Living in Vienna
The historic city centre, within the parameters of the former city fortifications, is still the centre of business and the most sought out location for offices, apartments and entertainment, and qualifies as an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors and professionals mingle very well and keep it vibrant.
Since the eastern European expansion of the EU, Vienna has become the true centre of Europe and a hub for eastern and western companies. Vienna is host to many major international organisations, including the United Nations, the International Atomic Energy Organisation, OPEC and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
Another aspect of internationalisation is Vienna’s excellent convention centers. Vienna offers three major facilities, The Austria Centre Vienna, The Hofburg Congress Centre and the Reed Exhibitions Messe Wien. The high standard of services and rich cultural attractions contribute to making the city one of the top global destinations for international conferences.
It is unsurprising, then, that Vienna is gaining considerably in popularity among global buyers as a home and investment. Its population growth rate is forecast to be higher than most other European cities over the next decade as buyers are seduced initially by its architecture, lifestyle and culture, and, as they get to experience the city, by the sense of personal security it offers – a major issue for buyers today. Vienna offers a secure investment along with the charm, history and cultural allure of Paris – yet on a small scale and with a lower cost of living.
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Vienna in a nutshell
St. Stephens Cathedral – defined as the historic centre of Vienna, the more than 800 years old gothic St. Stephens cathedral with its 137m high elegant spire is affectionately called “Steffl” by locals. It is the most symbolic monument of Austria, damaged in WWII, rebuilt in an immense effort symbolizes great moments in history of this city.
The historic centre is surrounded by the Ringstrasse, one of the most beautiful and elegant boulevards in Europe. It celebrated 150 years in 2015 and is the showcase for the most noteworthy buildings in Vienna such as the Parliament, City Hall, Opera House, Burgtheatre, Musikverein, Museum of Fine Art and Natural Historical Museums, the Stock Exchange, the University and the Votivkirche designed by the most celebrated architects of that time: Hansen, Schmidt, von Siccarsdburg, van der Nuell, Semper, von Hasenauer and von Ferstel. The results of this enormous real estate boom still attracts many to this famous and historic boulevard.
The Ringstrasse and the old/historic town – a lively area full of cafes, restaurants and smart bars, with elegant architecture and three landscaped inner city parks. Properties here typically cost €10,000- €30,000 per sq m. High-end buyers in Vienna were traditionally Russian, but we have seen a shift in recent months to higher numbers of Middle Eastern buyers, whose search focuses entirely on the 1st district.
Hofburg – the former imperial palace was the winter residence of the Habsburgs until 1918 and is still home of the famous Vienna riding school. The Hofburg complex was built and added on over centuries and holds an extraordinary number of rooms and collections.
Belvedere Palace – one of the finest baroque ensembles with exquisite baroque garden architecture worldwide and former home of general Eugene of Savoy. The Lower and Upper Belvedere hold vast art collections. The Upper Belvedere’s 19th and 20th century art collection holds one of the most famous painting by Klimt – The Kiss.
Schloss Schonbrunn – The baroque castle was the imperial summer palace of the Habsburgs until 1918 and is one of the most visited tourist sites in Austria. The vast baroque building and garden complex was built to rival Versailles. The reception rooms and apartments still retain the original decoration. Now also a UNESCO world heritage site.
Around the Danube – popular with swimmers during the summer months and walkers enjoy the riverbank in any season. There are many historic sites a short distance from the river. Areas are now being sensitively developed for the residential market.
Kahlenberg Heights – The perfect escape from the city centre, here one can stroll through the Vienna Forest with views over the city, sample the local wines or take advantage of the many mountain bike and hikers trails .
The proportion of green spaces per inhabitant in Vienna is one of the highest in Europe with approximately 25 sq metres per person compared to 1 sq metre in Paris and 13 sq. meters in Berlin. These green areas can be found in many diverse parts of Vienna. Several areas are located on the banks of the Danube, the foot of Kahlenberg and in the Wienerwald often called the “lungs of Vienna.” The Wienerwald itself with 105,000 hectares - of which 8560 ha lie in Vienna - blends into country living. In addition to a wonderful beech forest, the surrounding areas have many active vineyards, which is rather rare for a large city.
Another extensive green recreation area is the Prater. This former imperial hunting ground of 600 hectares has wonderful fields and allees loved by bikers, joggers and families having picnics. Bordering this area is the Danube, which has additional green recreation areas along its banks.
In the city centre, along the Ringstrasse are three exquisitely landscaped city parks namely the Volksgarten with its wonderful rose garden, the Burggarten, formerly the palace gardens and the Stadtpark a vast public garden with statues of many Austrian lumineries.
The internationalisation of Vienna is also represented in the many international schools and universities. This tends to be particularly appealing for buyers looking for a full-time family home, perhaps in the surrounding green belt, where their children can attend one of the schools. Properties there – typically villas or condos in the 19th, 18th and 13th districts – are usually priced at around €10,000- €15,000 per sq m.
Please see below for a list of international schools:
Vienna International School, American International School, Danube International School, Webster University, Vienna, The International University Vienna, International Christian School of Vienna, Japanese School in Vienna, Lycée Francais de Vienne, The Swedish School in Vienna, Skola Komensky, EMS European Middle School Neustiftgasse, Al-Azhar Vienna Islamic International School, St. Gilgen International School
Austria is well known for having an excellent and generous healthcare system. There is an extensive network of hospitals and doctors covering even the most remote areas.
Activities and Entertainment
If one is tired of music, museums, forests and vineyards there is always a ‘ball’. This entertainment is unique to Vienna. About 500 balls are held each season, many in the Imperial Palace. Every profession seems to put on its own ball. For medicine it’s the doctor’s ball, the lawyer’s ball, the gardener’s ball, the psychotherapist’s ball, the coffee shop owner’s ball, the pastry chef’s ball, the Philharmonic ball, etc. The most famous one is the Opera ball, hosted by the artists’ of the state opera. A new addition to this ball tradition is the Life Ball which takes place in May and is called the largest worldwide charity event to help cure aids. Not to forget our famous horses, the Imperial Summer Ball hosted by the Spanish Riding School.
These delightful occasions, magical in their own right, offer a living connection and nostalgia for a time long since passed. Café society, another great tradition, is alive and well in Vienna and remains a cornerstone of everyday (and night) life – known for hosting long intellectual (and not so intellectual) discussions and where in addition to coffee delicious pastries are served in an atmosphere of see and be seen. Entertainment lasts the night long in Vienna as the jazz clubs, discos, casinos and bars, which fill the Ringstrasse, rarely close before dawn.
The best-known Alpine regions, justifiably popular, boast some of the finest winter skiing and summer hiking in Europe: Bernese Oberland, Interlaken, Wengen, Grindelwald, Verbier, Crans-Montana, Zermatt, Davos, Klosters and St Moritz.
Art, Music and Culture
Vienna is also home of world class orchestras and museums. It is often called the world capital of music due to its Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, the State Opera House and the Golden Hall within the Musikverein, which has been called the hall with the best acoustics in the world. A vast legacy from the Habsburg Empire is the extensive art collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, the Albertina, the Belvedere and the Art Historical Museum whose quality and size compare with the most famous museums in the world.
Vienna is not only home to the greatest concentration of museums in Austria, but also many excellent theatres including the renowned Burgtheater - one of the best theatres in the German-speaking world.
Though the Vienna most visible today was without doubt created by the Habsburg dynasty, it can trace its roots back to Roman times. Even during medieval times, Vienna was one of the most important cities in the German-speaking world. Today Vienna retains its incomparable grandeur and considerable prestige as one of Europe’s most important cultural and artistic centers.
Vienna´s culinary scene is varied and creative, with a long history that is partly rooted in the numerous crown lands of the former Habsburg Empire. Regional influences from Italy, Hungary, Bohemia, Germany and the Balkans have had an effect on Austrian cooking and especially the Viennese cuisine.
Some legendary classics of long-established Viennese cuisine, such as Gulasch, Tafelspitz or Wiener Schnitzel can be enjoyed in one of the numerous so called ‘Beisl’ (an Austrian term for a small restaurant or pub, related in spirit to the Italian trattoria. A Beisl is usually socially closely connected with its neighbourhood where traditional, inexpensive dishes are served).
Kaffeehaus: At the end of the 19th century, some coffee houses became the meeting venue of a group of well- known literary figures such as Arthur Schnitzler, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, or Karl Kraus and gave birth to the so-called famous ‘Coffee house literature’. Still today, coffee houses are simply part of Austrian culture and are inseparably linked to Vienna.
Vienna is one of the few capitals with its own vineyards and Austrian wine is experiencing something of a moment in the limelight. About 700 hectares within the city of Vienna are covered by vineyards – a major percentage is sold directly in the wine taverns called “Heurige”. In the old and most basic form of Heurige, winemakers simply cleared out their living rooms for a couple of weeks a year, set up a few tables and chairs and sold their wines until they ran out. The Viennese usually brought their own food with them, but with tourism, the wine taverns grew and became more professional. Today those wine taverns are allowed to open a certain amount of days per year to sell their wine along with homemade, traditional dishes.
By air: Vienna has its own international airport with direct flights from all European cities as well as from the rest of the world.. Overland: The motorway network linking Austria to the rest of Europe is extensive, clearly sign posted and exceptionally well maintained. The infrastructure within Vienna, especially the metro, is modern, efficient and generously designed.
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