Lower Austria

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Lower Austria
State of Austria
Flag of Lower Austria
Coat of arms of Lower Austria
Coat of arms
Location of Lower Austria
Country  Austria
Capital Sankt Pölten
 • Landeshauptmann Erwin Pröll (ÖVP)
 • Total 19,186 km2 (7,408 sq mi)
 • Total 1,636,287
 • Density 85/km2 (220/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
ISO 3166 code AT-3
NUTS Region AT1
Votes in Bundesrat 12 (of 62)
Website www.noe.gv.at

Lower Austria (German: Niederösterreich, pronounced [ˈniːdɐˌʔøːstɐʀaɪ̯ç]; Czech: Dolní Rakousy; Slovak: Dolné Rakúsko) is the northeasternmost state of the nine states in Austria. The capital of Lower Austria since 1986 is Sankt Pölten, the most recently designated capital town in Austria. The capital of Lower Austria had formerly been Vienna, even though Vienna is not officially part of Lower Austria. With a land area of 19,186 km² and a population of 1.612 million people, it is the largest state in Austria, and in terms of population second only to the federal state of Vienna.


Situated east of Upper Austria, Lower Austria derives its name from its downriver location on the Danube River, which flows from west to east. Lower Austria has an international border, 414 km long, with the Czech Republic (mainly South Moravia) and Slovakia. The state has the second longest external border of all Austrian states. It also borders the other Austrian states of Upper Austria, Styria and Burgenland as well as surrounding Vienna.

Lower Austria is divided into four regions, known as Viertel (quarters):

These regions have different geographical structures. Whilst the Mostviertel is dominated by the foothills of the Limestone Alps with mountains up to 2,000 m (AA) high, most of the Waldviertel is a granite plateau. The hilly Weinviertel lies to the northeast, descends to the plains of Marchfeld in the east of the state, and is separated by the Danube from the Vienna Basin to the south, which in turn is separated from the Vienna Woods by a line of thermal springs (the Thermenlinie) running north to south.


Other mountains in Lower Austria may be found at Category:Mountains of Lower Austria.

Alpine passes

The state border with Styria runs over both passes.


Almost all of Lower Austria is drained by the Danube. The only river that flows into the North Sea (via the Moldau and the Elbe) is the Lainsitz in northern Waldviertel.

The most important rivers north of the Danube (on its left bank) are the Ysper, Kamp, Krems, Lainsitz, March and Thaya. South of the Danube (on its right bank) are the Enns, Ybbs, Erlauf, Melk, Pielach, Traisen, Schwechat, Fischa, Schwarza, Triesting, Pitten and the Leitha.


Land use

Type of land use Area in km² Percent of
total area
Farmland 7,000 42
Woods 6,711 40
Grassland 1,750 11
Alpine pastures 300 1.7
Vineyards 315 1.9


The history of Lower Austria is very similar to the History of Austria. Many castles are located in Lower Austria. Klosterneuburg Abbey, located here, is one of the oldest abbeys in Austria. Before World War II, Lower Austria had the largest number of Jews in Austria.


Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1869 1,077,232 —    
1880 1,152,767 +7.0%
1890 1,213,471 +5.3%
1900 1,310,506 +8.0%
1910 1,425,238 +8.8%
1923 1,426,885 +0.1%
1934 1,446,675 +1.4%
1939 1,455,373 +0.6%
1951 1,400,471 −3.8%
1961 1,374,012 −1.9%
1971 1,420,816 +3.4%
1981 1,426,370 +0.4%
1990 1,455,968 +2.1%
1995 1,518,489 +4.3%
2000 1,535,083 +1.1%
2005 1,568,949 +2.2%
2010 1,605,897 +2.4%
2014 1,625,335 +1.2%
2015 1,636,287 +0.7%

Administrative divisions

View of Krems at the end of Wachau valley

Lower Austria is divided into four regions: Waldviertel, Mostviertel, Industrieviertel, and Weinviertel. The Wachau valley, situated between Melk and Krems in the Mostviertel region, is famous for its landscape, culture, and wine.

Administratively, the state is divided into 21 districts (Bezirke), and four independent towns (Statutarstädte). In total, there are 573 municipalities within Lower Austria.

Map of Lower Austria showing districts and the four quarters (Waldviertel in green, Weinviertel in red, Mostviertel in yellow and Industrieviertel in blue)

Independent towns


External links

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