Europe’s largest inner city garden allotment
The Schrebergärten (allotment gardens) of Vienna are a world unto themselves. Here you can get to know a quite different side of the city. Far away from tourist attractions of any sort, the allotment association “Zukunft auf der Schmelz”, (“Future at Schmelz”. Schmelz is a district`s name) Europe’s largest allotment garden colony with 659 plots, has been committed to the welfare of its members and their vegetable patches since 1897.
The Schrebergärten were originally fenced-in fruit and vegetable plots which supplied the needs of the residents of Vienna. Today they include habitable “garden sheds”, and are usually the second residence of their owners.
“A few square metres of grass, a bed of strawberries, two deck-chairs and a friendly garden gnome.” In the Schrebergarten life is so simple and yet so lovely!
As well as the Schmelz there are also other, smaller colonies and individual allotments. The small plots, mostly on the outskirts or outside the city, show the vibrant diversity of the city and its inhabitants.
The dream of self-catering
Owning one’s own garden allotment is a privilege for the Viennese. Here they can live out their dream of self-sufficiency; here they can plant and harvest, barbecue and gossip, lie in the sun and enjoy their free time – but only when the garden is tidy! This is pure quality of life!
Officially, Schrebergarten-owners have only been allowed to call their plots “recreation areas” since 1987, a legal recognition achieved by the Schmelz association after years of tireless effort.
You’ll agree that it was worth the effort once you’ve taken a seat in the “Schutzhaus Zukunft” on the Schmelz. Here you’ll find the “essence” of Vienna’s Schrebergärten: you’ll be served lavish portions while listening to Viennese folk music – “gemütlich”!
Text: Lucia Czernin, Fotos: Christine Wurnig