Burgenland: area 3,965.68 km2; pop. 270,880 (1991); pop. density 68 per km2; capital Eisenstadt; buildings 103,541; households 95,154; 2 free towns (towns with statutory privileges); 7 districts; 7 judicial districts; 170 municipalities (13 towns and 57 market towns); Provincial Supreme Court in Vienna; Provincial Court in Eisenstadt.
Location: Located in the easternmost part of Austria, the province of Burgenland has the 3rd smallest area and the 2nd smallest population of the Austrian provinces. Historically and geographically a borderland region, Burgenland is a narrow belt of land stretching from Slovakia in the north, along the Hungarian border in the east, the Styrian and Lower Austrian borders in the west, and south to the Slovene border. The province virtually seems to be split in two (near Sieggraben its east-west extension narrows to a mere 4 km).
Landscape: Burgenland´s geographical pattern is made up of the foothills of the Central Alps (Hundsheimer Berge Hills, Leithagebirge Mountains, the hilly region around Rust, Rosaliengebirge Mountains, Oedenburg Mountains, Landsee Hills, Bernstein Mountains, Guens Mountains); the outer edges of the Pannonian Lowlands (Heidboden and Parndorf Plain being deposits of the Old Danube and Leitha rivers in the north and the rivers Pinka and Lafnitz in the south); Lake Neusiedl and the Seewinkel area; Wulka Plain (the granary of Burgenland); Riedel landscapes (narrow ridges of land separating two parallel valleys) which establish a geomorphological link between the Alpine Vienna basin in the north, the Graz basin in the south and the Pannonian lowlands (extending from the hilly region of the Bucklige Welt to central Burgenland and from the hilly region of Eastern Styria to southern Burgenland). The Hainburg, Bruck and Wiener Neustadt gaps connect the region with the Vienna basin. Set amidst the flat steppe landscape of the Hungarian puszta, Lake Neusiedl and the Seewinkel area provide a haven for a large and outstanding variety of fauna, perhaps the most outstanding in Central Europe. Burgenland´s rich mineral resources are only exploited to a limited extent: limestone quarries on the fringes of the Leithagebirge Mountains and in the hilly region around Rust (especially near St. Margarethen); sub-bituminous coal deposits near Tauchen; chalk pits near Muellendorf; copper pyrites; antimony ores; sulphur pyrites; serpentine is commercially mined near Bernstein. Bad Tatzmannsdorf, Bad Sauerbrunn, Deutschkreutz and Sulz near Guessing are famous for their mineral springs and mineral water.
Burgenland drains towards the east to the Danube river system, its rivers and streams (Leitha, Wulka, Aubach, Rabnitz, Guens, Pinka, Lafnitz, Raab, Stoober Bach, Zoebernbach, Tauchenbach and Strembach) emptying into the River Danube. Located between the Central Alps and Pannonian Lowlands, Burgenland has a largely Pannonian climate. Geographically, Burgenland is divided into three parts: the low-lying lands of Burgenland around Eisenstadt, Neusiedl and Mattersburg to the north of the Oedenburg Mountains; the hilly region of central Burgenland near Oberpullendorf, between Oedenburg and Guens Mountains; and the hilly region near Oberwart and Guessing south of the Bernstein and Guens Mountains.
Climate: Burgenland is part of the alpine-pannonian border region, and as such is in the pannonian climatic zone.
Population: Burgenland is densely populated. 88.3 % of the population are German-speaking; 7.2 % are Croats (compared to 13.5 % in 1934); 2.5 % are Magyars (compared to 3.5 % in 1934); 2.1 % belong to other nationalities. The Roma and Sinti peoples have also lived in Burgenland for several centuries. As a result of Burgenland´s former location within Hungary, 13.7 % of the population are Protestants (compared to the Austrian average of 5.0 %). Burgenland was home to a relatively large Jewish population in both urban and rural areas before 1938, but only a few Jewish families returned after the Holocaust. - The population of Burgenland speaks various Austrian vernaculars (the ui-dialect is spoken in the Heanzen region).
The prevailing types of farmhouses in Burgenland are the Streckhof and Hakenhof; in southern Burgenland also the Dreiseithof and Vierseithof. In the region around Lake Neusiedl and in the Lafnitz and Raab valleys villages are either of linear type or built around a green; in southern Burgenland villages of the linear type and scattered settlements prevail. There are no large towns or cities in Burgenland, the average population of towns varying between 1,696 and 10,349.
8.7 % of the population are employed in agriculture and forestry (compared to 33.6 % in 1966); 43.0 % are employed in trade and industry. Since the building and construction industry does not provide enough jobs for the population of Burgenland a large number of people have to commute to Vienna, Lower Austria or Styria to earn their living (1971: 47,140 commuters; 1981: 63,039; 1991: 73,580). As Burgenland is dominated by large estates and a lack of industry, many people have even been forced to leave their homes and seek work elsewhere; only about 25 % have returned.
Agriculture: Despite increasing structural problems and a recent drop in sales in the agricultural sector, which has resulted in a reduction in the number of self-sufficient farms and agricultural land, Burgenland´s economy is still predominantly agricultural. In 1989, Burgenland´s agriculture contributed as much as 3.24 billions of ATS to the Austrian GNP, thus ranking Burgenland above the provinces of Tirol, Salzburg, Vienna and Vorarlberg. winegrowing plays an important role in Burgenland as compared to the Austrian average. In 1997, vineyards covered an area of 17,048 ha (32.5 % of the total area). In 1997, agricultural land accounted for 48.8% of the total area (forest 30.9%; vineyards 5.4%).
Economy: Burgenland's economy has been shaped by one major factor: Burgenland´s position as a borderland region. Industrial production, which is generally declining and accounted for slightly more than 31% of the province's total creation of wealth in 1996, was long focused on the processing of local mineral resources and agricultural products; currently, the electrical and electronics industry (1992: 20.4%), clothing (1992:16.7%) and the food and beverage industry (1992:22.2%) account for fairly large shares in value added, while almost two-thirds are accounted for by the services sector and only 3.4% by agriculture and forestry. However, as a result of structural problems Burgenland´s economy is still clearly behind the Austrian average, as has been shown by its distinctly smaller share in GNP, a high commuter rate and a higher than average unemployment rate (7.5% in 1992 and 9 % in 1998).
Tourism: started to play a major role in the 1970s. An increase in overnight stays from about 1 million in 1970 to 2,2 million in 1998 was recorded in Burgenland (the number of beds available for accommodation has risen from 10,600 to 21,300). 59 % of overnight stays are recorded in the region around Lake Neusiedl; 24 % in the region around Oberwart; 7 % in the region around Rosalia; 5 % in the region around Jennersdorf; 3 % in central Burgenland; and 2 % around Guessing;. The municipalities of Podersdorf am See (390,288 overnight stays) and Bad Tatzmannsdorf (442,186 overnight stays) remain by far the most attractive destinations for tourists, with 38% of all overnight stays. Burgenland is mainly dependent on summer tourism, the tourist season starting in May and going through to October. However, Burgenland has recently started promoting high-quality individual and health tourism, which has had a positive effect on winter tourism figures, as witnessed by an increase in overnight stays in well-known spa regions such as the Bad Tatzmannsdorf and Jennersdorf (spa at Loipersdorf)as well as at the new spa resorts at Lutzmannsburg and Stegersbach.
Transport: the location of communication routes in Burgenland was determined by the fact that Burgenland was formerly part of Hungary. When Burgenland became part of Austria, the country´s railway system was split in two and partly destroyed when the border was closed in 1945. Accordingly, a railway line was built from Pinkafeld to Friedberg in 1925; thus the Pinkatal valley could be reached by the Aspangbahn railway line; later on, the line was extended via Oberwart and Grosspetersdorf to Rechnitz. The railway system of Burgenland is basically dominated by railway lines not suitable for express trains. Northern Burgenland has, however, been integrated into the interconnected transport system of eastern Austria (Verkehrsverbund Ost-Region) by the rapid transit line No. 60 from Vienna to Neusiedl am See, and by two local railway lines running from Neusiedl am See to Nickelsdorf and Wulkaprodersdorf. The largest volume of traffic, however, is carried by roads. Burgenland has a modern system of motorways (A 2, A 3 and A 4), Schnellstrassen (S 4, S 31) and other federal roads, which connect the various parts of the province with each other and with the rest of Austria. The A 2 (South Motorway) connects the formerly isolated southern part of Burgenland with Vienna and Graz; it is frequented by commuters and owners of second homes. In 1991, the A 4 (East Motorway) to Parndorf in northern Burgenland was opened and further extended to the border-crossing point of Nickelsdorf in 1994. The A 3 Oedenburger Bundesstrasse (B 16) went to as far as the road traffic junction of Eisenstadt in 1999 and has since been further extended. By creating interconnected transport systems (Verkehrsverbund Burgenland Nord and Burgenland Mitte) attractive prices can be offered to commuters using the local bus and rail and service. The opening of the Hungarian border and the crisis in former Yugoslavia resulted in a large increase in cross-border passenger transport (in 1985 1.8 million people crossed the national border compared to 18.7 million in 1991), and accordingly to a higher traffic burden on the local population.
Cultural Life: Even though many medieval architectural and artistic monuments were destroyed in the course of the Turkish invasions, the province of Burgenland is still well-known for its large number of castles, palaces, fortified towers and churches dating from the Gothic (Baumgarten, Gaas, Guessing, Rust, St. Margarethen, Stadtschlaining, Breitenbrunn, Marz) and Baroque periods (Eberau, Eisenstadt, Frauenkirchen, Halbturn, Kittsee, Loretto, Bernstein, Forchtenau). Especially in northern Burgenland many villages devastated in 1683 were rebuilt in the Baroque style. Several representatives of the Classicist period lived and worked in Eisenstadt, among them Canova und Moreau. Eisenstadt, for many years home to the great Austrian composer J. Haydn, was the first town to revive cultural traditions; since then the whole province of Burgenland has followed suit, as is evidenced by the activities of 65 schools of music organised by the Volksbildungswerk, an association providing adult education particularly in rural areas, and the international Bildhauersymposion annually held in the quarry near St. Margarethen, which also serves as a natural stage on which passion plays and opera festivals are performed, and the Moerbisch Lake Festival. Folk art, too, has been particularly promoted in Burgenland, especially by its Croatian minority (Tamburizza music). A great number of museums have been set up in the course of this revival of cultural traditions, and great efforts have been made to preserve historic town centres, architectural monuments and traditional types of houses. Moreover, the population of Burgenland is increasingly becoming aware of the importance of protecting the region´s natural fauna and flora.
Education: Burgenland provides for secondary education. A law regulating the education of ethnic minorities (1937) provided primary education either in the Croatian or Hungarian language as well as bilingual primary education in the autochthonous areas. On September 9, 1994 a new law regulating compulsory education of ethnic minorities entered into force. In the 1997/98 school year bilingual education (German and Croatian) was offered in 29 primary schools; education in the Hungarian language was provided in two bilingual primary schools, one bilingual secondary school (Hauptschule) and one bilingual Polytechnischer Lehrgang course; education in the Croatian and Hungarian languages was offered in five secondary schools (Hauptschule). In the 1997/98 school year 1,392 pupils of a total of 22,211 pupils attended bilingual primary schools. Burgenland´s Hungarian and Croatian-speaking communities have contributed a great deal to the region´s great variety of traditional clothes, folk music, popular plays and folk dance.
History: The youngest province of Austria, Burgenland derived its name in 1919 from the endings of the four predominantly German-speaking border districts or comitats of western Hungary: Pressburg/Bratislava, Wieselburg/Moson, Oedenburg/Sopron and Eisenburg/Vasvár (originally the name "Vierburgenland" - land of four castles - was proposed). The oldest settlement dates back to the Mesolithic Age (10,000-5,000 B.C.). Farmers settled in the low-lying areas around Lake Neusiedl and the Pullendorf basin as early as the Neolithic Age (around 5,000 B.C.). Copper and antimony have been mined in the hilly regions of Rechnitz and Bernstein since the Copper and Bronze Ages. Wine-growing started at the beginning of the early Iron Age around 700 B.C. In approximately 450 B.C. the country was settled by Celts; around 15 B.C. Roman troops occupied the country, which was incorporated into the Roman Empire as part of the Roman Province of Pannonia. The prehistoric Amber trading route, later a Roman Imperial route from Aquileia to Carnuntum, passed through the country. At the time of the Migration of the Germanic Peoples Huns, Goths, Langobards and Avars settled in what now is Burgenland. In 800 the Avars were defeated by Charlemagne, and the country became a border province of the Frankish-Bavarian kingdom until it fell under Magyar domination in 907. The rivers Leitha and Lafnitz, which today form the natural border with the provinces of Lower Austria and Styria, had formed the border between Austria and Hungary from the 11th century onwards. German-speaking farmers and craftsmen settled in the areas between Magyar border villages; Benedictine and Cistercian monks devoted themselves to cultivating the land.
In the High Middle Ages, southern Burgenland was the principal seat of the Guessinger family; northern Burgenland was dominated by the Mattersdorfer-Forchtensteiner family. The Coat of arms of Burgenland (as created in 1922) combines the Coat of Arms of the Forchtensteiner (Mattersdorfer) family and that of the Guessinger family. The peace treaties of Oedenburg (now Sopron) (1463) and Pressburg (now Bratislava) (1491) provided that several west-Hungarian territories came under Habsburg rule; most of them were leased to members of the Austrian nobility; in 1647, however, these territories were reincorporated into Hungary. From this time up to 1918 both civil and religious life were dominated by Hungarian law (Hungarian principles prevailed in the fields of administration, administration of justice and education). In the 16th century Croats settled in the country devastated as a result of border fights in the Late Middle Ages and the Turkish invasions (1529 and 1532).
In the 17th century northern and central Burgenland was the principal seat of the influential Esterházyfamily; they turned Eisenstadt into a centre of music and architecture which became well known beyond national borders. Southern Burgenland was the principal seat of the Batthyány family. Under common rule from 1526, Austria and Hungary started to strengthen their economic and cultural ties, especially with the Austrian capital, Vienna. In the 19th century Hungarian farmers exported a large part of their products to Vienna and to the industrial regions of Austria, where several 1,000 migrating workers from Hungary earned their living. This is basically why a large number of the German-speaking population of western Hungary (now Burgenland) sought union with Austria after the disintegration of the Habsburg Empire in 1918.
The peace treaty of Saint-Germain (1919) provided that the predominantly German-speaking parts of western Hungary (with the capital Oedenburg/Sopron) were ceded to Austria; as a result of armed resistance by Hungarian irregulars, however, Austria was only able to take them over with the help of local police and the armed forces in 1921. Austria nevertheless had to cede Oedenburg/Sopron and eight municipalities to Hungary, which was decided by a plebiscite in which a majority voted for union with Hungary ( Abstimmungsgebiete). This is how Burgenland lost its natural capital Oedenburg/Sopron. In 1925 Eisenstadt became the new capital. The town has been expanded by a large number of administrative buildings ever since.
In 1926 the province of Burgenland was given its own constitution, which preserved many Hungarian principles in the fields of ecclesiastical law, marriage law and compulsory education ( Burgenland school system), and thus was different in certain respects from the constitutions of the rest of Austria. Even though Burgenland had never been a homogeneous entity in the past, the population of the province soon developed a strong Austrian identity (they stopped calling themselves "Heanzen" and adopted the name "Burgenlaender" instead). Between 1938 and 1945 Burgenland was divided between "Niederdonau" (the Nazi name for Lower Austria), which incorporated northern and central Burgenland, and Styria (southern Burgenland). In 1945 it resumed its name and status as autonomous province.
The new constitution of the province of Burgenland was adopted on September 14, 1981 and entered into force on October 4, 1982. (Original version - LGBL/Provincial Law Gazette number 42/1981 as amended in LGBL/Provincial Law Gazette number 19/1992). Burgenland elects 6 deputies to the Nationalrat and 3 deputies to the Bundesrat; the Landtag consists of 36 members. The Landeshauptmann was a member of the SPOe (Austrian Socialist Party) from 1945 to 1956; of the OeVP (Austrian People´s Party) from 1956 to 1964; and of the SPOe again since 1964; the provincial government (1996) is composed of 3 representatives of the SPOe (now Austrian Social Democratic Party); 3 representatives of the OeVP and 1 representative of the FPOe (Austrian Freedom Party). At municipal level, the Amtmann, an institution dating from Burgenland´s Hungarian past, is entrusted with the administrative duties by the mayor of a municipality. From 1922 to 1960 Burgenland had an Apostolic administration; since then it has been a diocese in its own right (Diocese of Eisenstadt).
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