Austria’s rich historical and cultural heritage is spread throughout its landscape. The country’s capital, Vienna, takes the lead with iconic structures such as the resplendent State Opera House, its history dating back to the mid-19th century and which, after its wartime bombing and redesign, acted as a centrepiece for Austrian culture and is now one of the busiest opera houses in the world.
Vienna is also home to the former imperial residence of the Hofburg: this Palace has housed some of the most powerful people in European and Austrian history, and currently serves as the official home of Austria’s President, Heinz Fischer.
Salzburg, on the other hand, is historically famous for a different musical reason; the birthplace of Mozart. In fact, the whole of Austria was at the heart of the 17th Century’s Cultural Renaissance, giving shape to landmark periods like Baroque and The Enlightenment.
This deeply rooted history has left its mark, but has merged and complimented the forward movement into modern Austria, and this can be seen clearly reflected in the architecture within its cities – a charming interplay between old and new.
- Exercising good manners is a cornerstone of interaction in an Austrian business environment: this involves consideration and deference to people of authority, and relatively formal communication to stay focused on accomplishing business goals or objectives.
- First impressions are important, and the appropriate clothing and demeanour for the business occasion should be thought about with some care. Although third-party introductions are preferred, a personal relationship is not required to engage in business.
- It is common within a professional environment to be referred to by your surname, and this is because first names are generally reserved for close family and friends.
- Austrians can be direct to the point of bluntness – which should not be misconstrued as rudeness, but rather a desire to move the discussion forwards
- A great deal of written communication should be expected in order to keep record of discussions and outcomes.
Austrian Way of Life
German is the official language and mother tongue of 98% of the Austrian population. As a German speaker, you will encounter distinct differences between the dialects in various regions, including a variation in the ‘standard’ Austrian dialect of Hochdeutsch spoken from province to province. Additional languages include Slovene, which is the official language in the region of Carinthia, and other minority languages such as Hungarian (0.5%) and Croatian (0.1%).
- The family forms the basis of the Austrian social structure.
- The family is generally small and, due Austrian lack of migration from one province to another, generally closely knit within a certain town or village
- Weekends are generally devoted to family activities such as outdoor activities.
- Eating dinner together in the evening is very much the norm.
- Sundays are usually bookmarked for visiting grandparents for dinner, and/or, enjoying a hike in the country together.
A quick, firm handshake is the traditional formal greeting, with maintained eye contact. Titles are also very important and denote respect – usually using a person’s title and surname until being invited to use their first name is polite.
When dining in Austria, punctuality is a key form of etiquette and a sign of respect – when invited to sit down, a napkin should be placed in your lap and table manners are continental: the fork is generally held in the left hand and the knife in the right whilst eating, and when finished, lying the knife and fork parallel on the plate.
Owing to a growing interest in its healthy business climate, and with new feasible residency opportunities coming to light, Austria’s foreign populace has branched out and is attracting foreign residents not only from Germany and Italy, its primary groups of foreign residents historically, but individuals and families from outside the EU.
According to Eurostat, in 2010 there were 1.27 million foreign born residents in Austria, corresponding to around 15% of the population. Of these, 9% were born outside the EU, with a great number having been naturalized as Austrian citizens.
Want to become an Austrian resident?
If you are interested in becoming a resident of Austria and you are without the need of a workplace, please contact us today at [email protected] for further information regarding a unique EU residency opportunity which does not require investment to qualify: this is a private residency permit which allows a non-EU national and their immediate family to live in Austria, with a direct route to permanent residency after five years.