A journey to one-of-a-kind place: The Beethoven House in Bonn

The Beethoven House has been on my travelling wish list for years. I wanted to visit it in 2008, but no time to run and spend some minutes there as I visited Bonn for professional purposes.

Beethoven is my favourite composer and I wanted to see the place where he was born and wrote some of his first masterpieces.

The museum consists of two wings: the house where Beethoven was born, on the left, (in yellow in the pictures on this page) and some rooms housing a digital studio and a stage, in the right wing.

The museum houses the world’s largest Beethoven collection, which preserves about 150 documents and musical instruments from the time periods he spent in Bonn and Vienna.

Beethoven’s house consists of twelve rooms, which are organised on three floors. Each room introduces a milestone of the composer’s both life and work.

Room 1 is the room where Beethoven was born in 1770.

Rooms 2–5 exhibit documents, family objects and musical instruments from the period Beethoven spent in Bonn while rooms 6-12 introduce the visitor to the period the composer spent in Vienna.

The composer’s viola he played in Bonn is displayed in Room 3.

Parts of the organ Beethoven played from his 10th years are displayed in Room 5. The organ belonged to the St Remigius Church and the missing parts were destroyed during the Second World War.

When he was 22, Beethoven left for Vienna to study with Joseph Haydn. He planned to return to Bonn as a court musician, but he could never see his hometown again because of the French occupation.

The Zimmermann Collection of woodwind instruments is displayed in Room 7.

Beethoven’s bust made by Frans Klein is exhibited in Room 8 along with the two pianofortes.

The right wing of the building houses the Digital Archives Studio while the building basement houses a stage for musical visualisation, where any spectator can enjoy watching an interactive 3D Fidelio performance.

The visit lasted some hours and we managed to focus on almost all objects and documents, combining individual reflections with the… squeaking floor noises. I believe that is part of the game for anyone wanting to go back to Beethoven’s times.

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