For generations of Habsburgs, Laxenburg with its palace and park, lying to the south of Vienna, was their favourite summer seat and hunting lodge among those that they had at their disposal in the environs of the city.
The Alte Schloss (‘Old Castle’), a medieval moated castle, had been in Habsburg ownership since 1333. Maria Theresa extended the complex, erecting the Blauer Hof (‘Blue Court’ or ‘New Palace’) together with other buildings serving for the diversion of the Court. An insight into the image the dynasty had of itself in the nineteenth century is afforded by the Franzensburg, built in the pseudo-Gothic forms of the Romantic age. The present appearance of the extensive park goes back to the reigns of Joseph II and Franz II (I) and is one of the most important landscaped gardens in Europe.