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Nine inventions you might be surprised are actually Austrian

OK so we know about Arnie, but there are plenty of Austrian discoveries that you might not know are actually Austrian. Here are a few surprises.

Nine inventions you might be surprised are actually Austrian
Pez. It's Austrian. Photo by Jose Antonio Gallego Vázquez on Unsplash

From famous to infamous, there are plenty of well known people who come from Austria. 

For centuries, Mozart has been synonymous with Austria and Salzburg, while Arnold Schwarzenegger is probably the most famous living Austrian. 

Then of course there’s Adolf, but this list is about things that are surprisingly Austrian, so the less said about him the better. 

The following are some Austrian contributions to the world you might be surprised about. Read on!

Red Bull

OK so most of you know this, but Austria is indeed responsible for the energy drink Red Bull. 

The highest selling energy drink in the world, Red Bull was created and marketed by Austrian entrepreneur Dietrich Mateschitz. 

He was inspired by a pre-existing energy drink named Krating Daeng – translating to ‘red bison’ – which was first invented and sold in Thailand. 

He took this idea, modified the ingredients to suit the tastes of westerners, and founded Red Bull GmbH in Austria in 1987. 

As of 2021, he’s amassed a fortune of close to $30 billion and just sneaks into the top 40 richest people in the world. 

Snow globes

Yes, snow globes (Schneekugel) were actually invented in Austria. 

They were invented by Austrian Erwin Perzy, a manufacturer or surgical instruments, by accident in the 1800s. 

Perzy had been hoping to develop an extra bright source of light and had been experimenting with small reflective particles. 

When he moved the globe, the effect reminded him of snowfall and he got the idea. 

Perzy’s family still run a business manufacturing and selling snow globes in Vienna, where they are still made from glass and the material used to make up the snow is still a secret. 

Australian snow globes. By Tangerineduel – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Danishes (yes, really)

A breakfast and afternoon tea staple across the globe, it might be a surprise to find out that the Danish doesn’t come from Denmark at all. 

Don’t believe us? Ask the Danish. This is already starting to sound like a bad Pulp Fiction impression, but do you know what they call a Danish in Denmark? 

Vienna bread. No, seriously. 

The way of making Danishes – a variant of puff pastry made of laminated yeast-leavened dough that creates a layered texture – was brought to Copenhagen by Austrian bakers. 

The name became prominent when Danish people made the move to the United States and the pastries became popular – and the rest is tasty, tasty history. 


In 1869 economist Emanuel Alexander Herrmann published an article in Austria’s paper Neue Freie Presse “Über eine neue Art des Korrespondenzmittels der Post”, or “About a novel means of postal correspondence”.

The letter proposed that all envelope-size cards, whether written, produced by copying machine, or printed, ought to be admitted as mail if they contained not more than 20 words including address and sender’s signature. 

Britain followed the Austrian example and introduced the postcard a year later.

An Austrian postcard from 1901. Image: Wikicommons


Made of artificial colours and flavours. Squashed out of cartoon characters into artificial shapes. Zero nutritional value. What sounds more American than that?

But no, PEZ, the candy, is in fact Austrian. 

An Austrian by the name of Eduard Haas III invented the collectable cult sweet known as PEZ in 1927, as an alternative to smoking. 

PEZ is a shortened version of the German word for peppermint – PfeffErminZ. 

Twenty years later Haas invented the PEZ dispenser, which resembles a cigarette lighter. 

The sweets were originally targeted at adults and it was not until the 1950s when PEZ began to be sold in America, that the cartoon character tops and fruity flavours were added to appeal to children.


OK, so you knew Sigmund Freud was going to make an appearance in this list somewhere. 

The father of making you worry that you were attracted to your mother was famous for a range of things, including novel approach to sex, dreams and penis envy. 

While some of his techniques and ideas haven’t aged as well as he’d like, his contribution to therapy – and in particular psychoanalysis – was and remains revolutionary. 

Psychoanalysis was popularised by Sigmund Freud. 

In creating a clinical method for treating mental illnesses through dialogue between a patient and a psychoanalyst, Freud developed techniques such as the use of free association. 

The Vienna flat where he lived for 47 years, and produced the majority of his writings, is now a museum documenting his life and work. 

However his famous couch is in the Freud Museum in London, as Freud took his furniture with him when he fled German-annexed Austria to avoid Nazi prosecution.

Slo-mo/slow motion

Speak to a German and they’ll tell you that things tend to be a little slower in Austria – but that’s not what we mean by inventing slo/mo. 

We mean slow motion camera footage. 

Slo-mo is an effect in film-making where time appears to be slowed down. 

It was invented by an Austrian priest, August Musger, in the early 20th century. 

Musger, a passionate cineaste, invented the slow motion technique using a mirrored drum as a synchronising mechanism. 

The device he used was patented in 1904 and was first presented in Graz, Styria in 1907. Where would television sport broadcasts, scientific documentary films, or action movies be without slowmo?

Slow motion is Austrian.

Swarovski crystals

Swarovski’s luxury cut glass (or ‘crystal’) company might have come to worldwide fame, but it is in fact based in Tyrol. 

In 1892 Daniel Swarovski patented an electric cutting machine that enabled the production of crystal glass.

In 1895, Swarovski financier Armand Kosman and Franz Weis founded the Swarovski company, and established a factory in Wattens to take advantage of local hydroelectricity for the energy-intensive grinding processes. 

Today Swarovski crystals adorn clothes, shoes, handbags and mobile phones of classy people everywhere. 

Blood types

OK, so Austria didn’t technically invent blood types because they were actually invented by whoever invented blood, but blood types were first discovered in Austria. 

Karl Landsteiner, an Austrian biologist and physician, first distinguished the main blood types in 1900. 

He later identified the Rhesus factor, in 1937, which enabled doctors to transfuse blood without endangering the patient′s life. 

In 1930 he received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, and is recognised as the father of transfusion medicine.

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Ten unmissable events in Austria this June

June is packed full of vibrant summer events all over Austria. Here are ten of the best.

Ten unmissable events in Austria this June

1st to 4th of June: Narzissenfest, Bad Aussee

Every year, the Ausseerland-Salzkammergut region is transformed into a sea of yellow and white as blooming daffodils cover the landscape.

To celebrate, the region hosts the annual Narzissenfest (daffodil festival) –  Austria’s largest flower festival.

This year, the town of Bad Aussee will host the festival’s main attractions – including the Narzissennacht (daffodil night) and the parade of the daffodil figures on June 4th, which culminates with the announcement of the winning figure at 3 pm.

1st to 18th of June: Vienna Pride

For the first half of June, Austria’s Capital will host a variety of events to celebrate diversity, equality, and LGBTQ+ rights during Vienna Pride.

The event’s main attraction will be the Pride Parade – also known as the Rainbow Parade – on June 17th, where more than 250,000 people are expected to celebrate and demonstrate together in the city centre. 

The Rainbow Parade in Vienna, 2019. Photo: John Samuel/Wikimedia Commons

Other highlights include a contest of Austria’s top drag artists on June 9th, and Vienna Pool Day on June 4th at the Schönbrunn outdoor swimming pool.

3rd to 25th of June: Baden Rose Days, Baden

Every year, the Rosarium in the charming spa town of Baden, near Vienna, comes to life for three weeks during the Badener Rosentage. Visitors can immerse themselves in the enchanting world of blooming roses and enjoy over 25,000 rose bushes comprising more than 900 distinct varieties of the romantic flower.

To mark the onset of the rose blossom season in Baden, the city will host an exciting lineup of concerts on Saturday, June 3rd. The evening’s program will culminate with a piece fusing rock, opera, and classical music, promising an unforgettable experience.

7th to 11th of June, Spring Festival, Graz

For five days, springfestival Graz will transform the entire city of Graz into a buzzing hub of art and electronic music.

This unique event blends its artistic programme with the distinctive architectural features of the city, expanding beyond traditional venues like clubs and bars to include parks, warehouses, and other public spaces.

READ NEXT: Discover Austria: 7 must-see destinations for a spring break

The festival is known for its electronic art and music, and it will feature musical performances and poetry slams at various venues, most of which are situated within walking distance of the city centre.

8th June to 2nd of July – Kikeriki Children’s Short Film Festival, Tulln

The second edition of the Kikeriki Children’s Short Film Festival promises to be a great event for Austria’s little culture lovers. 

There will be 33 short films from Austria and 15 other countries and art workshops on offer every Thursday and Sunday afternoon throughout the festival at the Kunstwerkstatt in Tulln.

8th of June: Sommernachtskonzert, Vienna

On the 8th of June, the Schönbrunn Palace Park in Vienna will host a spectacular – and free – musical programme from the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. 

Over 100,000 people are expected to flock to the palace park to enjoy the Summer Night Concert, which this year will be led by Yannick Nézet-Séguin – music director of the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

The Summer Night Concert in 2019 in the Schönbrunn Palace Park in Vienna.

The Summer Night Concert in 2019 in the Schönbrunn Palace Park in Vienna. Photo: C.Stadler/Bwag/Wikimedia Commons

Soloist Elīna Garanča – a well-known name in the Austrian classical music scene – will sing three arias from Georges Bizet’s “Carmen”, from Charles Gounod’s “Sapho” and from Camille Saint-Saëns’ “Samson et Dalila”.

9th to 17th of June 2023: Tanz Ist Festival, Dornbirn

Established in 1994 by dancer and choreographer Günter Marinelli, tanz ist festival has become a renowned international dance festival that fosters collaborations between artists and institutions.

Each year, the festival focuses on a specific theme and explores various aspects of the dance world. In this edition, the spotlight shines on Canada, offering a glimpse into the country’s dance avant-garde. The programme showcases both emerging talents and renowned figures who have left an indelible mark on the dance scene.

9th to 24th of June: Sonnwendfeier, Wachau-Nibelungengau-Kremstal

Every year in June the Wachau-Nibelungengau-Kremstal region along the Danube river comes alive with dazzling summer solstice celebrations.

Throughout the period, local towns and villages alongside the river and in the river valley host traditional midsummer celebrations, from bonfires to fireworks to displays of thousands of floating lights covering the Danube river.

23rd to 25th of June: The Donauinselfest, Vienna

The Donauinselfest, also known as the Danube Island Festival, is one of Europe’s largest open-air music festivals.

It takes place on the Danube Island, where numerous stages will host performances by both local and international artists.

READ ALSO: Bonnie Tyler and RAF Camora: What are the highlights of Austria’s 2023 Donauinselfest?

As well as music, there will be cultural performances, art exhibitions, entertainment for children, food stalls and drink stands to keep everyone entertained. 

25th of June: Alpine Summer Opening, Lungau

Old customs and traditions remain strong in the Salzburgerland region and every year, a different town hosts a lively festival to mark the official start of the Alpine summer

This year, the festivities will be held at the Branntweinerhütte and the Kösslbacher Alm on the Aineck above St. Margarethen in Salzburg’s Lungau region. There’ll be music, traditional Alpine dances and cuisine.