Austrians are notoriously risk-averse and have been big fans of savings accounts, but how do they invest?All over the world, investors, bankers and financial experts are shrugging their shoulders. No one seems to know what the markets are up to, let alone where they are headed. Is this the calm before the storm? When will the ECB raise interest...
Man plans and God laughs There are very few sure things these days. Throughout the early months of this year, media headlines celebrated the weak euro, telling investors “Europe is the top stock pick for 2016.” But while the pundits see euro-products as a good bet and predict the currency’s eventual recovery, no one can ignore the unanimous mood of...
We’ve been getting great feedback from our readers over social media. Thanks very much for your thoughts, ideas and insights, and make sure to like us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter! To the EditorGreat article by Andrew Standen-Raz (“Private Lives”, MET, Feb. 2016). It seems like nowadays we are torn between the conveniences that the digital era has brought us and the...
It seems like a case of unintended consequences. Under enormous pressure from the public and simply the numbers themselves, Austrian Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner announced February 18 a fixed upper limit of 37,500 asylum applicants this year, 80 a day, until the limit is reached.A major new clearing center has been opened in Spielfeld, in southern Styria, and fences are going...
For years, the bar at the Hotel Imperial was one of the spots for a late night drink – with an inconspicuous entrance off the Ringstraße, lush and intimate, with thick carpets, red satin, braided rope and Baroque, all the subdued, comfortable elegance of a club library.There were shared spaces and quiet corners, a round mahogany bar where you...
Eugene Quinn’s irreverent campaign to reimagine Vienna, and break down hidebound rules of tradeIf you stare at something long enough, it can start to give you ideas – at least that’s what happened to Eugene Quinn coming out of his front door on Karmelitermarkt every morning to gaze on the preposterous, new-age rainbow facade of the apartment building across...
With Central European governments constantly changing the rules, it has become impossible for families or businesses to plan for the futureA quarter century might seem like a long time, surely time enough to plan to pay off a mortgage or save into private pension account. Not so in post-communist Central European countries, where any change of government could bring a...
Austria gets tough on its southern borderAfter the tightening of asylum regulations – an upper limit of 35,000 asylum claims per year has been announced – the Austrian government is stepping up controls along the southern border. Beginning in mid-February, 13 border checkpoints in Styria, Carinthia, Tyrol and Burgenland will be more tightly controlled by border police and the...
What Austria’s turbulent past tells us about the current economic and financial crisisIn 2012, ratings agency Standard & Poor’s lowered Austria’s overall credit rating to AA+, citing “significant weaknesses” in the country’s financial system.  The outlook was also weaker than expected and several banks, including the Erste Bank and Raiffeisen Zentralbank, had their ratings lowered to BBB+, a significant blow...
social banking
Banks have reacted to the post-2008 crisis climate in different ways. Some focus on squeaky clean ethical transparency, others on special programs to help poor peopleThere is nothing new in bank bashing: Post 2008 anyone claiming to “like” banks is suspect in enlightened liberal circles. This side of utopia, no one can seriously imagine a world without them.  The...
Learning from the past and looking to the future, a luxury shoemaker, a musician, an economic researcher and urban planner told us about their view on thinking about and planning for the long runRichard Till Reiter CEO of Ludwig Reiter with daughter and assistant Magdalena Reiter“Gustav Mahler said, ‘Tradition is not the worship of the ashes, but the preservation of...
Austrians are notoriously risk-averse and have been big fans of savings accounts, but how do they invest?All over the world, investors, bankers and financial experts are shrugging their shoulders. No one seems to know what the markets are up to, let alone where they are headed. Is this the calm before the storm? When will the ECB raise interest...
Zotter Chocolate
The Austrian chocolate maker Zotter puts social responsibility before maximum return and demonstrates that short-term profits and sustainable long-term growth are not mutually exclusiveAnyone who has visited its chocolate factory in Bergl, east of Graz, can attest to Zotter’s eccentricity, social philosophy and humor. There’s the introductory film at the “Choco-Shop Theater,” tastings of raw-cocoa and chocolate confections, the...
Few people know that the United States is the only country (besides Eritrea) that taxes its citizens who live and earn money abroad. American expats have been required to file taxes for decades. However, since 2010 the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has pulled foreign banks on board to enforce this. In 112 countries worldwide, banks have agreed to report...
Austrian School of economic thought
The Austrian school of economic thought shapes financial policy the world over – but remains unpopular in its land of originIn dealing with the euro crisis, the European Union is following the playbook of Austrian economists. As is the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington, when designing harsh structural adjustment programs. So too are the angry Tea Party revolutionaries...
A new biography by Adam Sisman deciphers the coded life of novelist David CornwellDuplicity and betrayal are constant themes in the writing of “John Le Carré”, the pen name of Cold War tale-spinner David Cornwell. In John Le Carré, The Biography, Adam Sisman illuminates the formative elements in Cornwell’s layered life that helped to make him one of the...
On 300 dense pages the Scottish political economist Mark Blyth delivers a ringing battle cry to change course – or else.With the economy back on a growth trajectory and unemployment beginning to fall across the euro zone, politicians and economists rejoice that their harsh austerity measures have worked. Political economist Mark Blyth begs to differ. In his book Austerity –...
The Bosnian war brought a wave of migrants fleeing to Vienna. We somehow muddled through. How did we manage?When the first shots were fired in a town a few hundred kilometers away, Kemal Smajic’s parents thought it might pass. A few days later, Serbian militiamen marched through their hometown of Zvornik in eastern Bosnia and told all the Muslims...
The American football faithful congregate for high mass at the Vienna Viking’s Superbowl partyWith the Superbowl looming, I can barely contain myself. Everyone knows that Brits love an underdog, and so as the sweeping grandeur of Vienna’s Parkring comes into view, I’m bursting with optimism. Tonight is the screening of one of the world’s biggest sporting events, which this...
My Home is My Grätzl This month: the Weißgerberviertel in Vienna's 3rd districtOne sunny weekend in February, I set off with two friends to explore the Weißgerberviertel in Vienna’s 3rd district. I was curious, and “it is desire that creates new worlds,” poet Jeannie Ebner had written at the nearby Café Zartl on Rasumofskygasse. “But impatience destroys them before their...
Postwar Austrian art gets a major retrospective with works by Marc Adrian, Richard Kriesche, Helga Philipp und Gerwald RockenschaubThe intention of op-art, declared Austrian op-artist Marc Adrian in 1964, is to bring about “the optimum integration of the beholder into the creation of the artwork.” It was a challenging idea, using illusions of shifting or swelling to reveal hidden...
Péter Eötvös’s Tri Sestri at the Staatsoper: A cornerstone work about paths not taken, memory and farewellsIt takes only about ten notes of a lonely accordion to set the mood. All the more jarring, then, is the first line seconds later: “That music is so cheerful.”Tri Sestri (Three Sisters), by Hungarian composer Péter Eötvös, is based on Anton Chekhov’s...
Classical saxophone gets its due at this festival, featuring a week of international talent performing all over townUsually associated with jazz, this festival shows off the saxophone’s wide range in its original role in classical music: as an intermediate instrument between woodwinds and brass. Founded and organized by Lars Mlekusch, a prominent saxophonist and professor at the Vienna Conservatory,...
The garage rockers re-form and hit the road again, with a new album outWith a musical style reminiscent of The Clash with a bit of The Smiths mixed in, The Libertines rode the fuzzy wave of post-punk revival to become household names, thanks in part to puckish co-frontman Pete Doherty’s rock n’ roll lifestyle. His antics increasingly took a...
A searing and original production of Camus’ absurdist drama, tackling notions of alienation and isolationTheater-goers, rejoice! One of Vienna’s eminent theatrical institutions, the Volkstheater, is now bringing Austrian theater to an international audience. The first fruits of this endeavor can be seen in the The Misunderstanding, an extraordinary meld of puppetry and theater. Penned by Albert Camus in 1943...
One of Britain’s most acclaimed stand-up comedians brings Funny Business to ViennaAfter their runaway success in bringing live, English-language comedy to the Gartenbau with the likes of Dylan Moran, Bill Bailey, Russel Brand and Eddie Izzard, Stand Up, Vienna! now brings another star entertainer to town: With a persona that combines a characteristic laugh, posh accent, impeccable suits and...
Patrick Vollrath is Riding the Wave of New Austrian CinemaFor this Oscar-nominated Vienna-based director, Alles Wird Gut  After decades of obscurity, Austrian “new-wave” cinema has recently reclaimed its place on the international film scene. Whether the realistic dramas of Michael Haneke and Ulrich Seidl, or the crafted documentaries of Michael Glawogger and Nikolaus Geyrhalter, its commitment to a naturalistic yet...
With an amazing cast, this indie drama tells a story of captivity Based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Emma Donoghue (who also wrote the screenplay), which was in turn inspired by the Josef Fritzl affair, Room tells the story of Joy, (Brie Larson) abducted and incarcerated for seven years by a stranger, and her five-year- old son...
The blacklist gets the Hollywood treatment, with a standout performance by Bryan CranstonA succinct if oversimplified recollection of a sordid chapter in cinematic and American history, the biopic Trumbo follows screenwriting legend Dalton Trumbo (Bryan Cranston) through his formative years on the Hollywood blacklist. The most prominent member of the Hollywood 10, industry professionals that were persecuted by congress...
László Nemes’ first feature approaches the holocaust from a personal perspective, collecting international accolades along the wayHaving already won the Grand Prix at Cannes, a Golden Globe and up for Best Foreign Film at the Oscars, Son of Saul attempts to make sense of the senseless by focusing on a single viewpoint, showing Auschwitz through the eyes of Saul, a...
With the resurgence of vinyl going global, the City of Music finds itself punching far above its weight with a thriving record store cultureAs the rich tones of analog audio stage an unexpected comeback, so do record stores, with both established and new shops beckoning to the discerning explorer. Catering to crate diggers and metal heads, jazz cats and...
Beimir Bistu Shein Ottakring’s new mixologist joint Beimir has filled a cocktail voidWhen I moved west of Wattgasse, to the outer reaches of the down-to-earth 16th district, I hoped for many things - lower housing prices, a sort of gritty authenticity and proximity to the greenery of my beloved Vienna Woods.What I didn’t expect is to find my local bar...
Serving delicacies to discerning patrons since 1618, the Kameel is a gourmet temple and a place to see and be seenAt most top restaurants, the bar is a catchment area, but little more. Not so at zum Schwarzen Kameel on Bognergasse, where it’s the center of the action – as it has been for over a century. Guests have...
One of Vienna’s few accredited slow food chefs has a special recipe for the Lenten fast: Viennese snails with artichoke ravioliFuad Vojic has created a slow food oasis at Giorgina, just behind the Burgtheater; in the heart of the city yet almost invisible. Lunchtime hums with the chitchat of political movers – SPÖ, ÖVP and die Grünen all have...
The Neusiedlersee region has proven fertile ground for the Schwarz family’s organic winemakingPerception often begins with images: Pristine Alpine meadows and the scent of Edelweiss are enough to conjure up an all-natural picture of farming in Austria. So it is with Austrian wine, whose producers have long prided themselves in balancing the realities of economics with the preservation of...
Views to die for and the new Ice Q building were what attracted  the James Bond producers to Sölden. The town was sworn to secrecy, but now can finally tell the taleThe Ice Q, a three-story glass building in the Ötzal Alps became world famous overnight late last year when it made an appearance as the icily sinister health...
Killian Kleinschmidt
We asked Humanitarian and global networker Killian Kleinschmidt how the waves of asylum seekers coming to Austria will affect society and the economy in the long run.Kleinschmidt was the director of the Zataari refugee camp, the 2nd largest in the world. Later he worked at the camp in Traiskirchen in Lower Austria.  Dear Readers, People reaching Austria and seeking refuge...
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