Everything You Always Wanted to Know About China's Permanent Mission to the UN and Other International Organizations in Vienna

OrganizationsDiplomatic Missions ♦ Published: January 25, 2022; 21:47 ♦ (Vindobona)

The villa and park complex at Hohe Warte in Vienna Döbling, which was sold to the People's Republic of China in 2013 for a reported € 21 million, and in which its UN embassy has been located since 2020 under the leadership of H.E. Ambassador Wang Qun, has a storied ownership history and already belonged to Hungarian-Habsburg high aristocrats, Yugoslavian war criminals and the City of Vienna, which used it as an orphanage and in which sexual child abuse was carried out.

The villa and park complex at the Hohe Warte in Vienna Döbling, was sold to the People's Republic of China for a reported € 21 million. (Picture: cropped) / Picture: © Wikimedia Commons / Martin G. Enne, CC BY-SA 3.0

The area consists of the properties Hohe Warte 5, 1190 Vienna and Hohe Warte 1-3, 1190 Vienna. 

Hohe Warte 5, 1190 Vienna (Andrássy Villa)

The property Hohe Warte 5, 1190 Vienna, is the "Andrássy Villa". This was originally called Villa Kratzer and was built by Theophil Hansen.

This complex (park and villa) was owned by Count Dionysius Andrássy.

Dionysius Stephan Georg Klement Count Andrássy de Csíkszentkirály and Krasznahorka (November 18, 1835 - February 23, 1913) was a Hungarian nobleman and patron of the arts, a member of the upper house of the Hungarian Parliament, and president of the Hungarian Heraldic and Genealogical Society.

He donated it to the City of Vienna in 1903 for the establishment of a girls' orphanage, in memory of his late wife Franziska Andrássy.

Hohe Warte 1-3, 1190 Vienna (Villa Hohe Warte)

Count Andrássy also donated the neighboring plot of land (Hohe Warte 3) for the construction of a Christian boys' orphanage.

The plot Hohe Warte 1-3, 1190 Vienna, is the part of the property called "Villa Hohe Warte", which became the sixth municipal orphanage built by the Municipality of Vienna in 1907/08 after the donation and opened in 1914.

The Andrássy Monument by Hans Bitterlich to Franziska Countess Andrássy is also located there.

The orphanage with a courtyard-like layout and baroque-secessionist details, was designed by three architects of the Municipal Building Department.

Later, the Villa Hohe Warte was run as the Rädda Barnen Children's Home.

In this home, needy children between the ages of three and six, selected by Swedes, were housed for six to eight weeks and cared for by the Rädda Barnen Swedish Aid Society. The home was opened in 1946.

Before the millennium, the children's home was run with six separate living groups, with two living groups on each floor and one living group on each of the east and west wings, independent of the respective caregivers.

In 1999, it was decided - probably for reasons that former residents of the home still report beatings, torture and sex attacks - to separate the six residential groups by purchasing and converting apartments scattered throughout Vienna specifically for this purpose.

Among other things, this had the advantage that the children in the home could be better integrated into society, since consideration now had to be shown to neighbors and neighboring children.

After the residential groups had been moved out, the building was put up for sale; and until a buyer could be found, the space was used as a counseling center for the Office for Youth and Family.

In July 2008, the building was occupied by activists who said they wanted to create a self-managed housing project with children and an open social and cultural center. The occupation ended peacefully.

Finally the former home of Countess Franziska Andrassy was sold by the City of Vienna under City Councilor Werner Faymann for 14.8 million euros.

The buyer was Vladimir Zagorec (born November 22, 1963), a former Croatian general and former deputy defense minister.

In the same year, when he bought the villa, he was arrested in Austria and extradited to Croatia for trial on charges of embezzlement while he was responsible for state arms procurement during the Yugoslav Wars. He was sentenced to seven years in jail.

The Styrian real estate developer Immovate bought the 5,000-square-meter property, including the 15,000-square-meter garden, only in October 2011 from Croatian ex-general Vladimir Zagorec or his lender Hypo Alpe Adria.

After just over a year, the real estate developer resold the castle-like complex to the People's Republic of China, i.e. after several intermediate owners, it was finally sold to China in 2013 for €21 million.

In 2019, extensive renovation work began in order to put the building to use as the "UN Embassy China" from 2020.

Finally, in 2020/2021, the Permanent Mission of the People's Republic of China to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Vienna moved into the former premises of Count Dionysius Andrássy.

Usable space

The villa comprises six floors and an east and west wing; those large apartments, which were located at the end of each wing, comprised a living capacity of at least 150-200 m².

One reached the respective apartment via a large staircase and a long corridor; adjoining each wing were three separately accessible rooms, which were used as classrooms.

On the first floor there is an entrance cabin for the porter and a small bedroom for the porter.

On the 1st floor directly above the entrance is the former director's office with associated secretarial room.

On the 2nd floor directly above the management is the former care room of the home psychiatrist. On the mezzanine between the first floor and the first floor is the "Festsaal" - a large hall, which at the turn of the millennium was equipped with a small stage, spotlights and other accessories.

The spacious grounds include a concrete soccer field with holders for soccer goals and basketball hoops, as well as two soccer fields, one of which is located on a small hill.

Three covered garage spaces along with a small gymnasium are also provided, and over 10 parking spaces are available throughout the yard.

The property area is estimated at over 10,000 m².

The Austrian Embassy of the People's Republic will remain at Metternichgasse 4 in Wien-Landstraße.