The Viennese UNO-City

Also called Vienna International Center

 UNO City in Vienna

Vienna is an international city. At least since the opening of the Vienna International Center in 1979 can this be claimed again. It is one of the three permanent seats of the United Nations, and one of Vienna’s most distinctive buildings. If you take the underground line U1 in the direction of Leopoldau you’ll see its six semicircular towers rise up on the left after the Reichsbrücke, in the middle of a very typically Viennese district. Austria was active in offering the international center to the United Nations; the City of Vienna made the land available, and leases it for a symbolic rent of seven cents (up until 2001 one Schilling) per year.

“The UNO-City is the symbol of Kreisky’s successful efforts to make Vienna a hub of international diplomacy.” Freely adapted from the journalist Walter M. Weiss. Austrian Federal Chancellor Bruno Kreisky (1911-1990) was the initiator and driving force behind the project “Vienna International Center.

The residents of Vienna affectionately call the Vienna International Center UNO-City; it just sounds better, somehow more international but also very Viennese. And the call for tenders for the project was also both international and typically Viennese: architects from all over the world submitted their proposals, yet despite fierce criticism the contract was awarded to the fourth-ranked architect, the Austrian Johann Staber. He erected the tower landscape of the UNO-City on 17 hectares; the individual buildings are arranged so that they hardly cast shadows on each other.

Congress City Vienna

The total floor area comes to a stunning 230,000 square metres.

 Bridge over Danube

Vienna International Centre

 World flags

 2,000 – 3,000 conferences are held annually on its premises – and this number is rising. The VIC plays an important role in making Vienna one of the most successful congress cities world-wide.

Today the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) and the UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organization), among others, have their seats in Vienna. But be warned: once you set foot in the UN you leave Austrian territory, so don’t forget your passport if you want to explore the UNO-City on one of the tours which take place daily.

Text: Verena Brandtner, Fotos: Christine Wurnig, Bild mit Fahnen: