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Austrian writer Karl Kraus has famously said that “The streets of Vienna are paved with culture, the streets of other cities with asphalt”. It may be harsh but if you’ve been to Vienna and enjoyed the city that’s known to have given birth to Classical music (among many others), it will be hard not to agree with him.
Last year, the Economist Intelligence Unit declared Vienna to be the most liveable city in the world, for the second time in a row. In our books, this doesn’t just make Vienna a great tourist destination, but also a perfect city to host an event in 2020. Due to its Baroque influence, there are many venues in Vienna that will take your corporate event to the next level. The combination of its unique architecture, elegant venues, and with many considering it to be the cultural capital of Europe are just few of the reasons why we think you should host your next event in Vienna.
Vienna is home to 1.9 million people, which is nearly one-third of Austria’s population. Vienna hosts many international organisations including the United Nations and OPEC (Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries). But before the city reached its current role as a leading European music centre and home to international organisations, Vienna underwent a very long, deep and colourful history. The Celts were the 1st known inhabitants of Vienna since 500 BC. The Roman Emprire soon reached Vienna and built a military camp in the settlement to guard against the Germanic tribes to the north, and called it “Vindobona”.
Over the next centuries, rule of the city changed hands a number of times as the Roman Empire started to decline. It was around 1146, under the Babenberg dynasty that Vienna prospered. During this time, Vienna became an important trading centre, linking the west of Europe to the east, and it was in the year 1221 when Vienna was recognised as a city. In 1365, under the Hasburgs’ rule, Vienna University was founded, which is now one of the oldest Universities in Europe.
During the early 1700’s, architects in Vienna created a city of Baroque palaces and houses which the city is well-known for today. One of Austria’s most noted rulers is Maria Theresa, who reigned the country for 40 years. She was the only female ruler of the Hasburg dominions and the last ruler of the house of Hasburg. One of her greatest achievements was introducing great educational reforms. She introduced education for the serfs, and made it compulsory for children aged 6-12 to attend school. Her regime saw great fiscal, social and educational reforms which was seen to be a large success.
During this time, the population of Vienna grew and Austria as a whole entered the golden age of music, which produced Haydn, Gluck, and Mozart, among many other composers. During World War II, Vienna suffered huge amounts of destruction from heavy bombing. Many of the Baroque houses and palaces that tourists now enjoy visiting were painstakingly reconstructed after the war. Since the 1970’s, Vienna has been one of the four major office sites of the United Nations.
2.) Unique Architecture
When you visit Vienna, you will see architecture that represents many periods and styles. However, Baroque is clearly Vienna’s leading architectural style. Perhaps the most historic landmark of the capital can be found in the city centre, St Stephen’s Cathedral, one of the chief Gothic buildings of Europe. The cathedral’s construction shows the various architectural influences from Gothic to Baroque.
Another landmark worth visiting is the Garden Palais Lichtenstein. It is the summer house of the Lichtensteins, one of Austria’s wealthy aristocratic families who may be responsible for having first brought the Baroque style of architecture to Vienna. Garden Palais Lichtenstein is now open to the public as an art museum and it combines Italian details in its exterior with ornate Baroque style in its interiors.
If you wish to visit a landmark that also has a great historical reference to Vienna’s history, visit the magnificent Kalskirche, or the Rektoratskirche St. Karl Borromaus. The Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI (1711-1740) may be responsible for introducing Baroque architecture to Vienna’s ruling class. Vienna was stricken by the Black Plague and Charles VI vowed to build a church if the plague left Vienna. When it did, he had the Karlskirche built and the Baroque church can be visited on the south side of Karlsplatz in Vienna.
It's not all historical architecture that you can see in Vienna. There’s a new wave of shiny skyscrapers and interestingly-designed buildings which are slowly re-shaping Vienna’s skyline. Restaurant Stadtpark resembles a prism and is considered one of the most stunning and eye-catching buildings in the city. Then there’s the DC Tower I, currently the highest building in Austria that stands 250 metres above Vienna on the eastern side of the Danube.
Vienna’s unique architecture definitely tells the story of its rich and colourful history, so you can say that strolling the capital is one educational and informative walk. All this Baroque architecture also means that there are many venues in Vienna that are elegant and historic.
It’s not just grand architecture that you will find in Vienna. It’s also home to unique and quirky attractions! First off, did you know that the world’s oldest zoo is found in Vienna?
The Tiergarten Schonbrunn, or famously known as Vienna Zoo can be found on the grounds of Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna. It was found in 1752 and has been repeatedly awarded as the best zoo in Europe. It is still operational and most of the buildings in the zoo are well-preserved, still showcasing the Baroque era.
If you’ve had enough of Baroque architecture, make sure to drop by and see the Hundertwasser House. Built between 1983-1985, Hundertwasserhaus is an apartment building that seems like it came out of a whimsical painting or dream.
The building was designed by famous Austrian painter Friedensreich Hundertwasser, who is known for his loud, bold colours, swirling designs, and incorporating external elements into the architecture. So it’s quite normal to see trees growing right inside apartments, or roofs that are covered with grass and climbing ivys.
This quirky building actually has residents in it, so after admiring it from the outside, be sure to grab a cuppa at the Kunst and Café coffee shop on the ground level. Now if you are in for a unique experience, make sure to have time (pun intended) for the Vienna Clock Museum, one of the city’s most underrated attractions. The museum houses over 3,000 time pieces, all working and tell the exact time. The oldest clock in exhibit at the museum dates back to the 15th century. There, you can also see an astronomical art clock made in the 18th centuty, that tells the time, and the length of the day and the orbital period of planets.
The smallest clock (which fits under a thimble), can also be found here. These are just a few of the numerous unique and quirky attractions you can see in Vienna.
If you are thinking of ideas for event venues for corporate events in Vienna, you will not run out of unique options in this city. Firstly, this city is not short on luxury hotels which serves both as an accommodation and venues in Vienna. There’s the Ritz-Carlton Vienna which has 7 meeting rooms, the largest of which is 300 square metres.
Another hotel perfect for corporate events is the Le Meridien Vienna, with 10 meeting rooms in total, the largest of which measures 3,723 square feet. There are plenty more hotels and events venue perfect for your corporate event in Vienna. However, if you are already in the Austrian capital known for its imperial traditions and stunning architecture, you might as well take advantage of its unique and historical venues.
Vienna is home to many grand palaces which can be booked for corporate and private events. One of them is the Palais Coburg, a 5-star hotel in a historical palace. They have both indoor and outdoor venues and have a capacity of up to 200 seated guests. They have in-house catering available, and one of them is the 2-Michelin starred gourmet restaurant, Silvio Nickol.
And then there’s the Palais Pallavicini, a palace owned by the Pallavicini family, (they still occupy the palace) who bought in in 1842. It has a Grand Ballromm which can accommodate up to 120 seated guests. If you prefer a venue that’s beyond just a palace, there’s the Garden Palace Liechtenstein, originally a summer house for the Liechtensteins, one of the aristocratic and wealthy families of Vienna. It is now also an art museum which has indoor and outdoor venues available for events. They have a hall which can accommodate up to 360 seated guests.
From palaces to museums, to grand ballrooms, Vienna is definitely your choice of city for unique corporate events.
Vienna has an outstanding musical heritage and is considered to be Europe’s cultural capital. The Austrian capital produced Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and Johann Strauss (among many others), and their contribution and influence in music is undeniably immense.
Because Vienna is the world’s classical music capital, one must not miss enjoying an opera at the Staatsoper, considered as the most renowned opera venue in Vienna. Needless to say, musical production has been in the forefront of Vienna for centuries. One of these is theatre, and Vianna celebrates theatrical productions with spectacular stage design, scenery, and excellent choreography.
The Raimund Theatre is such a place where one can enjoy marvelling at such dedication to theatre and musical production. Backstage tours are available every week as well. One very touristy activity but nevertheless a must photo-op especially for first-timers in Vienna are the 30-minute Fiaker rides that you can see in the old town. These are horse-drawn carriages that will take you around the top attractions of Vienna’s old town.
It’s not all historical in Vienna though. Over the centuries, Vienna has also become quite multi-cultural, and because it is a city rich in culture, it also knows how to celebrate cultures of all forms. For instance, in May this year, Vienna will be celebrating a Pakistan Cultural Festival, and every now and then, the Museum of Ethnology at Heldenplatz features a specific culture to celebrate and provide awareness of. (This end of February, they will feature Japan).
It’s amazing to see that Vienna, a city rich in its own unique history and culture, openly embraces different cultures as well.
Vienna is not just a city of music, opera, and waltzes. It is also known to be a city of vineyards. There are indeed plenty of vineyards world wide but Vienna is the only capital city in the world where wine is grown within the city. In fact, vines can be found growing within 5 kilometres of Stephansplatz Square. What makes Viennese wines different and unique is that they have traditionally been made for consumption and not just for cellaring.
Also, a trademark of Viennese wine is that is enjoyed at the Heuriger (an Austrian establishment where wine from the latest harvest is served), which can be considered as the Viennese equivalent of pubs in Dublin or cafes in Paris. Viennese wine is counted among the classic wines of the world and Vienna’s rich limestone soils on the northern side of the Danube River are suitable for growing Chardonnay and Riesling wines.
There are over 630 wine producers in Vienna and plenty of wine tours offered. If you ever need anything to entice delegates to attend your corporate event it Vienna, this would be it.
Vienna is known as the city of music, and rightly so—no other city in the world has ever housed more famous composers. Just among the more popular ones are Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, Joseph Haydn, Franz Schubert, and Johan Strauss Jr.
Classical music aside, one of the best-known boys choir in the world, The Vienna Boys Choir, founded in 1498 is also based in Vienna. They say that music fills the air in Vienna and there is truth to that. From a city that pretty much gave birth to classical music, one can only expect that Vienna would have concerts, operas, and other cultural events available year-round.
From operas, classical concerts, musicals and ballet—one really must not miss enjoying one of these performances while in Vienna. For a more memorable event, dinner and concert packages are widely available to be booked in Vienna. A popular combination, for instance, is a gourmet dinner at Vienna’s Restaurant Reisdenz and followed by a classical concert at Orangery Schoenbrunn.
And then there’s the annual Summer Night Concert, taking place inside the grounds of Schonbrunn every end of May. It’s a celebratory evening that features music ensembles from all over Austria and it attracts an average of 100,000 people, making it one of the most popular outdoor classical music events in Europe.