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MAK - Museum of Applied Arts in Vienna: Fantastic Viennese Biedermeier and Much More!

Updated: Apr 3, 2023

Join us on a visit to the Museum angewandter Kunst MAK in central Vienna and you will have a phenomenal show of Biedermeier, Barocco and 20th century design.

Viennese Biedermeier at its best.

Opened in 1864, the MAK in Vienna is a rare cultural phenomenon in the imperial Austria as it brought to life the first cultural institution that was not based on an imperial or aristocratic collection. Although established by emperor Franz Joseph I, the museum was based on the British model of what is today known as the Victoria and Albert Museum, with the idea was to serve as an exemplary collection for artists, industrialists and the public. The new concept of "bourgeois-liberal understanding of promoting trade and crafts" was geared towards the needs of the population and producers, the "not-so-much-haves" rather than the "haves" of the imperial society. A great success right from the beginning!

After a few years in a temporary location in the Vienna Hofburg, the museum was opened in the current building with a breath-taking columned main hall in 1871. As soon as in 1909 the School of Arts and Crafts was kicked out and the museum also got an enlargement with large exhibition halls that made MAK Austria’s largest showroom allowing Biedermeier to march in as the tune of Vienna under the topic of Kunst und Kunsthandwerk, Art and Craft. After a complete renovation of the museum’s old buildings, a two-storey underground storage and exhibition area and a separate glass wing were added in 1991 making the marvellous museum what it is today for you and me to enjoy.

MAK’s permanent collection covers a range of areas from Viennese design 1890 - 1938, arts and crafts, carpets, Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo and perhaps most importantly for us, regular museum lovers looking for The Design in Vienna - the Empire Style, Biedermeier and Art Nouveau that you can also enjoy everywhere when you take a walk downtown Vienna. The highlights include items from the Wiener Werkstätte, a lot of wonderful chairs and furniture, Gustav Klimt’s cartoons, Flemish and Italian lace and much more. You will not be disappointed! With over 300.000 objects displayed online, the MAK also presents the largest online collection within the Austrian Federal Museums if you cannot make it to Vienna.

As a curiosity, the MAK was chosen the Museum of the Year by the Council of Europe in 1996, and rightly so! Not only is the museum extremely fascinating but it also provides the visitor with the best possible service one can imagine. The loos - all accessible - are where one needs them. The barrier free entry just a step to the right from the main entrance takes you right to the fabulous entry hall with the ticket desk, entry to the shop and the restaurant and good lifts fly you everywhere else in the building! This is how museums should be in order to allow you to make your visit just perfect!

The museum shop is full of interesting design stuff from sports clothes to books, from unusual (erh, read: totally unnecessary?) to practical gifts, design objects and stuff by Austrian and international designers. An absolute must and not only for the compulsory gift to the umpteenth cousin next Christmas!

Restaurant Salonplafond at the MAK is situated right behind the MAK shop but you can enter it also directly from the street for breakfast, drinks or a dinner, sometimes with music (both DJ and live, check the web!). There is also a lovely terrace and a garden section outside in the inner yard of the museum. The original design and historical furniture make the atmostphere just fabulous. Do not forget to visit!

Museum für ­ angewandte­ Kunst

Stubenring 5, 1010 Vienna


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