Lower Austria Economy and History
In a comparison of the nine federal states, Lower Austria has an economic power with a gross domestic product (GDP) per resident of (2015) € 32,500 in the penultimate position. Lower Austria’s contribution to GDP is 15.7%. The opening of the eastern borders and the accession of the Czech and Slovak Republic to the European Union, extensive investment programs (e.g. in connection with the relocation of the administration to the new state capital) and successful restructuring measures in the industrial sector have given the state new economic impetus. Between 1995 and 2008 Lower Austria’s share of Austrian GDP increased by 0.5%. After that, he hardly changed. The regional unemployment rate in 2016 was 5.2%, slightly below the national average (6.0%).
Agriculture: The contribution of agriculture and forestry to gross value added (GVA; at basic prices) is 2.9% in Lower Austria (2014), around twice as high as in Austria as a whole (1.4%). Almost half of the area in Lower Austria is used for agriculture. With 683 400 ha, arable land dominates (around 50% of the Austrian arable land). There are also 183,300 hectares of pastures and meadows and 27,600 hectares of vineyards. 709,900 hectares (one fifth of the forest area in Austria and almost 40% of the area of Lower Austria) are designated as forests. Mainly bread grains (especially wheat and rye), fodder grains (especially barley), root crops (especially potatoes and sugar beets), oil crops (especially winter rape and sunflowers) and forage crops grow on the arable land. Lower Austria is the leader among the federal states for most products. The most important arable areas are Weinviertel, Marchfeld, Wiener Becken and Tullnerfeld. The use of meadows also plays a role in the Waldviertel. In the foothills of the Alps there is arable and grassland economy, in the foothills of the Alps the use of grassland dominates. With (2016) 61% of the Austrian wine stock, Lower Austria is also the largest wine-growing region in Austria. The grapes harvested in the country’s wine-growing regions (including Weinviertel, Kamptal, Kremstal, Wagram, Wachau and Thermenregion) in 2016 produced around 1,171,700 hl of white and 341,000 hl of red and rosé wine. Centers of viticulture are above all With (2016) 61% of the Austrian wine stock, Lower Austria is also the largest wine-growing region in Austria. The grapes harvested in the country’s wine-growing regions (including Weinviertel, Kamptal, Kremstal, Wagram, Wachau and Thermenregion) in 2016 produced around 1,171,700 hl of white and 341,000 hl of red and rosé wine. Centers of viticulture are above all With (2016) 61% of the Austrian wine stock, Lower Austria is also the largest wine-growing region in Austria. The grapes harvested in the country’s wine-growing regions (including Weinviertel, Kamptal, Kremstal, Wagram, Wachau and Thermenregion) in 2016 produced around 1,171,700 hl of white and 341,000 hl of red and rosé wine. Centers of viticulture are above all Krems an der Donau, Langenlois, Dürnstein, Spitz, Retz, Klosterneuburg and Gumpoldskirchen. Vegetable growing around Vienna and fruit growing (Wachau) are also important. After Upper Austria, Lower Austria has the largest herds of livestock (including around 438 600 cattle and 754 700 pigs in 2016). Meat and milk production are key areas.
In terms of natural resources, crude oil and natural gas in the Weinviertel and Marchfeld are to be mentioned. Storage facilities for natural gas were created in the Matzen, Tallesbrunn and Schönkirchen-Reyersdorf fields. In Lower Austria, around 86% of the domestic crude oil is extracted. In the first decade of the 2nd millennium, a peak value was reached in 2003 with 1,138,000 t of crude oil; in 2013 the output was 729,600 t. The refinery is located in Schwechat. In 2012, Lower Austria generated 51 125 GWh of raw energy, of which 46.9% came from renewable energy sources (biogenic fuels, hydropower, firewood, wind and photovoltaics), 29.5% from natural gas, 20.0% from oil and 3.6% % on combustible waste. The final consumption in the same year was around 66,000 GWh, of which 42.3% was fossil liquid energy sources, 19.7% fossil gaseous energy sources, 16.5% electrical energy, 14.1% renewable energies and 5, 3% on district heating.
Industry: The share of the secondary sector in GVA is 31.0% (2015) above the Austrian average (28.3%). Production focuses on food and beverages, chemicals, mechanical engineering and steel construction, iron and metal goods and petroleum. The operations are mainly concentrated in the Vienna Basin and the surrounding area, but also in the Traisental (Sankt Pölten), in Krems an der Donau, in the Ybbstal and in the upper Waldviertel.
Service sector: The share of the tertiary sector in GVA amounts to 66.6% (2015), the focus is on trade / maintenance and repair of motor vehicles, on real estate and housing, on transport and storage, on the provision of freelance, scientific, technical and other economic services and health and social services. Tourism is primarily of regional importance. Lower Austria is an excursion and recreation area for Vienna (Semmering, Baden).
Lower Austria’s transport network is geared towards Vienna. The most important road and rail connections run from Vienna through Lower Austria to Munich (West Autobahn, Westbahn), to Southern Europe (Südautobahn, Semmeringbundesstraße, Südbahn), to the Slovak Republic and to Hungary (Ostautobahn). The Danube is particularly important in freight traffic (the most important port in Lower Austria: Krems an der Donau). Austria’s largest international airport is located in Schwechat.
According to internetsailors, the area of what later became Lower Austria was divided in Roman times. The areas south of the Danube belonged to the Roman provinces of Pannonia (with Carnuntum) and Noricum, while Germanic small tribes lived north of the Danube. In the 6th century Bavaria settled the western, Slavs large parts of the eastern and northern regions. In the 7th and 8th centuries the area was partly included in the Bavarian, partly in the Avar sphere of power; After 790, Charlemagne gave the majority of the country to the Franconian Empire incorporated and subordinated to a margrave. In 905 (finally 907) the country came under Hungarian sovereignty until 955. Then a border mark was created in the foothills of the Alps, subordinate to the Bavarian duke, which Otto II. Awarded the Babenbergers in 976. This area was called “Ostarrichi” for the first time in 996, and the name “Austria” also appeared around the same time; In 1156 the mark becomes a duchy (Austria, history). In the meantime the borders in the east as far as March and Leitha, in the north as far as the Thaya.
After the Babenbergs died out (1246), King Ottokar II. Přemysl of Bohemia took possession of the duchy (1251) and divided it into regional quarters for the first time. After the Interregnum (1250–73), King Rudolf I of Habsburg gave the duchy to his sons in 1282. Until 1918 the Habsburgs were sovereigns as “Archdukes” after the Privilegium maius (1359). It was not until the 16th century that the name “Archduchy of Austria under the Enns” became common. As the first »German hereditary land«, Lower Austria with the city of Vienna became the center of the Habsburg Empire, especially after 1526. Lower Austria was owned by the Hungarian King Matthias I Corvinus from 1482–90 occupied, it was devastated by the Turks in 1529 and 1683, partially occupied by the French in 1741, and entirely by the French in 1805 and 1809.
Since the baroque era, Lower Austria and Vienna have been a central cultural and economic area. Since the 18th century, important industries emerged, especially in the Vienna Basin. When the Danube Monarchy collapsed in 1918/19, Lower Austria became a border region. The federal state of Lower Austria has existed since the constitution of October 1, 1920 (official name since 1921), within which Vienna (1938–54 enlarged from parts of Lower Austria) exists as an independent federal state; 1938–45 Lower Austria formed the main part of the Reichsgau Niederdonau, 1945–55 it belonged to the Soviet zone of occupation. In 1986, after a referendum, the state parliament elevated Sankt Pölten to the state capital. Since 1945 the ÖVP has provided the governor, including: 1962-65 L. Figl, 1966–81 Andreas Maurer (* 1919, † 2010), 1981–92 Siegfried Ludwig (* 1926, † 2013); on October 22, 1992 Erwin Pröll (* 1946) took over the office. His successor was J. Mikl-Leitner on April 19, 2017.