Franz Joseph 1830-1916

The 21 November 2016 will mark the centenary of the death of Emperor Franz Joseph, who ruled over the Habsburg Monarchy for sixty-eight years. Ascending the throne at the age of eighteen, he came to symbolize the Danube Monarchy, a figurehead who united this agglomeration of disparate ethnicities and territories. However, his policies left many of the problems of the multinational state unresolved, and in the long run led to its collapse. In retrospect it could be said that only a thin veneer of pomp covered the divisive social, national and political tensions of the Francisco-Josephinian epoch.

The exhibition will take a critical approach to exploring the personality of the emperor. While focusing on the monarch as an individual, it will not exclude the political aspects which were an integral part of the ruler’s function.

Divided into a number of different focal themes, this large-scale temporary exhibition is being organized by the Schloss Schönbrunn Kultur- und Betriebsges.m.b.H. in collaboration with the Kaiserliche Wagenburg Wien and the Bundesmobilienverwaltung, and will take place in four different locations in Vienna and Lower Austria.

Man & Monarch –
Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna - daily 9 am–5 pm
The focus of the exhibition at Schönbrunn will be on Franz Joseph as man and monarch. This part is dedicated to Franz Joseph as an individual. The focus of the displays in the impressive temporary exhibition space on the ground floor of Schönbrunn Palace (the Bergl Rooms, White and Gold Rooms and the Crown Prince Apartment) will be on his ancestors and descendants, his childhood and upbringing, and the major events in his life, particularly his ascent to the throne in 1848, his betrothal and marriage to Princess Elisabeth in Bavaria (better known as Sisi), and the Compromise with Hungary and its consequences.

Majesty & Modesty –
Imperial Carriage Museum Vienna - daily 9 am–5 pm
The focus of the exhibition at the Imperial Carriage Museum Vienna will be on how the image of the emperor was represented, ranging from the opulent pomp due to a monarch to the personal modesty for which Franz Joseph was famed, as reflected in the vehicles that he used personally. In addition, three major ceremonial events from his long reign will be represented with surviving state carriages, magnificent trappings, exquisite gowns and court liveries: the wedding of the emperor to Elisabeth in Bavaria in 1854, his coronation in Hungary in 1867 and his funeral procession in 1916. Many people who witnessed the latter felt that it was not just a long-serving monarch but a whole epoch that was being laid to rest.

Festivities & Everyday Life –
Imperial Furniture Collection, Vienna - daily 10 am–6 pm
The focus at the Imperial Furniture Collection one of the largest collections of furniture in the world, will be on festivities and everyday life. The modest personal requirements of Franz Joseph the man contrast sharply with the magnificent lifestyle imposed upon him in the fulfilment of his ceremonial duties. His life as ruler was punctuated by grand festivities and journeys full of elaborate protocol. The exhibition takes as its starting point the assassination attempt made on the young emperor in 1853, an event that was quickly exploited to improve the emperor’s image, which had suffered badly in the revolution of 1848. The exhibition concludes with a critical exploration of the afterlife and legend of Franz Joseph in various media, for example film, then a very new medium, and the ‘emperor cult’ from 1918 to the present day. It is thanks to the technological progress that took place during his lifetime that Franz Joseph became the first emperor to be immortalized in moving images and voice recordings.

Hunting & Recreation –
Schloss Niederweiden, Lower Austria - daily 10 am–6 pm
At Schloss Niederweiden in the Marchfeld region of Lower Austria, not far from Schloss Hof, the country seat of Prince Eugene of Savoy, the exhibition will be devoted to hunting and recreation. From his earliest youth, in addition to his passion for all things military, Franz Joseph had shown a great love of riding and hunting. This was a traditional sport of the nobility, and one which had been the favourite pastime of the Habsburg dynasty for centuries. Besides focusing on Franz Joseph’s personal predilection for the chase, the exhibition will also provide an overview of the Habsburg hunting grounds, in particular the discovery of the Salzkammergut, with Bad Ischl and its surrounding hunting reserves. Further focal themes are shooting parties and their political importance as well as the passion for hunting shared by other Habsburgs such as Crown Prince Rudolf and the heir to the throne Franz Ferdinand, the administration of hunting at the court and the records of the kills, which in Franz Joseph’s case, given his longevity, were considerable.


Current Dates

  • Thu. 27 Oct 2016
  • Fri. 28 Oct 2016
  • Sat. 29 Oct 2016
  • Sun. 30 Oct 2016
  • Mon. 31 Oct 2016
  • Tue. 01 Nov 2016
  • Wed. 02 Nov 2016
  • Thu. 03 Nov 2016
  • Fri. 04 Nov 2016
  • Sat. 05 Nov 2016
All dates

All Dates


  • Sun. 06 Nov 2016
  • Mon. 07 Nov 2016
  • Tue. 08 Nov 2016
  • Wed. 09 Nov 2016
  • Thu. 10 Nov 2016
  • Fri. 11 Nov 2016
  • Sat. 12 Nov 2016
  • Sun. 13 Nov 2016
  • Mon. 14 Nov 2016
  • Tue. 15 Nov 2016
  • Wed. 16 Nov 2016
  • Thu. 17 Nov 2016
  • Fri. 18 Nov 2016
  • Sat. 19 Nov 2016
  • Sun. 20 Nov 2016
  • Mon. 21 Nov 2016
  • Tue. 22 Nov 2016
  • Wed. 23 Nov 2016
  • Thu. 24 Nov 2016
  • Fri. 25 Nov 2016
  • Sat. 26 Nov 2016
  • Sun. 27 Nov 2016