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Eight weird and wonderful Austrian place names

From the famous Fucking to the lesser known Windpassing - and of course Lower Stinky Well - Austria’s countryside is full of weird and wonderful place names.

Eight weird and wonderful Austrian place names
The Austrian town formerly known as Fucking. Photo: JOE KLAMAR / AFP

With some names dating back centuries, Austrian villages and towns have some curious monikers. 

From the famous Fucking to the lesser known Windpassing, Austria’s countryside is full of weird and wonderful place names. 

Many of these barely raise an eyebrow in Austria – although a few certainly do – but they’ve grown famous abroad. 

Here are eight of our favourites. 

Fucking (the village formerly known as)

No list of weird Austrian place names would be complete without the town formerly known as Fucking. 

In late 2020, the Austrian village of Fucking decided to formally change its name to Fugging, citing frustrating at the bizarre notoriety of the town’s name. 

READ MORE: No more F**king: Austrian village to change name

The villagers – who were officially known as Fuckingers – finally grew weary of Fucking.

The villagers have been attempting to change the name for years, reports DPA, and have grown increasingly frustrated with tourists and the theft of signs. 

‘Fugging’ was chosen as it better represents the way the name is pronounced in German. 

Internet users however – and particularly those from the British Isles – have pointed out that Fugging is often used as a censored version of what the town was formerly known as. 

The town had been known as Fucking for more than 1,000 years. 

The village and its subsequent name change might have captured international attention, but there are several other place names worth a mention throughout Austria. 

Rottenegg

Rottenegg, situated in the state of Upper Austria, is named after the now ruined Rottenegg Castle. 

The town’s famous Rottenegg Cultural Summer Program brings people from all around to celebrate the local culture and traditions. 

As with Fucking and a few other place names on the list, Rottenegg is only really funny to English speakers – with the name having nothing to do with spoiled eggs at all in German. 

Rottenegg Castle drawn by M. Vischer in 1674. Photo: Wikicommons

Petting 

Just across the border from Fucking/Fugging in Bavaria in Germany, there is another village called Petting.

OK so this one technically isn’t in Austria, but with Petting sitting so close to Fucking, there was not a chance we wouldn’t mention it. 

As yet, there are no plans to get too hasty and follow Fucking by getting rid of Petting, although if they do ‘Pegging’ is probably off limits. 

Oed

As we said earlier, most of the place names in this list are going to make English speakers chuckle rather than the natives – but at least Oed offers something for the locals. 

Oed, a village near Amstetten in the state of Lower Austria, is a word which translates to bleak, barren, desolate, deserted in German (when it is spelt without the umlaut). 

So in this case, Oed is more likely to elicit a laugh if said rather than written, but think of the poor local holiday home providers who have paid for radio ads telling people to “get on down to barren, bleak, desolate and deserted” for a well-earned break. 

Namlos

In the Austrian state of Tyrol sits a region so mysterious, so enchanted, that it doesn’t even have a name. 

Well, not quite. Namlos – which translates to nameless – is the name of a small municipality in the west of the country. 

So if anyone is telling you they need to recharge their batteries and get away from the hustle and bustle of the modern world by wandering the earth in search of a place with no name, tell them it’s just south of the German border in Tyrol and it’s nice there.

They even have a guesthouse. 

Windpassing

If you thought Rottenegg stank, then wait until you get a load of Windpassing. 

In fact, Windpassing is so popular in Austria that there are actually six villages/regions with that name. 

Five are in the state of Lower Austria, with one in the state of Upper Austria. 

For good measure, the Bavarians have also gotten in on the Windpassing action, with two Windpassings in the Passau region. 

The one pictured below is in Lower Austria – one of the five – and is situated between Vienna and Linz. 

According to Culture Trip, Windpassing is twinned with Middlefart in Denmark, because of course it is. 

Porno

Alright, so this is technically on the Hungarian side of the Austrian border, but with a town named Porno just a stone’s throw from Austrian soil, you and I both know it needed to be on this list. 

Known as ‘Porno’ in German, in Hungarian the town is known as Pornóapáti – which is pronounced Porno Party, which couldn’t be much funnier. 

And if that wasn’t enough, technically, the name translates to Porno Abbey. 

Seeing as you might be reading this at work, we encourage you not to google ‘Porno Hungary’ unless you want an uncomfortable conversation with HR, so we’ve included the link to the town’s Wikipedia entry here. 

Unterstinkenbrunn (Lower Stinking Well)

Another municipality in the state of Lower Austria, Unterstinkenbrunn means Lower Stinking Well in German. 

Unlike most of the other names on this list, this is not an example of a hilarious translation or some outdated name which really means nothing. 

Unterstinkenbrunn gets its name from a smelly well which is right in the middle of the village of 558 people. 

According to Wikipedia, “the water has an inky taste and the exit point is covered over a large area with a red layer of rust”. Delicious. 

If you’re looking for it but have managed to get lost, don’t worry, it’s situated just 15 minutes drive from Oberstinkenbrunn or Upper Stinking Well. 

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LIVING IN AUSTRIA

What happens if you get arrested in Austria?

It’s always good to know your legal rights when living as a foreigner in Austria - including if you get in trouble with the police.

What happens if you get arrested in Austria?

Getting arrested is probably not high up on a list of must-dos for international residents in Austria, but it’s not a bad idea to know what would happen if you did.

In a nutshell, the process in Austria is similar to most other countries in that you have to be suspected of committing a crime to be arrested.

But what happens next? What are your rights? And how long can someone be held in custody?

Here’s what you need to know.

FOR MEMBERS: EXPLAINED: What cyclists and drivers in Austria need to know about new rules

When can someone be arrested in Austria?

If someone is suspected of being a criminal, they can be arrested by the police and taken to a police station for questioning. 

Under the Austrian Code of Criminal Procedure, suspects must be informed of their rights as soon as possible, or at the very least before being interrogated by the police.

They also have a right to remain silent or to make a statement, as well as consult a lawyer.

According to Vienna-based attorney Evert Vastenburg, the initial detainment after arrest can last up to 48 hours while a judge decides whether a person should remain in custody or not.

A suspect can then be released on bail or under certain conditions, such as handing over a passport to police.

However, those suspected of serious crimes that typically lead to a prison sentence of 10 years or more (if found guilty) are almost always remanded in custody.

READ MORE: Austria wary of cyber attacks after personal data of foreign residents leaked online

When is someone remanded in custody?

To be refused bail and remanded in custody, there must be serious suspicion that another crime could be committed. 

The judge also must believe there is no other way to deal with the suspect. For example, he/she needs to be readily available to the authorities for questioning.

Another valid reason to keep someone in custody past the initial 48 hours is the risk of someone absconding. In fact, Vastenburg says a flight risk is often assumed with people that do not live and work in Austria.

Other reasons to deny a suspect release are a risk that evidence will be destroyed, witnesses will be contacted, or there is a possibility that further crimes will be committed.

What happens if bail is denied?

If bail is denied and a person must be held in custody for more than 48 hours, they have to be legally represented by a lawyer.

If a suspect can’t afford to hire a lawyer, they will be appointed a Verfahrenshilfe (public defender) by the state.

The case will be then reviewed by a judge on a regular basis to decide if custody should continue.

The first review will take place after 14 days, then at one month and every two months, but a suspect can petition for release at any time.

READ ALSO: Six tourist scams to be aware of in Austria

How many foreigners are in Austrian prisons?

According to data from the Austrian Judiciary, the number of foreigners in Austrian jails as of June 1st 2022 was 4,332 – almost 50 percent of all prisoners.

In relation to the statistics, the Austrian Judiciary states: “The high proportion of foreigners is one of many challenges for the Austrian penal system. 

“In particular, with regard to successful rehabilitation, the fastest possible transfer to the countries of origin is encouraged.

The most common nationality of foreign prisoners in Austria is Romanian, followed by people from the former Yugoslavian states, Hungary, Nigeria and Turkey.

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