21 February 2008

Vienna’s new database of cultural assets

You can now embark on a virtual journey through the city across the centuries and explore historical plans, buildings, sculptures and archaeological finds. Vienna’s new database of cultural assets combines data from the City Archives, the Museum on Demand, the Department of Urban Archaeology, and the Municipal Department for Architecture and Urban Design and is easily accessible for all who are interested.

“Vienna is a city of knowledge and places great emphasis on digital services. The new portal is an ideal tool that allows scientists, artists and anyone who is interested in our city to carry out research quickly and easily”, said the Mayor of Vienna, Dr Michael Häupl.

“Our new service makes the coordinates of the cultural heritage of our city accessible to even more people than before. It makes the search for information on the history of the city, its culture and architecture easy and whets people’s appetites for more”, said Vienna’s Executive City Councillor for Cultural Affairs, Andreas Mailath-Pokorny. He also pointed out that the information collection process is very dynamic: “The database reflects reality, it is forever changing, just like the city, and so it can never be completely finished.”

Rudi Schicker, Executive City Councillor for Urban Development, finds the new web portal impressive: “All available information on buildings worthy of protection and cultural assets in Vienna has been assembled in a state-of-the-art way, creating a new, trend-setting internet portal that has something for everyone: it helps optimise the work and saves time for the staff of the City Administration, and it also provides experts and anyone who is interested in cultural assets with readily accessible, clear and concise information.”

The new database of cultural assets is one of a kind
The new digital database of cultural assets of the City of Vienna provides fast, easy and exact access to information about architecture, artworks in the public space, urban history, and urban archaeology. Detailed maps show the development of Vienna from prehistoric times to the present. The interactive material provides in-depth information about various cultural assets, such as buildings, monuments, archaeological finds and works of art. The search function allows exact queries and barrier-free access to the most relevant information. The new web portal is based on ViennaGIS, the City of Vienna Geographical Information System, and boasts improved performance and usability thanks to new web technology developed by the City of Vienna IT department. With this internet portal the City of Vienna sets an example for other metropolises in the field of structured presentation of geographical data, just as it has in many other areas. This new service by the City of Vienna is directed both at citizens, tourists and students, and at experts and City Administration staff.

Cultural assets – from architecture to urban archaeology
The City of Vienna Database of Cultural Assets was developed together by Municipal Department 7 – Cultural Affairs, Municipal Department 8 – City Archives, and Municipal Department 19 – Architecture and Urban Design, who were supported in this work by Municipal Department 14, the City of Vienna’s IT department, which was in charge of the technical side. The contents are sorted by topic to make it easier for users to find the desired information. Currently the database provides the following information on the four main topics architecture, artworks in the public space, urban history, and urban archaeology:

  • Architecture
    General information about buildings, building typology, historical period of construction, World Cultural Heritage status, protected zones, and historical visual relationships and lines of sight.
  • Artworks in the public space
    Monuments, free-standing sculptures, small religious monuments, fountains, memorial plaques, tombs and headstones (only at closed cemeteries) and wall art (such as frescoes and reliefs) created before 1919. The database contains information on their location, artist, material, date of origin, and, where applicable, also any inscriptions and their history.
  • Urban history
    A substantial collection of maps,with historical city maps showing the development of Vienna from 1547 in terms of both construction and geographical expansion. The maps are in chronological order and a number of them show the entire urban area at the time.
  • Urban archaeology
    Archaeological sites and former settlement areas in modern-day Vienna. The object search option allows a detailed search by type of settlement, period, modern municipal district and type of find.

In addition to these four topics, the portal also has a link to the Museum on Demand (the Department for Cultural Affairs’ collection of contemporary art) and a collection of links to the museums and theatres of Vienna.

You can find the new Database of Cultural Assets at www.kulturgut.wien.at

More info: