Schönbrunn Palace together with its ancillary buildings and extensive park is by virtue of its long and colourful history one of the most important cultural monuments in Austria. Scheduled as a listed monument, the whole ensemble, including the palace, the park with its numerous architectural features, fountains and statues and not least the zoo – the oldest of its kind in the world – was placed on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List in 1996.
In the possession of the Habsburg dynasty since Maximilian II, the palace passed to the ownership of the Republic of Austria at the end of the monarchy in 1918 and was subsequently administered by the Schlosshauptmannschaft Schönbrunn. In 1992 the Schloss Schönbrunn Kultur- und Betriebsges.m.b.H. (SKB) was founded and entrusted with the administration of the palace as a modern, limited-liability company. The duties of the SKB include the exploitation of its many resources in fulfilling its role as a cultural and touristic amenity as well as the obligation to conserve and revitalise this unique historical and art-historical gem. As its primary duties, preservation and restoration have to be financed by the SKB from its own resources without recourse to state subsidies.