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Parliament and Palais Epstein

Debates have taken place inside the Parliament building on Vienna's Ringstrasse since December 4, 1883. Around 280 sessions are held every year – divided between the National Council and the Federal Council. The surface area of this mighty building is almost 14,000 m². The renovated chamber of the National Council is noted for its enormous glass roof and modern furnishings, although based on a historical model. Another special highlight is the historic chamber, which is based on an ancient theater. The almost 1,000 m² Hall of Columns in the entrance area serves as a place for receptions and events. In it stand 24 marble columns, each of which was hewn from a single block of marble.

Open to all

From 2018 to 2022, the building was refurbished and extended from the ground up. The new visitor center, the Demokratikum, was also created. 27 interactive media stations provide information on the history and structure of Austrian democracy. What is your political conviction? – Here, you can vote on issues that have actually been handled in Parliament and compare your answers with the result of the elected representatives. The newly acquired knowledge can be further expanded in the library with reading room. There are also special offers for children and young people.

The sessions of the National and Federal Councils in the chamber can be followed free of charge from the glazed gallery. Also free is the diverse range of guided tours. There are various focal points, such as the political institution, but also architecture or the many artworks that moved into Parliament following the renovation. The tour "Demokratie.Macht.Orte" (Democracy.Power.Places) leads around Heldenplatz and casts light on the development of Austrian parliamentarianism.

All guided tours in and around the Parliament building

A visit is also worthwhile in culinary terms: The Restaurant Kelsen (named after the creator of the Austrian Federal Constitution, Hans Kelsen) serves sustainable cuisine for lunch and dinner, also for visitors. Several outdoor terraces provide a whole new view of Vienna city center. A bistro (open all day, including cocktails in the evening) and a self-service canteen for lunchtime round out the restaurant offering.

In the style of the ancient Greeks

Architect Theophil Hansen planned the center of Austrian politics in the style of Greek Classicism – based on the first form of democracy in ancient Greece. Architectural features include the many columns, the triangular pediment, and the countless statues. Ancient goddesses characterize the look: The fountain with Pallas Athena, the goddess of wisdom, in front of the main entrance and the figure of Nike, messenger of godly power and victory, on the roof of Parliament.

Palais Epstein

Palais Epstein, situated in the immediate vicinity of Parliament, was also built by Theophil Hansen and is the only palace on the Ringstrasse boulevard that can be visited on guided tours – and what's more, free of charge. It was built as a so-called "tenement palace": Owners, tenants, and civil servants lived under one roof – the former obviously at the front, facing the Ringstrasse boulevard. Today, Palais Epstein houses meeting rooms and a number of offices. It is also regularly used for parliamentary events.


Dr.-Karl-Renner-Ring 3
1010 Vienna
  • Opening times

  • Accessibility

    • Main entrance
      • no steps
        Wheelchair-accessible via an opening of the ramp wall left of the statue of Athena.
    • Car parks Main entrance
      • 4 Parking spaces for people with disabilities
    • Further information
      • Seeing eye dogs allowed
      • Wheelchair accessible restroom available.
    • Special offers for people with disabilities

      Guided tours for more than 5 persons with wheelchairs: by prior reservation.

    • Comments

      Entire visitor's center is free of barriers: elevators, multimedia stations, shop, café, toilets.

Palais Epstein

Dr.-Karl-Renner-Ring 1
1010 Vienna
  • Opening times

    • Guided Tour (English) Sa, 11:30 - 00:00
    • Guided Tour (English) Sa, 13:30 - 00:00
    • Guided tour (German) Sa, 10:30 - 00:00
    • Guided tour (German) Sa, 12:30 - 00:00

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