The Struggle with the River: Vienna and the Danube from 1500 to the Present



Medieval Vienna was situated at the main arm of the alpine Danube River, which branched out across a huge floodplain to the northeast of the city. While the river was vital to the city, floods regularly destroyed infrastructure and led to costly repairs. From the fourteenth century onwards, the Danube gradually moved away from the city. This marked the beginning of 500 years of human intervention to prevent further removal of the river and to preserve the waterway as a vital supply line.
The Project “ENVIEDAN – Environmental history of the Viennese Danube 1500 – 1890” is combining archival research and GIS reconstruction of historical river landscapes and river engineering measures to provide a useful tool for integrative research in environmental history.

Author Biography

Severin Hohensinner, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU), Austria

Severin Hohensinner, PhD in landscape ecology/planning, has been a research assistant since 2001, with a focus on the reconstruction and modelling of historical river/floodplain
hydromorphology and morphodynamic processes. His specific scientific interest is on the historical development of the Danube River in the context of applied river restoration
projects. The results of his studies contribute to the identification of historical living conditions of the biocoenoses in riverine ecosystems.