Grab the baton and strike up a waltz as you wander Vienna in search of Johann Strauss. The son, I should add. Or Junior. Or Strauss II. Just to distinguish him from his almost-but-not-quite-so-famous father of the same name.
Use the map and text to find your way around. And remember: one two three, one two three…
- See also: Famous composers in Vienna
NB: If you want to experience a quick dose of the best of Strauss, many orchestras in Vienna now specialise in appropriate concerts for visitors. Most feature some combination of well-known Mozart and Strauss pieces, possibly with singers and ballet dancers. See these concert suggestions.
Top Strauss locations
The golden statue
Certain attractions often have queues in front of them. Café Sacher and Café Central, for example. The Albertina Museum when Albrecht Dürer’s Young Hare comes out to play. And a golden statue in the Stadtpark.
This 1921 memorial to Strauss belongs on any list of iconic Viennese photo opportunities. Hence the queues. The statue shows the maestro playing a violin; you can see one of his actual instruments on a visit to…
The Strauss apartment
The violin sits alongside various other items from the Strauss household in the Strausswohnung, which provided Johann and his first wife, singer Henrietta Treffz, with a home for several years in the late 1860s.
This is where The Blue Danube escaped from musical imagination onto paper. The Wien Museum maintains the apartment as a mini-museum, with various displays (in German and English), including such former possessions as a grand piano and house organ.
The Strauss Museum
The Strauss Museum Wien covers the Strauss dynasty as a whole (the father and all three composer sons). It’s rich in information, pictorial displays and audio stations…all curated with obvious love and respect for the music and the composers.
The museum planned to reopen in 2022 at a new location after a COVID-related hiatus.
Vienna’s Zentralfriedhof cemetery provides a final resting place for numerous famous figures of the past. This includes a cluster of composer graves (group 32A) that has Schubert, Brahms, Beethoven and Strauss all within a sotto voce whisper of each other.
Strauss’s third wife, Adele, is buried with him. Other members of the family occupy graves in the same cluster: his brothers Eduard and Josef, as well as his father.
Johann Strauss Gasse
Strauss lived for many years in a two-storey city palais he had built at Johann Strauss Gasse 4. Back then, the name of the street was Igelgasse. This is also where he passed away in 1899. Just a few days later, the city changed the street name in his honour.
Unfortunately, WWII bombs destroyed the building, so the one you see there now is a relic of the 1960s. A plaque outside reads (my translation):
The King of the Waltz, Johann Strauss (the son) lived and worked in a house at this location from 1878 and died here on June 3rd, 1899
Place of birth
Strauss was born on October 25th, 1825 in a suburb just outside of the city in what is now Vienna’s 7th district. At the time, the street was Rofranogasse, which later changed to Lerchenfelder Straße.
Visit number 15 on that street and you won’t find the original house. But you will see a plaque on the newer building that replaced it, which says (my translation):
The house Johann Strauss the son was born in on October 25th, 1825 stood at this location. Dedicated to their honorary member by the Wiener Männergesangverein
The Männergesangverein is a male voice choir founded in 1843 that still exists today.
The Fledermaus House
Another plaque hangs on the wall of the Fledermaus house. Strauss lived here between 1870 and 1878, when he composed various operettas, including the famous Die Fledermaus.
Later occupants included the painter, Julius Schmid, and the composer, Carl Prohaska.
(The Kursalon venue and restaurant)
- Strauss went to school at the Schottengymnasium, an old and prestigious private school in the very centre of Vienna (within the abbey complex on the Freyung in the 1st district that includes a rather nice museum and church).
- The Kursalon performed Strauss’s music back in the day. This musical tradition continues with regular Mozart & Strauss concerts there.
(The Papagenotor at the Theater an der Wien)
- Some of Strauss’s compositions premiered at the Theater an der Wien, now one of Vienna’s three opera houses. Die Fledermaus (1874) and The Gypsy Baron (1885) operettas were both first performed here, for example. (Other venues hosting premieres of his work include the Rathaus, Palais Coburg and the Staatsoper.)
- Two important weddings took place in Vienna. Strauss married Henrietta Treffz in Stephansdom (the city’s main cathedral) in 1862 and his second wife, Angelika Dittrich, in Karlskirche (the huge baroque church overlooking Karlsplatz square) in 1878.
- Two of Strauss’s anglophile dances premiered at Palais Coburg (Coburgbastei 4): the Albion Polka and Windsor-Klänge waltz. You might describe them as musical diplomacy, as they allegedly formed part of attempts to improve relations between the Austrian and British empires in the middle of the 19th century.
- Wander around Vienna’s Ringstrassen boulevard and you might come across a Strauss star in the pavement. It’s at Kärntner Ring 12.