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Fun Facts About Austria

Updated on June 11, 2013
It's not Kaiserschmarrn , it's strudel.
It's not Kaiserschmarrn , it's strudel.

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.'

The Eurofighter. You don't want to see this in your rearview mirror.
The Eurofighter. You don't want to see this in your rearview mirror.


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.

The flag of Austria. Image courtesy of Austria.
The flag of Austria. Image courtesy of Austria.

Austrian People

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.

I have been to Austria and eaten Kaiserschmarrn

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    • Alexander Mark profile image

      Alexander Silvius 6 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      Your write-up on Austria is wonderful, informative and short. Glad to read something not focused on historical or political figures and also find it odd that they aren't building spawning ramps for the sturgeon like we have for Salmon at the Folsom dam on the American River.

    • profile image 6 years ago

      I agree with drbj, Vienna is charming. It was a hub of culture in Europe. Whenever I hear Austria mentioned and especially Vienna I think of my uni days and reading Stefan Zweig - check out some of his writing Nicomp.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 6 years ago from south Florida

      Vienna is one of the most charming cities to visit, nicomp, and the Vienna Opera House is spectacular. Most of the Austrians I met took particular pains to inform me that Hitler was of German ancestry and not Austrian. Thanks for the deja vu. Almost forgot to mention that Vienna is also home to the Sacher Torte - an exceptional chocolate cake with many delicious layers.

    • Tom Whitworth profile image

      Tom Whitworth 6 years ago from Moundsville, WV


      In 1999 the OEM I was working for sold a rotary melting furnace to AMAG in Braunau, Austria and I spent quite a bit of engineering, construction and start up time there. The people were quite nice but Hitlers birthplace was spooky. Tne snitzel was excellent.