About us

The Beethoven-Haus Bonn association, founded in 1889, is the leading Beethoven centre. It strives to preserve Beethoven's work and heritage. The Beethoven-Haus houses the world's most significant Beethoven collection, a museum at Beethoven's birthplace that attracts over 100,000 visitors each year, a musicology research department with its own library and publishing house as well as a chamber music hall named after Hermann J. Abs where numerous events take place throughout the year. Thanks to the engagement and support from a good 900 friends, patrons and members of over 20 nationalities as well as from the German government, the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia and the city of Bonn, the association carries out various cultural tasks of national and international importance. Professor Tabea Zimmermann, the internationally acclaimed viola player, chamber musician and instructor, serves as president.

Due to the promotion of science and research, art and culture, the association is exempt from corporate and commercial taxes (Bonn tax office, corporate tax notice from February 10, 2017 for tax no. 205/5783/2058 for last reported period until December 31, 2014 according to article 5, section 1, no. 9, German Corporate Tax Law, and article 3, no. 6, German Trade Tax Law).

In 2016, in cooperation with the public sector, the Beethoven-Haus Bonn founded the Beethoven Jubiläums Gesellschaft, a non-profit institution, to coordinate and promote the Beethoven anniversary project BTHVN2020.

Organization

The association founded in 1889 is the legal entity of the Beethoven-Haus. Over 700 members and numerous friends and patrons support it. The association's organs are the General Meeting, the Board of Directors and the Board of Trustees. The Managing Director represents it and also carries out its everyday business. The Board of Directors determines the association's general orientation and basic governance questions and also supervises the director. A Scholarly Advisory Board and a Board of Trustees help the Board of Directors to reach the targets set by the Beethoven-Haus. The Board of Trustees consists of members of the Board of Directors as well as representatives from the German government, the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia, the city of Bonn and the Rhineland Regional Council. The Cologne district government supervises the Beethoven-Haus association.

Commercial activities, in particular the museum shop, are conducted by the Vertriebs- und Service GmbH of the Beethoven-Haus, a limited-liability company for sales and services. It is a 100% subsidiary of the association and currently has two executive managers.

In 1999, the Beethoven-Haus Foundation was added as a non-profit foundation. Right from the beginning, its mission was to support the activities of the Beethoven-Haus in the long run with funds and ideas, thus helping to carry out projects that are not financed by the public sector. The executive members of the Foundation Board are the Chairman, the Treasurer and the Secretary of the founder. A Board of Trustees serves as advisor. The foundation is supervised by the Cologne district government as a control body for foundations.

The Beethoven-Haus is engaged with several associations, federations, forums and working groups.

Organigram

Beethoven-Haus history

Timetable

24 February 1889
Foundation of the Beethoven-Haus Association by twelve well-esteemed citizens of Bonn
Primary objective: to acquire and restore the birthplace of Ludwig van Beethoven as well as establish a memorial
Honorary members: leading figures from politics, arts and science, amongst them Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, Johannes Brahms, Clara Schumann, Giuseppe Verdi, Adolf Menzel

Spring 1890
The first chamber music festival under the direction of honorary president Joseph Joachim is an overwhelming success.
Presentation of the most comprehensive Beethoven exhibition to date with loans from all over Europe; collection activities begin

10 May 1893
Inauguration of the museum on the occasion of the second chamber music festival

1897
Third chamber music festival; until 1956, 30 festivals of international significance were held; usually one every two years

1910
Acquisition of the original manuscript of the 6th symphony in F major, op. 68 (Pastoral symphony)

26 March 1927
Foundation of the Beethoven-Archiv on the centenary of Beethoven's death by Ludwig Schiedermair as a research and documentation institution
Aim: Record and document with photographs all preserved Beethoven manuscripts as well as compile all printed editions and establish a complete Beethoven library to be used as a basis for various editing purposes

Second World War
Relocation of the collection to Homburg Castle (Bergisches Land region) and to an underground shelter close to the town of Siegen (planning and execution done by provincial curator and board member Theodor Wildemann); return of the exhibits begins on May 11, 1945
Safeguarding of the Beethoven-Haus by Heinrich Hasselbach during the severe bombing on October 18, 1944

26 March 1952
Celebration of the 125th anniversary of Beethoven's death with Theodor Heuss (President of the Federal Republic of Germany) and Konrad Adenauer (German Chancellor) as guests

28 May 1956
Zurich collector Dr. Hans Conrad Bodmer dies and bequeaths his personal Beethoven collection of 750 documents and objects to the Beethoven-Haus

1959
Start of the historic complete edition of Beethoven's oeuvre; 1952: first volume of the sketch edition published; 1996: complete edition of Beethoven's written mail correspondence finalized (includes 2,292 letters)

1981
Deutsche Bank AG und the city of Bonn offer the famous Beethoven portrait from Joseph Karl Stiehler to the Beethoven-Haus as present on the 80th anniversary of chairman Hermann Josef Abs (chairman from 1960 to 1994)

24 February 1989
Opening of the chamber music hall named after Hermann J. Abs on the centenary of the Beethoven-Haus Association

1994
Donation campaign "Wer rettet mein Geburtshaus?" ("Who will save my birthplace?") with subsequent restoration and re-design of the permanent exhibition

7 May 1998
Transfer of the vast Beethoven collection of the Julius Wegeler family foundation as a permanent loan to the Beethoven-Haus on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of Franz Gerhard Wegeler's (adolescence friend of Beethoven and husband of Eleonore Breuning) death

1999
"Europa nostra" cultural heritage prize

December 2004
Extension of "The Digital Beethoven-Haus" with two new museum areas "Studio for Digital Collections" and "Stage for Music Visualisation" as well as the associated Internet presentation including a Digital Archive

2005
Acquisition of the engraver's copy for the Missa Solemnis, a three-volume copy that Beethoven himself reviewed meticulously

2006
Start of the international Beethoven Master Classes Bonn initiated by chairman Kurt Masur (chairman from 2004 to 2013); three conducting courses under his direction; since 2010 annual Master Classes for chamber music, 2014 under the direction of chairwoman Tabea Zimmermann

2009
Acquisition of the original manuscript of the Diabellli variations, op. 120, following the fundraising campaign "Weltklassisch - eine Initiative für Beethoven" (Just world class–an initiative for Beethoven)

2013
Tabea Zimmermann follows after Kurt Masur as chairwoman

2014
The Beethoven-Haus celebrates its 125th anniversary

Trainee agendas

For young artists and ressearchers

The Beethoven-Haus has been promoting exceptional international music trainees, offering them a thorough access to Beethoven's life and work. Taking part in an individual programme while staying in Bonn, the young people can develop and evolve their artistic and/or scientific skills. Staff and honorary members of the Beethoven-Haus are also available for additional support and guidance.

International Beethoven Master Classes Bonn 

Composers in residence

Students' college

Visiting scholars

Mentoring

Besides these programs every year string quartet students from Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University, Bloomington, USA, are being supported during their stay.

BTHVN 2020

In 2020, Beethoven's 250th birthday anniversary will be widely celebrated. This internationally flavoured event will start as a festival in the Beethoven city of Bonn, the Rhine-Sieg district and the German federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia, but will then be extended to whole Germany.

For successful marketing of this important celebration, the Beethoven Anniversary Association, located in Bonn, was founded as a non-profit subsidiary of the Beethoven-Haus Bonn Foundation. It will initiate and coordinate the festive activities that are planned in the composer's natal city of Bonn and in the region for 2020. This will promote and improve commemoration and memories of Beethoven.

Ralf Birkner was named Managing Director, whereas Christian Lorenz will serve as Managing Director of Arts.
The members of the board of management are: Chairman Malte Boecker (Director Beethoven-Haus Bonn), Vice Chairman Dr. Dettloff Schwerdtfeger (Managing Director Beethovenfest Bonn), Dr. Günter Winands (Ministerial Director of the Federal German Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media), Annette Storsberg (State Secretary at the Department for Culture and Science of North Rhine-Westphalia), Sebastian Schuster (District Administrator of the Rhine-Sieg district), Ashok Sridharan (Mayor of the city of Bonn) and Michael Kranz (Beethoven-Haus Bonn Foundation).

The events and activities planned for the 2020 Beethoven year will begin on December 16th, 2019 and last until December 17th, 2020 (Beethoven's 250th baptism anniversary).

More information can be found on the portal dedicated to Beethoven's 250th birthday anniversary at BTHVN2020.