Fast Facts

Population:
8,151,000
Capital:
Vienna; 2,179,000
Area:
83,858 square kilometers (32,378 square miles)
Language:
German
Religion:
Roman Catholic, Protestant
Currency:
Euro
Life Expectancy:
79
GDP per Capita:
U.S. $27,900
Literacy Percent:
98
Flag: Austria
Map: Austria

Bordering eight countries in Europe's center, Austria is mountainous in the south and west. Fertile lowlands in the east are part of the Danube River basin. Accepted in 1995 as a member of the European Union (EU), Austria has increased its competitiveness by privatizing industries and reducing subsidies. Manufacturing, powered by hydroelectricity, drives the nation's export trade; Austria also profits from iron ore, oil, and timber. Austria is one of the most forested countries in Europe with almost half its territory covered in forest—and forested area is increasing steadily thanks to Austria's "green lung" projects. In 2002 the euro replaced the Austrian schilling; the EU common currency benefits trade and the Austrian economy.

Natural grandeur lures visitors to Tirol and the Hohe Tauern National Park—the largest protected natural area in Central Europe. Seat of the former Habsburg empire, Vienna is a world center of the arts, the site of many splendid palaces, and the headquarters for many international organizations. Tourists can visit the houses of Ludwig van Beethoven, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, or Johann Strauss. Salzburg, Mozart's birthplace, celebrates his 250th birthday in 2006.

ECONOMY

  • Industry: Construction, machinery, vehicles and parts, food
  • Agriculture: Grains, potatoes, sugar beets, wine; dairy products; lumber
  • Exports: Machinery and equipment, motor vehicles and parts, paper, metal goods, chemicals, iron ore, oil, timber

—Text From National Geographic Atlas of the World, Eighth Edition

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