OÖ. Schifffahrtsmuseum Grein
The Oberösterreichisches Schifffahrtsmuseum is housed in the highly significant, archaeologically historic Greinburg. On display are shipping and rafting on the Danube as well as the traffic on its tributaries, primarily on the Traun and Enns rivers, with plans and sketches, models and original historic objects.
Models and historic original objects are used to depict shipping and rafting on the Danube as well as the traffic on its tributaries (primarily the Traun and Enns rivers). The museum is sustained by the Foundation of Duke von Sachsen-Coburg and Gotha Familiy and nearly exclusively furnished with inventory from the Oberösterreichisches Landesmuseum. The depiction of historic shipping on Upper Austria’s rivers was based on the research activities of Max Neweklowsky.
The Oberösterreichische Schifffahrtsmuseum is housed in Austria’s oldest residential castle. The Greinburg, which is located geographically in lower Mühlviertel in Strudengau, received its current appearance in four distinct phases of construction.
The castle was first mentioned on 10 March 1488, as Emperor Friedrich III granted the expansion of the castle in a document. This was realised in Late Gothic style in 1491 by the brothers Heinrich and Siegmund Prüschenk, barons from Stettenberg and owners of the castle dating back to the Late Middle Ages. The structurally adapted fortress was designed to guarantee the security of Machland against Bohemian, Hungarian and Turkish incursions. The castle was at that time named “Stettenfels” after its owners. The cellular or diamond vault was also built during this period.
In the 16th century the castle, called “Heinrichsburg” since 1504, was rebuilt in the style of the High Renaissance (with stucco ceilings) and Mannerism (with coffered ceilings) ‒ however, without removing the Late Gothic elements. Built in the fourth and final construction phase carried out on behalf of Count Leonhard Heinrich von Meggau was the Steinerne Theater, the “Sala Terrena”, with its in part coloured Danube pebbles. The three-storey arcade walkway in the interior courtyard, which was superimposed on the façade, was also created during this period.
In 1533/34 the owners changed the name of the castle to “Greinburg”, as it has now been known since 1533. In 1822 the ducal house of Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha acquired ownership of the castle. Since that time the Sachsen-Coburgs have had a hereditary seat among the sovereign reigning aristocracy of the Austrian Empire.
After World War II, Greinburg was under Russian occupation – as was the rest of the Mühlviertel ‒ and was first returned to the Foundation of Duke von Sachsen-Coburg and Gotha Familiy in 1958. Renovations began in 1969. In 1970 the Oberösterreichisches Schifffahrtsmuseum was created in cooperation with the Oberösterreichisches Landesmuseum. Until this day the castle has been inhabited by the ducal family.
Since 1970 the bulk of the maritime history inventory of the Oberösterreichisches Landesmuseum has been held in Schloss Greinburg. The museum, which was built on the initiative of Duchess Viktoria Adelheid von Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha, addresses shipping on Upper Austrian waterways. The objects on display are accurate reproductions of rafts, rowboats and steamships. There are also some dedicated to hydraulic engineering. Some of the models were manufactured in 1958 during a major exhibition. They illustrate the hardships of the shipping occupation at the time. Well worth seeing is the well preserved original museum facility from the year 1970, which can be more or less viewed as a “museum within a museum“ and has a charm seldom seen in this quality.
The first showroom is dedicated to local shipping on the Danube. Adjacent to this two worlds are addressed that collided in the first half of the 19th century: Tradition vs modernity. The establishment of steamships made regulating the Danube necessary, which brought about the end of traditional rafting and shipping, craftsmanship and the guild. The sailors held on until around 1850, when the ultimate “end” was brought about by an additional competitor: The railway.
The second room is made up of five topics: Various types of rafts and ships are on display there, which served in the transport of salt, wood and coal. Numerous occupations (boat horse drivers, raftsmen, shipbuilders among others) are obscured behind these responsibilities. Individual representatives of professional associations are displayed using unusual figures, whereby these have individual facial features, which date back to real personalities. Bad weather and inattention were the deadly enemies of these occupational groups, which is why people requested the support of god and the patron St Nicolas through maritime processions and ecclesiastical benedictions. This popular piety is illustrated by various images. Views of towns with a shipbuilding tradition and models of various water structures are the two final topics of this room.
In the third and final showroom masterpieces of technology are exhibited (in models) showing that man has subjugated nature: The Gmunden Seeklause symbolises control over the water level, the Traunfall waterfall canal - the detour around the hazardous falls, the Linz Danube states - the artificial filling in of a street, etc. Other models illustrate how man has organised his economic life: Driftwood collected in the Rettenbach rakes, salt stored temporarily in the Gmunden Salzstadel [salt barn] or fishing using boats. Salt transport was also a topic in folklore, as illustrated by the Gmunden ceramic jugs. Additional models of types of ships traditionally used bear witness that the Traun river was considered an important transport route for salt to the Danube. On the onward journey to Vienna and Pest they surmounted the dangerous area of Struden bei Grein, which is depicted in several displays.
A visit to the castle, including the Schifffahrtsmuseum, is possible daily from 9 am - 5 pm. Telephone booking is requested.
Castle & OÖ. Schifffahrtsmuseum
1 May - 26 October
Daily 9 am - 5 pm
Individual ticket: €5 adults/€3 students
T +43 (0)7268 7007 18
From 10 people (by appointment)
Tel. +43 (0)664 9861 981
30 minutes (€5 adults/€3 students):
Arcade court, diamond vault,
Great knights’ hall, castle chapel,
60 minutes (€7 adults/€4.50 students):
including Coburg festival rooms