Book look: Ringstraße & refugees

Many stories have been told about the contraction of Vienna’s Ringstraße. Numerous anecdotes exist regarding the boulevard’s buildings and inhabitants throughout the past 150 years. Now a Viennese author has focused on original newspaper articles to create a realistic portrait of life around the Ringstraße in the old days. Thomas Hofmann writes about the public outcry concerning the Looshaus design. He reveals why the city centre’s Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart statue was relocated. The author also explains how police and city authorities tried to establish traffic rules. “Rund um den Ring. Alltag und Festtag in Wien” is a vivid portrait of the Austrian capital’s most famous road. With its fantastic buildings such as the Burgtheater and the City Hall, the Ringstraße keeps attracting tourists from all over the world. This Sutton publication offers a closer look on the creation of the boulevard and how it developed until today. “Die Wiener Hofburg. Die unbekannten Seiten der Kaiserresidenz” is the title of another exciting historical Sutton release. The authors Bernhard A. Macek and Renate Holzschuh-Hofer take readers on a discovery through the 2,600 rooms of Hofburg Palace where the Federal President’s Office but also the National Library and the Lipizzaner stables are located. Other books released by the publishing house portray life in former times in different districts of Vienna and on the countryside.

Rund um den Ring. Alltag und Festtag in Wien
By Thomas Hofmann
Published by Sutton (

Which developments led to the opening of Europe’s borders last summer? How did Germany handle migration pressure before September 2015 – and which way will the country’s government take in the coming years as the war in Syria continues? “Und das ist erst der Anfang. Deutschland und die Flüchtlinge” is a comprehensive summary of the complex aspects regarding the refugee crisis which Europe’s leaders have to deal with. The book’s authors offer a serious analysis of statistics concerning refugees and migrants across the world before focusing on Germany – which is one of the most affected countries in Europe but not among the most pressurised in the world. ARD journalist Anja Reschke reflects on the increasing violence and hatred towards refugees in Germany – from insults to attacks on refugee accommodations. “Und das ist erst der Anfang. Deutschland und die Flüchtlinge” includes worrying news about the people in the most affected regions in Syria as well as a critical article on the perception of human trafficker by the media and the public. Furthermore, there is an article about the Sea Watch rescue initiative in the Mediterranean and personal stories told by refugees who speak about their experiences in Germany – from ambitious hopes to resignation. The addition of portrait photographs could be seen as taking a stance in favour of liberal migration policies – even towards people from countries like Serbia and Iran. Eventually Süddeutsche Zeitung editor Heribert Prantl calls for intensified efforts in tackling people’s misery. The decision to donate one Euro per purchased copy to a local refugee project caused furious reactions by many – another example for the worsening differences in opinion among Germans regarding accepting and helping refugees.

Und das ist erst der Anfang. Deutschland und die Flüchtlinge
By Stefan Buchen, Kristin Helberg and others
Published by Rowohlt (

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

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