Vienna: a sprawling city of expression, flavor, and beauty. Known the world over as the wellspring of Western Classical Music, Vienna is also recognized by many as the City of Dreams. But how did it come by this alluring title, and why does it still ring so true so many years later?
It is possible that Vienna is called the City of Dreams as a sort of veiled reference to one of its most internationally renowned citizens, one whose ideas about the human mind shifted modern culture irrevocably. Sigmund Freud was a psychoanalyst who lived and practicing for nearly 47 years in Vienna, and the central tenet of one of his most well-known texts ”Die Traumdeutung” (”The Interpretation of Dreams”), is centered on the theory that dreams symbolically fulfill wishes. Perhaps over its many years of existence, the dreams of its citizens were manifested in the evolution of Vienna.
Sigmund Freud’s address of Berggasse 19 is still around today, albeit in the form of the Sigmund Freud Museum. Proclaimed an honorary citizen of Vienna in 1924, the “father of psychoanalysis” had this to say about the prospect of fleeing his place of practice to avoid the encroaching present of the Nazis: ”This is my post, and I can never leave it.” It should be noted that Vienna was a city that Freud had, for many years, professed to greatly dislike. Perhaps there was an unconscious motive at play, or perhaps he just appreciated the art and architecture of the great city.
Vienna still maintains its international reputation as a haven for arts and culture of all shapes and sizes. Boasting more than 100 museums, many of them art galleries, the city is alive with pieces commemorating the classical and the avant garde of numerous periods. From its Museum of Art History to the palatial Galerie Belvedere, the Middle Ages and Baroque periods continue to captivate younger generations who throng their hallways hungry for the magic of the past. If books or trains are your thing, there is the Austrian Library and Technical Museum, respectively, and one can’t go wrong with a quick trip to the Imperial Furniture Collection. Don’t worry, there’s plenty of normal furniture to sit on if you’re in need of some recuperation. Vienna is a city you can spend a lifetime exploring, and each visit brings with it a host of special memories.
If it isn’t rooted in the Subconscious Mind or in the Eye of the Beholder, maybe Vienna’s namesake originates from its unofficial anthem. Composed by Rudolf Sieczyński, an Austrian composer of Polish ancestry, “Wien, du Stadt meiner Träume” (Vienna, City of My Dreams) is a song that encapsulates the timeless nature of the city. With melody and lyrics written in 1914, this nostalgic piece of music is one that a night of revelry and merry-making is simply incomplete without. The yearning of a traveler, seeking far and wide that old familiar place that they feel at home, is something each of us can relate to. And so, the lyrics ring out over the starry nights so bright and full of love: for the beautiful things in Vienna, for you and for all of us. Together where we can dream in peace.