The state elections in Upper Austria resulted in huge gains for the right-wing Freedom Party (FPÖ) and major losses for the conservative People’s Party (ÖVP). Regional governor Josef Pühringer has said he will be holding talks with all parties to discuss the options before forming a new coalition.
The ÖVP and the Greens have lost their majority, and an ÖVP/FPÖ or ÖVP/SPÖ coalition look most likely.
The Freedom Party is now the second largest party in Upper Austria and Pühringer (ÖVP) told Ö1 radio that he believed its success was solely down to the refugee crisis, and nothing to do with regional politics. “We can only take care of accommodation and on the spot care for refugees – but everything else is in the hands of international politics,” he said.
The FPÖ campaigned aggressively on the issue of immigration, and their success in Upper Austria may bode well for them in the Vienna elections which take place on October 11th.
The SPÖ gained only 18.4 percent of the vote in the weekend’s elections, a result which analysts are saying is “catastrophic” for the party.
Source: thelocal.at Sept 2015
Hundreds of refugees who had massed at the main train station in the city of Salzburg left on foot on Wednesday in the hope of reaching Germany, a city spokesman said. One day after Salzburg warned that the station might have to close due to the large numbers of migrants, government spokesman Johannes Greifeneder said the situation had “relaxed”.
“The situation was much more tense this morning. We informed people using flyers written in Arabic that there would be no train service to Germany,” he told AFP.
“We have offered shelter to people but they have refused,” he said. “My guess is that they will try to cross the border on foot.”
The situation escalated this week after Berlin reintroduced border controls at the weekend, temporarily suspending all trains between Austria and Germany.
Although an intermittent service has resumed, it has slowed the passage of thousands from Austria into Germany, causing major road and rail disruption.
Source: thelocal.at 17/09/15
Health and wellness are big in Austria. Not only is spa culture popular here but many Austrians also tend to opt for herbal or traditional remedies when they come down with a cold, cough or stomach ache.
There’s a common perception that these are healthier and safer than over-the-counter medicines. Many remedies have been passed down through generations and you’ll find that some of the “cures” in this list are usually found in the kitchen and not in the medicine cabinet. This reflects the Austrian idea that good health begins with the food you eat. And maybe there’s some truth to this – the average life expectancy in Austria is 81, compared with an EU average of 79.
A century ago many of Austria’s Alpine communities lived isolated from the rest of the world, and found novel ways to survive, existing on what they could find on their doorstep, including traditional natural medicine. Some of these remedies have been tried and tested and others are a bit more dubious – but they might be worth a try next time you need a quick fix. Gargle with Schnaps for a sore throat Schnaps is a strong alcoholic drink which in Austria is often flavoured with fruit. It’s very warming and good as a winter tipple. As alcohol tends to have numbing and antiseptic qualities there may be some truth to the belief that it can help alleviate the symptoms of a sore throat. A friend’s sprightly octogenarian Oma (grandma) swears by a morning shot of Schnaps every day as a general way to maintain good health. Younger Austrians tend to prefer fruit and vegetables and vitamin C and Zinc lozenges. Fermented cabbage juice for a healthy tum Sauerkraut juice is widely available in health food stores and supermarkets in Austria. It’s an acquired taste but cabbages have been shown to create compounds in the digestive tract that are anti-carcinogenic and anti-inflammatory. Raw cabbage juice is believed to help stomach ulcers and acid reflux, and also help strengthen the immune system. Fermented cabbage juice contains beneficial bacteria, enzymes and vitamins and minerals. It’s recommended that you drink it in small quantities i.e. one small glass a day – and consult a doctor about drinking it if you have a thyroid condition. Hug a tree if you have a headache
We’re not sure if the weight of science is behind this one – and it sounds like something an old hippy would recommend, but there is some evidence that just being around trees can boost one’s sense of well-being. A recent book called Blinded by Science by UK author Matthew Silverstone claimed that trees have beneficial effects on mental illnesses, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), concentration levels, depression, and can also help alleviate headaches.
Take a hay bath for achy joints
Source: thelocal.at – 28/8/15
Anyone planning to take a refreshing dip in one of Austria’s lakes after the scorching heat of the past few days is going to be disappointed – with the water in most lakes now as warm as a bathtub.
The hot, tropical nights of the past week have meant water temperatures have continued to rise. The warmest water is currently in Carinthia’s lakes, where Klopeiner See and Turnersee are around 29C. Experts say smaller lakes in Carinthia could soon hit 30C if the heat continues.
In Vienna, a plunge in the Alte Donau river won’t leave you gasping for breath or complaining of goose bumps, with the water temperature now 28C. The Neusiedler See in Burgenland is also on the warm side, with 27C.
The Lunzersee lake in Upper Austria promises to be more refreshing with 25C. And for those desperately seeking a place to cool down Hallstätter See in Upper Austria could be the right place, with just 23C.
Salzburg’s lakes are similarly warm – with temperatures between 23 and 26C. The only exception is the Flachauwinkel bathing lake, which is a chilly 18C. But experts have warned people not to jump into cold water without cooling down from the heat first, as the shock to the circulatory system could have adverse health effects.
In Styria, the coolest lake is the Erlaufsee with 23C. Other lakes in the province are between 24 and 28C. Even Bodensee (Lake Constance) in Vorarlberg is currently 25C. Tyrol’s lakes are generally a little cooler, between 21 and 26C, with the exception of Schwarzsee which is now 27C.
The fish aren’t suffering from the warmer water temperatures as they swim deeper, to the cooler regions of the lake. So far, an increased growth of algae in the water is not noticeable.
Conditions on Friday and Saturday will continue to be hot and humid, with temperatures reaching 33C and up to 35C in the east, with some rain and thunderstorms forecast. Sunday should see cooler temperatures, of around 26C.
Source: thelocal.at 27 July 2015
The panoramic view from the rooftop over Vienna is stunning, but can currently only be seen by people who have paid to enter the aquarium – or choose to climb the 192 steps on the outside of the tower.
Construction is scheduled to start in the autumn and should be finished in time for summer 2016.
The new panoramic lifts will ease pressure on the single internal lift and take visitors directly to the roof cafe, without them having to buy a ticket for the aquarium.
Koppen said there are also plans for a new balcony on the 10th floor, which will be covered and offer fantastic views of the city, whatever the weather.
The revamp will cost around €6 million Source: thelocal.at July 2015
Overall, Austria scored 7.8, behind Denmark, Finland and Sweden, who all scored 8. The least happy Europeans are Bulgarians, with a score of just 4.8. Austrians gain the most satisfaction from their “personal relationships” – with a high score of 8.5 which is only bettered by Ireland (8.6). They also gain a sense of well-being from their “living environment”, with the highest EU-wide score of 8.4. “Green and recreational areas” scored a well-being value of 8.3, as did “accommodation”. Austria’s lowest scores were for “time use” (7.3) and “financial situation” (7) – a trend echoed across the EU with Bulgaria again coming bottom for financial happiness. The annual median net income for Austrians was calculated as €23,221. The figures were revealed on Monday as part of a closer look at data recorded in 2013 and initially released in March to mark 2015’s World Happiness Day. Source: email@example.com – June 2015
This makes it a good time to be buying property in Austria if you have investment from outside the euro zone.
The Chamber of Commerce said it was looking at taking legal steps against the ban in a country famed for its cafe culture and where smoking is above European averages. France, Britain, Italy and some German provinces have introduced similar bans. Cafe owners who go completely smoke-free by July 2016 will get a special one-off bonus to offset costs at least partially. “We are strengthening the protection of non-smokers in Austria, but also take into account the interests of businesses which have already invested in the spatial separation of smokers and non-smokers,” APA news agency quoted Conservative Economy Minister Reinhold Mitterlehner as saying. But not everyone was convinced. “Incredible. What are we going to do? You know that Austrians like to smoke when they drink coffee,” said Elzin Nicevic, manager of a cafe on Vienna’s Ring boulevard. The head of Austria’s right-wing Freedom Party, Heinz-Christian Strache, whose party is neck and neck in opinion polls with the two centrist coalition parties, said he would scrap the law should his party win parliamentary elections in 2018. “We don’t need enforced joys such as this failure of a law,” the heavy smoker said of the bill, which parliament is expected to pass within months. Reuters – 10 April 2015
A slight decline in the number of overnight stays in Austria, which is being attributed to people visiting for a shorter period, as the number of guests increased!. In calendar year 2014 (final results), a total of 131.9 million overnight stays was reported; this means a decline of 728.000 overnight stays (-0.5%) compared to 2013 (132.6 million). The decline was observed both in the number of overnight stays by guests from abroad (96.2 million; -0.7%) and in the number of domestic overnight stays (35.7 million -0.2%). There was an increase by 1.9% (37.6 million) in the number of guests (= arrivals). Arrivals both among Austrian residents and among guests from abroad rose by 1.9% to 12.3 million resp. 25.3 million. The average length of stay declined to 3.5 days compared with the previous year (3.6 days). April 2015
The three least peaceful countries are South Sudan, Afghanistan and Syria. Levels of peace in South Sudan deteriorated the most since 2013, falling 16 places from last year. Trends According to the Global Peace Index, the world global average peace score deteriorated slightly since last year, mainly due to global increases in terrorist activity, the number of conflicts fought and the number of refugees and displaced people. Economic Impact The economic impact of containing and dealing with the consequences of global violence last year was estimated to be US$9.8 trillion. This is equivalent to 11.3% of global GDP – twice the combined GDP of African countries. Risk This years’ Global Peace Index includes a new statistical modelling risk tool which identifies countries at risk of descending into violence and unrest in the next two years. The new methodology analyses a data set stretching back to 1996, and compares countries with the performance of states with similar institutional characteristics. The ten countries most likely to deteriorate in peace in the next two years are Zambia, Haiti, Argentina, Chad, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Nepal, Burundi, Georgia, Liberia and Qatar. Source: www.friedlnews.com
It is now possible to see the first images of the design for the Eurovision Song Contest stage unveiled in the Austrian capital Vienna which is the home of last year’s winner Conchita Wurst. The design of the stage is in the form of an eye and will be created from 1,288 individual pillars. These pillars representing the nations will be lit with LEDs allowing for a variety of lighting effects and designs alongside the floor of the stage itself. An amazing 22-metre-wide and 8.5-metre-tall LED display forms the back of the stage allowing the director, set designers and lighting teams to create a show to remember. Director of television company ORF, who are behind the show’s organisation, Kathrin Zechner, explained: “The eye is a symbol for bridge building – to promote respect amongst different cultures, countries and peoples. The realisation of this artistic vision has been achieved by the best in their professions – both nationally and internationally.” The show designer Florian Wieder, for example, has worked on international television productions including 16 MTV Award shows, America’s and Britain’s Got Talent, and a song contest in the German city of Dusseldorf. Besides this, he has had huge national success with programmes on ORF such as Starmaina, Dancing Stars and Helden von Morgen. His stage designs have also been used by huge stars such as Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez and U2. The lighting design is under the control of Al Gurdon who has worked on the half time show for the Super Bowl, Victoria’s Secret shows, American Idol and previous Eurovision Song Contests in the Russian capital Moscow and Norwegian capital Oslo. Gurdon said: “The thing I like the most about Eurovision is that you have to be able to produce lots of different looks – you need to put a lot of energy into it but it’s really liberating. The audience are expecting something state of the art and the opportunity to produce something like that is fantastic.” Gurdon even received an Emmy for his work with Madonna for the Super Bowl and the Winter Olympics. The director of the Eurovision show in Vienna is Kurt Pongratz who is responsible for the conception and visual realisation of the event. Pongratz said: “For any director, it is a huge challenge to be working on the world’s biggest TV entertainment event. However, I’m working with Florian Wieder and Al Gurdon who are the absolute best at what they do and I’m thrilled to have them on side.” Pongratz was responsible for the staging and storyboard for Conchita Wurst’s winning performance in the Danish capital Copenhagen last year. He said: “Really our collective goal is to bring a spectacular and enchanting show to 200 million viewers worldwide in Vienna – the capital of music.”
28.1.15 For UK buyers or investors in Austria, the news is all good…the Pound has broken through the 1.30 euro mark, making it much cheaper to buy property in Austria. This means that over the last 3 months UK buyers have gained 10% making their purchase that much cheaper…and in fact the increase in Sterling has effectively given UK buyers their purchase costs. So, will it last..well that depends on the ECB, and any annoucements they make for the euro and quantitive easing, which would lower the value of the Euro. But now is one of the best times to buy.
There was a festival atmosphere as Bundespresident Heinz Fischer opened Vienna’s new Hauptbahnhof Friday morning. He was accompanied by Frau Fischer, Vize Kanzler Mitterlehner, Minister Alois Stöger and Vienna Bürgermeister Michael Haüpl. The President of Parliament, Doris Bures was also present. Earlier, ÖBB Boss Christian Kern emphasised that the project had been completed on time – then he pointed to the huge arrivals board and joked that all of the trains were likewise on time ! The new railway station took 7 years to complete at a cost of just over 1 billion Euros. 20,000 workers were employed on the site. There are offices, apartments, as well as a shoping mall with 90 Top Shops. ÖBB expects more than 145.000 passengers to use the station every day. By Ken Cameron Austrian Times
Spectacular images that show how a park becomes a lake each spring complete with underwater trees have been captured by two divers. The snaps were taken at the Gruener See, or Green Lake as it is called in English, located in the southern Austrian province of Styria. During the winter months the lake, located near the town of Tragoss at the foot of the snow-capped Hochschwab mountains, is only around a metre deep and the surrounding area is part of the country park. It is a favourite location for hikers and campers, but all of it vanishes underwater in the spring when the winter snow starts to melt, sending waters flooding down from the nearby mountain range. During the summer, the lake reaches its maximum depth of around 12 metres and trees have adapted to being completely underwater for upwards of a month every year at a time. And as these spectacular images show it creates an eerie landscape, in which the crystal clear waters flooding down from the melting ice and snow still allow the light to filter onto the grass and shrubs below. The photographs are part of the project to highlight Austria’s investment in making sure it’s rivers, streams and lakes remain crystal clear and unpolluted. They are being shown at a new Under Water World exhibition at the Biology Centre in the southern city of Linz to highlight the country’s aquatic beauty spots. Two of Austria’s leading underwater photographers, Gerald Kapfer and Harald Hois, also captured some of the plants and animals beneath the underwater lake which can now be seen at the photography exhibition. Exhibition curator Stephan Weigl said: “Many people are surprised that images like these have been captured in Austria rather than in somewhere more exotic like the Maldives but we really do have a beautiful aquatic landscape that is perhaps sometimes overlooked against the backdrop of the country’s other natural wonders.”
By Matej Klenovský. Translation by Tomáš Buš Austria is in line with the current economic trend in Europe, according to several economic indicators made public in Austria on Friday. Analysis of the results of the indicators show that at the moment, there is a moderate decrease, almost stagnation, in the price levels. Meanwhile, industrial production is slowing down at a significant rate, as it is in many other European countries. The results of the Austrian Industrial Production indicator show that production has decreased in March by 1.8% in comparison with February, the second month in a row where it has dropped. The greatest decrease was recorded in capital goods (-4.5%) and durable goods (-4.7%) whilst the situation in the construction sector has also worsened for the second month in a row. The construction sector, being probably the most cyclical out of all sectors, represents an important part of an economy and its development is exceptionally dependant on the current economic state of a country. As a result, it is often a useful predicting indicator for forecasting a country’s economic development. Meanwhile, the Austrian Central Statistical Office also discussed a change in the Production Price Index this Friday, which measures the average change over time in the selling prices of the output from domestic producers. The indicator decreased by 1.2% in comparison with April 2013, although there was no change in comparison with March 2014. A decrease in the energy prices (-3.8%) and intermediate goods (-1.3%) is responsible for these lower prices. On the other hand, the prices of investment goods rose year-on-year by 0.6%; the increase in the price of machinery (+1.5%) and motor vehicles (+1.1%) is responsible for this rise. The greatest decrease within a month was recorded in the price of fats and oils from plants and animals, which sank by 16.2% in April. This significant drop contributed to the fact that the price of consumer goods increased only by 0.2%. Finally, one of the most popular indicators is Bank Austria Manufacturing PMI, which is based on the survey of over 300 industrial companies. The index has for the ninth month in a row now shown expansion (over 50 points). However, the tempo of the growth is consistently decreasing as of the beginning of 2014, when the level of the index was recorded to be over 54 points. The last records show a decrease in the indicator from 51.4 points in April to 50.9 points in May, which has also been the monthly minimum for the past nine months. According to most of the surveyed subjects, the reason behind the lower total results lies in the slowing down of the sub-index New Orders, which is responsible for the lower demand among customers as well as greater competition. A lower interest from the domestic market also plays a significant role in the decrease of the total demand. Meanwhile, the growing demand from abroad has led to a mild rise in exports.
Thousands of holidaymakers from northern England can now waltz away from Manchester on a direct flight to Vienna – the first flight from the country that takes off outside London. The first flight between the northern city and the Austrian capital took off last week on 2 May, just in time for the British May bank holiday. Already 8,000 Brits have bought tickets with airline company operating the route Jet2.com. “Vienna is one of the largest un-served European resorts and it appeals to lots of customers, businesses and travel. It’s a great city and I know what is has to offer,” said David Neill, the head of Jet2.com planning. People are used to regular city breaks such as Rome or Paris, and we wanted to offer somewhere different. Jet2 are hoping that Vienna’s cultural, musical, and cuisine offerings will attract visitors from Manchester and the surrounding regions who want to discover an alternative European city break. Prices begin at 43 GBP (52 EUR) per person, including taxes, and there will be three flights a week on Mondays, Wednesday, and Friday.