Culture in Linz

In the last few years Linz has transformed itself from the “steel city“ to the “city of work and culture”. Its cultural offerings are numerous, diverse and exciting and the city makes them accessible to as many people as possible. 

Four cultural political guidelines were formulated in the new cultural development plan of the city: promoting equal opportunities, promoting the development of potentials, enhancing accessibility and opening the city. “Culture for everybody“ is the motto, whereby the focus is on openness and tolerance. That means that there is a broad range of cultural offerings that not only includes traditional means of expression, but rather comprises all areas of human interaction. In Linz diversity is a driving force for the future of culture. 

The aim of “culture for everybody“ is to offer something that is of interest to every inhabitant of the city, something with which everybody can identify. The aim is to strengthen cultural consciousness by means of dialog and cooperation between different cultures in our urban society. The further qualitative development of the cultural work of the districts of the city has therefore been a focal point of the city’s cultural policies for more than two decades now. 

In 2009 Linz was "European Capital of Culture". On the occasion of this major cultural event many cultural institutions were established or extensively altered. For example the Museum of the Future, known as the Ars Electronica Center, was enlarged, the former Salt Office of the emperor was converted into a building with artists’ studios, the Pöstlingberg Railroad was extended up to the Main Square and the southern tract of the Castle Museum was rebuilt.

In the spring of 2013 the new music theater was opened in the Volksgarten. In 2014 Linz was designated a UNESCO City of Media Arts and again attracted international attention. Internationally Linz is especially known for events such as the Bruckner Festival, the Cloud of Sound and the Ars Electronica Festival, a festival for art, technology and society.

A large number of other festivals and events enrich the artistic life in Linz and its surroundings. Linz promotes “culture for everybody“. It aims to enable the entire populace to participate in the cultural life of Linz. 

The facilities and initiatives that are presented here reflect the vibrant cultural and artistic scene of the city:

Ars Electronica – Festival for art, technology and society
Variety is the spice that makes the internationally renowned Ars Electronica Festival so fascinating. It provides an occasion for an open encounter between experts from art and science and an audience with a broad range of interests. Since 1979 it has been presenting annual symposia, exhibitions, performances and events revolving around the artistic and scientific confrontation with the societal and cultural phenomena resulting from technological progress.

Brucknerfest Linz – Bruckner Festival of Linz
This music festival was initiated at the time the Brucknerhaus opened in 1974. It is no longer confined to the heritage of Anton Bruckner. Orchestra concerts, song evenings, chamber music, dance theater, organ concerts, concert performances of opera: during the annual Bruckner Festival, which lasts for three weeks in September/October, the international music world comes to Linz. The Bruckner Festival of Linz, traditionally opened by the Cloud of Classical Music, is the splendid annual conclusion of the festival season in Austria.

Linzer Klangwolken – Clouds of Music in Linz
Each year three clouds of music are held in the Danube Park of Linz. First there is a visualized cloud of music, which is newly designed each year with music, lights, lasers and fireworks. Then there is a Children’s Cloud of Music for a young audience. Finally, in the Classical Cloud of Music, the opening concert of the Bruckner Festival is broadcast by loudspeakers to the Danube Park. 

Linzer Pflasterspektakel – International Festival of Street Art
The Pavement Spectacle of Linz in July is the annual highlight of the cultural summer of Linz. This event, one of the most traditional street art festivals in Europe, offers high-quality performances of object and impromptu theater, all kinds of music, poetry, dance, circus artistry, tightrope and fire acrobatics, painting, clown and comedy performances. 

Sommer-Open-Air performances in the music pavilion in the Danube Park
The Music Pavilion in the Danube Park is very popular among fans of pop, jazz and brass music. Especially talented young musicians from Linz and Upper Austria have a chance to show what they can do in the concerts held there during the summer months.

Festival 4020. more than music
Festival 4020 was founded in March 2001. In a number of venues in various places all around the city a large number of composers, musicians and music groups from a non-European region are presented. With élan, virtuosity and commitment the musicians offer a panorama of various folk- and concert music from the present and the past: in the form of unaccompanied vocal music, in concert form or as electronic music. Whatever type of music they produce, they aim to delight their audience. The festival is held every two years.

ahoi! Pop. contemporary music in the harbor
In the past decades Linz has become a new crystallization point for new musical trends. Types of music such as rock, hardcore, indie-pop, hip-hop and electro are always first tried out locally, reflected upon and then newly interpreted. Linz has proven to be a fertile place for them. The aim of the music festival is to present some of the most fascinating and important artists who represent diverse musical genres. 

CROSSING EUROPE Filmfestival Linz
The film festival CROSSING EUROPE is a forum for the diverse manifestations of European cinema. It primarily affords innovative young directors an opportunity to present their works. The central focuses of the festival are a European competition to which only the first or second longer films of directors are admitted, a panorama of European films that are not competing for prizes, the Local Artists’ Award, tributes to outstanding European film directors and special features.

Brass Festival Linz
During this festival there is brass music everywhere in Linz, ranging from small ensembles to big bands, from a brass competition to the strange “Blechvögeln“ (brass birds), which are exhibited in the Brucknerhaus. For three days Linz devotes itself to the theme “brass”.

Serenaden im Arkadenhof des Landhauses
There is a long tradition of these summer “Brucknerhaus” concerts in the historical arcaded courtyard of the “Landhaus”. Altogether there are nine of them and they are held on Tuesday evenings during the months of July and August. They offer visitors a selected program of classical works which is presented by Austrian and foreign ensembles. 

Sommer im Rosengarten (Summer in the Rose Garden)
This magnificent venue, high above the rooftops of Linz, is one of the most attractive places for summer performances. In this area, which is 3,000 square meters in size and features a stage in the “cultural tent“, a varied mixture of theater, music and cabaret is presented from July to August.

In 2009, which was the first time this festival was held, it was sponsored by Linz09. The enthusiastic international response and the positive reaction of the artists and the visitors encouraged the initiators, led by Gottfried Gusenbauer, to further develop this format. NEXTCOMIC has given Austria a platform for comics and pictorial literature. The NEXTCOMIC Festival in Linz is unique. It elucidates the connection of comics to visual art, character design, architecture, film and animation.

In 2007 “sicht:wechsel“ a large international cultural festival, was held in Linz for the first time. It presents the art and aesthetics of people with handicaps to a broad audience.The handicapped thereby assume a position right in the middle of society (instead of on the edge of it) and experience the attention and respect that is due to them, and that they deserve. The spotlight is thereby cast on this otherwise largely invisible group, which here presents theatrical performances, music and art.

Ars Electronica Center – Museum of the Future
Ars-Electronica-Straße 1, 4040 Linz
The Ars Electronica Center, which opened its doors in 1996, is the prototype of a “Museum of the Future”. It addresses a large public with its interactive exhibits, virtual reality, digital networks and modern media and deals with topics on the interface between media art, new technologies and societal developments in an innovative fashion.

Lentos Art Museum Linz
Ernst-Koref-Promenade 1, 4020 Linz
The Lentos Art Museum was opened in 2003 and is the successor to the New Galery of the City of Linz. With its international collection it is among the most important modern art museums in Austria. As far as classical modern art is concerned it has major paintings ranging from Klimt, Schiele, Kokoschka and Corinth to Pechstein. All told it has about 1,500 paintings, sculptures and works of object art, about 10,000 works of art on paper and 1,200 photographs. Temporary exhibitions on current artistic developments round out the program.

Nordico Stadtmuseum Linz
Dametzstraße 23, 4020 Linz
The major functions of the Nordico include collecting, keeping and doing research on works of art from Linz as well as on archeological and historical objects relating to the history of the city. A main focus is the extensive collection of drawings and print graphics. As a city museum the Nordico is an important place for the presentation of contemporary artists of Linz. Exhibitions on the history and archeology of the city are also frequently held there.

Internationales Atelierhaus Salzamt
Obere Donaulände 15, 4020 Linz
The Artists‘ Studio Building Salzamt, which opened in the middle of 2009, is a meeting place for young visual artists from Austria and abroad. Its nine studios, some of which also have living quarters, are made available to guest artists. In the hall on the ground floor exhibitions and events regularly take place, some in cooperation with other cultural institutions of Linz. 

OK – Center for Contemporary Art
OK Platz 1, 4020 Linz
The OK Center for Contemporary Art is a laboratory for artistic experimentation. It regards itself as a place for the production and exhibition of contemporary art and guides the implementation of a work of art from its conception until it is put on display. It offers internationally active artists, mostly ones of the younger generation, a combined public platform and laboratory situation. 

Provincial Gallery (Landesgalerie) of Linz
A division of the Upper Austrian Provincial Museums

Museumsstraße 14, 4020 Linz
The Provincial Gallery was established in the middle of the 19th century upon the initiative of Adalbert Stifter. Its collections comprise modern and contemporary art from 1900 to the present with focal areas in graphics and artistic photography. The Provincial Gallery is renowned beyond the borders of Upper Austria for the largest Kubin collection in the world. Exhibitions of young artists ranging from classical painting and sculpture to media installations are regularly presented there.

Castle Museum (Schlossmuseum) Linz 
A division of the Upper Austrian Provincial Museum

Tummelplatz 10, 4020 Linz
The impressive collections of the Castle Museum afford a comprehensive overview of the natural, cultural and artistic history of the province of Upper Austria. With its newly-built southern wing (the original one burned down around 1800) the Castle now assumes the form of an ensemble of historical and modern architecture above the roofs of the city. It is the largest universal museum in Austria that is located in one single place. The so-called southern tract presents permanent nature and technology exhibitions on three floors.

(Biology center)
Johann-Wilhelm-Klein-Straße 73, 4040 Linz
Thanks to its internationally renowned botanical, zoological and geological collections and its research projects the Biology Center has made a name for itself as a classical but innovative international natural history museum and archive.

afo architekturforum oberösterreich
(architecture Forum of upper austria)
Herbert-Bayer-Platz 1, 4020 Linz
The Architecture Forum of Upper Austria has adapted the former „People’s Kitchen“ in Prunerstraße (in the center of Linz), which has a space of about 450 square meters, into a place for the presentation of exhibitions and the production of objects. It hopes to encourage a broadly based public discussion on high-quality building art and promotes the exchange of information among all persons who are interested in current architecture. As an open communication platform it contributes to vitalizing the field of architecture. Its studios provide space for the development of projects that deal with the regional situation and present future-oriented experimental approaches. 

forum metall
Linz Kultur, Pfarrgasse 7, 4041 Linz
In 1977 a sensational artistic exhibition in Linz aroused attention far beyond the borders of Austria. At the time when the Fourth Bruckner Festival was starting off, the Metal Forum put large metal sculptures of internationally renowned contemporary artists on display in the Danube Park. A considerable number of these works has remained there, between the Lentos Museum and the Railway Bridge, ever since. They are now a characteristic feature of the park. 

voestalpine Stahlwelt – experiencing the voestalpine Steel Plant
voestalpine-Straße 4, 4020 Linz
Developments associated with steel still have a pronounced effect on the everyday lives of people worldwide. They make it possible to construct new tools, machines and buildings, facilitate everyday life and connect continents, countries and people. But the practical possiblilties and areas of employment for high-quality steel products have by far not been exhausted. The voestalpine Steel World is a place where people become more familiar with the construction material steel and the enterprise voestalpine. They experience the steel plant with the help of a multimedial presentation.

Landestheater Linz – Schauspielhaus
(Provincial Theater of Linz – auditorium for dramatic performances)

Promenade 39, 4020 Linz
For almost two hundred years the Provincial Theater of Linz has been shaping the theatrical life of Upper Austria. On the stages of the Large Theater on the “Promenade“and in the Chamber Theater an extensive repertoire of spoken theatrical works is presented.

Theater Phönix 
Wiener Straße 25, 4020 Linz
Fans of easygoing unconventional theater will find entertaining classics freed of the dust of ages as well as contemporary theatrical texts staged in a bold, innovative fashion in the Theater Phönix in Wiener Straße.

Theater in der Innenstadt
(theater in the inner city)

Museumstraße 7a, 4020 Linz
The Theater in the Inner City frequently changes its colors; it offers a selection of musicals, cabarets, chanson evenings and light, entertaining plays (about 100 seats at tables).

Linzer Kellertheater – Die Komödie am Hauptplatz
(the cellar theater of linz which stages comedies on the main Square)

Hauptplatz 21, 4020 Linz
It was originally founded as a stage for the employees of the voest Steel Plant. In the more than 55 years of its existence the Kellertheater (Cellar Theater) has staged over 200 plays. Among these is at least one fairy tale for younger spectators each year.

TRIBÜNE LINZ – Theater in the Südbahnhofmarkt
Eisenhandstraße 43, 4020 Linz
The Tribune Linz is the newest theater in Linz. It presents plays for adults and adolescents the year round. In each theater season it offers six to seven premieres of works it produces itself, among others classics adapted to modern times and plays for adolescents about themes of current interest.

Untere Donaulände 7, 4020 Linz
The “Brucknerhaus“ on the Danube, since 1974 a cultural and architectural landmark of Linz, is the concert house of Upper Austria. It presents concerts of famous orchestras (such as the internationally renowned Bruckner Orchestra of Linz), soloists and conductors as well as a children’s program. It is committed to both preserving traditions and grappling with contemporary musical works of various kinds. Annual highlights are the Clouds of Music of Linz and the Bruckner Festival of Linz.

Posthof – contemporary culture in the harbor
Posthofstraße 43, 4020 Linz
The Posthof, a cultural house of Linz located near the harbor, presents about 250 performances a year in the areas of music, dance, theater, cabaret and literature. It manages to attract international stars, but also serves as a platform for upcoming young local artists. Originally a farmhouse, it was adapted in 1984 and 1990 and is now one of the largest and most vital performance venues for contemporary culture in Austria. Annual festivals in its calendar of events: Local Performance Marathon, Dance Days, Black Humor Festival, Cabaret Festival.

Musikschule der Stadt Linz
(Music School of the city of linz)

Fabrikstraße 10, 4041 Linz
The Music School of the City of Linz offers instruction in music for children from the age of two on. In addition to being able to take instruction in about fifty different instrumental and vocal subjects the pupils and students can play in a large number of orchestras and ensembles. Project “Musikalischer Südwind“ (Project “Musical South Wind”) The goal of the project is to remove access barriers to musical instruments and to the music school and to set musical impulses in the primary schools of the middle and southern districts of Linz. Besides that, musical talents which would not necessarily find access to the music school are encouraged. In the medium term the project intends to establish schools which have a focus on instrumental music in different areas of the city. It hopes to approximately equalize the proportions of music students from the northern and southern parts of Linz. The four pillars of „Musical South Wind“: 

  • A four-week basic course within the framework of primary school education, which should take place in the first year (in intervals).
  • Besides, young people should be able to participate in singing and rhythm courses of the Music School of Linz from the second grade on. These will be held in the school the pupil regularly attends.
  • Participation in the event “Music School goes Bruckner Concert House“ in the “Brucknerhaus” of Linz in the second grade.
  • Participation in group instrumental instruction which will be offered by the Music School of Linz from the third grade on. It is intended to supplement the courses normally taught in primary school and will be held either in the primary school that the pupil is attending (one which has a focus on instrumental music), or in a nearby music school in the same district of the city.  

Landestheater Linz
Music Theater in the “Volksgarten“ 

Am Volksgarten 1, 4020 Linz
In 2013 operas, operettas, musicals, dance theater and ballets found a new venue in the music theater in the Volksgarten. It is one of the most modern theaters in all of Europe. The cultural building comprises four stages: the big auditorium, the foyer stage, the black box and the black box lounge. In the black box and the black box lounge musical productions of the Provincial Theater are performed, along with other dramatic works.

Bruckner Orchester Linz
The Bruckner Orchestra of Linz has become one of the leading orchestras in Central Europe. It is extremely versatile, functioning as an opera orchestra in the Provincial Theater of Linz, performing numerous concerts in Austria and abroad and playing at various events. It has also provided the musical background for many “clouds of sound” within the framework of the Bruckner Festival. The renowned Dennis Russell Davies is the Principal Conductor, so it can be taken for granted that the orchestra will continue to develop artistically.

Musica Sacra
It performs concerts in the Old and New Cathedrals, the Minorite Church, the Ursuline Church, St. Martin’s Church, the Parochial Church of the City, the Church of the Seminar for Priests and in the Basilica on the Pöstlingberg Mountain. The program reflects the dignity of the places it is performed in and includes the European music of many centuries past up until the present. 

Ziegeleistraße 76-78, 4020 Linz
Large commercial concerts regularly take place in the Sports and Concert Hall next to the stadium on the Froschberg.

Wissensturm (tower of Knowledge) 
Kärntnerstraße 26, 4020 Linz
The Tower of Knowledge was opened near the train station in 2007. It comprises the central library and the Adult Education Center (Volkshochschule). In addition to the library- and citizen’s services and the seminars of the Adult Education Center, numerous cultural events take place here.

Stadtbibliothek Linz (city library of Linz)
With its dense network of branches the city library not only encourages people of all generations to read. It also lends audio cassettes, CDs, CD-ROMs, Videos and DVDs. Besides the central library in the Tower of Knowledge (Wissensturm) there are branches in various parts of the city. Their addresses can be found in the chapter “Linz presents itself“ » citizens’ services and administration » citizens’ services in different parts of the city.

Kepler Salon
Rathausgasse 5, 4020 Linz
The Kepler Salon has continued to be a place where people meet and acquire knowledge long after Linz09. The curators present themes that cover the entire range of research, making it possible to learn about the newest developments and discuss them with experts.

OÖ Landesbibliothek Landesbibliothek 
(Upper Austrian Provincial Library)
Schillerplatz 2, 4020 Linz
The Upper Austrian Provincial Library is a universal scientific library that is especially devoted to collecting literature from Upper Austria. The building located on the “Schillerplatz” currently has about 375,000 volumes and serves as both a reference and a lending library.

University library of the Johannes Kepler University Linz 
Altenbergerstraße 69, 4040 Linz
The main focus of the library, which was established in 1965, is on the areas of study that are offered by the Kepler University of Linz: social and economic sciences, law sciences, natural sciences and technology.

Archiv der Stadt Linz (archive of the city of Linz)
Neues Rathaus, Hauptstraße 1-5, 4041 Linz
The Archive of the City of Linz stores material concerning the history of the city, contemporary history collections as well as extensive literature about cultural, social, economic and contemporary history. The public has access to the reading area during the opening hours of the municipal authorities.

OÖ Landesarchiv (upper austrian provincial archive)
Anzengruberstraße 19, 4020 Linz
As a center for research on the history of the province and the central archive of the province it keeps more than 27,000 linear meters of archive materials, mostly documents, hand-written manuscripts with hard covers and bundles of files.

Adalbert-Stifter-Platz 1, 4020 Linz
The “StifterHaus“ is situated in the former house of the writer Adalbert Stifter (1805 – 1868). In its premises you can find the Adalbert Stifter Institute, which was established in 1950 and is engaged in literary and linguistic research, as well as the Upper Austrian House of Literature (OÖ. Literaturhaus),
which was established in 1992 and organizes diverse events. 

Facetten (literary Yearbook)
All Upper Austrian authors are publicly invited to submit their contributions to the City of Linz. A jury of specialists then selects about 25 of the texts for the approximately 200 pages of the literary yearbook.

Die Rampe – a literary magazine
The literary magazine of the Province of Upper Austria for the promotion of contemporary literature was established in 1975. An independent team of editors selects the texts which are published in it.

Kuddelmuddel – Center for Children’s Culture 
Langgasse 13, 4020 Linz / /
In Linz culture for children and adolescents is emphasized. In 1990 the city established a special house of culture for it in Langgasse, at the location of the former Kolping Cinema. Its marvelous cultural offerings for young audiences include performances of the Puppet Theater of Linz and the Theater of the Child (Theater des Kindes). In addition the Children’s Cultural Center is in charge of the Large Musical Workshop in the Brucknerhaus and the Children’s Cloud of Sound (Kinderklangwolke)

Kinderkulturwoche Linz – Children’s Cultural Week in Linz
A comprehensive program of children’s culture is presented during one week in the fall. It comprises many offerings, theatrical performances, visits to museums, workshops and possibilities to get to know various institutions and facilities. The Children’s Cultural Week of Linz shows how varied and attractive the offerings for young people in Linz are. It begins with the Book Days for Children and Adolescents in the city library.

SCHÄXPIR – International Theaterfestival OÖ
SCHÄXPIR provides new impulses for the world of theater, and especially for children’s and adolescents’ culture in Upper Austria. Linz is the focus of European theater for young spectators during the Shäxpir Festival. The performances range from world premieres to German language and Austrian premieres; besides there are numerous fringe events.

Verein Jugend und Freizeit

The youth centers of the Association Youth and Free Time (Verein Jugend und Freizeit) are meeting places for older youngsters. The Cultural Center Hof offers a cultural program ranging from the presentation of newer bands, readings, lectures and exhibitions to cabaret and theatrical performances. The youth center at the foot of the Kapuzinerberg, called “Kapu“, is another venue for adolescents. Since the end of the 1980s it has been a stronghold of the local and international rock scene.

A special feature of Linz in comparison to other cities and provinces is the great diversity and the large artistic potential of its so-called free scene. It consists of artists and cultural workers as well as non-profit institutions, organizations, initiatives, associations and clubs which are not owned or operated by governmental units such as the federation, a province or a city.

As a “cultural city for everybody“ Linz is committed to cultural political focusses in the areas of the equality of the sexes, interdisciplinarity, art in public spaces, interculturality, internationality and the promotion of the free art and cultural scene. This strong free scene consisting of cultural initiatives and artists delivers essential impulses and innovations for new cultural developments. Because their development is highly dynamic it is impossible to provide a complete list of them.

Besides, there is a great diversity of citydistrict initiatives and popular culture clubs in Linz, which decisively shape and profoundly influence the intercultural life in the various districts of the city as well as that of diverse population groups. 

Here are some important Internet addresses for art and cultural initiatives:

Cultural initiatives that are focussed on interculturality: