13 November 2020 - Viennese ball in Ariana Museum, Geneva.

A unique tradition

A unique tradition which goes back to the XVIII century

It was the Emperor Joseph II (1741-1790) who opened the doors of the Imperial Palace of Hofburg on the occasion of the first ball. The traditional Viennese balls have always been an opportunity to combine diplomatic and economic discussions at parties during long winter nights. They were reserved for the aristocracy and the emperor’s private sphere. From this period of the Court there remains a strict and unique label that mingles with the sounds of today to vary the pleasures among which:

  • A majestic setting
  • A strict dress code: tuxedo and long dress
  • Varied orchestras
  • The opening of the ball performed by female debutants in white robes and male debutants in suit & tails
  • The « Alles Walzer ! »  ritual called by the master of the ball, inviting the participants to dance
  • The « Damenwahl » or “Ladies excuse-me”
  • The « Quadrille » dance at midnight
  • The « Bouquet final » the “Last dance”


Another unique tradition still continues today: the « Damenspende » a small gift given to every lady as a souvenir of the ball.