The 3-day Symposium Dürnstein is organised by the Gesellschaft für Forschungsförderung Niederösterreich and each year deals with a different topic. Symposium Dürnstein is an international platform for a broad intellectual exchange. Aimed at the interested public the Symposium explores a variety of philosophical, religious, and political approaches to analyse each year’s overriding topic. Speakers from different disciplines provide new impulses and join panel discussions engaging in debates with the audience for a fresh and unconventional re-think on the annual theme.
The Symposium’s venue is Dürnstein Abbey in the Wachau region.


  • © Klaus Ranger

Symposium Dürnstein sees itself as a meeting venue for people with different views, attitudes, religions and philosophies to exchange ideas and engage in discourse. Places of real, physical, personal exchange are important for our daily coexistence, especially in the complex societies of the modern age, when virtual spaces and relationships are becoming ever more prevalent. This is a stage where to reflect on political perspectives and to explore arguments in discourse – in dialogues - not just und er the horizon of good coexistence in Austria, but also in Europe and around the globe. Democracy turns out a success through polyphony, when the many voices are heard and conflicts do not escalate, but are recognised and transcended. Dürnstein, with its past dating back to the Neolithic Age, seems like a good place to try this out."

Ursula Baatz, curator of the Dürnstein symposium

Intercultural philosophy has long been at the centre of the work of philosopher Ursula Baatz. Her numerous trips to Asia and also to Latin America and Africa have taught her to appreciate variety and diversity. She cherishes the exchange between religions and cultures as well as learning from "the others." She is a long-time editor at Ö1 radio (religion and science), publicist (Spiritualität, Religion, Weltanschauung. Landkarten für systemisches Arbeiten, V&R, Göttingen 2018; Erleuchtung trifft Auferstehung, Theseus, Berlin 2009; H.M.Enomiya-Lassalle: ein Leben zwischen den Welten Zürich 1998), lecturer at the University of Klagenfurt and mindfulness teacher.



Gesellschaft für Forschungsförderung Niederösterreich m.b.H. is in charge of the promotion and development of the research sector in cooperation with the Science and Research Department of the Province of Lower Austria including grant management for the province’s universities of applied sciences and the annual calls for proposals in basic and transdisciplinary research. On top of organising Symposium Dürnstein, it also manages the topic exchange centre for academic theses. It provides support for young scientists in Lower Austria awarding the Wissenschaft Zukunft Preis and handling grants (Lower Austrian provincial grants). GFF is a 100% subsidiary of the province of Lower Austria.

Kombilogo GFF Noe und Land Noe
  • Klaus Ranger

Dürnstein Abbey is the venue for the Dürnstein Symposium. It is a former monastery in Dürnstein in Lower Austria’s Wachau region. Today, the buildings are owned by the Augustinian Canons Monastery of Herzogenburg which is also responsible for the parish of Dürnstein. The spire of the collegiate church is the landmark of the Wachau region.

With its blue spire, the town of Dürnstein probably is the most prominent Wachau villages.
Beautiful historic buildings and romantic alleyways add to a very special ambience reflecting the town’s history. Even today, the town is still marked by two mighty monastery buildings on the one hand and the mighty castle ruins and Schloß Dürnstein (stately home) as symbols of secular power on the other.

Richard the Lionheart probably was one of the first and most famous visitors to experience Dürnstein hospitality, albeit not entirely out of his own free will.

Today Dürnstein is a world-famous tourist resort which makes the chance of exploring it in the low season during the symposium so special. March is a quiet time here, a time to take a deep breath before the constant streams of visitors return, the vineyards are still hibernating and so the landscape and architecture show themselves from a special side.

Dürnstein definitely is worth finding out more!


Exploring annually changing topics from different points of view, with an emphasis on politics, religion and philosophy.
Networking and cooperation between different institutions.




  • Brainstormers and independently-minded souls
  • Lateral thinkers
  • Anyone curious
  • Anyone hungry for knowledge

People of all ages wishing to obtain and swap information on current topics related to  politics, philosophy, and religion.

We invite you to actively ask questions and discuss with the speakers.