The time had finally come on 25 October 2017: the new Weltmuseum Wien opened its doors after three years of reconstruction – with a spectacular show curated by André Heller at Vienna’s Heldenplatz. More than 7,500 people came to celebrate with us and to light a beacon of tolerance, respect, cooperation. There was a great run on the Museum both after the show and for the Open House on 26 October 2017 – with around 9,500 visitors.
Artists from all across the world – from Australia across Mongolia, India, Iran, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Austria, and Switzerland to Mexico – had travelled to Austria for the museum event of the year, and their fascinating performances left a lasting impression on the audience. The unforgettable evening was hosted by Christoph Wagner-Trenkwitz, while Adele Neuhauser read from international literature between the music and dance performances.
In his speech Austrian President Alexander van der Bellen declared that he was already very fond of this “wonderful, new place of encounter”. In an attempt to ease our conscience, he explained that Austria “virtually had no colonial past”. Yet he still pointed out that any encounter with other cultures was once usually characterised by a “patronising sense of supremacy”. In his words, the new Weltmuseum Wien is not only intended to encounter others at eye level but also to “see ourselves with different eyes”.
Aside from guests from the world of diplomacy, politics, and business, our guests of honour included British actor Tilda Swinton as well as the two world-famous directors Wes Anderson and Michael Haneke.