Vienna, 21st District: Floridsdorf

21st District, Vienna: Floridsdorf

Floridsdorf is one of two Viennese district that are situated "beyond the Danube". This depends of course on your viewpoint, but for Western Austrians like myself, the ancient Roman division of Europe is still valid: "Cisdanubia" ("this side of the Danube") for the civilised world of the Imperium Romanum, "Transdanubia" ("the other side of the Danube") for the not quite so civilised rest of the World. The area of Floridsdorf was in fact a buffer area between the Romans and various Germanic tribes and served as a battle ground on more than one occasion.

In terms of sightseeing, the deeply suburban district has little to offer. There is the huge neo-Gothic parish church of Donaufeld, a terribly ugly thing that was called the "cathedral of Lower Austria" before Floridsdorf was segregated from this province and became a part of Vienna. The villa Mautner Schlössl houses the district′s museum. Sprinkled over Floridsdorf, you can find the odd countryside retreat of Austrian nobility.

There is a museum of saddles (for people with a specialist interest, I assume - apparently the collection includes the world′s only saddle that was custom-made for ostriches). And another museum for fishing and fisheries. The barracks of the Van Swieten Kaserne army base were named after the personal doctor and medical scholar of Empress Maria Theresia.

Floridsdorf: History of a Boring Borderline-Suburb

Instead of looking for sights, it might be more interesting to study some history of Floridsdorf and "transdanubian" Vienna. Once the Imperium Romanum had ceased, Langobardians, Awarians and different Slavonic tribes moved to the Eastern shore of the Danube - until Charlemagne secured the region, with the aid of the Bavarians.

They in turn were battered by invading Magyars. By around 1000, the Margraves of Babenberg had consolidated their little chunk of the Holy Roman Empire of German Nation, and they dared to cross the Danube to ask for more. The area was rather empty and difficult to reach for common people, until the first bridge was built around 1500.

Floridsdorf becomes Part of Vienna

Most of the area belonged to the monastery of Klosterneuburg. The name "Floridsdorf" was assigned to a cluster of local villages only in the very late 18th century, a reference to a Klosterneuburg abbot. In the decades that followed, the advancing industrialisation transformed the formally agricultural Floridsdorf into a productive powerhouse of the Habsburg Empire.

The first Austrian railway with a steam locomotive, the Nordbahn, started in Brigittenau and crossed Floridsdorf in 1837. In the mid-19th century, there were plans to make the cis-danubian Vienna an independent principality. In this case, Floridsdorf would have become the capital of Lower Austria. Instead, it became a district of the seemingly ever-growing Vienna in 1910.

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Sightseeing Guides to Vienna's Districts

District Overview - 1st District (Innere Stadt) - 2nd District (Leopoldstadt) - 3rd District (Landstraße) - 4th District (Wieden) - 5th District (Margareten) - 6th District (Mariahilf) - 7th District (Neubau) - 8th District (Josefstadt) - 9th District (Alsergrund) - 10th District (Favoriten) - 11th District (Simmering) - 12th District (Meidling) - 13th District (Hietzing) - 14th District (Penzing) - 15th District (Fünfhaus) - 16th District (Ottakring) - 17th District (Hernals) - 18th District (Währing) - 19th District (Döbling) - 20th District (Brigittenau) - 21st District (Floridsdorf) - 22nd District (Donaustadt) - 23rd District (Liesing)

Further Reading

The Districts of Vienna: An Introduction

Official Website of Vienna

Wikipedia on Vienna's 21st District - Foridsdorf

City of Vienna: Districts of Vienna - Floridsdorf