Located in the heart of Europe, Austria has a long, rich history in music, art, and culture. The names of Mozart, Schubert, Freud, Wittgenstein and Klimt are known internationally for their accomplishments. The beautiful scenery of the Eastern Alps and Danube River Valley in Austria attracts tourists from all over the world. Vienna, its capital, hosts the headquarters of several well-known international organizations as well as an extensive branch of the United Nations.
As a gateway and center for trading between Eastern and Western Europe, Austria has always had a policy for neutrality. It enjoys a prosperous economy and a high standard of living.
But even with a modern mindset and a focus on human rights, the Austrian people live with high suicide, alcoholism and abortion rates.
The Roman Catholic and Reformed Church are recognized as state churches by the Austrian constitution. New legislation in 1998 has restricted religious freedoms in Austria. This has impacted the smaller, but growing evangelical churches. Three-quarters of the population are Roman Catholic, but only nine percent of the people attend church. That number is decreasing with news of recent sex scandals in the Catholic Church. The number of Austrians estimated to have involvement with the occult outnumbers church attendees, and about ten percent of the population claims to have no religion at all.