|Road network length||200,000 km|
|Length of highway network||1,749 km|
|License plate code||a|
Austria (German: Österreich), formally the Republic of Austria (Republik Österreich) is a country in Central Europe. The country has 9 million inhabitants on an area twice the size of the Netherlands. The capital is Wien (Vienna).
According to ABBREVIATIONFINDER, Austria is located in Central Europe. The country borders clockwise to the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Germany. The country measures a maximum of 570 kilometers from west to east and 280 kilometers from north to south. Much of the country is dominated by the Alps, with the 3,798-metre-high Großglockner being the highest point. The river Danube flows through the north of the country, which is surrounded by hills, except in the east, which is flatter, especially in the Burgenland and Lower Austria. There are many large mountain lakes, but the largest lake is the Neusiedler See, partly on the border with Hungary. Lake Constance is also a small part of Austria.
Much of Austria has a temperate climate, with an Alpine climate in the mountains. The climate has continental characteristics with cold winters and rather warm summers, especially in the east. The average maximum temperature in Vienna ranges from 4°C in January to 27°C in July. The east is drier than the west, in Vienna only 550 mm of precipitation falls per year, while in Bregenz an average of more than 1,500 mm falls per year. Snow is common in the Alps but usually does not last long in the lowlands.
The Reichsbrücke over the Danube in Vienna.
The population of Austria doubled from 3 to 6 million between 1800 and 1900, before growing more slowly to 8 million in 2000. Population growth has since accelerated again. See Austria population density. Austria has 5 cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants, with the capital Wien (Vienna) being by far the largest city in the country with 1.8 million inhabitants. The second city of Graz has 270,000 inhabitants. Important minority groups are Turks and people from the former Yugoslavia, who make up 5% of the population. Most of this population came as laborers in the second half of the 20th century, but Kärnten has an age-old Slovenian minority. Serbs have also been coming to Austria since the 19th century.
German is spoken in Austria, which is virtually no different in written language from Hoch Deutsch in Germany. On the other hand, dialects are sometimes difficult for Austrians to understand among themselves. The immigrant languages are spoken on a small scale, with Turkish, Serbo-Croatian and Hungarian being the most widely spoken. Hungarian is spoken in Burgenland, which traditionally belonged to the Hungarian part of Austria-Hungary.
Austria has a highly developed economy and is one of the most prosperous countries in the world. The country has an industrial base around major cities, especially in the north and east of Austria. There is virtually no heavy industry in the Alps. Austria is an important transport country because it is on the routes from Germany to Southeastern Europe and Italy. Tourism accounts for almost 10% of Austria’s GDP. Austria is one of the most important destinations for winter sports in Europe, but the Alps also attract many tourists in summer. The Danube Valley and historic cities such as Vienna and Salzburg also attract tourists.
Austria is a federal country made up of 9 states (Länder), similar to Germany. The states have more significance in Austria than the provinces in the Netherlands, but less than in Germany. The states have their own parliament (Landtag) with a state government (Landesregierung). Originally, the states were more powerful and had more tasks. The states have significance for regional identity.
The country is further divided into districts (Bezirke), divided into city districts (Statutarstädte) and more rural districts (Bezirkshauptmannschaft). The cities are usually not referred to as Bezirk, so the term Landbezirk is also used for the rural districts. The Bezirke are again divided into municipalities. Municipalities have fewer tasks than municipalities in the Netherlands.
In the Middle Ages, the Habsburg Monarchy emerged as the dominant power in Central Europe. The monarchy consisted of states within and outside the Holy Roman Empire. The capital of the Habsburg Monarchy was Vienna. In 1804 this merged into the Austrian Empire, which had an area of 650,000 km² and encompassed a large part of Central Europe, from Lombardy to the Czech Republic and Ukraine. After the fall of Napoleon, the Congress of Vienna took place, in which the Empire of Austria emerged as one of the four European powers and redrawed the borders of Europe. In 1867, the so-called “Ausgleich” (compromise) followed, whereby the dual monarchy of Austria-Hungary was created, which largely corresponded to the original empire in terms of territory. In 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo, triggering World War I. More than a million soldiers of Austria-Hungary were killed in the war. After the end of World War I, the monarchy was ended and Austria-Hungary ceased to exist. The Republik Deutschösterreich remained as the German-speaking part of the former monarchy.
Treaties shortly after the First World War prohibited an affiliation with Germany, which was a popular wish among the Austrian population at the time. The country was renamed the Republik Österreich and 3 million German speakers lived outside Austria from then on, mainly in Czechoslovakia, Italy and Yugoslavia. The border between Austria and Yugoslavia was established in 1920 as the Karawanks, with a Slovenian minority coming to live in Austria. In 1938 the Anschluss of Austria to Germany took place. At the end of World War II, the Americans reached the west and the Soviets the east of Austria. Like Germany, Austria was divided into American, British, French and Russian occupation zones. In 1955 Austria regained its independence and all foreign troops left the country.