Series: “23 times Vienna”
Donaustadt – the 22nd district of Vienna – is Vienna’s largest district with a surface area of 102.34 km2. After Favoriten (10th district of Vienna), Donaustadt is the district with the second-largest number in inhabitants (about 155,000 people).
“Nomen est omen“ – this could be the motto of Donaustadt. The 22nd district evokes manifold associations: “Transdanubia” (district on the other side of the Danube river), Danube Island, Old and New Danube, Danube Platform, the shopping mall “Donauzentrum”, the more recent urban development referred to as “Danube City”, the Danube wetlands or the Danube Tower.
After the 22nd district became an increasingly popular residential area due to various factors such as a massive rise in housing construction, the extension of the underground lines 1 and 2 has also been a milestone in the development of Donaustadt.
From the Danube Platform to the Danube CityWith a large-scale housing project on the Danube shores referred to as “Donaucity” (“Danube City”), a new stage in town planning started in the 1960s, which has not yet been completed. In 1964 the Vienna International Garden Show (Wiener Internationale Gartenschau / WIG 64) was held on a superficially redeveloped waste disposal site. In that period a new park was opened and named “Donaupark” (“Danube Park”). The Danube Tower located in this park has become an important monument in Vienna. Reaching into the sky, it offers a gorgeous view of Vienna and, of course, Donaustadt. To mark the visit of Pope John Paul II. to Vienna, a 40-metre high and 56-ton heavy cross was erected in the Danube Park on 12 September 1983.
In 1967 the go-ahead was given for planning the so-called “UNO City”, hosting several UN organisations and a conference centre. The Vienna International Centre was finally opened in 1979. In 1990/91 the international architects’ contest “concepts for the construction and design of EXPO 95 in Vienna and the reuse of the facilities” was organised to develop the area today called “Danube City”. When the population voted against Vienna’s application as a host for the EXPO in a plebiscite in 1991, a housing construction programme was launched. By building the so-called “Danube Platform” (the deck constructed over the motorway along the Danube banks), the development was enlarged. The foundation stone for the first building – Andromeda Tower – was laid in 1995.
A new monument is emerging in the Danube City. The DC Towers designed by Dominique Perrault will decisively shape Vienna’s skyline. With a height of 220 metres, DC Tower 1 will become Austria’s highest building.
From the Airport to the Lake CityVienna’s currently most extensive urban development is located in Aspern in the 22nd district. Vienna’s international airport was situated in Aspern from 1912 to 1954. As from 1954 onwards, international air transport was handled by Vienna Airport in Schwechat. The Aspern Airport was closed also for sporting aircraft in 1977. After re-development into the so-called “Lake City”, the former airport will provide housing for 20,000 people (wieninternational.at reports on this project on an ongoing basis).
From the Danube banks to the motorwayAustria’s busiest road – the urban motorway A23 – also runs through the 22nd district. When the New Danube (a channel providing flood relief) was created, the motorway A22 was built along the riverbank. Opened in 1989, major stretches of the “Danube Riverbank Motorway” have been realised as tunnels. The Kaisermühlen junction links the southern end of A22 with the A23 motorway.
From the TV series to the beautiful council estate girlKaisermühlen is probably the best-known neighbourhood of the 22nd district, achieving cult status through the TV series “Kaisermühlenblues”.
Until 1875 Kaisermühlen (literally translated as “Emperor’s Mills”) was located on the right bank of the main branch of the then not yet regulated Danube river. Most dwellers were working in the mills lending their name to this part of the district, but also rafters and fishermen lived in this area.
The bridge “Reichsbrücke” continues to be the most important traffic link between Kaisermühlen and the city centre. It had been built from 1872 to 1876 as “Crown Prince Rudolf Bridge“ during the Danube regulation and was re-built in 1937. After collapsing on 1 August 1976, it was again re-erected in 1980. The bridge does not only link the two Danube riverbanks but also stretches across the former flood plains, where today the New Danube (which was built in the 1970s and early 1980s) and the Danube Island are located.
The neighbouring area of Stadlau became “world famous in Austria” through Wolfgang Ambros’ song “Die Blume aus dem Gemeindebau” (“The flower from the council estate”) ... “Komm, lass dich pflücken, du Rose aus Stadlau!” (“Let me pick you, rose from Stadlau”), was the popular refrain of the song.
From traditional public baths to the National ParkThanks to its ideal location (not only on the riverbanks of the New Danube but above all the shores of the river branch Old Danube), the 22nd district could also be referred to as Vienna’s “district of public baths”. History-steeped public baths such as Gänsehäufl are symbols of the “bathing culture” practised in Vienna’s municipal open-air swimming facilities.
Where there is a lot of water, people enjoy boating – from paddleboat rentals to sailing schools, everything can be found in the 22nd district. Besides swimming, the visitors of the Danube Island may engage in all kinds of activities such as inline skating, cycling or running. Lobau, which today forms part of the Danube Wetlands National Park, has a longstanding tradition as a recreational area for the Viennese population. The Long-Distance Hiking Trail 07 and the Danube Cycle Route (leading from Passau via Hainburg to Hungary) run through the National Park.
From waste dumps to horticultureIn the years 1985 and 1986 a waste sorting system for commercial, industrial and bulky waste was erected in the 22nd district on behalf of the City of Vienna. With an annual waste volume of more than 400,000 tons, the waste treatment plant has become the hub waste management in Vienna. It is Austria’s largest plant for treating, sorting as well as packaging various types and categories of waste. Moreover, the tent-shaped waste treatment plant has won renown as one of Vienna’s architectural monuments and is also known as “Rinterzelt” (Rinter was the name of the construction company) or “48er Zelt” (as it is managed by Municipal Department 48). The biological waste of the waste treatment plant is transported to the Lobau composting plant, which started operations in 1991.
A suggested excursion offers interesting insights into waste treatment in Vienna. Guided visits to the Rautenweg waste site next to the “48er Zelt” are available every Saturday. After being driven across the waste site, the visitors may climb the “Beag (“mountain” in Viennese dialect) of Waste” and explore the new “48er-Museum”. The city really lives up to its motto “Vienna is different” for where else do goats live on a waste site? The Pinzgau mountain goats, as the breed is called, have made the Rautenweg waste site their home about 20 years ago.
Donaustadt also accommodates the Hirschstetten Gardens, the “production site” of Vienna’s Municipal Gardens. Thanks to the flower-filled garden ambience, the Hirschstetten Gardens are also a popular wedding venue. Weddings may be celebrated in the “Florarium” – a park of 60,000 square metres with a highly varied plant world – or when the weather is bad in the Palm House. 360,000 spring bloomers, 1.5 million summer flowers, 60,000 autumn plants and 1 million flower bulbs – this is the impressive total number of plants annually cultivated in Hirschstetten to make Vienna a city of flowers. The “Florarium” is open to the public from May to October (free admission).
Austrian Gardening MuseumFot those who are not only interested in flowers but also eager to explore the history of gardening: The Austrian Gardening Museum in the former “Kagran Orangery” in the 22nd district boasts Austria’s largest horticultural collection. The 30,000 historic exhibits comprise tools, vehicles as well as photos and maps. Here one can learn more about the history of the gardening profession and the art of floristry. The beautiful art-deco building with an exhibition space of 500 square metres is certainly worth visiting.
And in view of the wide range of land- and water-based leisure activities and numerous monuments, a trip to Donaustadt is in any case highly recommended.
Geschichte und Geschichten zu einem Freizeitparadies mitten in Wien
(The history of and stories about a leisure paradise in the middle of Vienna)
Alte Donau – the Old Danube – used to be a main branch of the Danube river and developed into a popular recreational area for the Viennese population. The manifold land- and water-based leisure activities have always attracted many people from different social groups. In the past, dye-works, mills and wharfs were to be found on the shores of the Old Danube.
Numerous photos illustrate this carefully compiled and edited book about the history of the Old Danube, which today has become a synonym for summer, sun and relaxation and serves as a sensational skating ground in winter.
96 pages, with black and white illustrations, € 12,-
Hirschstetten Gardens (Blumengärten Hirschstetten)
Austrian Gardening Museum (Österreichisches Gartenbaumuseum)
Vienna-Lobau National Park Centre (Nationalparkhaus wien-lobAU)
Opening hours: 29 February to 28 October, Wed. to Sun. from 10.00 to 18.00 hrs.
Full-moon boat trip, drinks onboard and “light festival”
Numerous events will offer fun and excitement for the whole family also in the current year. On 6 May 2012 you may go on a full-moon boat trip on the Old Danube. “Drinks onboard” may be enjoyed on Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 June 2012. Other events such as the “light festival” as well as a boat trip under the motto “Sturm und Schmalz” (including semi-fermented grape juice as well as bread and dripping) will follow later in the year.
For more information on these events and special packages click on:
23 times Vienna:
1st district - Innere Stadt
2nd district - Leopoldstadt
3rd district - Landstrasse
4th district - Wieden
5th district - Margareten
6th district - Mariahilf
7th district - Neubau
8th district - Josefstadt
9th district - Alsergrund
10th district - Favoriten
11th district - Simmering
12th district - Meidling
13th district - Hietzing
14th district - Penzing
15th district - Rudolfsheim-Fünfhaus
16th district - Ottakring
17th district - Hernals
18th district - Währing
19th district - Döbling
20th district - Brigittenau
21st district - Floridsdorf
22nd district - Donaustadt
23rd district - Liesing