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A stroll through the Third District

A real feelgood neighbourhood with bustling streets, vibrant life in the parks and just a stone’s throw away from the city centre.
 
From Modena park to Arenbergpark

The Neulinggasse was once called Grasweg (grass way) and then Grasgasse (grass alley). It received its present name in 1862. Vinzenz Neuling (1795-1846) was an innkeeper and brewer who inherited several estates in the then rural area from his father, a prosperous jeweller. Vinzenz used his wealth to promote culture and help poor people. He hosted house concerts, opened a theatre and was the benefactor of many homeless people after the great inundation – the Danube flood of 1830. Today, the Neulinggasse between Modena park and Arenberg park is a genuinely feelgood neighbourhood. Magnificent municipal housing from the 1930s with clear and sometimes simple façades are lined up next to magnificent palais and town houses with protruding balconies. Bustling streets, vibrant life in the parks and the proximity to the city centre all create a very special atmosphere. Many embassies and consulates have established themselves here, which lends an international aura to the area. The two parks form little natural islands in the middle of the urban fabric.

Arenberg Park

The history of Arenberg Park is replete with aristocratic names. Prince Nicholas Esterházy first commissioned it to be built near the former Palais Esterházy in 1785. This palais by the Landstrasser Hauptstraße became a victim of urban planning in 1958. It was demolished to create a route for the Neulinggasse. In 1810, the Park was acquired by Archduke Carl. His contemporaries considered him a great hero since he had managed to drive back Napoleon – believed to be invincible at the time – at least once at the Battle of Aspern-Essling in 1809. Heinrich von Kleist wrote pompous verses such as “Surmounter of the Insurmountable” and dedicated them to Archduke Carl, and his statue still stands today next to Prince Eugen at on Heldenplatz. But back to the park. It later passed into the ownership of a princess from the noble house of Arenberg, who then sold it to the Municipality of Vienna in 1900. Although nobility had vanished into thin air from the park, the name stuck.

In 1940, two of the six Viennese “flak towers” were built in Arenberg Park. They were supposed to help fend off enemy planes. A history of the flak towers reveals that these two were assigned the code name “Baldrian” (valerian). As we now know, they didn’t have much more to offer than an illusion of minimum nervous relief. And so they stand today in the park as a monumental reminder of a dark time. One of them is used as a storage depot, a repository of contemporary art for the Museum für Angewandte Kunst (MAK, the Museum of Applied Art). It also hosts art events under the moniker “CAT – Contemporary Art Tower”. On such occasions the tower is opened up to the public.

Today, this area is the centre and meeting place in the Neulinggasse. It has everything a Viennese park and its visitors need: plenty of greenery, plenty of paths to walk along, a large playground for children, a little coffee house for grown-ups, a zone for dogs and their owners – even young people are catered for with their very own, albeit small sports ground. Children’s laughter intermingles with the twittering of the birds, sunshine and fragrant nature. There’s always something going on here, with picnics in the shade of the trees accompanied by the sounds of chats and laughter. And throughout the open, publicly accessible area, local residents, students and kindergarten children get down to some serious gardening, both for their own pleasure and the delight of passing visitors to the park.

Neighbourhood back to overview
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