Not long ago, Austria was viewed as the meringue of the Germanic world: beautiful to look at, yet somewhat dry when one actually bit in. But the country has reinvented itself, pouring resources into cutting-edge arts institutions while lovingly elevating the cultural jewels that made it so beloved in days gone by. In Vienna, a wave of new hotels is catering to a younger, hipper crowd. None is more emblematic of the changing capital than the Andaz Vienna Am Belvedere, part of a more than $240 million development project surrounding the city’s central train station, which was completely rebuilt in 2015. Across the street, one of Vienna’s preeminent venues for contemporary art has been rechristened the Belvedere 21, and the nearby Belvedere palaces, two Baroque buildings filled with classical art, have been beautifully renovated. Over in the ninth district, the Freud Museum has moved into two temporary locations while its main building readies for a May reopening; the expanded space will give access to Freud’s family quarters and add a nearly 40,000-volume library. It’s also a celebration-packed year for Austria’s classical music world. The legendary concert hall Musikverein turns 150, and this year marks the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth. His party in Vienna will last through 2020, with events like a weeks-long series of all of his symphonies by the Vienna Philharmonic and dozens of concerts at Wiener Konzerthaus and Musikverein. Plus, the world-renowned Salzburg Festival celebrates its centennial this summer with theatrical premieres and performances ranging from avant-garde chamber music to lavish productions of opera classics such as Tosca, Don Giovanni, and Elektra.
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