Haus am Haven
(Credit: subkulturarchiv.at)



The "Haus am Haven" was once regarded as the most important subcultural centre in Western Austria. The house as well as the objects rented later were remnants of an old sawmill and were located at the so-called "Retter Areal" between the motorway exit Innsbruck-West, the Inn and the Karwendelbahn, a property of Inn-West GmbH. Today the commercial "Event Centre Hafen" is located there, which has nothing to do with the former cultural and social project.

The summer of 1986, the so-called "Chaostage" (chaotic period) took place in Innsbruck: numerous members of the punk culture flocked to Innsbruck, resulting in massive clashes with the police. As one of the consequences, the "AKT" pub (located at the so-called “Bogengegend"), where the left-alternative subcultural scene of Innsbruck met, was closed by the authorities at the beginning of 1987. Free space for artistic activities, such as rehearsal and performance opportunities for bands, were abruptly eliminated. 

New places and possibilities were sought out. Finally in 1989 the association "Kulturkontraste" rented the "Haus am Haven". Later, additional buildings were added, such as the "dry dock" and the "airport". What all the buildings had in common was that they had to be renovated. Over time, the "Haven" became the most important subcultural centre in Western Austria. In addition to the sponsoring organisation, numerous other associations and initiatives, such as Büro Diderot, cunst&co or Innpuls, also took part in cultural events. There were cooperations with other Austrian cultural centres, such as the Wiener Flex or the Linzer KAPU. With the help of this network, many bands came to Innsbruck. In the "Haven" itself, about 20 bands rehearsed in the years 1991/92. The "Haven" became a rehearsal room as well as a recording studio, concert hall, studio and cinema. Until its end in 1993, about 600 events had been held, of which about 60 were cinematic events and 400 were concerts. An estimated 7,000 visitors came to the events every year. The income paid for the running costs such as rent and maintenance.



In addition to the cultural component, the "Haven" also developed into a residential project. In the "airport", residential rooms were furnished. Caravans and construction trailers were parked on site . Around 30 people stayed there, 50 in summer. Eventually, problems with drugs emerged, along with vandalism, theft and violence.

Innsbruck's largest alternative residential and cultural project was successful until 1991, when bad news spread that the whole area was to be dragged and a parking lot was to be created. The area was demolished on 1 October 1993 and replaced with a car park.

The destruction did not happen without political resistance and also not without various counter proposals by the inhabitants of the “Haven”: A considerable amount of debt was reduced within a short time and a concept for future use was developed. Various negotiation attempts with each the City of Innsbruck and Inn-West GmbH, for instance, to preserve at least five percent of the site for the cultural project, were proposed and ultimately rejected.

The exhibition focuses on the negotiation processes and the attempts of 1992 and 1993 to find a solution, in addition to the insights into cultural creation. The diversity of the "Haven scene" must also be considered for it was not a homogeneous group. The members of the "Haven scene" expressed themselves against the traditional understanding of culture; they wanted to break away from a pure consumer culture and create alternative cultures. Many members came from a "typical Tyrolean" family with conservative values, which potentially opposed a project like the "Haus am Haven". Initially, both sides were willing to talk and solutions seemed possible. A satisfying outcome for both parties, however, couldn´t be achieved.

The exhibition also focuses on increasing politicisation as further aspects: Attacks by neo-Nazis and extreme right-wing skinheads as well as interferences of the Austrian Peoples Party – ÖVP (e.g. the ÖVP campaign "Innsbruck must not become a port city", refusal of subvention, etc.) for which the left-alternative culture and housing project was a thorn in the side.

This installation works with the spontaneous, improvisational character of the scene at the "Haven" or rather an early "Do-It-Yourself" society.

Haus am Haven: the building
(Credit: subkulturarchiv.at)

1989 – 1991

  • The "Haus am Haven" is rented by the association "Kulturkontraste" on the "Retter-Areal" and later the three neighbouring buildings (the four buildings form the "Havenzeile").
  • Cultural workers renovate the buildings as far as possible, and Innsbruck's largest alternative cultural and residential project (rehearsal rooms, concert hall, sound studio, studios, cinema, living rooms) is created.
  • The "Haven" evolved into the subcultural centre of Western Austria with over 7,000 visitors per year.


  • The Driving school Eigenstiller wants to build a motorcycle training area in the future
  • Designation for half of the site as a parking space
  • Rental of the so-called "airport”
  • A new two-year contract from June 1992 is proposed.
  • From the end of the year: Attacks on the "Haven" by neo-Nazis and extreme right-wing skinheads.

February 1992

  • The owners of the Inn-West GmbH do not reach a consensus for the extension of the contract.
  • Emergency meeting of “Kulturkontraste” and resolution of counter proposals.

March 1992

  • The city of Innsbruck is presented with a comprehensive concept for future use with Park & Ride, the "Havenzeile" with the four buildings is to remain standing; this would have corresponded to about 5% of the area. The proposal was ignored.
  • Start of a signature campaign

May 1992

  • An open letter generates lots of media buzz.
  • Public relations work with "Haven" information booths in the city centre and at the university
  • Discussions with the relevant politicians (Gerhard Fritz, Bruno Wallnöfer, Hermann Girstmair) take place

June 1992

  • Rental contract expires, action for eviction of Inn-West GmbH, eviction of the studio building
  • Despite all circumstances a successful anniversary event (Three years "Haven")
  • Handover of the petition "Haven bleibt" with 3,500 signatures to the City Senate, negotiations with politicians and Inn-West GmbH
  • Reduction of 100,000 Schilling debt to a fraction – nevertheless no further subsudies by the city of Innsbruck

July 1992

  • Search for replacement objects, i.e. inquiry at postal service (vacant garages), rejection
  • Eviction order on 8th of August

August 1992

  • Tyrolean social work association refer the "Haven" operators to a lawyer in order to obtain a legal postponement

September 1992 – September 1993

  • Attempts to save the "Haven" somehow or to find replacement objects
  • Bussiness is still ongoing, completion of open-air stage
  • The "Havenzeile" is to be cleared on 30th September.
  • “Kulturkontraste” considers abandoning the "Haven”

1. October 1993

  • The „Retter“ area is abandoned
  • Eviction: excavators and bulldozers raze  the area
  • Loss of the alternative culture centre without replacement
  • After the eviction, the number of homeless youths in Innsbruck increased
  • Balance: approx. 600 events, including about 400 concerts and 60 movies


  • Gregor Sanders, Zwischen Kultur schaffen und Widerstand, Dipl, Innsbruck 2010.
  • Gregor Sanders/Martin Haselwanter, Eine (kleine) Innsbrucker Bewegungsgeschichte, in: in bewegung (Gaismair Jahrbuch 2011), hrsg. v. Alexandra Weiss, Elisabeth Gensluckner, Monika Jarosch, Horst Schreiber, Innsbruck-Wien 2011, S. 25–33.
  • Havenpress, [http://www.literature.at/collection.alo?objid=12870], eingesehen 14.2.2019.
  • subkulturarchiv innsbruck, Startseite, o. D., [https://subkulturarchiv.at/index.php], eingesehen 14.2.2019.


Research project on social movements in Innsbruck, Marcel Amoser, Department of Contemporary History (Faculty of Philosophy and History)

This micro exhibition is part of the 350th anniversary of the University of Innsbruck.


Tobias Leo, Institute of History and European Ethnology (Faculty of Philosophy and History)
Sophie Gumpold, Balbina Zikesch, Institute of Design (Faculty of Architecture)

Project member

Lukas Hübner


(Credit: Tobias Leo)


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