2020 marks the 250th anniversary of Ludwig van Beethoven’s birth! So, needless to say, it is going to be a very exciting year filled with all things Beethoven, especially in both Vienna and Bonn. As mentioned in our previous article, most people associate Beethoven with Vienna, but it is very important to remember that he was born in Bonn; so, Bonn heavily influenced Beethoven’s musical career and ideals.
Beethoven was clearly a revolutionary thinker and an important figure not just to Bonn but to the world. From letters that we’ve seen and the music that he’s written, it is clear Beethoven was very interested in the then “radical” idea of brotherhood for all mankind IE equality for everyone. So, it’s important to celebrate him even now in 2020 more than ever before. But what is the best way to celebrate Beethoven in 2020? By visiting Bonn, Germany, of course! Bonn, Germany is excited to own its heritage and has transformed the city into a beautiful, artistic celebration of all things Beethoven this year. There are tiny Beethoven faces in most of the green traffic lights. There are Beethoven photos and murals everywhere. And there are many things to do around the city to specifically celebrate all things Beethoven. Here are our favorite things to do in Bonn to Celebrate Beethoven.
How to Celebrate Beethoven in Bonn
Trace Beethoven’s Steps in a “Beethoven Walking Tour”
Beethoven spent the first 22 years of his life in Bonn, Germany. So, you can trace his footsteps and see the sights that inspired Beethoven as he grew up. This will help you to get more into his mind and see things from his point of view as he was living here developing his mind. You can take a flyer and follow the map yourself, as everything is easy to walk to in a close proximity or you can schedule a guided tour which lasts between 1.5 to 2 hours. Be guided around the city and see the Beethoven House, Remigius Church, Zehrgarten Inn, Remigius Square, Electoral Court Chapel, Rhine Promenade, Breuning House, the Beethoven Monument, the Old Cemetery, La Redoute, Draitschquelle, Alfter, Mechenheim, and many other places with histories attached to Ludwig van Beethoven.
If you don’t want a fully Beethoven-centric tour, there are regular walking tours around the city with interesting information, as well. For instance, see the University (which used to be the royal palace) which has a “blessed” Golden Madonna Statue on it. The statue has survived three catastrophes and still stands to tell its tale, making it appear blessed to many. First, it survived a fire that wiped 2/3 of the building. Next, the French tried to take her down with horses and ropes during their occupancy in Bonn, but nothing they could do would bring her down. So, they developed a respect for her and kept her up. Finally, she survived the invasion of bombers in 1944 during World War 2 where 80% of the center city was destroyed. So, she is a sign of hope for many.
Visit the Beethoven House
The Beethoven House (or Beethoven-Haus) is a museum like no other, as it gives you the ability to celebrate Beethoven’s life and work in his original setting. You see, this is the house where Beethoven was born in. And, if you’ve been there before, you should make the trip back, as it was just newly remodeled and has reopened with its new permanent exhibition with additional rooms. This new exhibition gives you access to more than 200 unique and original exhibits from or related to Beethoven including manuscripts, instruments, items from his daily life, compositions and notes, his ear trumpets, and some portraits. The Beethoven House proudly hosts the largest collection of Beethoven memorabilia in one place. And the newly remodeled exhibit presents everything in an interesting and modern way with its use of lights and cases. The shop and café across the street is a clean and exciting place to stop in during your Beethoven celebration, as well.
Plus, during the celebration of Beethoven’s anniversary in 2020, there are many unique events and lectures scheduled at the museum. While we were there, the Beethoven House was busy and booming with guests, proving that it is one of the most visited museums dedicated to a musician in the world. It is definitely a sight to behold.
Attend the “Beethoven- World.Citizen.Music” Exhibit at the Bundeskunsthalle
From now until April 26, 2020, the Bundeskunsthalle in Bonn is presenting the exhibit “Beethoven- World.Citizen.Music” which presents Beethoven in a way that no one has before. The exhibit focuses on three different aspects of Beethoven so the viewer can truly be immersed in his journey to understand how the composer lived and what inspired him in his music. It truly is an exhibit like no other, bringing Beethoven to life in 2020. The purpose of the exhibit is to have the public see him as a real human with feelings, passion, and thoughts. This way, people stop thinking of him as a composer they read about in the books and see him as a well-rounded human being who lived and breathed like the rest of us. The exhibit focuses on Beethoven the “Citizen”, which references his position in society and how it affected his life and work. And it focuses as well on his “Music” which presents him as a composer and encourages guests to understand his works more by experiencing them throughout the years of his career. And it focuses on the “World” around him and how that effected his experiences, as well. It’s something that has to be seen in person, so head over there before it’s too late!
What if You Can’t Make it to Bonn?
If you can’t make it to Bonn to celebrate Beethoven this year, bring Beethoven home to you!
Susanne Kessel has put together an incredible celebration of Beethoven entitled “250 Piano Pieces for Beethoven” that has brought together 260 composers from 78 different countries. Each composer is between the ages of 10 and 80, and they each wrote a piece inspired by Beethoven. Purchase one of the CD’s of this incredible project and celebrate Beethoven from your own home.
But, all in all, if you can make it over to Bonn for Beethoven’s 250th anniversary, we strongly encourage you to do so. Be sure to keep us in the loop regarding your Beethoven festivities!
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