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CULTURE

Nine inventions you might be surprised are actually Austrian

OK so we know about Arnie, but there are plenty of Austrian discoveries that you might not know are actually Austrian. Here are a few surprises.

Nine inventions you might be surprised are actually Austrian
Pez. It's Austrian. Photo by Jose Antonio Gallego Vázquez on Unsplash

From famous to infamous, there are plenty of well known people who come from Austria. 

For centuries, Mozart has been synonymous with Austria and Salzburg, while Arnold Schwarzenegger is probably the most famous living Austrian. 

Then of course there’s Adolf, but this list is about things that are surprisingly Austrian, so the less said about him the better. 

The following are some Austrian contributions to the world you might be surprised about. Read on!

Red Bull

OK so most of you know this, but Austria is indeed responsible for the energy drink Red Bull. 

The highest selling energy drink in the world, Red Bull was created and marketed by Austrian entrepreneur Dietrich Mateschitz. 

He was inspired by a pre-existing energy drink named Krating Daeng – translating to ‘red bison’ – which was first invented and sold in Thailand. 

He took this idea, modified the ingredients to suit the tastes of westerners, and founded Red Bull GmbH in Austria in 1987. 

As of 2021, he’s amassed a fortune of close to $30 billion and just sneaks into the top 40 richest people in the world. 

Snow globes

Yes, snow globes (Schneekugel) were actually invented in Austria. 

They were invented by Austrian Erwin Perzy, a manufacturer or surgical instruments, by accident in the 1800s. 

Perzy had been hoping to develop an extra bright source of light and had been experimenting with small reflective particles. 

When he moved the globe, the effect reminded him of snowfall and he got the idea. 

Perzy’s family still run a business manufacturing and selling snow globes in Vienna, where they are still made from glass and the material used to make up the snow is still a secret. 

Australian snow globes. By Tangerineduel – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Danishes (yes, really)

A breakfast and afternoon tea staple across the globe, it might be a surprise to find out that the Danish doesn’t come from Denmark at all. 

Don’t believe us? Ask the Danish. This is already starting to sound like a bad Pulp Fiction impression, but do you know what they call a Danish in Denmark? 

Vienna bread. No, seriously. 

The way of making Danishes – a variant of puff pastry made of laminated yeast-leavened dough that creates a layered texture – was brought to Copenhagen by Austrian bakers. 

The name became prominent when Danish people made the move to the United States and the pastries became popular – and the rest is tasty, tasty history. 

Postcards

In 1869 economist Emanuel Alexander Herrmann published an article in Austria’s paper Neue Freie Presse “Über eine neue Art des Korrespondenzmittels der Post”, or “About a novel means of postal correspondence”.

The letter proposed that all envelope-size cards, whether written, produced by copying machine, or printed, ought to be admitted as mail if they contained not more than 20 words including address and sender’s signature. 

Britain followed the Austrian example and introduced the postcard a year later.

An Austrian postcard from 1901. Image: Wikicommons

PEZ

Made of artificial colours and flavours. Squashed out of cartoon characters into artificial shapes. Zero nutritional value. What sounds more American than that?

But no, PEZ, the candy, is in fact Austrian. 

An Austrian by the name of Eduard Haas III invented the collectable cult sweet known as PEZ in 1927, as an alternative to smoking. 

PEZ is a shortened version of the German word for peppermint – PfeffErminZ. 

Twenty years later Haas invented the PEZ dispenser, which resembles a cigarette lighter. 

The sweets were originally targeted at adults and it was not until the 1950s when PEZ began to be sold in America, that the cartoon character tops and fruity flavours were added to appeal to children.

Psychoanalysis

OK, so you knew Sigmund Freud was going to make an appearance in this list somewhere. 

The father of making you worry that you were attracted to your mother was famous for a range of things, including novel approach to sex, dreams and penis envy. 

While some of his techniques and ideas haven’t aged as well as he’d like, his contribution to therapy – and in particular psychoanalysis – was and remains revolutionary. 

Psychoanalysis was popularised by Sigmund Freud. 

In creating a clinical method for treating mental illnesses through dialogue between a patient and a psychoanalyst, Freud developed techniques such as the use of free association. 

The Vienna flat where he lived for 47 years, and produced the majority of his writings, is now a museum documenting his life and work. 

However his famous couch is in the Freud Museum in London, as Freud took his furniture with him when he fled German-annexed Austria to avoid Nazi prosecution.

Slo-mo/slow motion

Speak to a German and they’ll tell you that things tend to be a little slower in Austria – but that’s not what we mean by inventing slo/mo. 

We mean slow motion camera footage. 

Slo-mo is an effect in film-making where time appears to be slowed down. 

It was invented by an Austrian priest, August Musger, in the early 20th century. 

Musger, a passionate cineaste, invented the slow motion technique using a mirrored drum as a synchronising mechanism. 

The device he used was patented in 1904 and was first presented in Graz, Styria in 1907. Where would television sport broadcasts, scientific documentary films, or action movies be without slowmo?

Slow motion is Austrian.

Swarovski crystals

Swarovski’s luxury cut glass (or ‘crystal’) company might have come to worldwide fame, but it is in fact based in Tyrol. 

In 1892 Daniel Swarovski patented an electric cutting machine that enabled the production of crystal glass.

In 1895, Swarovski financier Armand Kosman and Franz Weis founded the Swarovski company, and established a factory in Wattens to take advantage of local hydroelectricity for the energy-intensive grinding processes. 

Today Swarovski crystals adorn clothes, shoes, handbags and mobile phones of classy people everywhere. 

Blood types

OK, so Austria didn’t technically invent blood types because they were actually invented by whoever invented blood, but blood types were first discovered in Austria. 

Karl Landsteiner, an Austrian biologist and physician, first distinguished the main blood types in 1900. 

He later identified the Rhesus factor, in 1937, which enabled doctors to transfuse blood without endangering the patient′s life. 

In 1930 he received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, and is recognised as the father of transfusion medicine.

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CULTURE

How to greet people like a local in Austria

There are several ways to greet people in Austria – all with different meanings. So stop saying “Hallo” and learn how to sound like a local instead.

How to greet people like a local in Austria

Saying the right thing at the right time is usually a good way to sound like you belong somewhere. And in Austria, you can start from the first moment you meet someone.

Here’s a selection of Austrian greetings and their meanings to help you sound more like a local in the Alpine Republic.

READ ALSO: All churned up: Austrian oat milk ad draws farmers’ ire

Servus

“Servus” is a popular greeting in Austria and Bavaria in Germany. The word “Servus” actually means “greetings” and can be used to say hello or goodbye, similar to “Ciao” in Italian.

The roots of this greeting date far back; it comes from the Latin word servus, which means “slave” or “servant.” So if someone greets you with Servus, it roughly translates to “I’m your servant” or “At your service!”

Usually, servus is a colloquial way of greeting people you know better, especially friends. It is also one of the few historical words that is still widely used amongst teenagers today.

Guten Tag

This is an easy one to remember (no matter how bad your German language skills might be) and simply means “Good day”. 

However, it is quite a formal greeting and outside of some of Austria’s main metropolitan centres, it’s rarely heard. Instead, “Guten Tag” is mostly used by German people or some left-wing Austrians who prefer to opt for a neutral greeting in a professional setting.

This was highlighted in a recent debate in Vienna when a politician was criticised for using the traditional “Grüss Gott” greeting during a parliamentary inquiry, as reported by The Local

FOR MEMBERS: Austrian clichés: How true are these ten stereotypes?

Grüss Gott

“Grüss Gott” is widespread in the Catholic German-speaking world, such as Austria, the German states of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, and in South Tyrol. 

Strictly speaking, it means: “God greets you”. It is similar to “Pfiat di Gott”, which comes from “Behüt dich Gott” or the Swiss “Grüezi”. Initially, these phrases meant a blessing.

The spiritual background leads to the fact that “Grüss Gott” is still used today primarily by religiously influenced, more conservative people, or those living in rural areas. On the other hand, more secular, left-oriented people tend to use different formulations such as “Begrüsse Sie” (Greetings) or  “Guten Tag”.

However, the way of greeting currently gives less clear information about worldview and political affiliation. “Grüss Gott” often has as little to do with religion as “Gott sei Dank” (thank God). 

Griass di

“Griass di” is another general greeting that simply means “greetings” or “hello”. 

You can use this at any time of the day, although only when greeting one person. To greet multiple people with “Griass di”, switch to “Griass eich” for plural, or even “Griass enk” for a regional variation from Tyrol.

READ MORE: Eight habits that show you’ve embraced life in Austria

Guten Morgen/Abend

The meanings behind “Guten Morgen” or “Guten Abend” are simple: “good morning” (until midday) and “good evening” (from around 6pm). Just don’t expect to hear them very often in Austria.

These greetings are very much Hochdeutsch (High German) sayings and many people in Austria prefer to use regional dialect instead.

If you say “Guten Morgen” or “Guten Abend” to an Austrian, you will be understood. But they will probably say something different back to you, like “Servus” or “Grüss Gott”.

Moagn

This is basically the Austrian dialect equivalent of “Morgen”, which means “Morning” and is short for “Good morning”.

It’s usually said in a cheery way, especially if coming across other people during a morning walk or when entering the workplace.

But, as with “Good morning”, this greeting is strictly reserved for the morning time and should not be said after midday.

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