Beethoven lived in numerous Viennese houses and apartments, drank coffee and ate in numerous cafés and restaurants, and performed in various establishments. Some are still around, today. Many are not.
Discover the most prominent surviving locations with this guide and (at the end) map, which includes photos and articles so you can tour Vienna and follow in the footsteps of one of the world’s greatest composers.
- See also:
Beethoven: his life
Beethoven made his name in Vienna, spending around 35 years in the city from 1792 until his death here in 1827. Dozens of addresses have some kind of connection to his life…not least the two locations where he was buried (yep, two).
The Beethoven museum
Since Beethoven was born in Bonn (Germany), you’re not going to find his birthplace anywhere nearby. But plenty of other locations in Vienna have a strong relationship to the composer’s life. Let us begin with the most important…
The Beethoven Museum is a lovely musical museum in what is presumed to be the very house that Beethoven wrote the famous Heiligenstädter Testament (and his third symphony).
Beethoven produced his opera, Fidelio, in this house atop the old city fortifications. A small museum there does not compete with the main Beethoven Museum, but it gives you a feel for the kind of environment he once lived and composed in.
Known as the Beethoven-Grillparzer House, this private residence once echoed to the music of the maestro and the words of Franz Grillparzer, one of Austria’s greatest writers. Both lodged there in 1808.
Landstraße Hauptstraße 26
Another former home of Beethoven, though the original building is no more.
What has survived is the plaque that used to adorn the building, which simply states that he lived in that house in 1817. It now hangs outside the entrance to the Österreichische Integrationsfonds (ÖIF) in Vienna.
Beethoven lived at this address in Vienna’s 6th district in 1822/1823, where he worked on, for example, his ninth symphony.
On the ground floor of this private building, you’ll find a suitable plaque and the rather apt Ludwig Van restaurant.
A plaque on the wall of the building indicates that Beethoven finished his Ninth Symphony here in the winter of 1823/1824.
The Wiener Schubertbund put up the stone tablet on May 7th, 1924 (the 100th anniversary of the symphony’s premiere).
As you might guess from the name, this was the last residence of Haydn in Vienna: literally the Haydn House. Now a museum, Beethoven visited the old master here.
Beethoven died in his apartment on this site on March 26th, 1827.
The original house has gone, but the “new” one from 1903 has reliefs and plaques paying testament to the location’s historical importance.
The funeral cortege left the apartment on Schwarzspanierstraße and moved down to the Alserkirche for the funeral service on March 29th, accompanied by a crowd of thousands.
A plaque outside this early Baroque church commemorates the occasion.
When Beethoven died in 1827, they first buried him in the local Währinger cemetery before eventually moving the body to Vienna’s Zentralfriedhof cemetery.
Beethoven’s grave forms the centrepiece of a beautiful arrangement of composer graves that includes the Strauss family, Brahms, Gluck, and Schubert.
Beethoven: his music
Beethoven enjoyed the support of wealthy sponsors, particularly Count Franz Joseph Maximilian von Lobkowitz.
Not only was our composer a regular guest at the count’s home, Palais Lobkowitz, but he also performed and premiered works there.
You can visit this Baroque palais (now Vienna’s Theatermuseum) and go into the room where his third (Eroica) symphony first saw the light of day.
Theater an der Wien
Still a major opera house in Vienna, the Theater an der Wien hosted the premiere of Fidelio and three symphonies, for example. Beethoven even lived and worked here for a time.
Beethoven apparently conducted a performance in this historical building in 1825. The Palais is a beautiful old city palace that only opens fully to the public on rare occasions.
Another surviving venue, now a café and a tract of the Augarten porcelain manufactury. A plaque outside the Saal notes that Beethoven premiered the Kreutzer Sonata here in 1803.
A plaque on the building that now houses Café Frauenhuber explains that Ludwig van Beethoven premiered a quintet for pianoforte and brass here in 1797. The Frauenhuber coffee house actually opened for business while he still lived.
Beethoven: memorials & more
Vienna’s main monument to the master is a large bronze statue unveiled in 1880.
The Beethoven statue sits in what you might call the music quarter, full of those great venues that still put on performances of his works today.
Haus der Musik
This museum of music and sound has individual galleries dedicated to Vienna’s famous composers.
The Beethoven room, for example, includes a door from his final residence and plenty of other memorabilia.
Historical Musical Instrument Collection
No prizes for guessing what this part of Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum displays.
Among the treasures is a fortepiano allegedly played by Beethoven himself and an 1823 portrait of the composer by the famous Biedermeier painter, Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller.
This huge Klimt wall painting lives below ground in the Secession art gallery. Klimt created the work for a 1902 art exhibition honouring the composer.
Probably not worth a visit. A 1930s council housing block at O’Brien-Gasse 26. The city renamed the complex in Beethoven’s honour in 2020.
A little different to all the above, but the Vienna branch of the wax museum offers the chance for a selfie with the great composer.
(I’m researching more locations, so watch this space for updates on residences, in particular.)