Press information Linz 2020 Linz on the Danube: A City of Culture with character

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A city as diverse as its people: Visitors to Linz experience the power of the Danube, sweeping views from Pöstlingberg hill, emotionally charged performances on the city’s stages and a glimpse of the future in its museums. Encounters with its residents give fascinating insights into everyday events.

Linz on the Danube has its sights set on the future; it’s a modern city with an eventful history, secluded yet cosmopolitan. The capital city of Upper Austria has character. Explore the city, and you’re sure to gain a close friendship. The Danube alone, which flows right through the city centre, is a source of strength for residents and visitors alike. Anyone who climbs Pöstlingberg hill – home to Europe’s steepest adhesion railway – will be rewarded with far-reaching views. Visit the Ars Electronica Center to catch a glimpse of the future. This museum shows visitors how artificial intelligence is changing our lives. And the city’s other museums are no exception when it comes to showcasing how diverse Linz can be: While the voestalpine Stahlwelt experience brings the city’s industrial plants to life and the Lentos Kunstmuseum is renowned for its collection of contemporary art, the OÖ Kulturquartier institution never fails to reinvent the popular Höhenrausch exhibit with renewed creativity. Another popular – and colourful – attraction is the Mural Harbor graffiti gallery, where fresh, new highlights are always on rotation.

But Linz isn’t just about the new. Take a guided walk through the city centre to reveal Linz’s roots. And emotions run high at the nearby theatres and concert halls: While the Brucknerhaus concert hall, which is located directly on the Danube, has unique acoustics, the Musiktheater in Linz is one of Europe’s most state-of-the-art opera houses, showcasing operas as well as musicals and dance performances. Linz has many facets just waiting to be discovered. A warm welcome awaits visitors to this lively city, inviting them to enjoy Linz’s leisurely atmosphere and the people who make the city what it is.

All you need to bring along is a sense of curiosity, an interest in unique cultural experiences and the courage to open yourself up and simply enjoy your time here. A short trip to Linz comes with new experiences and will be the start of a friendship that’s sure to make your stay unforgettable.

Focus for 2020: People in Linz

Linz Tourism’s message for 2020 focuses on people – in other words, everyone who shapes and makes their mark on the city, drives it forward and ultimately defines its character. 

Now that we have Alexa, chatbots and other automated communication options, do we still need people? Do cities that tell their own story through that of their people still exist? Visitors are increasingly looking for more authentic experiences in the cities they travel to. It’s not about learning the facts and figures about how tall or big or old a place is. People today want to find out about the personalities behind the buildings, behind the city itself: What was the motivation? What triggered certain developments? Who drove these developments here in Linz? This approach includes getting to know the people of Linz as well as the historical figures who once spent time here. It sets the stage for telling the stories of the ‘superstars’ of Linz, including Anton Bruckner, Adalbert Stifter, Johannes Kepler, Ludwig Wittgenstein and Herbert Bayer.

Mural Harbor Leonhard Gruber c Linz Tourismus Josipovic

Boosting smart tourism

The term ‘smart’ is trendy nowadays, but it also reflects certain feelings and needs that tourism can respond to. 

Familie Altstadt Linz c LinzTourismus Josipovic

In 2019, Linz was recognised by the European Union in the Cultural Heritage & Creativity category as part of the European Capital of Smart Tourism award.

Smart is increasingly outweighing things. But we have to make sure smart isn’t just reduced to technical sophistication. Smart means the efficient use of resources, environmental friendliness and sustainability. It also means connecting smart with a culture that makes people attractive and interesting. The term is also synonymous with clever, imaginative, resourceful, skilful, witty and intelligent – all terms that apply to interesting people. But smart tourism in Linz is so much more than this. Smart tourism is what defines the city’s tourism philosophy, the way the city is valued, the way it is presented to visitors. And behind it all are people, ideas, commitment and empathy. This year’s annual theme – people – aims to convey this as part of the city’s activities and communication. 

Highlights in Linz

There are numerous opportunities to get to know the people of Linz as a visitor. Across many highlights in the UNESCO City of Media Arts, people are there to talk about the city’s background and reveal insider tips on tours and guided walks.

Ars Electronica Center – The Museum of the Future

Visitors to Linz’s Ars Electronica Center will find themselves immersed in other worlds – by watching a robot make a marionette dance and seeing an artificial intelligence play a symphony it composed itself on the piano. The Museum of the Future’s new focus, Compass – Navigating the Future, showcases the interaction between people and machines, digital spaces, genome research and artificial intelligence. The Deep Space 8K exhibit, a futuristic cosmos with 3D visuals, is another unique highlight. Every exhibition at this one-of-a-kind museum tackles the interplay of technology, art and society. The exhibitions aren’t the only thing that’s unique. The museum’s guided tour concept is, too. Instead of leading traditional museum tours, ‘infotrainers’ are available to interact with museum visitors in locations linked to their own personal experiences in the fields of media, digital technology and the natural sciences.

The Museum of the Future, together with its annual international festival and the Prix Ars Electronica competition, is an important linchpin when it comes to the city taking an integrated approach to digitalisation and moving into the future. The 2020 international Ars Electronica Festival will be held from 9 to 13 September in cooperation with Johannes Kepler University Linz.

Modern exhibitions at the Lentos Kunstmuseum

The Lentos Kunstmuseum, which exhibits contemporary artworks, is located right on the banks of the Danube. With its striking architecture and LED-covered façade, the building dominates the cityscape of Linz. The state-of-the-art institution provides a unique atmosphere in which to see contemporary art. Works exhibited range from the nineteenth century to the early modern (Klimt, Schiele, Kokoschka) and expressionist periods through to the latest perspectives from contemporary artists (Valie Export).

Höhenrausch – Just Like Paradise

Höhenrausch at OÖ Kulturquartier invites visitors to discover the world above and below the rooftops in the heart of Linz. This latest iteration of the exhibition leads over stairs and bridges, through attics and art spaces, offering spectacular views of the city and its surrounding area. Along the way, visitors will enjoy media art projects by national and international artists. The 2020 exhibition, entitled Just Like Paradise, is open from 27 May to 18 October and offers a family-friendly art and cultural experience that includes fragrant beeswax, a cherry orchard and illuminated globes on a church roof. A wooden tower with a flying ship on the OÖ Kulturquartier parking deck forms the landmark exhibition for this year’s Höhenrausch.

Genoveva Rueckert Kulturquartier c Linz Tourismus Josipovic

Concert halls with diverse performances

Hermann Schneider Landestheater Linz c Linz Tourismus Josipovic

Linz Musiktheater is one of the most modern opera houses in Europe, staging dance, musical and opera performances. Since it opened, the company has received numerous awards. With this year’s theme, ‘Commitments’, the state theatre enters into a dialogue with the audience, broaching numerous movements of thought through its performances. For example, the dance piece Cinderella is about our commitment to our own dreams. The theatre’s opera productions include Wagner’s Parsifal and Michael Obst’s Unter dem Gletscher. Many of the performances are accompanied by the musicians of the renowned Bruckner Orchestra Linz. In addition to musical theatre appearances, the orchestra also holds nearly 30 of its own concerts throughout the season.

Brucknerhaus, the concert hall situated directly on the Danube, delights patrons with its acoustics and unique location. Its seasonal focus on ‘Home’ will see the Brucknerhaus address its relationship with its own roots, including the diversity of different cultural areas. At the International Bruckner Festival, held in the autumn from 4 September to 11 October, visitors can expect top-tier concerts with artists like Thomas Quasthoff, Kit Armstrong and Christoph von Dohnányi, accompanied by the Bruckner Orchestra Linz. Prior to that, visitors will have the chance to explore numerous highlights over the coming season, including a piano recital with star pianist Rudolf Buchbinder and a guest performance by the excellent Cleveland Orchestra, under the leadership of its conductor, Franz Welser-Möst.

Mural Harbor is an open-air gallery with several hundred graffiti and mural pieces that can be viewed on guided tours and boat trips. Since 2012, some 300 works of art by artists from 35 countries have been created on industrial buildings situated in the harbour measuring up to 40 metres tall. Mural Harbor has now been expanded to include the temporary M.A.Z. (Museum auf Zeit) exhibition, an urban art show covering 2,500 square metres.

Festival season

Hardly a weekend goes by in summer without an open-air concert, a market or a special exhibition. All events are listed at
Here’s a brief list of the unique events to be presented in Linz this year:

Crossing Europe film festival

This year marks the 17th annual Crossing Europe film festival. European auteur cinema will be showcased here between 21 and 26 April. Some 150 select short, feature and documentary films will demonstrate the versatility of continental filmmaking over the festival’s six days. The programme will also include a number of world premieres and internationally acclaimed films celebrating their Austrian premiere. Crossing Europe will also put on a dedicated exhibition highlighting Linz-born media, film and performance artist Valie Export in celebration of her 80th birthday, offering insights into the multi-faceted cinematic oeuvre of the soon-to-be octogenarian.

Stream Festival

Stream, the music festival in the heart of Linz, will return for a second year to highlight the future of music production and progressive contemporary projects from 28 to 30 May. In keeping with Linz’s title as UNESCO City of Media Arts, the festival will focus on digitalisation and its influence on the process of creating music. Stream features national and international musical acts on its large, open-air stage right on the Danube as well as a stage at the Ars Electronica Center Maindeck. Nights are dedicated to experimental and club culture across several locations on the Linz scene.

Klassik am Dom

Performances by first-class musicians from all over the world set against the backdrop of Linz’s New Cathedral make the open-air concerts at July’s Klassik am Dom classical music festival an unforgettable experience. This year’s concert series will bring stars like Elīna Garanča, Gregory Porter and David Garrett to the stage and will showcase John Williams’ film scores and Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s Jedermann, performed as a rock concert with Philipp Hochmair.

Ahoi! Pop Sommer

Ahoi! Pop Sommer music festival presents ‘Quality music for quality people’ and is expanding its programme this year to make the event a three-day open-air festival held between 16 and 18 July. Divisive entertainer Sido will be on hand on the festival’s opening day to heat up the atmosphere at Linz’s Donaupark as he lays down his German hip-hop tracks. Day two will see Austrian band Wanda take the stage to perform songs from their latest album, Ciao!. Sunday is all about up-and-coming Austro-pop: folkshilfe, the dialect-heavy squeezebox, guitar and drum trio, and Upper Austrian-Viennese group Edmund, famous for their song Freindschoft, will provide the soundtrack for a perfect summer’s day on the Danube.

Linz Pflasterspektakel

One of Europe’s largest and most diverse street performance festivals, Pflasterspektakel will be held this year between 23 and 25 July and will feature more than 100 troupes and solo artists from 30-some countries. Now in its 34th year, the festival is set to transform the entirety of Linz’s city centre into one large stage with its top-class programme of object theatre, improv, comedy, juggling, clownery, pantomime, high-wire and fire acrobatics, artistry and music of all kinds.

Advent in Linz

Starting on 21 November, Linz is transformed into a winter wonderland. The Christmas Market on the Main Square features culinary specialities and many, many hand-crafted products against a backdrop of baroque architecture. The Volksgarten Park Christmas Market offers events and rides that are sure to be a hit with families. Many regional and organic exhibitors are on hand to showcase their wares at the Winter Market on Pfarrplatz. In addition to the Christmas markets, other small markets, numerous concerts and festive boat trips are on offer during Advent.

A weekend in Linz

A three-day break from 114 euros per person:
Two nights with breakfast in the hotel of your choice and a three-day Linz Card, which includes

  • free entry to Linz’s museums
  • free travel by bus and tram
  • a Danube Culture voucher worth 10 euros
  • plus 20 additional discounts

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