Close your eyes on a balmy night in Vienna’s Zentralfriedhof cemetery and perhaps you can hear a few notes of The Blue Danube drifting on the night air. For here is where you can find the grave of one Johann Strauss (the son).
- Buried together with Adele Strauss in grave 27, group 32A of the cemetery
- A little outside the city center but reachable by tram
- Strauss lies close to a number of famous composers, including other members of the Strauss dynasty, Beethoven, and Schubert
- See also: Strauss guide to Vienna
Death and burial
Johann Strauss died of pneumonia at the age of 73 on June 3rd, 1899, in his townhouse in Vienna’s 4th district (Wieden). The house fell victim to the bombs of World War II, but a plaque on the new building on the same spot (photo above) marks the location.
A ceremony was held on June 6th in the very centre of Vienna at the Evangelical Church (also known as the Lutheran Stadtkirche, still going today and parts of which date back to the late 16th century). Various luminaries attended, including Gustav Mahler.
Strauss was then taken to Vienna’s main cemetery (the Zentralfriedhof) and placed in an open grave, with the formal burial then taking place on June 8th.
According to a newspaper report of the time, thousands lined the streets as Strauss’s coffin passed and the reporter described the procession as the largest since the funeral of the famous court painter, Hans Makart, who died in 1884.
The sculptor, Johannes Benk, designed the gravestone; you can see his signature just below the inscription. Benk produced numerous statues and reliefs for many of the famous buildings that went up around Vienna’s Ringstrassen in the second half of the 19th century, including the Rathaus and Kunsthistorisches and Naturhistorisches museums.
Adele Strauss (the composer’s wife of the time) died in 1930 and shares the grave with her husband. The simple inscription reads (my translation):
Johann Strauss 1825-1899 and his wife Adele 1856-1930
(Who knows what other musical joys might have sprung from Strauss’s pen if he hadn’t passed away, since he continued working right up until his final illness and death.)
How to find Strauss’s grave
Follow the instructions for reaching the Zentralfriedhof, which is freely accessible to the public.
Go straight ahead once you pass through the main entrance (Tor 2). Look out for the honorary composer graves on your left (Group 32a on the cemetery maps).
It’s hard to imagine a more resonant location, with the composer graves and memorials kept in beautiful condition and all surrounded by flowers, trees, and shrubs.
Other famous musicians within the Strauss family rest nearby in the same 32a group of graves:
- Johann Strauss (father): grave 15
- Eduard Strauss (brother): grave 42
- Josef Strauss (brother): grave 44
Johann Strauss’s first wife, Henriette, and his sisters, Anna and Therese, also have an honorary grave, though elsewhere in Vienna (Group 13, grave 73 in Hietzing cemetery, home to both Gustav Klimt and Otto Wagner).
Address: Zentralfriedhof, Simmeringer Hauptstraße 234, 1110 Vienna