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The Story of Franz Matzinger

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We have told you many stories about the Ringstraße and its buildings and architects. There are, of course, many other players that made the construction of the Ringstraße possible. One of these players who is definitely not well known, but an important one is Franz Matzinger. Born in 1817, he was a bureaucrat in the Habsburg interior ministry. And why is he important? You see, a lot about the Ringstraße was about money. Money not only of those investors who bought property on the Ringtraße and made a lot of the construction possible, but also money to build the famous public buildings that we all admire today: The Opera, the Parliament, the Art and Natural history Museums, the Burgtheater, and others. Of course, the government did not have that much money to build all this so the idea was for the government to sell the new space available after the removal of the city walls to private investors and would use the money raised to build public buildings. And for this endeavor, the “Vienna expansion fund” (Wiener Stadterweiterungsfonds) was created, which eventually accumulated a lot of money. And who run this place? It was Franz Matzinger and we are told that he defended this money as if it was his own. It appears that other government offices wanted to have access to these millions, but Matzinger fended them off all. Matzinger did not see the full competition of the Ringstraße as he died in 1896, but the Wiener Stadterweiterungsfonds outlived him by a couple of years: It was dissolved only in 2017! Although Matzinger is not a household name anymore, one can visit him in the first floor of the Museum for the History of Art. Appropriately, he is located right in the place that he made possible: The Ringstraße (Cr).