Hardship/Friendliness/Quality of Life
Vienna has just come out third in a survey. Stop the presses. Yes, third, not first. Isn’t Vienna supposed to come top of all these survey things?
It is fine, the alarm bells can be turned off again now, and the people moved along. There is after all, nothing to see here. The survey in question has seen Vienna voted the third most unfriendly place in the world, behind Paris and Kuwait City. Newspapers are all in a flap about this rating. My response as a Neo-Wiener is that had they interviewed the right people, Vienna would surely have also prevailed on this front too.
Had the survey masters knocked on my metaphorical door, I would have probably given them what for and sent them away with their tails between their legs with food for thought about their silly little survey. And Vienna would have been a step closer to gaining top spot.
I love Vienna. I also aware of its imperfections, and compensate accordingly to avoid having to suffer from them. Had the survey taken place yesterday, doubtless many Brits trying to get tickets for the Austria vs England pre Euro 2020 friendly to take place at the Happelstadion, would have seen fit to call the city out as being unfriendly, due to the ÖFB/Oeticket Portal asking people to confirm that they are Austrian citizens to be able to buy tickets (the away fans will have to go through the FA’s ticketing process). Fortunately, I’ll not be affected by that problem, and have duly bought my ticket to sit with the Austrians. As an Austrian. I’ll sing both anthems while also avoiding the City centre like the plague, but the game will be my first live Austria game since becoming an Austrian. I now have six months to polish belting out the anthem.
If Vienna is really unfriendly, why does pushing a twin pram seem to draw so many positive comments from its apparently unfriendly citizens? Old ladies coo, younger ladies coo. Small children coo. Strangers strike up conversations in the bus and look on slightly bemused at a father chatting to his children in English and then happily chatting away to others in German.
From the taxi driver through to the shop assistant, other parents at Kindergarten, or little old ladies on the bus, treat them all kindly, pay compliments where they are due and contribute towards being friendly. Rather than bashing the city through a silly little survey that only serves the purpose of plugging a gap in the news, or social media scheduling.
2 thoughts on “Hardship/Friendliness/Quality of Life”
I lived and worked in Vienna for 17 months in 2018 and I found that the people of Vienna were all very friendly indeed!
Prior to this I had worked in the Tirol for 5 months and just before I left to move on to Vienna, the residents in the Tirol warned me that the Vienese people were not friendly people – It is simply not true. I made many lovely friends and acquaintances in Vienna.
There is always a bit of a Provinz/Hauptstadt (provincial/capital) animosity in many countries – the UK is no different in this regard. I think a lot of it depends on the effort you make. I have invested the time and effort to meet and greet, to smile, talk to old ladies and to offer to help. I am slightly lucky that wheeling twins around in a pram attracts attention and I am happy to stop and chat to people – it is part of loneliness often that people do talk to you, and I feel it a common courtesy to respond – it costs me nothing of my day to have a passing conversation with a stranger. I go into it imagining that it may be their only conversation of the day, and therefore that I can help alleviate their loneliness by chatting. I also think that a Brit who naturalised, who speaks the language, does Schmäh etc. is a bit of a novelty. I get the impression that a lot of the issue is who receives these surveys – someone who doesn’t speak the language and doesn’t know their neighbours probably will not strike up much of an affinity.