• View of the Esplanade in Bad Ischl / Bad Ischl

    European Capital of Culture Bad Ischl Salzkammergut 2024

    Bad Ischl and 22 towns in the Salzkammergut region, spanning across the provinces of Upper Austria and Styria, present their cultural and modern diversity in 2024, guided by the motto "Culture is the new salt." The highlights will focus on new impulses for the future as well as the region's multitude of historical and contemporary art and culture. We have picked our top 12 tips, so you know what to expect in 2024.

    Salzkammergut Hallstatt - Lake Hallstatt / Hallstättersee

    Culture is the new salt

    • Banner city:
      Bad Ischl
    • Opening:
      January 19 - 21, 2024
    • Participating towns:
    • Provinces:
      Upper Austria, Styria
    • Region:

    European Capital of Culture Bad Ischl Salzkammergut 2024

    The European Commission has been awarding the 'European Capital of Culture' annually since 1985. The project aims to highlight the incredible diversity of cultures and what they have in common, promoting a better mutual understanding among European citizens. The Bad Ischl Salzkammergut 2024 program explores the defining elements that shaped the region's past, present, and future through art.

    It will be integrated naturally into everyday life in the region, guaranteeing high authenticity. Each participating town has its own DNA, making exploring the region especially fun and exciting.

    Four program lines highlight new ideas for the future and showcase the region's wealth of traditional and contemporary art. The goal is to entertain as well as to encourage critical discussion and create space for reflection.

    The 4 Program Lines of the European Capital of Culture 2024

    Magical Locations in the Salzkammergut

    In Austria, it is not only art and culture itself that make every moment special. Locals are deeply rooted in their culture and traditions, and it is this relationship that brings everything to life.

    There are many locations that exude a very distinctive atmosphere: A unique combination of mountains, forests, and towns that can be experienced with all five senses. This beauty inspired many artists such as Gustav Klimt, Johannes Brahms, and Franz Schubert, and it continues to attract creative people to this day. The Salzkammergut, with its varied landscape, nestled between mountains, rivers and lakes, is truly a magical destination.

    •                         Salzkammergut Bad Ischl - Kaiservilla exterior view / Kaiservilla Bad Ischl

      Bad Ischl: The Salzkammergut's secret capital

      Bad Ischl is rich in architecture, culture and tradition. In 2024, it will also be the focal point of the European Capital of Culture Bad Ischl Salzkammergut – with an eye towards the future.
      Bad Ischl in the Salzkammergut
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      Gustav Klimt loved art, women and Lake Attersee

      Gustav Klimt found peace and inspiration at Lake Attersee in the Salzkammergut region. Many of his floral landscape paintings were created there.
      Read more
    •                         Salzkammergut Altaussee

      Lake Altaussee, Inkpot for Literary Luminaries

      Entire shelves full of books have been written on the banks of Lake Altaussee. We want to find out why.
      Literature in the Salzkammergut
    •                         Salzkammergut - Saltmine Altaussee

      Salt in the Mountain

      About 7000 years ago, salt mining began in the Salzburg Lake District. Today, visitors can dive into the world of miners, workmen and water seers in Hallstatt and Altaussee. Welcome to a journey through the world of salt! 
      Discover the World of Salt
    •                         Salzkammergut Lake Mondsee - Daniel Laganda with harmonica

      Music in the Salzkammergut: A Mondsee-Serenade

      The landscapes of the Salzkammergut have long attracted composers: Richard Strauss, Franz Schubert, Gustav Mahler.
      Music in the Salzkammergut

    The connecting elements: salt, water and wood

    The mining and processing of the all-important salt, often referred to as ‘white gold’, was only possible because of the abundance of water and wood in the region. One could argue that these three elements are the foundation of the unique cultural heritage and the fascination of the region. Not only did they shape the area’s impressive landscape, rich history, and lively culture, but they influence it to this day.

    Where does the name Salzkammergut come from?

    Salinen Austria Natural Salt

    'White gold' was so precious in former times that the region of today's Salzkammergut (Lake District) was under the direct jurisdiction of the imperial magistrate in Vienna, the Hofkammer, which managed the finances of the Habsburg empire. That made it a “Kammergut,” which is where the name Salz(Salt)kammergut comes from. Vienna watched the region closely. Its inhabitants were only allowed to leave with written permission, and strangers were rarely allowed in.

    This, of course, had consequences: While other parts of the multicultural Habsburg Monarchy were heavily influenced by impulses from outside, the Salzkammergut largely remained isolated. Traditions such as the wearing of local traditional dresses or “Paschen” (a rhythmical and very complex form of clapping to music) are still alive today.

    Sometimes, it seems as if there is a collective Salzkammergut-DNA: They say that people here have a healthy sense of self-worth, as well as a strong sense of community. And a certain rebellious attitude towards many decisions made far away in Vienna regarding their beautiful home.

    •                 Kurpark mit dem Kongress & TheaterHaus in Bad Ischl / Bad Ischl

    Event Highlights of the Capital of Culture Year

    •                         Lake castle Ort, lake Traunsee / Gmunden

      Plateau Blo. Space on the Lake

      Structures made of various swimming plateaus create different perspectives: They challenge your balance as well as your thinking.
    •                         Enjoy stunning scenery on board the ÖBB Railjet


      Along the route you’ll experience the history of the region via a curated app and virtual reality.
      From Attnang-Puchheim to the Tauplitz
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      Tavern Lab Salzkammergut 2024

      Tavern Culture Reloaded: Interventions, innovative culinary art and renowned chefs challenge established sequences and patterns.
      Tavern culture reloaded
    •                         Schloss Ort at Lake Traunsee / Seeschloss Ort, Gmunden

      From the Past into the Future

      QR-Codes help to make digital augmented-reality-sculptures visible. The artist reflects on the villages and their history.
      Eva Schlegel
    •                         Landscape seen from a train

      Salt Lake Cities

      Art(ists) revive(s) empty train stations: Young artists work, discuss and present their art.
    •                         Lake Traunsee and Traunstein

      Acta Liquida

      The waters of Lake Traunsee, its fish, climate change, and memories of fishing are all topics featured in this artistic documentation.
      Fishing culture at the Traunsee
    •                         View of the Esplanade in Bad Ischl / Bad Ischl

      Salt, Water, Wood and Art

      The main exhibition at the brewhouse tackles the topics of salt, water, and wood with objects, film, photography works, and installations.
      Sudhaus Bad Ischl
    •                         Lake Gosau, Upper Austria

      The Big Green Project

      Theatres, art collectives, and other cultural capitals combine their efforts to highlight climate change through art and culture.
      Green Initiative
    •                         Gmunden / Gmunden

      Bioregional Assembly Gmunden

      The project highlights ways to transition to a sustainable circular economy in the ecological region of the Salzkammergut.
      Bioregionale Sustainability
    •                         Music in the Salzkammergut

      21 June 2024: European Music & Mobility Day

      On this day, musicians worldwide conquer public spaces – also in the Salzkammergut.
      Fête de la Musique
    •                         Rainbow Parade

      Diversity of the Region

      'Salzkammerqueer' projects contribute to the flourishing of the LGBTIQ*-movement in the Alpine region – with ambassadors such as Tom Neuwirth, aka Conchita Wurst.

    "In a time when isolationism is on the rise and differences seem insurmountable, art and culture might be the only tools able to tame these forces and bridge the divide.”

    Kurpark mit dem Kongress & TheaterHaus in Bad Ischl / Bad Ischl
    Elisabeth Schweeger, Artistic Director European Capital of Culture Bad Ischl Salzkammergut 2024

    On artistic inspiration and summer relaxation

    The beauty of the Salzkammergut has long attracted those who need peace and quiet to do their work: poets, thinkers, painters, composers and writers.

    Lake Altaussee, it has been said, is like a huge ink well into which authors like to dip their quills – Barbara Frischmuth and Klaus Maria Brandauer are proof: Both were born here, ventured out into the world and returned to their roots.

    Gustav Mahler loved Lake Attersee; the composer wrote two symphonies in his holiday cottage in Steinbach. Christian Ludwig Attersee paints on the shores of Lake Attersee just like Gustav Klimt did during his time. Johannes Brahms lived in Gmunden for a few years, and Franz Schubert went there for his “Sommerfrische.”

    Indeed, there was a time when half the country seemed to spend summers in the Salzkammergut, especially in Bad Ischl. Robert Stolz, Franz Lehár, Johann Strauss, Theodor Herzl and Franz Werfel – nowhere else in Europe did one come across so many celebrities in such a small space. When, on top of it all, the emperor arrived with his entourage, Bad Ischl became the summer capital. Until the final days of his life, Franz Joseph spent nearly every summer in the Salzkammergut.

    •                         Franz Schubert (1797-1828), 1825 (w/c on paper) by Wilhelm August Rieder (1796-1880)

      Franz Schubert

      Poet and Master of the Song
    •                         Gustav Mahler potrait of the composer

      Gustav Mahler

      Conductor and Composer

    Bruckner Year 2024: The 200th Birthday of Anton Bruckner

    •                 Anton Bruckner, Black-and-White-Photography

      Anton Bruckner’s unusual composition style significantly shaped the world of music today. In 2024, the province of Upper Austria will celebrate his 200th birthday with a fulminant program.

      Anniversary Year

    5 facts you should know about the European Capital of Culture Bad Ischl Salzkammergut 2024

    Salzkammergut Hallstatt - Lake Hallstatt / Hallstättersee

    Information on Sustainable City and Culture Holidays

    How do we build the future? How will we build in the future? These are questions which art and culture events of the program series 'Globalokal – Building the New' attempt to tackle. The focus lies on the topics of ecology, climate change, and sustainability.

    The elements of water, salt and wood have shaped the Salzkammergut throughout the centuries. In light of climate change, water, in particular, is a key factor in driving solutions. This particular program highlights alternative paths and supports critical views, which will be the subject of various workshops, talks, and exhibitions.

    What is a "sustainable holiday"? It means treating resources and nature in a way that future generations will still have the chance to experience Austria's quality of life.