The Day Tripping Bowl of Destiny declared Bonn our next destination and as the weather forecast predicted rain, we decided to look for things to do indoors. While researching what Bonn had to offer, we discovered that it was where Beethoven was born and that the house he was actually born in was now a museum.
Knowing precisely nothing else about Beethoven, other than he composed a load of music, we thought this would be an interesting place to visit and it was!
Arriving in Bonn, we made straight for the house. While it was beautifully maintained, the real interest was the huge amount of personal items it contained. Many looking as if Beethoven had just put them down and nipped out to grab a coffee. This included his glasses, cane, writing desk and the compass that he used to navigate in the hills around Bonn.
I managed to sneak a few iphone pictures from inside the museum.
It was fascinating. You think of Beethoven and you think of beautiful classical music and although he was in fact a genius (he composed his first symphony at the age of 6 or 7) he was also a regular man.
There is some uncertainty about the year he was actually born. There are rumours that his Father wanted him to be as young as Mozart when he composed his first symphony, and so pretended he was a year younger than he actually was. It is thought that he was born on 16th December 1770 and not 1771 as his Father would have us believe.
It is surprising just how small the house was. As was usual at the time, the Beethoven family only rented the back part of the house (the whole house is now used at the museum) and they all lived in four rooms over two floors.
I read on a Tripadvisor review that most of the museum was in German (which is was), so we went for the audio tour (€3 each plus €10 deposit (refunded when you return the headphones)), which was absolutely brilliant. It gave a huge amount of background into almost all of the exhibits, as well as clips of some of his best known works.
Between the audio guide and the plan of the museum, we had everything covered.
What was especially moving was the original keyboard of the organ in Bonn Cathedral, that Beethoven played at, as a young boy. The keyboard and organ were completely destroyed in WWII, but the original keyboard was removed when it was restored, before the war. So a small piece of Beethoven’s history avoided destruction.
We spent a good couple of hours going round the museum and bought a CD of Beethoven’s works to listen to on the way home. At €5 per adult, it was a great way to spend a wet afternoon.
On our way out, we saw this great graffiti on the wall near the museum.