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Vienna is adding beaches on the Danube

Vienna is adding beaches on the Danube

About 25,000 m2 of new riverbank beaches will be free for everyone in the city

Vienna is reclaiming 25,000 m2 of previously privatised land so that it can offer it back to the citizens, providing them with even more free access to the water. On 14 July, the city council revealed the first redeveloped area on the left bank of the Upper Old Danube (Alte Donau).

Apricots and cherries for the visitors

A lot of properties owned by the City of Vienna around Mühlschüttelpark have been leased out for decades now. After some of the contracts started to expire in 2020 and the 21st district showed interest in their reclamation as public property, the city has started the process to reinvigorate the Upper Old Danube with an additional 25,000 m2 of public beaches on the river.

Visualisation the Alte DonauVisualization of the "Obere Alte Donau recreation area", Source: City of Vienna

The Vienna Water Department, which is responsible for all the territory around the city’s waterways began a gradual beautification and adaptation of the area this spring.  First, a new sunbathing spot covering nearly 5,000 m2 was levelled and greened.

Then trees were planted for shade with some of them being fruit trees, meaning apricots and cherries are freely available to the new beachfront visitors. Now the area is ready for the public and will open in mid-July.

Free water access for the Viennese

While some cities in Austria are increasing the amount of privatized water-adjacent properties, Vienna is swinging the other way. In addition to the already impressive 60-kilometre beachfront, a new 25,000 m2 will gradually be added along the Old Danube.

District Mayor of Floridsdorf Georg Papai has campaigned for reclaiming the areas in his district and is happy about the new development.

He was quoted in a press release, saying: “The Old Danube is an important local recreation area not only for Floridsdorfers but for everyone in our city. Freely accessible areas by the water without any need to consume are valuable commodities. With this project, we are setting an example that we in Floridsdorf know how to deal responsibly with this heritage."

Ulli Sima, the City Councilor responsible for Vienna's waters seconded his opinion, adding: "Free water access for everyone is a central concern of ours, unlike in many federal states, we do not privatize riverbanks, but open them and thus offer a free holiday feeling in the metropolis".

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