Urban Culture – Cultural City. A Case-Study with Regard to Vienna

Starting from terms like ‘culture' and referring to the concept of the ‘European Cultural (Capital) City' raised by Melina Mercouri in the 1980s the essay tries to analyze the relationship and interdependences between ‘Urban Culture' and ‘Cultural City' applied to the example of Vienna. The basis is a short sketch of the City's history showing clearly the differences between the understanding of urban culture and urban/bourgeois identity in the medieval, the early modern period and the centuries after. Up to the eighteenth century, the self-image was that of a strong and heroic city (Ottoman sieges of 1529 and 1683). The era of enlightenment brought new features of urban/bourgeois cultural activities, especially with regard to music as a focus of cultural life. In the early twentieth century, it was the ‘Wiener Moderne' (arts, literature, music, science) together with new cultural phenomena (Cabaret, movies etc.) which widened the understanding and the situation of Viennese culture. After 1945, Vienna has tried to continue with quite a number of former cultural activities. New initiatives of the City's government since the 1990s stress the importance of research and science. Recently, international and local survey studies have demonstrated the measurable success of all these efforts with regard to the positioning and self-understanding of Vienna as a modern Cultural City.

Key Words: urban culture, cultural city, Vienna, urban history, city of science.