Austrian Culture

Greetings

  • The most common and courteous greeting is the handshake. This is normal regardless of age and gender.
  • A handshake is usually brief and accompanied by eye contact.
  • If there is a noticeable difference of authority between two people, the higher-ranking or older person typically extend their hand first.
  • Handshakes are also performed when someone is leaving.
  • In business or social settings, one is expected to greet everyone (women, men and children) by shaking hands.
  • Among good friends and family, women may give other women a light hug and kiss. Two kisses are given for each cheek. The kisses are more of an air kiss with cheeks briefly touching.
  • Professional and formal titles are important during introductions, for example, ‘Doktor Wagner' (Dr Wagner).
  • Among acquaintances and strangers, people will use titles such as ‘Herr’ (‘Mr.’) and ‘Frau’ (‘Mrs’ or ‘Ms’) with last names.
  • The use of first names is reserved for close friends, family and among the youth.
  • Verbal greetings that accompany handshakes include formal greetings such as ‘Guten Morgen’ (‘good morning’), ‘Guten Tag’ (‘good day’) and ‘Guten Abend’ (good evening).
  • People may greet one another in passing on the street by saying “Grϋß Gott” (God bless you). This is an informal and polite way of acknowledging someone.
  • Among friends and family, people may use casual greetings such as ‘Hallo’ or ‘Servus’ (Hi).

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