Stübing Open Air Museum (aka Österreichisches Freilichtmuseum)



Location: 15 km (10 mi) North of Graz   Map

Area: 66 ha

Tel (03124) 53700

Open: Apr- Oct: 9am- 5pm Tue- Sun (1 May- 15 Sep: daily)


Description of Stubing

Stubing is an Austrian open air ethnographic settlement designed and constructed under supervision of Professor Viktor Herbert Pottler. The Austrian Open- Air Museum in Stubing was started in 1962, although first plan to organize ethnographic museum was proposed as early as 1908 by Rudolf Meringer. Only the second half of the 20th century these projects were realized. Several local building, artifacts and other examples of Austrian rural life were brought in a signgle area in this artificial village. Today Stubing Open Air Museum covers a total area of 60 hectares. It includes numerous traditional Austrian buildings that characteristic of rural areas. Some of the building date back to the 17th century. You can 2- 3 hours exploring the museum. Additionally you can venture into hilly forests that surround Stubbing to get a true feeling of the rural life in Austria.



The Stübing open-air museum is located in a small side valley of the Middle Mur Valley in Styria, about 10 kilometers north-west of the provincial capital Graz. It is located directly on the border of the two market towns of Deutschfeistritz and Gratwein-Straßengel, with the municipal border running right through the museum grounds. Directly to the east of the museum entrance is the L 334 state road, the Gratweiner Straße, which connects the village of Kleinstübing with the market town of Gratwein. The eponymous village of Kleinstübing is about 2 kilometers north, while the settlement of Au, which belongs to Gratwein-Straßengel, is about 1.2 kilometers southwest of the museum. The museum itself belongs to the scattered settlement of Enzenbach in the market town of Gratwein-Straßengel.

The museum grounds are located in the valley of the Enzenbach, which runs from southwest to northeast and opens into the Murtal in the northeast. The Enzenbach flows into the Mur about 50 meters after leaving the open-air museum. The area is bordered by the Pfaffenkogel in the north and by the Gsollerkogel in the south. The museum is located in the Pfaffenkogel-Gsollerkogel nature reserve.

Since 2003, a section of the Grazer Umland-Weg (GUW) run by the Naturefriends has led across the site, according to the Graz local group the only long-distance hiking trail that crosses a museum. However, the passage is only possible in the ascent from east to west, since the gate in the western part of the museum can only be opened outwards.



The museum grounds cover an area of ​​around 65 hectares and stretch over a length of around 1.4 kilometers through the valley of the Enzenbach. There are 101 objects on the site, mainly farms, but also farm and religious buildings together with their inventory or household goods. The buildings come from all Austrian federal states, with the exception of Vienna, and from South Tyrol. This is a collection of original historical buildings, but also replicas and reconstructions. In total, the buildings cover a period of six centuries. The original buildings were dismantled at their original location and rebuilt in Stübing, a process known as translocation. A replica of the object was carried out if the original building could not be relocated due to existing monument protection or other reasons. The reconstructions relied on written and oral traditions and descriptions.

Historical objects
Mainly farms, beginning in the 17th century, but also old mills or an old school and forest workers' huts up to the beginning of the 20th century have been rebuilt on the museum grounds. The houses are complemented by old furnishings and tools. Like Austria's actual location, the ascending valley stretches from east to west, allowing a visit to be made analogously from thatched-roof buildings of Burgenland to the alpine huts of Bregenzerwald. The buildings from Burgenland are therefore at the eastern entrance to the valley, while the group of buildings from Vorarlberg forms the western end. The Burgenland group of houses consists of six buildings and includes the Berglerhaus, a Streckhof, a barn, storage and a free-standing bell tower. The Styrian assembly group follows Burgenland, which with 61 objects is also the largest group within the museum and can be divided into seven subgroups based on their regions of origin. However, some of the buildings from one region stand together with buildings from one of the other Styrian regions. In addition to various farmhouses, a farmer's forge, two mills and a chapel, the 23 buildings from Eastern Styria also include a Brechelhütte, a rope factory, a weather tower and a school with an attached school museum. Western Styria is represented by 17 buildings, including a smokehouse with an attached return, a woodworker's duck, a charcoal kiln and a corn harp. In one of the western Styrian farmhouses there is a grocery store where, among other things, sweets that used to be popular, such as silk candy and Krachmanderl, can be bought. A granary and a Klapotetz are the two objects that can be attributed to southern Styria. A sawmill comes from the Mürztal, while four buildings, including a hammer mill, come from the upper Murtal. The twelve objects from the Ennstal include a smokehouse, an apiary, two alpine huts and an alpine stable. An old fire station and an alpine hut come from the Styrian Salzkammergut.

The group from Carinthia, comprising seven buildings, is connected to the Styrian group. These buildings include two wayside crosses, a harp and a reconstruction of a historic lime kiln. With the Blochstadel from Winkl near Reichenau, erected in 1492, the oldest building in the museum also belongs to this group. The Vierkanthof, the Bundwerkstadel and the chapel of the Upper Austrian group as well as the Dreiseithof known as the Waldviertlerhof and the oven of the Lower Austrian group are next. The South Tyrolean and Tyrolean building groups each consist of eight buildings, including a stock mill. A mill also belongs to the three-object group from Salzburg. The group from Vorarlberg, consisting of a farmhouse and a dairy hut, forms the end of the museum in the west.

In addition to the approximately 100 original buildings and reconstructions, there are also a total of 15 farm and herb gardens on the museum grounds, which show which plants were used in farm kitchens and as medicines. In addition to the gardens, there is also a permaculture and several fields that are cultivated by members of the museum.

In addition to the historical objects, there are also two exhibition buildings with partially changing exhibitions on the site.

The newly built "Zum Göller" inn, which is based on historical models, is located in the Styrian building group. It is only open during the museum's opening hours and offers historical dishes from the individual regions of Austria.


History of the museum

First plans for an all-Austrian open-air museum
After the opening of the Skansen open-air museum near Stockholm in 1891, efforts were made in other parts of Europe, including the then dual monarchy of Austria-Hungary, to open a similar museum. In 1903 there were plans for a regional open-air museum near the town of Eger in present-day Hungary and in 1906 for a facility near Czernowitz in Bukovina. In an essay in the newspaper Tagespost, the Indo-Germanist and house researcher Rudolf Meringer published his idea for an open-air museum in the Leechwald in Graz on May 8, 1908, and he asked the Technical University of Graz to help with the implementation. However, this plan was not implemented. The first concept for a museum near Linz, which should cover the variety of houses in Austria, dates back to 1910 by the architect Hans Wolfgruber. Since the system could not be implemented on either the Freinberg or the Pöstlingberg, Wolfsgruber handed his plans over to the City of Vienna. In 1914, the municipal councilor Hans Arnold Schwer submitted an application to the Vienna City Council to build an Austrian open-air museum on the Kahlenberg. Julius Leisching, architect and later director of the Salzburg Museum, was a supporter of the Vienna plans, but also made suggestions for facilities near Innsbruck and Salzburg. However, none of these plans were implemented due to the outbreak of the First World War and the difficult economic times that followed. In the interwar period there were also plans for a plant in Styria. In the Vienna area, it was only in the 1950s that the Association for Folklore, headed by Leopold Schmidt, again came up with plans for the construction of an all-Austrian open-air museum in the park of Laxenburg. However, these plans failed because the representatives of the federal states invited to a meeting could not agree. In the second half of the 20th century, a number of open-air museums were founded in Austria, but they all limited themselves to depicting their respective regions and did not attempt to depict Austria as a whole.

First plans for an open-air museum in Styria
In Graz, Viktor Geramb, a student of Rudolf Meringer, pointed out the need to place historic farmhouses under museum protection as early as 1911. Geramb tried four times to set up an open-air museum in Styria. The first attempt was made in 1922 and envisaged a museum on the Schloßberg in Graz. Five million crowns, which Geramb had inherited from a friend, were to be used to implement the project, but lost their value due to inflation during the interwar period. A second planning took place in 1930 and envisaged an Alpine open-air museum in Graz's Rosenhain. However, the municipality of Graz did not have the financial means to implement the concept. For Geramb's third concept of a museum at the foot of the Schlossberg, the provincial governor Karl Maria Stepan even broke ground, but the annexation of Austria to the German Reich in 1938 and the associated political situation prevented the continuation of the project. However, the Nazis built on Geramb's concept and wanted to build a kind of romantic wildlife park as a second monument in Graz next to the clock tower. This project also never got beyond the concept phase. As early as 1946, i.e. directly after the Second World War, Geramb again advertised his plans for the Graz Schlossberg, but failed again, this time due to the economic problems of the post-war period.

The foundation in Stübing
The folklorist Viktor Herbert Pöttler was one of Viktor Geramb's students and was therefore familiar with the idea of ​​an open-air museum and the previously failed plans in Styria since his student days. In 1958 Pöttler visited the open-air museum in Skansen, which impressed him very much, but where he also had to realize that such a museum with the associated operation and the financial means required for it was not feasible in Austria. In 1961, Pöttler began to work professionally on the planning and founding of the Austrian Open-Air Museum. In order to avoid the bureaucracy in public administration, which he also blamed for the failed projects, and to employ the museum's own troop of workers so as not to be dependent on tenders for construction companies, Pöttler founded a sponsoring association. In addition to Pöttler, the then Styrian governor Josef Krainer senior and the Styrian state culture officer Hanns Koren also signed the application to found the association. At its meeting on November 20, 1961, the Styrian provincial government decided to make an area available for the Austrian Open-Air Museum and to create a separate post for the museum director.

The husband of one of Viktor Geramb's students suggested building the museum in the valley of the Enzenbach between the Pfaffenkogel and Gsollerkogel, the current location. Since this valley was economically very neglected at the time and also difficult to reach, Pöttler also negotiated with the Rein Abbey about another, more suitable area in the surrounding area at the request of the Eisbach community. There were suggestions, but these went beyond the financial framework, since the valley of the Enzenbach was available through a land dedication. The decision was finally made in favor of today's Museumstal, although several third-party properties listed in the land register had to be acquired. On February 2, 1962, Pöttler submitted an information plan for the design of the site, which he had designed in collaboration with the architect Edda Gellner and the graphic artist Erika Pochlatko, to the Minister of Education, Heinrich Drimmel, who signed it. The plan was based on the east-west alignment of the valley and Austria and was initially of a more theoretical nature, so only farmhouses typical of the country and possibly suitable buildings were drawn in, since there was no concrete building object that had been acquired. The founding and funding of the Austrian Open-Air Museum was decided on September 25, 1962 by corresponding resolutions of the federal government and the Styrian provincial government. Immediately after it was founded, Pöttler set out to convince the governors of all federal states of his project and to ask for their support.

Heinrich Drimmel, among other guests, expressed his dissatisfaction with the choice of location at the founding meeting of the museum held on November 26, 1962 in Graz Castle, but supported the museum plans and accepted the office of president of the museum association. Viktor Herbert Pöttler was entrusted with the management of the association and the museum management. The actual construction of the museum began under Pöttler in 1963. On September 7, 1970, the museum was finally opened by Federal President Franz Jonas with 32 objects.

Since 2003, the Grazer Umland-Weg (GUW), managed by the Naturefriends, has led across the site, according to the Graz local group the only long-distance hiking trail that crosses a museum.

The Stübing open-air museum has been part of the Joanneum Universal Museum since January 1, 2019.