Learn how to navigate the world of dating in Austria with our guide to understanding Austrian men and women and the local dating culture.
Looking for love as an expat can be a challenge, especially when trying to understand the dating culture in your new home. After all, different cultures have a different appreciation of what makes someone a desirable mate. What people might consider polite or romantic in your home country might have the opposite effect in your new one. Luckily, this helpful guide is here to the rescue by providing everything you need to know, including:
- An overview of dating in Austria
- How to meet people in Austria
- Dating etiquette in Austria
- Moving into a relationship in Austria
- The role of the family in dating
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An overview of dating in Austria
In many ways, dating in Austria is similar to other European countries. For instance, couples tend to meet through friendship groups, dating apps and websites, and social clubs. When it comes to local dating etiquette, however, there are several major differences that are useful to know as an expat.
Patience is key
Firstly, Austrian men and women are generally known to be more reserved and conservative than say, their flirtatious neighbors in Italy. As a result, some expats in Austria claim that meeting singles in the first place can be a challenge.
And when they do finally meet the man or woman of their dreams, it can take a long time for them to open up and let them in. This is largely due to the fact that, in Austria, trust is something that is built over time rather than simply given. Therefore, if you are looking for your sweetheart in the land of lakes and mountains, patience is key.
A love of tradition
Once you do manage to break down the barriers, however, you can expect nothing but loyalty from your Austrian sweetie. Austrian men and women tend to be well-educated and well-mannered, with a love of all things traditional. This goes for marriage, too. After all, Austria is still very much a traditional Catholic country; therefore, marriage is still regarded as an important rite of passage. In fact, the annual number of marriages in 2019 rose to 46,034; a level even higher than that of the 1980s and 90s. Same-sex marriage is also becoming more widely accepted after it was legalized in January 2019. Since then, 997 same-sex couples have tied the knot and 193 have converted their registered partnerships into marriages.
You can’t rush love
Despite their high regard for marriage, however, Austrian men and women are in no rush to waltz down the aisle. In fact, the median age for first-time marriages rose from 24.3 years to 30.8 years for women and from 26.5 years to 33.0 years for men between the 1990s and 2019. This is good news if you are looking to take your time to find ‘the one’ before settling down.
How to meet people in Austria
Generally speaking, the ways that couples meet in Austria is very similar to other European countries. Teenagers begin to socialize with their peers at school, within their neighborhood, or through social activities and local clubs. Older generations, meanwhile, tend to move within their friendship groups and larger social networks. That said, there are other ways to meet potential love interests.
Online dating in Austria
Like in many countries, in Austria, dating through websites and apps is as common as meeting someone in real life. The reserved nature of Austrian men and women actually bodes well for online dating. After all, users are able to carefully vet other singles and get to know them before they meet. Tinder, Badoo, and OkCupid are among the most popular dating apps in Austria; particularly in larger cities and towns where most expats live.
Parship.at and WebSingles.at, meanwhile, are good options for those looking for serious relationships. These have fewer members and, like most sites, offer the choice to have a free or paid account. The upshot of paying is that it helps to filter out a lot of low-quality or fake profiles and meet singles who are serious about dating. If you’re feeling more outgoing, however, you can always try Whispar. This innovative app allows users to introduce themselves with an audio profile and cut out all the tedious texting. So it might be time to brush up on your German!
Speed dating in Austria
Believe it or not, despite their tendency to be shy and reserved, many singles in Austria are turning to speed dating to broaden their romantic horizons. CITY Speed Dating is the leading platform that brings people together in the cities of Vienna, Graz, Linz, and Salzburg. Since it launched in 2006, around 4,000 singles have attended their speed dating events at casual venues around the cities. These events cater to different age groups as well as special groups such as ‘exclusive dating’ or ‘younger seeks older’. The platform claims to have an 85% success rate in terms of the number of matches made. Therefore, this might be worth checking out if you’re looking for adventurous ways to meet other singles in the city.
Meetup groups for singles
Another popular way to meet new people in Austria is to join Meetup groups in your local area. There are numerous groups throughout Austria, particularly in larger cities and towns, that are designed to bring together singles. These groups host regular events around town, providing members with a fun and safe way to meet new people and develop both friendships and relationships. And because the groups usually cater to specific age ranges and sexual preferences, members can meet like-minded people, too.
Dating etiquette in Austria
While it is of course unfair to stereotype an entire nation, there are certain traits that expats are likely to come across when dating in Austria. Again, it is good to be aware of the local dating etiquette so you have an idea of what to expect on that all-important first date; not to mention avoid any faux pas along the way. Here are some things to bear in mind.
Making the first move
As Austrian culture is rather traditional, you might be forgiven for assuming that the task of asking someone out naturally falls to the man. However, Austrian men are not known to be the best at flirting. In fact, they can often give off a signal that they are not interested at all. In reality, single Austrian men are unlikely to approach someone unless they are encouraged to do so. So if you have your eye on someone, don’t be shy and show them you are keen. Now, this is where taking some initiative and learning a little German can really help you out. After all, Austrians don’t want to look foolish and may be shy about speaking English.
Of course, you might get a flat-out rejection. After all, Austrian men and women value honesty and will tell it like it is. But at least you will know where you stand! And because they value straightforwardness, this also means they don’t have time for playing games or second-guessing someone’s intentions. They prefer to put their cards on the table, which means you don’t have to assume anything. This is good news if you are seeking a meaningful relationship.
A typical dating scenario in Austria
Once you do manage to secure a date, a popular place to meet is in the local coffee house. After all, café culture is intrinsic to this caffeine-loving nation. And if you happen to live in Vienna, your first meeting will likely be in one of the city’s many historic coffee houses. As time goes on and you get to know each other more, however, dates will likely become more adventurous. Just think, with so many great museums, bars, restaurants, and beautiful nature spots to explore, the possibilities are endless.
You could be cuddling up at home with a movie one minute, then hiking through the mountains the next. One thing’s for sure, though, there’s never a dull moment when dating a sporty, nature-loving Austrian. And those interested in art, culture, or history can also explore the many palaces, museums, and galleries on offer. That said, conventional date night options such as enjoying a drink at a bar, a romantic dinner in a restaurant, or a movie at the cinema, are also common in Austria.
Dating behavior in Austria
Generally speaking, Austrians are known to be well-mannered and polite which is great news if you are dating one. And while you can’t paint everyone with the same brush, there are certain behavioral traits that you may notice when out on a date with an Austrian man or woman.
People say that first impressions mean everything. And if you happen to be dating an Austrian man or woman, rule number one is: don’t keep them waiting! Austrians consider punctuality an important quality which means that they will rarely rock up late to a date; without a good reason, at least. In turn, they expect the same from their partner. Dates in Austria also tend to be planned in advance; therefore flippantly suggesting getting together sometime or springing spontaneous plans on them won’t be well received.
The stylish yet comfortable look
While Austrian people take a laid-back approach to fashion and like to feel comfortable, that doesn’t mean they don’t have style. On the contrary, from formal attire to casual wear, they tend to dress elegantly and exude an old-school, classic look. Your date will likely turn up looking polished and clean with neat hair and, if they are male, a well-groomed beard. A nice shirt, trousers, and stylish shoes are the go-to options for men. Meanwhile, women might opt for a nice dress or a pretty top with trousers. Whatever they choose to wear, though, they will clearly have made an effort.
No time for small talk
When it comes to talking points, you might find that Austrian men and women are not fans of small talk. Therefore, discussing the weather or the events of your day is generally considered unnecessary. And because they are fairly reserved, it might take some time to get to know them on a deeper level. That’s not to say they won’t speak their minds. On the contrary, whatever you ask them, you will likely receive an honest answer; even if it’s not the one you were hoping for. While this level of honesty might be hard to stomach at first, some people actually grow to find it rather refreshing.
Chivalry and paying the check
Owing to their traditional nature, men like to be chivalrous on dates. They will likely hold open doors for a woman and help her with her coat. When it comes to paying the check, most men will want to pay on the first date. That said, Austrian women are known to be rather independent and may insist on splitting the bill; so he shouldn’t take offense if you do, too.
Flirting and public displays of affection
When dating in Austria, one important thing to bear in mind is that men and women are very much at ease with public displays of affection. Despite their conservative spirit, they won’t be embarrassed about kissing and cuddling their partner in public. If you come from a more reserved culture, the idea of holding hands, whispering sweet nothings, or kissing your partner in public might make you cringe. But if you cherish having the freedom to express yourself and love to be showered with affection, you’ll feel right at home in Austria.
Moving into a relationship in Austria
How a relationship might typically progress in Austria is really down to the individuals involved. After all, everyone is different and it is unfair to generalize. That said, there are certain cultural tendencies that might come into play when it comes to getting intimate, meeting the family, or moving in together.
Another surprising trait that you might discover while dating in Austria is that men and women are quicker to become physically intimate than some other European countries. Despite their initial shyness and traditional Catholic roots, they are more comfortable moving from kissing and cuddling into the bedroom. Again, this might be down to honesty; when Austrians know what they want, they simply go for it. And just as they tend to be comfortable showing their affection in public, they aren’t timid when it comes to discussing when to get intimate or become exclusive. If you come from a more conservative country, this might take some getting used to. On the flip side, it could feel liberating.
Meeting the family
Given that Austrian men and women are quite upfront and vocal when it comes to expressing their feelings, it might not be long before they invite you to meet their family. If they feel strongly about someone, they will waste no time when it comes to getting more serious. That said, meeting the parents in Austria isn’t considered a big deal. In fact, chances are, it will probably happen without much notice. This could mean meeting up for an informal lunch or dropping by for an unplanned visit. For expats who come from a country where such an event is seen as a really ‘big’ step, this might be a relief. The important thing is to try to relax and be yourself. Just remember good manners and being polite go a long way in this country.
Moving in together
Since 1 January 2019, the institutions of marriage and registered partnership have been open to opposite and same-sex couples in Austria. Therefore, couples have the freedom to choose how they define their relationships; be it marriage, a registered partnership, or simply living together. Many people live together for years before they tie the knot. And with men and women waiting longer to get married, there’s certainly no rush to say ‘I do’. Like all relationships, living arrangements depend on personal preference, and fortunately, there is plenty of choice in Austria.
The role of the family in dating
Like in many European cultures, family is fundamentally important in Austria. For men and women, it is the foundation of the social structure, and their immediate family remains important to them throughout their adult life. Therefore, if you are in a relationship with an Austrian man or woman, you can expect to spend a fair amount of time with your in-laws.
Having children in Austria
When it comes to parenting in Austria, men and women tend to treat their children with a deep sense of respect and cooperation. Unlike some cultures, which take a stricter, more authoritative approach to raising children, Austrians see their children more as equals. From an early age, children are given a lot of trust and are encouraged to be independent. This is believed to help them flourish as individuals into adult life. Depending on your own background and cultural upbringing, this could either seem far too slack or positively refreshing. Again, parenting styles are really down to personal choice and how you and your partner decide to raise your kids.
Gender roles within the family home
Despite efforts to create a more gender-equal society, Austria continues to conform to a model of separate gender roles in work, family, and living arrangements. For instance, the majority of women with children withdraw fully or partly from the labor force until their children reach school age, and beyond. While this has provided the population with generally high-quality family services, it has hindered the move towards gender equality and diversity in the workplace.
That’s not to say that Austrian men don’t play a vital role in raising children. Far from it. They have a strong sense of duty and responsibility and will happily take on household chores; including taking care of the children. They are also unlikely to object to their partner pursuing their own career and will support them along the way. In this respect, you could do far worse than marry an Austrian man.