Medieval Vienna was situated at the main arm of the swiftly flowing alpine Danube. From the fourteenth century onwards, the river gradually moved away from the city. This marked the beginning of 500 years of human intervention to prevent further displacement of the river and to preserve the waterway as a vital supply line. Archival research and the GIS-based reconstruction of the past riverscape allow a new view about the co-evolution of the city and the river. Following major channel changes in 1565/1566, repeated attempts to force the main arm into the old river bed were undertaken.