I am writing a cover letter (which I must upload only as a PDF) to a University in Austria. I do not know the name of the person who will be reading the letter.

  1. How do I address the letter to an instituion, rather than a specific person
  2. What format should the address have?
  3. Do I add a senders address?

Letters in the UK are usually written with the format given below. Is there some standard for Austrian letters?

enter image description here


Business letters in Austria should follow the ÖNORM A 1080 standard. You will find examples if you search the web on that term.

Letters to unknown persons start with the greeting

Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren,

But it's okay to use an English greeting if the letter is written in English.

The postal addresses have to follow the standard of the country the address is in. Don't mangle the postal address the university gave you, neither your own postal address.

  • I can't seem to find any example letters in this format. Can you post a link of such an example?
    – Cameron
    Dec 5 '18 at 17:09
  • According to austrian-standards.at, the ÖNORM A 1080 standard was officially withdrawn on 1 May 2018, and no replacement has been issued. The OP is free to continue to format letters using the old style, but shouldn't do this under the impression that this is the "correct" way of doing it in any official sense.
    – Psychonaut
    Dec 18 '18 at 9:36

Here's the upper part of your letter in German. You can use this format in all German speaking countries. I suppose that Austrians are tolerant enough to appreciate a nice letter even if it doesn't fully comply to their ÖNORM A 1080


recipient left // sender right

ABC GmbH // Jane Brown (no Ms; everybody knows that Jane is not a man)


name and address of sender filling the first line, recipient underneath left

place AND date right-adjusted: London / New York, [den] 5. Dezember 2018

two or more blank lines

subject left-adjusted; bold or underlined

two or more blank lines

Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren, (don't forget the comma)

Start the following sentence with a small letter. If ever possible, do NOT start any sentence with ich or at least pare such sentences down to a minimum.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.