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Spanish Riding School
© WienTourismus/Paul Bauer

This was Vienna in the 2010s

The 2010s have left their mark. And what a mark: Vienna is lively, creative and young. Vienna has consistently expanded its role as a Central European hub in the past decade. New museums, train stations, and subway lines have sprung up, as well as whole bunch of contemporary architecture and a diverse gastro scene. What the 2010s also were: a decade of major international events and of special records and awards. People danced, partied, and sweated. A look back over an extremely busy decade.

Livable city: A monopoly on the number one

Vienna achieved something in the 2010s that no other city in the world has done before, and probably won't do so again in a hurry either: In every year of the decade now coming to a close, Vienna was voted the most livable city on the planet in the Quality of Living ranking Mercer. It is a series of victories that nobody could have predicted. Consequently, the bar for the 2020s is set very high. Yet given the developments of recent years, we are confident of being able to maintain the level in matters pertaining to the quality of life. In any case, we're mighty proud.

Picasso, Bruegel and company: The decade of the luminaries of art

What began in 2010 with Frida Kahlo at the Bank Austria Kunstforum, ended in 2019 with major exhibitions on Albrecht Dürer at the Albertina and Caravaggio & Bernini at the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna. The 2010s were the decade of the big blockbusters with international appeal. Visitors to the great exhibition houses occasionally had to stand in line for ages. The list is a more than impressive read: Picasso's works were on display, as were those of Bruegel, Rubens, Michelangelo, Raffael, and Lucian Freud.

From Song Contest to EuroPride: The decade of big events

Conchita Wurst's sparkling Eurovision Song Contest victory in 2014 is to thank for the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest being held in Vienna. Vienna hadn't been as colorful and relaxed as it was in May 2015 for a very long time. Memories of an event staged to perfection weren't the only thing that remained. The Viennese traffic light couples installed for the ESC called for more tolerance in the public domain and brought their message to the world. In the same way, EuroPride in 2019 once again presented Vienna as an open and outgoing city.

Sport also had a firm grip on Vienna: The world's biggest event for Jewish athletes, the Makkabi Games, were for the first time held in a country that had been part of the German Reich during the Nazi period. In the same year, the IFAF World Championship of American Football was held in Vienna. In 2017, Vienna was the venue for the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships. And in 2019, Eliud Kipchoge became the first athlete to run a marathon in under two hours in the Prater, Vienna.

Art, culture and curiosities: Vienna's museums on the change

There were also a whole bunch of impulses for Vienna's exhibition and museum landscape. The exhibits of the Kunstkammer Vienna at the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna have been open to the public again since 2013. The 21er Haus became Belvedere 21. Also new or remodeled are the Weltmuseum Wien (World Museum Vienna), the House of Austrian History, the Liechtenstein City Palace, the Brotfabrik (Bread Factory) in the 10th district, the Viktor Frankl Museum, the Augarten Porcelain Museum, the Klimt Villa, the Remise – Wiener Linien Transport Museum, the Literature Museum of the National Library and the Funeral Museum, which relocated to the Central Cemetery.

Totally renewed city: Really big train station for Vienna

Vienna's infrastructure underwent total renewal in the 2010s. And how! The new Vienna Main Station opened its doors in 2014 and turned Vienna into a railway hub for Central Europe. The Westbahnhof has gleamed in new splendor since 2011. The construction of the new Wien Mitte train station was completed in 2013. And lots has happened on the subway, too. Since 2013, subway line U2 has been running as far as Seestadt Aspern. The U1 extension to Oberlaa was opened in 2017. Vienna's pedestrians have every reason to celebrate: The city's biggest shopping street, Mariahilferstrasse, was turned in a pedestrian and meeting zone in the middle of the 2010s. A trend that continued: Rotenturmstrasse, Otto-Bauer-Gasse and Lange Gasse have recently undergone the same transformation and are now a great place to go for a stroll.

From beats to guitars: The Viennese pop miracle

After export hits of pop culture such as Falco in the 1980s and Kruder & Dorfmeister in the 1990s, Vienna re-established itself on the international pop map. Bilderbuch and Wanda conquered the German-speaking region. Voodoo Jürgens, the successor of Wanda, was there at the start when it came to the international dissemination of Viennese local color. Rapper RAF Camora stormed the German charts, too. Vienna also got two new pop events with the Popfest, held annually in front of the Karlskirche (Church of St. Charles), and the showcase festival Waves Vienna, both of which underscore the dynamism of Vienna's pop culture.

Rapid modernization: New district for Vienna

The fact that Vienna is growing and moving slowly towards the two million mark is evident in the form of huge urban development areas such as the Sonnwendviertel and Seestadt Aspern, the scale of which is unparalleled anywhere in Europe. In 2013, Vienna acquired an eye-catching university district in the spirit of contemporary architecture in the form of the Campus WU. The equally notable Viertel Zwei district arose in the immediate vicinity. Major international architects also built in Vienna in the 2010s. Jean Nouvel constructed the Design-Tower by the Danube Canal, which opened in 2010. Renzo Piano built high-rise structures on stilts, near to Vienna Main Station.

Vienna remains unique: Non-stop World Cultural Heritage

UNESCO scarcely held back from granting typical aspects of Viennese life the status of World Cultural Heritage in the 2010s. It all began in 2010 with the Viennese Dudler, a special form of yodeling. The following year, it was the turn of coffee house culture. Next on the list was the Spanish Riding School in 2015. In 2017, they came thick and fast: the Vienna Boys Choir, the Viennese waltz, and the special Viennese mood of the zither were all inscribed on the World Heritage List. And most recently, heuriger culture was added to the list this year. Cheers!

Excellent and diverse: Vienna's food and drink

It has always been possible to eat well in Vienna, but Vienna's dining scene has soared in every respect. The Amador is the first restaurant in Vienna to have been awarded three stars by the Michelin Guide. Gastronomic variety has also reached unknown dimensions: The dining scene in the Neubau and Mariahilf districts is young, creative and lively. And first-class dining is not confined to the city center. The best examples are the Wirtschaft am Markt in the 12th district, Herzig in the 15th district, Mraz & Sohn in the 20th district, and Das Bootshaus on the Old Danube in the 22nd district.

The sustainable decade: There’s so much green

Vienna recognized the signs of the times in the 2010s and pushes sustainability on many levels. The city's first green museum is the Kunst Haus Wien. The museum's operations focus on ecology. An approach that can be seen, for example, in the form of beehives on the museum's roof. Bees also started buzzing on the roofs of the State Opera, the Konzerthaus, and the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna in the 2010s. In the same way, façade greening, the targeted cooling of hotspots, is increasingly becoming a topic for ensuring a pleasant microclimate in the hot months of the year. Topics that will also keep Vienna very busy in the 2020s. Talking of which: Welcome 2020!  

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