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 (German) word for Vienna. It’s pronounced “Veen” (with a V).
So Wien is the city of Vienna, and a Wiener is a man or boy who comes from Vienna (and, crucially, not a sausage – that’s called a Frankfurter here). A woman or girl from Vienna is a Wienerin.
(The “Wien river”)
There’s also 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.
Finally, we have Wienerisch, which is the German dialect spoken in the city. Wienerisch has its own, often “colourful”, vocabulary. It’s hard to describe, but takes a lot of getting used to. Think Glaswegian English.
You often see the Latin name for Vienna, Vindobona, used now and then in branding or business names.
Vindobona 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, died here (allegedly) in 180AD
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 (go figure)
- Dutch – Wenen
- Polish – Wieden