Germany's cultural heritage

When it comes to Germany’s greatest virtuosos, Beethoven rates right up there with Goethe, Schiller and Bach. Beethoven's creations belong to Germany's cultural heritage, and to the cultural heritage of mankind. That is why the Federal Government of Germany, as well as other public institutions financially support the research work of the Beethoven House in Bonn, and help in its efforts to add to its distinguished collection. The commitment on the part of the private sector is also evidence for the appreciation Germans have for their great composer.  

The Hammerflügel (fortepiano): A display piece in the Beethoven House in Bonn.

Just how important this legacy is, is shown by the government's plans for Beethoven's 250th birthday. The plans are included in the 2014 coalition contract issued by the CDU/CSU and the SPD: “Beethoven's 250th birthday offers outstanding opportunities for Germany as a cultural nation, both at home and abroad. The preparation for this important celebration is therefore is a national mission.” The state of North Rhine-Westphalia added in a similar vein: “Our goal is to make 2020 – the year of Beethoven – a great event for Bonn, for North Rhine-Westphalia, and for Germany.”   

In Bonn, Beethoven’s legacy is most notably preserved by two ongoing cultural institutions - the Beethoven House and the Beethovenfest. Since its founding in 1889, the Beethoven House has been in equal measure a place of music-historical remembrance, an arThe Beethoven monument in Bonn, co-initiated by Franz Lisztchive, a research center, and a concert hall. The house has a unique collection of primary sources and can call upon a long tradition of research and documentation. Several busts are also displayed in its garden.  

The tradition of the Bonn Beethovenfest reaches back to 1845, when a three-day music festival was held to inaugurate the Beethoven monument on the occasion of Beethoven's 75th birthday.  Leading the effort was Franz Liszt. The total cost of the monument was 13,000 thalers, with Liszt contributing the sizeable sum of 2,666 thalers.  The Beethovenfest became a yearly event – a good four weeks every fall – in 1999.