A Slovak village in Austria

Slovaks look for the peace of the countryside in Kittsee, just across the border from Bratislava, stripping the village of its rural character in the process.

KittseeKittsee(Source: wikimedia/cc/Linie29)

Kittsee, an Austrian village at the Slovak border, looks exactly like any other Austrian village. The streets are lined with one- or two-story houses, there is the occasional pensioner passing by on an old bike, and the main square is deserted on a weekday morning. But unlike most Austrian villages facing rural depopulation, Kittsee is growing massively. So much so that the small town is slowly reaching its limits.

There are currently 3,162 people living in the northeastern Austrian village of Kittsee. Compared to 2001, the population has almost doubled, slightly more than half of the people being Austrian, the rest mostly Slovak. Demographical data shows that the new inhabitants are mostly between 30-39 and 0-9 years old - young families are moving in.

In the last 10 years, more and more Slovaks have found Kittsee as the perfect alternative to the noise of the Slovak capital, with a good connection (the town has a bus and train connection and is next to a highway) and still the idyllic peace of a village. At the peak of the migration movement, newspapers across Austria wrote about well-integrated Slovaks becoming part of the Austrian community in Kittsee.

But now, the town is struggling, especially with the many families with young children coming in.

“Such a massive immigration was never the plan,” Jochen Schmid, from the department of regional planning at the technical university of Vienna, told The Slovak Spectator.

Unexpected influx of Slovaks

In the seventies and eighties, when Kittsee was a village attached to the Iron Curtain, with limited movement across the borders, all the abandoned wasteland of the region was reclassified as building land. Back then, nobody expected so many people to settle there, but it cleared the path for construction companies to buy land, build houses and offer them for cheap prices.

Read more: Why is the village atmosphere disappearing? What other problems Kittsee faces?

The rest of this article is premium content at Spectator.sk
Subscribe now for full access

I already have subscription - Sign in

Subscription provides you with:
  • Immediate access to all locked articles (premium content) on Spectator.sk
  • Special weekly news summary + an audio recording with a weekly news summary to listen to at your convenience (received on a weekly basis directly to your e-mail)
  • PDF version of the latest issue of our newspaper, The Slovak Spectator, emailed directly to you
  • Access to all premium content on Sme.sk and Korzar.sk

The processing of personal data is subject to our Privacy Policy and the Cookie Policy. Before submitting your e-mail address, please make sure to acquaint yourself with these documents.

Top stories

Six people involved in the surveillance of journalists, Kočner paid thousands

People who followed journalists for Kočner are trying to rid themselves of guilt.

Peter Tóth

Trump will meet Pellegrini at the White House

The two politicians will discuss defence and economic cooperation this May.

The White House

After historical sights in Slovakia have burned, is there better fire protection?

Kunerad Castle in the Žilina Region has burned down twice in eight years, and Krásna Hôrka is still undergoing construction seven years after burning.

Krásna Hôrka Castle caught fire in March 2012.

Taxpayers still pay for former PM Fico's bodyguards

The Interior Ministry refuses to say why or reveal how much Fico's security costs.

Smer head Robert Fico.