The agreement on the cultural and scientific collaboration between the Austrian Republic and the Peoples Republic of Poland (today: Polish Republic), made on 14th June 1972, is the legal basis for the existence of the Polish Institute of Vienna. The protocol, which belongs to the agreement, is updated every second year.
The Polish Institute of Vienna was founded on 5th June 1974. As all Polish Institutes in the world, it is subordinate to the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affaires by which it is sustained financially. Unlike the Polish Institutes that are not in charge of diplomatic matters (as in Germany for example), but similar to the Institutes in Prague or Stockholm, the Polish Institute of Vienna is part of the Embassy of the Polish Republic, since its director is at the same time councilor of the Embassy and has the function of a cultural attaché.
The principal task of the Polish Institute of Vienna is the popularization of Polish culture (and in a larger sense of knowledge about Poland in general) among the Austrians; all events of the Institute take place in German, as all publications appear in this language. In order to cope with this task, the Institute organizes concerts, exhibitions, film projections, readings, lectures and meetings with noted politicians, scientists, artists, publicists and others. The events take place either in locations of the Institute, Am Gestade 7, 1010 Vienna, in the exhibition room or in the lecture hall (also used as a cinema), or in rented halls in Vienna and other Austrian cities. Normally, the entrance is free.
The Institute sends 2000 program brochures to different persons and institutions three times a year; another 1500 are sent to hotels, travel agencies, train stations etc. Besides, for every event, the Institute sends personal invitations to about 700 chosen guests.
In addition to the locations mentioned above, the Institute has a library with more than 10.000 volumes in Polish and German, and a reading room with the most important Polish newspapers and magazines. Moreover, both the library and the office of the Institute are equipped with detailed information material about Poland in German language.
The Institute itself does not organize language courses, but a lesson room is at disposal for Polish language courses for adults held by the adult education center Brigittenau, and for private courses for children.
The Institute is in regular contact with several national and international cultural institutions and organizations in Austria as well as with press, broadcasting corporations and television. Most events take place in collaboration with Austrian partners but also with cultural institutions of other countries in Vienna.
In view of the forthcoming accession of Poland to the European Union, the Polish Institute of Vienna wants to ensure a positive image of Poland in Austria in order to avoid prejudices and apprehensions that often result from lack of knowledge and insufficient experience.