The Viennese attitude towards life is unique. It arises out of the rhythm to which the city and its people move. The focus in 2017 is on the city’s musical and imperial heritage with anniversaries ranging from the Blue Danube Waltz to Archduchess Maria Theresia and in the field of tension that covers the pulsating Vienna of today.
Vienna’s musical diversity ranges from early times through to the present day: people have been dancing in three-four time to Johann Strauss’ world-famous Blue Danube Waltz for 150 years already. His golden statue in the Stadtpark is probably Vienna’s most popular photo motif, while the original apartment on Praterstrasse exudes the flair of the age. Dancing is always on the program in Vienna, whether at a waltz dance course or doing the Lindy Hop. Jazz sounds, club sounds and electronic music ensure lively nights of partying.
The Vienna Philharmonic, which has been enchanting its audiences for 175 years, and the Vienna Boys’ Choir, which has been performing at its new MuTh concert hall for five years now, are the classic flagships of the city. Festivals such as Wien Modern, Resonanzen, Voice Mania and the Gürtel Nightwalk prove that music from all epochs and in a variety of styles can be experienced in Vienna. Franz Schubert and Falco moved the international world of music in the past – today, Wanda are the musical heroes.
The imperial attitude towards life can still be sensed today in Schönbrunn Palace. Two female rulers spent their summers there: Archduchess Maria Theresia and Empress Elisabeth, better known as Sisi. Exhibitions will draw visitors here for Maria Theresia’s 300th birthday, as well as to the Imperial Coach Collection Vienna, the Imperial Furniture Collection and outside Vienna to Schloss Hof and Niederweiden Palace. Exhibitions on Maria Theresia are also held in the ceremonial room of the Austrian National Library and in the Coin Collection of the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna. Empress Elisabeth would have turned 180 years old in 2017 – a fact acknowledged by a show in the Sisi Museum in the Imperial Palace. Vienna’s symbol, the Giant Ferris Wheel, has been turning rhythmically in the Prater for 120 years. Schönbrunn Zoo will turn 265 years old, making it the oldest zoo in the world.
Tradition is also rooted in handicrafts. The erstwhile imperial and royal court purveyors offer maximum quality in a manicured ambiance. Lobmeyr, Köchert and others not only maintain traditions but also continue to develop their own futures with young creative talents. The young designers and fashion makers find new approaches to marketing at fashion fairs such as Blickfang or the Modepalast, or in pop-up stores.
Culinary enjoyment always comes first in Vienna: The artistically designed display windows of the imperial and royal court confectioner Demel are as much a part of the Viennese lifestyle as the coffee houses in which people while away the time. In May, the Genussfestival invites visitors to stroll and taste food and drink in the Stadtpark. Twenty restaurateurs offer specialties from around the world at the Music Film Festival on City Hall Square in the summer. This is the biggest culinary event in Europe and is discreetly accompanied by operas, ballet and concerts from classical to pop. Gourmets also enjoy themselves during Vienna Restaurant Week or in one of the nine restaurants with a Michelin Guide award. Those who prefer things simple and down-to-earth can head for the food truck or a sausage stand. Information: www.vienna.info
Facts and figures on “Vienna 2017”
- 175 years of the Vienna Philharmonic
- 150 years of the Blue Danube Waltz (Strauss Museum with special exhibition, Strauss apartment, Strauss memorial)
- Vienna Boys’ Choir – 5 years of the MuTh concert hall
- Festival anniversaries: Wien Modern (30th), Resonanzen (25th), Gürtel Nightwalk (20th), Voice Mania (20th)
- Franz Schubert (220th birthday) to Falco (60th birthday)
- 200 years of the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna
- 300th birthday of Maria Theresia (exhibitions)
- 180th birthday of Empress Elisabeth (exhibition)
- 120 years of the Giant Ferris Wheel
- 265 years of Schönbrunn Zoo
- Imperial coffee houses
- Music Film Festival – biggest culture and food event in Europe, 850,000 visitors
- Genussfestival in the Stadtpark in May (140,000 visitors)
- Vienna Restaurant Week (70 leading restaurants, twice a year)
- 9 restaurants with a Michelin Guide award (Steirereck, Silvio Nickol Gourmet Restaurant and Mraz & Sohn: 2 stars each; Steirereck: ranked 15th in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants and thus the best in the German-speaking world)