Viennese Culture


Russian soldiers depart                           after the Austrian State Treaty has restored the countries                           independence. (c) Karl von Vogelsang-Institut
Russian soldiers depart after the Austrian State Treaty has restored the countries independence. (c) Karl von Vogelsang-Institut

Österreich 2005: An important year for Austria

  • 60th anniversary of the Second Republic
  • 50th anniversary of the Austrian State Treaty and Austrian independence
  • 50th anniversary of Austria’s membership in the United Nations and subsequent membership in the Council of Europe
  • 50th anniversary of the reopening of the Burgtheater, State Opera House, Spanish Riding School
  • 50th anniversary of public-service television
  • 10th anniversary of EU membership

So what is happening in Austria this year? Here is a very short selection of some highlights!

'The new Austria' - exhibition at Belvedere palace
"The new Austria" – exhibition at Belvedere palace

"The new Austria" – Exhibition at Belvedere Palace

What better place to organise a large-scale exhibition on Austrian history and identity? After all, it was at the Marble Hall at Upper Belvedere Palace that the Austrian State Treaty ("Staatsvertrag") granting Austrian independency and neutrality was signed by the 4 foreign ministers of the Allied Forces (France, Great Britain, the Soviet Union and the United States of America) and presented on the balcony to the Austrian people.

The exhibition covers recent Austrian history: the downfall of the Habsburg monarchy, WW I, the interwar period of First Republic, civil war and the advent auf the Dollfuß dictatorship ("Ständestaat"). In 1938, the Austrian government reluctantly gave in to Hitler’s annexation plans and Austria became part of the "Deutsch Reich". The catastrophe World War II and systematic prosecution of Jews, political opponents and social outsiders ensued.

In 1945 the Allied Forces freed Austria and supported Karl Renner and his provisionary government, thereby reinstating democracy in Austria. Austrian independence was declared. Till 1955, however, the allied forces were present with troops and Austria was divided into 4 zones of occupation. The singing of the Austrian State Treaty on 15 May 1955 finally led to an independent Austria and the area of the Second Republic, which lasts till today. Reconstruction effort, economic boom, the shaping of the Austrian identity and stereotypes, but also international issues like Austria’s joining of the United Nations, its situation during Cold War period and its development in recent years are all part of this extraordinary exhibition!

Belvedere Palace, Prinz-Eugen-Strasse 27, A-1030 Vienna
ORF – 50 years of public service television

50 years of public-service television (ORF)

From 1945 – 1955 the allied troops controlled all public radio broadcasts. Little by little regional radio stations where allowed to broadcast. Television did only exist as an experiment and was of little importance as no one could afford a TV anyway. A few weeks after the signing of the Austrian State Treaty an experimental television studio was erected in Meidling, one of Vienna’s suburbs. As a trademark an image of St. Stephan’s cathedral was used. Only in 1957, television started to operate full-time meaning, during daytime and in the evening. Advertising was introduced as early as 1959 but is limited in airtime and characters till today. For example, there’s no advertising during broadcasts and there ought to be no product placement.
In 1979, the TV programme is split in two: FS 1 and FS 2 (now: ORF 1 and ORF 2). During the 1970s Austrian television was also at its peak in terms of creativity. "Ein echter Wiener geht nicht unter", a television series starring a typical Viennese, is highly popular and is rerun till today. "Club 2" was a popular round table and fighting ground for Austrian politicians.
Colour TV started with a broadcast of the ‘New Year’s concert‘ by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in 1969. Till today, this broadcast is one of the ORF’s bestsellers.
By the way: Here you can find an overview of Austrian media!

Switch on your TV when in Austria!

Spanish Riding School                           on tour!
Spanish Riding School on tour!

50th anniversary of reopening of Spanish Riding School

To celebrate its reopening after WW II the Spanish Riding School will visit Graz, Salzburg and Innsbruck (September 2005) and will host a gala performance in Vienna on October 25th! Make sure to get tickets early!

Spanish Riding School, Michaelerplatz 1, A-1010 Vienna
"Österreich baut                         auf!" A fascinating exhibition on the Austrian post-war                         efforts at the 'Technisches Museum Wien'
"Österreich baut auf!" A fascinating exhibition on the Austrian post-war efforts at the ‘Technisches Museum Wien’

Österreich baut auf! – Exhibition on Austrian post-war efforts

After the war the situation in Austria, especially in the cities, was desperate: There was hardly any food, many flats where bombed, public transport and health care was practically non-existant. Support from outside (allied forces, red cross, private initiatives,) helped a lot. Due to skilful politics, Austria managed to be accepted for the American Marshall plan help program. It was the only Soviet-occupied country to do so. The US foreign minister George Marshall stressed the importance of a coordinated effort and supported the foundation of the OEEC: Organization for European Economic Cooperation. By this, he started off a process that culminated in the EU!
One of the central efforts of Austrian post-war reconstruction was the promotion of state-owned industries: for example the VOEST! With many exponents and great technical detail Austria’s economical success story and its causes and effects are investigated at the ‘Technisches Museum Wien‘. From March 17th to October 2nd, 2005.

Technisches Museum Wien, Mariahilfer Straße 212, A-1140 Vienna

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