In Linz, the Danube curves and changes direction – here, it changes its face. Is it just chance that at exactly this point on the river, a city has emerged that has experienced many changes? "Lentos" and "Lentia" are the Celtic and Roman names for Linz. Both refer to the river's change of course, both also tell the story of Linz's transformations. For the moment, the last of these is that of the booming industrial city to the European Capital of Culture.
More than just a landscape
Especially in Austria, the Danube is far more than the fascinatingly beautiful river landscape that stretches from the bend known as the Schlögener Schlinge to Grein, via the Linz Basin and the picturesque Strudengau region. Like a leitmotif, it runs through Linz's past and onwards into its future. The churches, castles, fortresses and bridges on the Danube are steel and stone witnesses to better, eventful and also more terrible times.
Route of kings
The Danube was no less than the "Route of Emperors and Kings". The Nibelungs, Roman em-perors and crusaders travelled it, as did King Louis VII of France and Emperor Friedrich Barbarossa with their entourage. In addition, the bridal journey of the Bavarian princess Sisi led from Straubing to Passau, Linz and Vienna, at the end of the 19th century. There, she became Empress Elisabeth of the Habsburgs' multinational state, also known as the Danube Monarchy, the hymn of which was sung in 11 languages.
www.strassederkaiserundkoenige.com (german only)
Over centuries, the river was alternately a dividing line and connecting link between the cultures and regions on its banks. As the "limes", it already served as a boundary between the Roman Empire and the lands of the "barbarians" to the north of the Danube more than 2,000 years ago. Roman emperors from Vespasian to Marcus Aurelius created that which was unimaginable for the simple rural population at the time: the stone frontier fortifications right down to the Black Sea. Even in the 20th century, the borders of the occupation zones after the Second World War ran along the Danube and made Linz a divided city. Later, during the Cold War, parts of the Iron Curtain fell along the Danube.
www.donau-limes.at (german only)
… and connecting link
And yet the Danube was always more than just an embankment of water. Time and again, it made possible trans-regional links of a political or economic nature, or otherwise. Along the Danube, Christian missionaries spread not only their faith, but also cultural skills, from the alphabet to agriculture and horticulture. The numerous monasteries on the banks of the Danube were not just spiritual, but also powerful regional centres of development. Linz's rich baroque heritage, with its unique Hauptplatz, goes back to the Counter-Reformation that began in the churches and monasteries. By enchanting the world with baroque, the Catholic Church attempted to oppose progressive Protestantism.
In Linz, the innovative spirit of the founders of culture has stayed alive. Today, prime examples of companies are situated on the Danube, such as voestalpine, which also ships its steel beyond the Danube and all over the world, the shipyard, which is rich in tradition, and many software developers. Numerous leading and internationally successful businesses are based in Linz. Today, the city is the centre of the recently founded European Danube-Vltava region. The Danube's role here goes far beyond that of a namesake.
Linz demonstrates to the rest of Europe that the Danube stands for dynamism and contact in culture and the economy. As a trade route, the Danube has remained indispensable since early times. For example, in everyday Linz it now conveys a sense of Europe. If you watch the ships from many different countries on their passage through Linz, often bearing Cyrillic lettering, the concept of Europe will become tangible.
Anniversary year 2014
2014 is the anniversary of two great historical events that have been etched deep into the history of the Danube area: With the First World War, the collapse of the Danube Monarchy began in 1914, with all its dramatic consequences. The more hopeful anniversary in 2014 relates to 1989, when the Iron Curtain was lifted and many borders on the Danube opened again. In 2014, a quarter of a century will have passed. Since then, the people on the Danube have become closer to one another than ever before. Linz, the city of peace, has also tried to contribute to this through international commitment.
Linz has many historical reasons for being a city of peace – and a historical obligation. Linz was the city of Hitler's youth, for which he is known to have had great plans as a cultural city of the Reich. It is another stroke of fate in the city's history that, for the most part, these plans did not materialise.
To be human …
In Linz, the experience of the Danube fits into the wonderful resolution of numerous centuries-old conflicts. Here, the fascination that is Europe lives on, through the tolerant acceptance of cultural differences. People are highly valued in Linz. And also in the successful economy, which concerns itself not only with satisfactory profits and capital, but also with the human aspect.
Linz cultivates vitality and culture, and particularly on the Danube, this comes to obvious fruition. The Danube is a stage for life in Linz, on which relaxation and gentle excursions are given pride of place. A good 40,000 travellers on river cruise ships make a stop in Linz every year, and 70,000 touring cyclists travel to the city on the Danube Cycle Path, which will celebrate its 30th anniversary in 2014.
In Linz, you experience a historical awareness with your senses, since the local dining and drinking culture owes a lot to the history of the Danube. That includes the coffee tradition and the Linzer Torte, which both have strong Ottoman links. It also includes the wine and the Wiener Schnitzel.
The colourful Danube
The river is the best place to discover how ambitiously Linz has spread out in recent years, particularly towards the Danube. For a long time, the Danube has not been blue here, as the popular Strauss waltz suggests, but colourful. And not only at night, when the sensuous illuminations reflect the distinctive outlines of the cultural buildings – the Brucknerhaus, the Lentos Kunstmuseum Linz and the Ars Electronica Center – in the water. Linz's cityscape also leaves a lasting impression during the day.
Space for art on the river
The Danube in Linz is a space for art – an open-air museum where world-class artworks of steel are presented between striking buildings such as the Lentos Kunstmuseum Linz, the Brucknerhaus and the Tabakfabrik. They are works by artists like David Rabinowitch, Mathias Goeritz and Herbert Bayer, and are testimony to the epoch-making "forum metall" in 1977. In Linz, you can also experience how the Danube fused many different artistic movements, which consequently under-went a revival – be it the Donauschule in the 15th century or the Bauhaus movement in the 20th.
www.linz.at/kultur/1043.asp (german only)
Visitors to Linz are invited to discover something new. To explore historical, cultural and other connections in a way that excites all the senses enriches your stay with meaning.
Linz uses the reflections of the past on the Danube to look towards the future. The successful and liveable city on the Danube helps the potential and connections of this European river of history and culture to be seen from a new perspective, and to be continued.
phone: +43 732 7070 2009
fax: +43 732 7070 54 2009
Hauptplatz 1, 4020 Linz
phone: +43 732 7070 2009
fax: +43 732 7070 54 2009
May - September
9 am - 7 pm Monday - Saturday
10 am - 7 pm Sunday, Holiday
October - April
9 am - 5 pm Monday - Saturday
10 am - 5 pm Sunday, Holiday