Vienna likes to play musical chairs with its composers. Beethoven’s grave moved, Mozart’s monument moved, and Haydn’s statue was originally intended for another location as well. It now sits majestically in front of the Mariahilfer church on Vienna’s main shopping street.
- Statue on a large plinth
- Shows Haydn in a rather authoritative pose
- Built in 1887, some 72 years after the composer’s death
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History and influence
The late 19th century saw a fair few (adopted) sons of Vienna get monuments in their honour.
Haydn’s statue appeared in 1887 and dominates the square in front of the beautiful Mariahilfer parish church that dates back to the 17th century.
The monument has a simpler design than the ones for Beethoven or Mozart – essentially just a statue of the great composer looking out over the street with quiet authority, a pen in one hand and sheet music in the other.
A private sponsorship initiative paid for the costs, and the main sculptor was a man named Heinrich Natter.
The Haydn monument proved to be Natter’s chief legacy in Vienna, but his work was impactful enough for him to eventually get a street named after him (where my kids used to go to school).
At the time, the statue stood on the route from the city centre to Schönbrunn Palace and Emperor Franz Joseph apparently told Natter (my translation):
Every time I go to Schönbrunn, I shall always view the Haydn monument with pleasure.
The presence of the statue certainly seems to have had a powerful influence on the area around it.
Locals know the church as the “Haydn church”, the nearby English-language cinema is the Haydn Kino, and you can probably guess the name of a hotel located in the same building as the movie theatre.
Perhaps swayed by its namesake, the cinema often shows live broadcasts of opera and ballet, rather than just movies.
The location is now one of Vienna’s busiest, alongside a bustling and partly-pedestrianised shopping street.
And if you visit Haydn in December, you might find him standing serenely among the sounds and scents of a mini advent market, where Christmas shoppers grab a quick sausage and mug of punch before braving the stores once more.
How to get to the Haydn monument
Given its location on such an important shopping street, the monument is easy to reach.
Subway: Just a few metres from the entrance to the Neubaugasse station on the U3 line.
Bus: The 13A bus passes close by. Get off at either Kirchengasse (if travelling north) or Neubaugasse (if travelling south). Though extensive building works for the U5 subway line may see the 13A shift around (check locally)
Address: Mariahilfer Straße 55, 1060 Vienna