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A colourful melting pot invites you to stay

A tree-lined avenue, a lively place of full of cultural diversity, and a little village in the middle of the big city – that’s how colourful the Nibelungen Quarter is.

How the Nibelungen came to Vienna

About one hundred years ago, part of the former army parade ground was built on the “Schmelz”. The Nibelungen Quarter, a new neighbourhood, emerged in today's Fifteenth District of Rudolfsheim-Fünfhaus. The four- to five-storey townhouses which were built at the time reflect the late phase of the Vienna Secession. In complete contrast to the peaceful aspirations of the secessionists and Viennese Jugendstil artists, the streets of the quarter were given names taken from the bloodthirsty Nibelungenlied. Alberich, Brunhilde, Dankwart, Gunther, Giselher and Kriemhild are immortalised here among others. Consequently, the neighbourhood is known as the Nibelungen Quarter. Even so it is quite certain that the area was less a home to Roman and Germanic tribes than to people of other origins. Essentially, nothing much has changed in this regard right up to today.
 
As in the Nibelungenlied, the centre of the eponymous quarter is also formed by Kriemhild, or rather by the poplar-lined square named after her, together with the avenue of the Markgraf-Rüdiger-Straße. Many “peoples” live peacefully together in the neighbourhood.

The book lives on

The “Buchkontor” is situated at Kriemhildplatz, on the corner of Markgraf Rüdiger-Straße, a street divided by an avenue and green space with benches. This bookstore is a centre of friendly coexistence and a popular meeting place. There’s always a lot going on at the square. People chat in the shade of trees, young people make their rounds on bikes and older ladies with hats and gentlemen with walking sticks stroll along the pavements. Cheerful laughter from the nearby kindergarten on the square blends into the hustle and bustle.

Ulla Harms, the bookseller in the Nibelungen Quarter, opened her “Buchkontor” here at Kriemhildplatz in 2009. The book trading post – for a Kontor was a precursor of today’s office – has grown steadily since then and has become the definitive establishment for books, select paper products, as well as a cultural rendezvous with regular readings and events for adults and children in the Nibelungen Quarter. It provides more than impressive proof that the swan song of the book simply sends out all the wrong signals.
  
“It's a super neighbourhood and I’m delighted to be here,” said Ulla right at the start of our conversation. She had started out looking for an office and ended up finding her bookstore.

The multi-faceted future

If you turn left at the corner of the bookstore, walk along Kriemhildplatz and go down Guntherstraße right to the end of the road, you’ll arrive at the entrance to the “Zukunft Schmelz” allotment garden association. A small village in the middle of the city. The area of the allotment garden association has everything you need to stop and stay: greenery, the sounds of birds twittering just like in the countryside, walking paths, benches where you can sit down to enjoy peace and quiet and, in the heart of it all, the “Schutzhaus Zukunft auf der Schmelz”.

This inn with its magnificent garden shaded by large trees fills up at lunchtime and in the evenings with students who live in the quarter and with the local owners of nearby allotment gardens. Between them, businessmen dressed in suits and young families with their young children sit at tables. Life here is colourful and harmonious, without major social boundaries. The Schutzhaus is also well known far beyond the Nibelungen Quarter. Its elongated function room serves as a venue for many cultural events. Small, separate tables are lined up in rows to form two enormous long tables at which delighted guests take their places on the left and right place. A Schutzhaus burger with potato wedges, spare ribs, pancakes and other Viennese dishes from the extensive menu are served before the performance begins, or if the occasion calls for something more classical, Schnitzel and beer.
 
Some of the concerts are pitched at younger and some for older people. There’s also cabaret. The autumn schedule includes a “Frank Sinatra tribute”, ORF icon Chris Lohner, the “Stehaufmanderln” cabaret artists or the “Generation M’s glamorous Disco Show”. For those interested, the Schutzhaus website provides details of the cultural diversity on offer.
 
More information on graetzlbericht.at

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