Banana beer at the Filmfestival

They make the best schnitzels, but when it comes to their drinking habits, the Viennese have a peculiar taste. The Ottakringer banana beer doesn’t taste that bad though, as I discovered at the Filmfestival.

Each summer the Wiener Rathausplatz turns into an open-air cinema where you can watch concerts, films and opera’s on a huge screen and eat at more than twenty eateries. The atmosphere is just great and I visit the Rathausplatz at least once a week. I love the smells of traditional Austrian käsespätzle, Thai noodles and Indian lamb curry and everybody seems so happy while drinking their ‘Gespritzter Weißwein‘: white wine mixed with water. Although relatively cheap, I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the taste of the favorite drink of many Viennese. The only good thing about it, is that you can drink it all evening without getting drunk.

Of course, no party without beer. Vienna even has its own brewery: the Ottakringer Brauerei. Also with their beers, the Viennese like to mix things up. The popular Radler beer, a mixture of beer and lemonade, tastes like Fanta lemon to me. But the Banane-Weißbier  with a tiny bit banana nectar is not bad at all. Plus, you get to drink it with a straw.














Filmfestival Wiener Rathausplatz (1st district, Innere Stadt)




22-carat gold in Rathaus

Vienna has plenty beautiful historical buildings to visit, but if you have to pick one, definitely take the guided tour through the ‘Rathaus’. The ceilings of the City Hall are actually covered with 22-carat gold leaf rosettes.

It’s more impressive than the Staatsoper and even more beautiful than the Parlement. The ‘Rathaus’ in Vienna looks more like a castle than a City Hall, with its golden-leaf ceilings and the huge chandelier in the room where the members of the City Council convene. The chandelier has a diameter of five metres and 213 lights. Because the heat from its lamps transformed the Council Chamber into a sauna, it was decided in the 1960’s to pull up the chandelier by one metre.






Guided tour City Hall, Rathausplatz (1st district, Innere Stadt)

Bittersweet Sachertorte in Café Central

Even with all the tourists there, it’s hard to resist a visit to Café Central, the famous Wiener Kaffeehouse where great writers and philosophers used to meet. Reading the newspaper, I wondered what they would think if they saw today’s headlines about the growing ‘Judenhass’ in Europe.

What would Sigmund Freud, or writers Karl Kraus and Hugo von Hofmannsthal say about the increasing tension in the Middle East, Austria and the rest of Europe today?

Like the Dutch, the Austrian newspapers report of a growing, ‘new antisemitism’ that’s being fed by the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the killing of so many innocent people. And like in The Netherlands, also in Austria there have been violent attacks. Last week, a preseason soccer match in Salzburg had to be abandoned after pro-Palestinian protesters invaded the pitch and started attacking the Israeli soccer players. Some intellectuals now suggest that the Austrian police should be trained in how to deal with antisemitism, thus the newspaper Der Standard.

Sitting here in this romantic Kaffeehause, listening to the pianist playing and eating a home made Sachertorte, it’s like living in a fairy tale while the rest of the world is on fire.





Café Central, Herrengasse 14 (1st district, Innere Stadt)

Best ‘Stehplatz’ at Mozart’s Requiem

Because the Viennese feel that everybody should listen to Mozart, they invented ‘Stehplätze‘. But if you’re lucky, you can still sit and enjoy a breathtaking Requiem from one of the first rows.

In the capital of classical music, everybody – either rich or poor – is able to experience classical concerts, opera’s and operettes (light opera’s). Thanks to the Stehplätze, if you don’t mind getting tired feet, you can see the opera for only € 4 euro.

Tonight I bought a Stehplatz  for Mozart’s Requiem in the beautiful Karlskirche. The cheapest seats costed € 28 euro, but the concert would only last an hour and a standing room ticket was just € 12 euro. I was happy to discover that, from there, I still had a great view at the stage. But just before the concert startet, the man who sold me the ticket ‘smuggled’ me and the other ‘Stehplätzers‘ to one of the first rows in front of the choir! Since it was my first actual concert in Vienna, I don’t know yet whether this is common, but it makes sense if a concert is not sold out. It was an unexpected gift.

More classical concerts in Vienna:









Karlskirche (Karlsplatz, 1st district)

Back to the future in Bellaria Kino

If you like going to the movies, but hate it if everybody around you is loudly chewing popcorn or dropping their m&m’s, you should visit the Bellaria Kino. It’s more than going to the cinema, it’s like traveling back in time.

Founded in 1911, the Bellaria Kino is one of Vienna’s oldest movietheaters. Even most visitors looked like they were born that year and are probably regular costumers here. The movietheater is so old fashioned, it doesn’t even have a website. It does have a popcornmaker though, but when I was there, it wasn’t being used.

The theater itself is quite long and narrow and the screen is not too big, so you’d rather not sit in the back. But you have a perfect view from the first ten rows. Most people preferred to sit in the middle, so me and my fellow student Magda had an ideal spot just in front of the moviescreen.

A ticket costs € 7 euro. Cash only, of course.











Bellaria Kino, Museumstraße 3 (1st district, Innere Stadt)


Afterwards, we walked to Karlsplatz to have a beer in front of an even older monument, the majestic Karlskirche. I hope to see the inside very soon.



‘Streetslaughter’ in Vienna: 1700 cops vs 19 squatters

Even in a city where everybody patiently waits for the traffic light to turn green before crossing the streets (while no car in sight), there’s trouble now and then. In those cases, police troops do the job.

So it costs a million euro, and the free newspaper Österreich calls it ‘one of the biggest streetslaughters in the history of Vienna'; but hey, at least they got the message.

Monday a group of nineteen squatters were kicked out of a building they lived in for the last two years. Initially they were invited by the landlord himself, who wanted to chase away the last occupants, some eldery people who refused to move out of the building he wanted to renovate and sell for a large sum of money. He thought the squatters might do the trick. Unfortunately for him, they chose sides with the eldery people.

To make a long story short, yesterday all nineteen ‘punkers’ were evicted from the building, with the help of 1700 policemen, a policehelicopter, an armoured car and a watercanon.


With special thanks to my fellow student Jordan, with whom I had lunch today at the Filmfestival at Rathausplatz (1st district, Innere Stadt)

Noisy neighbours in Vienna, part 2

Woken up by that other Viennese tradition, sunday morning 09.30 in Vienna.

Sorry for the shaking, still rubbing the sleep from my eyes.


Alsergrund, 9th district

Wiener Prater’s unexpected charm

It’s ugly, it’s shabby, it’s outdated. Wiener Prater, world’s oldest amusement park, has an unexpected charm to it.

Looking for a bench to eat my Indian take-away-curry, my curiosity led me to Wiener Prater, or ‘Wurstelprater’, how the gigantic fair is originally called. Cause you don’t have to buy a ticket at the entrance, I walked straight through the gate where I passed ‘Big Fat Kebap’, heard both Mozart and DJ Tiësto echoing through the speakers and watched a family buy tickets for ‘Hotel Psycho’.

Five minutes later, while eating my lukewarm curry on a quiet green lawn somewhere outside, I realised I forgot to take a picture from ‘the gate to hell’, that was supposed to be the headline for this blog article. But when I came back, I got really intrigued by the beauty of forgotten glory and couldn’t stop taking pictures.










Wiener Prater (2nd district, Leopoldstadt)

Books and Kaffee Latte

The best discoveries are done by accident. That also counts for ‘Phil’ in Vienna. Here, you can buy books, music and sit down for a Kaffee Latte with soy milk.

Phil is a typical place where young and creative people like to go to. Most of them were between twenty and forty years old, so I felt at home immediately, relaxing on a leather couch from the seventies, surrounded by books and ordering a Kaffee Latte with soy milk (hard to get in traditional coffeehouses).














The tea and food is mostly organic, but don’t expect big meals though; the ‘burger’ I ordered, turned out to be a small sandwich with cheese and ham. But you don’t come to Phil for the grand food. You come here to talk with friends, drink (good) coffee or herb tea, read a book, work on your laptop and to get inspirered.






Phil, Gumpendorfer Straße 10-12 (6th district, Mariahilf)

Citybike Vienna: cheap, fast and easy!

Although Vienna has a perfect public transport system, I think biking is the best and nicest way to get to know a new city. With Citybike, you can bike across the city for free!

Being a Dutchie, I cannot survive without a bike. Also, I don’t want to spend more money than necessary. For people like me, God invented Citybike. It’s easy, fast and supercheap!

Once you’ve registered with your creditcard, you pay € 1 euro one-time only. After that, you can get (and return) a bike at more than 100 biking stations in Vienna! The first hour is free of charge and considering the fact that you can bike across the city in half an hour, you never have to pay for anything, unless you want to bike longer. The second hour you will be charged € 1 euro, the third hour € 2 euro etc. You always have to return the bike at a station.

Vienna is very safe for bikers. But, there are a few things you want to know before using Citybike. These tips might come in handy :

– Before blindly picking a number on the screen, check out the best looking bike. The saddle height isn’t always that easily adjustable and not every bike has gears. The second gear doesn’t always work though. If you want to be safe, take a bike without gears. Besides that, they’re comfortable bikes, with super brakes and properly inflated tires.

– The bikes have no locks, so you cannot just park them on the streets, or leave them unguarded. You can only park them at a Citybike station.

– GET THE FLYER with all the Citybike stations and don’t lose it! You don’t want to risk searching for a Citybike station while the clock is ticking. You’ll find the flyers at most stations. Take two, just in case. If you have internet on your phone, you can download the app, or this one for Android.

– You also need to know where the second nearest station is, in case the station you want to return your bike to, is FULL. This happens occasionally and kinda sucks, but because there are so many stations, you’ll probably find another one within five minutes. The apps show you how many free boxes and bikes there are at the several stations.

Once you’re prepared, you’ll be happy! If not, you can always use the superb public transport in Vienna. citybike2

Schnitzel take away

Don’t feel like Thai, sushi or pizza today? Get yourself a schnitzel take away!



(Novaragasse, 2nd district, Leopoldstadt)

Best working spots: Café Prückel

My football-friends were right about Café Prückel; I’ve definitely found one of my favorite working spots for this summer. I decided to celebrate this newest discovery with my first Viennese Apfelstrudel!

It’s light, it’s spacious but ‘gemütlich’ and quiet at the same time, there’s (free) wifi ánd more Apfelstrudel than a girl can desire. And even better, Café Prückel is popular with the locals.

Café PrückelImage00017Café PrückelCafé Prückel












The Apfelstrudel was a bit to sweet for my taste though, next time I’m gonna try another ‘Torte’. With 35 degrees outside I’m sweating all the calories out anyway. A friend warned me about the hot Viennese summers, but I don’t really mind the high temperatures. It feels like I’m on holiday.

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Café Prückel, Stubenring 24 (1st district, Innere Stadt).

‘Elfmeter’ victory at Cafe Toni

Tonight I watched the Dutch football team win the quarter-finals in Cafe Toni at the Servitengasse. I learned two essential German words: abseits (offside) and Elfmeter (penalty). Also, I hope to have found a good, typical Viennese coffeehouse to work.

cafe toniQuarter-finals

Four Viennese guys were so kind to adopt me and I had a great evening. I asked them if they know a nice, traditional Viennese coffeeplace, cause the famous Café Central was a little disappointing, like expected. A lot of famous writers and composers used to meet up here, but nowadays it’s crowded with tourists.

Café Prückel at the Stubenring  was their advice. I’m gonna check it out tomorrow!

Café Toni, Servittengasse 19 (9th district, Alsergrund)

Know your district: Alsergrund, part 1

This evening I went for a little walk in my neighbourhood Alsergrund, the 9th ‘Bezirk’. The district feels quite relaxed and because of the students who live here, there are enough bars, restaurants and shops.

Vienna has more than twenty districts. ‘Bezirk’ 1 is the historical centre and Alsergrund lies next to it.

Vienna's districts

It’s one of the smaller districts that hosts the main building of the University of Vienna, as well as the student campus. Since I’m quite busy working, I haven’t seen much from the district since my arrival last Tuesday. I haven’t seen many students either. But from whát I have seen, the atmosphere here seems quite balanced. The street I live in, is elegant and quiet with aristocratic houses and hardly any traffic. But just around the corner there is this lovely square with a beautiful and typical Austrian church, the ‘Servitenkirche’, and a few nice bars and restaurants. Today I sat down at one of them, called Luxor, and had my first ‘Viennese’ Italian cappuccino.

Next to me, there was this older man, I think around 70 years old, who looked like a professor or writer wearing a tidy suit and reading the newspaper. I was surprised to see the same person ordering like five huge beers within an hour and wobbeling home afterwards.

Luxor, Grünentorgasse 19b (9th district, Alsergrund)


Vienna: how to travel from the airport to city centre

Once landed on Vienna airport, it’s very easy to travel to the city centre. You just take the train! The trainstation is perfectly located underneath the airport.

Now, you have two options. You can travel with the green City Airport Train (CAT or City Express) that takes you to the centre in 16 minutes. You can buy the tickets at the green ticketmachines.

But if you want to save some money and are not in a real hurry, you can also take the normal train/S-Bahn (ÖBB), that takes you to the heart of the centre in 30 minutes and costs only € 4,40. You buy the tickets at the red ticketmachines, on the trainplatform. Both trains are very comfortable and clean. More info >

‘Morning!’ in Vienna!

Yesterday i arrived in my new home town Vienna, and although i haven’t met my roommate Martin in person yet, he sure knows how to make someone feel welcome. Looking forward to meeting him tonight! His roommate Sophie is also very friendly and helpful. I wunder if all Viennese people are like this!

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The arrival at the airport was breathtakingly quiet, by the way. I will tell you more in the upcoming days, also how to take the train to the centre, it’s quite easy and fast (and clean, like the streets!).

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