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Moving to Vienna

Moving to Vienna is a big step — and a wise one, too. As Austria’s capital offers various cultural and economic incentives for expats, moving there has long been a popular choice. In this article, we’ll provide you with important facts on neighborhoods, visas, housing, and more.
Vienna is Austria's political, economic and cultural center.

At a Glance:

  • The boroughs in Vienna are arranged counter-clockwise around the center and if you move to a one-digit borough it means that your commutes to work will be relatively short.
  • Vienna is a popular place for migrants so that’s why you will find different cultural influences all over the city, spread evenly across the districts.
  • It depends on your situation which visa you require, but it’s suggested that you apply for a residence permit before you plan to move to Austria.
  • Finding accommodation in Vienna that meets your needs can come at a high price; if you intend to stay for a long time, buying property is recommended.

A Key to the Neighborhoods in Vienna

Vienna consists of 23 boroughs (Bezirke) and numerous suburbs within the metropolitan area. You will typically encounter street signs indicating the number of the borough you are in. This gives you a rough idea of where you are in relation to borough 1, the city center: numbers 2 through 9 — the former city limits of 1850 — are arranged counter-clockwise around the center, with number 2 starting in the east.

Typically, the Viennese will call their borough by either its proper name or its number. Anyone moving to the city should familiarize themselves with the names in order to make getting around town easier. Choosing a one-digit borough as your new home will usually ensure short commutes to work as most businesses are located in the center.

Chances are you will first arrive in Vienna at either the airport, located in nearby Schwechat, or at the Westbahnhof. We have listed public transportation options to and from these locations in our article on living in Vienna.

 A Diverse Population

Vienna has always been a popular choice for migrants both from Austria and abroad. The most popular reasons for relocating to Vienna are, of course, academic study, work, and the overall quality of life.

For both historical as well as current reasons, there are residents of virtually every ethnicity and culture in Vienna — the capital accounted for 44% of all immigrants in Austria in 2015. The different cultural influences have helped shape everyday life in Vienna into a multicultural experience.

In contrast to other cities of comparable size, immigrants moving to Vienna usually settle evenly across all districts. It is very rare that a district will gain a reputation as an immigrant neighborhood, or Ausländerviertel. Terms like these are most often used by right-wing populists for inflammatory public debates, but they are not necessarily rooted in reality.

Similarly, the difference between the ‘rich’ and ‘poor’ parts of town is a lot less pronounced than in other cities of roughly the same size. Therefore you shouldn’t worry about avoiding specific districts; your choice should rather be based on factors such as your commute and general infrastructure.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

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