On January 31st, 1797, little Franz Schubert popped into the world at his family’s home in a small village just outside Vienna.
A genius was born. And while other babies scream, he presumably uttered more of a bravo aria.
The house is still there – firmly inside the city limits now – and features the Schubert Geburtshaus museum.
- A small, apartment-sized museum with various paraphernalia around Schubert’s life
- Also has an exhibition of paintings by Adalbert Stifter
- Entry is €5 (or free with the Vienna Pass*)
The entrance takes you into a beautiful gravel courtyard surrounded by wooden balconies, immediately throwing you back to late 18th century Vienna.
The museum itself is up some stone stairs and continues the historical feeling: bare wooden floors and low ceilings with whitewashed walls.
Inside, a large poster provides background information in English, but all display labels are in German: you may have to guess your way around the various paraphernalia drawn from his life and works.
There are several portraits of Schubert to admire, each featuring the famous round spectacles. And, lo, the very first room contains a pair he once wore. Other highlights include:
- Music stations where you can sit and listen to some of his compositions
- School reports from 1809 and 1812, as well as his exam results from 1814. The writing is hard to read but, as far as I could tell, there were an awful lot of “sehr gut” grades (the top grade possible in the Austrian school system). But then his father was a teacher
- 1st edition sheet music for his famous Erlkönig song, as well as originals and copies of various other compositions
- A piano owned by his brother Ignaz, so you would imagine Schubert once induced its keys to produce the sounds that would later become his compositions
The spartan layout means you can get round very quickly – it really just gives you a taste of the life and times of the man without pretending to any degree of comprehensiveness – it’s more a memorial than museum.
But those spectacles are pretty cool.
The Geburtshaus is open Tuesdays to Sundays, 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 6pm. It costs €5 for an adult ticket. Check the official website for current times and ticket costs, though. A few tips:
- The ticket office has a small selection of items for sale: postcards, posters, CDs, pencils and a handful of books
- As everything retains its original flavor, I had some difficulty working out which doors to use (and how). Or maybe I’m getting old. Fortunately there was a kind attendant on hand to point the way
- Next to the Schubert-related rooms is an exhibition of oil paintings (partly reproductions) from Austrian writer and painter Adalbert Stifter. A ticket costs €1.50 (or an extra €1 on your Schubert ticket)
- The Schubertkirche is just down the road, where he was christened and regularly performed
How to get to the Geburtshaus
Take tram line 37 or 38 from the big Schottentor station to the Canisiusgasse stop.
Address: Nußdorfer Straße 54, 1090 Vienna – see this map