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Learn Your World - Austria

To support your global practice, ACC Docket offers country-specific fun facts from your peers who've been there — literally.


GDP (PPP) US$717.2 billion (2017 estimate)


8,754,413 (2017 estimate)


According to Transparency International's 2017 Corruption Perception Index, Austria ranked 16th "cleanest" (i.e., least corruption) out of the 180 countries surveyed.

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A ustria is a small country with fewer than 10 million inhabitants, who are very proud of their traditions and wonderful mountainous landscape. The historical presence and power of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire can be felt in the many gorgeous renaissance palaces, such as the Emperor Residence in Vienna, as well as in the numerous concert halls where Mozart's or Beethoven's classical music is still heard, and during the famous Salzburg Music Festival.

The luxurious Hotel Imperial and other elegant former palaces offer some of the finest hotel meeting rooms in Vienna — perfect for large conferences, corporate events, or small meetings. Tradition is part of the Austrian culture. Austrians take great pride in dressing well. Appearance and presentation are very important, particularly in business.

Austria's punctuality is renowned throughout the world. Punctuality, along with proper greetings, or Grüße, are forms of showing respect to other people while also gaining their respect. Always let your host introduce you. Shake hands with the people you meet and look them in the eye.

Austria has an impressive list of more than 800 titles and degrees. Many people get their title or academic degree included in their passports and may even have a master (Magister) degree written before their name. Most people speak an intermediate level of English, but if the meeting language is in German, do not forget to use the title "Herr Magister" or "Frau Doktor," for example, when referring to a person directly.

In business discussions, Austrians are not very direct and do not like to obviously contradict or disagree with colleagues. In most cases, they search for a compromise that sits between the different targets or business requirements proposed. Germans call this approach "the Austrian solution," which means something in the middle; like Austria, which lies in the heart of Europe, right between Western and Central-Eastern Europe.

About the Author

Mara Ghilardi is group legal counsel at Comparex AG.