Lower Austria

Lower Austria (German: Niederösterreich or ; Austro-Bavarian: Niedaöstareich, Niedaestareich, Slovak: Dolné Rakúsko, Czech: Dolní Rakousy) is one of the nine states of Austria, located in the northeastern corner of the country. Since 1986, the capital of Lower Austria has been Sankt Pölten, replacing Vienna which became a separate state in 1921. With a land area of 19,186 km2 (7,408 sq mi) and a population of 1.685 million people, Lower Austria is the second-most populous state in Austria (after Vienna). Other large cities are Amstetten, Klosterneuburg, Krems an der Donau, Stockerau and Wiener Neustadt.[3]

Lower Austria
Flag of Lower Austria
Coat of arms of Lower Austria
Anthem: Niederösterreiche Landeshymne
Location of Lower Austria
Country Austria
CapitalSankt Pölten
 • BodyLandtag of Lower Austria
 • GovernorJohanna Mikl-Leitner[1] (ÖVP)
 • Deputy GovernorUdo Landbauer (FPÖ) [1]
 • Total19,186 km2 (7,408 sq mi)
 (1 January 2022)
 • Total1,698,796
 • Density89/km2 (230/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
ISO 3166 codeAT-3
HDI (2019)0.887[2]
very high · 8th of 9
NUTS RegionAT1
Votes in Bundesrat12 (of 62)


With a land area of 19,186 km2 (7,408 sq mi) situated east of Upper Austria, Lower Austria is the country's largest state. Lower Austria derives its name from its downriver location on the Enns River which flows from the west to the east. Lower Austria has an international border, 414 km (257 mi) long, with the Czech Republic (South Bohemia and South Moravia Regions) and Slovakia (Bratislava and Trnava Regions). The state has the second longest external border of all Austrian states. It also borders the other Austrian states of Upper Austria, Styria and Burgenland as well as surrounding Vienna.

Lower Austria is divided into four regions, known as Viertel (quarters):

These regions have different geographical structures. Whilst the Mostviertel is dominated by the foothills of the Limestone Alps with mountains up to 2,000 m (AA) high, most of the Waldviertel is a granite plateau. The hilly Weinviertel lies to the northeast, descends to the plains of Marchfeld in the east of the state, and is separated by the Danube from the Vienna Basin to the south, which in turn is separated from the Vienna Woods by a line of thermal springs (the Thermenlinie) running north to south.[4]


Other mountains in Lower Austria may be found at Category:Mountains of Lower Austria.

Alpine passesEdit

The state border with Styria runs over both passes.


Kamp river below the Rosenburg

Almost all of Lower Austria is drained by the Danube. The only river that flows into the North Sea (via the Moldau and the Elbe) is the Lainsitz in northern Waldviertel, the Erlauf river.

The most important rivers north of the Danube (on its left bank) are the Ysper, Kamp, Krems, Lainsitz, March and Thaya. South of the Danube (on its right bank) are the Enns, Ybbs, Erlauf, Melk, Pielach, Traisen, Schwechat, Fischa, Schwarza, Triesting, Pitten and the Leitha.



Lower Austria is rich in natural caves; in all 4,082 have been recorded. Most of the caves have formed in limestone and dolomite rocks and are therefore called karst caves. Cavities also form in the marble of the Central Alps and the Bohemian Massif. Among the largest caves in Lower Austria are:

The last two are open as show caves, along with the Allander stalactite cave, the Unicorn Cave, the Hochkarschacht, the Nixhöhle and the Ötschertropfsteinhöhle.

Land useEdit

Type of land use Area in km2 Percent of
total area
Farmland 7,000 42
Woods 6,711 40
Grassland 1,750 11
Alpine pastures 300 1.7
Vineyards 315 1.9


The history of Lower Austria is very similar to the history of Austria. Many castles are located in Lower Austria. Klosterneuburg Abbey, located here, is one of the oldest abbeys in Austria. Before World War II, Lower Austria had the largest number of Jews in the country.

The names Lower Austria and Upper Austria are derived from the earlier names Austria below the Enns and Austria above the Enns, references to the river Enns. Going down from its source on the northern edge of the Central Eastern Alps, the river crosses Upper Austria, then on its lower reaches forms the boundary between Upper Austria and Lower Austria.[5]

In the mid-13th century, it became known as the Principality below the Enns River (Fürstentum unter der Enns).


The gross domestic product (GDP) of the state was €61.0 billion in 2018, accounting for 15.8% of Austria's economic output. GDP per capita adjusted for purchasing power was €32,300, or 107% of the EU27 average in the same year. Lower Austria is the state with the second-lowest GDP per capita in Austria.[6]


Historical population

Administrative divisionsEdit

View of Krems (left) at the end of Wachau valley; Danube river in the center

Lower Austria is divided into four regions: Waldviertel, Mostviertel, Industrieviertel, and Weinviertel. The Wachau valley, situated between Melk and Krems in the Mostviertel region, is famous for its landscape, culture, and wine.

Administratively, the state is divided into 20 districts (Bezirke), and four independent towns (Statutarstädte). In total, there are 573 municipalities within Lower Austria.[7]

Map of Lower Austria showing districts and the four quarters (Waldviertel in green, Weinviertel in red, Mostviertel in yellow, and Industrieviertel in blue)

Independent townsEdit



  1. ^ a b "Niederösterreichs Landtag besiegelt Schwarz-Blau – mit einer Minderheit für Mikl-Leitner". 24 March 2023. Retrieved 24 March 2023.
  2. ^ "Sub-national HDI - Area Database - Global Data Lab". hdi.globaldatalab.org. Retrieved 2018-09-13.
  3. ^ "About the State Parliament of Lower Austria – NÖ Landtag". noe-landtag.gv.at (in Austrian German). Retrieved 2020-01-14.
  4. ^ "Visitor-Information". www.lower-austria.info. Retrieved 2020-01-14.
  5. ^ "History of Lower Austria – NÖ Landtag". noe-landtag.gv.at (in Austrian German). Retrieved 2020-01-14.
  6. ^ "Regional GDP per capita ranged from 30% to 263% of the EU average in 2018". Eurostat.
  7. ^ "Lower Austria in Numbers" (PDF).

External linksEdit

  Media related to Lower Austria at Wikimedia Commons

48°20′N 15°45′E / 48.333°N 15.750°E / 48.333; 15.750