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VORARLBERG

 
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Vorarlberg is located in the middle of the Alps. The small state with 367.000 inhabitants lies in the very west of Austria and is part of one of the strongest economic regions in the European Union. Due to its central location and the excellent transport connections, Vorarlberg is a great place to explore Europe.
Vorarlberg enjoys a supreme location in Austria’s most western part, close to neighbouring Germany, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Pleasantly small in size, Vorarlberg offers a stimulating mix of high-carat culture and dazzling natural scenery.

Its trump card is its mix of a strong economy and great recreational offerings. Cities such as Zurich (Switzerland), Milan (Italy) and Munich (Germany) as well as the most beautiful ski regions in the Arlberg and Montafon regions are all within easy reach. Nested between Lake Constance and the Arlberg, Silvretta and Rätikon Massifs, Vorarlberg is the cradle of alpine skiing with some of the finest ski areas in the world.


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Vorarlberg is the westernmost state of Austria. Although it is the second smallest in terms of area (Vienna is the smallest) and population (Burgenland is less populated), it has the second highest population density (after Vienna). The population density is distributed differently. While rural areas like the Bregenzerwald are characterized by dispersed habitats, the Rhine Valley (in which Dornbirn is located) is already comparable with that of urban areas. It borders three countries: Germany (Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg via Lake Constance), Switzerland (Graubünden and St. Gallen) and Liechtenstein. The only Austrian federal state that shares a border with Vorarlberg is Tyrol to the east.
The capital of Vorarlberg is Bregenz (28.000 inhabitants), although Dornbirn is the largest city of Vorarlberg (45.000 inhabitants). Vorarlberg is also distinct in that it is the only state in Austria that does not speak an Austro-Bavarian, but rather an Alemannic dialect of German language; it therefore has much more in common culturally with its Alemannic-speaking neighbours Switzerland, Liechtenstein than with the rest of Austria. The dialect even differs within the State itself – the dialectic language in the areas of Bregenzerwald, Lustenau and Montafon is considered to be particularly difficult to understand; however, they have one feature in common, the absence of the past tense. The part actions are only spoken of in the perfect tense.


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The Lake of Constance is central Europe’s third largest freshwater lake and invites to breathtaking boat trips and watersports. From alpine touring, snowshowing, skiing, snowboarding or wintergolfing in winter to mountainbiking, trekking, climbing, surfing, swimming, canyoning or kajaking in summer...the variety of outdoor activities is immense. Due to its impressive alpine formations, lakes and inspiring highlands, Vorarlberg is a true natural sensation. Around two thirds of the territory of the state is 1000 meters above sea level – the summit of the „Piz Buin“ at 3.312 meters is the highest point of Vorarlberg. Forestland, Alps, Rivers and Lakes make up to 79.2% of the whole surface area of Vorarlberg, 17.3% is dedicated to agriculture and just 3% is defined as building construction zone. These few figures compile the unique structure of the province.
Nature conservation is a highly valued issue in Vorarlberg. The approximately 2.000 hectares wide nature reserve „Rhine Delta“ offers a home to 330 different types of birds and provides protection for a large number of rare plants and animals. The alpine valley “Großwalsertal” was awarded the predicated title of “Biosphere Reserve” by the UNESCO and can be counted as one of the world-wide model regions for sustainable ecological environmental development.


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One of the most remarkable characteristics of Vorarlberg is its high quality of life. According to the EU Interregional Project “MARS“(Monitoring the Alpine Region’s Sustainability), Vorarlberg is one of the most sustainable and liveable areas in the Alpine Region. In the overall evaluation of this study, Vorarlberg even came first in the three sustainability sectors: the economy, the environment and social affairs.

The cultural scene in Vorarlberg is very active, diverse, colorful and exciting, achieving impressive standards in terms of local productions right up to internationally acclaimed works. With the Bregenz Opera Festival or the Kunsthaus Bregenz, Vorarlberg has two extremely successful bridgeheads to the international art scene.

Vorarlberg belongs to the absolute pioneers in innovative product- and process engineering and was on second place at the 1st European prize for the most innovative region in Europe. Moreover, Vorarlberg is one of the most vibrant architectural regions anywhere in Europe, where you can explore and enjoy an abundance of innovative, technically experimental construction.

The high number of market-leader multinational companies with branches in the state, shows that Vorarlberg is one of the world’s economic top regions. In comparison with other states of the Republic of Austria, the State of Vorarlberg has the highest rate of exports. Around 54% of the goods produced in local industries are exported abroad. While the textile industry was the main economic force in the region until the 1970s, today it is the internationally oriented industry, for example the mechanical engineering and steel construction, which display growth rates. In the less industrialized areas of the state, the tourism is the most important sources of revenue. The electric power generating industry has also developed as a significant factor in the domestic economy, whereas hydroelectric power production is clearly the main source of power generated.

Links related to Vorarlberg:

http://www.austria-holidays.info/en

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vorarlberg

http://www.vorarlbergvonoben.at/EN

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