editors letter democracy
In theory, it’s a great idea. We all join in and decide who we’d like to govern us. We get the leadership we ask for. But recent elections see Europeans biting their nails at the same time that the constant onslaught of “sad” news from the White House makes us lose hope in democracy. A decade ago, we were still celebrating the democratizing force of...
smoking ban vienna
As the door to Café Einhorn opens, a draft of icy winter air surges into the room. For a fleeting moment, our lungs suck in the oxygen before it dissolves into the yellow haze of dozens of cigarettes, preserving the bar’s reputation as one of the smokiest in Vienna. Tourists and expats are often amazed to find you can still smoke in bars and restaurants in Vienna – and report being...
reichenhetze
“How are you doing today?” the paramedic asks with a smile, as the ambulance hurtles towards the hospital. “I’m not talking to a Neger (negro),” the patient spews back. “Pardon me?“ he says. “You heard me!” she retorts. The paramedic starts to laugh. Then she spews: “Unbuckle me you Neger and I’ll show you what’s what.” He laughs louder. Rami Ali,...
refugee crisis
Two years after the start of the refugee crisis, some hard truths and daunting challenges can no longer be ignored. Since 2015, when over a million refugees flooded across EU borders, it has been nearly impossible to have an honest conversation about what was at stake. It all happened so quickly; the numbers were mind-boggling – some 98,000 applying for...
bundesheer
The Bundesheer is the nation’s stepchild, unloved and underfed. But it is a respected international player and may have found its new role. Today’s Austrian army, the Bundesheer (BH), is a military minnow: 15,000 professional soldiers, 18,000 draftees, 7,000 civilians and 25,000 Miliz (reservists). It’s a strange beast, an army that never fights, a conscription force with too few conscripts,...
Heinz fischer
For Heinz Fischer, loving his country means caring about peacekeeping, education and reviving the lessons of history. Not many people know where to find him. Past the Portiere and through the courtyard, up the winding steps of the storied Amalientrakt of the Hofburg palace, former President Heinz Fischer’s office is stately, but far from showy. After a hearty handshake, he...
austrian news
A quick-and-dirty synopsis of recent headlines in Vienna. Team Austria Gears up for the Winter Olympics The 23rd Winter Olympic Games will take place this year from February 9 to 25, in PyeongChang, South Korea. About 3,000 athletes from 95 nations will compete in more than 100 disciplines, with Austria sending more than 120 athletes. The last three Winter Olympic Games were rewarding for the Austrian team....
Austrian Politics
From Proporz to Verhaberung, participation and influence in Austria go far beyond the walls of Parliament to find an "Austrian solution".  By Margaret Childs & Benjamin Wolf We just moved in,” she said, ushering me into the freshly-painted headquarters of Austria’s youngest political party, Liste Pilz. Underneath a wild head of curls and bubbly enthusiasm, Stephanie Cox is just as new...
voting
In Austria, you can vote at 16 and don’t need to register. For some elections, EU citizens can vote too. In democracies, a citizen’s right to vote is the way to participate in the democratic process. In Austria, universal suffrage for men was introduced in 1907 and the country was one of the first in Europe to introduce women’s suffrage in 1918. The right to...
alexey grubauer jumio
They have made democracy their business, whether as a software developer, university professor, museum director or in the parliamentary administration. “In a democracy, a leader is re-elected for another term if he works in the interest of the people. Here, if I make stupid decisions, people would jump ship. In that sense, I’m elected 365 days a year.” How many software...
Birgit Sauer
They have made democracy their business, whether as a software developer, university professor, museum director or in the parliamentary administration. “Democracy is always about emotion; we can’t exclude emotion from politics. It’s about public discourse and debate, where people can express their hopes, fears and anger.” Growing up in Germany, Dr. Birgit Sauer became aware of gender inequality at an early...
Monika Sommer
They have made democracy their business, whether as a software developer, university professor, museum director or in the parliamentary administration. “A century after the founding of the First Republic, we want to reinvigorate Austria’s awareness that democracy and its inherent values are not self-evident. Democracy must be continually worked on.” Dr. Monika Sommer is a busy woman. As the director of...
alexis wintoniak
They have made democracy their business, whether as a software developer, university professor, museum director or in the parliamentary administration. “Even when it seems like politics has arrived at a dead end, every five years we have a re-start, with a certain spirit and a positive atmosphere, with new people and new ideas.” In the midst of a massive renovation of...
how to politics austria
How do you make your voice heard in a country that is not entirely your own? Politics often seems like a cross between a telenovela and a car crash – you’d like to ignore it, but can’t help tuning in to the next crazy episode. Groucho Marx called politics “the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly...
facebook
The threats to democracy are not a side effect, but inherent to the platform’s business model. An early investor outlines a campaign to do something about it. My story with Facebook began in early 2006. Mark Zuckerberg, then only 22, was looking for advice. I had been a technology investor for more than two decades and had no stake in...
blockchain
Everyone’s talking about blockchain – that mysterious new technology inherently linked to cryptocurrencies. The more it seeps into the public debate, the more we focus on its implications for society in general. We’ve seen that digitalization empowers the crowd, the power of the crowd lies in participation and participation is a fundamental pillar of democracy. But to participate, we need transparency, otherwise how would we know...
digital revolution
Austrian politics is late to the digital revolution. Past electoral campaigns have typically focused on billboards and traditional media. But in the 2017 election, Americanization was on the rise. By Michael Bernstein with additional reporting by Benjamin Wolf Viewed through rose-colored glasses, Big Data – the collective traces of everything we do digitally – is the ultimate resource for civic democracy: Each...
empire republic austria
For the 100th anniversary of the demise of the Habsburg Empire and the forming of new states and territories in its place, we are embarking on a year-long reporting project. In autumn 1918, after four years of a grinding, devastating war, the Austro-Hungarian Empire was dissolved. What had once been one of the great powers of Europe was taken apart...
vienna books libraries
With countless books and manuscripts collected over centuries, Vienna has a lot to offer bookworms. There can be magic in a library: illuminated by the suffused glow of shaded lamps, entire walls of infinite shelves full of books clear up to the frescoed ceiling, paneled balconies joined together by spiral stairs that might lead you to a collection of tiny...
stadtpark
For all the rolling Prater meadows and vineyards in the Vienna Woods, green space in the city center is in short supply – were it not for the Stadtpark (city park), popular as ever with humans and pigeons as it was in the 19th century. Completed in 1862 during the Ringstrasse project, which saw the city walls razed in favor...
Yasmina Reza
In Yasmina Reza’s Art, three friends are at odds as their dynamic shifts. What binds people together? Long-term friendships are often taken for granted, so when a 15-year-old connection between three brothers in arms unravels, the effect can be devastating. But what could so abruptly threaten the deep bonds between rational, intelligent adults? Yasmina Reza, a celebrated Parisian playwright, places...
Krzysztof Kieślowski
Krzysztof Kieślowski’s noted TV drama is adapted to the stage. Exploring morality in a world where God is dead and ideologies are non-existent or minimal, the Dekalog series by Polish filmmaker Krzysztof Kieślowski (The Double Life of Veronique, Three Colors Trilogy) retains relevance long after its release in the late 1980s, a stark commentary on mankind’s inability to follow its...
Aeschylus
The Burgtheater surtitles Aeschylus’ trilogy in English. With matricide, murder, revenge, adultery and deceit, Aeschylus’ trilogy the Oresteia covers the final chapter of mythology’s most accursed family, the house of Atreus. One of the most recognizable Greek tragedies (and the only surviving trilogy), this surreal and vivid version is brought to the stage by director Antú Romero Nunes, winner of...
karl marx
The Waschsalon in the historic Karl Marx-Hof shows how the Social Democrats shaped Vienna. The museum Das Rote Wien im Waschsalon (Red Vienna at the Laundry Room) is certainly unusual: True to its name, the first thing you notice is the distinctive smell of laundry detergent. And indeed, there is a row of washing machines on the ground floor, which...
man ray
A glimpse beyond the iconic artist’s photographs. One of Dadaism and Surrealism’s most recognizable artists, Man Ray became a household name as a photographer, achieving lasting fame with erotic, absurdist images as well as conventional portraits, fashion spreads, nude studies and his experimental “Rayographs.” A quintessential American in Paris, he was a fixture of the early 20th century Montparnasse scene,...
Martha Jungwirth
The renowned Austrian artist garners some late fame. Pointedly setting spots of paint, blurred surfaces and strong colors, Austrian painter Martha Jungwirth is known for using certain objects as inspiration and transforming them into motifs that leave the initial item no longer apparent. Bordering abstract and figurative painting, her very expressive strokes are almost like footprints, evidence of her physical involvement....
festliche tage alter musik
The Klangforum’s Festliche Tage Alter Musik – with works composed between 1908 and 1961 – show us how old (and beautiful) modern music really is. It’s like needing reading glasses: the closer something is, the harder it is to see. Indeed, many consider listening to “new music,” by definition close to us in time, notoriously hard to do. The avant-garde is...
grandmaster flash
The music legend throws an audio-visual block party for the history of Hip Hop. With Hip Hop entering something resembling maturity, it pays to remember its roots – those heady days when pioneering musicians were still defining the genre. Fortunately, the seminal founding father Grandmaster Flash is holding a master class with his latest event Hip Hop, People, Places and...
pokey lafarge
The retro virtuoso uses his classic sound to express everyday blues. Combining new and old, singer-songwriter Pokey LaFarge channels contemporary and personal issues into his latest release, Manic Revelations. Illinois-born and St. Louis-based, LaFarge’s visual and musical style is a throwback to 1920s-30s Americana spiced with hints of swing and soul; a sonic scrapbook of bygone genres. Debuting over 10 years...
downsizing
A puny Matt Damon grapples with big ideas in the sci-fi dramedy Downsizing. Alexander Payne has done it again. The acclaimed director-screenwriter behind contemporary classics About Schmidt, Sideways and The Descendants crafted a film unlike any other in today’s profitable but repetitive Hollywood. In a box office world replete with sequels, franchises, adaptations and reboots, his new movie Downsizing is both...
shape of water
Guillermo del Toro once again blends reality and fantasy, crafting an unusual, transcendant love story. Highly esteemed for his visual panache as seen in films like Pan‘s Labyrinth, Hellboy and Crimson Peak, director, screenwriter, producer and novelist Guillermo del Toro spins another adult fairy tale with The Shape of Water, an unusual love story of opposites attracting each other. Set in...
three billboards outside ebbing missouri
A bereaved mother’s quest for justice escalates into a dark, hilarious feud. Well known for pitch-black comedies like In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths, award-winning writer-director Martin McDonagh’s latest film is a chip off the old block, making light of grim topics with impressive results. Inspired after seeing billboards publicizing an unsolved crime while passing through the American hinterland, Three Billboards Outside...
top 10 netflix
There’s so much good television on streaming websites, not to mention the films. It’s impossible to keep track of what is worth your time. When it’s cold outside, it’s time to cuddle up with a good movie or start binging your next series.
book review paul lendvai orban
Paul Lendvai tracks the ambition of the increasingly authoritarian Hungarian prime minister. In politics, symbols matter. So it was on Heroes’ Square in Budapest that some 250,000 people gathered on June 6, 1989, for the “monumental” funeral service in honor of Imre Nagy, prime minister of the 1956 Hungarian Uprising, and four others, all executed after a secret trial 31...
jamie oliver
Jamie’s Italian seeks the balance between class and comfort. It was only a matter of time: The gastronomic empire of British chef Jamie Oliver has found its way to Vienna, opening its first branch in a German-speaking country at the end of last year. Seating over 200 guests on two floors, Jamie’s Italian, created by Oliver and his mentor, Italian...
Erwin Gegenbauer preaches the beauty of simplicity. By Bart de Vries “Reduction is my credo,” says Erwin Gegenbauer, “luxury is simplicity and contentment.” An artisanal vinegar maker renowned the world over for his delicate flavors, it’s a topic dear to him. When the family business he inherited, a large-scale producer of pickled vegetables, became irreconcilable with his desire for quality and sustainability,...
salopp vienna
Bartenders have it hard these days. A signature drink is a must for the in-crowd craving novelty, yet most patrons aren’t willing to venture too far out of their comfort zone, resulting in endless variations of trendy classics like the mule or gin and tonic. But mixology is so much more than adding aromatic infusions to popular drinks. Andreas Trattner,...
pub klemo vienna
If Rome has coffee and Moscow has vodka, then Vienna’s soul fuel is surely wine. The city is awash in the stuff: dozens of Vinotheken and wine bars, some as vast as supermarkets and others intimate, but all bring us the best that France, Italy or Spain has to offer. To say nothing of the several hundred growers within easy...
iconic car designs
Some things never go out of style. These carmakers are getting great mileage out of banking on these classic designs. Volkswagen Chances are the Volkswagen bus is imprinted into your pop-cultural memory already: It was the vehicle of choice for hippies during the 1960s and 70s. Fun fact: Volkswagen management wasn’t too happy about their counterculture customer base back then and feared a loss of image, but...
loval finds february
This February, we have some treats to warm you from the inside and outside – bath suds, hearty booze and a home away from home. Beer Lovers Right on Gumpendorferstrasse, this haven of suds stocks 1,500 specialty craft beers from over 100 breweries, an incredible selection of pales, ales, barrel-aged lagers and anything else your heart desires, including homebrew kits for the DIY crowd. Even better,...
fashion democracy
We live in a city of stories. Each time you turn a corner, you become part of the history of the place. Even if you know your home town inside out, it’s those moments when you discover a hidden spot you’ve never seen before that you love Vienna. fashion editor Ali Rabbani // iamrabbani.com photographer Marion Ida // @die_ida styling Sabrina Zehetbauer make up & hair // @brinidad_makeup model Marlies p //...
pools vienna
Vienna’s many indoor swimming pools are the ideal place to stay fit during the winter. It’s been a long day and my head is full to the brim. Alongside my looming to-do list, a constant influx of emails is still buzzing through my phone. My usual solution? Lace up my trainers and run the stress away along the Donaukanal. Enjoying...
proporz
To be truly integrated in Vienna there are certain terms no dictionary or Deutschkurs will properly explain. But you’re no stranger, so here’s this month’s cheat sheet. PROPORZ Noun. The proportional division of public offices along party lines. While it’s understood that democracies assign seats in parliament according to election results and coalition governments form cabinets by divvying up ministries, Austria...