Ballroom Dance News

Waltz King Johann Strauss Now Has His Museum in Austria: “House of Strauss”

The Casino Zögernitz in Vienna, Austria, recently renovated, is now home to a museum dedicated to the most famous waltz composer, Johann Strauss. Visitors can explore his life and work through various rooms equipped with multimedia technologies, set against a splendid backdrop.

Vienna’s Waltzes Reimagined

François Feldman’s 1989 lyrics pondered the fate of Vienna’s waltzes, a dance that became iconic in the Austrian capital in the late 18th century. Today, these waltzes are experiencing a revival at the newly renovated Casino Zögernitz, now housing a museum dedicated to the undisputed king of the waltz: Johann Strauss II. The building, originally founded in 1837 by his father, Johann Strauss Senior, also a composer, is highlighted on the Vienna Tourist Board’s website.

Immersive Experience in The Blue Danube

The museum’s various rooms immerse visitors in 19th-century Viennese entertainment culture. Guided by the voice of Johann Strauss II’s great-great-grandson, Thomas Strauss, available on a smartphone app, visitors can enjoy a multisensory experience, even participating actively at certain points. The ground floor’s Oktogon narrates the story of Johann Strauss Junior’s most famous waltz, The Blue Danube, composed in 1866 and now an unofficial anthem of Austria and one of the most used classical works in film, recognized by UNESCO as part of the world’s intangible cultural heritage in 2017.

Culinary Delights and History

The impressive concert hall epitomizes the Strauss dynasty’s history, where Johann Strauss Junior hosted a popular festival in 1850 with a splendid ball, grand illuminations, and fireworks. The 350 m² hall has been used for various events, from open-air cinemas to theater productions, and since 1967, it has been favored for classical music vinyl recordings due to its excellent acoustics. For food enthusiasts, the “Casino Kulinarium” restaurant terrace offers exceptional dishes crafted by star chef Stefan Glantschnig, promising an exquisite culinary experience before enjoying a magnificent concert.

Practical Information

The museum is open daily except Mondays, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Historical Notes

The Casino Zögernitz has a rich history, from its Biedermeier-style inception in 1837 by Ferdinand Zögernitz on former imperial property, becoming a favored spot for Vienna’s elite with its “richly decorated hall” and beautiful garden. Over the years, it hosted various entertainment events, including a grand Viennese folk festival by Johann Strauss in 1850, complete with a new waltz and possible sightings of “Johannis-Käferln” (fireflies), adding a magical touch to the festivities. The venue adapted over time, serving as a hub for concerts, political meetings, and theatrical performances, undergoing ownership changes, and facing challenges, including damage during World War I and changes post-World War II. In 1967, it became a renowned location for recording classical and old music on vinyl, with contributions from notable artists. Ownership transitions continued until it was bequeathed to the Archdiocese of Vienna by the Stegbauer sisters. The historical structure, now protected as a heritage site since 2008, has undergone revitalization, blending its rich past with contemporary living through new residential developments.

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