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Beethoven House Bonn, Germany | by Thomas Depenbusch (Depi)
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Beethoven House Bonn, Germany

Beethoven House, Bonn, Germany


The Beethoven House (German: Beethoven-Haus) in Bonn, Germany, is a memorial site, museum and cultural institution serving various purposes. Founded in 1889 by the Beethoven-Haus association it studies the life and work of composer Ludwig van Beethoven. The centrepiece of the Beethoven-Haus is Beethoven's birthplace at Bonngasse 20. This building houses the museum. The neighbouring buildings (Bonngasse 18 and 24 to 26) accommodate a research centre (Beethoven archive) comprising a collection, as well as a library and publishing house and a chamber music hall. Here, music lovers and experts from all over the world can meet and share their ideas. The Beethoven-Haus is financed by the Beethoven-Haus association and by means of public funds.


The house at Bonngasse 20 (formerly: 515) featuring a baroque stone facade was erected around 1700 on an older cellar vault. It is one of the few remaining middle-class houses from the era of the prince elector. Back then it was in the neighbourhood preferred by the employees of the courts, in the heart of the town between the castle, the town hall with the market square and the banks of the Rhine river. Today, this is a pedestrian precinct with the Bonn Beethoven Hall and the opera close by. In the first half of the 19th century an additional, somewhat smaller, timbered house was built on the property behind the house. Five families temporarily lived in the multi-storey front and back buildings. Three tailors and one shoemaker also had their shops here. In 1836 the entrance door was widened and replaced with a gate entrance. After the back part of the house was identified as Beethoven's birthplace around 1840 by Beethoven's friend Franz Gerhard Wegeler, a physician, and Carl Moritz Kneisel, a teacher, the new owner opened a restaurant on the ground floor in 1873 with the name Beethoven’s Geburtshaus (Beethoven's birthplace). A beer and concert hall was added in the yard in 1887. In 1888 a grocery merchant bought the house but sold it just one year later. Thanks to the Beethoven Haus association, founded in 1889 to preserve the house, it was spared from demolition. The following years were characterised by renovation and remodelling works to turn the house into a memorial site. Back then, major parts of the building were still as they had been in the second half of the 18th century. In order to preserve spacious museum rooms, the floor plans of the main house were changed and an office for the association, plus a library and a flat for the janitor were installed. Construction changes in Beethoven's flat were limited to the stairs and the passageways to the front building. The inner yard was decorated with trellises and sandstone slabs, and a garden replaced the place where the beer hall had been. It has not been remodelled since. In order to preserve the character of Beethoven's birthplace in its contemporary environment and to protect the building, the association bought the neighbouring house number 22 in 1893. After installing a fire protection wall, the building was sold again. In 1907 house number 18 "Im Mohren" was bought to extend the property. At first it was used as an apartment building. In 1927 the newly-founded Beethoven archive moved in. In the mid-1930s both houses were extensively renovated. The Beethoven-Haus survived both World Wars almost unscathed. In the Second World War, Senior Building Officer Theodor Wildemann, later serving as the association's chairman, in his role as Deputy Provincial Curator, made sure that the collection was brought to an underground shelter near Siegen (Sauerland), thereby avoiding any war-related losses or damages. During the air raid of the Bonn city centre on October 18, 1944, a fire bomb fell on the roof of Beethoven's birthplace. Thanks to the help of janitor Heinrich Hasselbach and Wildemans, who were later awarded the German Federal Cross of Merit, as well as Dr. Franz Rademacher from the Rhenish National Museum, the bomb did not ignite a disaster. The damages were repaired in the early 1950s. In the late 1960s, the third renovation took place. For the fourth, basic renovation of the buildings from 1994 to 1996 the Beethoven-Haus was awarded the Europa Nostra award for cultural heritage (awarded since 1978) in 1998 as the first institution in Germany.(Wikipedia)



Definitive 144 Cent stamp from Germany (2003) (Sight series), showing the Beethoven Haus

In January 2003 the Deutsche Post AG issued a stamp featuring the Beethoven-Haus. The stamp belongs to the definitive stamp series "Sights".

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Taken on June 24, 2012