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Highlights and a big flop: What’s left of “Linz 09”.

Highlights and a big flop: What’s left of “Linz 09”.
The new south wing of Linz Castle was opened in July 2009.
Image: Weihbold
Linz 09
Logo of “Linz 09”
Image: Linz 09

In 1985, the EU awarded the title of “European Capital of Culture” to Athens for the first time. The initial idea was to provide insights into cultural life in order to bring the EU countries closer together. Since 1999, several cities or regions have received this award every year. Sustainability has now also become more important with regard to the development of the venue. The question of “what remains” also arises in Linz. Upper Austria’s state capital was the European Capital of Culture in 2009.

From the OÖN archive:

  • Linz09 has changed the city and also the people
  • Linz09: The billing doesn’t happen at the end

What remained of “Linz 09”?

Linz09 – with a budget of a good 60 million euros and led by Martin Heller – in turn caused a rethink in people’s minds. The image change that Linz has been striving for for years from an industrial city to a city with contemporary culture has been somewhat successful. The Upper Austrian capital developed geographically between the two cultural strongholds of Vienna and Salzburg as a city of modernity, which was made more livable and interesting through cultural impulses. The prospect of becoming a cultural capital spurred a number of major projects in Linz at the time, which would probably have been realized anyway, but perhaps only much later.

Linz 09
Logo of “Linz 09”
Image: Linz 09

The Capital of Culture highlights – and a big flop:

  1. AEC: The greatly enlarged AEC, which was technically upgraded with the new Deep Space and externally upgraded with a highly visible illuminated facade, was reopened in time for the start of the Capital of Culture year.
    -> The OÖNachrichten reported 15 years ago: “>Eight million euros for the AEC facade
  2. Linz Castle: The south wing of Linz Castle, which was rebuilt after 200 years and gave it a more contemporary appearance and more space for the State Museum’s collection, was also completed in 2009.
    -> A south wing to open the south wing
  3. Musical theater: The application and later the award as Cultural Capital finally brought speed to a debate that had been going on for over four decades about a new music theater in Linz. Even though it only started operations in 2013, the new building at Linz’s Volksgarten turned the dusty state theater into a modern multi-disciplinary building that is recognized across the region.
  4. Elevation rush: But new formats also emerged that survived in 2009: The Höhenrausch, an exhibition above the roofs of the city, turned out to be a crowd puller and, with more than 270,000 visitors, was the most visited project in the Capital of Culture. Further editions followed until 2021, but the format was initially discontinued not due to lack of success, but rather because of the dilapidation of the wooden walkways on the roof.
    -> The OÖN reported on the opening at the end of May 2009: Höhenrausch leads over the roofs of Linz to new perspectives
  5. “Culture Capital of the Leader”: Linz09 also provided inspiration for dealing with the Nazi past as “Hitler’s favorite city”. Although the focus on contemporary history remained controversial, the “Cultural Capital of the Leader” show was seen by almost 60,000 visitors.
  6. House “Bellevue”: Of course, things were initiated in 2009 that at first glance didn’t get off the ground, but whose basic idea lived on. So what was probably the most striking building in the Capital of Culture, the bright yellow “Bellevue” house above the Mühlkreisautobahn (A7), and the event hall in the harbor had to be quickly removed, but at least the harbor has since been greatly improved in terms of urban development.
    -> From the archive: Why the yellow house “Bellevue” had to go
  7. Ahoy Pop: After the Capital of Culture had already used the Donauhafen as a concert location, further cultural events were established around the Danube in the following years: the Ahoy Pop! summer open air took place on the Donaulände; last year it mutated into the larger Lido Sounds -Festival on the opposite bank.
  8. Bubble Days: In 2011, Bubble Days, a two-day harbor festival with graffiti, extreme sports and live music, was launched.
  9. Mural Harbor: In the following years, Mural Harbor became Europe’s largest graffiti and muralismo gallery.
  10. Linz 09 flop: However, the Linz09 project “Linzer Augen”, a rotating viewing platform in the Danube, was unlucky. Flooding and a series of technical breakdowns ensured that the installation, touted as the city’s “new landmark”, never turned.
    -> After the Sinking: What happened to the Linz Eye?

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