The Belvedere palaces tremble under the weight of history and baroque decoration. Belvedere 21 is the modern counterpoint: a cultural centre and museum of contemporary art in a 20th-century, glass-fronted building.
- Art forum hosting temporary exhibitions
- Also has a cinema, shop, and regular events
- Open Weds to Sun
- Standard adult ticket is €9 / free with a Vienna Pass
- See also: Belvedere galleries | Vienna Museums
What’s inside Belvedere 21?
Like most museums in Vienna, the Belvedere 21 building itself has artistic value. It first appeared in Brussels (Belgium!) as the Austrian pavilion for the 1958 world exhibition.
Karl Schwanzer’s glass and steel design won the expo’s Grand Prix d’Architecture. Since the building’s reconstruction in Vienna in 1962, it has always housed modern art in one museum guise or another and is now part of the Belvedere group of palaces and galleries.
As a visitor, you’ll be most interested in Belvedere 21’s temporary exhibitions. On my visit, for example, there were four to see:
- Early works of Christian Ludwig Attersee
- Selected works from young artists in Vienna
- A Nicolas Jasmin exhibition
- Photos by Peter Baum, chronicling appearances by contemporary artists at Belvedere 21’s predecessor in the 60s and 70s
The main galleries on the ground and first floor are large and bright, leaving plenty of space to enjoy the exhibits. So if Klimt is already too old hat for you, then you can find artistic succour among the more modern works exhibited here.
Although the exhibitions dominate, Belvedere 21 also plays a broader role in the local and art community as an event location, bookstore, research resource, and meeting place.
It even has its own cinema – the Blickle Kino shows an eclectic mix of video art, interviews, documentaries, films etc., always with a firm eye on the interface of film/video with culture, art, history, and similar.
Be sure to pop round the back of the building, too, for a changing display of contemporary sculpture.
Tickets & visitor information
At the time of writing (check locally before visiting), the museum opens Tuesday to Sunday, from 11am to 6pm (9pm on Thursdays and Fridays). Standard adult entrance normally costs €9 and gets you into all the exhibitions. A Vienna Pass (see my review) gets you in for free.
A couple of extra tips:
- If you’re visiting the other Belvedere sites, then use combi tickets to save money
- You can visit the Salon für Kunstbuch museum shop without a ticket
- Toilets and lockers are downstairs (the lockers take a €1 and €2 coin)
- If you enjoy contemporary art, consider visiting the MAK and Museumsquartier, too
How to get to Belvedere 21
You should have no trouble getting there, since Belvedere 21 is a hop, skip and jump from Vienna’s biggest public transport hub: Hauptbahnhof station.
Subway: Take the U1 line to Hauptbahnhof. It’s actually a little bit of a walk to the museum, simply because the station is huge and one end is a long way from the other end. Take a compass and a survival pack, just in case.
Tram/bus: It’s a shorter walk from the Quartier Belvedere tram stop, which is on the 18, D and O tram lines. Or take the 69A bus to Arsenal, which is even closer.
Address: Quartier Belvedere, Arsenalstraße 1, 1030 Vienna | Website