In 1909, Salesianum, the first Salesian house in Austria was established to offer poor boys aged 9 to 14 a place to stay and feel at home. Apart from the different activities available, the boys had the possibility of getting an education. There were 150 boys in all. They were offered lunch and an afternoon full of activities. The Salesians strove to widen the scope of the institute to youth of the surrounding district as well. Since 1911 activities for boys from 14 to 17 year of age were organized. From 1915 to 1919 the Salesians fed 500 needy boys on a daily basis. This means that within the span of four years their extended services included a total of 400.000 meals to poor youth.
On 1 January, 1939, the parish Neu Erdberg became independent. In 1954 the work of building a new church for the parish commenced. The church was inaugurated in 1958. Integrated into the structure of the church tower was also a youth hostel, which was nicknamed the “Tower Hostel”. Since then, the parish, the youth hostel and the dormitory are all independent Salesian institutions which form the one “Salesianum”.
On 20 September, 2003 the dormitory was opened again after some months of work on its reconstruction. It is now a dormitory for male students from all over the world. 230 students from 23 countries have found a home here. Each floor provides the students with a spacious kitchen. The students learn to live in a spirit of peace and tolerance. Students from many Christian denominations (confessions) are integrated in this community. They very often find time to cook their traditional food, exchange their opinions, learn and even pray together. The chapel represents an important centre in the house. Several times a year there are worship and meditation sessions for students where all are welcome. Like all other common room areas, the chapel is open anytime. The three Salesians who work here make themselves available to students who wish to have someone to talk to or who are in need of counselling and advice.
Many various activities and events are open to these young students. Sport is the most attractive feature where tournaments in football, basketball, tennis, billiards and table tennis are organized. In winter, ski holidays are offered in Fulpmes, Tyrol. Visits to other Salesian institutions or trips to Munich and Benediktbeuern are held throughout the year. Once a month, students also have the opportunity to participate in cultural activities. The feedback given by those who have lived some years in the Salesianum is very positive - they appreciate the Salesian spirit which they now experience first-hand.
During the summer holidays, when the students return home, the doors of the Salesianum are opened to welcome tourists from all over the world. From July till September the “Summer Hotel Don Bosco” offers accommodation for singles, families and groups. Due to the location which is very central (only 5 minutes to the next underground station), the “Summer Hotel Don Bosco” is a hot stop for many tourists who come to Vienna. The Salesians also combine this welcome with the opportunity to make Salesian history, charism and pedagogy better known to the visitors.