If you’re troubled by various roadside signs announcing Wien where you’re expecting Vienna, relax.
- See also: Language in Vienna
Wien is simply the local word for Vienna 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 Wien river, which runs through part of the city and along one edge of the town centre. It’s often confused with the Danube.
And we have Wienerisch, which is the dialect of German spoken in the city (Austrians speak German). Wienerisch has its own, often “colourful”, vocabulary. It’s hard to describe, but takes a lot of getting used to. Think Glaswegian English.
Many brands and business names make use of the Latin word for Vienna: Vindobona. This was the name of the Roman camp that predates today’s city and has two claims to fame:
- The Battle of Vindobona features in the Oscar-winning film, Gladiator
- The Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius, stayed here
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.
Finally, for reference, these are the words for Vienna in selected other languages:
- Spanish – Viena
- French – Vienne
- Czech – Víden
- Estonian – Viin
- Hungarian – Bécs
- Dutch – Wenen
- Polish – Wieden