Chimney Sweeping in Austria

An American chimney sweep’s perspective.

My experience sweeping chimneys in Austria centered in the old capitol itself – the heart of Europe- Vienna. The city of Franz Joseph I and Sissi was our home base for our two days of sweeping around the Ringstrasse of Vienna.

Our guide was none other than a 7th generation Viennese chimney sweep named Roland Cornelius. A most gracious guide Roland welcomed us to dinner at the end of two long days of show-and-tell. We followed him into spider-web filled attics and walking down numerous avenues from house to house and flat to flat. We analyzed combustion gasses on gas heaters, and swept masonry flues between 1 and 4 stories high. The most remarkable view was from the top of a 5 story “house” in central Vienna District 2 where we paused and gloried in the morning sun and the city view.

roland and byron chimney sweeping in vienna austria

Chimney stories begin with construction technique, and technique begins with plans. Read more about the history of chimneys in medieval European cities we travelled through.

We walked throughout Vienna and its many districts created for effective city administration (image below).

chimney sweep district map of Vienna Austria

I noted the majority of the population live comfortably in 5 story buildings with central shared stairways and hallways (visible in this video on Sweeping Chimneys in Vienna) leading to individual flats (apartments). Older folks might prefer the ground floor because there are fewer stair steps. Elevators were absent in most multi-story residential buildings in Vienna that we visited.

The top of Vienna was a great view from the roof top. In this video Roland references the “Flak Tower” which I had clearly no idea about in the video. But a little online research shows us that there were a total of 8 of these built in 1940s by Nazi forces as ant-aircraft gun locations to defend against Allied air strikes during WW2. The towers remain today in Vienna, tall, grey and ominous.