Word of the Week: Bassena [ba’se:na]

Noun. Orig. either French basin or Italian bacino, both meaning basin.

Noun. Orig. either French basin or Italian bacino, both meaning basin; a communal water tap with an enamel sink located on the landing of an Altbau (old apartment building, generally pre-WWI).

In times past, running water was considered a luxury, and most apartments shared a faucet and lavatory with their entire floor – a major step up from communal wells and outhouses. This made the Bassena a popular meeting point for the floor’s housewives, cooks and servants, giving rise to the term Bassenatratsch (Bassena gossip), referring to unreliable hearsay or salacious rumors.

Today, when neighbors rarely speak to each other, some older Viennese look back fondly to the days of the Bassena, where life was harder, yet less complicated. Others remember Bassenawohnungen (Bassena apartments) as substandard dwellings with no running water and
only a wooden stove for heating, and scurrying out to the freezing landing for the bathroom in wintertime – only to find it occupied.

While increasingly rare, some Bassenawohnungen (Bassena apartments) still exist in Vienna. Also, many Altbauten that have been retrofitted with individual running water and lavatories still have old Bassenas on each floor, sometimes repurposed as flowerpots.

Metropole
Stories are what make a city great. METROPOLE tells Vienna’s in English. Whether it’s insights about personalities, businesses or ideas, METROPOLE curates them for an international public. Looking to enrich your experience here? METROPOLE recommends events and locations to help make your Vienna story worth the telling.

Help us help you

“Strong media and independent journalism are built on the shoulders of subscribers. Your support means the world to us.

Benjamin Wolf
COO & Managing Editor

The coronavirus outbreak affects and challenges your life in big and small ways. Metropole is here for you and we are proud to be your news source during this crisis.

But just as the coronavirus has increased the need for independent journalism, it has also undercut a major revenue source of media companies, ours included – advertising.

We need your support to keep it up – donate or subscribe and #helpushelpyou!

Support Metropole!

RECENT Articles

Europe Is Bending the Curve, Cases Going Up in the US, Vaccines Ahead

Every Sunday, Metropole brings you a COVID-19 update from Prof. Dr. Florian Krammer, an Austrian virologist who works and teaches at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York City.

Coronavirus in Austria & Vienna | “Massive Restrictions” Will Continue Afte...

COVID-19 is shaping our daily lives. Here’s all you need to know about current measures, including where to get help, information and tips – updated regularly.

5 Places to Stroll During Lockdown

Walls closing in? These places offer blessed respite and relaxation.

How Vienna Plans to Mass Test the Population for COVID-19

The city plans to test 1.2 million people from December 4-13 with rapid antigen tests. Here’s how it is supposed to work

Fucking, Austria, Wants Now to Be Called Fugging

The Upper Austrian village has had people steal their name sign and Pornhub giving them premium access due to its peculiar name. Now, the city council voted to change it once and for all.

How Austria Plans to Roll Out the CoV Vaccine

The first people in Austria may get vaccinated against the coronavirus already at the beginning of 2021. Until then, the logistics and timetable have to be worked out

METROPOLE NEWSLETTER

Join over 5,000 Metropolitans, who already get monthly news updates and event invitations.

X
X
X