Book Review: Everything Austrian, Statistically and Graphically


Few questions are left unanswered in the pictograms and statistics collected in these two volumes.The second, on Vienna, was just published in 2015 and will give you the inside advantage on local trivia

Did you know that only one in thirty citizens of Vienna owns a car, that in addition to the eighteen United Nations’ organizations, seventeen more international organizations are based here, or that every 33rd Austrian is a firefighter?

For anyone who wants to become a treasure-trove of information both useful and useless, The Complete Vienna and The Complete Austria make that possible. The detail of the material collected is astounding:  For example, did you know that the Vienna International Center, which is home to the UNO in Vienna, is 118 meters tall, has 28 floors, and covers 17 hectares?

From schnitzel to stallions

The Complete Vienna is the slimmer volume, including only the graphics and text about the city taken from The Complete Austria and packaged in a smaller 13.5 x 13.5 cm pocket format. It includes nearly everything about Vienna that could interest a tourist, a trivia fan, or a friend living abroad. It is half the price of the larger edition and saves you lugging the larger Complete Austria around. That said, either book would make a great gift or souvenir for someone -interested in our fair land.

The books collect fascinating facts and present them graphically with the text in both German and English – everything from Lippizaner stallions to Wiener Schnitzel, drinking coffee, and the production of Manner wafers.

The inclusion of the Lippizaners is no surprise – these horses have always been associated with Austria – but who knew that every movement they make has a specific name in classical dressage: The levade from the French “to lift” is the horse standing on its hind legs with the front legs in the air and bent downward and backward at the joint, the pesade from the Italian “to pose” is when the horse raises and extends its front legs. The croupade is jumping with all four hooves drawn up under the horse and landing on four legs in the same position.  The ballotade is a jump with both sets of legs extended -inward,  the kapriole from Italian “to leapfrog” is a forward jump, while the courbette is an overextended version of the levade where the rider nearly falls off the horse’s back.

Of course, they didn’t figure this out over night; the Spanish Riding School has existed for 430 years,  and today has 72 stallions and 20 riders, and gets over 300,000 annual visitors. There are 70 performances per year in Vienna.

The Wiener Schnitzel graphic “Golden brown and crispy” gives complete instructions on how to make your own mouth-watering schnitzel. Warning: The photos alone will make you hungry.

All things Vienna

In the section about coffee, one learns, for example, that there are twenty different kinds of Viennese coffee and that a Maria-Theresia coffee is made with orange rather than apricot liqueur, unlike that served at Cafe Diglas on the Wollzeile, where they clearly have not read the book.

In the graphic “A wafer travels the world,” we discover that Manner Schnitten are exported to 60 countries, that 9,000 tons of cocoa beans and 14,000 tons of chocolate are used to produce 48,000 tons of confectionery goods. Watch out: A single portion has 363.75 calories!

In addition to its 700 other employees, Manner sponsors a stone mason for the upkeep of St. Stephan’s Cathedral, which is on its logo.

For those who are less interested in coffee and wafers, dancing and music are also included. Both books have graphics about the New Year’s celebrations and ball season in Vienna as well as Mozart and (horror of horrors!) The Sound of Music.

For resolving dinner table disputes and impressing your friends, The Complete Austria and The Complete Vienna are the books to buy. Besides, they are fun!

At your next dinner party settle any debates about Viennese lore, traditions and trivia with these beautiful books.


The Complete Vienna (2015) 







The Complete Austria (2013)



Leave a Comment