Find out facts and figures about Austria and meet its people and their customs.
The Austrian Way
Austria is a wonderfully uncomplicated place to visit. It is in the heart of Europe, most people speak English, and there is a spectacular combination of cultural and natural attractions. And, like everywhere, there are national peculiarities that you will not find described in standard guidebooks. Which is a pity, because the following - quintessentially Austrian - expressions, institutions and mannerisms are integral parts of the real Austrian experience. Some of them may seem trivial, but knowing them will earn you kudos points among locals and enhance your understanding of 'Austrianness'.
- Schmäh (A lesson in Austrian humour): From the polished society of the ball room to the jovial crowd at the alpine hut, Austrians are proud of their Schmäh; a word of many meanings.
- Queueing, Austrian style: When it comes to queueing, Austrians are an unpredictable bunch.
- Yes. No. Maybe? The Meanings of "Na": "Na" (pronounced "nah") is one of the most versatile Austrian expressions. Austrians use it in many different ways, be it in an affirmative sense or as an all-round question.
- Lord of the Kaffeehaus: Almost as iconic as the Austrian Kaffeehaus (coffee house) itself is the waiter. If you have achieved a certain standing at a Kaffeehaus because of generous tips or repeat visits, you may be awarded a title.
- A Late-Night Institution: The Würstelstand: After a long night of revelry, there is nothing like a hearty snack to avoid a rude awakening the next day. In Austria there's the Würstelstand, which serves a wide range of sausages and stays open until dawn.
- Guten Appetit! Eating with Austrians: Austrians take their food seriously and this dedication shows in their gastronomic rituals. Learn about the beloved Austrian cuisine and mealtime traditions.
- Prost! Drinking with Austrians: Drinking has its own ceremonial protocol in Austria, in which eye-contact plays a central role. Prepare for your holiday with our guide on how to enjoy a drink with Austrians!
Austria's Green Credentials
More and more of us are trying to live a less energy-intense lifestyle. We choose organic products, reduce the consumption of energy and waste, and recycle. People who lead a green lifestyle at home would expect the same from their holiday destination.
Who doesn't know them, Austria's 'great' sons and daughters? They have left their mark all across the centuries in politics, art, science and sport. Find out which famous personalities originated from the country at the heart of Europe, or chose it as the centre of their life and creative work.
Trade & Industry
Austria has a strong economy with machinery, metallurgical products and textiles being of particular importance. The country's most important industry, however, is tourism.
Like most European countries, Austria looks back on a very eventful history. Yet there are some elements of the Austrian character that haven't changed much over the centuries: the partiality for indulgence, beauty, and cultivation have always been driving forces in the country's past and present.
Government & People
Austria is a federal republic state with a parliamentary democracy. With an area of 83.858 sq km, Austria consists of 9 independent federal states (Burgenland, Carinthia, Lower Austria, Upper Austria, Salzburg, Styria, Tyrol, Vorarlberg and Vienna) with their own provincial governments. The federal legislation is exercised by the national council (Nationalrat) together with the Upper House of Parliament (Bundesrat) - the two chambers of Parliament. Austria is a member of the European Union, the United Nations as well as most UN organizations.
Additional information can be found on the Austrian Tourism website: