Austrian State Archives – Vienna, Austria - Atlas Obscura

Austrian State Archives

More than a millennium's worth of municipal records preserve the political history of Austria. 


From a 9th century charter belonging to a collection of deeds from the Houses of Babenberg and Habsburg, to records of Austria’s annexation and subsequent incorporation into the Third Reich in 1938, the Austrian State Archives (Österreichisches Staatsarchiv) maps over 1,000 years of Austrian history in political documents. 

This remarkable repository aims to conserve the nation’s heritage through the lens of its diplomatic relations, watershed political events, war reports, and more. Completed in 1986, the archive building in Vienna was includes a conservation workshop and a library containing some 800,000 books relating to the Habsburg Empire, the Holy Roman Empire, the German Nation, Austrian foreign policy, military history and technology, geography, genealogy, and the history of Austria’s political parties, all organized chronologically.

The archival effort began in the late 19th century, when the Austro-Hungarian Empire—which dissolved in 1918 and gave way to the First Austrian Republic, established in 1919—made several unsuccessful attempts to create a central archive for historical documents.

With the help of the Archival Advisory Council and the House, Court, and State Archives—established in 1749 to maintain the records of the House of Habsburg—disparate documents were slowly pieced together. By the 1950s, the archives were grouped and scattered across seven locations in Vienna. Decades later, construction finally began on a flagship location for the Austrian State Archives. 

In addition to the central archive in Vienna-Erdberg, two preexisting archives used as interim archives in the 1950s also remain in operation, located in 19th-century Viennese buildings at Minoritenplatz and Johannesgasse.

Know Before You Go

To access the Austrian State Archives in Nottendorfer Gasse by public transportation, take the underground line U3 to Erdberg and exit at Nottendorfer Gasse, or use bus lines 78A, 79A, 80B to the Erdberg/U3 stop. The central reading room on the ground floor and the open access library on the first floor are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday and Thursday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday.

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