|The Kiss by Klimt|
But in many parts of European fin de siècle is also associated with particularly dynamic periods in culture. Vienna particularly. (Or AhVienna as Midge Ure might have it.) Fin de siècle Vienna - the period of the last hurrah of the Habsburgs and after had a flowering of culture which really prepared the way for the 20th Century. Sigmund Freud, Gustav Mahler, Arnold Schoenberg, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Gustave Klimt, Oscar Kokoschka and many others all at some point made their mark in these years. These are Test Match Quality players. Vienna was described as the research laboratory for world destruction. Art, music, philosophy, architecture all took distinctive modern turns. If it moved there was a Viennese school. It it didn't move there was a Viennese school. All except in cricket where there was a major failing of nerve. This is beyond comprehension.
For there is evidence that cricket was known in fin de siècle Vienna. It was played by British workers who happened to be there - gardeners and such like it would seem for the most part. The second oldest football club in Austria is actually the Vienna Cricket and Football Club - it was founded in 1894 and was the first winner of the Habsburg Challenge Cup in 1897, the precursor of the Austrian National Cup competition. It was locally known as the Cricketers and enjoyed some success before it merged with AC Victoria Wien in 1911.
The Austrian Cricket Association was established in 1981 following the re-introduction of cricket to Austria in 1975, with the founding of Vienna Cricket Club. Since 1992 it has been an affiliate member of the International Cricket Council, and it is one of the founding members of the European Cricket Council. The Austrian national team now plays in Division 4 of the European Championship and there is a thriving club scene heavily concentrated on Vienna. And strudel and sachertorte will be served at tea - that would be worth anyone getting a fixture. Good luck all Austrian cricketers.