All of the major monotheistic religions were represented in the Habsburg empire. In spite of the clear dominance of the Catholic Church, the Habsburg Monarchy was multi-confessional.
At the start of the twentieth century, the importance of a state was measured above all in terms of its population. According to the 1910 census, the Dual Monarchy had 51.4 million inhabitants.
On the eve of the First World War Austria-Hungary was the European state with the second-largest area after Russia. In spite of its enormous size, however, the Habsburg empire was falling behind the major European powers in many respects.
In 1912, Islam was recognised officially as a religious community with equal rights within the Austrian half of the Empire. In the Christian world of European countries, the Habsburg Monarchy played a pioneering role in this field, and the law's basic features continue to apply today.
The Moravian Compromise was one of the few positive examples of an approach to a fair solution in the field of nationalities policies. Despite the deadlock in the language dispute between Czechs and Germans, a compromise acceptable to both sides and allowing a harmonious coexistence was found here.
In the old Habsburg Monarchy, school policies were an ideological landmine. The extent to which national emotions clouded the view is shown by examples where educational policy decisions led to nationalist escalation and shook the foundations of the Monarchy.
Budapest was the second capital of the Dual Monarchy and grew rapidly to become a European metropolis. While Budapest took on a decidedly Magyar character, Pressburg/Bratislava remained a classical example of the multi-ethnicity of many central European cities.
Prague (Czech Praha), the capital of the Kingdom of Bohemia, had always been a bilingual city in which Germans and Czechs lived alongside each other. The history of the city was dominated by the alternating importance of the languages. From the middle of the 19th century, the pendulum swung to the benefit of Czech.
As the Emperor's residence and the capital of the Austrian half of the Empire, Vienna was the cultural and economic centre of the Habsburg Monarchy and thus a major centre of attraction for migrants. In the 19th century, the city underwent huge growth.
The last complete statistical record of the Habsburg Monarchy was made in 1910. The huge quantities of data collected present a graphic image of the condition of the Dual Monarchy on the eve of the First World War and reflect the great variety as well as the enourmous differences and appalling inequalities between the regions.