lower-austria-bannerLower Austria

About Lower Austria

Land use

Type of land use Area in Km2 Percent of total area
Farmland 7,000 42
Grassland 6,711 40
Alpine pastures 300 1,7
Vineyards 315 1,9

(Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lower_Austria, accessed on March 15th, 2019, 10:00 a.m.)

Lower Austria (German: Niederösterreich) is the northeasternmost of the nine states of Austria. Since 1986, the capital of Lower Austria has been St. Polten, the most recently designated capital in Austria. With a land area of 19,186 km2 (7,408 sq mi) and a population of 1.612 million people, Lower Austria is the country’s largest state; it is the second most populous after the federal state of Vienna. Other main cities are Amstetten, Krems an der Donau and Wiener Neustadt.

Situated east of Upper Austria, Lower Austria derives its name from its downriver location on the Enns River, which flows from west to east. Lower Austria has an international border, 414 km (257 mi) long, with the Czech Republic (South Moravia Region) and Slovakia (Bratislava and Trnava Regions). The state has the second longest external border of all Austrian states. It also borders the other Austrian states of Upper Austria, Styria and Burgenland as well as surrounding Vienna.

Lower Austria is divided into four regions, known as Viertel (quarters):

• Weinviertel or Tertiary Lowland (below the Manhartsberg)
• Waldviertel or Bohemian Plateau (above the Manhartsberg)
• Mostviertel (above the Vienna Woods)
• Industrieviertel (below the Vienna Woods).

These regions have different geographical structures. Whilst the Mostviertel is dominated by the foothills of the Limestone Alps with mountains up to 2,000 high, most of the Waldviertel is a granite plateau. The hilly Weinviertel lies to the northeast, descends to the plains of Marchfeld in the east of the state, and is separated by the Danube from the Vienna Basin to the south, which in turn is separated from the Vienna Woods by a line of thermal springs (the Thermenlinie) running north to south.

The Danube plays a very prominent role in both topographical and historical terms. This river, which was once the northern boundary of the Roman Empire, is the lifeline of the region and divides Lower Austria into a northern part with the Wald- and Weinviertel and a southern part with the Most- and Industrieviertel.The Danube has been of great importance since historical times as a transport artery, and today it forms part of the Rhine-Main-Danube canal, linking the Atlantic to the Black Sea.

Througout Austria’s history, Lower Austria has always been very important, for it was in connection with the Lower Austrian town Neuhofen/Ybbs that the first recorded mentioning of the name “Ostarrichi” (Österreich), dating back to over one thousand years ago, was found.

However, Lower Austria is not only the historical heart of Austria with countless cultural points of interest, it is also important from the economic point of view, for this province is generating the bulk of Austria’s agricultural products as well as featuring a highly developed industrial sector. In addition, the region has major sources of raw materials as well as extensive leisure facilities which are especially interesting for tourists.

The name ‘Niederösterreich = Lower Austria’ requires an explanation, for it sometimes evokes to incorrect associations. The prefix ‘Nieder = Lower’ has nothing to do with being flat or low, in fact it refers to the position of this province with regard to the river Enns, whose lower course forms the boundary between the provinces of Upper Austria and Lower Austria. Viewed from Bavaria to the east, this German province was very important to the development of modern- day Austria in the early Middle Ages, Lower Austria lies ‘below’ the Enns. So the name Lower Austria derives etymologically from this fact: it refers to the land “below” the Enns – as opposed to the region “above” the Enns, which accordingly is known today as “Oberösterreich = Upper Austria”.

(Source: http://www.noe.gv.at/noe/Topics-in-English/Lower_Austria_-_Facts___Figures.html, accessed on March 15ht, 2019, 10:00 a.m.)

Civil Society

Over 1.5 million people live in Niederösterreich, making it the second most heavily populated province in Austria after Vienna. The population of Niederösterreich has increased steadily in the past decade.

The percentage of foreigners in the population is around 6,1 % (2001). These are primarily people of Turkish nationality (1,3 % points) as well as people coming from the countries of former Yugoslavia (2,4 % points) and the European Union (1,56 % points).

Niederösterreich also has first-class health care, made up of three elements:

1. General practicioners and specialised medical doctors with their own practices;

2. Hospitals (22 hospitals at 27 locations) and

3. Public health administration (which devotes itself primarily to the organisation of preventive medicine and early diagnosis of illness and epidemics, as well as the organisation of strict food controls)

At present, some 525,000 people are employed in Lower Austria. At the beginning of 2013 the unemployment rate (national calculation method) stood at nearly 10 %, which comes close to the Austrian average.

Public representation of the interests of all workers and employees vis-à-vis the federation, the province and the economy is handled by the Chamber of Labour. It is designed to provide every individual worker with information and advice, in particular in legal affairs.

Legislation & Policy

The political head of Niederösterreich is the ‘Landeshauptmann / Landeshauptfrau’ (governor). He/She is appointed by the Landtag (provincial parliament) and represents the province externally. He/She is also the head of the provincial government and together with it, forms the highest executive body in matters of provincial administration.

The legislative body is the Landtag (provincial parliament). It is elected afresh every five years by the voters of the province. The political process in Niederösterreich is determined by political parties which are represented in the Landtag in proportion to the number of votes they win.

Politics in Niederösterreich has for decades been determined by the ‘Österreichische Volkspartei’ (ÖVP) or Austrian People’s Party, which is a conservative party of Christian Socialist type. As the most powerful force, it also provides the regions’ president. This post has been filled since April 2017 by Mag.a Johanna Mikl-Leitner.

Research & Education

Lower Austria has a first-class education system with a wealth of State schools, also with regard to vocational education and training.

Lower Austria’s specialized colleges are of particularly important for they give their students an extensive, practical grounding to help them meet the demands of the modern working world. For example, Wiener Neustadt offers university courses in ‘Economic advisory professions’ and ‘Precision, systems and information technology’, while Krems offers a course in ‘International tourism’, and St Pölten offers Telecommunications and media’ as well as ‘Media management’.

On top of this, Lower Austria is home to the first post-graduate university in Austria, the DANUBE UNIVERSITY in Krems, where university graduates can choose from a wide range of courses and master programmes.

Clusters in Lower Austria – Innovation through collaboration
The Clusters in Lower Austria aim at joint pre-competitive research as a basis for product and service innovations, joint improvement of organizational and production processes as well as building-up and anchoring know-how in the region. The initiation of collaborative projects is at the core of their activities. Managing four regional cluster initiatives in key sectors and technologies as well as implementing Lower Austria’s e-Mobility Initiative, ecoplus connects businesses and sciences and stimulates innovation and qualification in collaboration. The Cluster team works continuously to identify new trends and challenges early on, and to process them for Lower Austrian companies, in particular SMEs. In doing so, the Cluster helps to bolster expertise among businesses and improve productivity. This process also paves the way for access onto new markets and business fields.

(Source: https://www.ecoplus.at/about-us/clusters-technopols/clusters-in-lower-austria/)

Technopols in Lower Austria – Research, education and business in one place
When research institutes, educational institutions and business enterprises create a unit at a site in order to do internationally recognized, cutting-edge research and to establish business trends, this is considered to be a Technopol with pioneering standards. Technopols are platforms for know-how transfer and knowledge dissemination and promote regional and international cooperation.

The Technopols are located in Krems, Tulln, Wiener Neustadt and Wieselburg and pursue dedicated technology and research focuses with the aim of establishing Lower Austria as an innovative high-tech location in Europe. The local Technopol managers connect research development institutes with high-tech companies and academic education and training institutions.

Industry & Business

Lower Austria is leading economic performer among the regions in Europe.
Besides being recognized as a high-tech location, it is strong in exports and innovation and has an excellent research infrastructure.

With the Lower Austrian economic strategy and the associated instruments and measures of the department of economics, we have created a solid basis for the development and competitiveness of the Lower Austrian economy in order to strengthen the economic location, to support further development and attract companies.

The economic strategy of the province of Lower Austria serves as a foundation for the activities and measures of the business areas of the Lower Austrian Ministry of Economic Affairs. These include in particular: the Department of Economics, Tourism, and Technology of the Office of the Provincial Government of Lower Austria, the Business Agency of Lower Austria ecoplus Niederösterreichs Wirtschaftsagentur GmbH, Regional Innovations and Start-Up Centers of Lower Austria RIZ Regionale Innovationszentren Niederösterreich GmbH, the official tourism and marketing organization of Lower Austria Niederösterreich Werbung GmbH, the financing pillar N.vest and its downstream subsidiaries NÖBEG, tecnet and accent.

The strategy also serves as a template for the numerous cooperative projects with intermediaries, for example the Technology and Innovation Partners (TIP) with the Chamber of Commerce of Lower Austria or the industrial policy action program with the Federation of Austrian Industry Lower Austria.

Economic structure on Lower Austria 2016
Percentage share of the economic sector to the Gross Value Added (GVA), in %
1,41 Manufacturing, Mining, Production of Material Assets
2,42 Public Administration, Healthcare
2,65 Trade
3,02 Real Estate- and Housing Activities
3,03 Traffic and Warehousing
3,11 Freelance work and other economic Services
7,28 Construction Industry
7,45 Energy amd Water supply, Waste disposal
8,3 Tourist accommodation and Catering
11,37 Financial and Insurance Service
13,52 Agriculture
17,27 Other Services
19,17 Information and Communication

Economic Strategy 2020"
Focus is on four core strategies in particular:

  • Sustainable Business Success and Internationalization: supporting companies in their sustainable growth and in their internationalization activities, appropriate financing mechanism, assistance with site establishment and expansion projects
  • Research, Development & Market Implementation: research and development with particular focus on marketing, development and backing of cooperative R&D&I projects, sponsorship of cooperative innovation projects
  • Start-ups with Growth Dynamics: promoting and funding of business start-ups with growth potential, innovative financing forms such as participating interests and venture capital with an emphasis on innovative business ideas, improving the business start-up environment
  • Attractive Business Sites: development and managment of technology and research centers, development and management of business parks and in business site cooperations, promotion of regional flagship projects, identification & support of top business establishment and expansion projects
(Source: https://www.wirtschaftszentrum.at/en/wirtschaftsstandort-noe.html , accessed on March 15th, 2019, 10:30 a.m.) The full "Economic Strategy 2020" may be downloaded here as pdf

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement nº 824588.

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