Since then the city has been able to successfully detach itself from the dark memories that the name of Hitler evokes and from the reputation of being near the last concentration camp from the infamous historical epoch. However, the cultural epicenter status is no longer a dream. A great place to visit at any time, a trip to Linz this year will be especially rewarding because it has been chosen to be Europe’s cultural host. Linz- the capital of European cultural tourism sitting pretty on the banks of the Danube is a flourishing city which has achieved a unique and rare blend of consciously preserved nature, environment conscious, yet highly successful industrial belts and a thriving cultural scene and as the Capital of Culture 2009 it will showcase all of this. An almost utopic modern urban city it has something for every visitor.
Rarely will the lover of history and culture find a more diverse cultural scene in one city. Interactive art, fine arts, contemporary art, media art, music and theater – every tourist can choose from the riches according to his taste and mood.
The Lentos Art Museum in Linz opened in May 2003 and put Linz on the map as far as international art museums go. In addition to being the most important museum of modern art in Austria, this long building stretching to a hundred and thirty meters right on the Danube is an architectural marvel too. The transparent glass ceiling not only makes the inside of the museum look incredibly attractive during daytime, it is a most stunning sight at night when it is brilliantly lit. Architecturally a very successful blending of the modern within the old and of extreme functionality within beauty, the OK Offenes Kulturhaus Oberösterreich is an extremely important museum of contemporary art. Its website claims that it is “an experimental laboratory for exploring art.” Visitors can soak in this unique atmosphere which provides mostly young artists with not only a platform to present their art but a workshop-laboratory wherein to develop their art. Several important exhibitions run all through the year.
Cultural, natural and art history is preserved in the Oberösterreichische Landesmuseum. This museum is Austria’s first official institution created to promote contemporary art. Comprising of several important buildings like the Castle Museum and the Biology Center in Linz, the Oberösterreichische Landesmuseumis spread through the city. For the honest art enthusiasts there are specialized tours in which experts and museum curators guide the visitor through the most important exhibits and exhibitions as also tours that allow conversations with the artists. For the more laid back tourist there are special family afternoons.
The Ars Electronica is a museum of interactive art that definitely must not be missed. It focuses on the ever fluid relationship between art, technology and society. Don’t miss the important award ceremony, the Prix Ars Electronica to be held in September this year.
Music and drama in Linz
As the birthplace of Anton Bruckner does it come as any surprise that Linz’s most famous concert hall is called the Brucknerhaus? The Brucknerhaus opened its doors more than three decades ago and since then it has held about two hundred events every year with almost a hundred and eighty thousand visitors regularly walking in to listen to some of the greatest composers. The Bruckner orchestra is famous throughout the world. Depending on the time of your visit don’t forget to experience one of the several concert events held here. Several trendy theaters dot the streets the most famous of which is the Landestheater once much visited by Hitler and friends, mainly to listen to Wagner. Today it holds regular events in all genres including the opera.
Annual Events in Linz
The world’s largest media art festival is held here in Linz every September. Since 1979 Ars Electronica has attracted thousands of visitors to Linz. In 2009 it will be held from the third of September to the eighth. From a mere twenty participants in its first year, last year the event attracted scientists and artists from twenty five countries with the numbers running up to more than four hundred. The digital revolution truly comes into its own here. During Pflasterspektakel the whole city center is converted into a carnival of sorts with music, theater, pantomime, clowns and what not ensuring that no tourist sits in their hotel rooms during those three days in July.
The Brucknerfest promises to be especially grand with Dennis Russel Davies performing Hayden’s “The Creation” and performances by Zubin Mehta and the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra. The Trio of concerts called Klangwolken combines music and laser and fireworks show, an especially for children show and a classical music show. This Linz Cloud of Sound festival brings alight the sky atop and the Danube underneath. Danube Park comes alive touching every one of the human senses.
In 2009 a trip to Linz will be unforgettable, guaranteed! Give this Capital of Culture a chance to host you and to show you why it has earned this enviable title.
Photo of Ars ElectronicaCenter and Lentos Art Museum, Linz, Austria, by x-hibit