OUR ECOLOGICAL MINDSET
Styria is associated with clean environment and pristine nature – no wonder it has been referred to as The Green Heart of Austria and Europe. The water quality of lakes, ponds, brooks and springs is outstanding as is the drinking water out of the tap. Large forests provide clean air, whereas remote alpine regions still remain unspoiled. We attach great importance to dealing respectfully with these precious resources.
Environmental awareness belongs to the key values of Austrian/Styrian society. Citizens and authorities keep their cities clean. Urban areas are filled with green spaces and public gardening is extremely popular. Environmentally friendly methods of transport such as public busses, bikes and e-cars enjoy growing passenger numbers. Sustainable resource management and responsible consumption choices are issues close to everyone’s heart.
Austria and by extension Styria are considered to be Europe’s premier organic farming country. Already since the 80s, national farming policy has given quality of food a higher priority over quantity. Austria/Styria takes a pioneering role in dealing with natural resources compared to other EU countries. Agriculture is characterised by its small and medium-sized farms. Both the average size of a farmstead and the average livestock per hectare are very low by international standards.
Styrian conifer and mixed forests cover 60% of the province. Apart from supplying the timber industry, they offer space for recreation and leisure activities such as walking, jogging, hiking, mountain biking, or mushroom-picking, which are all very popular with the Austrian population. (90% of Austrians choose Styria as a holiday destination.) The forests protect against natural hazards, and, by storing carbon dioxide, contribute vitally to a pure air. Rivers, brooks, ponds and lakes provide a unique habitat for diverse animals and plants, the vast majority offers an excellent water quality, as does the drinking water out of the tap. Also, mountains such as the Alps build a distinctive landscape over much of Styria, the highest peak being the Dachstein glacier at a height of 2995 metres.
National park “Gesäuse": Styrians are proud of their seven nature parks and one national park, the Gesäuse, which is known for its breathtakingly beautiful, unspoiled landscape, a mixture of mountains and rivers. Since the alpine beginnings, the Gesäuse has been synonymous with fascinating natural experiences for mountaineers, hikers, climbers, water sports enthusiasts.
The Styrian Tuscany: The southern parts of the countries impress with their rolling hills and cultural landscapes full of vineyards and taverns, poplars and windmills. The region is home to worldwide known Styrian wines. It is best discovered on the Styrian wine road that winds through the heart of the “Styrian Tuscany”.
Thermenland: Farther east you’ll find the Styrian Thermenland, which is famous for its hot springs and numerous spa ressorts. The mild climate of the hilly landscape makes it one of the most fertile areas in Austria. Castles, vineyards, orchards are distinctive features of the region.
Austria/Styria has a very high level of economic and political stability and a traditionally excellent global image. In the Global Peace Index 2018 the country was ranked 3rd among the world’s 10 safest countries, defeated only by Iceland and New Zealand. 1,000 leading global managers give Austria, and its south-eastern province, top security marks. With only three days of strikes in the last ten years it represents the best statistic in Europe. Crime rates have declined constantly over recent decades and are currently at an all-time low.
The global business knowledge portal globaledge qulassifies Austria/Styria as follows:
Country Risk Rating: A1. The political and economic situation is very good. A quality business environment has a positive influence on corporate payment behavior. Corporate default probability is very low on average. Business Climate Rating: A1. The business environment is very good. Corporate financial information is available and reliable. Debt collection is efficient. Institutional quality is very good. Intercompany transactions run smoothly in environments rated A1.
Styrians appreciate the high life quality in their home region and consider themselves lucky. This is why you will find very motivated workforce and highly trained personnel, who are keen to give something back to society. Styrians are curious, inventive entrepreneurs, who will not rest until the right solution has been found. Solidarity is a high societal value, not least due to one of the best social and health care systems worldwide. Open-minded, industrious and eager to work hard, Styrians are down-to-earth and in sync with their natural environment.
Gemuetlichkeit: A characteristic which is often referred to as typically Styrian is “Gemuetlichkeit“, a laid-back attitude that is distinctive to Styrian culture. It describes an environment or state of mind that produces a happy mood, laughter and a sense of well-being. It is a notion of belonging and social acceptance and of being welcomed. That is exactly what you would expect to find in most of Styria’s get-togethers, public or private, in restaurants and family homes.
One thing to understand about Styrian culture is that in Styria food is relished and meals are celebrated. Principles of quality over quantity, unadulterated and fresh organic food as well as specialities from small production are highly valued.
Styria is world famous for its pumpkin seed oil – the signature Styrian speciality with its dark green colour, nutty aroma and intense flavour. The premium brand of Styrian organic Farmers is "Styria Beef". The cattle are kept in natural conditions, grazing on alpine pastures. Organic feeding and thus slow animal growth makes the Styria Beef especially lightly-marbled, palatable and succulent. Further delicacies are the air-dried cured “Vulcano” ham, the famous “Zotter” chocolate, carp from the Teichland (lake district), the old Styrian Pöllauer pear, or Styrian runner beans, to mention a few.
Styrian wine: The geographic factors of climate, soil and location result in Styrian wines, known for their lightness and dryness without unpleasant residual sweetness. Popular worldwide, they are available in numerous types – there is no other wine-growing region in Europe that can boast so many varieties of quality wine. In Styria, 77% of the vineyards are excellent white wine varieties, 12% red wines and 11% Schilcher, a unique Austrian rosé.
CITY OF GRAZ
UNESCO world cultural heritage, City of Human Rights, UNESCO City of Design, European Capital of Culture, city of university students, Austria’s culinary capital, Mediterranean flair – only a few catch phrases to characterize the Styrian capital.
The New York Times writes about Graz (2014): Graz — [Austria’s] second-largest city, with a population of just over 300,000 — is a [good] choice, thanks to its rich design, art and culinary scenes, and wine and produce from the surrounding [region]. Built around the Schlossberg, an ancient hilltop castle, Styria’s regional capital is home to scores of boutiques, shops, restaurants and museums, many housed in restored Baroque-era buildings in the city’s well-preserved Old Town. You might not expect to find such a cultivated metropolis two hours down the road from Vienna toward Ljubljana, but Graz has a palpable joie de vivre, thanks in part to the presence of its six universities and over 40,000 students. New York Times article