Schloss Niederweiden

Modernization and Reform

The Maria Theresa exhibition at Schloss Niederweiden focuses on the reforms introduced by Maria Theresa and the modernization of her dominions. The exhibition starts off by looking at social inequality and the Estates system in order to demonstrate the far-reaching impact of Maria Theresa’s reforms. With the reform of the state, fiscal system, administration, schools and universities, Maria Theresa took the first steps towards the modernization of her dominions. The temporary exhibition also examines the relationship between the ultra-Catholic monarch and the ideas of the Enlightenment.This part of the exhibition is located at the hunting lodge of Niederweiden, an exquisite gem of Baroque architecture remodelled and extended at the behest of Maria Theresa by her court architect, Nicolaus von Pacassi.


The main themes at Schloss Niederweiden:

• Maria Theresa as the constructor of a modern state

• Maria Theresa’s reforms and their impact

• Maria Theresa and Enlightenment thought

+ Click here for further information about the exhibition at Schloss Niederweiden
The construction of a modern state

The architectural jewel of Schloss Niederweiden was built in 1693/1694 at the behest of Count Ernst Rüdiger von Starhemberg to designs by Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach, the same architect who was responsible for Schönbrunn Palace. In 1726 it was acquired by Prince Eugene of Savoy. Maria Theresa purchased it in 1755 together with Schloss Hof, and ten years later commissioned her court architect Nicolaus von Pacassi to remodel and extend it. During the course of these alterations she had the rooms including the great hall decorated in the ‘Chinese’ manner that was the height of fashion at the time. The exhibition at Schloss Niederweiden focuses on this powerful urge to construct and create, whether at Schönbrunn, Schloss Hof or Schloss Niederweiden, a trait that also manifested itself in her policies.


The impulses and their spiritual fathers

The exhibition starts with an informative overview of the Estates system and the enormous differences that existed between the social strata in order to enable the visitor to grasp the profound impact of Maria Theresa’s reforms, which endured considerably longer than that of her military triumphs or defeats. In the great hall at Schloss Niederweiden the focus will be on the thinkers behind her reforms, including Gerhard von Swieten with his university reforms and Joseph Leopold von Daun with his reform of the army and founding of the Military Academy in Wiener Neustadt. A series of pictures by Bernhard Albrecht depicting the lives of its pupils documents this institution. Benches and desks recall the introduction of compulsory schooling. Many of the educational institutions founded by Maria Theresa still exist today, including the Theresianum, the Commercial Academy, Veterinary University, University of Mining and Metallurgy and the colleges of art.


Enlightenment and scepticism

With the reform of the state, fiscal system, administration, schools, universities and the army, Maria Theresa undertook important steps to modernize her dominions, making use of the services of enlightened thinkers such as the Augustinian canon and abbot Johann Ignaz von Felbiger. Her actions clearly demonstrate her adherence to the principle of utility for the prosperity of the state and its citizens. At the same time, as an ultra-Catholic ruler, she herself harboured a sceptical attitude towards the Enlightenment, only abolishing torture at the urging of Joseph von Sonnenfels. Her legislation of 1769, the Constitutio Criminalis Theresiana, still featured crimes such as witchcraft, dismissed as superstition by enlightened thinkers.

Admission prices Schloss Niederweiden

including audio guide

Adults € 9.50
Children aged 6–18 € 6.00
School groups
from 10 persons.
€ 4.90
student (ages 19-25), senior citizens 60+, Vienna-Card
€ 8.50
Maria Theresa  Combined Ticket

save money by buying a single ticket for all four venues

Adults € 29,00
Children aged 6-18   € 16,00
Opening hours:

daily from 15 March – 29 November, 2017

Further information:

→ Schloss Niederweiden

Location directions

Schloss Niederweiden, Niederweiden 1, 2292 Engelhartstetten

Further Information:
→ Directions Schloss Niederweiden


Schloss Niederweiden
Niederweiden 1, 2292 Engelhartstetten
Tel.: +43 2285 200 00

Group catalogue

Download the temporary exhibition catalogue:


B2B Contact

We look forward to your inquiry and will be pleased to answer any further queries at any time.

Schloß Schönbrunn
Kultur- und Betriebsges.m.b.H.
Sonja Stadler
Tourismusmarketing B2B
Tel.: +43 1 811 13 338

Voucher Agreement: