Leigh Turner

Leigh Turner

Ambassador to Austria and UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other International Organisations in Vienna

Part of

UK in Austria

Read biography

3rd July 2020 Vienna, Austria

Leigh Turner

by Leigh Turner

Ambassador to Austria and UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other International Organisations in Vienna

Online Q&A for UK nationals in Austria – Monday 6 July

Do you have questions about how the UK’s exit from the EU affects you?  The embassy is running an online Q&A session on Monday 6 July. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the team here and colleagues in London have continued to work closely with the Austrian authorities to ensure rights of British citizens living in Austria […]

Read more | Reply (33)

15th June 2020 Vienna, Austria

Leigh Turner

by Leigh Turner

Ambassador to Austria and UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other International Organisations in Vienna

Making face masks and jobs in Grimsby

“Two months ago this was just an empty warehouse”, the project manager says. We are entering a building adjacent to the Vienna HQ of Austrian company Hygiene Austria, south of Vienna.  Inside, after donning face masks and spraying sanitiser on our hands, we find a hive of activity.  Workers in sterile gowns operate high tech […]

Read more | Reply

3rd June 2020 Vienna, Austria

Leigh Turner

by Leigh Turner

Ambassador to Austria and UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other International Organisations in Vienna

Cycling in Vienna: diplomatic, healthy and green

The freshly oiled crank purrs like a sewing machine. The sun has come out from behind the clouds, casting a silverish gleam on the Danube.  There is a mild breeze. Hundreds of people are cycling on Vienna’s 21 kilometre-long Danube island and I am one of them. To me this is pure happiness. Cycling is […]

Read more | Reply

27th May 2020 Vienna, Austria

Leigh Turner

by Leigh Turner

Ambassador to Austria and UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other International Organisations in Vienna

How “The adjoining house at the Lustig Prean Gasse” became the British Embassy

“The Ministry of Works may have ideas about office accommodation.  I doubt whether it would be possible to extend the existing offices by building in the courtyard.  Failing this, it might be possible to secure the adjoining house in the Lustig Prean Gasse (No.10), which is now divided into flats and which would be sufficiently […]

Read more | Reply (2)

27th April 2020 Vienna, Austria

Leigh Turner

by Leigh Turner

Ambassador to Austria and UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other International Organisations in Vienna

Why now is the time to take global action against COVID-19

Coronavirus or COVID-19 has been shaping the reality of life and work in Austria, the UK and around the world. As we are all trying to do our bit to fight the spread of the virus (stay at home!) and adapt where possible to a new normal, I think it’s worth reminding ourselves that in […]

Read more | Reply

6th April 2020 Vienna, Austria

Leigh Turner

by Leigh Turner

Ambassador to Austria and UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other International Organisations in Vienna

Getting 391 British Nationals home safely

A plane approaches London Heathrow, appearing to grow larger as it nears the runway.  As British airways flight BA0961 lands safely, a collective sigh of relief is heard at the British Embassy in Vienna. In the last two weeks, the British Embassy in Vienna has helped 391 people get out of ski resorts in Austria […]

Read more | Reply

8th March 2020 Vienna, Austria

Leigh Turner

by Leigh Turner

Ambassador to Austria and UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other International Organisations in Vienna

Maiden – awesome, inspirational women on the big screen

I recently had co-hosted a special premiere of Maiden, the gripping story of how Tracy Edwards, a 24-year-old Briton, became the skipper of the first ever all-female crew to enter the Whitbread Round the World race in 1989.  The race, today known as the Volvo Ocean Race, was a brutal competition comprised of six legs […]

Read more | Reply

5th March 2020 Vienna, Austria

Leigh Turner

by Leigh Turner

Ambassador to Austria and UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other International Organisations in Vienna

Authors you should read more

I’m looking at my bookshelf at home when I notice a weird similarity to the rogues’ gallery of former British ambassadors to Austria in the embassy. My bookshelf is dominated by male authors. The rogues’ gallery for Vienna is exclusively male, up until my excellent predecessor, Susan le Jeune d’Allegeershecque (in Vienna 2012-16). Male domination […]

Read more | Reply (2)

28th February 2020 Vienna, Austria

Leigh Turner

by Leigh Turner

Ambassador to Austria and UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other International Organisations in Vienna

My Welsh Great-Grandfather, literature and football

1 March is St David’s Day, named after the patron saint of Wales who died in 589.  I’m part-Welsh: my great-grandfather John Derfel (photo above) came from the the town of Llanderfel in north Wales and was the son of the Welsh poet and political writer Robert Jones Derfel (for the Welsh-language Wikipedia entry, click here). According to […]

Read more | Reply (3)

11th February 2020 Vienna, Austria

Leigh Turner

by Leigh Turner

Ambassador to Austria and UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other International Organisations in Vienna

How the British residence in Vienna was rescued: 1945-1950

“It is open to doubt whether this location in Vienna is really suitable for the Minister’s residence… it can in no way be considered a pleasant district in which to live.” How times change! Historic papers we recently unearthed about the restoration of the British ambassador’s residence at Metternichgasse 6 in Vienna after 1945 contain […]

Read more | Reply (2)

About Leigh Turner

I hope you find this blog interesting and, where appropriate, entertaining. My role in Vienna covers the relationship between Austria and the UK as well as the diverse work of…

I hope you find this blog interesting and, where appropriate, entertaining. My role in Vienna covers the relationship between Austria and the UK as well as the diverse work of the UN and other organisations; stories here will reflect that.

About me: I arrived in Vienna in August 2016 for my second posting in this wonderful city, having first served here in the mid-1980s. My previous job was as HM Consul-General and Director-General for Trade and Investment for Turkey, Central Asia and South Caucasus based in Istanbul.

Further back: I grew up in Nigeria, Exeter, Lesotho, Swaziland and Manchester before attending Cambridge University 1976-79. I worked in several government departments before joining the Foreign Office in 1983.

Keen to go to Africa and South America, I’ve had postings in Vienna (twice), Moscow, Bonn, Berlin, Kyiv and Istanbul, plus jobs in London ranging from the EU Budget to the British Overseas Territories.

2002-6 I was lucky enough to spend four years in Berlin running the house, looking after the children (born 1992 and 1994) and doing some writing and journalism.

To return to Vienna as ambassador is a privilege and a pleasure. I hope this blog reflects that.

Read more