Southern Comfort: Slovenia

How well do you know your neighbors? We looked into the Alpine Republic’s special relationship with each of them

“Austrians are in a good position economically, and they have jobs for us!”, Slovene Ziga Luknar tells me enthusiastically.

He has been living in Vienna for a year now, and even though he is not yet employed, his plan is to stay as long as he can: “With all the Balkan folks around, it feels like home.” Still, running into a fellow Slovene on the streets is unlikely, since there are only around 2,700 of them in Vienna.

A turbulent history has left its mark on Slovenia. For centuries, the country was influenced or ruled by its neighbors in Italy, Austria, Hungary and Yugoslavia. The Austrian region of Carinthia has a large Slovene population that chose to remain part of Austria following a plebiscite in 1920. These Slovenes are fully assimilated into society. It was a different story with the lower region of Styria, the Untersteiermark, which was assigned to Yugoslavia in the Treaty of Saint Germain in 1919 and today is part of Slovenia.

More recently, EU membership has opened the borders, and as with the Austro-Italian region of South Tyrol, nations and passports matter less and less. Pay a visit to Southern Styrian wine country and stroll over the border with a Grüner Veltliner to feel how the region has grown together once more. Many Slovenes work in Graz or go there to shop.

However, it’s still not an equal relationship. “We need Austria more than Austria needs us,” admits Luknar – which is why a majority of Slovenes speak German. In return, Slovenian access to the sea is vital to Austria. Even though Slovenia was the first to gain independence when Yugoslavia started to break apart, many Austrians still put the country in the same basket as the rest of the Balkans. “Slovenia may be seen as the cream of the crop, but for Austrians, we are still part of the Balkan stew.”

Border with Austria: 299 km, bordering Burgenland, Styria and Carinthia

Population: 2,064,000 people

Size: 20,270 km2

Trade Volume with Slovenia:

Imports from Slovenia: €1.8 billion

Exports to Slovenia: €2.7 billion

Balance: €900 million

Fun fact:

There are more than 10,000 caves in Slovenia.

Anja Stevic
Is a Croatian born writing for Metropole. After moving around, she decided to make Vienna her hometown, where she is currently pursuing her MSc in Communications. In her free time, she is attending exhibitions, photographing or analyzing data.

Help us help you

“Strong media and independent journalism are built on the shoulders of subscribers. Your support means the world to us.

Benjamin Wolf
COO & Managing Editor

The coronavirus outbreak affects and challenges your life in big and small ways. Metropole is here for you and we are proud to be your news source during this crisis.

But just as the coronavirus has increased the need for independent journalism, it has also undercut a major revenue source of media companies, ours included – advertising.

We need your support to keep it up – donate or subscribe and #helpushelpyou!

Support Metropole!


 

RECENT Articles

Solar Roofs for All New Buildings in Vienna & a Turbocharged Climate Budget...

A new city planning law stipulates that all new residential buildings in Vienna have to be built with solar collectors on the roof. Meanwhile, the federal government almost doubled funds for climate initiatives.

The Coronavirus in Austria & Vienna | Further Easing of Measures Announced ...

Austria has successfully flattened the curve, for now. Here’s all you need to know about current measures, including available resources, trusted sources and tips – regularly updated.

Pleased to Meet You | Carefully

Why we (still) need to practice social distancing, now that we can finally get together with friends and family again.

US Quietly Funds the IAEA in Fight Against COVID-19

As Donald Trump Slams the World Health Organization, the State Department is giving millions to another uN agency to battle the pandemic.

New Leadership for Austria’s Cultural Reopening

Having faced growing criticism from all sides, State Secretary for Cultural Affairs Ulrike Lunacek resigned May 15.

7 Restaurants to Have Iftar This Ramadan

Today marks the beginning of Eid al-Fitr or Festival of Breaking the Fast, concluding a month of fasting for Muslims keeping the Ramadan. We’ve compiled a list of sweet spots in the city for you to celebrate the Sugar Feast.
 

METROPOLE NEWSLETTER

Join over 5,000 Metropolitans, who already get monthly news updates and event invitations.