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Klosterneuburg Abbey as an economic factor

In addition to its varied religious, social and cultural tasks, Klosterneuburg Abbey plays an important role in the economy of Lower Austria. The economic enterprises of Klosterneuburg Abbey generate a turnover of approximately EUR 30 million per year; at least 10% of the revenues are allocated to social projects.

Future-oriented action and sustainable economic management are the basic principles of the businesses at Klosterneuburg Abbey. The natural and environment-friendly management of forests and fields is a case in point, as well as the generation of energy from biomass in order to reduce CO2 emissions. In 2009, the Winery of Klosterneuburg Abbey was the first Austrian vineyard to be certified as climate-neutral. In early March 2010 the abbey received an award for the preservation of biological diversity from the Austrian environmental protection platform BIOSA.

The abbey operates the oldest winery in Austria, which is at the same time one of the largest in the country. Its underground biomass heating plant supplies communal services in Klosterneuburg. “The economic enterprises constitute the necessary basis for our religious, social and cultural tasks. Without their successful activities, we couldn’t fulfill our mission as a monastery”, says Provost Bernhard Backovsky, underlining the importance of the businesses for Klosterneuburg Abbey. The Augustinian Canonry has around 50 members, who are active as pastors, scientists, teachers and in the abbey itself. The enterprises provide the economic basis for their work and for operating and maintaining the abbey.

The management

The economic enterprises are headed by the Clerical Treasurer, who is appointed by the Provost of the abbey. The Treasurer is assisted by the Business Director, who manages the enterprises.

> pdf organisation chart(german)

Business portfolio

Agriculture and forestry

– Austria’s oldest winery with an area of more than 100 hectares (in Klosterneuburg, Vienna, Tattendorf and Gumpoldskirchen)

– Forest with an area of 8,000 hectares, divided into three districts (Wald- & Weinviertel, Wienerwald & Klosterneuburg, Schneebergland/Wölzer Tauern)

– Organic farm with an area of 230 hectares (Estate Tuttenhof/Langenzersdorf and Estate Prinzendorf). Underground biomass heating plant for the abbey and communal services

Real estate management

– Around 700 apartments, offices and commercial spaces for rent, with a total of 87,000 m2 in 73 buildings in Vienna and Lower Austria

– Around 4,000 real-estate tenancy contracts for properties in the Vienna area, Klosterneuburg, Korneuburg, Bisamberg, Langenzersdorf and Tattendorf.

Culture, Tourism & Marketing

– Around 100,000 visitors annually at the abbey museum (art collections and treasures), library and archive

– Rooms available for rent

– Maintenance of the outdoor facilities (approx. 5 hectares), including gardens and the Orangery; regular events

Operation and maintenance

– Construction department with six workshops

– General renovation of the abbey since 1977; costs: EUR 1.1 million/year (60% paid by the monastery, 25% by the Province of Lower Austria, the remaining 15% by the Federal Government, the Archdiocese of Vienna and the Town of Klosterneuburg)

– Ongoing renovation expenses for 28 parishes in Vienna, Lower Austria and Norway: EUR 3 million/year (one third paid by the abbey, one third by the respective parish and one third by the Archdiocese of Vienna)

Towards a family-oriented work environment

In autumn of 2011, the economic enterprises of Klosterneuburg Abbey started „audit berufundfamilie“ (“Work and Family Audit”): Over several months, in an auditing process organised by the Federal Ministry of Economy, Family and Youth, an internal working group examined the potential for improvement and drew up a target and action plan, the implementation of which is monitored by staff and also by the Ministry.

Among the issues addressed are flexible working hours, improvements in information and communication policy, personnel development, parental leave and subsequent return to the workplace. In this way Klosterneuburg Abbey emphasises its respect for the needs of its employees who want to combine their careers with family life.