Fun Facts About Austria
Austria is not Australia, nor should it be
Sharing borders with Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Slovenia, Hungary, Slovakia, and (the) Czech Republic, Austria is a landlocked country in Central Europe.
The country passed a constitutional amendment in 1955 declaring 'perpetual neutrality' as a precondition for the withdrawal of occupying Soviet forces. It worked, somewhat.
Austria adopted the Euro as legal currency early in the 21st century. You can purchase Kaiserschmarrn with that currency.
The country spreads out over 83,871 contiguous square kilometers, which is 32,383 square miles . By comparison, the State of California consumes 163,700 square miles. Five Austrias would fit into one California. That means a lot more Kaiserschmarrn.
The Grossglockner mountain represents the highest point in the country, towering above sea level for 12,461 feet. In German, gross means 'big' and glockner translates to 'ringer' or 'bell ringer.'
Austria has no navy, but military service in the army or air force is mandatory for males between the ages of 18 and 35. A 6 month training program is required, followed by an 8-year stint in the reserves. By statute, no member of the military may be deployed outside the country for military operations. You feel pretty safe there.
Less than one per cent of the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) is spent on the military.
As stipulated by their constitution, the primary obligations of the Austrian military are:
- Defend the constitutionally established institutions and democratic freedoms,
- Maintain order and security inside the borders, and
- Offer assistance in the event of natural disasters exceeding the capabilities of the infrastructure.
Austria's air defense system is called the Goldhaube. That's Golden Hat in English. Beginning in 1988, stationary radar outposts and transportable radar technology have worked in concert to monitor Austrian airspace. Aircraft are maintained on immediate alert to deal with unidentified aircraft approaching the border. Some, probably inadvertent, violations of Austrian space have been detected, but no wars have broken out.
The Eurofighter is one aircraft of choice in the Austrian Air Force. They are also in service at airports in the U.K., Germany, Italy, Spain, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and Sultanate of Oman. It's a high performance combat fighter that looks really boss from any angle.
The Danube River
Flowing from west to east through Austria is the Danube River. It's the only big European river moving in this direction. Fish know that. Snow melt from the Alps makes the river go. It germinates in Germany and terminates into the Black Sea in Moldova. The river has long been home to sturgeon, but probably not for long: dams on the river have long prevented annual migrations for spawning. Overfishing is also blamed, along with excessive runoff of agricultural products.
A Danube Sturgeon is born with 4 nostrils, which it uses to 'sniff' its' way back up the river when spawning time arrives. It insists on breeding only where it was originally born, therefore a clear migration path is crucial to the survival of the species. The fish that can't get home are blue.
Austrian Coffee, sort of
Austria, particularly Vienna, boasts a long history of coffee and coffee drinking. The beverage is forever intertwined in the culture. Estimates suggest that a coffee emporium exists for every 550 people in the country. Austrians enjoy lingering over coffee and cigarettes. Coffeehouse giant Starbucks has opened stores in Vienna and managed to succeed despite imposing a smoking ban in their stores.
Every Austrian is different, but taken as a whole there are about 8 million of them. Austrians are barely replacing themselves: the annual rate of birth rate increase is only about .035 per cent. The city of Vienna offers sanctuary to the most Austrians: about 1.7 million folks call that city home.
'Austrian' is considered an ethnic group, with over 91 per cent of the total population failing into that category. The remaining 9 per cent is predominantly Yugoslavian, Turkish, and German.