The history of the Vienna International School is closely linked to the recent history of Austria. The school traces its beginnings to a small school established in 1955 under the patronage of the British, US and Indian Embassies in order to educate about eighty children left without English-language schooling when the army schools closed at the end of the allied occupation of Austria.
After Austria's declaration of perpetual neutrality (1955), first the International Atomic Energy Agency (1957) and then the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (1967) established themselves in Vienna. International businesses found Vienna a convenient base for Eastern Europe. In consequence, the school expanded and was obliged to move to a larger building.
By 1959 the rapid growth of the school and the differing qualifications required by the North American and the British school systems led to its division, into the English School Vienna and the American International School.
Intent on attracting more international organizations to Vienna, the Austrian Government realized the need for an international school teaching an international curriculum. In September 1978 it was arranged that the English International School should become the nucleus of the new Vienna International School run by the non-profit Vienna International School Association and should start to prepare candidates for the International Baccalaureate Diploma.
In 1980 the school received formal recognition from the Austrian Federal Ministry for Education and in 1981 the Board of Governors of the school, the Republic of Austria and the City of Vienna signed a comprehensive agreement ensuring the stability and further development of the school in meeting the need for international education in Vienna. At this time, the school established links with the other UN associated schools in Geneva and New York.
The City of Vienna and the Austrian Republic generously provided fine new installations in the 22nd district, not far from the recently opened UN buildings. These were placed at the disposal of the school rent-free by the Republic of Austria. The then Federal President of Austria, Dr. Rudolf Kirchschläger, formally opened the new school buildings in 1984.VIS entered its first twelve candidates for the International Baccalaureate in 1981; by 1990 that number had risen to one hundred. Now the school has approximately 1,400 pupils, representing more than 100 nationalities (and 70 languages), and enjoys an outstanding reputation nationally and internationally.