How do Germans view Austria and Austrians?

Through a telescope. Heh.

Seriously, many Americans see Canada as a kinder, gentler, more polite but otherwise quite similar “kid brother” of the United States. From what I understand, there’s a similar dynamic between Australia and New Zealand.

How about Germany and Austria?

I have both Austrian and south German friends.

The Austrians are all of the same social group, and while I’ve never really asked the question of them, the girl (she is late 20’s) I regularly email has quite a strong dislike of Germany (which is to do with WW2, perhap’s there is family history there), and a couple of others have minor anti feelings towards Germany. To me, it’s the complete opposite of the relationship between NZ/Oz or US/Canada.

The Germans seem not to care in any particular way about Austria, though it’s not a question I’ve asked. To me, they see it as a holiday destination for winter skiing, and that’s about it.

I can’t answer the question directly, but I think that the US/Canada and Australia/NZ are somewhat unique situations. Both nations are populated with immigrants of very similar composition. The two couplets have never really been at war with each other and just don’t have much reason for animosity.

Throughout Europe and Asia those nations/cultures have really long histories most of which is littered with various deceits and occupations between neighbors. Compounding that, you need to realize that most of the existing borders in those regions are drawn as a result of serious cultural differences. Culturally there are very few neighboring nations as similar as the two pairs you cite.

Consider that Ireland and England are quite similar in many ways but have a very adversarial relationship, even though both are close allies in most matters of a global scale and share a language. Hell, even England and Scotland have a substantial amount of animosity. Sweden and Norway don’t get along at all. The neighbors in the Balkans get along so poorly that they invented a term that describes it.

I think better candidates for similar relationships would be in South America

The Canadians I know consider the War of 1812 as a war between the US and Canada. Quite different from how it’s taught in US schools.

I have to agree with dynamitedave – the Germans don’t seem to think much about Austria or Austrians other than as a ski destination.

The Austrians I know consider themselves to be the “cultured Germans.” They are very proud of Austria’s accomplishments in music and take great pleasure in good meals and wine.

If I may be permitted a slight hijack. During a dinner, a group of Austrians asked me about a great movie about Austria they had just seen for the first time. It was The Sound of Music. It seems that it was never released in theaters in Austria and most Austrians have never even heard of it. I can see how the plot would not sit well with Austrians who just went through Word War II. Now that movies are easily available on DVDs, the post-WWII generation finds it entertaining.

Not relevant to the OP, but in the interest of fighting ignorance, this is not true. Sweden and Norway mostly get along very well.

Similarly, I disagree that England and Ireland have “a very adversarial relationship”.
It was certainly true in the past, and obviously a centuries-long conflict doesn’t help.
But I think in the modern day, Britons are actually quite fond of the Irish and the average Irish chap doesn’t appear to bear any grudge towards Britain.

As for England and Scotland…we say we don’t like each other, but I don’t think it’s any more than a long-running joke.

In any case, there’s such a movement of people between these three countries / regions, that a large proportion of apparently english people have some Scottish or Irish background anyway.

How long ago was this? Much of the economy of Salzburg seems to revolve around the Sound of Music tourist trade, so it seems likely that most Austrian’s there at least would have heard of it.

Anyway, I guess I’m double hijacking… ignore me.


Damn right they do. They might tease each other quite a bit, but that’s pretty much it.

For instance there is a bit of the Norwegian state-owned railway up by Narvik which is not connected to the rest of the network - it connects solely to the Swedish network, the passenger trains on it are run by the Swedish Railway, and one of the stations on the line is actually slightly inside Sweden.

As a German I can tell you that for the most part there is no animosity. As mentioned before Austria is mostly seen as the place to go skiing or mountain climbing. People from Northern Germany might have trouble with the dialects and make fun of the quaintness, but that’s about it.

The Austrians aren’t too fond of the Germans. They have a slightly derogatory name for them: Piefke (article in German). This means a very Prussian, very stiff, very arrogant type of person. Then again, most of Austria hates the Viennese more than the Germans, and the Viennese are always depressed and hate everyone… :wink:

There is a famous joke in Germany:

Q.: Why are the Austrians the smartest people in the world?
A.: They convinced the whole world that Beethoven was an Austrian and Hitler was a German.

(Beethoven was born and raised in Bonn, Germany and Hitler comes from Braunau am Inn, Austria)

Being a German who only takes short trips to Austria every few years but whose company has a fair amount of business contacts with Austria I can speak with a bit of confidence about how Germans tend to view Austrians but only tentatively, mostly from media (German and Austrian) how Austrians tend to view Germans

German view of Austria: mostly nice, sometimes :rolleyes:, occasionally :eek:

  • reasonably well-run country, nice to live in
  • appealing to epicureans, a bit laid back compared with Germany
  • dialects a bit strange but mostly easy on the ear
  • standard Austrian German vocabulary has noticeable peculiarities (but less so than standard Swiss German). Example potato = Kartoffel (Germany), Erdapfel (Austria)
  • keen on titles (educational, business, official); as a matter of courtesy sometimes an inflated title is used in address (but not in relation to oneself - that would be a criminal offence). E.g. the only country that I know of where the government gives some worthy citizens a free-floating Professor title not associated with any teaching post.
  • political scene: very much different from the German one, hence political developments not readily understandable by Germans - perhaps as opaque as Canadian politics are to the normal US citizen. German and Austrian politicians seem to be a bit more pally with their counterparts of the same ideological complexion than with those from other countries but not very much so, as the domestic political issues of the day very rarely are the same ones.
  • political/business scandals: sometimes a bit over the top, but to be fair we have also politicians/businessmen that the Austrians are entitled to go :rolleyes: over.
  • xenophobic/nativist/right-wing/populist politicians: look very disturbing from Germany, sometimes marginal but sometimes with real influence.
  • typical nickname (mildly offensive): Ösi, Austrians sometimes also referred to as “that peculiar mountain people”

Austrian view of Germany: mostly harmless, a bit overbearing

  • view of Germany is generally that which goes with having a much larger neighbour who invariably gets to arrive at the negotiating table with more influence, i.e. resentment at what is seen as an overbearing attitude. (I suspect that is typical of any large neighbour/small neighbour relationship that is not actually antagonistic)
  • nice Germans are Bavarians, nasty Germans are Prussians.
  • typical nickname (mildly offensive): Piefke (goes with the “Prussian” stereotype)

Thanks for the answers, everybody!

As a South German who travels to Austria, I want to add to the above posts that from our perspective, there are two kinds of Germans - Bavarians and “Saupreissn” (damned prussians - stiff, humorless, by the book bureaucrats who don’t know how to have fun); and two kinds of Austrians: Tyroleans (the brother people) and the Viennese (disliked by the rest of the Austrians, apparently).

To the Austrians, “Piefke” is used similar to “Saupreiss” a mild derogatory for all those tourists spending their money in our nice country which we don’t really love (but will gladly take all their money) but not activly hate (too much bother).

Interestingly, the Bavarians and Tyroleans tend to see each other as brother people (Brudervolk), because both share the same historic problems (farming and surviving in difficult mountain regions), have thick dialects difficult to be understood by the rest of the nation, are used to being made of by the rest of the nation for being dumb rural idiots, dislike the decisions made in Berlin/Vienna over their heads … Despite the warbetween Bavaria (on Napoleons side) and Tyrol (rebellion for independence) last century, there are no hard feelings.

In Bavaria, we receive one of the two Austrian state TV stations (ORF2), and there’s also the co-production 3sat (Germany, Austria, Switzerland - state stations).

The Austrians seem to have a bit of hangup to have their dialect recognized as real language because they have a handful of words different to standard High German. I was amused several years ago, reading an article in the Nachlese (a journal from the Austrian state TV station) where the author was surprised when travelling in Germany that the Germans knew the word “Wurstsemmel” (small bread roll with sausage slices). He was absolutly sure that the only reason for this was the successful sold abroad TV series of a K9 dog (Kommissar Rex), where one running gag was that the dog would steal the sausage roll from one of the cops. Either the author didn’t know or wanted to ignore that “Semmel” is a common, widespread german variant for “Brötchen” (bread roll), and that Wurstsemmel was widespread before the Austrian TV series.

They also sometimes feel the need to re-dubb movies that are already available in German dub with Austrian dialect speakers - mostly animated movies for kids, apparently (Babe, e.g.)

It’s the same with advertising on TV. That always struck me as odd.

Tangent: The NYT had an article a few years ago on how Hogan’s Heroes was dubbed for German broadcasting, with each character being given a stereotypical accent. Col. Klink was given a refined Berliner’s accent, for instance, and Sgt. Schultz that of a “hick” Bavarian, IIRC.

I can confirm this. (Great show, btw.) Did they have any accents in the original?

ETA: FWIW, Gen. Burkhalter had an Austrian accent.

To this untrained American’s ear, no, not really. Just kinda… German. You could tell Col. Klink was a more sophisticated, better-educated man than Sgt. Schultz, though. Also, Gen. Burkhalter seemed like a lower-class person than Col. Klink, at least by accent, I’d say.

This is rapidly moving away from the original topic, but how can you tell sophistication from somebody’s accent?

(rimshot) In US English, saying “nuclur” instead of “nuclear” seems to be an indicator… (/rimshot)

My own guess is that sophistication or education shows up in the accent as speaking clearly, enounciating properly … and speaking standard High German, instead of dialect blurred together with grunts.

The actors who played Colonel Klink and Sergeant Schultz were actually from Germany and Austria, respectively, having moved to the United States as adults. So, they did speak with noticeable accents on the show, presumably their natural ones.