If you’re troubled by various roadside signs announcing Wien where you’re expecting Vienna, relax.
- See also:
What does Wien mean?
Wien is simply the word for Vienna in German (the national language in Austria). You pronounce it “Veen” with a V.
So Wien and Vienna are the same place.
A Wiener is a male who comes from Vienna (and, crucially, not a sausage – that’s called a Frankfurter here). A female from Vienna is a Wienerin.
(The “Wien river”)
Staying on topic, we also have the Wienfluss or River Wien, which runs through part of the city and along one edge of the town centre. Visitors often confuse it with the Danube, leading to much disappointment.
And we have Wienerisch, which is the Viennese German dialect. Wienerisch has its own, often colourful, vocabulary. It’s hard to describe, but takes a lot of getting used to. Think Glaswegian English.
Fortunately, any Wiener or Wienerin you’re likely to meet speaks English or can, at least, use the more refined form of German taught in schools and language classes.
Many brands and business names make use of the Latin word for Vienna, which is Vindobona. This was the name of the Roman camp that predates today’s city and has two notable claims to fame:
- The Battle of Vindobona features in the Oscar-winning film, Gladiator
- The Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius, stayed here
(A local pharmacy)
Back in the day, Austria provided a home for Roman legions defending the empire’s borders from the German tribes. If you have a chance and enjoy that period of history, consider a day trip out to the Carnuntum Park. Or drop into Vienna’s own Roman Museum.
Finally, for reference, these are the words for Vienna in selected other languages:
- Spanish – Viena
- French – Vienne
- Italian – Vienna (yay!)
- Czech – Víden
- Croatian – Beč
- Ukrainian – Відень
- Estonian – Viin
- Hungarian – Bécs
- Russian – Вена
- Dutch – Wenen
- Polish – Wieden
- Turkish – Viyana
- Icelandic – Vínarborg