Quality of life in Vienna
Need some refreshment? Go to the bathroom, turn on the tap, fill up a glass and enjoy Vienna! As in the years previously, the Mercer study ranked Vienna number one on its list of the cities with the world’s highest quality of living. Its water supply was an important criterium.
“The Viennese are generous with their water: you can order it anywhere and you hardly ever have to pay for it.”Vienna’s water is part of the quality of life, and you won’t be charged for it.
In no other large city…
so many positive things are said about the water. The source of the rumours lies in the mountains, or more precisely, in mountain springs in Lower Austria and Styria. From there, the water is piped using only the natural gradient and without technical aids more than 100 kilometres to Vienna. Which leads us back to our glass of water from the tap – have you noticed? Vienna’s water stands out with its complete lack of flavour, and is therefore particularly refreshing – even though it’s as much as 24 years old! That’s because it is naturally filtered by sandstone, and is always in motion on its long journey.
It was Emperor Franz Joseph who, with the construction of the first mountain spring water pipeline, gave Vienna its perfect drinking water. The urban highlight of the pipeline is the Hochstrahlbrunnen on Schwarzenbergplatz: it sprays (when it’s not covered up for the winter) pure spring water metres into the air from 400 fountains, in the evening even lit up in colour. The monument symbolises quality of life and the connection of the city to nature.
Once you’ve quenched your thirst and you’d like to explore the slightly more cloudy waters of Vienna, the Danube is not far away: whether by bike or by boat, swimming or on waterskis, it’s not possible to imagine recreational activities in the city without the oft-serenaded river. And after your little excursion I’d recommend a Melange in one of the city’s coffeehouses as a refreshment. And here too Vienna’s water won’t let you down: a glass of tapwater simply belongs with a cup of coffee.
Text: Lucia Czernin, Fotos: Christine Wurnig