Today the house at Berggasse 19 is synonymous with one name worldwide: Sigmund Freud. He was the founder of the revolutionary human science that fundamentally transformed our understanding of mental processes – psychoanalysis. During the last twenty years, the house in Vienna’s ninth district has developed into an internationally recognized institution that is unique in Austria.
With this world-famous address, Austria is responsible for a very special cultural legacy: Freud understood himself as a pioneer of his era, leaving behind the narrow confines of individual scientific disciplines to venture into uncharted territory. For 47 years he labored at Berggasse 19 on a new conception of the life of the psyche, until he was forced to flee his home in 1938 on account of National Socialism. Thus this address stands – concretely and symbolically – for the responsible handling of historical dreams, solution-oriented conflict strategies and models of interdisciplinary scientific thinking.
The Sigmund Freud Foundation, which is based at Berggasse 19, has long since become a globally recognized center of scholarship. On a variety of levels it promotes the exchange of knowledge concerning Vienna and its scientific history while nurturing contemporary interaction between psychoanalysis and other disciplines. The museum and the research library provide an ideal basis for this endeavor. The institution sees itself as an interface between tradition and future research, positioning itself as a transdisciplinary forum in the fields of international culture and scholarship.
Since receiving the entire building as an endowment, the Foundation has succeeded in adding 846 m2 deriving from former residential apartments to the 710 m2 in use to date. This development presents the Sigmund Freud Foundation, the Republic of Austria and the City of Vienna with the challenge of setting an internationally visible signal in 2009 on the 70th anniversary of Freud’s death. Concretely it entails preserving and renovating Berggasse 19 to house a 1,500-m2 facility. Achieving this aim would establish a clear path for the future of the Freud House, facilitating the expansion of the museum and the library as an active research institute and thereby taking initiative toward providing an adequate home for the furtherance of knowledge once exiled from Austria.
The current situation represents a unique opportunity and an obligation to promote the continuing growth and long-term preservation of an institution that has already earned respect and recognition worldwide across all geographic and cultural borders and to anchor it in Vienna. The Sigmund Freud House can become an internationally known symbol of Austria’s great cultural legacy and of the significance accorded by City of Vienna and the Republic of Austria to knowledge once driven into exile.