You will not end up on the couch if you miss out on the Sigmund Freud Museum. But what if you had known that Sigmund’s legacy opens up a premier view on Stefan Zweig’s famous book ‘World of Yesterday’ and the whole era of Vienna 1900?
Unlike any other Vienna museum, the Freud Museum at Berggasse 19 humanises the Fin-de-Siècle and early 20th century. These few decades moulded Vienna into the city it is today. My local tour guide Gertrude fully unlocked the story around Freud and his time.
What To See At Sigmund Freud Museum
Sigmund Freud Museum. The museum is tucked away at Sigmund Freud’s former practice and apartment at Berggasse 19, in the bourgeois ninth district. He lived in this residential Viennese townhouse with his six children, wife and sister in law. The museum has been fitted with some of Freud’s original furniture and a small part of his collection of antiques.
Sigmund Freud Museum. The famous Sigmund Freud couch and other original interiors are represented as large photographs at ‘sitting height’. (The couch is in the Sigmund Freud Museum in London.) Don’t expect a fully fitted Sigmund Freud World. The place represents a careful selection of objects, private and public photographs, and documents. ‘Imagine, the Freud Family had abandoned this apartment back in 1938. What you see here has been painstakingly re-collected with the assistance of Anna Freud, Sigmund’s daughter’, explains my tour guide.
The museum’s documentary is limited to a few sheets of numbered explanations of the exhibited objects. I found them a little confusing and focused on Gertrude making sense of what I saw.
My tip: Read up on Sigmund Freud in Vienna beforehand, or visit the museum with a tour guide.
Sigmund Freud Tour
Sigmund Freud Museum. We entered the Sigmund Freud Museum at the end of our tour. By that stage, Gertrude had materialised the whole context of Freud’s life and work in Vienna at various places in the surroundings. Our Sigmund Freud tour took us from the Heldenplatz and Imperial Palace via Volksgarten to Burgtheater, Freud’s favourite coffeehouse Café Landtmann, the University of Vienna where he taught, and the Sigmund Freud Park right up to Berggasse 19.
During this private tour, Gertrude told the story of the start of the end of the Freud family and of Vienna 1900.
At Heldenplatz, Adolf Hitler held his famous ‘Anschluss’ speech. ‘Sigmund was quite shocked when Anna was interrogated by the Gestapo shortly afterwards’, Gertrude added. Between Burgtheater and the Vienna City Hall, I got the lowdown on the semitism and antisemitism in the Habsburg Empire, on the intellectual life Freud shared with Jewish writers Stefan Zweig, Arthur Schnitzler, and Karl Kraus, and on women’s rights in Vienna. Sigmund was a known conservative and the last person to progress on women’s rights.
At the University of Vienna and the adjacent Sigmund Freud Park Gertrude’s story continued with a glimpse into Freud’s teaching and research. She managed to touch on the lives of other famous Viennese scientists of the early 20th century as we passed their statues. Many of them were Jewish and disappeared during World War II. What a brain drain.
At the Sigmund Freud Museum, we walked the rooms while Gertrude wove the exhibits into good narrative. I won’t remember objects but rather her stories about them, about the life of the Freud family at Berggasse, of Tante Minna (Freud’s sister in law), of daughter Anna Freud, of colleagues such as C.G. Jung and Alfred Adler, of Freud’s patients, his daily work routine, and his final emigration and death in London.
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Guiding Fee: EUR 170 per group, up to five people EUR 140
If you wish to have a guided tour in the Freud Museum included: duration approx. 2.5 hours, guiding fee EUR 220 per group, up to five people EUR 190
Sigmund Freud Museum And Tour: Touch Base With Gertrude
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Other great private tours reviewed by Vienna Unwrapped: Imperial Vienna Tour, Secret Vienna Tour, Vienna Jewish Tour, Otto Wagner Church (Art Nouveau Tour), Music Tour Vienna
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