A small part of the Little Hungarian Plain, the socalled Burgenland, was given to Austria after the World War I. Grapes ripen along the shore of the Neusiedler Lake, and grains do well except on the more sandy southern part where forests replace crops. But the fact that the most important city (Odenburg) remains with Hungary, although almost surrounded by Austria, is a disadvantage.
The rural importance of this most fertile part of Austria is entirely overshadowed by its urban importance as the seat of Vienna, Austria's magnificent capital. Located in the gap between the Alps and Carpathians, Vienna has been for centuries one of Europe's most important cities--often a bulwark against the east and at the same time the gate to western Europe. If ever the dream of one of the Viennese philosophers, Count Coudenhoven Kalergi, should be realized through the establishment of an economic union of all Europe, Vienna might claim that its central location makes it the most suitable place for the "Pan-European" capital. But its present size of nearly two million is a handicap because it is a relic of prewar conditions. In the days before the World War I Vienna used her advantageous location and her prestige as the capital of the AustroHungarian Empire to concentrate in herself most of the cultural and political life of the old empire as well as much of the industrial activity. Now the destruction of the Empire, the loss of former resources such as coal, and the assignment of territories close to the city such as the Morava Valley to other nations has left Vienna without the necessary geographical foundation for so large a city.
Nevertheless, Vienna is still one of Europe's most charming cities; its influence on science, fashion, music, and economic and social reforms goes far beyond the boundaries of Austria; and industrial production is still active. This latter activity extends southward along the foot of the Alps to Wiener Neustadt.