Population: 8,414,638 (est.)
- The Euro (€) is the official currency of Austria.
- Austria is one of the richest countries in the world, with a nominal per capita GDP of $46,330 (2012 est.).
- Christianity is the predominant religion in Austria. It’s thought around 86% of the Austrian population is Christian and 77% are Roman Catholic.
- Around 12% follow no religion.
- In Austria, 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”).
- About one fourth of the population of Austria lives in the capital, Vienna.
- Austria has the second lowest unemployment level for men in the EU.
- Around 60% of Austria’s electricity is supplied by renewable sources.
- Modern Austria is the German-speaking part of the Austrian (later Austro-Hungarian) Empire ruled by the Habsburg family from 1526 to 1918.
- The Austrian flag is one of the oldest national flag in the world. It dates from 1191, when Duke Leopold V fought in the Battle of Acre during the Third Crusade.
- Schönbrunn Palace, the summer palace of the Habsburgs, has no less than 1,440 rooms.
- The sewing machine was invented in 1818 by Josef Madersperger, an Austrian.
- Austria is the only continental EU country that is not a member of NATO.
- Among Europeans, Austrian people work the longest, with an average of 45h per week.
Austria, officially the Republic of Austria, is a landlocked country of roughly 8.47 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Hungary and Slovakia to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west. The territory of Austria covers 83,855 square kilometres (32,377 sq mi) and has a temperate and alpine climate. Austria’s terrain is highly mountainous due to the presence of the Alps; only 32% of the country is below 500 metres (1,640 ft), and its highest point is 3,798 metres (12,461 ft). The majority of the population speak local Austro-Bavarian dialects of German as their native language, and German in its standard form is the country’s official language. Other local official languages are Hungarian, Burgenland Croatian, 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 as the Emperor of the French, the Austrian Empire was officially proclaimed in 1804. In 1867, the empire was reformed into Austria-Hungary.
After the collapse of the Habsburg (Austro-Hungarian) Empire in 1918 at the end of World War I, Austria adopted and used the name the Republic of German-Austria (“Deutschösterreich”, later “Österreich”) in an attempt for union with Germany, but was forbidden due to the Treaty of Saint Germain. The First Austrian Republic was established in 1919. In the 1938 Anschluss, Austria was occupied and annexed by Nazi Germany. This lasted until the end of World War II in 1945, after which Germany was occupied by the Allies and Austria’s former democratic constitution was restored. In 1955, the Austrian State Treaty re-established Austria as a sovereign state, ending the occupation. In the same year, the Austrian Parliament created the Declaration of Neutrality which declared that the Second Austrian Republic would become permanently neutral.
Today, Austria is a parliamentary representative democracy comprising nine federal states. The capital and largest city, with a population exceeding 1.7 million, is Vienna. Austria is one of the richest countries in the world, with a nominal per capita GDP of $46,330 (2012 est.). The country has developed a high standard of living and in 2011 was ranked 19th in the world for its Human Development Index. Austria has been a member of the United Nations since 1955, joined the European Union in 1995, and is a founder of the OECD. Austria also signed the Schengen Agreement in 1995, and adopted the European currency, the euro, in 1999.