Vienna’s Christmas markets play an important role in the city’s cultural life around Advent. These markets have a centuries-old tradition in Vienna. There is evidence of such a market on the Graben as early as 1600. In 1722, a “St. Nicholas, Christmas and Nativity Market” is mentioned in a document. In the meantime, Advent markets have also become an important economic factor. Their contribution to the total economic output was estimated at around 400 million euros for the year 2022. This is one of the reasons why Christmas markets are at the center of Vienna’s city tourism during the Christmas season.
The Spittelberg Christmas Market has existed for 30 years and is one of the most important Advent markets in Vienna. Especially the romantic atmosphere in the middle of the historical ensemble of a late baroque suburb, the variety of selected handicrafts, the attention to sustainability, organic products and innovative culinary offerings do attract visitors every year.
The Spittelberg Christmas Market has already received several awards. The readers of the renowned Falstaff magazine have voted the Spittelberg Christmas Market the most attractive Advent market in Vienna in uninterrupted succession since 2017, each time with a clear lead. Skyscanner, one of the major international air travel platforms, even named the Spittelberg Christmas Market the most beautiful in Europe and number 3 worldwide in 2017.
Basics of the selection for participation in the Spittelberg Christmas Market.
These good ratings are only possible if the quality of the product range offered on the market is high. Forum Spittelberg, organizer of the successful Spittelberg Christmas Market for 30 years, therefore pays special attention to craftsmanship and artistic quality, innovation and sustainability when selecting participants. Because we know that many of our visitors come to Spittelberg every year and appreciate not only variety but also a certain continuity, stallholders who apply to participate again the following year will generally be given the same stall space again, provided that the offer continues to fit well into the overall image of the market.
Arts and crafts and trading goods
Artisans who produce their own goods – sometimes directly at the booth – are given preference over traders. We also want to particularly promote innovative products and innovative design. The diversity of the products is also important to us. Visitors to the Spittelberg Christmas Market should find as wide and interesting a range of different handicraft products as possible. Those who cooperate with socio-economic enterprises (e.g. women’s cooperatives in countries of the South) and have their products manufactured there have priority over suppliers with products from conventional production.
The food range offered at the market should also be traditional and down-to-earth on the one hand, and innovative and little-known on the other. However, two additional criteria are important here. We want to promote organic products and regional farming and, if possible, dishes should be freshly prepared from high-quality organic ingredients directly at the stand. Because independence is an important characteristic of the Spittelberg Christmas Market, there are no stands of system gastronomy or franchise chains here. At the request of local residents and stand operators, we always strive for the optimal distribution of culinary stands in the market area.
Wir ersuchen unsere Standlerinnen und Standler, Kopien ihrer Gewerbeberechtigungena
We ask our stallholders to enclose copies of their business licenses and UID number with their registration.
und UID Nummer ihrer Standplatzbewerbung beizulegen.
Alcoholic hot beverages
There is a special regulation for stands with alcoholic hot beverages (punch, mulled wine, tea with rum, etc.). Places for such stands are allocated exclusively to the local restaurateurs in the area of the Spittelberg Christmas Market. This close cooperation with the local gastronomy has proven its worth for 30 years now. In this way, we are able to operate our deposit system at low cost and with a minimum of effort, because the mugs are washed in the respective establishments, where facilities for washing mugs are already available. In addition, there is a special agreement with pubs that operate a punch stand with regard to sanitary facilities (see sustainability).
The stand design
The specific situation on Spittelberg requires special booths. On the one hand, in the narrow, cobbled and sloping alleys, often only special formats with small width and depth can be set up. On the other hand, the strictly protected historical ensemble must be taken into account when deciding on the design. For example, only wooden huts can be erected.
Applicants are supposed to attach a short concept to their application outlining the planned stand design (lighting, decoration, etc.). Innovative ideas are welcome as well as creative traditional design.
Sustainability and Eco-Event
The Spittelberg Christmas Market is an “Eco-Event”. This title is awarded by the City of Vienna to companies/events/markets that strive for a particularly good ecological footprint. This means that products should be fairly traded or produced, local, regional and/or organic, vegetarian or vegan, resource-saving and/or sustainable. The appearance of the stands should also meet sustainable criteria, e.g. decoration material, packaging, take-away dishes should be reusable and environmentally friendly. Forum Spittelberg supports stallholders at any time with advice and support, so that the criteria for participation in the “Eco-Event” can be well provided.
Forum Spittelberg attaches great importance to sustainability in the organization of the market. Due to this reason, the operation of stalls serving alcoholic hot beverages is reserved for the catering businesses located on Spittelberg. There is an agreement with them that they will let visitors and stallholders use their sanitary facilities free of charge. This makes the installation of portable toilets unnecessary. This saves transport costs and the use of chemical agents. Also the washing of the mugs takes place in the enterprises, which dispose of the necessary equipment. Therefore no additional installations are needed. There is a separate waste management system for the waste generated, which is aimed at prevention on the one hand and separation and recycling on the other. The Spittelberg bags, made of paper of course, are handed out to the stallholders free of charge.
A three-member jury (Katarina Spielmann/visual artist, Katarina Krupicka/psychologist and Michael Schmid/author and photographer) with equal gender representation will make the final decision on participation in the Spittelberg Christmas Market based on the pre-defined criteria. The allocation of stands will be made according to a criteria that is acceptable to all participants, i.e. visitors, stallholders, neighborhood.