Fact File – Austria
Area: 32,378 square miles.
Neighbouring countries: Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.
Environment: A landlocked country, the west and south being mountainous (Alps), with the River Danube running through flat eastern plains. The highest mountain is the Grossglockner (3,798 metres). 40% of Austria is forest.
Population: 8.2 million, largely concentrated in the eastern lowlands.
Life expectancy: 78 years.
Ethnic groups: Austrian (93%). There are many immigrants and refugees from central and eastern Europe, and the Middle East.
Capital: Vienna (2 million). Other cities: Graz, Linz, Salzburg and Innsbruck.
Economy: A well-developed market economy with a high standard of living. Austria joined the European Monetary Union in 1999 and is closely tied to the German economy. Two thirds of its work force is in the service sector and tourism. 68% of its power is derived from hydroelectricity. Austria’s natural resources include minerals, petroleum deposits – and beautiful scenery! Exports include machinery, paper, metal goods, chemicals, textiles and foodstuffs.
Religions: Roman Catholic 71%; Protestant 4%; Orthodox 2%; Muslim 2%; others and non-religious 21%. Since 1998 small religious groups have found it difficult to obtain legal recognition. This has impacted on Evangelicals.
Protestant denominations: Lutheran; Protestant Reformed; various Pentecostal and Charismatic; Anglican; various Baptist; Evangelical Free; Evangelical Methodist; others.
History: Austria lies at the crossroads of central Europe. Once the centre of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Austria was reduced to a small republic after its defeat in World War I. Following World War II it declared itself neutral. Today Austria is prominent in Europe. It has a right-wing government. It also enjoys a rich cultural life, which brings many visitors.