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VIENNA

Ten essential apps to download for living in Vienna

If you live in Austria's capital or a planning to move there, a few key smartphone apps will certainly make your life in Vienna and surrounding cities much easier.

Somebody using their phone.
Some apps can help make your life in Vienna much easier. Photo by Jonas Leupe on Unsplash.

Moving to a new city and living in a different country can be challenging, especially if you are still learning the local language. Luckily, there are many tech tools that foreigners can use to help them adjust to a new life abroad. 

Some free smartphone apps you can download and always have with you will make life easier in Vienna – even if you have been living in the Austrian capital for years.

From things to help you set up as a resident, to navigate better in the city you live and even find some food when all supermarkets are closed on Sundays, here are the apps you should download if you live in Vienna.

Stadt Wien

The Stadt Wien app is the official application of the City of Vienna. It brings essential news and pushes notifications on traffic disruption near you, weather alerts or civil emergencies.

There is also a detailed city map where you can search for drinking fountains, coronavirus test streets, fuel stations, parks, and more.

READ ALSO: Vienna vs Graz: Which city is better for foreign residents?

The app’s search function works much better than Vienna’s website, and you can use it to navigate and find pages on topics of interest – it will send you directly to the right official page online.

WienMobil

This is the official app of the Wiener Linien – Vienna’s public transport operator – making it an essential tool for anyone living in the capital city or the surrounding area.

The WienMobil app covers all forms of transport in the city, from trains to buses and ride-sharing vehicles, and shows the different forms of transportation available for a selected route.

READ ALSO: The smartphone apps that make living in Austria easier

Tickets can even be purchased and stored in the app, meaning users don’t have to carry a physical ticket when going about their daily lives.

WienMobil’s transport partners include Citybike Wien, Europcar, Taxi 31300 and Westbahn.

ÖBB

ÖBB is Austria’s national rail operator and the ÖBB app is helpful for anyone that regularly travels by train in Austria – or for anyone visiting the country.

Users can purchase tickets within the app and receive notifications about delays or changes to a service and view information about platforms at specific train stations.

READ ALSO: One day in Vienna: How to spend 24 hours in the Austrian capital

City, weekly and monthly tickets can also be purchased in the ÖBB app.

WienBot

The WienBot app is quite the find for Vienna residents and is literally what it says: a bot. The artificial intelligence bot is in English (if your phone settings are in English) and will answer any questions you have about life in the Austrian capital.

It also works with keywords. So, for example, if you type “coronavirus”, it will bring up a series of messages with short explanations about the disease, hotlines for you to call, a website where you can get more information on vaccinations and the official Stadt Wien page with all aggregated info on Covid-19. It then suggests other keywords (such as quarantine, contact persons, and free testing) you can click to read more on.

READ ALSO: 23 essential articles to help you navigate life in Austria

You can also type other things, for example, “theatre”, and the bot will bring up a series of theatre events happening in Vienna.

Sag’s Wien

Is the street light in your neighbourhood broken? Or maybe some rubbish hasn’t been cleaned out next to your home? You can let the City of Vienna know about these and other issues with the Sag’s Wien (something like “tell Vienna”) app.

READ ALSO: The downsides of Vienna you should be aware of before moving there

The app is pretty straightforward. You just click on “report new issue”, choose which category it belongs to (public lighting, traffic lights, green area, etc.), and a map with your location will open up. You can then pinpoint the exact place you need, post pictures, and leave a comment about the problem.

It’s also possible to follow up on the issues and see a map with what has been reported and what’s the status of the complaints.

Vienna has several official apps for residents. (Screenshot/The Local)

Handy-Signatur

Before the pandemic, the Handy-Signatur was a little-known app that most people didn’t understand, let alone use.

Then the Covid-19 Green Pass was rolled out, along with many other digital services, and the Handy-Signatur suddenly became an essential app.

FOR MEMBERS: EXPLAINED: What is Austria’s Handy-Signatur and how does it work?

But what is it exactly?

The Handy-Signatur is essentially a mobile phone (known as a Handy, in German) signature which turns your phone into a virtual ID card. It allows you to legally sign official documents without having to print them out and sign them by hand. It also allows you to easily log in to official sites, including those to retrieve vaccination certificates and the tax office site.

The Local Austria news app

You might be used to scouring The Local Austria every morning for your daily hit of Austrian language and culture or receiving our newsletter. But what about getting alerts straight to your phone when we produce new content? Sounds pretty good, right?

Luckily for you, The Local has a free smartphone app which you can access content from all nine countries we cover so that you can keep up to date on both Austria and wider Europe.

It’s available on Apple and Android phones and will be an indispensable guide to living the Austrian lifestyle.

Language apps

Of course, living in Vienna will be much easier if you speak the local language. There are many apps to help you learn German (Duolingo, Mondly, and Babbel are just some of the most popular ones) for free – some of them are even fun.

READ ALSO: The German language you need for summer in Austria

A translation app can also be useful. The most popular one, Google Translate, works decently (but not perfectly) with English – German translations. It has valuable tools, including a live translation one that can translate text in real-time with your phone’s camera.

Food apps

Lieferando and Mjam are two popular food delivery apps that will save your dinner cravings. They work with several restaurants and shops in Vienna and will deliver to addresses in the city and some of its surroundings.

READ ALSO: Caffeine, war and Freud: A history of Vienna’s iconic coffee houses

Recently, and especially with the coronavirus pandemic, services that deliver groceries have also become very popular in Austria.

A great app is Gurkerl, with large assortments of food and beverages (they also have a lot of vegan options). Alfies is also another popular app for groceries delivery. It has fewer options, but it delivers faster, until late at night (1 am on Fridays) and on Sundays as well.

Are there any apps we missed for living in Vienna? Please let us know in the comments section below or email us at [email protected]

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VIENNA

Everything that’s new in Vienna in December

From new energy bonuses being sent out to important trials and major events, here are the important changes, dates and events happening in Vienna in December.

Everything that's new in Vienna in December

Vienna will send €200 bonuses to help cushion rising energy costs

The City of Vienna announced more government assistance to cushion rising costs for residents.

Viennese households will receive €200 in a new “energy bonus’, as The Local reported. The administration said the bonus would benefit about two-thirds of all city homes.

Single households with a gross annual income of a maximum €40,000 or multi-person households with an income of up to €100,000 gross per year are entitled to receive the payment. 

In December, every household in the capital should receive an information letter with a password they will need to use for an online application for the bonus. Once applied for, the money should arrive within a few days”.

READ MORE: Vienna Energy Bonus: How to get a €200 payout

Influenza vaccination appointments

The City of Vienna has made available 64,000 influenza vaccination appointments for December in the city’s vaccination centres and those of the ÖGK. 

The City is investing a total of €9.9 million to be able to offer the flu vaccination campaign in Vienna free of charge again this year.  The campaign will run until the end of the year unless an extension becomes necessary due to high demand.

The influenza vaccination campaign focuses on people aged over 65. This avoids multiple exposures to Covid-19 and the “real flu”. Chronically ill people, children and health or care workers are also among the priority target groups. However, influenza vaccination is also recommended to all other people.

READ ALSO: Reader question: How to get a flu vaccination in Austria?

Vienna starts inquiry committee over Wien Energie

Starting on December 2nd at the Vienna City Hall, the City Council’s investigative commission on the Wien Energie case will meet every two weeks.

On the initiative of the centre-right Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) and the far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ), it will investigate the events surrounding the dramatic financial needs of Wien Energie that became known in the summer. The commission can summon people to testify and request documents.

They will focus on two issues.

The first concerns the extent to which Mayor Michael Ludwig and City Finance Councillor Peter Hanke have exercised their ownership rights regarding Wien Energie, which is wholly owned by the city via Wiener Stadtwerke. Specifically, the commission wants to know whether the two SPÖ politicians reacted in time and appropriately to the price increases in the electricity markets in the summer.

The second matter revolves around Ludwig’s emergency powers as head of the city, with which he granted Wien Energie loans totalling €1.4 billion. It is to be clarified whether this procedure was legally compliant and whether Ludwig should have informed committees such as the City Senate earlier.

READ ALSO: Why did Wien Energie ask for €6 billion from the Austrian government?

Terror trial continues

On November 2nd, 2020, a jihadist terrorist shot dead four people and injured more than 20 in the centre of Vienna before police forces killed him.

Now, the country is going through a complex trial involving six men who allegedly helped the shooter prepare for the attack started. The process first started in October, as The Local reported, but a final verdict is not expected until at least February.

In December, tricky trial stages are scheduled, including questioning people suspected of having sold weapons to the terrorist.

READ ALSO: Austria starts trial over Vienna jihadist shooting

Armed police officers stand guard by the area where the terrorist attack took place in Vienna, Austria on November, 2020. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)

This Human World Festival

The This Human World Festival is celebrating its 15th anniversary and it focuses on the theme of human rights. In four Viennese cinemas (Schikaneder, Topkino, Gartenbaukino, Stadtkino) and two other venues (Brunnenpassage, Brotfabrik) you can watch films that deal with human rights, current conflicts and crises from December 1st to 11th. 

About 90 feature films, documentaries and short films await you – some of them will celebrate their Austrian premiere at the festival. 

The aim of the film festival is to draw attention to political and social grievances in a sensitive, stirring and occasionally humorous way.

You can read more about the event HERE.

Harry Potter: The Exhibition

“Harry Potter: The Exhibition” is touring worldwide and the major exhibition about the wizard’s universe will get its first European location in Vienna on December 16th, 2022. The show will be housed in the METAStadt in the 22nd district (Dr.-Otto-Neurath-Gasse 3).

The ticket sale has already started on the official site of the exhibition and via oeticket. Tickets are available from € 24.90 for children (up to 12 years) and € 29.90 for adults (from 13 years).

Weihnachtsmärkte

Last year, many markets around the country were cancelled after a snap lockdown in November, although some events still went ahead with strict rules in place.

But this year, the Christmas markets are back in full swing without restrictions, so make sure you visit one (or two) to really get into the Christmas spirit. Austria’s most famous markets are in Vienna, like the Christkindmarkt in front of the Town Hall that runs from November 19th to December 26th.

The Viennese markets are drawing in thousands of tourists to the Austrian capital. Don’t miss out on all the Glüwein (even if it is more expensive this year), geröstete Kastanien and Weihnachtskugeln you can get. 

FOR MEMBERS: IN PICTURES: A guide to the main Christmas markets in Austria

Public holidays

Besides Christmas (December 25th) and Stephan’s Day (December 26th), December 8th, when Catholics celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (Mariä Empfängnis), is also a public holiday in Austria.

Of course, there are also several celebratory dates in December. For example, every Sunday until Christmas is an Advent Sunday, and Austrian families commemorate it in many ways, including lighting up candles.

On December 4th, there is Barbaratag, while on December 5th, Krampus pays his visit to Austrian villages and cities. On the next day, December 6th, it’s time for St Nikolaus to bring chocolate and tangerines to children who were nice during the year.

Christmas Eve, Day, and St Stephen’s Day (December 24th, 25th and 26th) are important dates for Austrian traditions.

It’s also worth noting that Austrians celebrate Christmas on the evening of December 24th, usually with a family meal.

READ ALSO: Austrian Christmas traditions: The festive dates you need to know

New Year celebrations

Expect lots of fireworks on New Year’s Eve (Silvester) in Austria – and especially in Vienna.

In the capital, the bells ring out at St. Stephan’s Cathedral to welcome in the New Year, which is also broadcast on national television. This is followed by fireworks and some even take part in a communal waltz on Rathausplatz in front of the Town Hall.

But if you really want to celebrate New Year like an Austrian, then give a marzipan pig to your nearest and dearest. The little pigs represent a good luck charm and are handed out every year on New Year’s Eve.

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