On one Sunday a year, various heritage sites in Vienna open their doors to celebrate the Tag des Denkmals – Austria’s contribution to the European Heritage Days programme.
- Free entry to various interesting locations for one day
- The expected 2019 date is Sunday, September 29
- See also: What to do in Vienna
What is the Tag des Denkmals?
Around 50 countries participate in the European Heritage Days, an initiative first launched back in 1985.
The aim is to give people the chance to enjoy their rich and shared cultural heritage for free, so they might learn to treasure that same heritage. Hard to argue with that.
In Austria, it’s a one-day event called (rather impressively) the Tag des Denkmals (English: Monument Day) and run by the government department responsible for protecting the country’s cultural and historical sites.
On this day, various locations across Vienna and elsewhere open their doors to visitors for free. On top of that, many also offer special guided tours or other little bonus experiences. Some participating sites are not even normally open to the public.
The event is traditionally held on the last Sunday in September, so this would be September 29 in 2019.
It’s too early for a 2019 programme, which should become available at the official website (in German, but…Google Translate). Here’s a look back at the 2018 event:
Over 40 institutions participated. Some of the locations were only accessible by registering in advance for a tour, and many were booked out.
Various well-known sites were involved, such as the National Library (pictured above), but among the rarities that waved at me from the screen were:
- The study of Emperor Francis I/II in the Hofburg winter palace (this was the first time the public had been given access)
- The Iraqi and French embassies: the former is in the Palais Larisch-Moennich (built in the 1860s), the latter an Art Nouveau building finished in 1912.
- The HQ of the OPEC Fund for International Development in Palais Deutschmeister (also built in the 1860s)
- The HQ of the Austrian book trade association in Palais Fürstenberg, built in the early 1700s
- The Palais Niederösterreich event centre, which traces its roots back to the early 16th century
- Billrothhaus, built in the late 19th century and home to the Association of Physicians
- The Karl-Marx-Hof, completed in 1930 and one of the longest residential buildings in the world. Known locally as the “Worker’s Versailles” (it has less gold, more concrete)
As you can see, you can find an unusual gem or two to wander around. In 2018, I visited the “Brenner Wohnung”, which is the only council flat in Vienna with a preservation order on it!