Lower Austria, Ger. Niederösterreich, province (1991 pop. 1,480,927), c.7,400 sq mi (19,170 sq km), NE Austria. Vienna, although outside its boundaries, is the seat of the provincial government. Lower Austria is the largest of the Austrian provinces, and it borders on the Czech Republic in the north and Slovakia in the east. It is a picturesque, hilly region, drained by the Danube River and containing peaks of the Eastern Alps and the Wienerwald (Vienna Woods). The province includes roughly half of the country's arable land and is noted for its grain production and its wines. The valleys and basins around Vienna and Wiener Neustadt contain more than half of all Austrian industry, including manufactures in metal, textiles, chemicals, paper, and cellulose. The region also supports industries in food processing, sugar refining, brewing, and sawmilling. Petroleum is produced N of the Danube, especially near Zistersdorf. Baden is a well-known spa, and the Semmering region in the south is a tourist and health center. The province has several medieval castles and abbeys. In c.1450 a permanent split was made between Upper and Lower Austria. The region became a Bundesland in 1918; it lost Vienna in 1920. Lower Austria was forced to yield land to Vienna in 1938 but recovered much of it during district reorganization in 1954. The history of Lower Austria coincides with that of Austria.
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