Wiener Börse - The Vienna Stock Exchange
Moving almost all the way down the Ringstraße, beyond the University and the Votivkirche area, you will find two buildings of interest. One is the Rossauer Kaserne, the other one, on the right hand side, is the red neo-Classical building of the Wiener Börse - the Austrian Stock Exchange. If you have been to the Academy of Fine Arts before, you might recognise some similarities.
The Börse, just like many other Ringstraße buildings such as the houses of parliament, was planned by the Danish architect Theophil Hansen in the late 19th century. As an institution, however, the Vienna Stock Exchange is a whole lot older than that. Most people will consider places like London, Frankfurt or Paris to be the financial hubs of Europe.
They are right by doing so. Nonetheless, Austria has a longstanding tradition in trading shares and Vienna has one of the oldest Stock Exchanges in the World. It was officially opened on the 1st of September 1771, on behalf of Empress Maria Theresia. In 1860, when most of Vienna was a construction site, the Börse moved into the Palais Ferstel, alongside with the National Bank of Austria and Hungary.
Current Facts on the Wiener Börse
This was also around the time when the boom period of the Austrian economy peaked. When Austria organised a World Exhibition in 1873 (this is also what the Riesenrad Ferris Wheel was built for), the event was modelled after the Great Exhibition of London of 1851. Austrian investors hoped for phenomenal gains and spent like crazy. Unfortunately, they were a bit too optimistic and to the stock exchange crashed, causing a serious recession. In 1875, stricter laws regulating the trade with shares were released and in 1877, a new era started in the current building by the Ringstraße.
Since 1999, the "Wiener Börse" is a fully private company and owned by 60 entities, mostly banks and Austrian companies. In 2004, the Stock Exchange showed its nostalgic spot by acquiring in a truly imperial manner some 14 percent of the Budapest Stock Exchange. The last decades since the opening of the formally communist countries in Eastern Europe caused the Börse to grow significantly. As a modern institution in the focus of a hot spot of Europe′s economic development, the Wiener Börse appears to look into a very bright future.
For tourists, it provides another pompous Ringstraße building to admire alongside with a rather expensive café in the inside. Following the Wipplingerstraße, however, you will get straight to the very heart of Vienna′s first district. Nearby attractions include the "Altes Rathaus", the original, Baroque town hall, the Judenplatz with the "Museum am Judenplatz" (dealing with the Medieval Jewish community of Vienna) and the memorial for the Austrian - Jewish victims of the Holocaust as well as the neo-Gothic church "Maria am Gestade".
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