Open-Air Museum 'Museumsdorf Niedersulz', Austria Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything

Open-Air Museum 'Museumsdorf Niedersulz', Austria

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The Museumsdorf Niedersulz is located in Lower Austria's Weinviertel region. It shows typical buildings of a traditional village of this area at the time around 1900. The approximately 80 structures1 of the museum have been relocated to this place and arranged to depict also the typical layout of a small village at a creek. In addition to the houses there are also authentic gardens with flowers, vegetables, herbs and fruit trees.

What you can see

Today visitors enter the Museumsdorf through a contemporary entrance building at the top of a hill and walk down towards the creek from this point. Originally it was entered at the creek and the main street running along the water2. The unpaved path leads to the buildings from their 'back sides'. The visitor walks down through a field and passes a few enclosures with different farm animals. From there they can choose various paths through the village.

The typical houses consist of a rather short house at the main road with stables and other farm buildings attached at a right angle, stretching a long way from the road. They are accessible from the house through an open corridor which runs along the whole long side of the building. This corridor is an extension of the corridor leading through the house, beginning at the front door at the road and ending at the far end of the farm buildings. While the house for living is directly attached to the neighbouring houses on both sides, there is a garden between the farm building and the neighbour's farm building. At the end of each plot stands a wooden barn.

Apart from farm buildings the village also encompasses the buildings of various craftsmen like a shoemaker or a saddler. There is also a mill and a typical Gasthaus (inn) and shop. Of course the village would not be complete without a church and the regionally typical wine cellars. Most of the buildings can be entered and the completely furnished and decorated rooms can be viewed from the corridor. Various smaller objects also help to convey an authentic atmosphere, like, for instance dovecotes, dog houses and wells.

Visiting Niedersulz

The Dorfmuseum Niedersulz is situated about 40km (25 miles) north of Vienna. At first you follow the Autobahn A5 northwards in the direction of Brno (Czech Republic). You will find street signs leading you to the museum starting at the right exit. On the drive you can enjoy the landscape rolling hills and small villages in the middle of large fields.

There is a large parking space (including a charging station for electric cars) uphill from the museum's entrance. The new entrance building is accessible and has accessible toilets. All outdoor spaces can be used with a wheelchair or stroller, but as mentioned before the museum is built on a slope and has unpaved paths. Also, most of the houses have steps leading up to the entrances so you will not be able to get inside with a wheelchair.

If you are hungry there is a small restaurant at the village square offering regional/Austrian dishes for lunch as well as ice cream. Wine lovers can taste local wines at the wine shop which is open at the Kellergasse (street of wine cellars) on every weekend and holiday. For children there is a playground in front of the museum's entrance as well as at the restaurant. You can take your dog with you to the museum but will have to keep it on the lead at all times. Bowls with water for your furry friend can be found in various places in the museum.

A visit at the Museumsdorf takes about two hours. On weekends and holidays you can also take a guided tour for a small extra fee at certain times of the day. Sometimes special family tours are also available. The museum is closed during the winter. On weekends the museum frequently offers special events of various topics where you can learn more about life over 100 years ago. There are also workshops, but those usually require a reservation and have to be paid for separately.

Similar Museums

There are other open-air museums showing historic buildings of different regions in rural Austria:

  • Burgenland: the village museum Mönchhof is a collection of 35 residential buildings, school, church, inn and other buildings of daily life, arranged like a typical village.

  • Styria: the Österreichisches Freilichtmuseum Stübing is one of the largest open-air museums in Europe with over 100 historic buildings on 65 hectares of land. It shows rural buildings from all over Austria.

  • Salzburg: with a collection of about 100 buildings and 7km of footpaths, the Salzburg open-air museum in Großgmain is as large as Stübing. It shows buildings from all areas of Salzburg and even has a train for visitors to go from one end of the museum to the other.

  • Tyrol: the museum of Tyrolian farms in Kramsach is a collection of the rural architecture in one of the most alpine regions of Austria. The museum consists of about 40 buildings.

1This includes buildings as well as smaller structures.2The change was probably necessary because of parking spaces and the need for a proper entrance.

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