After World War II, the Soviets tried to grab Austria and make it a part of their Eastern European empire. Fortunately, they failed - Austria became democratic and started to develop a powerful market economy. However, regarding its geographic location, Austria was less lucky: Its Eastern part, which includes the capital Vienna, was completely surrounded by the communist bloc. In those days Austria was doing o.k., but people were wondering if it was living up to its true potential.
Now we know indeed that its real capabilities are much bigger: After the fall of communism, Austria turned into a regional business hub. Ever since it has been showing its true power. The results are highly impressive: In 2004 Austria was the fourth richest country in the European Union regarding its GDP.
Austria has a population of 8.3 million, and although the country is completely landlocked, it is blessed with its topography: No less than 62 per cent of the country is occupied by the Alps! This fact makes Austria one of Europe's major tourist destinations. Its mountainous area is so big that even visitors that like to keep a distance to big tourist resorts and prefer remote villages instead, can always be sure to find what they are looking for.
Austria is also a synonym for culture, most notably for classical music. Who wouldn't think of Mozart (and the multitude of other great composers!) when being in Vienna or Salzburg! The national language is of course German, but it comes in a different dialect, which sounds a whole lot softer and somewhat more charming and mysterious than the language in Germany. After all, regarding their charm, the Austrian people are second to no one!