The Belvedere palaces tremble under the weight of history and baroque decoration. Belvedere 21 is the modern counterpoint: a cultural centre and museum of contemporary art in a 20th-century, glass-fronted building.
- Art forum hosting temporary exhibitions
- Also has a cinema, shop, and regular events
- Standard adult ticket is €9* / one-time free entry with a Vienna Pass
- See also: Belvedere galleries | Vienna Museums
What’s inside Belvedere 21?
Like most museums in Vienna, the Belvedere 21 building itself has artistic value. It first appeared in Brussels (Belgium!) as the Austrian pavilion for the 1958 world exhibition.
Karl Schwanzer’s glass and steel design won the expo’s Grand Prix d’Architecture. Since the building’s reconstruction in Vienna in 1962, it has always housed modern art in one museum guise or another and now forms part of the Belvedere group of palaces and galleries.
As a visitor, you’ll be most interested in Belvedere 21’s temporary exhibitions. On my visit, for example, there were four to see:
- Early works of Christian Ludwig Attersee
- Selected works from young artists in Vienna
- A Nicolas Jasmin exhibition
- Photos by Peter Baum, chronicling appearances by contemporary artists at Belvedere 21’s predecessor in the 60s and 70s
The focus is largely (but not exclusively) on Austrian artists of the 20th and 21st centuries. Recent exhibitions have featured the likes of Zbyněk Sekal, Herbert Brandl, Eva Grubinger, Henrike Naumann, and Josef Bauer.
The main galleries on the ground and first floor are large and bright, leaving plenty of space to enjoy the exhibits. So if Klimt is already too old hat for you, then you can find artistic succour among the more modern works exhibited here.
Although the exhibitions dominate, Belvedere 21 also plays a broader role in the local and art community as an event location, bookstore, research resource, and meeting place.
It even has its own cinema – the Blickle Kino shows an eclectic mix of video art, interviews, documentaries, films etc., always with a firm eye on the interface of film/video with culture, art, history, and similar.
Be sure to pop round the back of the building, too, for a changing display of contemporary sculpture (last time I checked, you don’t need a ticket to see them).
Tickets & visitor tips
A couple of extra tips:
- If you’re visiting the other Belvedere sites, then check for combi tickets that might save you money
- You can visit the Salon für Kunstbuch museum shop without a ticket
- Toilets and lockers are downstairs (the lockers take a €1 and €2 coin)
- If you enjoy contemporary art, consider visiting these other locations in Vienna
How to get to Belvedere 21
You should have no trouble getting there, since Belvedere 21 is a hop, skip and jump from Vienna’s biggest public transport hub: Hauptbahnhof station.
Subway: Take the U1 line to Hauptbahnhof. It’s actually a little bit of a walk to the museum, simply because the station is huge and one end is a long way from the other end. Take a compass and a survival pack, just in case.
Tram/bus: It’s a shorter walk from the Quartier Belvedere tram stop, which is on the 18, D and O tram lines. Or take the 69A bus to Arsenal, which is even closer.
For a completely different museal vibe, consider walking up to the Arsenal complex, home to the Heeresgeschichtliches Museum (the national museum of military history).
Address: Quartier Belvedere, Arsenalstraße 1, 1030 Vienna | Website