Cisleithania after the Austro-Hungarian Ausgleich
Ausgleich
The Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867 established the dual monarchy of Austria-Hungary. The Compromise re-established the sovereignty of the Kingdom of Hungary, separate from and no longer subject to the Austrian Empire...

 in 1867 thus paying tribute to the fact that the monarchy was home of numerous religions beside Roman Catholicism such as Greek, Serbian, Romanian, Russian, and Bulgarian Orthodox Christians (Austria neighboured the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 for centuries), Calvinist
Calvinism
Calvinism is a Protestant theological system and an approach to the Christian life...

, Lutheran
Lutheranism
Lutheranism is a major branch of Western Christianity that identifies with the theology of Martin Luther, a German reformer. Luther's efforts to reform the theology and practice of the church launched the Protestant Reformation...

 Protestants
Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

 and Jews. In 1912, after the annexation of Bosnia Hercegovina in 1908, Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 was officially recognised in Austria.

Austria remained largely influenced by Catholicism. After 1918, First Republic Catholic leaders such as Theodor Innitzer and Ignaz Seipel
Ignaz Seipel
Ignaz Seipel was an Austrian prelate and politician who served as Chancellor during the 1920s.-Career:Seipel studied theology at the University of Vienna and was ordained a Catholic priest in 1899...

 took leading positions within or close to Austria's government and increased their influence during the time of the Austrofascism
Austrofascism
Austrofascism is a term which is frequently used by historians to describe the authoritarian rule installed in Austria with the May Constitution of 1934, which ceased with the forcible incorporation of the newly-founded Federal State of Austria into Nazi Germany in 1938...

; Catholicism was treated much like a state religion
State religion
A state religion is a religious body or creed officially endorsed by the state...

 by Engelbert Dollfuss
Engelbert Dollfuss
Engelbert Dollfuss was an Austrian Christian Social and Patriotic Front statesman. Serving previously as Minister for Forest and Agriculture, he ascended to Federal Chancellor in 1932 in the midst of a crisis for the conservative government...

 and Kurt Schuschnigg
Kurt Schuschnigg
Kurt Alois Josef Johann Schuschnigg was Chancellor of the First Austrian Republic, following the assassination of his predecessor, Dr. Engelbert Dollfuss, in July 1934, until Germany’s invasion of Austria, , in March 1938...

. Although Catholic (and Protestant) leaders initially welcomed the Germans in 1938 during the Anschluss
Anschluss
The Anschluss , also known as the ', was the occupation and annexation of Austria into Nazi Germany in 1938....

 of Austria into Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, Austrian Catholicism stopped its support of Nazism
Nazism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

 later on and many former religious public figures became involved with the resistance during the Third Reich. After the end of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 in 1945, a stricter secularism
Secularism
Secularism is the principle of separation between government institutions and the persons mandated to represent the State from religious institutions and religious dignitaries...

 was imposed in Austria, and religious influence on politics declined.

Education


Responsibility for educational in Austria is entrusted partly to the Austrian states
States of Austria
Austria is a federal republic made up of nine states, known in German as Länder . Since Land is also the German word for a country, the term Bundesländer is often used instead to avoid ambiguity. The Constitution of Austria uses both terms...

 (Bundesländer) and partly to the federal government. School attendance is compulsory
Compulsory education
Compulsory education refers to a period of education that is required of all persons.-Antiquity to Medieval Era:Although Plato's The Republic is credited with having popularized the concept of compulsory education in Western intellectual thought, every parent in Judea since Moses's Covenant with...

 for nine years, i.e. usually to the age of fifteen.

Kindergarten
Kindergarten
A kindergarten is a preschool educational institution for children. The term was created by Friedrich Fröbel for the play and activity institute that he created in 1837 in Bad Blankenburg as a social experience for children for their transition from home to school...

 education, free in most states, is provided for all children between the ages of three and six years and, whilst optional, is considered a normal part of a child's education, due to its high takeup rate. Maximum class size is around 30, each class normally being cared for by one qualified teacher and one assistant. Standard attendance times are 8 am to 12 pm, with extra afternoon care also frequently provided for a fee.

Primary education
Primary education
A primary school is an institution in which children receive the first stage of compulsory education known as primary or elementary education. Primary school is the preferred term in the United Kingdom and many Commonwealth Nations, and in most publications of the United Nations Educational,...

, or Volksschule
Volksschule
A Volksschule was an 18th century system of state-supported primary schools established in the Habsburg Austrian Empire and Prussia . Attendance was supposedly compulsory, but a 1781 census reveals that only one fourth of school-age children attended. At the time, this was one of the few examples...

, lasts for four years, starting at age six. Maximum class size is 30, but may be as low as 15. It is generally expected that a class will be taught by one teacher for the entire four years and the stable bond between teacher and pupil is considered important for a child's well-being. The so called "3Rs
The three Rs
The three Rs are the foundations of a basic skills-orientated education program within schools: Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic.The phrase is attributed to a toast given by Sir William Curtis around 1825...

"(Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic) dominate lesson time, with less time allotted to project work than in the UK. Children work individually and all members of a class follow the same plan of work. There is no streaming. Lessons begin at 8 am and last until noon or 1 pm with hourly five- or ten-minute breaks. Children are given homework daily from the first year. Historically there has been no lunch hour, with children returning home to eat. However, due to a rise in the number of mothers in work, primary schools are increasingly offering pre-lesson and afternoon care.As in Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, secondary education
Secondary education
Secondary education is the stage of education following primary education. Secondary education includes the final stage of compulsory education and in many countries it is entirely compulsory. The next stage of education is usually college or university...

 consists of two main types of schools, attendance at which is based on a pupil's ability as determined by grades from the primary school. The Gymnasium
Gymnasium (school)
A gymnasium is a type of school providing secondary education in some parts of Europe, comparable to English grammar schools or sixth form colleges and U.S. college preparatory high schools. The word γυμνάσιον was used in Ancient Greece, meaning a locality for both physical and intellectual...

 caters for the more able children, in the final year of which the Matura
Matura
Matura or a similar term is the common name for the high-school leaving exam or "maturity exam" in various countries, including Albania, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Kosovo, Liechtenstein, Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Serbia,...

 examination is taken, which is a requirement for access to university. The Hauptschule
Hauptschule
A Hauptschule is a secondary school in Germany and Austria, starting after 4 years of elementary schooling, which offers Lower Secondary Education according to the International Standard Classification of Education...

 prepares pupils for vocational education but also for various types of further education (Höhere Technische Lehranstalt
Höhere Technische Lehranstalt
Höhere Technische Lehranstalten , also called Höhere Technische Bundeslehranstalten or Höhere Technische Bundeslehr- und Versuchsanstalten are technology and crafts orientated higher colleges in Austria...

 HTL = institution of higher technical education; HAK = commercial academy; HBLA = institution of higher education for economic business; etc.). Attendance at one of these further education institutes also leads to the Matura
Matura
Matura or a similar term is the common name for the high-school leaving exam or "maturity exam" in various countries, including Albania, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Kosovo, Liechtenstein, Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Serbia,...

. Some schools aim to combine the education available at the Gymnasium and the Hauptschule, and are known as Gesamtschulen. In addition, a recognition of the importance of learning English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 has led some Gymnasiums to offer a bilingual stream, in which pupils deemed able in languages follow a modified curriculum, a portion of the lesson time being conducted in English.


As at primary school, lessons at Gymnasium
Gymnasium (school)
A gymnasium is a type of school providing secondary education in some parts of Europe, comparable to English grammar schools or sixth form colleges and U.S. college preparatory high schools. The word γυμνάσιον was used in Ancient Greece, meaning a locality for both physical and intellectual...

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

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

The Austrian university system had been open to any student who passed the Matura
Matura
Matura or a similar term is the common name for the high-school leaving exam or "maturity exam" in various countries, including Albania, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Kosovo, Liechtenstein, Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Serbia,...

 examination until recently. A 2006 bill allowed the introduction of entrance exams for studies such as Medicine
Medicine
Medicine is the science and art of healing. It encompasses a variety of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness....

. In 2001, an obligatory tuition fee ("Studienbeitrag") of €363.36 per term was introduced for all public universities. Since 2008, for all EU students the studies have been free of charge, as long as a certain time-limit is not exceeded (the expected duration of the study plus usually two terms tolerance). When the time-limit is exceeded, the fee of around €363.36 per term is charged. Some further exceptions to the fee apply, e.g. for students with a year's salary of more than about €5000. In all cases, an obligatory fee of €15.50 for the student union and insurance is charged..

Music



Austria's past as a European power and its cultural environment have generated a broad contribution to various forms of art, most notably among them music. Austria has been the birthplace of many famous composers
Music of Austria
Vienna has been an important center of musical innovation. 18th and 19th century composers were drawn to the city due to the patronage of the Habsburgs, and made Vienna the European capital of classical music. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven and Johann Strauss II, among others,...

 such as Joseph Haydn, Michael Haydn
Michael Haydn
Johann Michael Haydn was an Austrian composer of the classical period, the younger brother of Joseph Haydn.-Life:...

, Franz Schubert
Franz Schubert
Franz Peter Schubert was an Austrian composer.Although he died at an early age, Schubert was tremendously prolific. He wrote some 600 Lieder, nine symphonies , liturgical music, operas, some incidental music, and a large body of chamber and solo piano music...

, Anton Bruckner
Anton Bruckner
Anton Bruckner was an Austrian composer known for his symphonies, masses, and motets. The first are considered emblematic of the final stage of Austro-German Romanticism because of their rich harmonic language, complex polyphony, and considerable length...

, Johann Strauss, Sr. and Johann Strauss, Jr. as well as members of the Second Viennese School
Second Viennese School
The Second Viennese School is the group of composers that comprised Arnold Schoenberg and his pupils and close associates in early 20th century Vienna, where he lived and taught, sporadically, between 1903 and 1925...

 such as Arnold Schoenberg
Arnold Schoenberg
Arnold Schoenberg was an Austrian composer, associated with the expressionist movement in German poetry and art, and leader of the Second Viennese School...

, Anton Webern
Anton Webern
Anton Webern was an Austrian composer and conductor. He was a member of the Second Viennese School. As a student and significant follower of Arnold Schoenberg, he became one of the best-known exponents of the twelve-tone technique; in addition, his innovations regarding schematic organization of...

 and Alban Berg
Alban Berg
Alban Maria Johannes Berg was an Austrian composer. He was a member of the Second Viennese School with Arnold Schoenberg and Anton Webern, and produced compositions that combined Mahlerian Romanticism with a personal adaptation of Schoenberg's twelve-tone technique.-Early life:Berg was born in...

. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart , baptismal name Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart , was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical era. He composed over 600 works, many acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic, concertante, chamber, piano, operatic, and choral music...

 was born in Salzburg
Salzburg
-Population development:In 1935, the population significantly increased when Salzburg absorbed adjacent municipalities. After World War II, numerous refugees found a new home in the city. New residential space was created for American soldiers of the postwar Occupation, and could be used for...

, then an independent Church Principality, though one that was culturally closely connected to Austria, and much of Mozart's career was spent in Vienna.

Vienna has long been especially an important centre of musical innovation. 18th and 19th century composers were drawn to the city due to the patronage of the Habsburgs, and made Vienna the European capital of classical music
Classical music
Classical music is the art music produced in, or rooted in, the traditions of Western liturgical and secular music, encompassing a broad period from roughly the 11th century to present times...

. During the Baroque period, Slavic and Hungarian folk forms influenced Austrian music.

Vienna's status began its rise as a cultural center in the early 16th century, and was focused around instruments including the lute
Lute
Lute can refer generally to any plucked string instrument with a neck and a deep round back, or more specifically to an instrument from the family of European lutes....

. Ludwig van Beethoven spent the better part of his life in Vienna. Austria's current national anthem
National anthem
A national anthem is a generally patriotic musical composition that evokes and eulogizes the history, traditions and struggles of its people, recognized either by a nation's government as the official national song, or by convention through use by the people.- History :Anthems rose to prominence...

, attributed to Mozart, was chosen after World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 to replace the traditional Austrian anthem by Joseph Haydn.

Austria has also produced one notable jazz musician, keyboardist Josef Zawinul, who helped pioneer electronic influences in jazz as well as being a notable composer in his own right. The pop
Pop music
Pop music is usually understood to be commercially recorded music, often oriented toward a youth market, usually consisting of relatively short, simple songs utilizing technological innovations to produce new variations on existing themes.- Definitions :David Hatch and Stephen Millward define pop...

 and rock music
Rock music
Rock music is a genre of popular music that developed during and after the 1960s, particularly in the United Kingdom and the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, itself heavily influenced by rhythm and blues and country music...

ian Falco
Falco (musician)
Johann Hölzel , better known by his stage name Falco, was an Austrian pop and rock musician and rapper. He had several international hits: "Der Kommissar", "Rock Me Amadeus", "Vienna Calling", "Jeanny", "The Sound of Musik", "Coming Home " and posthumously, "Out Of The Dark"...

 was internationally acclaimed during the 1980s, especially for his song "Rock Me Amadeus
Rock Me Amadeus
"Rock Me Amadeus" is a 1985 song by Austrian pop musician Falco from his album Falco 3. It topped the singles charts on both sides of the Atlantic. It was Falco's only number one hit in either the United States or the United Kingdom, despite his popularity in Germany, his native Austria, and much...

" dedicated to Mozart. The drummer Thomas Lang
Thomas Lang
Thomas Lang is an Austrian drummer, multi-instrumentalist, composer, and record producer. He is the founding member of the Los Angeles-based progressive/avant garde metal trio, stOrk.Lang took up drumming at the age of 5...

 was born in Vienna in 1967 and is now world renowned for his technical ability, having played with artists such as Geri Halliwell
Geri Halliwell
Geraldine Estelle "Geri" Halliwell is an English pop singer-songwriter, author and actress. After coming to international prominence in the late 1990s as Ginger Spice, a member of the girl group the Spice Girls, Halliwell launched her solo career in 1998 and released her album Schizophonic...

 and Robbie Williams
Robbie Williams
Robert Peter "Robbie" Williams is an English singer-songwriter, vocal coach and occasional actor. He is a member of the pop group Take That. Williams rose to fame in the band's first run in the early- to mid-1990s. After many disagreements with the management and certain group members, Williams...

.


Art and architecture


Among Austrian Artists and architects one can find the painters Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller
Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller
Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller was an Austrian painter and writer.He briefly attended the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, but later had to finance his life by painting portraits. In 1811 he worked as a teacher of arts for the children of Count Gyulay in Croatia...

, Rudolf von Alt, Hans Makart
Hans Makart
Hans Makart was a 19th century Austrian academic history painter, designer, and decorator; most well known for his influence on Gustav Klimt and other Austrian artists, but in his own era considered an important artist himself and was a celebrity figure in the high culture of Vienna, attended with...

, Gustav Klimt
Gustav Klimt
Gustav Klimt was an Austrian Symbolist painter and one of the most prominent members of the Vienna Secession movement. His major works include paintings, murals, sketches, and other art objects...

, Oskar Kokoschka
Oskar Kokoschka
Oskar Kokoschka was an Austrian artist, poet and playwright best known for his intense expressionistic portraits and landscapes.-Biography:...

, Egon Schiele
Egon Schiele
Egon Schiele was an Austrian painter. A protégé of Gustav Klimt, Schiele was a major figurative painter of the early 20th century. His work is noted for its intensity, and the many self-portraits the artist produced...

, Carl Moll
Carl Moll
Carl Julius Rudolf Moll was a prominent art nouveau painter active in Vienna at the start of the 20th century. He was also the stepfather of Alma Mahler-Werfel .- Biography :...

, and Friedensreich Hundertwasser
Friedensreich Hundertwasser
Friedensreich Regentag Dunkelbunt Hundertwasser was an Austrian painter and architect. Born Friedrich Stowasser in Vienna, he became one of the best-known contemporary Austrian artists, although controversial, by the end of the 20th century.-Life:Hundertwasser's father Ernst Stowasser died three...

, the photographers Inge Morath
Inge Morath
Ingeborg Morath was an Austrian-born photographer. In 1953 she joined the Magnum Photos Agency, founded by top photographers in Paris, and became a full photographer with them in 1955...

 and Ernst Haas
Ernst Haas
Ernst Haas was an Austrian artist and influential photographer noted for his innovations in color photography, experiments in abstract light and form, and as a member of the Magnum Photos agency....

, and architects like Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach
Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach
----Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach, born Johann Bernhard Fischer was probably the most influential Austrian architect of the Baroque period....

, Otto Wagner
Otto Wagner
Otto Koloman Wagner was an Austrian architect and urban planner, known for his lasting impact on the appearance of his home town Vienna, to which he contributed many landmarks.-Life:...

, Adolf Loos
Adolf Loos
Adolf Franz Karl Viktor Maria Loos was a Moravian-born Austro-Hungarian architect. He was influential in European Modern architecture, and in his essay Ornament and Crime he repudiated the florid style of the Vienna Secession, the Austrian version of Art Nouveau...

, and Hans Hollein
Hans Hollein
Hans Hollein, is an Austrian architect and designer.Hollein achieved a diploma at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna in 1956, then attended the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1959 and the University of California, Berkeley in 1960...

.

Cinema and theatre


Austrian contributions to the worlds of film and theatre have traditionally been strong. Sascha Kolowrat was an Austrian pioneer of filmmaking. Billy Wilder
Billy Wilder
Billy Wilder was an Austro-Hungarian born American filmmaker, screenwriter, producer, artist, and journalist, whose career spanned more than 50 years and 60 films. He is regarded as one of the most brilliant and versatile filmmakers of Hollywood's golden age...

, Fritz Lang
Fritz Lang
Friedrich Christian Anton "Fritz" Lang was an Austrian-American filmmaker, screenwriter, and occasional film producer and actor. One of the best known émigrés from Germany's school of Expressionism, he was dubbed the "Master of Darkness" by the British Film Institute...

, Josef von Sternberg
Josef von Sternberg
Josef von Sternberg — born Jonas Sternberg — was an Austrian-American film director. He is particularly noted for his distinctive mise en scène, use of lighting and soft lens, and seven-film collaboration with actress Marlene Dietrich.-Youth:Von Sternberg was born Jonas Sternberg to a Jewish...

, and Fred Zinnemann
Fred Zinnemann
Fred Zinnemann was an Austrian-American film director. He won four Academy Awards and directed films like High Noon, From Here to Eternity and A Man for All Seasons.-Life and career:...

 originally came from Austria before establishing themselves as internationally relevant movie makers. Willi Forst
Willi Forst
Willi Forst, born Wilhelm Anton Frohs was an Austrian actor, screenwriter, film director, film producer and singer...

, Ernst Marischka
Ernst Marischka
Ernst Marischka was an Austrian screenwriter and film director. He wrote for 93 films between 1913 and 1962. He also directed 29 films between 1915 and 1962...

, or Franz Antel
Franz Antel
Franz Antel was a veteran Austrian filmmaker.Born in Vienna, Antel worked mainly as a film producer in the interwar years. After World War II, he began writing and directing films on a large scale...

 enriched the popular cinema in German language speaking countries. Michael Haneke
Michael Haneke
Michael Haneke is a German born Austrian filmmaker and writer best known for his bleak and disturbing style. His films often document problems and failures in modern society. Haneke has worked in television‚ theatre and cinema. He is also known for raising social issues in his work...

 became internationally known for his disturbing cinematic studies, before receiving a Golden Globe for his critically acclaimed film The White Ribbon
The White Ribbon
The White Ribbon is a 2009 Austrian-German film, released in black and white, written and directed by Michael Haneke. The drama darkly depicts society and family in a northern German village just before World War I...

 in 2010.

The first Austrian film director receiving an Academy Award was Stefan Ruzowitzky
Stefan Ruzowitzky
Stefan Ruzowitzky is an Academy Award-winning Austrian film director and screenwriter.-Early life:Ruzowitzky was born in Vienna...

. Many Austrian actors were able to pursue a career, the impact of which was sensed beyond national borders. Among them were Peter Lorre
Peter Lorre
Peter Lorre was an Austrian-American actor frequently typecast as a sinister foreigner.He caused an international sensation in 1931 with his portrayal of a serial killer who preys on little girls in the German film M...

, Helmut Berger
Helmut Berger
Helmut Berger is an Austrian-born German film and television actor. He is most famous for his work with Luchino Visconti, particularly in his performance as King Ludwig II of Bavaria in Ludwig, for which he received a special David di Donatello award.He appears primarily in European cinema, but...

, Curd Jürgens
Curd Jürgens
Curd Gustav Andreas Gottlieb Franz Jürgens was a German-Austrian stage and film actor. He was usually billed in English-speaking films as Curt Jurgens.-Early life:...

, Senta Berger
Senta Berger
Senta Berger is an Austrian film, stage and television actress, producer and author.Regarded by critics as one of the greatest actresses of the post-war period, and frequently named as one of the leading German-speaking actresses in polls, Berger has received many award nominations for her acting...

, Oskar Werner
Oskar Werner
-Early life:Born Oskar Josef Bschließmayer in Vienna, Werner spent much of his childhood in the care of his grandmother, who entertained him with stories about the Burgtheater, the Austrian state theatre, where he was accepted at the age of eighteen by Lothar Müthel. He was the youngest person ever...

, and Klaus Maria Brandauer
Klaus Maria Brandauer
Klaus Maria Brandauer is an Austrian actor, film director, and professor at the Max Reinhardt Seminar in Vienna.-Personal life:...

. Hedy Lamarr
Hedy Lamarr
Hedy Lamarr was an Austrian-American actress celebrated for her great beauty who was a major contract star of MGM's "Golden Age".Lamarr also co-invented – with composer George Antheil – an early technique for spread spectrum communications and frequency hopping, necessary to wireless...

 and Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger is an Austrian-American former professional bodybuilder, actor, businessman, investor, and politician. Schwarzenegger served as the 38th Governor of California from 2003 until 2011....

 became American as well as international movie stars. Christoph Waltz
Christoph Waltz
Christoph Waltz is an Austrian-German actor. He received international acclaim for his portrayal of SS-Standartenführer Hans Landa in the 2009 film Inglourious Basterds, for which he won the Best Actor Award at the Cannes Film Festival and the BAFTA, Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild Award and...

 rose to international fame with his performance in Inglourious Basterds, earning the Palme d'Or for best actor at Cannes
Cannes
Cannes is one of the best-known cities of the French Riviera, a busy tourist destination and host of the annual Cannes Film Festival. It is a Commune of France in the Alpes-Maritimes department....

 in 2009, and the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role is one of the Academy Awards of Merit presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize an actor who has delivered an outstanding performance while working within the film industry. Since its inception, however, the...

 in 2010. Max Reinhardt
Max Reinhardt
----Max Reinhardt was an Austrian theater and film director and actor.-Biography:...

 was a master of spectacular and astute theater productions. Otto Schenk
Otto Schenk
Otto Schenk is an Austrian actor, and theater and opera director.-Life and career:Schenk was born to Catholic parents. His father, a lawyer, had Jewish roots and therefore lost his job after the Anschluss in 1938...

 not only excelled as a stage actor, but also as an opera director.

Science and philosophy



Austria was the cradle of numerous scientists with international reputation. Among them are Ludwig Boltzmann
Ludwig Boltzmann
Ludwig Eduard Boltzmann was an Austrian physicist famous for his founding contributions in the fields of statistical mechanics and statistical thermodynamics...

, Ernst Mach
Ernst Mach
Ernst Mach was an Austrian physicist and philosopher, noted for his contributions to physics such as the Mach number and the study of shock waves...

, Victor Franz Hess and Christian Doppler
Christian Doppler
Christian Andreas Doppler was an Austrian mathematician and physicist.-Life and work:Christian Doppler was raised in Salzburg, Austria, the son of a stonemason. Doppler could not work in his father's business because of his generally weak physical condition...

, prominent scientists in the 19th century. In the 20th century, contributions by Lise Meitner
Lise Meitner
Lise Meitner FRS was an Austrian-born, later Swedish, physicist who worked on radioactivity and nuclear physics. Meitner was part of the team that discovered nuclear fission, an achievement for which her colleague Otto Hahn was awarded the Nobel Prize...

, Erwin Schrödinger
Erwin Schrödinger
Erwin Rudolf Josef Alexander Schrödinger was an Austrian physicist and theoretical biologist who was one of the fathers of quantum mechanics, and is famed for a number of important contributions to physics, especially the Schrödinger equation, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1933...

 and Wolfgang Pauli
Wolfgang Pauli
Wolfgang Ernst Pauli was an Austrian theoretical physicist and one of the pioneers of quantum physics. In 1945, after being nominated by Albert Einstein, he received the Nobel Prize in Physics for his "decisive contribution through his discovery of a new law of Nature, the exclusion principle or...

 to nuclear research and quantum mechanics
Quantum mechanics
Quantum mechanics, also known as quantum physics or quantum theory, is a branch of physics providing a mathematical description of much of the dual particle-like and wave-like behavior and interactions of energy and matter. It departs from classical mechanics primarily at the atomic and subatomic...

 were key to these areas' development during the 1920s and 1930s. A present-day quantum physicist is Anton Zeilinger
Anton Zeilinger
Anton Zeilinger is an Austrian quantum physicist. He is currently professor of physics at the University of Vienna, previously University of Innsbruck. He is also the director of the Vienna branch of the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information IQOQI at the Austrian Academy of Sciences...

, noted as the first scientist to demonstrate quantum teleportation
Quantum teleportation
Quantum teleportation, or entanglement-assisted teleportation, is a process by which a qubit can be transmitted exactly from one location to another, without the qubit being transmitted through the intervening space...

.

In addition to physicists
Physics
Physics is a natural science that involves the study of matter and its motion through spacetime, along with related concepts such as energy and force. More broadly, it is the general analysis of nature, conducted in order to understand how the universe behaves.Physics is one of the oldest academic...

, Austria was the birthplace of two of the most noteworthy philosophers of the 20th century, Ludwig Wittgenstein
Ludwig Wittgenstein
Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein was an Austrian philosopher who worked primarily in logic, the philosophy of mathematics, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of language. He was professor in philosophy at the University of Cambridge from 1939 until 1947...

 and Karl Popper
Karl Popper
Sir Karl Raimund Popper, CH FRS FBA was an Austro-British philosopher and a professor at the London School of Economics...

. In addition to them, biologists Gregor Mendel
Gregor Mendel
Gregor Johann Mendel was an Austrian scientist and Augustinian friar who gained posthumous fame as the founder of the new science of genetics. Mendel demonstrated that the inheritance of certain traits in pea plants follows particular patterns, now referred to as the laws of Mendelian inheritance...

 and Konrad Lorenz
Konrad Lorenz
Konrad Zacharias Lorenz was an Austrian zoologist, ethologist, and ornithologist. He shared the 1973 Nobel Prize with Nikolaas Tinbergen and Karl von Frisch...

 as well as mathematician Kurt Gödel
Kurt Gödel
Kurt Friedrich Gödel was an Austrian logician, mathematician and philosopher. Later in his life he emigrated to the United States to escape the effects of World War II. One of the most significant logicians of all time, Gödel made an immense impact upon scientific and philosophical thinking in the...

 and engineers such as Ferdinand Porsche
Ferdinand Porsche
Ferdinand Porsche was an Austrian automotive engineer and honorary Doctor of Engineering. He is best known for creating the first hybrid vehicle , the Volkswagen Beetle, and the Mercedes-Benz SS/SSK, as well as the first of many Porsche automobiles...

 and Siegfried Marcus
Siegfried Marcus
Siegfried Samuel Marcus was a German-born Austrian inventor and automobile pioneer.Marcus was born in Malchin in Mecklenburg-Schwerin. He moved to Vienna, the capital of the Austrian Empire, in 1852....

 were Austrians.
A focus of Austrian science has always been medicine and psychology, starting in medieval times
Medieval Times
Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament is a family dinner theater featuring staged medieval-style games, sword-fighting, and jousting performed by a cast of 75 actors and 20 horses. Each location is housed in a replica 11th-century castle, with the exception of the Toronto location, which is housed...

 with Paracelsus
Paracelsus
Paracelsus was a German-Swiss Renaissance physician, botanist, alchemist, astrologer, and general occultist....

. Eminent physicians like Theodore Billroth, Clemens von Pirquet
Clemens von Pirquet
Clemens Peter Freiherr von Pirquet was an Austrian scientist and pediatrician best known for his contributions to the fields of bacteriology and immunology....

, and Anton von Eiselsberg
Anton Eiselsberg
Anton Freiherr von Eiselsberg was born on July 31, 1860 at Schloss Steinhaus, Upper Austria.A student of Theodor Billroth, Eiselsberg served as professor of medicine at Utrecht University and at University of Königsberg before being appointed head of the First Department of Surgery at the...

 have built upon the achievements of the 19th century Vienna School of Medicine. Austria was home to psychologists Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud , born Sigismund Schlomo Freud , was an Austrian neurologist who founded the discipline of psychoanalysis...

, Alfred Adler
Alfred Adler
Alfred Adler was an Austrian medical doctor, psychotherapist, and founder of the school of individual psychology. In collaboration with Sigmund Freud and a small group of Freud's colleagues, Adler was among the co-founders of the psychoanalytic movement as a core member of the Vienna...

, Paul Watzlawick
Paul Watzlawick
Paul Watzlawick was an Austrian-American psychologist and philosopher. A theoretician in communication theory and radical constructivism, he has commented in the fields of family therapy and general psychotherapy...

 and Hans Asperger
Hans Asperger
Hans Asperger was an Austrian pediatrician, after whom Asperger syndrome was named. He wrote over 300 publications, mostly concerning autism in children.-Biography:...

 and psychiatrist Viktor Frankl
Viktor Frankl
Viktor Emil Frankl M.D., Ph.D. was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist as well as a Holocaust survivor. Frankl was the founder of logotherapy, which is a form of Existential Analysis, the "Third Viennese School of Psychotherapy"...

.

The Austrian School
Austrian School
The Austrian School of economics is a heterodox school of economic thought. It advocates methodological individualism in interpreting economic developments , the theory that money is non-neutral, the theory that the capital structure of economies consists of heterogeneous goods that have...

 of Economics, which is prominent as one of the main competitive directions for economic theory, is related to Austrian economists Joseph Schumpeter
Joseph Schumpeter
Joseph Alois Schumpeter was an Austrian-Hungarian-American economist and political scientist. He popularized the term "creative destruction" in economics.-Life:...

, Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk
Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk
Eugen Ritter von Böhm-Bawerk was an Austrian economist who made important contributions to the development of the Austrian School of economics.-Biography:...

, Ludwig von Mises
Ludwig von Mises
Ludwig Heinrich Edler von Mises was an Austrian economist, philosopher, and classical liberal who had a significant influence on the modern Libertarian movement and the "Austrian School" of economic thought.-Biography:-Early life:...

, and Friedrich Hayek
Friedrich Hayek
Friedrich August Hayek CH , born in Austria-Hungary as Friedrich August von Hayek, was an economist and philosopher best known for his defense of classical liberalism and free-market capitalism against socialist and collectivist thought...

. Other noteworthy Austrian-born émigrés include the management thinker Peter Drucker
Peter Drucker
Peter Ferdinand Drucker was an influential writer, management consultant, and self-described “social ecologist.”-Introduction:...

, sociologist Paul Felix Lazarsfeld scientist Sir Gustav Nossal
Gustav Nossal
Sir Gustav Victor Joseph Nossal, AC, CBE, FRS, FAA is an Australian research biologist.-Life and career:Gustav Nossal's family was from Vienna, Austria. He was born four weeks prematurely in Bad Ischl while his mother was on holiday...

, sociologist Paul Felix Lazarsfeld and the 38th Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger is an Austrian-American former professional bodybuilder, actor, businessman, investor, and politician. Schwarzenegger served as the 38th Governor of California from 2003 until 2011....

.

Literature


Complementing its status as a land of artists and scientists, Austria has always been a country of poets, writers, and novelists. It was the home of novelists Arthur Schnitzler
Arthur Schnitzler
Dr. Arthur Schnitzler was an Austrian author and dramatist.- Biography :Arthur Schnitzler, son of a prominent Hungarian-Jewish laryngologist Johann Schnitzler and Luise Markbreiter , was born in Praterstraße 16, Leopoldstadt, Vienna, in the Austro-Hungarian...

, Stefan Zweig
Stefan Zweig
Stefan Zweig was an Austrian novelist, playwright, journalist and biographer. At the height of his literary career, in the 1920s and 1930s, he was one of the most famous writers in the world.- Biography :...

, Thomas Bernhard
Thomas Bernhard
Thomas Bernhard was an Austrian novelist, playwright and poet. Bernhard, whose body of work has been called "the most significant literary achievement since World War II," is widely considered to be one of the most important German-speaking authors of the postwar era.- Life :Thomas Bernhard was...

, Franz Kafka
Franz Kafka
Franz Kafka was a culturally influential German-language author of short stories and novels. Contemporary critics and academics, including Vladimir Nabokov, regard Kafka as one of the best writers of the 20th century...

, and Robert Musil
Robert Musil
Robert Musil was an Austrian writer. His unfinished long novel The Man Without Qualities is generally considered to be one of the most important modernist novels...

, of poets Georg Trakl
Georg Trakl
Georg Trakl was an Austrian poet. He is considered one of the most important Austrian Expressionists.- Life and work :Trakl was born and lived the first 18 years of his life in Salzburg, Austria...

, Franz Werfel
Franz Werfel
Franz Werfel was an Austrian-Bohemian novelist, playwright, and poet.- Biography :Born in Prague , Werfel was the first of three children of a wealthy manufacturer of gloves and leather goods. His mother, Albine Kussi, was the daughter of a mill owner...

, Franz Grillparzer
Franz Grillparzer
Franz Seraphicus Grillparzer was an Austrian writer who is chiefly known for his dramas. He also wrote the oration for Ludwig van Beethoven's funeral.-Biography:...

, Rainer Maria Rilke
Rainer Maria Rilke
René Karl Wilhelm Johann Josef Maria Rilke , better known as Rainer Maria Rilke, was a Bohemian–Austrian poet. He is considered one of the most significant poets in the German language...

, Adalbert Stifter
Adalbert Stifter
Adalbert Stifter was an Austrian writer, poet, painter, and pedagogue. He was especially notable for the vivid natural landscapes depicted in his writing, and has long been popular in the German-speaking world, while almost entirely unknown to English readers.-Life:Born in Oberplan in Bohemia , he...

, Karl Kraus
Karl Kraus
Karl Kraus was an Austrian writer and journalist, known as a satirist, essayist, aphorist, playwright and poet. He is regarded as one of the foremost German-language satirists of the 20th century, especially for his witty criticism of the press, German culture, and German and Austrian...

 and children's author Eva Ibbotson
Eva Ibbotson
Eva Ibbotson was an Austrian-born British novelist, known for her award-winning children's books as well as her novels for adults - several of which have been successfully reissued for the young adult readership in recent years.-Personal life:Eva Ibbotson was born Maria Charlotte Michelle Wiesner...

.

Famous contemporary playwrights and novelists are Nobel prize
Nobel Prize
The Nobel Prizes are annual international awards bestowed by Scandinavian committees in recognition of cultural and scientific advances. The will of the Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, established the prizes in 1895...

 winner Elfriede Jelinek
Elfriede Jelinek
Elfriede Jelinek is an Austrian playwright and novelist. She was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2004 for her "musical flow of voices and counter-voices in novels and plays that, with extraordinary linguistic zeal, reveal the absurdity of society's clichés and their subjugating power."-...

, Peter Handke
Peter Handke
Peter Handke is an avant-garde Austrian novelist and playwright.-Early life:Handke and his mother lived in the Soviet-occupied Pankow district of Berlin from 1944 to 1948 before resettling in Griffen...

 and Daniel Kehlmann
Daniel Kehlmann
Daniel Kehlmann is a German language author of both Austrian and German nationality. His work Die Vermessung der Welt is the best selling novel in the German language since Patrick Süskind's Perfume was released in 1985...

.

Food and drink



Austria's cuisine is derived from that of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Austrian cuisine is mainly the tradition of Royal-Cuisine ("Hofküche") delivered over centuries. It is famous for its well-balanced variations of beef and pork and countless variations of vegetables. There is also the "Mehlspeisen" Bakery, which created particular delicacies such as Sachertorte, "Krapfen" which are doughnuts usually filled with apricot marmalade or custard, and "Strudel" such as "Apfelstrudel
Apfelstrudel
Apple strudel is a traditional Viennese strudel, a popular pastry in Austria and in many countries in Europe that once belonged to the Austro-Hungarian empire .-History:...

" filled with apple, "Topfenstrudel" filled with a type of cheese curd called "topfen", and "Millirahmstrudel" (milk-cream strudel).

In addition to native regional traditions, the cuisine has been influenced by Hungarian
Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

, Bohemia Czech
Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in Central Europe. The country is bordered by Poland to the northeast, Slovakia to the east, Austria to the south, and Germany to the west and northwest....

, Jewish, Italian
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, Balkan and French
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 cuisine, from which both dishes and methods of food preparation have often been borrowed. The Austrian cuisine is therefore one of the most multicultural and transcultural in Europe.

Typical Austrian dishes include Wiener Schnitzel
Wiener schnitzel
Schnitzel is a traditional Austrian dish made with boneless meat thinned with a mallet , coated in bread crumbs and fried. It is a popular part of Viennese, Austrian cuisine and German Cuisine...

, Schweinsbraten, Kaiserschmarren, Knödel
Knödel
Knödel or Klöße are large round poached or boiled potato or bread dumplings, made without yeast. They are typical components of Austrian, German, Hungarian and Czech cuisine, and come in many different forms. They can be made from flour, potatoes, old bread, semolina and many more...

, Sachertorte
Sachertorte
Sachertorte is a chocolate cake. It was invented by chance by Austrian Jewish Franz Sacher in 1832 for Klemens Wenzel von Metternich in Vienna, Austria. It is one of the most famous Viennese culinary specialties. The Original Sachertorte is only made in Vienna and Salzburg, and it is shipped from...

 and Tafelspitz
Tafelspitz
Tafelspitz is boiled beef in broth Viennese style.- The dish :Tafelspitz - boiled tri-tip - is a typical Austrian dish. The beef is simmered along with root vegetables and spices in the broth...

. There are also Kärntner Kasnudeln, which are pockets of dough filled with Topfen, potatoes, herbs and peppermint which are boiled and served with a butter sauce. Kasnudeln are traditionally served with a salad. Eierschwammerl
Cantharellus
Cantharellus is a genus of popular edible mushrooms, commonly known as chanterelles . They are mycorrhizal fungi, meaning they form symbiotic associations with plants, making them very difficult to cultivate...

 dishes are also popular. The "Eierschwammerl", also known as "Pfifferling", are native yellow, tan mushrooms. The candy Pez
PEZ
Pez is the brand name of an Austrian confectionery and the mechanical pocket dispensers for the same...

 was invented in Austria, as well as Manner
Manner
Manner is a line of confectionery from the Austrian conglomerate, Josef Manner & Comp AG. The corporation, founded in 1890, produces a wide assortment of confectionery products...

schnitten. Austria is also famous for its Mozartkugel
Mozartkugel
The Mozartkugel , originally known as the “Mozartbonbon”, was created by the Salzburg confectioner, Paul Fürst, in 1890 and named after Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart....

n and its coffee tradition.

Beer
Beer
Beer is the world's most widely consumed andprobably oldest alcoholic beverage; it is the third most popular drink overall, after water and tea. It is produced by the brewing and fermentation of sugars, mainly derived from malted cereal grains, most commonly malted barley and malted wheat...

 is sold in 0.2 litre (a Pfiff), 0.3 litre (a Seidel, kleines Bier or Glas Bier) and 0.5 litre (a Krügerl or großes Bier or Halbe) measures. At festivals one litre Maß and two litre Doppelmaß in the Bavaria
Bavaria
Bavaria, formally the Free State of Bavaria is a state of Germany, located in the southeast of Germany. With an area of , it is the largest state by area, forming almost 20% of the total land area of Germany...

n style are also dispensed. The most popular types of beer are lager
Lager
Lager is a type of beer made from malted barley that is brewed and stored at low temperatures. There are many types of lager; pale lager is the most widely-consumed and commercially available style of beer in the world; Pilsner, Bock, Dortmunder Export and Märzen are all styles of lager...

 (known as
Märzen in Austria), naturally cloudy Zwicklbier and wheat beer
Wheat beer
Wheat beer is a beer that is brewed with a large proportion of wheat. Wheat beers often also contain a significant proportion of malted barley. Wheat beers are usually top-fermented...

. At holidays like Christmas and Easter bock
Bock
Bock is a strong lager of German origin. Several substyles exist, including maibock or helles bock, a paler, more hopped version generally made for consumption at spring festivals; doppelbock, a stronger and maltier version; and eisbock, a much stronger version made by partially freezing the beer...

 beer is also available.

The most important wine-producing areas are in Lower Austria
Lower Austria
Lower Austria is the northeasternmost state of the nine states in Austria. The capital of Lower Austria since 1986 is Sankt Pölten, the most recently designated capital town in Austria. The capital of Lower Austria had formerly been Vienna, even though Vienna is not officially part of Lower Austria...

, Burgenland
Burgenland
Burgenland is the easternmost and least populous state or Land of Austria. It consists of two Statutarstädte and seven districts with in total 171 municipalities. It is 166 km long from north to south but much narrower from west to east...

, Styria
Styria (state)
Styria is a state or Bundesland, located in the southeast of Austria. In area it is the second largest of the nine Austrian federated states, covering 16,401 km². It borders Slovenia as well as the other Austrian states of Upper Austria, Lower Austria, Salzburg, Burgenland, and Carinthia. ...

 and Vienna. The Grüner Veltliner
Grüner Veltliner
Grüner Veltliner is a variety of white wine grape variety grown primarily in Austria, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic. It has a reputation of being a particularly food-friendly wine...

 grape provides some of Austria's most notable white wines and Zweigelt
Zweigelt
Zweigelt is a red wine grape variety developed in 1922, at the Federal Institute for Viticulture and Pomology at Klosterneuburg, Austria, by Fritz Zweigelt. It was a crossing of St. Laurent and Blaufränkisch. It is now the most widely-grown red grape variety in Austria, as well as having some...

 is the most widely planted red wine grape.

In Upper Austria
Upper Austria
Upper Austria is one of the nine states or Bundesländer of Austria. Its capital is Linz. Upper Austria borders on Germany and the Czech Republic, as well as on the other Austrian states of Lower Austria, Styria, and Salzburg...

, Lower Austria, Styria and Carinthia
Carinthia (state)
Carinthia is the southernmost Austrian state or Land. Situated within the Eastern Alps it is chiefly noted for its mountains and lakes.The main language is German. Its regional dialects belong to the Southern Austro-Bavarian group...

, Most, a type of cider
Cider
Cider or cyder is a fermented alcoholic beverage made from apple juice. Cider varies in alcohol content from 2% abv to 8.5% abv or more in traditional English ciders. In some regions, such as Germany and America, cider may be termed "apple wine"...

 or perry
Perry
Perry is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented pears. Perry has been common for centuries in Britain, particularly in the Three Counties of Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire, and in parts of south Wales; and France, especially Normandy and Anjou.In more recent years, commercial...

 is widely produced.

Schnapps
Schnapps
Schnapps is a type of distilled alcoholic beverage. The English word schnapps is derived from the German Schnaps , which can refer to any strong alcoholic drink but particularly those containing at least 32% ABV...

 of typically up to 60 % alcohol or fruit brandy
Brandy
Brandy is a spirit produced by distilling wine. Brandy generally contains 35%–60% alcohol by volume and is typically taken as an after-dinner drink...

 is drunk, which in Austria is made from a variety of fruits, for example apricot
Apricot
The apricot, Prunus armeniaca, is a species of Prunus, classified with the plum in the subgenus Prunus. The native range is somewhat uncertain due to its extensive prehistoric cultivation.- Description :...

s and rowan
Rowan
The rowans or mountain-ashes are shrubs or small trees in genus Sorbus of family Rosaceae. They are native throughout the cool temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere, with the highest species diversity in the mountains of western China and the Himalaya, where numerous apomictic microspecies...

berries. The produce of small private schnapps distilleries, of which there are around 20,000 in Austria, is known as
Selberbrennter or Hausbrand. A very high percentage schnaps is called "Umblachter" and has up to 85% Alcohol.

Sports


Due to the mountainous terrain, alpine skiing
Alpine skiing
Alpine skiing is the sport of sliding down snow-covered hills on skis with fixed-heel bindings. Alpine skiing can be contrasted with skiing using free-heel bindings: Ski mountaineering and nordic skiing – such as cross-country; ski jumping; and Telemark. In competitive alpine skiing races four...

 is a prominent sport in Austria. Similar sports such as snowboarding
Snowboarding
Snowboarding is a sport that involves descending a slope that is covered with snow on a snowboard attached to a rider's feet using a special boot set onto mounted binding. The development of snowboarding was inspired by skateboarding, sledding, surfing and skiing. It was developed in the U.S.A...

 or ski-jumping are also widely popular and Austrian athletes such as Annemarie Moser-Pröll
Annemarie Moser-Pröll
Annemarie Moser-Pröll is a former champion alpine ski racer. She was the most successful female World Cup racer during the 1970s. She celebrated her biggest successes in Downhill, Giant Slalom and Combined races...

, Hermann Maier
Hermann Maier
Hermann Maier is an Austrian former alpine ski racer. Maier ranks among the finest alpine ski racers in history, having won four overall World Cup titles , two Olympic gold medals , and three World Championship titles...

 and Toni Sailer
Toni Sailer
Anton Engelbert "Toni" Sailer was an Austrian alpine ski racer, who is considered among the best the in the sport. He won three gold medals in alphine skiing at the 1956 Winter Olympics, becoming the only triple gold medalist from that Games and thus the most successful athlete in 1956...

 are widely regarded as some of the greatest alpine skiers of all time.

A popular team sport
Team sport
A team sport includes any sport which involves players working together towards a shared objective. A team sport is an activity in which a group of individuals, on the same team, work together to accomplish an ultimate goal which is usually to win. This can be done in a number of ways such as...

 in Austria is football, which is governed by the Austrian Football Association
Austrian Football Association
The Austrian Football Association is the governing body of football in Austria. It organizes the football league, Austrian Bundesliga, the Austrian Cup and the Austrian national team, as well as its female equivalent. It is based in Vienna....

. Austria was among the most successful football playing nations on the European continent placing 4th at the 1934 FIFA World Cup
1934 FIFA World Cup
The 1934 FIFA World Cup was the second FIFA World Cup, the world championship for men's national association football teams. It took place in Italy from 27 May to 10 June 1934....

, 3rd at the 1954 FIFA World Cup
1954 FIFA World Cup
The 1954 FIFA World Cup, the fifth staging of the FIFA World Cup, was held in Switzerland from 16 June to 4 July. Switzerland was chosen as hosts in July 1946. The tournament set a number of all-time records for goal-scoring, including the highest average goals scored per game...

 and 7th at the 1978 FIFA World Cup
1978 FIFA World Cup
The 1978 FIFA World Cup, the 11th staging of the FIFA World Cup, was held in Argentina between 1 June and 25 June. The 1978 World Cup was won by Argentina who beat the Netherlands 3–1 after extra time in the final. This win was the first World Cup title for Argentina, who became the fifth...

. However, recently Austrian football has been much less internationally successful in this discipline. It also co-hosted the 2008 UEFA European Football Championship
2008 UEFA European Football Championship
The 2008 UEFA European Football Championship, commonly referred to as Euro 2008, was the 13th UEFA European Football Championship, a quadrennial football tournament contested by European nations. It took place in Austria and Switzerland from 7 to 29 June 2008...

 with Switzerland. The national Austrian football league is the Austrian Bundesliga
Austrian Bundesliga
The Austrian Football Bundesliga is the highest-ranking national league club competition in Austrian football. It is the competition which decides the Austrian national football champions, as well the country's entrants for the various European cups run by UEFA.The Austrian Bundesliga, which began...

, which includes teams such as record-champions SK Rapid Wien
SK Rapid Wien
The Sportklub Rapid Wien is an Austrian football club playing in the country's capital city of Vienna. Rapid is the most popular club in Austria and also record title holder having won the Austrian national football title 32 times...

, FK Austria Wien
FK Austria Wien
Fußballklub Austria Wien is an Austrian association football club from the capital city of Vienna. They are considered the most successful club in Austria, having won the highest Austrian Bundesliga 23 times, the Austrian Cup 27 times and the Austrian Supercup 6 times. They also reached the UEFA...

, Red Bull Salzburg and Sturm Graz.

Besides football, Austria also has professional national leagues for most major team sports including the Austrian Hockey League
Austrian Hockey League
The Austrian Hockey League , called the Erste Bank Eishockey Liga for sponsorship reasons, is the highest-level ice hockey league in Austria.-History:...

 for ice hockey
Ice hockey
Ice hockey, often referred to as hockey, is a team sport played on ice, in which skaters use wooden or composite sticks to shoot a hard rubber puck into their opponent's net. The game is played between two teams of six players each. Five members of each team skate up and down the ice trying to take...

, and the Österreichische Basketball Bundesliga
Österreichische Basketball Bundesliga
The Österreichische Basketball Bundesliga is the top men's professional basketball league in Austria. Until the 2004–05 season, the league was known as the A-Liga and then until the 2008–09 season it was called the Österreichische Basketball Bundesliga...

 for basketball
Basketball
Basketball is a team sport in which two teams of five players try to score points by throwing or "shooting" a ball through the top of a basketball hoop while following a set of rules...

. Bobsleigh
Bobsleigh
Bobsleigh or bobsled is a winter sport in which teams of two or four make timed runs down narrow, twisting, banked, iced tracks in a gravity-powered sled that are combined to calculate the final score....

, luge
Luge
A Luge is a small one- or two-person sled on which one sleds supine and feet-first. Steering is done by flexing the sled's runners with the calf of each leg or exerting opposite shoulder pressure to the seat. Racing sleds weigh 21-25 kilograms for singles and 25-30 kilograms for doubles. Luge...

, and skeleton
Skeleton (sport)
Skeleton is a fast winter sliding sport in which an individual person rides a small sled down a frozen track while lying face down, during which athletes experience forces up to 5g. It originated in St. Moritz, Switzerland as a spin-off from the popular British sport of Cresta Sledding...

 are also popular events with a permanent track located in Igls
Igls bobsleigh, luge, and skeleton track
The Olympic Sliding Centre Innsburck is a venue for bobsleigh, luge and skeleton located in Igls, Austria . The most recent version of the track was completed in 1975 and is the first permanent, combination artificially refrigerated bobsleigh, luge, and skeleton track, serving as a model for other...

, which hosted bobsleigh and luge competitions for the 1964
1964 Winter Olympics
The 1964 Winter Olympics, officially known as the IX Olympic Winter Games, were a winter multi-sport event which was celebrated in Innsbruck, Austria, from January 29 to February 9, 1964...

 and 1976 Winter Olympics
1976 Winter Olympics
The 1976 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XII Olympic Winter Games, were a winter multi-sport event which was celebrated February 4–15, 1976 in Innsbruck, Austria...

 held in Innsbruck
Innsbruck
- Main sights :- Buildings :*Golden Roof*Kaiserliche Hofburg *Hofkirche with the cenotaph of Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor*Altes Landhaus...

. The first Winter Youth Olympics
2012 Winter Youth Olympics
The 2012 Winter Youth Olympic Games, officially known as the I Winter Youth Olympic Games , will be an international multi-sport event for youths that will take place in Innsbruck from 13 to 22 January 2012. They will become the inaugural Winter Youth Olympics, a major sports and cultural festival...

 in 2012 will be held in Innsbruck as well.
Horseback riding is popular also. The famed Spanish Riding School of Vienna is located in Vienna.

See also


  • Austrian colonial policy
    Austrian colonial policy
    From the 17th century through to the 19th century, the Austrian Empire and Austro-Hungarian Empire attempted to profit from colonial trade and to establish their own colonies...

  • Federal Criminal Police Office (Austria)
  • Index of Austria-related articles
  • List of European Research Council grants awarded to Austrian institutions
  • List of twin towns and sister cities in Austria
  • Telephone numbers in Austria


External links


  • Austria entry at Encyclopædia Britannica
    Encyclopædia Britannica
    The Encyclopædia Britannica , published by Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., is a general knowledge English-language encyclopaedia that is available in print, as a DVD, and on the Internet. It is written and continuously updated by about 100 full-time editors and more than 4,000 expert...

  • Austria information from the United States Department of State
    United States Department of State
    The United States Department of State , is the United States federal executive department responsible for international relations of the United States, equivalent to the foreign ministries of other countries...

  • Portals to the World from the United States Library of Congress
    Library of Congress
    The Library of Congress is the research library of the United States Congress, de facto national library of the United States, and the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States. Located in three buildings in Washington, D.C., it is the largest library in the world by shelf space and...

  • Austria at
  • Information on Austria Sorted by regions. Choose from 5 languages.

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Miscellaneous