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Who was Austria's longest-reigning emperor?

Elizabeth Grenier
November 21, 2016

He was emperor of the Habsburg Monarchy for 68 years; his reign permanently influenced European history. An exhibition in Austria marks the centenary of Franz Joseph's death on November 21 - and goes beyond the myths.

Exhibit part of "Franz Joseph 1830-1916 -Centenary of the Emperor's Death" Copyright: KHM-Museumsverband
Image: KHM-Museumsverband

The special exhibition "Franz Joseph 1830-1916 - Centenary of the Emperor's Death" explores different facets of the life and reign of the monarch who died 100 years ago on  November 21, 1916.

"Man and Monarch," held in the historical Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, explores the personality of the ruler and the fundamental events in his life.

"Majesty & Modesty," shown at the Imperial Carriage Museum, focuses on how the emperor staged his image. Although huge sums were spent on runninng the court, Franz Joseph was proud of his frugal personal requirements.

"Festivities & Everyday Life" is the part of the exhibition organized at the Imperial Furniture Collection. It contrasts Franz Joseph's strict daily duties with the events and festivities that contributed to mythologizing the long-reigning monarch. Franz Joseph also became the first emperor to be immortalized through voice recordings and film.

"Hunting & Recreation" is the fourth topic of the exhibition and is hosted at Schloss Niederweiden in Lower Austria. It shows how hunting was not only a pastime of the Habsburg dynasty; it also provided the opportunity to informally exchange on important political matters.

The exhibition opened on March 16 and runs through November 27.