With an area of 83.858 sq km Austria consists of 9 independent federal provinces (Burgenland, Carinthia, Lower Austria, Upper Austria, Salzburg, Styria, Tirol, Vorarlberg and Vienna) with their own provincial governments.
Austria is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Hungary and Slovakia to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west.
The federal legislation is exercised by the national council (Nationalrat) together with the Upper House of Parliament (Bundesrat) – the two chambers of Parliament.
Austria is a member of the European Union, the United Nations as well as most UN organizations.
Of the approximately 8,8 million inhabitants of Austria, 98% speak German. The six ethnic groups officially recognized in Austria (Burgenlandic Croatians, Roma, Slovaks, Slovenians, Czechs and Hungarians) are concentrated in the east and south of the country.
Approximately 74 % of Austrians are Roman Catholic, 5 % are Protestant, the rest belongs to other faiths.