The guides at Insight Cities are professors, doctoral students, historians, journalists, art critics, and published authors. Sharing our cities with people from all over the world is an extension of the curiosity and commitment that led us to academic research, teaching, and journalism. As brainy guides, we look for the crucial detail, the vital, quirky fact that illuminates local cultures for you while also revealing global contexts. We care passionately about good storytelling and good hosting, and we take pride in having helped thousands of travelers of all backgrounds and places to get the most from their time in our great cities.
Ilse obtained a Master’s degree in Romance languages and studied Ethnology and Journalism in the 1990s in Vienna as well. Ilse has served as the editor for numerous well-known Vienna-based writers. Her interests have always been attracted to history, the arts, and literature. Born and raised in Salzburg, it is not a surprise that she also developed an early affinity for classical music, studying piano at an advanced level in Graz for 2 years. She worked with the Sigmund Freud Museum for 3 years; and in 2013, after two and a half years of required training and study, she became a licensed Austrian tour guide. Ilse delights in sharing the fascinating history and culture of Vienna and Salzburg on a personal level while enjoying cultural exchanges with visitors from all over the world.
Felicitas studied architecture in Graz, Naples, and Vienna. As a student, she organized conferences, co-founded a research group, wrote articles, held seminars, and worked freelance at architectural firms. This wide-ranging experience led her to a position as the secretary of the Austrian Society for Architecture (1997-2003). She was a co-curator of the biennial Architecture Days in Vienna, on five separate occasions between 2005 and 2010 she edited a program on architecture for Vienna‘s Community-TV-Channel Okto. In 2012, she became a licensed Austrian tour guide. Her tours are mainly focused on the urban development of Vienna from its origins to the present day and architecture in its respective socioeconomic, political, cultural, and aesthetic context. What makes Viennese architecture special to her: the multifaceted interplay of buildings from all ages in this historic city and the prominent role of social, affordable housing as a motor for innovation and a challenge for the best architects. Although an enthusiastic native Viennese, she despises clichés and enjoys helping visitors develop their critical eye.
Gilles was first brought to Vienna by its art, twenty years ago, where he worked as a painter and a set designer for opera and theater productions. It was a perfect way, in Gilles’ words, to discover not only Vienna’s rich cultural and artistic past as well as the splendors of baroque architecture, but also its soul, and its fantastic classical, romantic, or contemporary music production. Gilles specializes in guiding travelers through Vienna’s history of music, visiting places where famous composers lived and worked or which they frequented. He also helps travelers discover the great Baroque palaces that crown the city and the hidden beauties of Vienna’s historical center, with its 2,000 years of history, including the Viennese Secession, and its pivotal role in the development of modernism in art and culture globally.
Reinhard studied literature, cultural science, and pedagogy at the Universities of Salzburg, Graz, and Vienna. He earned his PhD with a thesis about Henri Michaux and French post-surrealistic literature and art. His published articles focus on literary criticism and cultural history. Since 1986, Reinhard began to work in cultural tourism and cultural pedagogy. As a lecturer at the University of Graz, his main research topics are Italian and European Renaissance, Baroque, and the Fin-de-siècle. At present, Reinhard is working on a study about the late Italian Renaissance and the Counter-Reformation. His research activities have always been stimulating for his professional work as a cultural guide opening up the great city of Vienna and its history to travelers.
Katharina was born and raised in Vienna and earned an MA in History at the University of Vienna. She gives a wealth of themed tours of her city, from the classic city tour to imperial history, music history, architecture and art nouveau, palaces, churches, and cemeteries. She is well-known for her lively and specialized tours for children, which are interactive and allow kids to solve historical secrets while discovering Austria’s capital.
Gertraud (Gerti) has a linguistics background. She decided to leave a successful career in translation to indulge her passion for history, architecture, art, and culture. After graduating summa cum laude from two years of study to become a licensed Austria guide, she has become an involved member of the Vienna travel world. She has represented the Vienna Tourist Guides in the Chamber of Commerce/Association of Businesses in the Leisure Field in Vienna, as a member of the Tourist Guide Training Department and as Vice-Chair of the Board in the Chamber of Commerce/Association of Businesses in the Leisure Field in Vienna. She loves introducing travelers to Vienna’s rich history, its architecture, and astonishing art collections. In her free time, she also serves as an expert lay-judge at the provincial high court.
Annelie was born, grew up, and received her education in Vienna. A passionate reader and certified bookseller, she also obtained a Master’s degree in History and Political Sciences at the University of Vienna. She spent several years abroad working at the Austrian consulate general in Montreal, the EU Commission in Brussels, and the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation’s (ORF) office in Brussels. She then became a news editor for the ORF television news in Vienna and later a senior PR consultant at public relations agencies in Vienna. She also worked as Head of Communications at one of Austria’s leading business law firms for more than 14 years. Today, she happily focuses on arts, culture, and on the more than 2,000-year-history of Vienna and its surroundings. She offers a variety of themed tours, ranging from history, art, legends, imperial splendor, art nouveau and modernism to more complex topics such as Jewish Vienna, economics and law in Vienna, women’s changing roles over the course of history, or the multifaceted history of networking in Vienna.
Suzanne is an Art Historian with a Master’s degree from the University of Vienna. In the first five years of her career, she was heavily involved in the art market, specializing in European paintings (17th to 20th century). Born in Vienna with Franco-Czech roots, she spent her formative years in Prague and Rome, making her well-versed in Czech and Italian influences on European cultural heritage. Later on, Suzanne went to work as a research associate at the ETH Zurich and at the BOKU Vienna conducting research in the field of History of Garden Design and Landscape Architecture. Since 2013, Suzanne has been in Vienna involved in book projects (nextland, Contemporary Landscape Architecture in Austria, 2015, and Lifting the Curtain, Central European Architectural Networks, 2015) and conducting research on Austro-Czech cultural history. Suzanne has become a licensed tour guide because she firmly believes in an integrative cultural exchange by sharing her knowledge and passion through direct interaction with a broader audience.
Maya was born in Morocco and raised in various European countries where she studied history and art at University, making Vienna her home over twenty years ago. The capital of Austria seduced her with its beauty, charm, and endless source of fascinating stories from the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. As a licensed Austria guide, Maya specializes in a wide range of thematic tours from Imperial Vienna to music history, from Jewish Vienna to medical history, from the city’s astonishing world-class art museums and iconic architecture to hiking tours that help visitors explore the countryside and the famed Vienna Woods.
Wolfgang was born close to Graz. He moved to Vienna to study Business Administration and Economics – and he stayed. As the saying goes, “For, if you once lived in Vienna, you will never leave again.” He worked in leading positions in marketing departments and finally became a self-employed trainer and coach for presentation techniques. Besides that, he took university courses in History, Linguistics, and Cultural Sciences and writes for several blogs specializing in history and politics. Wolfgang also authors short stories, some of which have been published in diverse anthologies. He loves his city, its history, its culture and enjoys the vivid Viennese way of life, yet maintains a critical and honest view on some aspects in the past. For two years he has been working as a licensed guide in Vienna and Austria, and he delights in sharing his appreciation for the city with his guests, based on a well-balanced transfer of knowledge and personal experience. With his tours, he places emphasis on the history of art and architecture, literature, and the invaluable impact of Jewish heritage in Vienna.