Arnold Schwarzenegger, former body-builder, California governor and film star, has visited the new museum of his life in the house where he was born in Thal, southern Austria.

"For me, the museum is a symbol of will, that anyone has an opportunity in life," Schwarzenegger said at a brief ceremony on Friday, cut short by pouring rain.

"Everything is possible with a little ambition. Be ambitious!" he urged.

Despite the inclement weather, dozens of fans - and a scrum of photographers and TV cameras - gathered to welcome the 64-year-old back to his birthplace, although he spent less than an hour at his childhood home.


"Arnie" also inaugurated a giant bronze statue of himself at the height of his body-building career, during which he won five times the title of Mr Universe and seven times that of Mr Olympia before he made his way to Hollywood.

The museum, dedicated to his three careers, opened its doors on July 30 - Schwarzenegger's birthday - and has since seen more than 5000 visitors of all nationalities, according to creator Peter Urdal, a former classmate.

Moving from room to room in the pale yellow house which now boasts the initials "A" and "S" on the large green front door, visitors are reminded of Schwarzenegger's cinematic hits, including 1984 blockbuster The Terminator.

The Harley-Davidson motorbike his character rides in the sequel is exhibited on the first floor.

His small childhood bed, first weights and a copy of his governor's desk are also among the 1000 objects in the 200-square-metre former family home where he spent the first 19 years of his life.

Now retired from politics, Schwarzenegger is writing his autobiography, which is due to come out in October 2012.