AskDefine | Define linz

Dictionary Definition

Linz n : city in northern Austria on the Danube; noted as a cultural center [syn: Lentia]

Extensive Definition

Linz is the third largest city of Austria and capital of the state of Upper Austria ().
It is located in the north centre of Austria, approximately 30 km south of the Czech border, on both sides of the river Danube, the longest river of the European Union and the longest river in Europe after the Volga.
The population of the city itself is 189,343 (2007), and 271,000 in the Greater Linz conurbation.


The city was founded by the Romans, who called it "Lentia", but there was already a Celtic settlement called "Lentos", and was first noted in 799 AD. It was a provincial and local government city of the Holy Roman Empire, and an important trading point connecting several routes, on either side of the river Danube from the East to the West and Bohemia and Poland from north to the Balkans and Italy to the south. Being the city where the Habsburg Emperor Friedrich III spent his last years, it was, for a short period of time, the most important city in the empire. It lost its status to Vienna and Prague after the death of the Emperor in 1493.
One important inhabitant of the city was Johannes Kepler, who spent several years of his life in the city studying mathematics. He discovered, on May 15, 1618, the distance-cubed-over-time-squared — or 'third' — law of planetary motion. Kepler is the namesake of the local public university. Another famous citizen was Anton Bruckner, who spent the years between 1855 and 1868 working as a local composer and church organist in the city. The local concert hall "Brucknerhaus" and a local private music and arts university are named after him.
Adolf Hitler was born in the border town of Braunau am Inn but moved to Linz in his childhood, spending most of his youth there. Hitler's parents are buried in the town of Leonding, near Linz. Hitler was enrolled in the Realschule [school], as was the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. Hitler had extensive architectural plans for Linz, and wanted to it to be the main cultural centre of the Third Reich. The Rathaus on the Hauptplatz (the Town Hall on the Main square) was used by Hitler to proclaim the Grossdeutsches Reich during the Anschluss of 1938. In order to make the city economically vibrant Hitler initiated a major industrialization of Linz shortly before, and during, World War II. Many factories were dismantled in the newly-acquired Czechoslovakia, and then reassembled in Linz, where they were known as the Hermann-Göring-Werke. This factory still exists today as the voestalpine steel company. Linz grew to become a major industrial area; manufacturing chemicals and steel for the Nazi war machine. The Mauthausen-Gusen camps, where stone for Hitler's prestige projects across the Reich was quarried and the last Nazi concentration camps to be liberated, are located near Linz. The main camp in Mauthausen is just 15.6 miles (25km) away.
After the war, the river Danube that runs around Linz — from the eastern side to the northern side — which separates the Urfahr district in the north from the rest of Linz — served as the border between the Russian and American occupation troops. The Nibelungen bridge that spans the Danube river from the Hauptplatz (main square) was at that time Linz's version of Checkpoint Charlie. The Nibelungen Brücke with the two bridge head buildings is the only architectural plan Hitler ever carried out in Linz.

Population development

The agglomeration includes (parts of) 13 other municipalities with together 271,000 inhabitants. Linz is also part of the Linz-Wels-Steyr metropolitan area of Upper Austria, home to around one third of the state's population (460,000 people) and second-largest urban area in Austria.


Linz is divided into 9 districts and 36 statistical quarters. They are:
  1. Innenstadt: Altstadtviertel, Rathausviertel, Kaplanhofviertel, Neustadtviertel, Volksgartenviertel, Römerberg-Margarethen
  2. Waldegg: Freinberg, Froschberg, Keferfeld , Bindermichl, Spallerhof, Wankmüllerhofviertel, Andreas-Hofer-Platz-Viertel
  3. Lustenau: Makartviertel, Franckviertel, Hafenviertel
  4. St. Peter
  5. Kleinmünchen: Kleinmünchen, Neue Welt, Scharlinz, Bergern, Neue Heimat, Wegscheid, Schörgenhub
  6. Ebelsberg
  7. Urfahr: Alt-Urfahr, Heilham, Hartmayrsiedlung, Harbachsiedlung, Karlhofsiedlung, Auberg
  8. Pöstlingberg:Pöstlingberg, Bachl-Gründberg
  9. St. Magdalena: St. Magdalena, Katzbach, Elmberg


Linz is an industrial city. The Voestalpine AG is a large steel concern (founded as the "Hermann Göring Werke" during WWII), and which is known for the LD- ("Linz-Donawitz") procedure for the production of steel, and the former "Chemie Linz" chemical group, which has been split up into several companies. This has made Linz one of Austria's most important economic centres. Linz is also the home of PEZ — makers of peppermint candy.
Linz also serves as an important transportation hub for the region of both Upper Austria and, to a lesser degree, southern Bohemia. The "Blue Danube" Linz Airport lies about 6.25 miles (10km) southwest of the town centre. Direct flights include Frankfurt, Zurich and Vienna with additional seasonal routes added during the summer and winter months. Ryanair fly to London Stansted Airport.
The city lies on Austria's main rail axis, the so-called "Westbahn", linking Vienna with western Austria, Germany and Switzerland. There are also varying types of river transport on the Danube; from industrial barges to tourist cruise ships.

Main sights

The main street "Landstraße" leads from the "Blumauerplatz" to the main square. In the middle of this square the high "Pestsäule" ("plague column", also known as "Dreifaltigkeitssäule" (Dreifaltigkeit means Holy Trinity)) was built to remember the people who died in the plague epidemics.
Near the castle, which is located on the same site as the old Roman fortress Lentia was once built — and also being the former seat of Friedrich the III — the oldest Austrian church is located: Sankt/Saint Martins church. It was built during early medieval Carolingian times.
Other sights include:
  • St. Mary's Cathedral (Mariendom), Roman Catholic.
  • Pöstlingberg-Kirche
  • Brucknerhaus — the concert hall named after the composer Anton Bruckner, who was born in Ansfelden, a small town next to Linz.
  • Gugl Stadium, is home to the LASK (Linzer Athletik Sport Klub), which is claimed to be the third oldest soccer club in Austria.
  • The Linzer Lanschaftliche Theater or Landestheater is the theater Adolf Hitler and his friend August Kubizek always went to, to hear Wagner.


The city is now home to a vibrant music and arts scene that is well-funded by the city and the state of Upper Austria. Between the Lentos Art Museum and the "Brucknerhaus", is the "Donaulände", which is also referred to as "Kulturmeile" ("culture mile"). This is a park alongside the river, which is used mainly by young people to relax and meet in summer. It is also used for the Ars Electronica Festival and the "Linz Fest". Linz has other culture institutions, such as the Posthof, which is near the harbour, and the Stadtwerkstadt, which is by the Danube river. Linz will become the European Capital of Culture in 2009.


Recently built (2003) was the new modern art gallery called "Lentos". It is situated on the south banks of the river Danube. The building can be illuminated at night from the inside with blue, pink, red, and violet, due to its glass casing.
The Ars Electronica Center (AEC) is a museum and research facility on the north bank of the Danube (in the Urfahr district), across the river from the Hauptplatz (main square). The AEC is a significant world center for new media arts, attracting a large gathering of technologically-oriented artists every year for the Ars Electronica festival. The AEC museum is home to one of the few public 3D CAVEs in Europe.


The Brucknerhaus, the most important concert hall in Linz, and is named after Anton Bruckner. It is situated just some 200 meters away from the "Lentos". It is home to the "Bruckner Orchestra", and is frequently used for concerts, as well as Balls and other events.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wrote his Symphony No. 36 (1783) in Linz for a concert to be given there, and the work is known today as the Linz Symphony. The first version of Anton Bruckner's Symphony No. 1 in C minor is known as the Linz version.
Along with Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, Linz will be the European Capital of Culture in 2009.

Colleges and universities

The Johannes Kepler University is situated in the north-east of Linz, and hosts law, business, social sciences, engineering, and science faculties; it currently has about 11,000 students. A spin-off of the university, as well as a Fachhochschule for different computer-related studies, (polytechnic) is 20 miles north of Linz in the small town of Hagenberg im Mühlkreis. Linz also has three other universities:
Amongst the many "Gymnasien" (high schools) in Linz, is Linz International School Auhof (LISA), which is one of four IB (International Baccalaureate) schools in Austria, and which uses English as the main language of instruction.

Born, and living in Linz

Living in Linz:

Twin towns

Linz is twinned with:



  • Kimberley Cornish: The Jew of Linz, 1998. ISBN 0-7126-7935-9
  • Satchell, Tim. Astaire, The Biography. Hutchinson, London. 1987. ISBN 0-09-173736-2

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