Vienna is a mystery.

The Mozart monument in the Burggarten

In the late 19th and early 20th century Vienna was a wonderful, marvellous city which produced an outburst of thinkers and artists, such as the world has rarely seen before, and whose ideas still influence our lives today. There was Freud who turned so many of our ideas about sex upside down.  In the artistic world there was the Secession with artists such as Klimt and Schiele.  In the world of music the memory of Mozart still remained vivid, Mahler and Bruckner dominated the opera, while Johann Strauss, father and son set the world dancing. In the world of philosophy there was Wittgenstein.  In the world of politics and economics there was von Mises and Hayek whose ideas are ever more important today; and there was Peter Drucker who invented the whole field of management studies.

And yet this outburst of creativity took place against the background of one of the most repressive and stuffy regimes, that of the Hapsburgs, where the prim and proper emperor Franz Josef spent his day sitting at his desk, reading and signing letters and government papers.

We had never been to Vienna: it was a gap in our education and so in October 2011 we spent the best part of a week in the glorious sunshine seeing Vienna and trying to explore  the magic of this wonderful city.


Let’s start by visiting the Hofburg Palace

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