Burgenland, Austria History and Economy


In the 9th century, Burgenland belonged to the Pannonian Mark of the East Franconian Empire. After the Magyars were established around 900, the border was long disputed. German colonization began in the 11th century and lasted throughout the Middle Ages (including Heinzen). In addition to German nobles, Hungarian border guards provided border protection. The settlement activity of the Cistercians and Benedictines was significant. From the 15th to the 17th century, a considerable part of the manors was under Habsburg administration (Habsburg), the German peasantry and bourgeoisie always maintained the closest economic and cultural ties to Austria, which had acquired the area in 1526 with the Hungarian crown. Before the middle of the 16th century, a large part of the population professed Lutheranism. During the Counter-Reformation movement that began in the 17th century, the Esterházy and Batthyány families first played an important role in this area, where they later had great political and economic influence. The Magyar nationality policy of the 19th century led to tensions with the German part of the population.

In the Peace of Saint-Germain-en-Laye (1919) Austria was assigned most of the German-speaking area of ​​the western Hungarian counties of Wieselburg, Ödenburg, Pressburg and Eisenburg. The name Burgenland was formed in 1920 from the ending of these counties; Against the armed resistance of Hungarian irregulars, Austria took possession of Burgenland in 1921, although the city of Ödenburg remained with Hungary after an incorrect referendum (December 14, 1921). Divided between Lower Austria (German Reichsgau Niederdonau) and Styria (Southern Burgenland) in 1938–45, Burgenland was restored in 1945 (Soviet occupation 1945–55).

1946-64 the ÖVP provided the governor, since then the SPÖ (2005-10 in absolute majority). On February 28, 2019, Hans Peter Doskozil (* 1970; SPÖ) took over the office, replacing Hans Niessl (* 1951; 2000-19) at the head of the state. In the state elections on January 26, 2020, the Social Democrats were able to recapture an absolute majority of the seats. On February 17, 2020, the SPÖ sole government under Doskozil was elected and sworn in.


Measured in terms of economic power, Burgenland ranks last in a comparison of the federal states and is classified as particularly worthy of funding with regard to regional funding; the contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP) is 2.3%. The GDP per capita (2015) amounts to € 27,500. Around 25.4% of the workforce work in industry and trade, 70.9% in the service sector and 2.3% in agriculture. The unemployment rate (2016) is 5.7%, slightly below the national average of 6.0%.

Agriculture: According to franciscogardening, Burgenland is the most agrarian federal state in Austria; an above-average share of gross value added (GVA; at basic prices) of 2.8% is generated in agriculture and forestry (Austria: 1.4%). More than half of the farms are smaller than 10 hectares, which is also due to the real division practiced for a long time. The average size of the 5,800 farms (including 878 organic farms) is 31.7 hectares. The focus of production in Burgenland agriculture is on crop production (wheat, rye, barley, maize, potatoes, sugar beet, rape, vegetables, fruit and viticulture), while livestock and forestry are of much less importance than in the other federal states. Almost half of the area (48.6%) is used for agriculture, 3.4% are vineyards and almost 31% is forest. Of almost 158,300 hectares of arable land in 2015, around 56.5% were used for the cultivation of grain, 20, 3% for that of oil crops and 11.0% for that of green fodder plants (each including seeds). Fruit and vegetable growing in the Neusiedl am See district is of particular importance for supplying Vienna. Early fruit (including strawberries, cherries, pears) is grown between Lake Neusiedl and Leithagebirge and on the eastern slope of the Rosaliengebirge. The hot summer and mild winter climate favors viticulture around Lake Neusiedl (in the southern Seewinkel extensive vineyards on former farmland). Burgenland accounts for around 27% of the Austrian vineyards (for red and rosé wines even around 46%) and 17% of the wine harvest. The tobacco growing and horse breeding in the Seewinkel are remarkable. The forest consists mainly of mixed forests, only the Leithagebirge shows pure oak stands.

Industry: In terms of the number of employees, the manufacture of metal products, the production of food and animal feed, the manufacture of electrical equipment as well as rubber and plastic products make up the largest share, followed by the manufacture of wood and wicker products Furniture. The previously significant extraction and processing of existing mineral resources has declined sharply. Burgenland plays a pioneering role in the use of wind energy. Around 37% of those in employment in Burgenland had a job outside their federal state in 2015 (more than half in Vienna), making Burgenland the highest out-commuter rate among the Austrian federal states.

Tourism: Tourism contributes around 6% to Burgenland’s GVA. In 2015 around 2.9 million overnight stays were registered. Tourism concentrates on the communities around Lake Neusiedl and some therapeutic baths (e.g. Bad Tatzmannsdorf). Due to the short distance from the Vienna metropolitan area, there is a lot of excursion and weekend traffic.

Burgenland, Austria Economy

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