Vienna Christmas Markets, Part Five: WeihnachtsQuartier

The Vienna Museumsquartier is one of the more successful urban development projects of the last two decades. Just like the name suggests, it’s home to several art museums; but it’s also a large public space that serves as a very popular hangout for city people year-round.

Besides the two big museums, the Leopold Museum and the modern arts museum that goes by the name of MUMOK, or Museum Moderner Kunst, there’s also space for the performing arts and a couple of bars and restaurants, as well as a lot of small cultural groups and initiatives which have found a home here. This is the perfect environment for a Christmas market for artists and designers, and that’s exactly what WeihnachtsQuartier (website in German) is.

Unlike most of the markets introduced on this blog the WeihnachtsQuartier is only open for one weekend, usually the first advent weekend, which was at the end of November this year. If you’re in town at the time, it’s definitely worth a visit.

As soon as you enter you find yourself in a whirlwind of all shapes and colours. The artists work with all kinds of materials, like clay, glass, fabric, or metal. You don’t get the usual kitsch there at all. Instead, every piece is created with a brain and a heart, and you can see it.

Not much of the merchandise is Christmas themed, of course. You won’t find any tinsel trees, blinking Santa hats or similar atrocities here. What you can find and even buy, if you have deep enough pockets, is a lot of wonderful presents that surely will make some people really happy. If you love shopping for gifts just for the sake of the joy of it, this is the place to go.

One of the highlights in a fields with very high standards is the stall of a friend of mine, Sissy Staudenmayer, who makes delicious little things from glass, mostly jewellery, in all shapes and colours. Her newest invention are cupcakes that are absolutely free of sugar or calories, which unfortunately doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re good for your teeth.

As you would expect, each piece is unique. Sissy is also happy to entertain visitors at her studio and teach them the art of creating fine glass beads.

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