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Getting to know Laxenburg


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Statistics:

Post code: 2,361
District code: 3,1715

Size: 1,059.42 ha
Elevation above sea level: 177 m

Population: approx. 2,750 full-time residents and approx. 500 part-time residents
Buildings: approx. 700

Part of:
Mödling administrative district (a total of 20 municipalities with a population of approx. 106,000)
Mödling judicial district
Mödling revenue office
Mödling civil registry offices


Historical overview

Due to its proximity to the imperial capital of Vienna and its situation in the game-rich Schwechat meadows, in the 14th century Laxenburg became a royal possession under the third generation of Habsburgs in Austria, and was later a spring residence, occupied on an annual basis.
The first mentions from the early 13th century refer to a political family by the name of Lachsendorf. The area gained great importance when Duke Albert III expanded the small existing castle on a large scale. Albert named the newly established castle Lachsenburg, a name which was later applied to the entire town.
The history of Laxenburg throughout the following centuries reflects the conflicts between the various lines of the Habsburg dynasty; the castle was defended, contested, conquered and plundered by a varied succession of military troops. These battles were especially fierce in the year 1461 and during the two Turkish sieges of 1529 and 1683.
Because of the imperial court’s regular stays in Laxenburg, many significant political decisions were made here as well. For example, the treaty between the emperor and a number of imperial princes in 1682 came to be known as the Laxenburg Alliance.
After the destruction of 1683, a vigorous period of construction took place in Laxenburg, with work carried out on the castle, the church, farmhouses and townhouses, and the many noble palaces which were to be found in Laxenburg owing to the fact that court nobles wanted their own private residences close to the emperor. This building activity increased in the 18th century with the imperial court’s preference for Laxenburg continuing under both Charles VI and Maria Theresa.
Laxenburg’s topography was significantly altered between 1753 and 1770. The large oblong village green of the colonial period, which was enclosed by houses in the late medieval period, was still in place up to that time. The court carriages en route to the castle from Vienna had to be diverted round this closed block of buildings. Because of this, several farmhouses were bought up during this time in order to construct a direct road – the Hofstrasse (‘Court Road’). Other houses were also purchased to make room for construction of the new castle and the connecting structures attached to the old castle.
Simultaneous with these changes to the town’s overall appearance, the park was also increasingly expanded until, by the early 19th century, the extensive landscape garden was created, comprising an artificial pond, a castle and other romantic buildings. To a large extent, Laxenburg owes its current fame and popularity to this parkland.


Timeline

1217, 1231, 1232, 1240
First definite written mentions

1380 - 1395
The old castle is expanded under Duke Albert III

12 April 1388
Market rights are awarded

1485
Laxenburg falls to the Hungarians (Matthias Corvinus), who are driven out again by 1491.

1529 and 1683
Destruction during the two Turkish sieges

31.5.1699
Laxenburg parish church is consecrated

1713
The plague strikes (claiming 33 lives)

1725
History is made in Laxenburg. By signing the ‘Pragmatic Sanction’ Charles VI secures the throne for his daughter Maria Theresa.

1766
Maria Theresa designates the redesigned ‘Blue Court’ as the imperial palace and adopts considerable influence over the design of the gardens.

1798
Francis I constructs the Franzensburg on an artificial island in the pond. This castle was originally given the rather modest description of ‘garden house in the form of a Gothic fortress’.

1801
Construction of the Franzensburg is completed with the consecration of the chapel.

1836
Furnishing of the Franzensburg is completed.

1842 - 1850
Construction of the Mödling-Laxenburg rail line and the Kaiserbahnhof (the imperial train station)

24 June 1849
Martin Ebner is elected as Laxenburg’s first mayor

1917
Charles I, the last emperor of Austria, meets the princes of Bourbon-Parma, the brothers of his wife Zita, in Laxenburg. The failed attempt to end the First World War results in the ‘Sixtus Affair’.

1919
The castle grounds are acquired by the Kriegsgeschädigtenfonds (the Fund for War-Affected Persons) as the House of Habsburg-Lorraine’s holdings are simultaneously deeded over to the Republic of Austria. From this time on, the grounds of Laxenburg castle are the property of the city of Vienna. The grounds fall into disrepair.

1939-1944
Founding of the ‘Ostmark-Werke’ aviation engine factory on the premises of what would later be the IZ-NÖ-Süd industrial centre

1945
After the withdrawal of German tank squadrons stationed in Laxenburg, the Red Army takes possession of the grounds.

1 September 1954
Laxenburg becomes an independent municipality once again.

1955
The Red Army withdraws, leaving the grounds in a state of desolation. Laxenburg is initially taken over by Vienna’s agricultural department.

1962
Foundation of the Laxenburg Castle operating company with the objective of ‘saving the Laxenburg castle grounds (building and park grounds) from further decay and to restore the grounds in accordance with their cultural and historical significance, as well as creating a recreational area for the general public’.

1972 to 1980
Foundation of the NÖ Süd industrial centre
IIASA (International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis) is founded and Laxenburg is designated as its headquarters.
Restoration of the castle complex’s central area, the ‘Blue Court’ (total cost: 188.5 million Austrian shillings).