Residents living near the former home of the von Trapp family immortalized in the movie The Sound of Music are protesting plans to run a hotel out of the 125-year-old mansion on the outskirts of Salzburg, Austria.

"We will fight this with all means at our disposal," said Andreas Braunbruck, who lives near the Villa Trapp in a neighbourhood already teeming with tourists seeking a glimpse of the house.


The former home of the von Trapp family on the outskirts of Salzburg, Austria. Tourism officials plan to turn it into a hotel and build a pavillion to sell souvenirs. ((Andreas Schaad/Associated Press))

"Buses and cars are constantly in the street in front of our homes as it is," he told Austrian television on Sunday.

Braunbruck is organizing a protest campaign hoping to prevent the re-development, slated to open July 25.

"Tourist attractions have only one purpose and that's to bring in people," said Braunbruck, who wants peace and quiet.

The pale yellow house was never used in the 1965 film, starring Julie Andrews and Canadian Christopher Plummer.  Another house near Salzburg was used as a stand-in.

Film based on Broadway show

The film was based on the original Broadway musical chronicling the story of a real-life Austrian nun-turned-nanny who cared for a widower's seven children just before the Second World War, teaching them how to sing and eventually falling in love with the widower.


Julie Andrews as novitiate-turned-governess Maria, in a scene from the Oscar-winning 1965 film The Sound of Music.

Baron Georg Ludwig von Trapp, the widower, lived in the villa with his family from 1923 to 1938. The Nazis confiscated the property in 1939 and SS chief Heinrich Himmler moved in, staying until 1945.

The von Trapps immigrated to the U.S. and settled in Vermont, where their family lodge in Stowe remains a popular tourist attraction.

The film became a worldwide hit but was never translated into German. Locals remain mystified by its enduring quality.

Officials in Salzburg say about 300,000 foreign visitors a year take a Sound of Music bus or walking tour of the movie's locations.

Wilfried Haslauer, a Salzburg tourism official, announced plans last week to turn the villa into a hotel, with the surrounding parkland open to the public.

He also said refreshments and souvenirs will be sold in a pavilion to be built there, and that original furnishings that once belonged to the family would be displayed.

"Finally, after decades, this wonderful place will be opened to the public," Haslauer said in a statement, which only sparked condemnation from those living near the villa.

"Nobody ever talked to us about all this," said Manfred Schitter, who lives nearby. "When you want to make something like this, you ought to speak to [those affected]. That didn't happen in this case."

With files from the Associated Press