Soon, the cultural and artistic spirit of Vienna moves again to Geneva. The doors of different venues are opened so that everyone can dress up, dance the well-known Strauss waltzes as well as traditional ballroom styles, meet a member of the family in person, taste typical food and drinks and engage with interesting people from the international and local Geneva. After two years of silence due to the pandemic, it will be held on 6 May at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel de la Paix, Geneva.
What does this celebration represent for Austrian culture?
It was the Emperor Joseph II (1741-1790) who opened the doors of the Imperial Palace of Hofburg on the occasion of the first ball. The traditional Viennese balls have always been an opportunity to combine diplomatic and economic discussions at parties during long winter nights. They were reserved for the aristocracy and the emperor’s private sphere.
From this period there remains a strict and unique label comprising a majestic setting, a strict dress code – tuxedo and long dress, varied orchestras as well as the opening of the ball performed by female debutants in white robes and male debutants in suit & tails, the “Alles Walzer!” ritual called by the master of the ball, inviting the participants to dance, the “Quadrille” dance at midnight finalized by the “Last dance” (Brüderlein fein).
When did the idea of celebrating the bals in Geneva come up?
In 2009 the idea of having a traditional Viennese ball as it was already taking place in various cities all over the world for already some decades, came up for the first time. It took us ten years until we could finally realize the first ever original Viennese ball in Geneva on 6th June 2019.
Who are some of the members of the association you formed?
The members of the organizing committee are volunteering for this project. They are experts in their professional life or already retired by enthusiastic for this project. No one is explicitly formed for the organization of this special event. Even myself, professionally-wise a trade and investment policy expert working at the Austrian federal ministry of economy, delegated to the Permanent Mission of Austria to the WTO.
What links do you have with the Strauss family?
Dr. Eduard Strauss III, descendant of the Strauss family is honorary member of our association “Les amis de la musique de bal viennois,” created in 2018 in order to promote the cultural bridge between the two European UN sites Vienna and Geneva by organizing every year a traditional Viennese Ball. Mr. Strauss’ engagement at the Vienna Institute for Strauss research is in conjunction with the mission of the association.
Is it an event for ball dancers only? Or can anyone attend?
A traditional Viennese ball is a dynamic mix of excellence. After the opening show with the debutants waltz, the dance floor welcomes all guests. They may also walk around, sharing a glass and taste the typical long sausages, called “Sacherwürstel”. Some take the opportunity to discuss business, others find the love of their life. Such a special occasion unites generations and society as a whole.
What does it mean to have to wear a special dress code?
Wearing a special dress code completes the elegance of the protocol the whole event is composed upon. In fact, the event already starts with choosing the right dress weeks before.
When is the next event, what place did you choose and why?
On 6 May 2022, the next Bal Viennois de Genève will be held at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel de la Paix, Geneva. Since the number of participants is limited booking tickets soon is recommended: Booking. The evening programme is aimed at connecting the international and local life in Geneva in a customary way – reuniting diplomacy, politics, business, art, science and research, across generations and nations.