650 years University of Vienna

Hauptgebäude Universität Wien © Universität Wien

650 years University of Vienna

Universität Wien Regenbogenfahne

The University of Vienna is gearing up to celebrate its 650th jubilee in 2015. The oldest surviving university in the German-speaking world, it is grouped around a striking main building located directly on Vienna’s showpiece Ringstrasse boulevard. So why writing an article about the university? Well, on one hand, the jurists of the university were heavily involved in shaping and writing the laws concerning homosexuality in Austria and the former crown lands of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, respectively their abolishment. Additionally, every year during Pride Month the university shows its solidarity and support for equal rights for Austria’s gay, lesbian and trans* community and flys the rainbow flag on its main building. There are alswo rainbow tours - more on that see below.

A series of exhibitions, concerts, anniversary celebrations, a film festival, and a campus party are among the events to mark the 650th anniversary of the university’s founding by Duke Rudolf IV. Alma Mater Rudolphina Vindobonensis, to give the university its Latin name, is one of the largest higher education institutions in central Europe with some 92,000 students and 9,700 staff (including 6,900 researchers). It offers 187 courses.

A special exhibition entitled University of Vienna – the Main Building on the Ringstrasse delves into the history of the building on the capital’s showpiece boulevard. Viennese architect Heinrich von Ferstel planned a monumental construction finished in the Renaissance style and built using the latest technology. Architectural blueprints, archive notes and newspaper clippings give a unique insight into the shared history of the Ringstrasse complex from 1857 and the new University campus.

Universität Wien Arkadenhof (c) Universität Wien

Intelligence under threat - from polarization and intimidation to deportation and annihilation under the National Socialist regime looks at the invidious early shifts in attitudes at the University of Vienna followed by the politically driven upheaval from 1938 onwards. It focuses on the political and statutory changes in the corporate state and the repression legitimized by emergency law as well as the crimes committed as a consequence the Nazis’ accession to power.

The Vienna Circle – exact thinking on the fringes of downfall sheds light on the intellectual and political milieu inhabited by the group of philosophers and scientific theorists set up by Moritz Schlick, Hans Hahn and Otto Neurath in 1922. The exhibition profiles the members of the Vienna Circle and their associates, presents its academic findings and examines its destruction and the persecution of the individuals involved when the National Socialists seized power.

Among the other highlights in store for 2015 are a special jubilee concert by the University of Vienna choir and orchestra featuring a performance of Gustav Mahler’s 8th Symphony at the Konzerthaus, a film festival at the University of Vienna’s colonnaded courtyard inspired by “science in fiction” and a campus festival including stage shows and performances where the individual faculties, institutes and centers will present their work to the public.

Rainbow Tours in the Unviersity of Vienna

QWIEN Zentrum für schwul/lesbische Kultur und Geschichte

The tour has been developed by QWIEN, Vienna’s center for gay and lesbian culture and history on behalf of the University of Vienna and only bookable by intermidiary of QWIEN.
In the main building of the university, the evolution of Austrian criminal law from the times of Emperor Joseph II until the early 20th century is central. Important jurisprodents will be presented in the arcade courtyard. Another focus is the importance of the collection of women’s inheritances as source of lesbian history as well as the university library and the collection of early literature on homosexuality.

As you can see, the University of Vienna had and still has an important role in the development of rights for gays, lesbians and trans* in Austria.

Exhibitions at the University of Vienna, Universitätsring 1, 1010 Vienna

University of Vienna - the main building on the Ringstrasse. Exhibition to mark the 150th anniversary of the Ringstrasse, Jan 2-Dec 31, 2015
Intelligence under threat - polarisation and intimidation to deportation and annihilation under the National Socialist regime, Mar 18-Jun 27, 2015
Vienna circle - exact thinking on the fringes of downfall, May 20-Oct 31, 2015

Science-in-fiction film festival, Jun 15-19, 2015, University of Vienna, Arkadenhof, Universitätsring 1, 1010 Vienna
Campus Festival, Jun 12-14, 2015, University of Vienna Campus (Altes AKH), Spitalgasse 2, 1090 Vienna