The official name of Austria is the Republic of Austria. Since German is the main language, the name is derived from the German word ‘Osterreich’ which translates to ‘eastern empire’ or ‘eastern kingdom’. It is a landlocked country, which means that it is surrounded by land and other countries that do not give it any access to seas or oceans. Austria is well-known for their beautiful mountainous regions. They are bordered by eight countries: To the north: Germany and the Czech Republic; to the west by Switzerland and Liechtenstein; to the south by Italy and Slovenia and to the east by Hungary and Slovakia.
Fun Facts about Austria for Kids:
- The population of Austria is 8.7 million people
- The capital city is Vienna (Wien).
- Austria is a German speaking country and many people also speak English.
- The capital city Vienna has about 1.9 million people living there.
- The biggest mountain is Grossglockner which is 3,798 m high.
- The longest river is the Danube 2860 km long. It is also Europe’s second longest river.
- The life expectancy is almost 82 years.
- The currency they use is the Euro
- Religions: Roman Catholic and Protestant
- Land Area: 32,378 sq mi (83,858 sq km)
- Literacy Percentage:98
- Christian Kern is the current Prime Minister.
- Austrian food is influenced by German, Hungarian and Italian traditions.
- A popular food in Vienna is Rindsuppe (beef soup) a clear soup with golden colour.
- The Apls are very popular for snowboarding and skiing.
- Salzburg is the home of the famous composer Mozart
- You can visit the Mozart Museum is in Salzburg.
- Austria is very famous for its sweet desserts and cakes.
- Arnold Schwarzenegger the former actor and former governor of California is from Austria.
- Austria is located close to the Alps mountain range. Almost two thirds of the entire country sits 1,640 ft above sea level.
- Austria became most well-known to the rest of the Western world as the focus for the movie ‘Sound of Music’.
- Austria has one of the highest standards of living as compared to any other country in the world.
- Austria has produced 20 Nobel Prize laureates including a number of specialties: physiology/medicine, chemistry, physics, and economics.
The country that we now know as Austria was occupied by Celtic tribes for most of its history. It was conquered by Ancient Rome and then when the Roman Empire fell, the area was again ruled by the local tribes. In 788 A.D. Charlemagne conquered the area and in 976 A.D. it became known as Austria during the rule of Leopold of Babenberg.
Austria had their own rulers as of 1276 when Rudolf I became the first of many of the house of Habsburg to rule the country of Austria. The Habsburg Empire ruled for over 750 years and expanded the borders of Austria allowing it to become a powerful European center for hundreds of years.
The 1848 ruler, Franz Josef was one of the Habsburg rulers to make a lot of changes. One of the downfalls was to give the country of Hungary more power through the creation of a ‘Dual Monarchy’. By 1919, post World Word I, the Habsburg Empire collapsed and gave way to the Austrian Republic through the Treaty of St Germain.
In 1938, the German Nazi’s invaded Austria and absorbed it as part of their domain. Almost all of the Jewish population of Austria were either killed or forced to leave the country, as were many during the holocaust.
It wasn’t until 1945 when Austria was divided up as part of the end of the war. It was at that time that Austria became an independent country again in 1955.
Austria has also been home to many of the world renowned classical music composers including: Johann Strauss, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Franz Liszt, Joseph Haydn, Anton Bruckner and Franz Schubert.
- Arnold Schwarzenegger is an Austrian native, later moving to the United States to become a Hollywood actor and Governor of California.
- Austria has produced many of the world’s finest scientists including: Christian Doppler, Sigmund Freud and Ernst Mach.
Due to the wonderful mountains, winter sports, including skiing are very popular in Austria. It has become the home of snowboarders and ski-jumping and the Austrian city of Innsbruck was the host of both the 1964 and 1976 Winter Olympics.
- A typical dish from Austria is “Wiener Schnitzel” as well as the dessert “Strudel”.
- Austria is rich in minerals and ore and is one of the countries in Europe with the most forests.
- Austria has created their ‘green-lung’ projects that protect their forests for the current and future generations.
- Austria prides itself in forward thinking and has privatized many industries as well as getting much of their power through hydroelectricity.
Vienna was the home of the Habsburg empire and has become a center of the arts with their many beautiful palaces. It is the home of many international organizations and tourists come to visit the homes of Beethoven, Mozart, and Strauss.
- Austria has many industries including vehicle parts, construction, machinery and food.
- The Austrians take pride in their potatoes, grain, wine, sugar beets, dairy products and lumber.
- Exports include: motor vehicles and parts, paper, machinery and equipment, metal goods, oil, timber, iron ore, and chemicals.