In 2009 Linz, together with the Lithuanian capital Vilnius, was chosen as the European Capital of Culture. Since 1 December 2014 Linz is a member of the UNESCO Creative Cities network as a City of Media Arts. Cities receive this title for enriching the urban lifestyle through the sponsorship and successful integration of media art and involving society in these electronic art forms. Linz is well known for the Linzer torte, which is said to be the oldest cake in the world, with its first recipe dating from 1653.
Linz is in the centre of Europe, lying on the Paris–Budapest west–east axis and the Malmö–Trieste north–south axis. The Danube is the main tourism and transport connection that runs through the city.
Approximately 29.27% of the city’s 96 km2 (37 sq mi) wide area are grassland. Further 17.95% are covered with forest. All the rest areas fall on water (6.39%), traffic areas and land.
Before 2014 Linz was divided into 9 districts and 36 statistical quarters. They were:
The city was founded by the Romans, who called it Lentia. The name Linz was first recorded in AD 799.
It was a provincial and local government city of the Holy Roman Empire, and an important trading point connecting several routes, on either side of the River Danube from the east to the west and Bohemia and Poland from north to the Balkans and Italy to the south. Being the city where the Habsburg Emperor Friedrich III spent his last years, it was, for a short period of time, the most important city in the empire. It lost its status to Vienna and Prague after the death of the Emperor in 1493.
One important inhabitant of the city was Johannes Kepler, who spent several years of his life in the city teaching mathematics. He discovered, on 15 May 1618, the distance-cubed-over-time-squared — or 'third' — law of planetary motion. The local public university, Johannes Kepler University, is named after him.
Another famous citizen was Anton Bruckner, who spent the years between 1855 and 1868 working as a local composer and organist in the Old Cathedral, Linz. The Brucknerhaus is named after him.
Adolf Hitler was born in the border town of Braunau am Inn but moved to Linz in his childhood. Hitler spent most of his youth in the Linz area, from 1898 until 1907, when he left for Vienna. The family lived first in the village of Leonding on the outskirts of town, and then on the Humboldtstrasse in Linz. After elementary education in Leonding, Hitler was enrolled in the Realschule (school) in Linz, as was the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. Notorious Holocaust architect Adolf Eichmann also spent his youth in Linz. To the end of his life, Hitler considered Linz to be his "home town", and envisioned extensive architectural schemes for it, wanting it to become the main cultural centre of the Third Reich. In order to make the city economically vibrant, Hitler initiated a major industrialisation of Linz shortly before, and during, the Second World War.
In addition to an ordnance depot, Linz has a benzol (oil) plant which was bombed during the Oil Campaign on 16 October 1944. What was once the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp is 20 km (12 miles) east of the city of Linz.
Processing of the Nazi-Past
In 1996, the Council of the city decided to account for its Nazi past. The widespread scientific workup, which was implemented by the municipal archives, covered the period prior 1938 and the denazification after 1945. Linz became the first city in Austria to deal intensively with its own Nazi past. In May 2001, seven scientific publications, online presentations, and numerous lectures were made public as a result of these efforts. The culture of remembrance extended to the construction of monuments for the victims of National Socialism. Especially since 1988, numerous memorials have been created in public spaces. The confrontation with the Nazi past resulted in the renaming of many streets. In 1945, immediately after the end of the Nazi dictatorship, 39 streets in Linz were renamed, whereas from 1946 to 1987, only two streets were renamed. However, since 1988, 17 new traffic areas were named after victims of National Socialism or resistance fighters. In the recent past a number of Nazi victims and activists who fought Nazism were honored by the city. Simon Wiesenthal, who founded the first Jewish Documentation Center in Linz in 1945, received an award for his work in remembrance of victims of the Second World War.
Coat of arms
The coat of arms of Linz developed from the seal image, which was used as emblem since 1242. It showed the open city gate flanked by two crenelated towers on rocky ground. From 1288 on, the gate was shown standing on water. The coat of arms shows a red plate on which stands a castle with twin towers. Those towers are crowned with three crenelations. The towers include an open door; above the door the red-white-red shield of Austria is attached. The gate and towers symbolise the medieval fortified city. The wavy bars indicate the position of the city near the Danube. The Austrian shield is a reference to the former territorial city.
The urban area includes (parts of) 13 other municipalities with together 271,000 inhabitants. Linz is also part of the Linz-Wels-Steyr metropolitan area of Upper Austria, home to around one third of the state's population (460,000 people) and second-largest urban area in Austria. Linz has a total number of about 157,000 jobs. However, only half of vacant jobs can be covered by its inhabitants. This enormous job surplus causes a correspondingly high rate of commuters from the surrounding communities of Linz, resulting in enormous traffic problems.
Linz has an oceanic climate with significant influences of continental airflows. As a result, summers are warm and winters quite cold.
The hotel business is equipped with 4,544 beds – 2,302 are located in the ten four star hotels of the city. Nine hotels have three stars and count 1,226 beds. The seven two and one star hotels are equipped with 472 beds. 544 beds are not categorised for commercial businesses. Five star hotels are not available. In 2004 Linz counted 647,428 nights’ stay. In 2013 the number increased to 775,396. 363,425 of the overnight stays were located in the four star hotels, 226,647 in the three star hotels, 67,593 in the two and one star hotels and 53,194 stays can be counted to other accommodation.
544 gastronomy businesses are located in the city. Germans are the most frequent guests (167,639), followed by Italians (22,886), Dutch and Swiss (16,828) – the ranking is equal to the overnight stays ranking which is listed in the following.
Linz is one of the main economic centres of Austria. The Voestalpine AG is a large steel concern (founded as the "Hermann-Göring-Werke" during the Second World War), which is known for the LD- ("Linz-Donawitz") procedure for the production of steel. The former "Chemie Linz" chemical group has been split up into several companies. These companies have made Linz one of Austria's most important economic centres.
About 190,000 people are employed in Linz, which is almost twice as many employed persons who live in Linz. Therefore, Linz has to deal with a lot of commuter traffic. At a workday around 100,000 employed persons commute to Linz and about 18,500 out of Linz.
Furthermore, due to the fact that one of the four Donau-Harbors (Donauhäfen) in Austria is located in Linz, it constitutes an attractive location in regards to logistic and trading enterprises. Nonetheless manufacturing plants can – for instance - be found at the waterfront as well. The economic importance of Linz was founded over centuries in trade. Moreover, the long-standing image of Linz as an industrial city was a result of the National Socialism. As a result of this large industrial enterprises are still located in Linz nowadays. Great examples in regards to this are Voestalpine AG or “Chemie Linz” – as already mentioned above. From an economical perspective they represent a large number of jobs and of course industry related enterprises.
The Meeting Industry Report Austria (mira) ranks Linz as the third most important destination for congresses in Austria, with a share of 7,4 % in the total number of congresses, conferences and seminars held in Austria. Linz has more than 60 congress and event venues. With the Blue Meeting® concept, the local tourism association has developed a conference format which focuses on individual needs of participants and adapts to the idea of green meetings, therefore supporting waste prevention, energy efficiency, climate-neutral travel and regional added value.
Linz offers many different shopping possibilities, which include various shopping centres or popular shopping streets.
Thirteen malls can be found in Linz, three of them are situated in the city centre. The total List of shopping centres in Linz:
According to a study of Infrapool in Oktober 2010, the Linzer Landstraße is the busiest shopping street outside of Vienna. The weekly frequency is noted between 240,500 (Monday-Saturday, 8 a.m. until 7 p.m.) and 228,400 (8 a.m. until 6 p.m.) passers-by, which is the second highest value - only in 2005 more passers-by were detected. Further shopping streets in Linz:
Close to Linz:
There are eleven farmer’s markets as well as one weekly flea market and two Christmas markets in Linz. One of the most popular ones is the “Urfahraner Markt“, which takes place in spring and fall every year. Visitors can enjoy a mix of leisure facilities, stalls and party tents. Furthermore, there are annually Christmas and New Year’s Markets. The aim of the market administration is to provide the population with a wide range of products, as well as operating the markets in an economical, suitable and customer oriented manner. Additionally, the annual market called “Linzer Marktfrühling” sets further accents and lures new customers with attractive offers.
Linz serves as an important transport hub for the region of both Upper Austria and, to a lesser degree, southern Bohemia.
The "Blue Danube" Linz Airport lies about 14 kilometres (8.7 mi) southwest of the town centre, in the municipality of Hörsching. The airport can be reached easily via federal highways B139 and B1. The bus line 601 connects the airport within 20 minutes with the centre of Linz. There is also a free shuttle service from Hörsching railway station. Direct flights include Frankfurt, Düsseldorf and Vienna with additional seasonal routes added during the summer and winter months, like for example Antalya, Kos, Ibiza or Korfu. Ryanair flies to London Stansted Airport and Tenerife.
The city also has a central railway station (German: Hauptbahnhof) on Austria's main rail axis, the West railway, linking Vienna with western Austria, Germany and Switzerland. There are also varying types of river transport on the Danube, from industrial barges to tourist cruise ships.
Local public transport comprises the city tram network, the city trolleybus network and the city bus network, all operated by the Linz Linien division of Linz AG. The city tram network includes the Pöstlingbergbahn, a steeply graded tramway which climbs a small mountain at the northwest edge of the town.
The National Police Directorate forms the security authority for the city. The city’s police commands function as law enforcement agencies.
In Linz, one of six Austrian professional fire brigades is located. Four volunteer fire brigades (Ebelsberg, Pichling, Pöstlingberg, St. Magdalena) and nine company fire brigades complement Linz’ firemanship. Additionally, the national school of firemanship, which is subjected to the Upper Austrian fire-brigade federation, is located in Linz. In this school, all members of Upper Austrian fire brigades are being educated.
The newspaper Oberösterreichische Nachrichten has its head office in Linz.
The main street "Landstraße" leads from the "Blumauerplatz" to "Taubenmarkt" (Pigeonmarket) near the main square. In the middle of the main square the high "Pestsäule" ("plague column", also known as "Dreifaltigkeitssäule" (Dreifaltigkeit means Holy Trinity)) was built to remember the people who died in the plague epidemics.
Near the Schloss/castle, being the former seat of Friedrich the III — the oldest Austrian church is located: Sankt/Saint Martins church. It was built during early medieval Carolingian times.
Other points of interest include:
As many central European cities, the cityscape of Linz is characterised by small and several sacred buildings. The Mariä Empfängnis Dom or New Cathedral is the biggest church in Austria, not by height (it is roughly 2 metres shorter than the St. Stephen's Cathedral (Stephansdom) in Vienna), but by capacity.
The historic centre is characterised by its medieval architectural style, whereas in those parts of the city that border with the historic centre the architecture is of neoclassical, neo-baroque and neo-renaissance styles. Even further from the historic centre there are living areas, such as Franckviertel, Froschberg, Bindermichl and Kleinmünchen southern of the Danube and Alt-Urfahr northern of the Danube. These areas are where residential buildings can be found that are still referred to as "Hitlerbauten" or "Hitler buildings", because they were built during the interwar period and the time of Nazi dictatorship. The residential area called Gugl became a well liked living area among the wealthy at around 1900, which is why there are numerous villas still there today.
Amongst the newer buildings is the new Central Station, which was designed by Wilhelm Holzbauer and added the Terminal Tower skyscraper as part of a mixed-use complex. Between 2005 und 2011 it was voted Austria’s most beautiful railway station seven times in a row by the Verkehrsclub Österreich. The Wissensturm ("Tower of knowledge") with a height of about 63 metres, houses the public library and the Volkshochschule, an adult education centre. It was designed by Franz Kneidinger and Heinz Stögmüller and opened in 2007. Lentos Art Museum, which opened in 2003, was designed by Zürich-based architects Weber & Hofer and the Musiktheater (music theatre), which opened in 2013, was designed by Terry Pawson.
Linz has 13 cemeteries, four of them are supervises by the LINZ AG.
The city is now home to a vibrant music and arts scene that is well-funded by the city and the state of Upper Austria. Between Lentos Art Museum and the "Brucknerhaus", is the "Donaulände", which is also referred to as "Kulturmeile" ("culture mile"). This is a park alongside the river, which is used mainly by young people to relax and meet in summer. It is also used for the Ars Electronica Festival in early September and the "Linz Fest", which takes place annually in May. In June, July and August the "Musikpavillon" is placed in the park where musical groups of different styles perform on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays free of charge. Linz has other culture institutions, such as the Posthof, which is near the harbour, and the Stadtwerkstatt, which is by the River Danube. The Pflasterspektakel, an international street art festival, takes place each year in July in and around the Landstraße and the main square. Linz was the European Capital of Culture in 2009, along with Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania.
On 1 December 2014 Linz was accepted into the international network of UNESCO Creative Cities (UCCN) as a City of Media Arts. Currently 69 cities worldwide are members of the Creative Cities network, which is divided into seven thematic categories: literature, film, music, folk art, design, media art and gastronomy. The title goes to cities which enrich urban life and successfully involve society in electronic art forms through the sponsorship and integration of media art. Seven more cities can call themselves City of Media Arts: Enghien-les-Bains, Lyon, Sapporo, Dakar, Gwangju, Tel Aviv-Jaffa and York.
The aim is therefore to maintain and represent the cultural diversity. The 69 cities share their experiences and think about ways to cope with globalization. To create the most intensive discourse possible with the other creative cities, Linz has to do a self-evaluation after a few years. After three years the UNESCO evaluated whether Linz has fulfilled certain measures in the field of media art and may continue to use the title. The Ars Electronica Center can be considered as the centre of media art and attracts every year during its festival national and international guests to Linz.
Since 2009, the Open Commons Linz initiative has made available a wide variety of “free” data: geo-data and statistical information having to do with city life, local government, recreation and tourism. An associated effort is the Hotspot initiative that has installed 202 hotspots providing free WLAN, as well as Public Server, the municipal cloud available to all citizens registered in Linz. Linz is thus at the forefront in Europe when it comes to universal access to open data.
Linz houses 43 galleries and exhibit rooms, 13 cultural centres, one club centre, as well as four educational institutes.
The Brucknerhaus, a famous concert hall in Linz is named after Anton Bruckner. It is situated just some 200 metres away from the "Lentos". It is home to the "Bruckner Orchestra", and is frequently used for concerts, as well as balls and other events. It is also the venue of the "Linz Fest" which takes place annually in May as well as one of the venues during the Ars Electronica Festival in early September. In June, July and August the "Musikpavillon" is placed in the park where musical groups of different styles perform on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays free of charge.
The Musiktheater (music theatre) was opened in April 2013 and is considered to be one of the most modern opera houses in Europe. It offers five stages of varying sizes; the big hall ("Großer Saal") with 1,200 seats, the BlackBox with up to 270 seats, the BlackBoxLounge with up to 150 seats, the orchestra hall ("Orchestersaal") with up to 200 seats and another stage in the foyer ("FoyerBühne"). Performances at the Musiktheater include operas and typically Austrian operettas, ballets and musicals.
The ensemble of the Landestheater (regional theatre) Linz used to perform musical productions as well as theatre productions at a venue located on the "Promenade" in the inner city of Linz (this venue is still referred to simply as "Landestheater"). Since the opening of the new Musiktheater, only theatre performances take place at the "Promenade" venue, whereas musical productions are shown in the Musiktheater. The Landestheater Linz is especially renowned for its theatre for young audiences called u\hof:.
The Kapu is a venue for various contemporary music styles, such as hip hop, noise rock and crust and also houses a cinema and a recording studio.
The Posthof is one of the biggest event centres in Linz with three rooms offering up to 630 seats or standing room for about 1,200 people respectively in the big hall. The programme focuses on contemporary art and covers concerts, theatre, cabaret, dance and literature. Artists from Linz are regularly invited in order to improve the local cultural scene; e.g. bands from Linz get the opportunity to play as pre-bands alongside nationally and internationally known artists. Altogether a total of about 250 events take place at the Posthof each year with a total number of visitors of about 80.000.
The Stadtwerkstatt is an independent association for culture and was founded in 1979. Its headquarters is located in the Urfahr district on the north bank of the Danube close to the Ars Electronica Centre and serves as venue for music events and other artistic and cultural activities. Situated at the same address is the Stadtwerkstatt’s own Café Strom, a café/bar popular amongst young adults.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wrote his Symphony No. 36 (1783) in Linz for a concert to be given there, and the work is known today as the Linz Symphony. He reportedly also composed his Piano Sonata 13 in B flat while in Linz, although it was published in Vienna. The first version of Anton Bruckner's Symphony No. 1 in C minor is known as the Linz version.
Anton Bruckner was born in Ansfelden near Linz and spent several years working as a conductor and organist in Linz, where he also started to compose. The first version of Anton Bruckner's Symphony No. 1 in C minor is known as the Linz version. The Brucknerhaus, a concert hall in Linz as well as its annual international Brucknerfest are named after him.
The musician and DJ Marcus Füreder, better known by his stage name Parov Stelar was born in Linz.
The history of cinema and film begins in Linz in September 1896, when, as part of a variety programme, a film programme was shown in "Roithner's vaudeville" for the first time in Upper Austria. Until the next screening of a film it took until 20 March 1897, when Johann Bläser’s travelling cinema guested in the "Hotel of the Golden Ship”.
Until the opening of the first cinemas with regular programme, it took till the end of the year 1908. At that time, Karl Lifka opened his "Lifka's Grand Théâtre électrique" in that building, where already the very first film showing took place. Subsequently, the second cinema of Linz was opened a few months later.
As the owner of travelling cinemas, Johann Bläser, got settled in Linz, he bought the “Hotel of the Golden Ship”, and installed a cinema in it, the “Bio-Kinematograph”. The third stationary cinema, called “Kino Kolloseum”, in town was founded around 1910 by the vaudeville operator Karl Roithner. Its first location was the former festival hall at Hessenplatz.
In September 2007 the “Wissensturm”, next to the central station, was completed. There the Main Library and the adult education centre are housed. In the same year the expansion of the National Library on Schillerplatz began.
The Main Library is the largest public library in Upper Austria. The library has a stock of 220,000 media, of which approximately 60,000 audiovisual media, as well as numerous magazines. The library also offers public Internet access and computers for surfing. The public library focuses on supporting reading. Thus in addition, regularly events such as readings, workshops or reading consultations take place.
In Linz you can find both traditional restaurants and old wine taverns, as well as modern and exotic cuisine. The influence of 140 nations can be felt in Linz's culinary offerings. A coalition of over 40 restaurants, cafes and among other locations bars are called “hotspots”. Moreover, Linz has several à la carte restaurants and Gault Millau gourmet restaurants.
Typical dishes in Linz include not only the famous Linzer torte but also knödel and strudel in all different kind of variations. Another specialty is the erdäpfelkäs, a spread made from mashed potatoes and cream. Some well-known chefs from Linz are Lukas Erich, who cooks in the Verdi and Georg Essig from the Der neue Vogelkäfig.
Amongst the many "Gymnasien" (high schools) in Linz, is Linz International School Auhof (LISA), which is one of four IB (International Baccalaureate) schools in Austria, and uses English as main language for instruction.
Linz offers many parks and holiday areas: Lakes and public swimming pools: Pichlinger See, Pleschinger See, Weikerlsee, Biesenfeldbad, Hummelhofbad, Parkbad, Schörgenhubbad. One of the first public swimming pools was the former “Fabriksarm”, a Danube branch stream (from Parkbad to Winterhafen) that was filled up in 1890. Afterwards a makeshift at the “Obere Donaulände” was built, which existed until a flood in 1954. In 1901 the “Städtische Schwimmschule” (city swimming school) was built at the place of the former Parkbad.
Especially in densely built-up inner-city areas smaller parks are highly important for the inhabitants of Linz, the parks act as green oases. Along the main axis of the city centre of Linz, the highway, several such small gardens are located. These are on the one handside the Landhaus Park, which has been redesigned as part of an underground car park construction until 2009, whereby the old trees have been preserved. In addition, Hessenplatz or – park is located in the city centre of Linz. Hessenplatz was the centre of Neustadtviertel in 1884. Just off the highway Schiller Park is located, which replaced the Trainkaserne in 1909, and the Volksgarten, which was created in 1829 by an entrepreneur and bought up in 1857 by the city.
The Donausteig is a non Alpine Austrian- Bavarian long-distance hiking trail, which is 450 kilometres (280 miles) long and is divided into 23 stages. Since the summer of 2010 it mainly leads alongside both banks of the Danube, from Passau through Linz and St. Nikola to Grein. The trail mainly runs through nature and leads to popular landscapes and viewpoints.
From the end of April until the beginning of October the Design- Ship „MS Linzerin“ offers a harbor tour of 100 Minutes – three times a day (Tuesday until Sunday). Starting point of the tour is the Linzer Donaupark and the tour goes along the Linzer Kulturmeile, passes the Brucknerhaus and ends at the waterfront mouth of ÖSWAG Schiffswerft Linz.
There are 302 Sport Clubs in Linz. 224 of those are a part of the three major umbrella organizations ASKÖ (108 Clubs with about 48,500 members), UNION (67 clubs with about 40,500 members) and ASVÖ (49 clubs with about 19,000 members). One of the more well-known clubs is „LASK” – they moved to Paschinger Waldstadion in the meantime – as well as “SK VÖEST Linz” – now called “FC Blau- Weiß Linz”. Furthermore, the popularity of the ice hockey club “EHC Black Wings Linz” has increased, in particular after they won the championship in the seasons 2002/03 and 2011/12.
The EHC Black Wings Linz play professional ice hockey in the Erste Bank Eishockey Liga.
Generali Ladies Linz is annual WTA Tour tennis tournament held in city.
Living in Linz: