townhall of Vienna

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townhall of Vienna

The Vienna City Hall on Rathausplatz in Vienna's 1st district , Innere Stadt , called the New City Hall until 1960 to distinguish it from the Old City Hall , was built from 1872 to 1883 in the neo-Gothic style based on designs by the architect Friedrich von Schmidt . This is where the offices of the mayor and governor of Vienna are located , since 1885 the municipal council and since 1920 the state parliament , the Vienna city senate and the Vienna provincial government , the municipal director and various municipal departments .


The town hall, in front of it the parliament building, seen from the roof of the Natural History Museum

When in 1850 the area and population of Vienna increased significantly through the incorporation of numerous suburbs, the old town hall on Wipplingerstraße soon became too small. After the city ​​wall had been demolished and the Ringstrasse built by the imperial decision in 1858–1865 , a tender for the construction of a new town hall was launched in 1868 , from which the German architect Friedrich von Schmidt emerged as the winner. The town hall was to be built in the Ringstrasse zone, in which other prestigious buildings such as the Vienna State Opera opened in 1869 , the parliament building opened in 1883 , the new main building of the University of Vienna opened in 1884 and the new Burgtheater opened in 1888 were gradually built .

The Paradeplatz on Josefstädter Glacis in 1860, the later construction site for the Vienna City Hall

The original location was an area opposite the Stadtpark , the first municipal park in Vienna, which was created in the course of the construction of the Ringstrasse . Ultimately, however, the wishes of the city administration concentrated on part of the Josefstädter Glacis , a construction prohibited zone located in front of the (now demolished) city wall, which served as a parade ground in the 19th century and could only be wrested from the emperor in 1870 after interventions by Mayor Cajetan fields . The city administration and the kk government argued for a long time about who would participate and what share in the financing of the ring road project; the question of the building site for the town hall, with which the growing middle class wanted to demonstrate its self-confidence to the emperor, took a prominent place.


Historical photograph of the town hall

The Vienna City Hall was built from 1872 to 1883 and is one of many historicist buildings that arose along the Ringstrasse at that time. The Town Hall facade is an outstanding example of a secular building of the Gothic Revival . The exterior, especially the 98 m high tower, is inspired by the tradition of Flemish Gothic town halls , such as the Brussels Town Hall on the Grand-Place / Grote Markt , in order to tie in with the medieval tradition of urban freedom. The floor plan with seven courtyards follows the conception of baroque palaces. The assignment of the entire building to neo-Gothic should therefore be used with caution and was also rejected by Schmidt himself.

With a floor space of 19,592 m², the town hall has a total usable area of ​​113,000 m². The building is 152 m long and 127 m wide, with the 1,575 rooms having 2,035 windows. The construction costs amounted to about 14 million guilders .

Used rocks

Detail of the facade at the foot of the main tower

The building is made of bricks with natural stone cladding . Only individual parts, such as the spiers, are made entirely of stone. Mainly algae limestones from the Leithagebirge were used (hard, dense limestones from Wöllersdorf , Hundsheim near Deutsch-Altenburg , Kaisersteinbruch , Mannersdorf and Oslip ) and porous limestone from St. Margarethen , Breitenbrunn , Zogelsdorf . However, sand-lime bricks had to be obtained from various parts of the monarchy and from abroad, as the need for the other Ringstrasse buildings under construction could not only be covered by the quarries near Vienna. For columns , cornices and capitals were Karstkalke used. Jurassic lime for window pillars was imported from Trento and Savonnières for balustrade figures from Nancy .

The variety can only be hinted at, Untersberg marble for the smaller columns, for the benches in the front arcades and the steps of the open staircase, Istrian chalk limestone from Černigrad , the roof was covered with “English slate ”, it had to be replaced after the war .

Friedrich Schmidt monument

On the Friedrich-Schmidt-Platz behind the town hall, so named in 1907, is the monument to the architect of the town hall, which was created by Edmund Hofmann von Aspernburg and Julius Deininger and unveiled on May 28, 1896. It was originally located in the middle of the square, but was moved to the northern part of the park in the 1960s for traffic reasons.


City Hall tower

The building has the following vertical structure from top to bottom:

  • Main tower with “Rathausmann”, four other towers on the front, roof structures with flagpoles on the four corners of the building
  • Top floor (partially expanded for offices)
  • 2nd floor (mainly offices)
  • 1st floor (representative floor)
  • Mezzanine (especially offices)
  • Mezzanine floor
  • Ground floor
  • 1st basement
  • 2nd basement

Main tower

On the top of the 98 m high main tower in the middle of the front is the town hall man , a 5.4 m high figure, carved from copper, in the form of a standard bearer in armor. It was designed by Alexander Nehr based on a model by Franz Gastell and was given to the city by master locksmith and factory owner Ludwig Wilhelm from Rossau. The model was supposedly the splendid armor of Emperor Maximilian I. With the statue and its base, the tower is 103.3 m high, making it one of the tallest buildings in Vienna . The statue was placed on the top of the tower on October 21, 1882.

During the reign of National Socialism , part of the parapet on the first floor was removed for Adolf Hitler and a wooden balcony was built, from where he gave a speech on April 9, 1938. This balcony was later replaced by a stone one.

1st floor

Festival stairs

The ballroom on the 1st floor at the front of the town hall with two-story ceiling height, view of the Ringstrasse, the Burgtheater on the other side of the town hall square and the inner city, accessible from the inner courtyards via the staircases I and II, is 71 m long and wide of 20 m one of the largest halls on Vienna's Ringstrasse. On pillars are ten statues of personalities from the history of the city: Johann Peter Frank (pioneer of social medicine and the public health service , professor at the General Hospital from 1795 ), Josef Georg Hörl (mayor from 1773 to 1804), Niklas Graf Salm the Elder (General at the time of the Ottoman siege of Vienna in 1529 ), Wolfgang Treu (Mayor from 1528 to 1530 as well as 1532/33 and 1536/37), Konrad Vorlauf (Mayor from 1403 to 1404 and 1406 to 1408), Johann Konrad Richthausen von Chaos (1663 Founder of the Chaos Foundation House for Orphans), Johann Andreas von Liebenberg (Mayor from 1680 to 1683), Albert Kasimir von Sachsen-Teschen (founder of the Albertina and client for the Albertine aqueduct completed in 1804 ), Ernst Rüdiger von Starhemberg (from 1680 Vienna City Commander) and Stephan Edler von Wohlleben (mayor from 1804 to 1823).

The north buffet adjoining the ballroom serves as an extension of the ballroom if necessary, the former south buffet was separated from the ballroom in 1973 and converted into the mayor's office for Leopold Gratz . The ballroom, the smaller Wappensaal with a view of the arcade courtyard and other rooms on the 1st floor are used for exhibitions, concerts and balls, among other things; a total of around 800 events take place in the town hall every year. The Life Ball , Europe's largest AIDS charity event, is celebrated in a large number of rooms in the town hall.

At the back of the town hall there is also a two-story hall on the first floor: the council meeting room , with largely original wood paneling and furniture, set up as a plenary hall for the Vienna council (which also functions as the Vienna state parliament). The seats of the 100 MPs are arranged in the classic parliamentary style in a semicircle and rising towards the rear. The spectator gallery is accessible from the 2nd floor.

In the southern part of the town hall, on the 1st floor, not far from the mayor’s office, is the city ​​senate meeting room , where the government , as the body is called internally today, meets regularly. Honors and decorations are also awarded here.

The offices of the city and state of Vienna's scientific library, called Vienna Library in the City Hall , as well as some executive city councilors and top officials are located on the representative floor of the building.

Ground floor

Left arcade at the front of the town hall

The main entrances (and driveways) to the building are on the ground floor of the town hall: on the north side of the entrance at Felderstrasse (with tobacco shop, stair 4, including to the Vienna library in the town hall , and stair 6, next to which there is a historic paternoster lift ), on the south the entrance Lichtenfelsgasse (with the direct elevator to the mayor’s office, a spiral staircase to the mezzanine where the mayor’s apartment was once, and stairs 3 and 5), on the western back the entrance Friedrich-Schmidt-Platz (see below, with stairs 7 and 8). From each of these three entrances, two staircases lead to the upper floors. On the front of the town hall facing the Ringstrasse and the town hall square and park, numerous steps lead to entrances directly under the main tower and next to it, which are only opened during events in the Volkshalle and only lead directly into them.

The Volkshalle is located exactly below the ballroom; In the opinion of the builders of the town hall, events of a more popular nature had to take place here, to which simple people were expected. (At the time when the town hall was being built, the general and equal suffrage for men and women introduced in 1919 was still a long way off.) The Volkshalle is also directly accessible from the arcade courtyard and is now also used for all kinds of events. What distinguishes them from the ballroom is the significantly lower room height and the presence of numerous columns supporting the upper floors; in addition, the natural incidence of light is much lower.

Two stairs lead from the town hall entrance at Friedrich-Schmidt-Platz 1 to the council meeting room on the 1st floor. At the foot of the two stairs there was once a covered driveway for the councils who came to the meetings in carriages. A fire engine was later parked here; in 1970 the former right of way became the Town Hall Information rebuilt Information Office mentioned that today Stadtinformation 's (City Service Vienna).

The town hall guard has been located in the town hall since 1927 , a special unit of the Viennese professional fire brigade that has been specially adapted to the security needs of the town hall . In addition to standard fire protection tasks, her tasks today include the operation of the Vienna disaster control center and, since the passport system was handed over to the City of Vienna by the Vienna Federal Police Department in 2005 , the issuing of emergency passports , as the town hall guard is on duty day and night.

1st basement

In the basement of the town hall is the listed Wiener Rathauskeller , which was opened on February 12, 1899 and is accessible to the public from its own exit on the Rathausplatz, at the corner of Felderstrasse. The premises of the restaurant business housed here cover over 3,500 m². The artistic design was the responsibility of the architect Josef Urban, the historical wall paintings are by Heinrich Lefler . The painters Hugo Darnaut , Karl Friedrich Gsur , Hans Ranzoni , Maximilian Suppantschitsch and Charles Wilda were also involved . The town hall cellar was and is leased by the City of Vienna and can also be used for events and celebrations. The entire area comprises several rooms: the Rittersaal (formerly Ratskeller) is decorated with depictions of great festivals from the history of Vienna, the Green Hall (formerly Volkskeller) is located directly below the Volkshalle, and the Grinzinger Keller was created during the renovation in 1925 and is the location a 70,000 l wine barrel, the Ziehrer-Stüberl is decorated with six coats of arms from Inner Austria , in the Augustiner-Stüberl (the former Schwemme) seven representations from Viennese legends and a genre picture by Gsur can be seen, in the councilor's parlor, motifs from the legends are decorated "Kiss the penny" and "Schab den Rüssel" are used, the Rosenstüberl forms the anteroom.

Extensive renovations took place in 1925, 1952 and most recently in 2005, when the entire area was completely refurbished for around 6 million euros and the historical wall paintings and woodwork were restored under the direction of the Austrian Federal Monuments Office . The wall paintings were done by a fresco painter who also redesigned the walls and ceilings in the Lehár hall of the attached town hall cellar.

Rathausplatz and Rathauspark

Blue toilet system from Luigi Blau

The rest of the former Josefstädter Glacis in front of the town hall is partly taken up by a forecourt, the town hall square . Most of the area in front of the town hall and opposite the Burgtheater , which was completed in 1888, was designed as a town hall park by garden artist Rudolph Siebeck . The park was completed in June 1873 - at the same time as the laying of the foundation stone (!) For the town hall - and has a total area of ​​around 40,000 m². In the late 1990s, the architect and furniture designer Luigi Blau designed new toilet facilities for the town hall park as part of the street furniture , which met with mixed feedback.

Today the town hall square is often used for events. Since 1991, the Film Festival has been held annually in July and August on Vienna's Rathausplatz , where film recordings with a focus on classical music are shown free of charge . The traditional Christkindlmarkt ( Viennese Advent Magic ) is open in the run-up to Christmas, and the Wiener Eistraum , a mobile ice rink , is located here from mid-January to early March . The Wiener Festwochen usually open on the Rathausplatz. André Heller performed here with his show Begnadete Körper . Since 2002, the Austrian Peace Run has taken place every year at the end of April or beginning of May around the Vienna City Hall . Since the years of the First Republic , the SPÖ has been holding the final rally of its May rally on May 1st .


For a complete overview, see: Monuments on Town Hall Square .

That part of the Rathausplatz, which leads from the Ringstrasse to the Rathaus and divides the Rathauspark in two halves, is lined on both sides by a total of eight marble statues of personalities from Austrian history . These statues originally stood in the area of ​​today's Karlsplatz on the Elisabeth Bridge , opened in 1854, over the Wien River , where they were unveiled on November 19, 1867. When the bridge was torn down as part of the river regulation in 1897, the statues were meanwhile moved to the nearby Karlsplatz tram station. After that it was planned to be installed in the arcade courtyard of the town hall, but it was finally decided on its current location. The statues represent the following personalities:

Depicted personality sculptor
Heinrich II. Jasomirgott Franz Melnitzky
Leopold VI. Johann Preleuthner
Rudolf IV. Josef Gasser
Niklas Graf Salm Mathias Purkartshofer
Rudiger Graf Starhemberg Johann Baptist Feßler
Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach Josef Cesar
Leopold Karl von Kollonitsch Vincent Mushroom
Joseph von Sonnenfels Hanns Gasser

During the Nazi regime (at that time the place was called Adolf-Hitler-Platz ) the statue showing Joseph von Sonnenfels was replaced by another one showing Christoph Willibald Gluck ; this is now at the Karlskirche .

Natural monuments

On the area of the City Hall Park were under the number 561 a tulip tree ( Liriodendron tulipifera ), 562 a Geschlitztblättrige beech (Fagus sylvatica "Laciniata") as well as under the numbers 564 , 566 and 567 each have a sycamore (Platanus x hybrida) as Wiener natural landmarks under Nature conservation.


The town hall soon became too small to accommodate the central facilities of the city administration. In the area around the town hall, various “branches” of the town hall, municipal offices, have been created, including the following:

  • The two blocks north of the Feldstrasse entrance are government offices. They accommodate u. a. the MUSA Museum Startgalerie Artothek set up by the cultural department , above that the Vienna Planning Information and the Vienna Business Agency .
  • Behind the town hall, at the address Friedrich-Schmidt-Platz 5, the cultural department has resided for decades (municipal department 7).
  • In the former Palais Obentraut, north of Friedrich-Schmidt-Platz, the Vienna planning workshop is located on the ground floor , while the upper floors are home to the City Audit Office , formerly the control office of the City of Vienna.
  • In the former Weights and Measures Office ( Friedrich-Schmidt-Platz 3), which, as the golden globe on the roof indicates, the Federal Office for Metrology and Surveying was housed, municipal offices have also been located since the 1990s.
  • After 1945, Bartensteingasse was synonymous with the Housing Office of the City of Vienna. Several houses in this street leading from the town hall entrance Lichtenfelsgasse are now official houses.
  • Wien Holding , which manages the city's own companies , has its headquarters at Universitätsstrasse 11, at the corner of Landesgerichtsstrasse .
  • At Rathausstrasse 1, at the corner of Stadiongasse , the headquarters of the city's IT department (then MA 53) was replaced by an earlier cinema building that was recently extended ( Forum-Kino , 1968–1972 seat of the Press and Information Service of the City of Vienna, MD-PID, then MA 53) ( Municipal Department 14) was established. This building was demolished in 2017 because the room layout did not correspond to its future use.

In Lichtenfelsgasse 7, opposite the southern entrance to the town hall, the ÖVP has set up its headquarters for both the Federal Party and the Vienna City Party .


On November 9, 1962, the Austrian Post issued a definitive stamp from the series of Austrian monuments worth 30 Groschen for this motif .

In the course of an overall renovation, which is expected to run from 2019 to 2024, the central tower of the town hall will be or is scaffolded. The 70 m high scaffolding will have a white protective net with a red print from mid-April 2019. The currently largest art installation in Austria with an area of ​​1500 m 2 was created by queer artists Ashley Hans Scheirl and Jakob Lena Knebl and shows two female-contoured but genderless figures. The slimmer one sits on the shoulders of the plump one. They allude to the artists, 100 years of Red Vienna and other topics.

See also


Web links

Commons : Vienna City Hall  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Vienna City and State Archives : City Hall, stonemason invoices.
  2. ^ Felix Czeike : Wiener Rathausbuch , topographical description , Verlag Jugend und Volk Wien, 1983. P. 39 ff. ISBN 3-224-10399-X
  3. ^ Federal Geological Institute : City Hall - Vienna
  4. | Friedrich Schmidt memorial
  5. Vienna City Hall Correspondence : October 18, 1967: The City Hall Man - A million dollar gift. The landmark is 85 years old ; Retrieved September 17, 2014
  6. Das neue Rathhaus , report from October 20, 1882 in the daily newspaper Neue Freie Presse , Vienna, No. 6521, October 21, 1882, p. 6, section Kleine Chronik
  7. Thomas Trenkler : Vienna's displaced Hitler balcony - in the center of the town hall tower. In: Courier . October 17, 2018, accessed October 17, 2018 .
  8. ^ Central balcony (town hall) in the Vienna History Wiki of the City of Vienna
  9. Festsaal - City Hall tour by mouse click , accessed on June 22, 2014
  10. Das neue Stadtservice Wien ( Memento of the original from September 12, 2017 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. at @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  11. The Vienna City Hall Cellar. In:  Wiener Bilder , September 13, 1925, p. 7 (online at ANNO ).Template: ANNO / Maintenance / wrb
  12. ^ Vienna in retrospect, May 1952 - Rathauskeller as it was 60 years ago
  14. Women in bathing shoes: town hall is veiled, April 2, 2019, accessed April 3, 2019.

Coordinates: 48 ° 12 ′ 38.9 ″  N , 16 ° 21 ′ 26.6 ″  E