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Top Energy Events Put Vienna in the Focus of the Global Clean Energy Economy

Published: April 19, 2018; 21:00 · (Vindobona)

The Vienna Energy Forum 2018 in May in Vienna brings together a multitude of people and institutions to discuss and solve the key questions of the present on the topic of energy. Among them are heads of state, ministers, energy experts, representatives of international and non-governmental organizations, academia, civil society and the private sector. The PFAN Climate and Clean Energy Investment Forum and the R20 Austria World Summit are also part of this huge event. This event, sponsored by Arnold Schwarzenegger, is a high-level summit about leadership on implementing the Paris Climate Agreement and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Will Sustainable Energy issues of the present be solved in Vienna? / Picture: © Wikimedia Commons / Zombiepedia [CC BY-SA 4.0]

The Vienna Engergy Forum is a biennial, multistakeholder global forum on key issues surrounding energy for development today.

The Vienna Energy Forum will bring together almost 2000 participants, including heads of State, ministers, energy experts, representatives of international and non-governmental organizations, academia, civil society and the private sector.

Held in conjunction with the Vienna Energy Forum, this PFAN Investment Forum will give participants the chance to hear first-hand about investment-ready climate & clean energy projects as well as meet exciting innovators and entrepreneurs. It will feature concrete opportunities to curb greenhouse gas emissions and improve climate change resilience through innovative business solutions.

Also held at the same time as the Vienna Energy Forum, the R20 AUSTRIAN WORLD SUMMIT is a summit about leadership on implementing the Paris Climate Agreement and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This annual event is organized by Arnold Schwarzenegger´s "R20 Regions of Climate Action" office in Austria. The summit brings together international leaders from politics, businesses, investors, civil society, academics, start-ups, and climate experts as well as representatives of regions and cities from around the world.

Arnold Schwarzenegger is joined by Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and many pioneers strengthening leadership for climate action and creating a positive momentum for this year's UN Climate Change Conference: COP 24 in Poland.

About the Vienna Energy Forum

Since its founding in 2008 by a joint initiative of the Austrian Government, the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, VEF has assembled thinkers and practitioners from all over the world to discuss practical solutions to sustainable development challenges and pave the way for tangible partnerships on the ground.

The Vienna Energy Forum aims to contribute to the successful implementation of the SDGs and the Paris Agreement. It will serve as a platform for discussing and highlighting the importance of the linkages between climate and development as well as the synergies among the SDGs, and the importance of joint and integrated approaches for a successful implementation. The Forum will explore the role of innovation in opening up new avenues for achieving SDG 7 “Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all“ and related SDGs. The implementation of these goals and of the Paris Climate Agreement calls for an unprecedented global transformation process that extends far beyond the energy sector.

Key questions to be addressed at the VEF:

> What is the role of energy in three SDGs that are critical to developing countries in the fight against poverty – food security, water, and health?
> What are the main drivers of drivers of sustainable urbanization across key sectors such as water and infrastructure ?
> What are the potential opportunities and challenges of innovative technologies in achieving the transformation required to implement the SDGs and the climate agenda.
> What are the areas of greatest potential in energy efficiency, and what can be done to accelerate action and investment in energy efficiency, the ‘hidden fuel’ that has some of the most promising prospects to advance the goals of climate security and sustainable growth?
> Which successful business models and the approaches can be used to unlock finance from available sources and to support sustainable energy investments and implementation?
> How existing enabling frameworks can be adapted or enhanced to promote and sustain innovative technologies, business models and financing mechanisms for energy investments?
> What is needed to make energy systems more resilient and adaptive to change, while ensuring that the transition towards clean energy remains affordable, particularly for low-income populations?


All five co-organizing agencies have a lot to bring to the table for global energy discussions.

The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) is following the lead of the UN Secretary-General by contributing to inclusive and sustainable development and climate security. This is clearly reflected in the UNIDO mandate to achieve inclusive and sustainable industrial development (ISID). Providing inclusive, clean and sustainable energy solutions is a main ingredient of ISID. Against this backdrop, UNIDO’s Department of Energy has acquired a strong track record in helping partner countries to improve industrial energy efficiency, use renewable energy in industrial processes, deploy low carbon low emissions technologies, and implement smart and supportive policies.

UNIDO believes that strong partnerships and global forums are required in order to find common ground for addressing the challenges related to sustainable energy in the 2030 Development and the Climate Agendas, and to achieve tangible results on the ground. In this regard, organizing the VEF 2017 provides UNIDO with the opportunity to play an active role in creating a sustainable and inclusive future. The final reports of the previous conferences are available at

The International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) is an independent scientific institute that conducts research on the environmental, economic, technological, and social changes we face in the 21st century. Energy research, being one of the Institute’s core research activities, explores energy technology innovation, energy security, energy access and poverty, sustainable energy, and climate change. Its major focus lies on the linkages between these areas and other important global issues such as health, environment, food security, gender, and equity.  IIASA’s energy research, for example the 2012 Global Energy Assessment (GEA), serves as an input to policy-making at both national and international level. It is also an important contribution to the work of the UN on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and relevant institutions such as UNIDO, SE4ALL, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Austria’s commitment to clean and sustainable energy production and energy efficiency is also reflected in its foreign policy actions, particularly in the activities of the Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC). As part of the Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs, the key objectives of ADC include combating poverty in developing countries, securing peace and human security as well as preserving the environment and protecting natural resources. Strengthening infrastructure particularly in the water and sustainable energy sectors is another focal area. Austria has obtained considerable experience and knowledge in the field of renewable energy, and is ready to share it.

During the past ten years BMEIA Federal Ministry for Europe Integration and Foreign Affairs has supported the Global Forum on Sustainable Energy (GFSE), which grew out of the outreach efforts of the World Energy Assessment. GFSE is an established multi-stakeholder platform and a partner in the field of international “energy for sustainable development”. It contributes to both the international discourse and information dissemination on sustainable energy. The GFSE has since 1999 been hosting annual meetings on energy-related issues. Vienna, hosting ten international organizations dealing with energy issues, has developed into an international energy hub over the years. The Foreign Ministry’s participation in the VEF 2017 is therefore an expression of Austria’s consistent commitment to promoting sustainable energy and the international debate on energy.

The United Nations Secretary-General's Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) Initiative was launched at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) held in September 2011 to identify and mobilize action in support of energy access, energy efficiency, as well as increasing the share of renewable energy. After designating 2012 the “International Year of Sustainable Energy for All”, the UNGA unanimously declared 2014-2024 as the “Decade of Sustainable Energy for All”, underscoring the importance of energy issues for sustainable development and the elaboration of the Post-2015 Development Agenda. The UN SEforALL initiative is a multi-stakeholder partnership that works with business, civil society, banks, governments and international institutions to promote public private partnerships and induce significant changes in the way energy services are produced and accessed.

The SEforALL initiative aims at achieving three main goals by 2030: 1. ensuring universal access to modern energy services, 2. doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix, 3. doubling the rate of improvement in energy efficiency worldwide.

The VEF has been a major contributor to the design of the SEforALL goals and as in the past this Forum will be a significant milestone bridging the many highlights of the energy calendar in 2017.

Sustainable energy supply has constituted a thematic priority of the Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC) for many years. As the operational unit of the ADC, the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) is responsible for implementing bilateral programmes and projects in ADC's partner countries. ADA is thus well equipped to share Austria’s internationally respected energy know-how with its partner countries, with a special focus on renewable energies. With its approach of working closely with public institutions, civil society organizations and enterprises alike, supporting regional organizations such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) or the Southern African Development Community (SADC), and its commitment to multilateralism, ADA first and foremost promotes cooperation and integration.

Event Details:

Organized by: Austrian Government, IIASA - International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, UNIDO - United Nations Industrial Development Organization, ADC, BMEIA Federal Ministry for Europe Integration and Foreign Affairs
Title: Vienna Energy Forum 2018
Time: May 14th-16th
VIC Vienna International Centre
Wagramerstrasse 5
1220 Vienna, Austria
T: +43 1 260260

HOFBURG Conference Centre
1014 Vienna, Austria
T: +43 1 5873666
T: +43 1 587 3666

For directions and a map of the venue please refer to:

Event Link:

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About the PFAN Climate and Clean Energy Investment Forum

On 16 May 2018, PFAN will hold its second global investment forum in Vienna, in conjunction with the Vienna Energy Forum. Meet promising innovators and entrepreneurs and learn first-hand about investment-ready developing country climate & clean energy projects, featuring concrete opportunities to curb greenhouse gas emissions and improve climate change resilience through innovative business solutions.

Programme highlights:
• Shark Tank session with selected clean energy innovators and entrepreneurs facing financing experts.
• Business Plan Competition during which hand-picked investment-ready clean energy projects with an explicit gender dimension and located in West Africa will pitch directly to prospective investors.
• Inspirational keynote address by renewable energy thought leader.
• Presentation of the PFAN Global Awards by a panel of high-level representatives.

Investment Clinic

Carefully selected innovators and entrepreneurs will face investors during the Investment Clinic. Stemming from the Global Cleantech Innovation Programme – which supports and accelerates startups towards the development and commercialization of innovative ideas – the entrepreneurs will deliver a short pitch and defend their business idea in an interaction with a specialized audience. Those will have received ahead of the event targeted mentoring by PFAN experts.

Business Plan Competition

Hand-picked investment-ready project proposals will be introduced to prospective investors during the Business Plan Competition. The respective project developers will present their business plan. They will have undergone coaching by financing experts ahead of the event with the view of refining business models and preparing investor pitches. A jury of eminent financing experts will be tasked to select the most promising projects for the PFAN Global Awards. The project proposals showcased will cover a range of low carbon, climate resilient technologies, including for clean energy generation, energy efficiency, energy access, and climate change adaptation. They are specific in that they all have an explicit gender dimension and are located in the West Africa region.

Proceedings and Global Awards Ceremony

A prominent thought leader will deliver a keynote address following the opening of the event by dignitaries. The event will close with a panel of high-level representatives presenting the PFAN Global Awards during the Ceremony.

Bilateral meetings with PFAN experts

Opportunity for semi-structure bilateral meetings with PFAN Global, Regional and National Coordinators, Coaches as well as Head of Investment Facilitation. Those will be prearranged.

Location: Donau-City-Straße 11, Wolke19, Vienna, Austria


Albert Boateng
Regional Coordinator for West Africa , PFAN
Albert Boateng promotes the development of clean energy businesses by assisting developers prepare bankable business plans and facilitate financing through developer-investor matchmaking at PFAN. Albert Boateng has more than 15 years of investment and clean energy finance experience. Previously, he was the West African Regional Director for Persistent Energy Partners (PEP), a clean energy investment company. He has coached and supported the financing of several clean energy businesses. Albert Boateng has an MBA from Boston College, Massachusetts, U.S.A and is qualified member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. He is also a Certified Expert In Clean & Renewable Energy Finance (CECRF).

Bernadette Marianne Gierlinger
Vice-Minister , Austrian Federal Ministry for Digital, Business and Enterprise
Bernadette Marianne Gierlinger joined the Austrian Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs in 2010 as Head of the Directorate for Foreign Economic Policy and European Integration. In her function as Vice Minister, she is in charge of bilateral economic relations with all non-European countries. Bernadette Gierlinger is also the highest ranking Austrian representative in the EU-Trade Policy Committee. In addition, she is in charge of the "Go-international"-initiative, which is encouraging companies to step across the border by offering advisory services, events and support, as well as making it easier for existing exporters to enter additional foreign markets. Other portfolios based within her directorate include organizing Austria's contribution to EXPOs, export control, import licenses, EU coordination, export and investment policy, international regional policy and funding, as well as multilateral trade policy in general.

Jukka Uosukainen
Director , CTCN
Jukka Uosukainen was nominated as the first Director of the CTCN. He has worked in the national and international environmental sector for more than two decades, chairing and facilitating various UN committees, including of the UNFCCC and UNEP. More recently, he served as the Special Envoy for Climate Change for the Government of Finland.

M.K. Balaji
Regional Coordinator for Asia , PFAN
M.K. Balaji has been with PFAN since 2016. He has more than 27 years experience in deal sourcing, structuring and negotiations, financing, capacity building, project development, business development and management. M.K. Balaji worked for F E Clean Energy Group, Asia Energy Concepts Co Ltd. and Thermax Ltd. He has a BS in Chemical Engineering, an Executive MBA by the Webster University and a certificate in Solar PV and Thermal (RENAC).

Martin Hiller
Director General , REEEP
Martin Hiller has over 30 years of experience working in sustainability issues, climate change and clean energy policy. Prior to joining REEEP, Martin had a distinguished career with the World Wide Fund for Nature where he led communications in global climate and energy programmes. Martin Hiller was also the founding President of the Board of the Gold Standard Foundation, the world’s prime quality carbon offset provider.

Peter Storey
Global Coordinator , PFAN
Peter Storey has been working with PFAN for over a decade and has an extensive background in financing and investment. As former Vice President of HERA International Group, Peter Storey developed business models and structured the financing for all HERA's projects in Africa, Middle East & South East Europe.

Sabera Khan
PFAN Gender Ambassador , ACCE (Africa Carbon Credit Exchange)
Sabera Khan is the CEO of the ACCE (Africa Carbon Credit Exchange) and facility administrator of the Beyond the Grid Fund for Zambia. Sabera Khan was the head of the Institute for the Development of Science, Engineering and Technology (IDSET), a national programme and centre of excellence at Technikon SA in South Africa. This programme included capacity building, skills development, technology development and transfer, food security, organic agriculture and school outreach activities. She also ran an IT company, managing programmers from around the world who developed software, including specialised engineering software for companies such as AngloAmerican Corporation. Sabera Khan was trained in South Africa, qualifying in Chemistry and Mathematics as well as a postgraduate degree with Honours in Chemistry from the University of the North West. In 2001, she qualified with Higher Diploma in Computer Science. Sabera Khan is a registered broker, and has been licensed by the Securities and Exchange Commission in Zambia as a Dealer’s Representative. Under this license, she is able to provide investment advice to individuals, businesses or public sector entities.

Tareq Emtairah
Director , Department of Energy , UNIDO
Tareq Emtairah has recently joined the UNIDO family as the Director of the Department of Energy. Tareq Emtairah’s work experience spans over 22 years in developed and emerging economies with a progressive focus on sustainable industrial transformation, energy transition, policy advocacy, applied research and capacity development. Before joining UNIDO, he worked as a senior research fellow at the International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics (IIIEE) at Lund University, Sweden where he worked with research and analysis on the transition to low carbon economies with a focus on cleaner technologies and cities. From June 2012 to 11 June 2015, he served as the executive director of the Regional Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (RCREEE), an inter-governmental technical cooperation center based in Cairo, where he drove for the conceptualization, development and implementation of the programmatic areas of the Center for advancing policies and strategies for sustainable energy in the MENA region. Tareq Emtairah is a graduate of Lund University-Sweden, where he received a PhD in Industrial Environmental Economics (2009), and Rutgers University-USA, where he received his BS in Materials Engineering (1990).

Yong Li
Director General , UNIDO
Yong Li has had an extensive career as a senior economic and financial policy- maker. As Vice-Minister of Finance of the People’s Republic of China and member of the Monetary Policy Committee of the Central Bank for a decade, Yong Li was involved in supporting sound economic growth in China. He played a key role in China’s cooperation with multilateral development organizations, such as the World Bank Group and the Asian Development Bank. Since 2013 Yong Li is serving as Director General of UNIDO.

About PFAN

The primary obstacles to large-scale deployment of low carbon, climate resilient technologies are access to finance and a limited pipeline of bankable projects. The Private Financing Advisory Network (PFAN) aims to bridge the gap between investors and entrepreneurs. PFAN is one of few actors in the climate finance space addressing the barriers for small and medium enterprises (SME) in developing countries and emerging economies - shortage of bankable projects on the demand side and ability to assess risk and conservative lending culture on the supply side.

PFAN originates projects and funding from the private sector; screens business plans for investment readiness and financeability; selects projects that are economically viable, as well as environmentally and socially beneficial; provides technical assistance to support project development and facilitate finance; builds the capacity of project developers and financiers; and provides access to clean energy businesses and financial institutions through the PFAN network.

PFAN has raised USD 1.24 billion for 101 closed projects, representing an annual emissions reduction of 3.3 million tons of CO2 equivalent and 802 MW of clean energy capacity (status as of Q4 2017). Closed projects represent a diversity of technologies - solar, biogas, waste to energy, hydro, wind, biomass, energy efficiency, rural electrification, clean transport and sustainable energy for agriculture. PFAN works in 35 countries all over the world. Asia and Africa currently dominate, with growth expected in Latin American and West Africa.

PFAN addresses the barriers to finance for SMEs and engages with local financial institutions on financing of low carbon, climate resilient technology sectors, all by leveraging private sector investment with a small amount of public funding.


The GCIP promotes an innovation and entrepreneur ecosystem by identifying and nurturing cleantech innovators and entrepreneurs; by building capacity within national institutions and partner organizations for the sustainable implementation of the cleantech ecosystem and accelerator approach; and by supporting and working with national policy makers to strengthen the supportive policy framework for SMEs and entrepreneurs.

Through this cleantech ecosystem and accelerator approach, the GCIP catalyzes investment to support and accelerate startup entrepreneurs towards the development and commercialization of their innovative ideas.


The CTCN is the operational arm of the UNFCCC Technology Mechanism, hosted by the UN Environment Programme and the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). The Centre promotes the accelerated transfer of environmentally sound technologies for low carbon and climate resilient development at the request of developing countries. We provide technology solutions, capacity building and advice on policy, legal and regulatory frameworks tailored to the needs of individual countries.


The Global Environment Facility (GEF) was established on the eve of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit to help tackle our planet’s most pressing environmental problems.   Since then, the GEF has provided over $17 billion in grants and mobilized an additional $88 billion in financing for more than 4000 projects in 170 countries.  Today, the GEF is an international partnership of 183 countries, international institutions, civil society organizations and the private sector that addresses global environmental issues.

The UNIDO-GEF Partnership dates back to the 1990s when UNIDO began to assist countries on issues related to managing persistent organic pollutants, reducing human exposure to mercury, and ensuring compliance with the provisions of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. Since 2006, UNIDO acts as an implementing agency for the GEF and has expanded its services to industrial energy efficiency, renewable energy, introduction of the value chain approach for climate change adaptation, and recently also land degradation and biodiversity interventions. Within the partnership, UNIDO is recognized for its ability to enhance the GEF portfolio by engaging industries and promoting green growth across the developing world.

About the R20 Austria World Summit

The R20 AUSTRIAN WORLD SUMMIT serves as a meeting place for “action heroes” committed to sustainability and climate protection projects. It continues and helps deliver the work undertaken at COP 23 in Bonn and the One Planet Summit in Paris last December. Channeling the spirit of the 2018 Talanoa Dialogue, the traditional Fijian process of community driven participatory and transparent conversation, the Summit will share ideas, skills and experiences through storytelling, applied practical knowledge, and cutting edge technology to inspire pioneers working toward a sustainable future.

The summit shares ideas, skills and experiences - applied practical knowledge and cutting edge technology to inspire pioneers working towards a sustainable future. The objective of the summit is to gain awareness and harness our collective expertise to chart a course for the future that benefits everyone in the global society.

08:30 – 09:30     Registration
09:30 – 09:40     Opening - A Message to the World
09:40 – 10:20     Welcome & Keynotes
Conference language: German & English, translation will be provided
Live broadcasting of ORF III (Austrian TV)

Sebastian Kurz, Federal Chancellor of Austria
Andrzej Duda, President, Poland (tbc)
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Chair, R20 Regions of Climate Action
Alexander Van der Bellen, Federal President of Austria
10:20 – 12:30     High Level Panels
Conference language: German & English, translation will be provided
Moderation: Melinda Crane, Chief Political Correspondent, Deutsche Welle

Solutions Panel - Fulfilling our Goals
Elisabeth Köstinger, Austrian Minister of Sustainability and Tourism
Erna Solberg, Prime Minister, Norway
Lars Løkke Rasmussen, Prime Minister, Denmark (tbc)
Macky Sall, President of Republic of Senegal (tbc)
Jane Goodall, primatologist, anthropologist, UN Messenger of Peace
Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the European Commission for Energy Union

Enabler Panel– Providing the Instruments
Brune Poirson, Secretary of State to the Minister for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition, France
Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary, UNFCCC
Laurent Fabius, President COP21
Howard Bamsey, Executive Director, Green Climate Fund
Günter Thallinger, Member of the Board of Management Allianz SE, Investment Management, ESG
Li Yong, Director General, UNIDO

Implementation Panel – Identifying the Driving Forces
Maria Vassilakou, Vice-Mayor, City of Vienna
Bertrand Piccard, Founder, Solar Impulse
Valérie Pécresse, President of the Regional Council, ile-de-France
Mary Nichols, Chairwoman, California Air Resources Board
Sui Zhenjiang, Vice-Mayor, Peking
Klemens Hallmann, CEO, Hallmann Group
12:30 – 14:00     Lunch Break
14:00 – 16:30     Parallel Sessions
Conference language: English

A New Era of Financing Climate Action
The R20 AUSTRIAN WORLD SUMMIT will discuss innovative financial mechanisms to accelerate climate protection and green projects at subnational level. Enabling sustainable investments and access to funding instruments for local and regional authorities will be crucial to direct the investment capital. Financial institutions and private foundations can contribute significantly to the global movement of climate action.

SESSION 1: Sustainable Investments: New Directions for the Finance Sector
SESSION 2: From Action to Transaction
SESSION 3: Responsible Investments

Paving the Way for New Solutions
Cities and regions are taking the lead in providing new solutions in many sectors: From building the cities of the future, to designing concepts for future mobility, and smart solutions for new energy supply models. The collaboration on subnational level becomes a major driver for the transformation in climate protection and tackling environmental pollution.

SESSION 4: Building the City of the Future
SESSION 5: Interactions of Cities and their Surroundings
SESSION 6: Smart Solutions for the New Energy World
SIDE EVENT of the VIENNA ENERGY FORUM: Transformation towards Sustainable & Resilient Societies

The Fight against Environmental Pollution
According to current scientific reports pollution causes nine million deaths per year worldwide. Air pollution exposure is the world’s single largest environmental health risk. Legal action to improve air quality becomes therefore a crucial element in implementing regulatory measures and standards.

SESSION 7: Designing Concepts for Future Mobility
SESSION 8: Strategies and Actions to Tackling Pollution for Better Health

16:45 – 17:15     Closing Ceremony
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Chair, R20 Regions of Climate Action
Alexander Van der Bellen, Federal President of Austria
Monika Langthaler-Rosenberg, Director R20 Austria&EU
19:30 – 22:00     Movie Night at Gartenbaukino: Good Shepherds - Music for Mankind and Other Animals

A musical journey with the Vienna Boys Choir around the world. A visualized song in the cinema.Together with the Vienna Boys Choir Curt Faudon visited shepherds worldwide – and created a new genre: a visualized song. Powerful pictures and a poetic appeal to responsibility. Curt Faudon’s recent movie will be presented at the Cannes Film Festival 2018.
Curt Faudon, Austrian Film Director
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Chair, R20 Regions of Climate Action
Monika Langthaler-Rosenberg, Director R20 Austria&EU

16|05|18 Excursions
10:00 – 12:00     Excursion 1: Incineration Plant Pfaffenau
Visit a modern waste management site of the City of Vienna and learn about it's contribution on climate protection.

Excursion 2: TU Vienna
Cutting-edge construction: The Plus-Energy Office High-Rise Building

Excursion 3: aspern Seestadt
Discover a new part of Vienna with modern living standards