Maria Theresa Monument will be removed
City of Vienna announces result of citizen participation process of MA16.
Maria Theresa, the historical mother of Austria, is known for her comprehensive reform policies. However, what is not mentioned in schoolbooks and on commemorative plaques are her colonial endeavors, e.g. as founder of the East India Trade Company. Other criticisms include her Christian Anti-Semitism and the honoring of an autocrat in a democratic society.
In order to negotiate what should happen to the most important monument to the Habsburg monarchy, a broad citizen participation process took place. This was intensified by the Black Lives Matter protests in the USA, the removal of the King Leopold II. statue in Belgium, and the sinking of the monument to slave trader Edward Colston in England. This also sparked a colonialism debate in Austria, with exploitation and structural slave trade at the center. For example, to cite just one example, it was widespread among the Habsburg high aristocracy to keep people as slaves.
With a focus on the marginalized voices outside the majority society - which so often go unheard in these proceedings - MA16 accompanied a variety of city residents, pressure groups, historians, activists, politicians, etc. in the negotiation process.
Today, the MA16 - Municipal Department for Democratic Historiography and Remembrance Practice in Urban Space presented the result:
The Maria Theresa Monument in Vienna will be removed in five days. The "Maria-Theresien-Platz" will be renamed to "former Maria-Theresien-Platz".
In the future, the former Maria-Theresien-Platz will offer space for a lively, democratic practice of remembrance - space for discussions, performances, interventions and rituals, enabling a critical examination and revaluation of the Habsburg Monarchy.
The MA16 as an open, multi-perspective municipal department is committed to 'Living Memorials' in Vienna and in the digital space. It was founded 100 years ago.
This Sunday, Sept. 12, everyone is invited from 3-6 p.m. to the anniversary of its 100th anniversary at the former Karlsplatz. You can participate in living monuments, listen to speeches of founding members and join the discussion.
The future is now!