Vintage Vienna – Social media site for sharing historical photographs

General information

Domain: People’s heritage and cultural participation (social media based content sharing)
Title: Vintage Vienna - Wien im Wandel der Zeit
Launch: 2012
Country: Austria

Project focus

Vintage Vienna is a community-driven initiative that collects and presents online historical photographs of social life and everyday culture in Vienna. It has been started by two private enthusiasts who invited others to participate and contribute photographs. The community uses the blogging platform Tumblr, Facebook and other social media channels (YouTube, Twitter) to share images, stories and comments. In 2013, a selection of historical photographs has also been published in a book and made accessible through a mobile app.



Vintage Vienna is a community of people who enjoy and share online historical and contemporary photographs of Vienna. In 2012, the initiators and editors, Daniela Horvath and Michael Martinek, invited people to send them images which they published on Facebook and their own weblog. Quickly Vintage Vienna got momentum and proved to be a big success: There were ever more “likes” on Facebook (currently about 99,000) and a lot of new images posted or sent to the editors.

The great appeal of the initiative led to a cooperation with a “traditional” publishing company, the Vienna based Metro-Verlag. As a result, a 160 pages book with a selection of historical photographs was published in July 2013. Enriched with audio and video clips, the selection was also made available via a mobile app produced by netzfrequenz software GmbH (Austria).

Financing / funding

Vintage Vienna was born out of personal interest and effort of two individuals who appreciate historical images of Vienna. The project was able to involve many other enthusiasts and to secure some resources to maintain and further develop it.

Content & IPR / licensing

Vintage Vienna content presented on Facebook and the weblog of the editors comprises historical and contemporary photographs and some other visual material (e.g. old postcards), including brief description. On YouTube also videos can be posted under the Vintage Vienna label.

The content on the editors’ weblog runs through an editorial process. Contributors have to e-mail the digital material with source and copyright information and state that they allow Vintage Vienna the free and continuous use of the content. On Facebook photographs can be posted freely, but the editors advise contributors to provide correct source and copyright information, and reserve the right to delete postings if the information is incomplete or questionable.

Technologies used / innovative features

Vintage Vienna is a community-driven initiative that uses social media, including Tumblr, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. The historical material and descriptive information is shared according to the requirements of each media. On the Tumblr based website of the editors it is presented in the form of a blog, which features the latest contributions and allows for exploring the material based on the keywords added (e.g. Vienna in the 1970s, coffee shops, airport, etc.). Material on Facebook is presented according to the sequence of postings (timeline) and often includes additional description, stories and comments by users. The Vintage Vienna mobile app (Apple iOS) provides a selection of images together with audio-visual material and various links.

Target users

Vintage Vienna involves many people from Vienna and elsewhere who appreciate the posted historical and contemporary images as well as share own material and information. Some are regular collectors of historical material, while others contribute photographs from their parents and grandparents or own more recent images. The participants comprise young and older people who identify shown locations and events, share personal recollections or add comments, e.g. about the transformation of places in Vienna.

Lessons learned

Cooperation: Vintage Vienna is a good example of a private, non-commercial initiative which mobilized many people to contribute own historical and contemporary material as well as personal memories, observations and opinions.

Technologies used / innovative features: The example also demonstrates how social media (weblog, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter) allow for growing a collection of unique visual material and a dedicated community of visitors and contributors.

Content & IPR / licensing: The copyrights remain with the contributors while the editors are allowed free and continuous use of the content for the purposes of their weblog. This is a simple solution which fits well for non-commercial initiatives. Concerning the Facebook site, the editors reserve the right to delete photos which are not appropriate because of lack of source or rights information or otherwise.

Sources and links