Some Facts and Figures
Today's Republic of Austria is a small state, whose origins can be traced far back into history. Populated since prehistoric times, Austria's location in the heart of Europe means that it has had its share of the continent's historical developments. It evolved from a border region into a powerful empire and multiracial, multilingual and multireligiose state, which collapsed at the end of the First World War.
In 1918, the small, newly proclaimed Republic of Austria had at first to come to terms with its European environment. Austria emerged from the Second World War and the sufferings associated with it as a state that feels secure in its existence and which plays a decisive role in Europe.
On 1 January 1995 Austria joined the European Union, thus becoming part of a supranational organisation. Austria is a federal state with a total area of 32,368 sq. miles (83,858 sq. km) and consists of nine provinces with a population of 8,1 Million.
Austria has common borders with no fewer than eight other countries- Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. Austria is one of Europe's most heavily wooded countries, with 47 % of its total area being accounted for by forests.
Tourism is one of the main pillars of the Austrian economy. Austria is a mountainous country and one of the natural countryside reserves of Central Europe. More than 20 million foreign visitors (arrivals) visit Austria every year and 8 million Austrians spent their holidays in their own country. All in all, there were 112.6 million overnight stays, of which foreign visitors accounted for more than 80 million.
Since 1995, Austria has been a member of the European Union and hence not only shares responsibility for the development policies of the Community but also makes considerable financial contributions towards it. In 1999, Austria contributed ATS 1.5 billion to the European Union for development cooperation.
As a member of the United Nations, Austria particularly supports the activities undertaken by FAO, WHO and UNICEF. Its closest links in the field of development aid are with UNDP, the most important UN organization as regards the financing of technical support, and UNIDO.
As regards environmental policies, Austria is one of the leading countries in Europe. This fact has been acknowledged not only by the OECD in its latest report on the environmental situation in its member countries. The EU, too, has accorded Austria positive ratings when it comes to environmental policies.
The report of the EU, Commission on the accession of Austria, Sweden and Finland clearly stated that the membership of the Union of these three countries has significantly enhanced environmental standards within the European Union as a whole.
Austria is one of Europe's "water reservoirs". Austria's water resources are notable not only for their quantity but also for their quality. Austrian lakes have drinking water quality. "Culture is the mirror of a society, a lively certificate of creativity, contradiction and excitement, the predominant taste of an epoch".
Austria is renowned around the world as a land of Culture, Music and the Arts. Just about anyone you ask will praise Austria's musical achievements, whether they are referring to the great masters of the Classical Period - Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven - or to Johann Strauss and the Viennese Waltz, to those serious Romantic composers, Brahms and Bruckner, or even to those pioneers of modern music, Gustav Mahler and Adolf Schönberg. Some or all of these names are lumped together to make up what is generally known as "Austrian Music" and can be enjoyed every year atFestivals in Salzburg and Vienna, at the New Years Concert in the Golden Hall and many other places in Austria .
Many Koreans were witnesses of highest perfection of Austrian music during the Most recent concert given by the Viennese Philharmonic Orchestra in Seoul.
By Dr. Josef Mullner, Ambassador of Austria