Meetings & Culture in Vienna
News: latest cultural-inspired socials
- The Heidi Horten Collection only opened in June 2022. And at the end of October 2022, Vienna’s latest museum hotspot launched a major temporary exhibition focusing on fashion, entitled LOOK. The Heidi Horten Collection. For the show, Austrian designer Arthur Arbesser is staging selected examples of haute couture owned by the museum founder Heidi Goëss-Horten (who passed away only recently), alongside works by August Macke, Andy Warhol and various others.
- Built between 1783 and 1785, the Josephinum will be celebrating its grand reopening in fall 2022. This unique collection of medical artifacts includes hundreds of historic Florentine wax models of the human anatomy. Its library documents the achievements of the Vienna School of Medicine.
Click here for more suggestions for your socials in Vienna. Options include exclusive tours of the House of Music and the Vienna State Opera, private performances in the Spanish Riding School and waltz lessons.
Meetings in Culture Venues
Locations that shaped the course of culture: steeped in history, they all have their own stories to tell. Exuding majesty and luster, they are the same venues once graced by Strauss, Mozart and Beethoven. Used to present era-defining artworks, many are in fact works of art in their own right.
Top of the list is the HOFBURG Vienna – one of Europe’s preeminent addresses for international meetings. Selected milestones: the Congress of Vienna in 1814/15, the summit between Nikita Khrushchev and John F. Kennedy in 1961 and the SALT II talks between Jimmy Carter and Leonid Brezhnev in 1979.
An example of living history, the Hofburg state rooms have no end of tales to tell: the Zeremoniensaal – once the Habsburg’s throne room – was where Napoleon courted his future bride Maria Louise, and where imperial couple Franz Joseph and Elisabeth conducted the traditional Maundy Thursday Washing of the Feet ritual. Today it provides a stunning setting for congresses and formal banquets.
Back in the days of Maria Theresa, the Redoutensälen hosted balls and performances by musical greats including Beethoven (world premiere of his Eighth Symphony), Haydn, Paganini and Liszt, as well as the first ever concert of the newly founded Vienna Philharmonic. And it was in the Rittersaal that Maria Theresa was baptized on May 15, 1717 – a seminal figure, she would go on to reign for 40 years.
Schönbrunn Palace never fails to leave a lasting impression thanks to its imperial state rooms and magnificent formal gardens. Mozart once performed here in the Mirrors Room as a six-year-old child prodigy. Maria Theresa hosted her secret conferences with State Chancellor Prince Kaunitz in the Round Cabinet and Napoleon consulted his officials in the Vieux Lacque Room. And it was in the Blue Chinese Salon that Emperor Karl I formally stepped down as head of state, spelling the end of the monarchy in 1918. The Great Gallery hosted some of the talks held during the 1814/15 Congress of Vienna.
Both the Orangerie Schönbrunn and the Schloss Schönbrunn Apothekertrakt are ideally suited as meeting locations. The options for culture-based socials at Schönbrunn are classical music concerts at the orangery, an exclusive tour of the zoo, a tour of the palace and the apple strudel masterclass at Café-Restaurant Residenz.
The Lower Belvedere, part of the complex dominated by Prince Eugene’s 1716 summer residence, reopened to the public in January 2020. Celebrations and meetings play out in the Groteskensaal, the Goldkabinett and the Marmorgalerie – with direct access to the formal gardens. Afterwards participants can visit the temporary exhibitions or take a walk around the Baroque palace complex before admiring Klimt’s Kiss as part of an exclusive tour.
On Heldenplatz, the 14 rooms of the Weltmuseum Wien – one of the world’s leading museums of ethnography – showcases a trove of cultural treasures from all over the world. Highlights include the personal effects of explorer James Cook and the famous Penacho feather head dress created for an Aztec priest. The impressive settings of the colonnaded Säulenhalle and Forum provide the ideal backdrop for meetings.
Just a few minutes away is the MuseumsQuartier – a complex of historic buildings and modern museum architecture that is home to a variety of unique venues including the Leopold Museum. With around 6,000 art works, the Leopold Museum houses one of the world's most important collections of Austrian art. The premises can be used for meetings, receptions and dinners. Guided tours can be arranged.
Directly opposite one can find mumok - Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien. Behind the striking dark grey cuboid structure clad in basalt stone is the largest museum of art since modernism in Central Europe. From Pablo Picasso to Andy Warhol and Franz West - discover the international and Austrian avant-garde in a unique setting for press conferences, product presentations and receptions.
The Albertina’s permanent Monet to Picasso exhibition presents masterpieces of early modernism. The largest of the former Habsburg private residences, it is perched atop the remnants of the fortifications that once encircled the old town. This unique venue offers the ideal spaces for inspirational seminars.
More than 200 venues for meetings in Vienna are profiled in our Venue Finder.
Art in Hotels
Meetings with a cultural dimension become an all-round experience when the overnight accommodation continues in the same vein. And more and more hotels have discovered the draw of art and artists, with works on show in the rooms, and even entire accommodations set up as art spaces.
One of the pioneers in the art hotel category is Altstadt Vienna, which opened back in 1991. The Ritz-Carlton has a special cooperation in place with the Albertina. Sans Souci lives up to the promise of its name, as its guests can enjoy art without a care in the world at the MuseumsQuartier. Hotel Stefanie, the oldest hotel in Vienna (422 years old and counting) is full of special antiques thanks to the owner’s passion for collecting. Five hotels, five different concepts. And all of them have meeting rooms.
Success stories: Virtuoso and ECR
In October 2021 the world’s largest luxury travel network – Virtuoso – staged its annual gathering in Vienna. More than 300 luxury experts compared notes in a range of exclusive locations including the Musikverein and Schönbrunn Palace. Art and culture had an important role to play: the welcome reception was held at the Kunsthistorisches Museum, while at the opening meeting in the Golden Hall of the Musikverein (which hosts the annual New Year’s Concert by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra) participants were treated to an Alma Deutscher concert as well as an exclusive appearance by the Vienna Boys Choir.
Matthew D. Upchurch, Chairman and CEO of Virtuoso: “There cannot be a better place than Vienna to host this prestigious event.”
The European Congress of Radiology 2022 (ECR) was the largest meeting event of the summer. From July 13-17, several thousand participants met in Vienna under the banner of Building Bridges. The poster for ECR 2022 showed “Flowers in a Wan-Li Vase, with Shells” by Dutch painter Balthasar van der Ast – a breathtaking motif which gave expression to various aspects of the congress. Featuring music and visual art, the opening ceremony provided a feast for all the senses.
Past ECR opening ceremonies have included performances by Joe Zawinul and Paul Gulda as well as self-professed “Viennese by choice” Alexander Joel, Julian Rachlin and Juan Diego Flórez.
At ECR 2021 Summer Edition, European Society of Radiology (ESR) President Prof. Michael Fuchsjäger, had a surprise in store with the “Vienna waits for you” video series: the six instalments take in some of the city’s best-known cultural landmarks, from the Vienna State Opera to the Third Man Museum – you can check them out here.