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  • Sigmund Freud Museum 2020

    A Mission

    “But if we want to know what value can be attributed to our view [of] the

    development of civilization, […] we must ask ourselves to what influences the

    development of civilization owes its origin, how it arose, and by what its course

    has been determined.” (Sigmund Freud, Vienna 1930)

    Unique and unmistakable, the Sigmund Freud Museum counts among Austria’s most

    important cultural assets. More than 90,000 visitors a year from more than 110 countries

    demonstrate their interest in Freud’s legacy and the place where he lived for forty-seven

    years, studying the human psyche and formulating a radically new self-conception of the

    human being. Everyday consciousness, language and cultural behavioural codes are still

    profoundly influenced by Freud’s insights. Who today could imagine a world without

    Freudian slips, dream-work, sublimation, narcissism, defence mechanisms and superego?

    Today, the places where Freud lived and worked are inscribed on international collective

    memory as an important factor of memory: as the birthplace of psychoanalysis and as

    a memorial site recalling the loss of humanity and civilisation in Austria under Nazi rule.

    Committed to the beginnings and the ongoing history of the influence of Freud’s life and

    work, the Sigmund Freud Museum is a site of memory and space of thought in one – a

    place where our history combines with our present.

    In order to showcase Freud’s legacy to an international audience in future too and to bring

    the Sigmund Freud Museum in line with international museum standards in keeping with

    its significance, we are planning a number of fundamental innovations forty-five years after

    the Museum’s opening:

    :: Renovation of Berggasse 19 ::

    :: Barrier-free access to the Museum and library ::

    :: Reorganisation and extension of the Museum to cover a surface of 400 m2 ::

    :: Reorganisation of Europe’s largest library of psychoanalysis ::

    The costs of the necessary renovation and conversion measures amount to 4.29

    million euros – with planning and closure costs included, to be paid for from

    external funding and Museum funds, the total costs of the project come to 5.07

    million euros. It will take a concerted effort on the part of the Republic of Austria,

    the City of Vienna and the support of private sponsors to develop the Sigmund

    Freud Museum in keeping with its importance in terms of cultural history and to

    preserve it for future generations.

  • The Sigmund Freud Museum in 2020

    A Vision

    As of 2020, Sigmund Freud’s former place of work at Vienna’s Berggasse 19 is to

    be presented to the public in a form that does justice to the standards of this

    unique museum and scientific venue.

    :: Renovation of Berggasse 19 ::

    The plans include renovation of the façade from the

    Gründerzeit period, restoring it to its historical form as

    seen by Sigmund Freud’s patients and visitors at the

    beginning of the last century. The Museum’s courtyard will

    offer a quiet, shaded place in the style of the famous Viennese

    inner courtyards from the 19th century. By installing new

    cloakrooms and sanitary facilities it will be possible to

    cater for the basic needs of visitors to the Museum. The many

    visitors to the Sigmund Freud Museum – along with local

    residents in the Serviten area, with its university institutes,

    businesses and public facilities – benefit from the Café on the

    ground floor of the Museum as a social meeting place.

    :: Barrier-free access to the Museum and library ::

    In line with international museum standards, a lift will enable

    barrier-free access to the Museum, the library and its function

    room. Complying with conservation regulations and current

    building regulations, the rooms open to the public will be adapted

    to cater for the needs of visitors with walking disabilities.

  • :: Reorganisation and extension of the Museum to cover a surface of 400 m2 ::

    Sigmund Freud, the most important intellectual of the 20th century and

    figurehead of the Wiener Moderne, is at the centre of the new, variable and

    critical museum concept focusing on the foundation of psychoanalysis and the

    history of its lasting effect.

    Contemporary museum interventions, combined with the largely preserved

    Gründerzeit architecture of Freud’s living and working rooms, make the Museum a unique,

    multilayered experience: the former living rooms of the Freuds, open to the public for the

    first time, give insights into the family’s eventful history. Guests can visit the family’s

    private rooms and thus learn more about the Freuds’ day-to-day life.

    In Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic office, the original furnishings of the waiting room

    take visitors on an atmospheric journey back in time to turn-of-the-century Vienna,

    allowing them to immerse themselves in the social context of Freud’s work. Themed

    displays are set up in Sigmund Freud’s treatment room and adjoining study, that, in

    connection with the historic fabric of the building, illustrate day-to-day therapy and

    methods of treatment along with the development of psychoanalytic theory. Without

    engaging in a historicising reenactment, the reorganisation of the Museum allows visitors

    to explore the one-time importance and function of these premises with their special aura.

    The empty space created by the absence

    of the couch in Freud’s former

    treatment room plays a special role in

    the new permanent exhibition. This

    missing iconic piece of furniture

    distinguishes the Museum as a

    “vestigial memory space” and also

    symbolises the reasons for this empty

    space that is inherent to the Museum,

    the City of Vienna and Austria: Freud’s

    flight from the Holocaust stands pars pro

    toto for millions of refugees and

    murdered people.

  • The Museum surface, enlarged from 280 m² to 400 m², caters for constantly

    increasing visitor footfall. On different display levels, visitors can learn about

    Freud’s biography and family life as well as the development of psychoanalytic

    research in theory and practice. There are also rooms for temporary exhibitions

    showcasing the current importance of psychoanalysis and the relevance of

    Sigmund Freud’s cultural writings.

  • :: Reorganisation of Europe’s largest library of psychoanalysis ::

    In future, the Library of Psychoanalysis will have room for its collection of approximately

    40,000 items: the floor above the Museum is devoted entirely to scientific research and,

    together with the archive, will offer working space for the scientific team and researchers

    working on site on longer-term scientific topics.

    The centrepiece of the scientific area and library is a function and reading room that

    forges a link between the 20th and 21st century with its classical period look and modern


    Work places with modern equipment for library users, professional service

    facilities, and expert storage facilities for the library’s holdings ensure an

    appropriate handling of Europe’s largest library of psychoanalysis in keeping with

    international standards.

  • Sigmund Freud Museum 2020

    An Opportunity

    Sponsors of Sigmund Freud Museum 2020 promote the activation of Freud’s

    legacy, enable a wide public to explore this important cultural heritage, and give

    people an opportunity to link Vienna’s history with an auspicious future – into the

    21st century and beyond.

    Sigmund Freud is without a doubt one of the most important figures of the 20th century.

    In view of the numerous challenges facing human society today – particularly growing

    economisation that demands a high degree of flexibility from people – Freud’s works appear

    more relevant than ever: the constantly growing number of visitors is impressive proof of

    this relevance.

    The task of the Sigmund Freud Museum as an educational institution is therefore to

    preserve both the legacy of Sigmund Freud in Vienna and the memory of his life history,

    that – like the history of ideas in Vienna as a whole – suffered a hiatus as a result of the

    Holocaust: Freud was forced to flee in 1938 and died one year later in London.

    By means of communicating, discussing and confronting people with his work, the aim is

    to harness the potential of psychoanalysis for the contemporary discourse. Interdisciplinary

    science and exhibition programmes open up new perspectives on individual life histories

    and social developments that define our present day. One key resource in this respect is

    the library of psychoanalysis at the Sigmund Freud Museum, a scientific platform of

    international importance founded by Anna Freud – the world’s second-largest study library

    on psychoanalysis.

    To encourage and develop the current examination of Sigmund Freud’s cultural legacy and