Pervasive 2004

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University of Vienna | Location & Travelling | Impressions | Culture |
Weather and Climate | Live Cameras | Currency Converter | Austria Fact Sheet |

Vienna / Austria - Fact Sheet

Language

The language spoken in Austria is German. Most people do speak (or at least understand) some English. Ask 'Sprechen Sie Englisch? ' (Do you speak English?) before seeking information.

Currency

The currency is Euro, designated EUR or €. The Euro is divided into 100 Cents.

Voltage

The electric voltage is 220 volts (50 cycles). A standard voltage converter and plug adapter should be sufficient for conversions. Normally, the electrical outlets in Vienna require a two-prong plug with round prongs. Computer modems require a European plug adapter and phone jack adapter that can be easily purchased at an appliance store.

Office Hours

Business office hours are generally Monday-Thursday 9 am to 5 pm. Friday schedules vary, but a typical one is 9 am to 1 pm. Laws relating to store hours have been somewhat liberalized and stores may now be kept open a few more hours per week. As a general rule, larger stores and shops in very busy shopping areas (Kärnter Straße, Mariahilfer Straße) operate Monday-Friday 9:30 am-7 pm, Saturday 9:30-5 pm. In neighborhood shopping areas, the stores (particularly small ones) close at 6 pm during the week, close an hour or more at lunchtime and close Saturday at noon or 1 pm. Chain grocery stores operate weekdays 8 am-7 pm, Saturdays 8 am-5 pm. Shops at railway stations (groceries, florists, tobacconists, bookstalls) are normally open until approx. 10:30 pm.

Holidays

On public holidays, businesses, official services, banks and some restaurants are closed.

The holidays in 2003 are:
Sunday October 26, National Day
Saturday November 1, All Saints' Day
Monday December 8, Immaculate Conception
Thursday December 25, Christmas Day
Friday December 26, St Stephen's Day

The holidays in 2004 (up to April) are:
Thursday January 1, New Year's Day
Tuesday January 6, Epiphany
Monday April 12, Easter Monday

Tax

A sales tax of 20% is included in the price of almost all purchases. It's possible for a permanent resident of a non-EU country to have the value-added tax (VAT) reimbursed if at least ATS 1,000 were paid in one store on one day. The salesperson needs to fill out a special form, so carry your passport with you when shopping. If you've bought different items from different departments, the Customer Service Department will put all of them on a single customs form for you. To get the refund, you must show the purchased items to customs officials as you depart the country (or leave from a different EU country). Customs officials will stamp your customs form. (They may ask to see the merchandise, so do this before you check your bag.) At the Vienna Airport and at many border crossing points, it's possible to get your refund immediately in cash. Or you can mail the stamped form back to Austria, with the refund being transferred to a credit card or bank account.

Shake Hands

The Viennese are very friendly. It's considered polite to greet people in public whether you know them or not. A common greeting is 'Grüss Gott,' meaning 'God greets you.' Among runners you may use the more informal "Servus" or the more polite "Habe die Ehre", meaning "my honor" Austrians shake hands almost every time they meet. Although formal protocol dictates that it's the lady who offers her hand first to the gentleman, the older lady offering first to a younger woman, and the older man first to another man, no one is likely to be insulted if the handshaking proceeds in a different order. In Vienna, men generally help women in and out of their coats and open doors for them. If you're invited to someone's home, it's thoughtful to bring wine, sweets or flowers (but give an odd number of flowers - it's considered unlucky to receive an even number).

Telephone

If you're calling from outside Austria, first dial your country's international access code, then dial Austria's country code, 43, and then Vienna's city code, 1. If you're calling Vienna from within Austria but outside the city, first dial 1 and then the local number. For police, dial 133; fire, 122; ambulance/first aid, 144; emergency medical service, 141; dentists and general medical advice around the clock at 531-060. Saturday and Sunday newspapers provide a list of doctors and dentists who may be called on weekends.

Time Zone

Austria follows Central European Time, which is one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time. Austria observes Daylight Saving Time between the last Sunday in March and the last Sunday in October.

Tipping

A 15% service charge is included in restaurant bills, but it's common to round up restaurant bills and taxi fares. (The more people, the larger the tip.)

Crime

Austria is one of the safest countries in the world, and most visitors shouldn't encounter problems. The city centers are considered safe even at night because - especially on walking streets - there are always people visiting the bars and restaurants.

Pervasive 2004      April 19-23      Linz / Vienna, Austria      Back to Top