Anniversary celebrations will continue until September 2021

Join us to celebrate 250th years of Beethoven – we’ll be waiting until you’re ready

Revolutionary. Visionary. Cosmopolitan. Not to mention one of the most frequently played classical composers: Ludwig van Beethoven was an extremely talented artist. To this day, his music still unites people all over the world. #DiscoverBeethoven is all about German destinations, scenery and visions that influenced the grand master. Take a stroll in Beethoven's footsteps. Let yourself be inspired by milestones in history, personal stories, outstanding events, innovative sound sensations and unexpected perspectives.

Experience the Beethoven jubilee until September 2021

Get involved and experience Beethoven!

Do you want to take a stroll in Beethoven's footsteps? There are many places where you can do this throughout Germany. His birthplace, the Beethoven-Haus, which exhibits his life and work in detail, features among Bonn's landmarks. You can also discover other Beethoven sculptures and memorials in cities such as Nuremberg, Leipzig, Regensburg and Frankfurt am Main.

Bonn's Beethoven Week from 16 January to 9 February 2020 will be the first time Beethoven's entire work of chamber music is played to audiences.

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Ludwig van Beethoven – a life dedicated to music

Ludwig van Beethoven was born shortly before Christmas in 1770. His ambitious father laid the foundations for his early musical education in violin, cello and piano. It may be hard to believe, but Beethoven gave his first concert performance at just 7 years of age. At the age of 12, he published his first compositions and he became Joseph Haydn's master student in Vienna in 1794. When Beethoven began to suffer from incurable hearing loss at 27, he was already established as one of the most eminent composers in the city. He continued to work tirelessly, although he could only hear many of his subsequent creations with his inner ear. When Beethoven died in Vienna in 1827, his funeral procession was attended by a huge crowd of grief-stricken citizens.

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The rebellious genius – Beethoven as a person

Proud, fastidious, surly with a short fuse... and yet a generous, helpful friend and passionate supporter of the French Revolution: Ludwig van Beethoven was all this and more. Did you know that he dedicated Symphony No. 3, "Eroica", to Napoleon? He did, however, withdraw this dedication in fury when Napoleon proclaimed himself emperor in 1804. He also had little time for the noble lineage of his aristocratic backers, preferring to sport a wild mane rather than a posh wig. Beethoven loved nature. Although he never married, women played a major role throughout his life: as loyal friends and acquaintances, as performers and as dedicatees of his world-famous compositions.

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The sounds of world fame – Beethoven's life and work

Beethoven left behind 340 or so works when he died, including symphonies, piano concertos, string quartets, a violin concerto and an opera. His music was honest, dramatic and lyrical. But most of all, it was unpredictable and therefore often ahead of its time. As a perfectionist, he would tirelessly polish his pieces. As a revolutionary and visionary, he performed his pieces in royal courts and aristocratic palaces, while also creating a place for them in concert halls for the first time in history, where the middle classes could enjoy them. Today, Ludwig van Beethoven is one of the world's greatest and most popular composers, with works that have a musical influence like no other. So it's no wonder that his manuscripts have long been part of UNESCO's Memory of the World Register.

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Between the sea and the Alps – Beethoven's travels through Germany

Beethoven left an impressive mark on Germany. Both in terms of music and as a traveller. His home is in Bonn in the hilly Middle Rhine Valley near the Siebengebirge mountains. At the tender age of 8, he travelled to Cologne for a performance. The stops on his travels that ultimately led him to Vienna include Koblenz, Limburg and Frankfurt am Main, Würzburg, Nuremberg, Regensburg and Passau, Munich and Augsburg. In summer 1791, he travelled by ship along the Rhine and Main with his patron Archduke Maximilian Francis, where he stopped in Aschaffenburg. As it happens, Beethoven was to go on his most important concert tour five years later. It took him to Dresden, Leipzig and Berlin and its highlight was a performance for King Frederick William II.

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  • B

    Discover the Bonn-born cosmopolitan

    ...and find out what connects Beethoven to the city on the Rhine.

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  • T

    Discover the musician

    ...and find out what it is that makes Beethoven's compositions works of major importance in music history.

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  • H

    Discover the humanist

    ...and find out why Beethoven's values are still relevant today.

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  • V

    Discover the visionary

    ...and find out how Beethoven lives on today in his music.

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  • N

    Discover the nature lover

    ...and find out how nature inspired Beethoven to create tones and sounds.

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Delve into the world of Beethoven

Hear Beethoven's works performed live:

Many one-off events will be held nationwide to mark the 250th birthday of Ludwig van Beethoven. Discover Beethoven's life and work at exhibitions, concerts, festivals, dance performances, plays, talks and more:

Bonn in 5th place of worldwide „must-see“ destinations

Lonely Planet, the world’s largest publisher of independent travel and language guides, has named Bonn in 5th place of their Top Ten Cities and “Best in Travel 2020”.

Enjoy the anniversary year in Bonn’s birthplace!

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