Political History and City Chronicle

Numerous visual images (paintings, graphical sheets, photographs) and objects in the Wien Museum bear witness to important events in the city’s history and their perception by contemporaries. The focal points of this part of the collection are the sieges of the city by the Ottomans in 1529 and 1683, the Vormärz era and the 1848 Revolution, the First World War, the Inter-War Period, the Second World War as well as the immediate Post-War Period. 

It is above all Niclas Meldemann’s panoramic view of the city that stands out from the period of the First Siege of Vienna by the Turks in 1529 – a woodcut which captures by means of a unique all-round display the fighting in and around Vienna at the time. The defence of Vienna in 1683 was caught in many visual images which bear witness to the interest in this event throughout Europe; in the Wien Museum Collection almost all of them are represented. These sources are enriched by objects from the so-called “Turkish spoils of war”, such as a turban with a pinned-on medal to symbolise courage, or four “horsetails” which were carried as a sign of high-ranking Ottoman dignitaries. 

In 1848, it was the abolition of censorship and the wide interest in political events that dominated the day, leading to a flood of pictorial reports and caricatures which are well documented in the collection. 

The Wien Museum owns an extensive postcard collection from the First World War period. “Red Vienna”, the year of the Civil War, 1934, the Second World War and its immediate aftermath are documented mainly by rare photographs, as well as by objects such as the emblem of the Winter Relief Aid or the 1943 gas cot for babies designed to provide protection from chemical attack. 

The “Political History and City Chronicle” Collection is not restricted to documenting political events in the narrower sense. It also documents public celebrations, protests and demonstrations. Materials used for May Day processions can be found here as can documents relating to the protest against the threatened demolition of the Spittelberg quarter in 1973, or the occupation of the ARENA three years later. 


T: +43 664 886 87 472
E: sarah.pichlkasnter(at)wienmuseum.at

P: +43 1 505 87 47 84034
E: gerhard.milchram(at)wienmuseum.at