Austria has historically been a crossroads for communication in Europe. Its citizens are known for their Gemutlichkeit, their characteristic way of taking things easy. One way they relax is by skiing; it is even possible to ski in summer! Between New Year’s and Ash Wednesday there are thousands of galas throughout the country. Famous Austrians include musician Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart; artist Gustav Klimt; and actor and politician Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Austrians love to learn. They especially enjoy informal conversations about current affairs. Austrians value the environment, cleanliness, good manners and punctuality.
Although a quarter of the Austrian population is in Vienna, with the rest in rural (50%) or suburban (30%) area. In these towns, families are traditional in their ways; a relatively patriarchal and authoritarian family structure is common. Nevertheless, Austrians are known to be highly open-minded and innovative people.
Austrian teenagers enjoy visiting each other’s houses, relaxing and chatting in the beautiful local cafes, watching movies and going out to dance clubs. As Mozart’s homeland, music is highly appreciated and many people play music or attend concerts. Austrians love the outdoors and sports, and taking walks is a national pastime. Soccer is the favorite sport, although winter sports obviously have an important role.
Outside of school, students have a good amount of free time (although a big chunk of it is dedicated to homework). Most of this time is dedicated to family and after school activities.
Austrians love good food and have a rich and varied cuisine. Austrian pastry is especially renowned. For example, strudel, along with wiener schnitzel (veal cutlet), is known around the world. Austrian families generally enjoy eating together. Snacking or raiding the refrigerator is not commonly done.
The official language is High German, although each region also has its own dialect. Other languages spoken are: Turkish 2.3%, Serbian 2.2%, Croatian (official in Burgenland) 1.6%, other (includes Slovene, official in Carinthia, and Hungarian, official in Burgenland) 5.3%. Approximately 73% of Austrians are Roman Catholic and the rest are Protestant 4.7%, Muslim 4.2%, other 3.5%, unspecified 2% and some claim none 12%.