Ties with Germany’s southern neighbour Austria are based not only on shared language and culture but also on a centuries-long shared history. The Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation encompassed both Austrians and Germans, and for several centuries the Holy Roman Emperors came from the House of Habsburg.
As neighbours, Germany and Austria maintain especially close political relations based on mutual trust. Because of the many similar political, economic and social challenges Germany and Austria face, they both have a particular interest in developments in the other country.
Germany is by far Austria’s most important economic partner. With an annual trade volume of around 100 billion euro, Austria is likewise one of Germany’s most important trading partners. Numerous German companies have branch offices and production facilities in Austria. The country is one of the most popular tourist destinations for Germans, who traditionally make up around 60 percent of its foreign visitors. Meanwhile, Austria has become the fourth-largest source market for tourism in Germany, with 3.6 million overnight stays in 2022.
German cultural and academic exchange with Austria is probably more intense and wide-ranging than with any other country. Many German conductors, orchestras, musicians, singers, directors, producers and actors work in Austria, and the same applies to Austrians in Germany. Vacancies for academic positions are often advertised on both sides of the border. Numerous German-Austrian film and TV co-productions, some of which have won awards, testify to the excellent cooperation in this area, too.
The two countries’ media markets are closely linked – German publishing houses hold shares in Austrian media companies, co-productions abound in radio, television and film, and the countries cooperate on the TV channels 3sat and ARTE. Owing to extensive coverage of each country in the other’s media, there is a great deal of common ground and overlap in public debate on political, economic, cultural and social issues.