With the aid of Kölsch beer and the „Ninth“ into the Heart Beethoven as a tourist pull at ITB in Berlin

Berlin · Bonn and the region are advertising Beethoven's anniversary year 2020 in Bonn at the ITB tourism fair.

The world out there has to know. It should know. Ludwig van Beethoven was a great friend of nature. He was - after all that posterity has gathered about it - also a Kölschdrinker. But above all he was a great composer. And now the city of Bonn and the Rhein-Sieg region have a big plan - to inform visitors from all over the world at the International Tourism Exchange (ITB). Ludwig van Beethoven, more precisely a Beethoven as a silver bust, shines this afternoon in Hall 7.3a in the "Berlin area" of all places. Beethoven definitely has nothing to do with the Berlin/Bonn connection, or he probably would not have composed his "Ode to Joy".

But a world-famous Bonn theme at the ITB in Berlin inspired North Rhine-Westphalia's Economics Minister Andreas Pinkwart (FDP) to even say that Beethoven might have provided impulses for the digital revolution if he were alive today. A "gift for humanity, a stroke of luck for Germany, a stroke of luck for Bonn" that’s Beethoven, says Christian Lorenz, Artistic Director of the Beethoven Jubilee Society BTHVN2020. For the Federal Government, Beethoven is the flagship figure. Angela Merkel most recently invited the heads of state and government to the Elbphilharmonie at the G20 Summit 2017 in Hamburg: to listen to Beethoven's Ninth.

Beethoven as a brand

This stroke of luck is now supposed to pay off. Bonn and the region present Beethoven as a brand - for the great Beethoven anniversary in 2020. At the world's largest tourism fair ITB in Berlin, they want to attract people from all over the world to the birthplace of the composer, where Beethoven lived for 22 years. Whether representatives of the state of NRW, the city of Bonn, the Rhein-Sieg district or the Beethoven Festival - everyone has a story to tell about the world composer. For District Administrator Sebastian Schuster, it is clear: If Beethoven lived in Bonn today, he would have to pass through the Rhein-Sieg district to come out into the world. Drachenfelser Ländchen, Siebengebirge, a wonderful region for Beethoven, a nature lover. According to Schuster, there is already a competition among the Kölsch pubs in the Rhein-Sieg district where Beethoven could have drunk his Kölsch. Only one thing is certain: he drank Kölsch. Whether before or after or during the composing doesn’t matter, because the success proves the composer right.

The mayor of Alfter, Rolf Schumacher, of Rhein-Voreifel-Touristik, describes it similarly: "Beethoven could only compose so well because he could enjoy the region.“ Now visitors to Bonn should be able to cycle on an „apple route“ through the region to celebrate Beethoven's anniversary. Bonn's Lord Mayor Ashok Sridharan says that the significance of Beethoven's anniversary year cannot be "underestimated" at all. People from all over Germany, from all over the world are expected in Bonn in 2020.

"It's about connecting people."

Nike Wagner of the Beethoven Festival promises two cycles in the anniversary year: one in March, a second in September. Michael Horn of the Beethoven Orchestra Bonn: "It's about connecting people." With the famous Ninth or with the composer's "experimental things", which Wagner tends to do in the anniversary year. Malte Boecker of the Beethoven-Haus hopes for an increase in the number of visitors: from around 100,000 annually to "130,000 visitors upwards" in 2020. Rein Wolfs of the Bundeskunsthalle wants to make Beethoven experienceable, even palpable, on manuscripts and manuscripts, but in any case "barrier-free and inclusive". "One will also be able to feel the music in the exhibition. And then: "I have the feeling that we are showing a new Beethoven, whereby we let the classical Beethoven be present too".

The hoped-for visitors are still missing. According to Udo Schäfer and Ulrich W. Jünger with their team from Tourismus & Congress GmbH, they have had around 100 discussions at the ITB in Berlin to date. Schäfer's conclusion: "I can tell you: Beethoven is moving people." They keep counting down: This Friday there are still 649 days left until Beethoven's 250th birthday.

Original text: Holger Möhle
Translation: Mareike Graepel

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