Book look: Disasters & war diaries

Devastating thunderstorms, destructive earthquakes and powerful volcano eruptions – a new book presents a history of the worst natural disasters in the history of mankind. Hans-Dieter Otto – the author of several books concerning juridical issues and “Verpasste Siege” about defeats of the Austrian military – recounts the history of pre-Christian disasters but also writes about more recent occurrences. On 200 pages, “Über uns kein Himmel? Die größten Katastrophen der Menschheitsgeschichte” – which features several illustrations – analyses the substantial effects of the quakes and tornados on the affected regions and their inhabitants. Furthermore, Otto takes a look at the future impact of climate change.

Über uns kein Himmel? Die größten Katastrophen der Menschheitsgeschichte
By Hans-Dieter Otto
Published by Residenz Verlag (

Hundreds of letters, diaries, photographs and propaganda posters have been investigated to create a remarkable book about personal fates in World War One. The title of the 440-page Residenz Verlag publication “Es ist Frühling, und ich lebe noch” (It’s springtime, and I’m still alive) stands for the desperate situation European citizens and soldiers were in between 1914 and 1918. Marcel Atze and Kyra Waldner document the experiences of Alban Berg, Stefan Zweig and others during the First World War. Their book – which has been released in connection with an exhibition at the Vienna City Hall Library – features many personal notes and photos (one image even depicts fraternisation in the trenches), but also official releases by the Austrian-Hungarian Empire like a picture showing Franz Joseph I visiting wounded soldiers in a hospital.

“Es ist Frühling, und ich lebe noch”
By Marcel Atze and Kyra Waldner
Published by Residenz Verlag (

::: The Austrian Culture Channel on Twitter: @accthomas

Book look: Kneissl & Köln

An Austrian expert on the Arab region has released a new book in which she links personal estimations with precise examinations of religion and culture in Egypt, Israel and other countries. Karin Kneissl spent many years in the Middle East. She looks back on various diplomatic and journalistic assignments. Now based on the Lower Austrian countryside, Kneissl presents “Mein Naher Osten”. On 230 pages, she reflects on the different personal and professional experiences. Kneissl also analyses the effects of the Arab Spring movement and the role of newspapers and broadcasters. The journalist – a regular interview partner of various ORF programmes such as “Weltjournal” and “Zeit im Bild” – creates a lively and varied portrait of the Middle East, a region full of beauty and hospitality but also shattered by civil wars, inequality and religious fundamentalism.

Mein Naher Osten
By Karin Kneissl
Published by Braumüller (

1. FC Köln and Bayern Munich are among Germany’s most popular teams. What divides the clubs is their history. While the Munich-based team’s statistics show very few dark spots, the Cologne squad’s fans had to endure a lot throughout the decades. Now a comprehensive club encyclopaedia provides supporters of the tradition-rich Bundesliga team with all the statistics and facts they need – as well as fantastic photographs and hilarious anecdotes. “Im Zeichen des Geißbocks. Die Geschichte des 1. FC Köln” has been created by true experts. Dirk Unschuld previously presented “Als der Geißbock Moped fuhr”, Thomas Hardt is specialised in groundhopping subjects and various German football issues while Frederic Latz works as club spokesman. The trio considered articles about 1. FC Köln legends like Wolfgang Weber and Bodo Illgner, but also detailed statistic sections for every season. All these aspects make “Im Zeichen des Geißbocks” an essential part of every supporter’s library.

Im Zeichen des Geißbocks
By Dirk Unschuld, Thomas Hardt and Frederic Latz
Published by Verlag Die Werkstatt (

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Europa League euphoria as Rapid attack Admira lead

Rapid are determined to get back on track in the league after yesterday’s fantastic Europa League victory.

The Vienna-based team beat Spanish giants Villareal 2-1 after being 0-1 down at half time. Ahead of the match, Zoran Barisic warned his team by describing the Primera Division side as a “Little Barca” due to their style of play.

Now the Rapid coach must prepare his team for the upcoming Bundesliga match. On Sunday, the Green-Whites face Admira. The Lower Austrian side are sensationally in the lead in domestic football after overtaking Rapid. Admira are managed by ex-FK Austria midfielder Ernst Baumeister and Oliver Lederer, a former Rapid teammate of Barisic.

Rapid director Andreas Müller recently warned his team. Following the embarrassing 0-2 defeat against Altach in the Bundesliga, he declared the 2008 champions’ performance as “unworthy”. Now, after last night’s convincing Europa League performance, it seems as if Rapid have regained their infamous strength and skill.

For information regarding tickets, go to

The Austrian Bundesliga after eight of 36 rounds:

Admira Wacker, 17 points
SK Rapid, 16
FK Austria, 15
SV Mattersburg, 15
Red Bull Salzburg, 14
Altach, 9
SK Sturm Graz, 9
SV Grödig, 8
SV Ried, 5
Wolfsberger AC, 4

::: The Austrian Culture Channel on Twitter: @accthomas

Biedermeier brilliance

Vienna’s Belvedere Palace is dedicating its new current exhibit to a celebrated Biedermeier painter.2

Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller died 150 years ago. The artist, who was born in Vienna in 1793, is one of the best-known painters from the era today. Works created by Waldmüller have been part of acclaimed thematic exhibitions in Vienna and elsewhere. His style – the extraordinary focus on details and his unmatched precision – are almost unique.

“Hommage an Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller” (A Homage to Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller) is located in two Upper Belvedere showrooms. Curators decided to consider landscape sceneries depicting Ischl, the Dachstein mounting and trees in the Viennese Prater park as well as portraits and paintings showing residents of rural Austria at work. The special Waldmüller exhibition fits in perfectly on the second floor of the museum as artworks by Anton Romako, Claude Monet and others are on display in the adjacent rooms.

For additional information, visit

::: The Austrian Culture Channel on Twitter: @accthomas

Rock stars ready for refugees event

Austrian artists gather for an extraordinary charity event.1

Pop-rock band Tagtraeumer (pictured), rockers Kreisky, comedian Thomas Stipsits and many others will perform at Heldenplatz square in Vienna on October 3rd to support Volkshilfe’s charity efforts for refugees.

In the past few weeks, #refugeeswelcome has become much more than just a hashtag. Various initiatives have organised support for people fleeing from war in Syria, Iraq and other regions. Konstantin Wecker, Christoph & Lollo and the many other participants of “Voices for Refugees” are about to send a strong message. The upcoming Viennese music event – which will be free of charge as the audience will be asked to donate – wants to signalise humanity, solidarity, understanding and respect towards refugees. The concert sends a strong message.



::: The Austrian Culture Channel on Twitter: @accthomas

Book look: Austrian literature & an American legend

An Austrian publishing company’s 99 questions series continues as an expert investigates crucial issues concerning the country’s writers and their releases. In “99 Fragen zur österreichischen Literatur”, now out by Ueberreuter, Winfried Kriegleder explains various complex regards. The literary studies lecturer reveals Nikolaus Lenau’s nationality, the influence of Maria Theresa on literature in her empire and he explains the special role of Franz Grillparzer. Furthermore, Kriegleder examines the situation of domestic literature during the Cold War and portrays Austria’s infamous literature legends, Thomas Bernhard and Peter Handke.

99 Fragen zur österreichischen Literatur
By Wynfrid Kriegleder
Published by Ueberreuter (

A spectacular picture book dedicated to the American bison has now been published as the photographs are also drawing the crowds at an Austrian museum. Heidi Koch & Hans-Jürgen Koch travelled to the United States to document the impressive animals in the Great Plains. Once almost exterminated, experts are trying to increase their numbers today. The Koch couple’s picture book “Buffalo Ballad. On the Trail of an American Icon” features breathtaking panorama views on the unique landscapes and bison herds. However, the Edition Lammerhuber release also impresses with beautiful detail images. An exhibition featuring a selection of the “Buffalo Ballad” photographs by Heidi Koch & Hans-Jürgen Koch is currently on display at the Naturhistorisches Museum (Museum of Natural History, Vienna. It is not the first major exhibition of photos by the duo. Heidi Koch & Hans-Jürgen Koch started working as photographers more than 25 years ago. Exhibits took place in Copenhagen, Stockholm, Kiev and several German cities.

Buffalo Ballad. On the Trail of an American Icon
By Heidi Koch & Hans-Jürgen Koch
Published by Edition Lammerhuber (

::: The Austrian Culture Channel on Twitter: @accthomas

Book look: three-country competition at Lake Constance

The Bodensee (Lake Constance) region is one of the most stunning areas in Central Europe. Cycling, swimming, sailing – for those who love sports, the region must feel like paradise. However, various cultural attractions such as the Bregenzer Festspiele (Bregenz Festival) are certain to fascinate lovers of art. The area has always inspired writers – from Hermann Hesse to Martin Walser.1

Picturesque places like Mainau and Konstanz are drawing tourists from all over the world throughout the seasons. They all enjoy discovering the beautiful towns of Switzerland, Germany and Austria along the 273-kilometre shore of the marvellous lake.

One of the biggest sports events of the region is set to take place on the 4th of October: this year’s edition of the 3-Länder-Marathon. Participants will run along lakeshores in all three countries before finishing the race at the Casino Stadium of Bregenz.

Various events such as a Pasta Party will be organised as well to create a perfect weekend for all runners and their friends and families. For more information, visit the official 3-Länder-Marathon website:

Dumont’s Bodensee Bildatlas is an ideal guide for holidaymakers coming to the Lake Constance area. On 120 pages, the publication features many useful tips, addresses and links for destinations in Switzerland, Germany, Austria and Liechtenstein. Readers can find out more about the best sites to go swimming. The Bildatlas also provides information regarding cycling, the local vineyards and the tradition-rich cheese production.

By Cornelia Tomaschko and Johann Scheibner
Published by Dumont (

::: The Austrian Culture Channel on Twitter: @accthomas

From 19th century kitsch to Wurm & Weibel

A museum in Graz is challenging our perception of landscape-themed art by enriching the topic with contemporary experiments.

Thinking of landscape paintings, few will get too excited. Idealised canvases from the 19th century prove artists’ skills but there is not a lot which can surprise experienced exhibit visitors anymore.

Now the Neue Galerie, which is part of the Universalmuseum Joanneum, presents landscape-related artworks from the 19th century to extraordinary creations by influential 21st century artists like Hamish Fulton and Peter Weibel.

The scale of the exhibition called “Landschaft. Transformation einer Idee” (Landscape. Transformation of an Idea) is impressive. It is staged at several showrooms on two floors. But despite this vast space, the exhibit curated by Gudrun Danzer and Günther Holler-Schuster never gets boring.

“Landschaft. Transformation einer Idee” includes stylistically conservative paintings by Thomas Ender and Jakob Gauermann but also modern art from Slovenia and created by renowned Austrians like Erwin Wurm and Herbert Brandl.

Neue Galerie Graz visitors should not miss the museum’s Wilhelm Thöny and Maria Lassnig showrooms.


::: The Austrian Culture Channel on Twitter: @accthomas