Anthem of Europe

Anthem of Europe

Infobox Anthem
title = Ode to Joy
alt_title = European Anthem]]

image_size = 258px
caption = A page from Beethoven's original manuscript.
prefix =
country = EU
flagicon|EU Council of Europe [On behalf of Europe as a whole]
author = None
lyrics_date =
composer = Ludwig van Beethoven
music_date = 1823
adopted = 1972 and 1985
until =
sound = Ode to joy.ogg
sound_title = Ode to joy (Instrumental)

Ode to Joy "(German original title: "Ode an die Freude")" is the anthem of the European Union and the Council of Europe; both of which refer to it as the European Anthem due to the Council's intention that it represent Europe as a whole, rather than any organisation. It is based on the final movement of Beethoven's 9th Symphony composed in 1823 and played on official occasions by both organisations.



Friedrich Schiller wrote the poem "An die Freude" ("To Joy") in 1785 as a celebration of the brotherhood of man. Friends set it to music and it quickly became very popular as a drinking song. [cite web|url=,M1|title=Max Rudolf, a Musical Life: Writings and Letters|coauthors=Max Rudolf, Michael Stern, Hanny Bleeker White|date=2001|publisher=Pendragon Press|pages=pp 267-268|accessdate=2008-07-10] In later life, the poet was contemptuous of this popularity and dismissed the poem as typical of "the bad taste of the age" in which it had been written. [cite web|url=|title=Correspondence of Schiller with Körner|coauthors=Schiller and Körner; Leonard Simpson|date=1849|publisher=Richard Bentley, London|pages=p. 221|accessdate=2008-07-09] After Schiller's death, the poem provided the words for the choral movement of Ludwig van Beethoven's 9th Symphony.


In 1971 the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe decided to propose adopting the prelude to the Ode To Joy from Beethoven's 9th Symphony as the European anthem. The Council of European Ministers officially announced the European Anthem on 19 January 1972 at Strasbourg: the prelude to "The Ode to Joy", 4th movement of Ludwig van Beethoven's 9th symphony.

Conductor Herbert von Karajan was asked to write three instrumental arrangements – for solo piano, for wind instruments and for symphony orchestra and he conducted the performance used to make the official recording. He wrote his decisions on the score, notably those concerning the tempo. Karajan decided on crotchet = 120 whereas Beethoven had written minim = 80.

The anthem was launched via a major information campaign on Europe Day in 1972. In 1985, it was adopted by EU heads of State and government as the official anthem of the then European Community – since 1993 the European Union. It is not intended to replace the national anthems of the Member States but rather to celebrate the values they all share and their unity in diversity. It expresses the ideals of a united Europe: freedom, peace, and solidarity. [ [ Emblemes] Council of Europe]

Recent events

It was to have been included in the European Constitution along with the other European symbols, however the treaty failed ratification and was replaced by the Treaty of Lisbon which will not include any symbols.cite web|last=Beunderman|first=Mark|title=MEPs defy member states on EU symbols|publisher=EU Observer|date=2007-07-11|url=|accessdate=2007-07-12] A declaration was attached to the treaty where 16 states formally recognised the symbols. [ Official Journal of the European Union, 2007 C 306-2 , p. 267] ] In response, the European Parliament decided it would make greater use of the anthem, for example at official occasions. In October 2008, Parliament changed its rules of procedure to have the anthem played at the opening of Parliament after elections and at formal sittings. [cite web|first=Lucia|last=Kubosova|title=No prolonged mandate for Barroso, MEPs warn|publisher=EU Observer|date=9 October 2008|url=|accessdate=2008-10-09]


Ode to Joy is the anthem of the Council of Europe and the European Union, promoted as a symbol for the whole of Europe as are the other European symbols.

It is used on occasions such as Europe Day and formal events such as the signing of treaties. The European Parliament seeks to make greater use of the music, Parliament President Hans-Gert Pöttering stated he was moved when the anthem was played for him on his visit to Israel and ought to be used in Europe more often.

In 2008 it was used by Kosovo as its national anthem until it adopted its own, playing it at its declaration of independence, as a nod to the EU's role in its independence from Serbia. [citeweb |url= |title=Kosovo declares independence - |publisher=USA Today |date =2008-02-17 |accessdate=2008-03-12 ]

Unofficial lyrics

Due to the large number of languages used in the European Union, the anthem is purely instrumental and the German lyrics Friedrich Schiller wrote and Beethoven based the melody upon have no official status. Despite this, the German lyrics are often sung by choirs or ordinary people when the anthem is played: for example, at the 2004 enlargement on the German-Polish border, the crowd watching the ceremony playing the music sung along with the German lyrics.

Aside from this. several translations of the poem used by Beethoven as well as original works have attempted to provide lyrics to the anthem in various languages. Recently, Latin, as a former lingua franca in many European countries, is the language of one proposal written by the Austrian composer Peter Roland. [ [ Hymnus Latinus Europae]] The composer offered a copy of the anthem to Romano Prodi, then President of the European Commission during a meeting in Vienna in February 2004. [European Commission, "Get your facts straight", February 2004, [] ] Versions of the anthem including lyrics have been sung outside official EU occasions. This is the case of the Latin version sung by the a cappella choir Wiener Singverein. [cite web|url=|title=CD-libellus|accessdate=2008-04-08|author=Peter Roland|date=2003-10-05|work=Est Europa Nunc Unita, Hymnus Latinus Europae]

In France, several adaptations of Beethoven's Ode were known long before the onset of European Union. A version by the librettist Maurice Bouchor (1855-1929) entitled "Hymn to the Universal Humanity" ("Hymne à l'universelle humanité") adding several verses to a preceding version of Jean Ruault, was published. This version and another by Maurice Bouchor, published with Julien Thiersot under the title "Hymn for future times" ("Hymne des temps futurs") in a music book which was widespread among basic schools, ["Chants populaires pour les écoles", librairie Hachette, published in several editions between 1902 and 1911] is performed unofficially by school choirs during European events. Another version by the Catholic writer Joseph Folliet (1903-1972) is also known.

Original lyrics by Friedrich Schiller

Latin lyrics by Peter Roland


See also

* The European anthem was selected as main motif for the Austrian The European Anthem commemorative coin minted in 11 May 2005. The reverse shows the old Theater am Kärntnertor. It was in this theatre that Beethoven's 9th symphony with the "Ode to Joy" was first publicly performed. A portrait of Beethoven, together with the opening notes of the previously mentioned symphony, is also included in the coin.
* National symbols
* European symbols:* Flag of Europe


External links

* [ Beethoven's Ninth: A Political History] , Esteban Buch (Trans. Richard Miller), ISBN 0-226-07824-8 (University Of Chicago Press)
* [ Delegation of the European Commission] (mp3 available there)
* [ European anthem] European NAvigator
* [ Inni d'Europa] , Arma dei Carabinieri – a version performed by the "Banda Musicale e delle Fanfare" directed by Col. Vincenzo Borgia available for download (as well as other European anthems)
* [ The European Anthem and downloads] – Council of Europe website
* [ The European Anthem] – European Commission website

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