New $2 Million Water Fountain in Vienna Slammed as World’s Ugliest

A new water fountain in the Austrian city of Vienna has been described as the ugliest in Europe, possibly the world, despite costing 1.8 million euros ($2 million).

Created by the avantgarde Viennese art group Gelitin, the Austrian capital’s newest water fountain was commissioned by local authorities to commemorate 150 years of Vienna’s modern water system which provided the city with fresh water from streams in the green forests of the Alps and helped eradicate plagues like cholera. The new landmark’s design apparently symbolizes the “communal responsibility for water” and while it did win over the jury that selected Gelitin as the winner, it hasn’t done so well with the general public, especially considering its astronomical price, $2 million.


Inaugurated on October 24, in the presence of Austrian president Alexander Van der Bellen, Vienna’s newest water fountain (called ‘WirWasser’) quickly attracted mass criticism on social media platforms like X (formerly Twitter), with lots of people dubbing it the ugliest water fountain they had ever seen, and others going as far as claiming that it damages Vienna’s image.

Despite the criticism, the local Government led by Social Democrat Mayor Michael Ludwig insists that the artistic fountain’s “extraordinary, reality-inspired” design conveys a pivotal “sense of togetherness”. And while they are being accused of spending too much on its construction (1.8 million euros), officials say they actually brought the price down from 2.1 million euros…


“That new water fountain looks like a 5-year-old created it,” one X user wrote. “What a sad day for Vienna. Many real artists could have done much better and for much less money. Where is the romance, the heritage, the spirit, the history?”

“Did they give credit to the 1st grade art class for the design?” someone else jokingly asked.


It’s true that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but $2 million does sound a bit spicy for this particular water fountain.