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Where in Austria do all the Americans live?

Latest figures from Statistik Austria show that there are 8,542 Americans resident in Austria, but where do they live?

Where in Austria do all the Americans live?
The US flag is seen through two columns. Photo: SAMUEL CORUM / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP

As to be expected, Vienna is the top location for Americans in Austria with the largest number of US residents living in the nation’s capital city.

This follows similar trends by other native-English speakers in Austria, with many British, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand residents also choosing to make Vienna their home.

But what draws American people to live in Austria? And where in the country are they based?

Vienna is the top choice for Americans

The data from Statistik Austria shows that there are 4,492 American residents living in Vienna.

This is more than from other English-speaking nations with 4,447 British people living in the capital, 556 Australians, 133 from New Zealand and 925 from Canada.

FOR MEMBERS: Where in Austria do all the British residents live?

Philip Rusch from San Francisco moved to Vienna in 1991 and originally planned to stay for one year. 

Almost 30 years later he still calls the city home and has seen Vienna develop into the multi-cultural place it is today.

He told The Local: “Vienna has changed considerably in the past thirty years.”

“It was dark and dreary thirty years ago and was pretty much a meat and potatoes place. I remember there was just a few Thai restaurants in Vienna, for example.

“Not only are there now more English language speakers in Vienna, but Austrians are less afraid to speak English now it seems.”

When asked how the lifestyle in Austria differs from the USA, Philip said: “The quality of life in Austria compared to the United States is simply better.

“I don’t miss the guns, the lack of public health care, the commute or the poor public transportation systems in most of the USA.”

A man in an America flag mask. Photo: Robyn Beck / AFP

Where else in Austria do Americans live?

After Vienna, Lower Austria is the second most popular location for US residents living in Austria with 923 Americans based in the province.

Next, 738 Americans live in Salzburgerland, followed by 643 in Styria, 604 in Upper Austria and 528 in Tyrol.

The Austrian provinces least populated by Americans are Carinthia with 303 US residents, Vorarlberg with 206 and Burgenland with 105.

Lizzy Hajrlahovic from San Diego, California, moved to Salzburg to be with her husband in 2018 and she enjoys living close to nature.

She told The Local: “I mostly enjoy the nature aspect of being here as I’m used to no seasonal changes and just hot, hotter or disgusting hot [weather]. 

“Here, I’ve experienced noticeable season changes that I’ve enjoyed and winter is my favourite because I can experience a snowy Christmas for once.

“I’m a huge fan of being able to take my son outside our door and have a flowing creek to play in.”

However, not all of Lizzie’s experiences in Austria have been positive.

She said: “I have faced more prejudices and biases due to my looks.”

“I’m judged daily for this and I found that the locals do not appreciate being told truths when they’re confronted on their own words.”

READ MORE: The best places to live in Austria that are not Vienna

Another American citizen in Austria is Isabella Claire who moved to Linz, Upper Austria, to be with her Austrian partner just before land and air borders were shut down in March 2020.

She had been studying in Spain and made it onto one of the last flights from Spain to Germany before crossing the border into Austria.

Isabella told The Local: “We were just planning to ride out the pandemic together for a few months and then I would go home in July as planned.”

“When travel plans threatened to keep us apart and my visa was running out, we decided to get married. 

“Once we managed all the paperwork and got married, I figured out how to get my courses for my senior year of undergrad online from Austria and did just that.”

Isabella and her husband then moved to Klagenfurt in Carinthia in December.

She said: “Living in Linz as an American was definitely easier than Klagenfurt because there are so many expats and overall it wasn‘t too bad. 

“The bureaucracy was the hardest part for me because we had to deal with the BH [Bezirkshauptmannschaft] and Rathaus a lot. 

“The language was hard at first but luckily I picked it up quite quickly and in Linz you could get around enough with English.” 

A sure fire way to spot an American in Austria is to look for the flag. Photo: Mike Lawrie / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

Why do Americans live in Austria?

There are many different reasons why Americans move to Austria, ranging from work to study to love.

Jacki Hafellner, from Rochester in New York, moved to Graz in 2016 to be with her husband after originally spending a summer in the city in 2014 for an opera programme.

She told The Local: “I met my husband seven years ago when I was singing at the casino. 

“I gave birth to our oldest son nine months later in Philadelphia and then spent a year teaching in Tampa, Florida, with our son in daycare while my then-boyfriend was in Graz. 

“I quit my job a year later and moved here so we could all be together.”

Work and family are the most common reasons for Americans to move to Austria, but the nature and landscape is often cited as a reason for staying long-term.

Lizzie, from San Diego, said: “Waking up to beautiful views is still my favourite part of being here.”

“Back home, I woke up to annoying sounds and traffic outside my window.”

But Isabella in Klagenfurt said that although she enjoys living in Austria, it’s a tough country to move to.

She said: “I wish I could say that people who want to move here without any family or job can do it easily with the right effort, but that is just not the case. 

“It’s really a hard country to immigrate to, especially on your own with no family member or company to sponsor you.”

How does Austria compare with other EU countries?

Austria is a small country, which means there are less American citizens living here compared to the neighbours.

In Germany, there are 117,450 Americans living in the country, according to the latest data from Destatis.

In France, there are around 31,000 US residents, according to France’s national statistics agency INSEE. Although the US Embassy estimates the real number could be much higher.

Finally, Spain is another popular European destination for US residents with figures from the Institute of National Statistics (INE) showing 40,712 Americans living in Spain.

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Wild weather in Austria: How to protect yourself during summer storms

With violent storms becoming increasingly common in Austria, here’s how to protect yourself (and your home) this summer.

Wild weather in Austria: How to protect yourself during summer storms

Storms are a regular occurrence in Austria during the summer months, but the strength and frequency seems to be increasing.

Overnight on Tuesday, June 28th, both the Pöllinger and the Treffner rivers in Carinthia burst their banks causing widespread flooding, mudslides and damage across the region.

Reports on Wednesday morning said the villages of Treffen am Ossiacher See and Arriach (Villach-Land district) were still metres under water and several people had been rescued from the deluge.

READ ALSO: Who to call and what to say in an emergency in Austria

According to ORF, emergency services were still struggling to reach some areas and there were unconfirmed reports of missing people.

A Tweet from Unwetter-Freaks said: “Bad pictures from #Arriach in #Kärnten , which was hit by several storm cells last night. According to ORF, the place is currently cut off from the outside world and cannot be reached by the emergency services.”

Earlier this week, rural areas in Upper Austria were also hit by storms (overnight, June 27th) bringing torrential rain and hail the size of golf balls, which caused extensive damage to crops and grassland in the key agricultural state.

READ ALSO: 23 essential articles to help you navigate life in Austria

The Klaus reservoir had to be drained of 200 cubic metres of water to avoid flooding and trees were brought down across the province by wind gusts – some up to 91 km/h.

The Kronen Zeitung reports the storm caused damage to around 16,000 hectares of agriculture land, with insurers estimating the cost to be up to €6.5 million.

One Tweet showed the size of the hail on Monday night and read: “In the night we had ‘light’ hail.”

Storms then hit the region again on Tuesday night leading to a lightning strike on a hay barn in the Mühlviertel and the flooding of an underground car park in Linz.

With the summer season far from over and the possibility of more wild weather in the coming months, here’s how to stay safe during storms in Austria.

FOR MEMBERS: When and where to avoid driving in Austria this summer

Check the weather report

It might sound obvious, but checking the weather forecast should be at the top of the list of summer storm preparations.

Unlike in the past, weather reports are now typically reliable, and apps like Bergfex and Accuweather are well-known for providing detailed forecasts and weather warnings.

However, long-range forecasts can change quickly, so if you’re planning a camping or hiking trip, be sure to check the weather between 24 and 48 hours before to avoid being caught out.

Additionally, the Österreichischen Unwetterzentrale (Austrian Severe Weather Centre) has regular updates about storms and weather forecasts for Austria and users can sign up for email and SMS notifications.

Stay indoors

According to the organisation, Die Helfer Wiens (The Helpers of Vienna) one of the biggest risks during a storm is being hit by a fallen tree or flying debris.

For this reason, they advise people (and pets) to stay indoors during a storm and close all windows and doors. 

If staying in a tent or campervan, it’s also a good idea to seek shelter in a building (if possible) until the storm has passed.

However, if you are outside during lightning, the Austrian Red Cross says the best approach is to crouch down into a ball to reduce the amount of contact you have with the floor.

READ MORE: How to keep your apartment cool in Austria this summer amid rising energy prices

Stay away from the cellar

Cellars and underground car parks can quickly become flooded during heavy rain – as seen in recent storms in Upper Austria and Carinthia, and last year during violent storms across Austria.

Flash flooding can happen quickly (the clue is in the name), so stay away from cellars and underground spaces during a storm and call the emergency services if you suspect a flood in your home.

Remove plants and furniture from balconies

Having plants and flowers on a balcony is a lovely way to brighten up an outside space, but they risk being damaged during a storm.

To safeguard your pots and lovingly-planted flora, move them inside – especially during a thunderstorm with strong wind gusts and lightning.

The same applies to any outdoor furniture that could be damaged by wind or hail, like cushions, decorative objects and sun umbrellas.

Park cars under shelter

Hail is one of the leading causes of dents to bodywork on cars and damage to windscreens, both of which can be costly to repair.

If hail is forecast during a storm, park a car in a garage or under shelter, if possible. 

If strong wind is expected, then avoid parking a car under trees as debris, or even the tree itself, could end up landing on the vehicle.

FOR MEMBERS: EXPLAINED: How Austria banned everyone from the forest for 123 years

Don’t go into the forest

Whether walking or driving, the best advice is to stay from the forest or areas with lots of trees during a storm.

While sheltering under a tree can protect from rain or hail, lightning or strong wind can bring down trees. This makes the forest a dangerous place to be in a storm.

But if you do find yourself in the unfortunate position of being in a forest when a thunderstorm hits, stay away from low branches and tree trunks and crouch down low. Place any walking sticks or metal poles away from you and stay away from metal fences.

Avoid risky activities

Certain outdoor activities are especially hazardous if there’s a lightning storm. 

Any activity in an open area or that puts you into contact with water or metal is strongly advised against. So that means fishing, swimming, boating, cycling and golfing are out until the storm is over. 

Keep torches and candles ready

Power cuts are common during storms, so keep a stock of candles and torches ready in case you end up without electricity for several hours.

It’s also a good idea to have a portable USB charger to make sure your phone doesn’t run out of battery during an emergency.

Who to call in an emergency

These are the numbers to call if you need help from the Austrian emergency services during a storm.

122 – fire service (Feuerwehr).

133 – police (Polizei).

144 – ambulance (Krankenwagen or Rettungswagen).

120 – ÖAMTC emergency breakdown service.

123 – ARBÖ emergency breakdown service.

140 – mountain rescue.

Finally, 112 is the single European emergency number, whose operators will direct you to the relevant services. This number can even be called on a locked mobile phone without needing the pin.

Find out more with The Local’s guide on who to call and what to say in an emergency.