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Vienna Crime Museum (Wiener Kriminalmuseum)

Vienna Crime Museum (Wiener Kriminalmuseum) (46)

The darker and rogue side of Vienna is based in this unique museum housed in the so-called Seifensiederhaus, one of the oldest houses in the Leopoldstadt district because a complete historical record of crime in the city is presented here. 

A good counterpoint to the imperial excellence of the capital of the Habsburgs, the Vienna Medieval Crime Museum, halfway between a centre of documentation and the chamber of horrors you might find in a wax museum, will delight some and make others' hair stand on end.

The museum, opened in 1991, proposes a tour through 20 rooms that takes us from the Middle Ages to the present, thanks to pieces like pamphlets and newspaper clippings relating to the actions of thieves and murderers, crime scene photos, personal belongings of prisoners and even weapons. 

You are strongly advised that, in addition, mummified heads of several criminals who were killed are presented here, and the truth, unless you have a strong stomach, is that they are downright unsightly.   

The extensive criminal spectrum reflected thanks to the abundant material in the collection ranges from small thieves from the Viennese underclass to famous political crimes of the 19th century, including attempts to assassinate members of the royal family or the lynching of a minister which occurred during the 1848 revolution.

Also on display is the evolution of methods used to solve different cases and the history of the city police. 

As fans of shows like CSI and aspiring forensic analysts revel in the sinister items presented in this mixture of chamber of horrors and social documentation, others can sit in the courtyard café to take their mind off this dark Vienna that does not usually appear in the history books or travel guides. 

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