Copenhagen has its little mermaid, Vienna has its little Strauss.
The golden statue is one of the city’s most popular photo opportunities. So if you’re in the Stadtpark (“city park”) and see a polite queue of people with smartphones and cameras, you’ve likely found the famous Strauss monument.
(Also look for harassed parents desperately trying to usher young kids off the podium so people can take their photos).
The iconic gold figure of Strauss playing his violin now graces postcards and Instagram pages everywhere. There is even a replica in Shanghai. The statue is slightly unexpected in that the composer is represented without his famous sideburns, which were large enough to house a family of ducks.
Johann Strauss Jr. (1825 – 1899) was the “Walzerkönig” or “King of the Waltz”, which is a clue to some of his more famous works. He’s the man who gave us this, for example:
The “Blue Danube” waltz is perhaps the single piece of music most associated with Vienna.
Anyway, in 1903, a few years after Strauss’s death, plans were in place to build a memorial to this Viennese great. Unfortunately, the financing turned out to be trickier than was hoped and the outbreak of the first World War didn’t help matters either.
The resulting delays meant it was 1921 before a memorial went up, following a design by Edmund Hellmer. The “gold” statue is actually gilded bronze, and early damage saw removal of the gold decoration in 1935. It was only restored in 1991.
How to get to the Strauss monument
The Stadtpark runs alongside the main Ring boulevard encircling the old city, so is easily reached. The statue of Strauss is in the middle of the southern half and impossible to miss.
Subway: the closest is the cunningly-named Stadtpark station on the U4 line (about 4 minutes away by foot).
Tram: Take line 2 to the Weihburggasse stop on the Ring
Address: Stadtpark, Parkring, 1010 Vienna (map)