Nikolaus Dumba

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Nikolaus Dumba

Nikolaus Dumba (24 July 1830, Vienna – 23 March 1900, Budapest) was an Austrian industrialist and liberal politician of Greek descent.[1] He is considered to have been an important patron of the arts and music.


In 1817, Nikolaus' father Stergios, a Greek immigrant to Vienna from Vlasti, Ottoman Empire then, today a city in Northern Greece, became a merchant. Nikolaus attended the Akademische Gymnasium and spent the revolutionary years of 1847-48 with his brother Michael at the residence of the Austrian Ambassador Anton von Prokesch-Osten in Athens. In 1852, he took a trip to Egypt with the travel writer Alexander Ziegler.

He was trained for a commercial career and took over a cotton mill in Tattendorf that had been operated by his cousin Theodore. It had approximately 180 employees and soon became a highly profitable enterprise. This financial base allowed him to turn his interests elsewhere. He was knighted and appointed to the legislature, where he was very active.

His son, Konstantin, was Austria-Hungary's last Ambassador to the United States.


Dumba in his office at the Palais Dumba

He was a close friend of Hans Makart, Gustav Klimt and Carl Kundmann and was a strong promoter of contemporary art. He helped establish several monuments to famous composers of the past and served as a Vice-President of the Society of Friends of Music.

Dumba left 50,000 guilders to the Vienna Men's Choral Society in order to free them from financial concerns. In return, he asked that "from time to time, a choral work in remembrance of me should be performed in a church" and that "the money should never be used for a building". To this day, Franz Schubert's German Mass is often sung in his honor.[2]

In his will, he bequeathed over 200 original manuscripts by Schubert to the City of Vienna. These formed the basis for what is now the world's largest collection of musical scores at the Vienna Library

Benefactor in Greece[edit]

During a visit to Athens with his wife Anna, he made a grant to the University of Athens to finish the building interiors. In the city of Serres, near his father's hometown, he founded an orphanage and contributed to the construction of a vocational school, under the aegis of his friend, Georgios Averoff.[3]

Political functions[edit]

From 1870 to 1896, he was a member of the Landtag, where he served on the Finance Committee and the Poor Law Committee, occasionally acting as the Landtag chairman's deputy. In 1885, the Kaiser appointed him to the Herrenhaus, the Upper Chamber of the Imperial Council of Austria.

Selected honors[edit]



  • On 28, March, 1900, the "Künstlergasse" (Artist Alley) was renamed the "Dumbastraße", by vote of the Vienna City Council.[citation needed]


  1. ^ John Tzafettas, Elvira Konecny. Nikolaus Dumba (1830-1900): A dazzling figure in imperial Vienna. ISBN 978-1910714201
  2. ^ Wiener Männergesang-Verein: 150 Jahre Wiener Männergesang-Verein 1843–1993. Festschrift, Wien 1993
  3. ^ City of Serres website(in Greek)

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]