If there is one European city that seems particularly focused on the World War I centenary then it is the Austrian capital Vienna, where a host of war-themed exhibitions will be opening over the course of the year. Such attention may come as something as a surprise when one considers that the Austro-Hungarian Empire was one of the powers brought crashing to its knees by the conflict. Few other European nations would find their own decline and fall quite so engrossing.
Austria was at the centre of a huge multi-national empire in 1914, and the Viennese archives are full of photographs and documents recalling the wartime service and home front lives of the Habsburg Monarchy’s many subjects. Implicitly recognized by this year’s events is the feeling that Vienna still bears a burden of responsibility towards all those who fought under an Austrian flag. And it’s by no means just the war that the Viennese are commemorating.
This year’s events also draw attention to the twenty-year period of cultural efflorescence that occurred in the lead-up to the conflict, a period when writers, artists and thinkers as diverse as Gustav Klimt, Arnold Schönberg and Sigmund Freud turned Vienna into the unofficial capital of European modernism. The restless cultural energies of fin-de-siecle Vienna have long been an important part of the Austrian capital’s tourist appeal – and it’s no wonder that this year’s centenary provides yet another opportunity to bring this to the fore. Here are six ways to remember the Great War in Vienna.
From June 28 onwards
March 28 – Nov 9
May 9 – Sept 15
April 2 –Sept 14
March 13 to November 2
Sept 18 - Jan 11 2015
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