Inclusion and Exclusion of Migrants in the Multicultural Realm of the Habsburg "State of Many Peoples"


  • Sylvia Hahn


Immigration by foreign workers, entrepreneurs, master craftsmen and tradesmen, journeymen and merchants, as well as seasonal regional labour migration within individual states and across national borders, has been a tradition that goes far back into the Early Modern Era. Artisans, journeymen, and apprentices, a particularly mobile group, formed the major part of the foreigners in Vienna in the preindustrial era. Aside from this artisanal migration during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the Habsburg Monarchy recruited labourers from other areas of the empire or from abroad, particularly those skilled in luxury crafts and textile production. Over the course of the nineteenth century, these were followed by industrial pioneers and workers. Migration was not only concentrated on Vienna, but extended to smaller towns and villages of the newly developed industrial regions of the Habsburg Monarchy. Integration into the “new” society was no easy matter, for labourers or entrepreneurs. Immigrant women and men were kept under close scrutiny by municipal authorities and faced discrimination from local laws and native-born residents. A change of residence clearly led to one’s sense of being a foreigner, both in one’s own perception and that of the “others”, but evidence shows that the concept of “foreignness” is a variable construct that changes according to the political, economic, and social situation.