Schloß Schönbrunn Kultur- und Betriebsges.m.b.H.
The Schloß Schönbrunn Kultur- und Betriebsges.m.b.H. (SKB) administers Schönbrunn Palace, the Imperial Furniture Collection and the Imperial Apartments in the Vienna Hofburg, including the Sisi Museum and the Imperial Silver Collection, in other words, the greatest attractions of Austria’s imperial heritage.
Legal status and function
Since 1 October 1992, management has been in the hands of Schloß Schönbrunn Kultur- und Betriebsges.m.b.H. This is a limited liability company owned entirely by the Republic of Austria. Its legal basis is a federal law allowing the operation of Schönbrunn Palace to be outsourced to a private company. The managing director is Mag. Klaus Panholzer. The authorized signatories are Mag. Dr. Alexander Keil and Ing. Herbert Polsterer, who are both deputy directors. Mag. Maria Mayr-Munoz-Carrillo also functions as authorized signatory.
The private company is controlled by a Supervisory Board:
Mag. Karin Fuhrmann (Vorsitzende)
Mag. Elisabeth Udolf-Strobl (Stellvertretende Vorsitzende)
DI Matthias Molzbichler
SC Dr. Gerhard Popp
Mag. Beatrice Schobesberger
Karin Lirzer (Arbeitnehmervertreter)
Andrea Rotter (Arbeitnehmervertreter)
Michael Schuhböck (Arbeitnehmervertreter)
KR Josef Fröhlich (Ehrenpräsident)
In addition, Schloß Schönbrunn Kultur- und Betriebsges.m.b.H. is advised by an Historico-Cultural Advisory Council consisting of 20 members, various specialists in art history and the preservation of historic monuments, museum and tourism experts. The Council must be consulted on all relevant issues of touristic use.
The overall site and complex of Schönbrunn is owned by the Republic of Austria, and the operating company's contract with the state is based on a usufructuary right. While, on the one hand, all proceeds from operations flow into the company, on the other hand, the company must undertake all necessary expenditure. It receives no subsidies, and investments are made without any liability being accepted by the state.
Schloss Schönbrunn, with its gardens and zoological garden (Tiergarten), integrated into the Palace complex (total area, c. 1.2 square kilometres), is owned by the Republic of Austria. Maria Theresa's Last Will and Testament (1780) formed the basis for administration of the Palace, whereby the Court Treasury (Staatskasse) made a distinction between the building itself and its maintenance operations. Since formation of the Republic in 1918, the Ministry of Economics, today known as the Federal Ministry Digital and Economic Affairs, has been in charge of administering the Palace, and until 1992, the entire Schönbrunn complex was administered by the Schlosshauptmannschaft Schönbrunn (a local government body).
Hofburg - Imperial Apartments & Sisi
Museum & Imperial Silver Collection
Imperial Furniture Collection
Besides the Palace, the operating company runs a number of other exhibition tracts: the Imperial Apartments (since November 1994), the Imperial Silver Collection (since April 1995) and the "Sisi Museum" (since April 2004) at the Viennese Hofburg, as well as the Imperial Furniture Collection in Vienna's seventh district (since June 1998).
The two museum collections of the Imperial Apartments and the Imperial Silver Collection in the Hofburg, as well as the Imperial Furniture Collection, are managed under a lease which obliges Schloß Schönbrunn Kultur- und Betriebsges.m.b.H. to administer the museums and perform all relevant duties, such as management operations, wage and salary payment, accounting, marketing, publicity work, and so on. The collections continue to be curated under the auspices of Dr Ilsebill Barta at Dept. 7 of the Ministry of Economics.
Schloss Hof and Schloss Niederweiden
Since 2012 the Marchfeldschlösser Revitalisierungs- und Betriebsges.m.b.H. (MRBG) founded in 2002 has been a subsidiary of the Schloß Schönbrunn Kultur- und Betriebsges.m.b.H. MRBG and the SKB merged on 31 July 2015. This means that Schloss Hof and Schloss Niederweiden have become branches of the Schloß Schönbrunn Kultur- und Betriebsges.m.b.H. with retroactive effect as of 1 January 2015, thus completing the array of the greatest attractions from the cultural treasures of Austria’s imperial past. The objective is a medium-term increase of the number of visitors to Schloss Hof and Schloss Niederweiden. The merger of the two companies sets the course for a successful further development of Schloss Hof and Schloss Niederweiden. Top priority in taking this step is the preservation of Imperial Austria’s cultural heritage.
Guiding Principle of the Schloß Schönbrunn Kultur- und Betriebsges.m.b.H.
Premier Austrian Cultural Monuments
In the World Cultural Heritage Site consisting of Schönbrunn Palace, the Imperial Apartments, the Sisi Museum, the Imperial Silver Collection in the Vienna Hofburg and the Imperial Furniture Collection we administer the premier Austrian cultural monuments. Moreover, in Schloss Hof and Schloss Niederweiden we are in charge of classic sightseeing and excursion destinations in the neighbouring region of the Federal Land.
Leading operator of Austrian cultural tourism
Our objective as leading operator of Austrian cultural tourism is to tap the available resources of the locations we supervise in authentic form – as is fitting for the status of Schönbrunn Palace as World Cultural Heritage Site – and make them available for culture, tourism and leisure options.
Our pre-eminent task is to maintain permanent services orientation. We base our activities on the various demands of our target groups and commit ourselves to providing the best service possible. We have enthusiastic and self-reliant employees and associates working for us, who pull together to achieve the enterprise’s objectives.
Conservation and renovation of the cultural monuments
The generated revenue is used mainly for the conservation and renovation of the cultural monuments. Thus investment of the greatest possible conservational care and expertise into the historic substance is the guideline for all our activities.
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Schönbrunn Palace is one of Austria’s most important cultural assets, and since the 1960s has been one of Vienna’s major tourist attractions, drawing millions of visitors each year.
With the exception of the imperial privy gardens on the side of the palace, the park at Schönbrunn has been open to the general public since 1779 and since then has served primarily as an important recreational amenity for Vienna’s population. It had also been possible to view the inside of the palace from the mid-eighteenth century, provided that the court was not present and an appointment had been made with the governor of the palace.
The piano nobile of the palace was opened to the Austrian and international public immediately after the fall of the Monarchy. After the Second World War the decision was taken to exploit the complex as a tourist attraction, and since then the palace has drawn around two million visitors annually.
The park and all the other numerous attractions at Schönbrunn see another six million visitors each year, giving a grand total of around eight million visitors to the impressive palatial complex at Schönbrunn each year.
At the 20th session of the World Heritage Committee held in December 1996, Schönbrunn Palace was put on the list of UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Sites, an institution founded in 1972. Inclusion in this list confirms the importance of the palace and its gardens as a unique Baroque ensemble.