Planetariums in Austria
Prof. Elis Strömgren, Director of the Copenhagen Observatory, wrote the following sentence in 1925:
“Never has a means of observation been created that is as instructive as this one, never one that has had a more enchanting effect, never one that addresses everyone to the same degree as this one. It is school, theatre, film all at once, a school hall under the vault of the sky and a spectacle where the heavenly bodies are actors.”
Only shortly after Elis Strömgren’s pioneering words about the planetarium, which was newly invented in 1923, the history of “star theatres” also began in Austria. Austria was the first country outside Germany, the country of invention, in which a planetarium was built. It was in Vienna in 1927 that the first planetarium was opened for the exhibition “Vienna and the Viennese”. Technically, it was the Model II projection device from Carl Zeiss Jena. Soon 100,000 and more visitors flocked to the temporary building at the Messepalast and so the new Vienna Planetarium was soon regarded as a true “wonder machine”.
At the beginning of the 1930s, the planetarium was relocated by contract to a new building at Vienna’s Praterstern. In the following years, however, operations at the new location came to an increasing standstill, and the Second World War ended the initial boom. After that, it took until 1964 when a new planetarium was built in Vienna near the Vienna Giant Ferris Wheel. The next planetariums were built in Klagenfurt in 1977, in Königsleiten (closed) in 1997, in Schwaz in 2001 and in Judenburg in 2006. The Digital Planetarium, which opened in September 2014 to mark the 125th anniversary of the Natural History Museum in Vienna, was closed and dismantled in January 2023 after less than 10 years of operation. This means that Vienna lost its digital planetarium after a short time. In June 2023, the Planetarium Schwaz reopened its doors as Your Dome.
Today, Austria’s planetariums attract well over 100,000 visitors a year. The programme of the houses ranges from children’s shows to school presentations and shows for adults to musical, cultural and scientific events.
You are welcome to explore the vastness of space with us in one of Austria’s planetariums. Experience cosmic hours – to discover the unknown, to expand horizons and to cross borders, because as the saying goes: