The school traces its beginnings back to a small school established in 1955 under the patronage of the British, US and Indian Embassies, in order to educate about eighty children. They were left without English-language schooling after the army schools closed at the end of the allied occupation of Austria. The rapid growth of the school and the differing qualifications required by the North American and the British school systems led to its division in 1959, resulting in the English School and the American International School.
It was arranged that the English International School should become the nucleus of the new Vienna International School (VIS) run by the non-profit Vienna International School Association, and it started to prepare candidates for the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme. Following this accreditation it was clear to offer the type of learning envisioned for a growing international population of students, new facilities would be necessary.
In 1967 the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) was established in Vienna. International businesses found Vienna as a convenient base for Eastern Europe. In 1978, intent on attracting more international organizations to Vienna, the Austrian Government realised the need for an international school that taught an international curriculum.
By July 1981 the process of selecting an architect was completed and the current building design was selected from 30 finalists. The buidling was constructed in record time and heraleded in the press as 'the most beautiful school in Austria'. In 1984, VIS moved into its current building in Strasse der Menschenrechte. The school received recognition from the Austrian Federal Ministry for Education.
In 1981, Vienna International School congratulated their first twelve students who graduated from the IB Diploma Programme (DP).
The same year, the Board of Governors of the School, the Republic of Austria and the City of Vienna signed a comprehensive agreement that ensured the stability and further development of the School to meet the needs for international education in Vienna. The list of official attendees at the opening ceremony on 15 November 1984 provides a rich insight into the political importance of this achievement for the City of Vienna and the Federal Government.
With a growing number of students attending VIS the focus on sustainablity grew as well: In 2017 VIS was accredited as an Eco-School, the first international Eco-School in Austria. The VIS community since then is committed to creating awareness of the need for a sustainable environment and to leave a green print on our planet.
As you visit our campus in 2021, you will see that we are actively engaged in ensuring that the quality of education, and facilities that we offer, continue to provide a platform that will enable our learners to be highly effective citizens in a rapidly changing world.
We look forward to the next years as we will develop, deliver and share a comprehensive international curriculum continuum, which will successfully meet the needs of our 21st century students. Quality education is dependent upon a culture based upon passion, energy, vision, creativity and respect. If those elements are present, coherent curriculum, teaching and learning, and assessment practices will naturally evolve. All students will thrive and succeed, teachers will be personally and professionally fulfilled, parents and the community will embrace the school and VIS will flourish.