200 years of relations

until 03. September 2023
Special exhibition in the four cabinets and two exhibition halls.
This exhibition focuses on the fascinating diversity of Brazil from the perspective of the centuries-old ties between Brazil and Austria with their global interactions. This common history can be seen in many areas – politics, through major trade agreements, but also cooperation in science and culture. Last but not least, at an individual level it is reflected in our behavior as consumers.

The close ties between Austria and Brazil can be traced back to the period of the Habsburg Monarchy. The marriage of Archduchess Maria Leopoldina of Austria, the fourth daughter of Emperor Franz I and his second wife Maria Theresia of Naples and Sicily, to the Portuguese heir to the throne, Dom Pedro, had not only political consequences but also a far-reaching impact on the world of science. This exhibition gives an insight into the large-scale expedition launched to celebrate the wedding and supervised by none other than Austrian Chancellor Klemens Wenzel von Metternich himself. A staff of distinguished scientists collected and documented the exotic fauna and flora, as well as minerals and ethnological treasures, for four years in hugely challenging conditions. The taxidermist Johann Natterer even stayed on after the expedition had ended, spending a total of 18 years in the rainforests of South America and sending tens of thousands of objects and specimens back to Vienna. A selection of items from his collections, today housed in the NHM Vienna and the Weltmuseum, is shown in the exhibition as well as some of the countless herbarium sheets created by the botanist Johann Pohl.

At the same time, the exhibition also addresses the darker side of relations between Austria and Brazil. Some of these aspects, such as the slave trade and colonialism have massive effects right up to the present. Many others, however, continue today. These include ruthless, often brutal behavior towards the indigenous population as well as the radical exploitation of coveted natural and mineral resources – something we contribute to significantly through our behavior as consumers. These aspects are contrasted with examples of the opportunities and limitations offered by science, as well as the knowledge and experience of indigenous peoples, in the quest to find solutions that will benefit the world.

The majority of the exhibition is dedicated to Brazil's unique natural habitats – the evergreen rainforest of Amazonia, the thousands of kilometers of Atlantic coastline, the dense wilderness of the Atlantic Forest, the pale vegetation of the ‘White Forest’ in the Caatinga, the tropical swamps of the Pantanal, the highly specialized grasses of the Pampa and the forbidding savannas of the Cerrado. Preserving the enormous biodiversity and at least remnants of the original habitats with their abundance of plants and animals and their way of life, is a tremendous challenge. Scientists from Austria and the NHM Vienna are working in a variety of ways with partners from Brazil on research and renaturation projects. These projects, based on international collaboration, are being intensified and becoming more and more globally oriented – a positive outlook for the future after 200 years of eventful common history.


NHM Vienna branch Petronell:

Saturday, August 13 / 27, 2022:
Urwald-Exkursion im Auwald von Petronell, NÖ
Information & Registration:

Saturday, August 20, 2022:
Bootstour auf dem Amazonas der Wiener*innen
Information & Registration:

Valid admission ticket required.
Attendance at the lecture is free.

Wednesday, January 11, 2023, 6.30 p.m.:
Österreichisch-brasilianische Wissenschaftsgeschichten im "langen" 19. Jahrhundert
Martin Krenn (Department archive for the history of science)

Wednesday, June 7, 2023, 6.30 p.m.:
Frösche in Werbung und Wissenschaft
Walter Hödl (University Vienna)

Guided Tours:
Tour-Ticket: 5,00 Euro, plus entrance

Wednesday, February 15, 2023, 5.00 p.m.:
Gesegnetes Land?
Brigitta Schmid (Department of Science Communication, NHM Vienna)

Wednesday, June 14, 2023, 5.00 p.m.:
Warum gerade Brasilien? Brasilianisch-österreichische Beziehungen auf vielen Ebenen
Katrin Vohland (Director General and CEO of the NHM Vienna)
Behind the scenes:
Ticket: € 9,00 EURO, plus entrance

Wednesday, December 14, 2022, 5.00 p.m.:
Brasilien im Archiv
Martin Krenn (Archiv für Wissenschaftsgeschichte, NHM Wien)
Meet a scientist:

Wednesday, February 22, 2023, 5.00 p.m.:
Von Muscheln und Menschen
Sabine Eggers (Anthropologische Abteilung, NHM Wien)

Wednesday, March 22, 2023, 5.00 p.m.:
Unerforschte Vielfalt
Dominique Zimmermann (2. Zoologische Abteilung, NHM Wien)
NHM Vienna tip:

Wednesday, September 7, 2022, 6.30 p.m., Obere Kuppelhalle:
Poetisch-musikalischer Abend anlässlich 200 Jahre Unabhängigkeit Brasiliens von Portugal
Musical reading with the autor Autorin Gloria Kaiser and the Auner Quartett

6.00 p.m.:  exhibiton tour with the curator
Information & Registration:
External events:
August 17. and August 31, 2022, 4.00 p.m.:
Naturwunder einer Neuen Welt. Brasilien in Schönbrunn
Tour through the exhibition at the Palmenhaus Schönbrunn
Information & Registration:
€ 12,– (adults) | € 7,– (Kids 6–18 years)

September 17, 2022, 11.00 p.m.:
LEOPOLDINA. Furchtlos nach Rio
Exclusive tour with the curator Claudia Lehner-Jobst through the special exhibition
at the Porzellanmuseum Augarten
Information & Registration:
Entrance & tour € 12,– | € 10,– (reduced price)

September 8 and September 22, 2022, 4.00 p.m.:
Brasilien-Aquarelle von Thomas Ender
René Schober vom Kupferstichkabinett der Akademie der bildenden
Künste Wien (Schillerplatz 3, 1010 Wien) gibt einen Einblick
in die Werke von Thomas Ender, die während der Brasilien-
Expedition 1817/1818 entstanden sind.
Registration: +43 (0)1 58816 2401 or 
The tour is for free.
On the exhibition blog, new videos, images and text contributions regularly provide exciting insights into the various thematic areas. This is how you can gain insights into the exhibition online.
Click here to go to the blog...