The Salzburg Urstein Institut is proud to sponsor Beijing’s most anticipated social networking event – the Kempinski Vienna Ball Beijing 2016.

Austrian Tradition

Balls are formal social and cultural events that are organised in historic buildings such as guildhalls, palaces and castles in Europe. They are important functions where representatives from high society, politics and the business world meet, network and impress. Besides providing a platform for networking and to mingle, balls feature a sophisticated artistic and musical programme that is planned for several months.

Most well-known is the Vienna Opera Ball, which takes place in Vienna’s State Opera around early February. Each year, the ball is attended by the world’s international elite including Austrian and European top politicians, business moguls and international film stars.

With its several hundred years of history, many cultural aspects – such as attire and rules of manner – developed, that every ball guest should be aware of. Women often spend weeks to find the right new ball gown (which always has to be long and formal) and shine with glamorous hair styles, makeup, jewellery and accessories. Men wear a tuxedo, bowtie, polished shoes and sophisticated accessories such as a pocket watch. In general, balls are attended as a couple.

The Know-How of Social Networking: Etiquette

At all balls a predefined etiquette is required that is applied at the table and when networking, dining, when talking to people, and during ballroom dancing. In order to facilitate international ball guests Austrian ball culture and to prepare them for the cultural specifics of such an event, Salzburg Urstein Institut offers a two weeks lasting learning programme “Games, Rites, Rules of Manners”. When booked as a Learning by Travelling module, the programme takes place in four of Europe’s finest cities: Salzburg, Munich, Strasbourg, and Paris. Academic sessions about European culture, manners and etiquette are combined with visits of traditional and folkloric events, wine festivals, as well as sports and beer events where students can observe and apply newly learned skills.


Kempinski Vienna Ball 2016. Image: ©SUI

Celebrating the Young

A ball is a formal social event that was first organised in the 15th century in Austria. In the beginning, a ball’s main function was to introduce young ladies and gentlemen from upper class into society; today guests are still from upper and middle class who want to network, dance and enjoy a cultural evening within their circle of friends. Balls used to be as popular at the court of the Austrian emperors as they are today. The word “ball” originates from the Latin word “ballare”, “to dance”, since ballroom dancing is a very important component of the event. Yet it was not until the mid-19th century that dancing waltz became popular thanks to the famous works of the legend composers Johann Strauss father and son.

Salzburg Urstein Institut_Kempinski Vienna Ball 2016

Kempinski Vienna Ball 2016. Image: ©SUI

Passing on the Flame

Perfectly mirroring the Austrian mentality and history, balls are an important element of European culture. In order to fully understand the country and understand its philosophy and values, a visit of a ball is obligatory. Not only will visitors indulge in the architecture of the historic building where a ball is held, but enjoy a spectacle with unparalleled glamour by observing expensive ball robes, listening to the orchestra, and dancing several rounds of waltz.

Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire. Gustav Mahler

Taking Socialising to the Highest Level

Balls are highly formal social events – usually attended by high ranking officials and business representatives. In contrast to other formal events like receptions and conferences, a ball is also a cultural event where people enjoy performances by ballet dancers and opera singers, but also become active with a traditional dance like Waltz and – of course – socialise to a good glass of wine, thus providing the perfect platform for networking in a more relaxed manner.

Social Networking - Austrian Style

Kempinski Vienna Ball 2016. Image: ©SUI

How to set the Stage

In order to successfully attend a ball, it is good to know the etiquette. There are a handful of books, explaining theory about topics like the dress code, conversation rules such as the appropriate ways to address ladies and other ball guests, table manners – and of course ballroom dancing. However, nothing prepares for a ball better than immersing into its cultural background – and to explore ball culture along with other ways of socialising in traditional Europe.

In order to make this possible, we designed our special Learning by Travelling Modules – creating a combined journey of four days of academically grounded theory, combined with a ten-day leisure experience.

For more information about our “Games, Rites, Rules of Manners” programmes or other Learning by Travelling Modules please send us an email to