Ball Season: Come to Vienna for the Galas, Stay for Culture

Hofsburg Sylvester Ball
Hofburg Silvesterball

Vienna has a number of exhibitions, events and a new museum your clients should keep in mind the next time they head to Austria. 

Major Exhibitions Scheduled For the First Half of 2016

Vienna is scheduled to host a number of major exhibitions during the first half of 2016, including The Russian avant garde, the Independent Lives of Things, European Celebration of Cultures, Baroque Galleries, the Prater Park and Emperor Franz Joseph I. Here’s an overview of the main events.

The Russian avant garde is among the most eventful chapters in the history of 20th century art, and the Albertina’s new exhibition, "Chagall to Malevich," will celebrate the era. The Russian Avant Gardes explores the rich variety of the times and features 140 pieces demonstrating the fundamentally different styles, compositional principles and aesthetic ideas of multiple different artists at the same time, as well as some peices created by the same artist. "Chagall to Malevich, The Russian Avant Gardes," will take place February 26-June 26, 2016.

"The Promise of Total Automation" at the Kunsthalle Wien in the Museums Quartier will revolve around objects with a “life of their own”, with works presented by a series of artists who have studied the subject and developed their own responses to it over the past few years. "The Promise of Total Automation" will take place March 4-May 8, 2016.

Meanwhile, The Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, which opened to the public on October 17, 1891, on the Ringstrasse, will celebrate its 125th anniversary this year with a large-scale exhibition entitled "Feste Feiern." Works on display will focus on a number of artists who made a name for themselves in Europe from the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance to the 18th century, at court, in towns and in the country. "Feste Feiern – 125 Years of the KHM," will take place March 8 - September 18, 2016.  

On April 7, 1766 Joseph II opened the imperial Prater hunting grounds to the general public. The Wien Museum Karlsplatz is focusing on the eventful history of this extensive green space in Vienna’s central second district in a special exhibition named "250 Years of the Prater." A large number of Prater-related exhibits will be added to the venue, part of which is on permanent display at the Prater Museum in the Planetarium. "250 Years of the Prater" will take place March 10 - August  21, 2016. 

With its exhibition “Formkunst. Klimt – Kupka – Hoffmann – Hölzel – Filla – Čapek – Picasso – Braque,” the Belvedere hopes to raise awareness of a whole family of related artists from the early twentieth century, with a show revealing the conditions in place that opened the door to similar artistic approaches in the Dual Monarchy. These particular artists’ style of work ultimately lead to the emergence of abstract art. "Formkunst. Klimt – Kupka – Hoffmann – Hölzel – Filla - Capek – Picasso -- Braque" will take place March 10-Jun 19, 2016. 

The Franz Joseph 1830-1916 exhibitions in Vienna and Lower Austria will mark the 100th anniversary of the death of the legendary Emperor. The exhibitions will include special shows that puts the monarch in the spotlight and take a critical look at his personal life, touching on various aspects of his politics. The exhibition at Schönbrunn Palace will also include the Imperial Coach Collection, Festivities & Everyday Life in the spotlight at the Imperial Furniture Collection and finally Hunting & Leisure taking the stage at Schloss Niederweiden in Lower Austria. Franz Joseph 1830-1916 special exhibitions will take place March 16 - November 27, 2016. 

The Albertina will be showing 30 monumental works selected from Anselm Kiefer’s famous woodcuts, and presenting picture cycles and thematic groups in a special exhibition next year. Kiefer’ s work is characterized by an intensive examination of German history, cultural history and mythology. "Anselm Kiefer, The Woodcuts" will take place March 17-June 19, 2016. 

"Fürstenglanz’s European Baroque Galleries and the Art of Order" will transform Prince Eugene of Savoy’s Winterpalais into a modern museum, with the core of the exhibition being the princely collection catalogues of the major European Baroque galleries. The galleries make a statement about the wealth and status of their creators and were the precursors of today’s art and exhibition catalogues. Fürstenglanz’s European Baroque Galleries and the Art of Order will take place March 18-June 26, 2016. 

The Austrian National Library is devoting a major exhibition to Franz Joseph I, entitled "The Eternal Emperor," to mark the 100th anniversary of his death. The works being presented will portray the monarch as a public figure who was one of the most frequently pictured individuals of the 19th century. More than 10,000 photographs, graphics and other documents from Franz Joseph’s lifetime in the Austrian National Library archives will be on display, along with original suicide letters left behind by Mary Vetsera in Mayerling and an envelope closed with Crown Prince Rudolf’s seal. "The Eternal Emperor, Franz Joseph I 1830–1916," will take place April 8-October 30, 2016. 

A new exhibition at the Wien Museum Karlsplatz entitled "Hats! A Social History of the Covered Head" will include head coverings, their wearers and their social status in Viennese society from the 19th century to today. The majority of the exhibits will be taken from the museum’s own fashion collection. "Hats! A Social History of the Covered Head" will take place Jun 9-October 30, 2016. 

Viennese Ball

Viennese Ball Season Now Underway

More than 450 balls are held in Vienna each year, ranging from traditional dances to large galas. The new season is now underway with the Vienna Red Cross Ball scheduled for November 20, 2015 inside City Hall, followed by the Hofburg Silvesterball on New Year’s Eve held in the staterooms of the former imperial Hofburg palace. The official start of the season takes place on November 11.

By January the Viennese ball season is in full swing, with The Confectioner’s Ball at the Hofburg on January 14, immediately followed by the Flower Ball inside City Hall January 15. 24 hours later, it is time for the inaugural Vienna Boys’  Choir Ball January  16, 2016 at the Kursalon. 

And that’s just a handful of the events on the 2015-16 ball calendar. Others include:  

- Vienna Philharmonic Ball, Musikverein, January 21, 2016, Musikvereinsplatz 1, 1010 Vienna 
- Rainbow Ball, January 30, 2016, Parkhotel Schönbrunn, Hietzinger Hauptstrasse 10-14, 1130 Vienna
- Vienna Science Ball, January 30, 2016, City Hall, 1010 Vienna
- Opera Ball, February 4, 2016, Opernring 2, 1010 Vienna
- Rose Ball, Feb 4, 2016, Kursalon Wien, Johannesgasse 33, 1010 Vienna
- Coffeehouse Owners’ Ball, Feb 5, 2016, Hofburg, 1010 Vienna
- Bonbon Ball, Feb 5, 2016, Konzerthaus, Lothringerstrasse 20, 1030 Vienna

Visit for an overview of all the main ball events in the capital.

A The Johann Strauss Dynasty Museum Opens in the Ninth District

A new museum dedicated to Johann Strauss, creator of the Blue Danube Waltz, and his family has just opened in Vienna. 

The Johann Strauss Dynasty Museum, located in the ninth district, is the first museum in the world to focus on the history and artistic output of the entire Strauss family, including Johann Strauss the Elder and the waltz king, Johann Strauss the Younger to his two brothers Josef and Eduard. Visitors now have the opportunity to view a range of pictures and documents that bring Biedermeier-era Vienna to life. Along with photographs, audio stations are also spread throughout the museum, giving fans a chance to listen to popular and less well known pieces from the family canon. 

The Strauss’ waltz and operetta melodies can be heard in the capital’s concert halls throughout the year as well as at the traditional New Year’s Concert which is broadcast all over the world from the Golden Hall of the Musikverein.

In addition to the museum, visitors should also check out the Johann Strauss monument in Vienna, a golden statue of the waltz king playing his violin located in Stadtpark, as well as his apartment at Praterstrasse 54 in the second district where he lived with his first wife Jetty. The property maintains the original furnishings and period instruments, along with everyday objects, portraits, photos, and documents on his life and work. Strauss was laid to rest in Central Cemetery, also open to visitors, near the graves of Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms and Johann Strauss the Elder. 


Vienna Tourist Board Presents New YouTube Series

The Vienna Tourist Board launched a new YouTube series on October 8 which takes a look at some of the capital’s most popular, as well as lesser known, attractions. 

Over the course of several episodes, long-term Vienna resident and radio broadcaster Chris Cummins shows viewers some of the attractions that the city has to offer. The five-minute videos feature art and culture, shopping and design, music and nightlife, Viennese wine, Christmas markets and various other related topics.

Cummins also looks at some of the better known attractions, shares insider tips and interviews Viennese personalities who present their favorite parts of the city. 

To check out the video series, visit