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'They're like Schnitzel': What to expect when dating an Austrian

Hayley Maguire
Hayley Maguire - [email protected]
'They're like Schnitzel': What to expect when dating an Austrian
Image by Tirachard Kumtanom via Pexels.

Dating someone from another culture can be exciting, but also confusing. Here’s what readers of The Local had to say about dating an Austrian.


Whether you moved to Austria for love or met an Austrian partner after already living in the country, no doubt you have come across some cultural differences.

To find out more, we asked international residents in Austria to share their experiences of dating an Austrian and what others can expect.

Here's what they had to say.


This article is based on the results of a survey by The Local and includes both positive and negative experiences. Most respondents were from Vienna, Salzburg and Graz.

READ MORE: Vienna vs Graz: Which city is better for foreign residents?

More traditional expectations of women

In Austria, traditional expectations of women are still quite deeply ingrained in society compared to other countries, which can lead to conflict within multicultural relationships.

Kathryn, who is living in Upper Austria, told The Local: "Expect them [Austrian men] to be a generation behind when it comes to emancipation and being independent."

Another, who declined to give her name, said: "Just be yourself but accept they may be more traditional when it comes to women and their role."


A different sense of humour

This is an observation that came up several times from British readers who are well-known for having a sarcastic sense of humour.

Bexi Ebraheim, from the UK, advises anyone dating an Austrian to be aware of cultural differences when it comes to a sense of humour.

Speaking about her Austrian husband, Bexi said: “Be careful with sarcasm at the beginning. After four years he’s just as sarcastic as me but at the beginning he thought I was just mean.”

Or, as Christoper Hone put it: “Disarm with charm before introducing the sarcasm, for sure.”

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However, differences in a sense of humour can work both ways, as explained by Linda Wright, a British woman who has been living in Vienna with her Austrian husband for almost 14 years.

Linda said: "The Viennese have a wonderful sense of humour that to some takes a little understanding."

Alternatively, you can follow the approach taken by Susie in Burgenland, who said: "Avoid jokes."

The importance of family

For international residents, a common cultural difference is the central role of family in Austria.

In fact, it's not uncommon for adults to continue living in the family home into their 20s - or in some cases, even into their 30s and beyond. Often this is due to economic situations, but sometimes not.

Then there is the issue of the mother, and the perception that Austrian men maintain a strong connection with their mothers well into adulthood.

A woman living in Vienna, who asked to remain anonymous, even blamed the failure of a relationship with an Austrian man on the fact that he "was too attached to his mother".

There is some hope though for international female residents looking for love with an Austrian man.


Another woman from Vienna told The Local: "Be patient, give them time. Sometimes it's good to take a slower pace. Take the time to communicate about your differences in dating."

READ ALSO: 13 ways to make your life in Austria easier without really trying


Austrians are known for being honest and direct people, which was noted by several respondents in The Local's survey.

For most international residents, this is simply something to get used to, and after a while most people no longer find it offensive.

But for newcomers to the country, or those dating an Austrian for the first time, it can be a shock.

Kim from Vienna said: "Talk directly, don't beat around the bush."

A respondent in Graz said: "Prepare for direct conversations."

Tess in Vienna, who dated an Austrian man, said: "Understand that abruptness is not a sign of their personality."

However, one British woman, who is married to an Austrian man, summed it up with a metaphor inspired by Austria's national dish.

She said: "Austrians are like Schnitzel. Quite crispy on the outside, but once you get in they are very sensitive."

READ MORE: Tips for how to make friends in Austria from those who have done it

Different communication styles

Due to the aforementioned direct communication style, you can expect conversations - or even disagreements - with an Austrian to be different.

Speaking about an experience of dating an Austrian man, Diane Schmallegger in Vienna said: "He would say, 'We need to talk'. I'd always think something like, 'Oh no, what happened? Do you want to break up? Did someone die?' When all he really meant was that he wanted to talk to me."

Fazil in Salzburg offered some advice on how to handle this from the perspective of an Asian man.

He said: "As someone from Asia we need more time to adopt and adjust ourselves. Be honest, stop putting all the minor disagreements on the table all at once. Instead, I suggest to talk about it gradually."

What about the positives?

Despite some negative experiences, readers of The Local also had a lot of nice things to say about dating an Austrian.

Jimi in Vienna simply said: "Austrian girls are lovely."

Linda Wright from the UK told The Local: "Because of my Austrian partner I've not regretted a moment. He makes me smile/ laugh most days."

Iris in Lower Austria said: "Tell them what you are looking for - they will appreciate it."

And finally, Annette Haiml added: "Just don't call a Krapfen a doughnut."


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
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