Vienna, ‘City of Music’ is Austria’s capital and by far its biggest city. Vienna’s pivotal role in Europe’s history hinges on iconic figures, from the Hapsburg Monarchs to the father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud. Today, Vienna is host to many major international organizations including the United Nations and OPEC, and is a key destination for businesses, as well as expat and diplomatic communities.
Boasting a rich cosmopolitan lifestyle, arts and culture, Vienna is officially the nicest city to live in, according to consulting firm Mercer’s quality of living index. In 2011, for the third year running, Vienna topped Mercer’s ranking.
Not only is it an inspiring place to do business and a sumptuous city in which to live; families of all ages will love it here too. Weekends with the kids will be varied, fun and enriching. Whether you take them to the tropical Butterfly House, inside one of the world’s most magnificent "Jugendstil" (Art Deco) greenhouses, or for a day of thrills at the Wiener Prater fairground, you’ll never be at a loss for things to do.
What is special or unique about your city?
Vienna has much to offer. The ‘World’s Capital of Music’ provides unforgettable live music experiences. More famous composers have lived here than in any other city, music is literally in the air: waltzes and operettas have their home here, in the old and new Vienna.
From the magnificent Baroque buildings to ‘golden’ Art Nouveau and the latest architecture, one can walk in the footsteps of the Habsburgs, visit Empress Sisi’s former summer residence splendid baroque "Schönbrunn", or stroll along the magnificent Ring Boulevard and admire it as a window on the former Habsburg monarchy.
What are a newcomer's first impressions of your city?
Vienna is not only the City of Music, but also offers marvellous cuisine experiences. People appreciate the Viennese coffee house culture in its most original form in the Old City. Some are also located in the districts surrounding the city. Next door one can enjoy tasting local wine in cosy taverns the so called ‘Heuriger’ which is also the name of the wine from the latest harvest. The most striking first impression of Vienna is not only its great cultural and culinary offer but its generous areas of public green space, cleanliness and safety.
Are these impressions likely to change?
These impressions are unlikely to change. Vienna is clean with a lot to offer and above all a very safe city to work and live in.
What is the local language?
Austria has one official local language: German (Deutsch). However in each of its nine provinces people have local dialects which sometimes make it hard for both Austrians from other regions and foreigners to easily understand local people.
How easily could I live in this city without knowing this language?
English has become a common language in Vienna’s business life, so you will be able to make yourself understood without any major problems. As many Austrians are willing to offer any kind of translating help if needed, don’t be shy asking for support.
What are good things to remember in order to avoid offending the other residents of this city?
Austrians are known to wear leather trousers and to spend their spare time with 'yodelling' and 'slapping'. Actually not all Austrians stick with these traditional customs, but in many rural areas these traditions are custom and practice of daily life. Generally Austrians are known to be patriots and very proud of their so called Danube country. Viennese gift of the gab is proverbial. It consists of an odd mixture of charm, flattery, puns and open rudeness which is highly refreshing. Tune in to local dialects when you stroll through Vienna - it is worth it!
How might the local weather affect my daily life?
The climate in Vienna is generally mild and continental. Often there is a moderate westerly wind in the city which tends to make cool days even cooler. Most Viennese appreciate this wind as it brings fresh air from the surrounding Vienna Woods to the city. Even though a few winter days may be quite chilly and on some summer days the heat sizzles in the city center, most days of the year the weather is like the inhabitants of the city: friendly, mild and moderate in every sense….
In the mountains just outside the city snow can become very heavy at times in winter. Adequate winter clothing is thus advisable for trips to the mountains. Also, winter tires need to be fitted in the winter months (this is a legal requirement in the winter months from November 1st until April 15th each year).
Is there anything else I should know about the overall character of your city or its people?
Where possible, use public transportation. The system is outstanding and a dense metro and underground network guarantees time spent on local or long distance journeys is kept to a minimum.
Vienna is a very safe city but as in most big cities it is advisable to be cautious when visiting 'hotspots' after dark.