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How Germany is celebrating 250-year-old ‘pop star’ Beethoven

Germany is going all out for the 250th anniversary of Ludwig van Beethoven's birth next year with more than 700 events, including homages by Hollywood actor Christoph Waltz and electronic act Kraftwerk.

How Germany is celebrating 250-year-old 'pop star' Beethoven
A statue of Beethoven in Bonn. Photo: DPA

There is no clear record of the exact date composer Beethoven was born but there is a record of his baptism on December 17th 1770, in Bonn so it's understood he was born the day before.

A preview on Friday of the renovated Beethoven House Museum in his native city Bonn offered a glimpse of the festivities planned ahead of the big day next year.

Here are the main celebrations for a man described by news weekly Der Spiegel as a “a 250-year-old pop star”:

December 16th:  Beethoven's home reopens to the public as a museum after extensive renovation, on the day most widely believed to be his birthday.

The museum will include an exhibition with scores and instruments as well as notebooks he used to communicate after going deaf in 1801 – 26 years before his death.

The former West German capital is hoping for a big tourism boost from the year of festivities.

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February 1st (2020): Beethoven's only opera “Fidelio” is performed at the State Opera in Vienna, where the composer lived at the beginning of the 19th century.

The German-Austrian actor Christoph Waltz, who works mainly in the United States, will also stage “Fidelio” from March 16 at the city's Theater an der Wien – where the opera was first performed in 1805.

April 25th and 26th: Berlin hosts a 24-hour “Beethoven Marathon” by the city's Philharmonic orchestra.

April 28th: Back in Bonn, a hypothetical version of Beethoven's unfinished Tenth Symphony completed by artificial intelligence is to be performed.

May 16th: Kraftwerk gives an open-air concert in Bonn in honour of Beethoven. The group will be celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2020.

December 17th: The Beethoven year closes with a concert in the parliament building in Bonn, underlining the political significance of a composer whose “Ode to Joy” from his Ninth Symphony became the EU's anthem.

So important is the anniversary that the need to prepare for it was written into a 2013 coalition agreement between German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats.

The deal said preparations were a “national duty”.

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CULTURE

Where to celebrate Diwali 2022 in Germany

The holiday of Diwali kicks off on Monday. Here's where you can celebrate all around Germany.

Where to celebrate Diwali 2022 in Germany

With over 100,000 Indians in Germany, and over 175,000 people of Indian descent, it’s little wonder that Diwali – the famous five day Hindi festival of lights starting this year on Monday October 24th – is being celebrated all around the Bundesrepublik

READ ALSO: Indians in Germany: Who are they and where do they live?

Even the House of Parliament in Frankfurt is honouring the holiday for the first time with a special reception on October 30th.

Diwali takes its name from the clay lamps or deepa (the event is sometimes called Deepawali) that many Indians light outside their home. With the days shortening in Germany, there’s all the more reason to celebrate light — especially over lively music, traditional dance and authentically spicy Indian cuisine.

We have rounded up some of the top events to celebrate around Germany, both the week of Diwali and afterwards, stretching into mid-November. If you have an additional event to suggest, email us at [email protected]

October 24th in Heidelberg

Happen to be in Heidelberg? Then it’s not too late to head to the Sweet Home Project, which will be cooking up a storm starting at 6:30pm. The menu includes an assortment of Indian sweets and savoury dishes. The collective only asks that participants bring along a candle (and a hearty appetite).

If you miss this event, and are still craving some (really) spicy traditional cuisine, the Firebowl Heidelberg is hosting a Diwali party on October 29th, replete with lots of food and drink and Bollywood beats the whole night. 

October 29th near Frankfurt

For those who fancy a Feier with a full-buffet, this celebration in Dreieich delivers through an all-you-can-eat dinner with traditional fare. Starting at 5pm and stretching into the early hours of the morning, the festive feast includes traditional Bollywood music by Derrick Linco. There’s also a dance party for kids, who receive free admission up to seven years old and €25 up to 14 years. Normal tickets go for €40 per person.

A previous Diwali celebration of traditional dance and music in Dresden. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Sebastian Kahnert

November 4th near Düsseldorf

On November 4th at 6pm, the Deutsch-Indische Gesellschaft Düsseldorf will be hosting a family-friendly party in nearby Ratingen with classical Indian music and dance, a huge dinner and Bollywood music led by DJ SA-ONE. Tickets cost about €40 each, but children under six receive free entry. 

November 5th in Bonn 

The Indian Students Association of Bonn-Cologne will be hosting its biggest event of the year: for €10, event goers can try an array of Indian food, play classic games and tune into cultural performances. 

READ ALSO: Moving from India to Munich changed my life

November 12th in Essen 

Whether you like traditional bhajans or meditative ragas, this concert will capture many of the classic sounds of Indian music with artists such as Anubhab Tabla Ensemble, Debasish Bhattacharjee and Somnath Karmorak taking center stage. The performance starts at 5pm and costs €10. 

November 12th and 13th in Berlin

Indian food fans will get to enjoy 12 stands devoted to Indian cuisine and products, all coming from the local Indian community. The weekend-long festival will also include stand-up comedy from the Desi Vibes Comedy Group. Karaoke fans will also enjoy singing along with the Sounds of India group, followed by an after party on Saturday. All this only costs €2 at the door. 

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