New MQ boss named

An Upper Austrian real estate manager has been appointed as head of Vienna’s Museumsquartier (MQ).

Federal Social Democratic (SPÖ) Culture Minister Claudia Schmied and Viennese SPÖ Culture Councillor Andreas Mailath-Pokorny announced yesterday (Weds) Christian Strasser would head the MQ for five years from 1 October. His contract can be extended without public submission, they explained. Strasser succeeds Wolfgang Waldner who was sworn in as state secretary for foreign affairs of the federal SPÖ-ÖVP administration in April. Waldner acted as executive director of the MQ since its opening 10 years ago.

Strasser had managed the Posthof, a venue for cultural events in Linz, for 14 years before working for the city’s real estate management enterprise. Viennese newspaper Die Presse describes him as an open-minded and friendly networker with good contacts to the SPÖ. Twenty-four Austrian businesspeople and four foreigners applied for the position. Daniela Enzi, the MQ’s interim chief, was considered as favourite for the job.

Strasser refused to reveal details about what he planned for the MQ in the coming five years. The lawyer only expressed his willingness to continue “sharpening the profile of the MQ.” A report by Die Presse has it that the culture ministry will not increase the budget of the cultural institution, which is located in the district of Neubau, in the foreseeable future.

The MQ features some of the city’s most popular museums like the Kunsthalle Wien, the Leopold Museum and the Museum of Modern Art (MUMOK) as well as several shops, cafés and bars. Its inner courtyard, which can be entered free of charge, has become a popular spot to relax among locals and tourists.

The complex is situated closely to top tourism hotspots such as the Natural History Museum (Naturhistorisches Museum Wien, NHM), the Museum of Art (Kunsthistorisches Museum, KHM) and Hofburg Palace. A poll by Integral has shown that 72 per cent of visitors are completely satisfied with the MQ the way it is.