Chimney Sweep Museum

Chimney sweeper with equipment

New Year in Vienna is something special. The New Year's Day concert is watched by millions worldwide and on New Year's Eve the city is alive with revellers. The whole of the first central district is a stage for music and waltz, stalls selling sparkling wine and good luck trinkets. Marzipan piglets and four leaf clovers come in all possible sizes. Fortunetellers will read your hand for the coming year, fireworks and crackers light up the sky before the grand finale at midnight when the bells of Saint Stephens Cathedral ring out the old year and ring in the new.

One museum in particular is busy at this time of year - the Chimney Sweep Museum in the fourth district. Since 1985 the museum has been open to visitors interested in the history of chimney sweeping in the city. There are exhibits of old equipment, chimneys, ovens, documents as well as New Year postcards and good luck charms. Today there are 150 chimney sweeps in Vienna. The training lasts six years including tough exams in fire and safety regulations. The sweeps enjoy their reputation as bringers of good luck. Former sweep GŁnther Nowak, showing visitors round the museum believes that there is some truth in the superstition. He thinks that in days of old a visit by the chimney sweep meant that the house was safe and that a warm meal could be cooked on the oven. Then the entire family was happy and could rest content. Those were the days, of course, when the family gathered around the fireside hearth or stove instead of the telly or computer.

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