Schwarzenegger museum opens in Austria | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 30.07.2011
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Schwarzenegger museum opens in Austria

Arnold Schwarzenegger fans have gathered to celebrate the opening of a museum dedicated to him. The star's humble birthplace in southern Austria has been filled with exhibits from his movies and life.

The museum's initiator Peter Urdl standing next to a life-sized figure of Arnold Schwarzenegger

Childhood friend Peter Urdl is behind the museum

While Arnold Schwarzenegger is perhaps best know for the classic movie line "I'll be back," childhood friends in his Austrian hometown decided to make it a reality, of sorts. They took matters into their own hands, even though they knew the home-town boy who made it big had no plans of actually returning to live there.

Classmate Peter Urdl has set up the world's first museum dedicated to actor turned California governor at his birthplace in southern Austria.

Some 300 fans gathered in Thal on Saturday, the star's 64th birthday, for the opening day of the museum, located in the restored two-story yellow house where Schwarzenegger lived until he was 19.

Over a thousand objects related to his childhood and subsequent careers in bodybuilding, acting and US politics have been collected and are displayed in the museum.

They include his very first weights and the desk he sat behind as governor of California.

Trailers from his various films are also played while a life-size model of the "Terminator," his most famous movie role, looks on menacingly from the corner of the room.

He'll be back

Weights at the childhood home of former Governor of California Schwarzenegger

Arnie's childhood weights are just some of the orginal items on display

Although the former body-builder wasn't able to attend the opening ceremony personally, he has promised attend a more lavish event at a later date.

If the former "Governator" shows signs of going back on this promise, Urdl has promised to lure him in with some traditional Austrian apfelstrudel, a favorite of Schwarzenegger's when he was a child. A metal oven in which his mother used to make the beloved dessert has been put back in the corner it used to stand.

In fact, the house has largely been set back in time to how it was during the star's early childhood. According to Urdl, Schwarzenegger gave him the exact positions of even the bread box from his current home in California.

"Arnie really wanted to have the kitchen exactly the way it used to be," he said.

In light of recent events, Schwarzenegger may need the distraction and flattery of a museum dedicated just to him.

After leaving the California governor's office earlier this year, he has sought to rekindle his acting career.

But he has mostly been in the headlines due to revelations that he fathered a child with a former housekeeper. His and his wife, Maria Shriver, have since split up.

Author: Charlotte Chelsom-Pill (AFP, Reuters, DPA)
Editor: Kyle James

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