#reinventingBeethoven challenge: Practical information and open educational resources for teachers

250 years ago, on 16 December 1770, Ludwig van Beethoven was born in Bonn, Germany.

To celebrate his anniversary, some institutions across Europe are creating activities related to #Beethoven250 and commemorating the Ode to Joy from the choral movement of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony as an anthem of European fraternity and the official anthem of the European Union.

As a powerful network between cultural heritage institutions and educational sectors, the Europeana Education community is launching #reinventingBeethoven – a creative educational challenge for students in primary and secondary schools inspired by Beethoven’s life and work.

In this page, you will find practical information to help you to organize the challenge with your students and open educational resources to deepen Ludwig van Beethoven’s life and work a bit more.

Challenge guidelines

  • The number of submissions is not limited. Each teacher can coordinate an unlimited number of student groups.
  • The final creative artwork is any style and any format.
  • Be free to use your native language. Only if you create a video provide subtitles in English.
  • Be free to use your own materials in the classroom.
  • Take care of the student’s privacy.
  • Make sure any Europeana material used is available under Public Domain or Creative Common licenses.

Submission rules

  • Publish the final creative artwork on any social media of your choice (Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram or TikTok). If you do not feel comfortable with social media, send it by email until 9 December.
  • Write in the post a title, a brief description, the level of education of the participants, the name and surname of teacher, the licence of your creation and the hashtags #Beethoven250 and #reinventingBeethoven (All these details must be provided in English)
  • Attribute a license to your creation. We recommend Attribution ShareAlike CC BY-SA. This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work even for commercial purposes, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms. This is the license used by Wikipedia and is recommended for materials that would benefit from incorporating content from Wikipedia and similarly licensed projects.

Take this as an example :

Beethoven’s Revolution. This video shows how Beethoven, inspired from the historical context, composes on a heroic style. Secondary Education Year 9. Curated by John Doe. CC BY-SA #Beethoven250 #reinventingBeethoven.

Resources for teachers

In this section, you will find the basic topics for the challenge and some open educational resources (OERs) from Europeana Education and other external open education institutions.

This content works in a proposal way. Teachers can broaden the topics, search for new ones of their choice, and use other resources.

The three basic topics are Beethoven’s life and work, Beethoven’s resilience, and the 9th Symphony as a European anthem.

Beethoven’s life and work


Ludwig van Beethoven (Bonn, Germany, 16 December 1770 – Vienna, Austria, 26 March 1827) was one of the most important figures in the history of music. During his career, he worked as a pianist, an arranger, a teacher, and a composer. He composed religious and secular music. Some examples are the 9 symphonies, 1 opera called ‘Fidelio’, 14 lieder, 32 piano sonatas, 2 masses, and 3 cantatas.

His style moved from classical music to romantic music, that means, he evolved from quasi-scientific music (regular forms with regular alternation between slow and fast tempos,  measured harmonies, and regular rhythms) to visceral music composed from the composer’s feelings  (freedom of forms, new harmonies, and irregular rhythms).

His music, for this reason, is full of values. It takes from freedom, equality, and love to peace, fraternity or solidarity and it is connected to the events of his time like the French Revolution and Napoleonic time (see 3rd Symphony called Heroic Symphony)

Learning goals

With this content, students can achieve basic knowledge on music theory through STEAM learning about how sound is produced, what harmony is and the different types of rhythms and its relationship with mathematics; a historical overview through the events of Beethoven’s time like French Revolution as and citizen values connected to Beethoven’s music and ideas.


As educational resources, in Europeana platform, you can find:

We invite you to use music in the classroom to illustrate the contents, so here you have the Beethoven’s Europeana playlist:

As external open educational resources, we invite you to discover:

Beethoven’s resilience


Beethoven’s life was marked by the loss of hearing. This disability increased over time and it wasn’t a default for him but also a way of resiling.

Thanks to the hearing aids of his time, he had a very normal life. Only at the end of his life, these aids and his rhythm and harmony sense could help him to complete the 9th Symphony.

Apart from his disability, Beethoven also had some mental health disorders. He suffered a serious depression that accompanied him all his life.

Learning goals

With this content, students are aware of disability and mental health disorders in general and the inclusivity of people with disabilities and mental health disorders in particular. Arts in general and music, in particular, is a good point to start to speak about.


As educational resources, in Europeana platform, you can find:

9th Symphony as an European anthem


Beethoven’s 9th Symphony premiered in Theater am Kärntnertor, Vienna on 7 May 1824 as a patriotic work and a symbol of fraternity.

Beethoven took a well-known Schiller’s poem ‘An die Freude’ (1785) to compose a choral movement for his last symphony. He was working on it from 1822 to 1824.

Many years later, on 8 July 1971, the Consultative Assembly of the Council of Europe proposed Ode to Joy as the European Anthem. This recommendation was accepted by the Committee of Ministers of the EU on 12 January 1972 decision to charge an arrangement to the Austrian conductor Herbert Von Karajan.

The European Anthem celebrates the shared values and their unity in diversity. It expresses the ideals of a United Europe: freedom, peace, and solidarity.

Learning goals

With this content, students can learn about literature with Schiller’s poem, values, and symbols of the European Union around the European Anthem and their values. Citizenship and equality are well-recommended topics to be highlighted in this challenge.


As educational resources, in Europeana platform, you can find:

  • The original score of the choral movement from Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.
  • An illustration recreating the moment of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony’s composition.
  • A recording from Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with the Berliner Philharmoniker.
  • A gallery with illustrations about Schiller’s poem ‘An die Freude’.
  • A video recording of Herbert Von Karajan’s original orchestration for the European Anthem.

As external open educational resources, we invite you to discover:

  • The European Anthem as a symbol from the official page of the European Union
  • A timeline from Beethoven’s composition to 1986 with documents from the Council of Europe.
  • An article about Herbert Von Karajan’s arrangement from France Musique.
  • An article from TheConversation.com with a literary and musical educational study of the choral movement from the 9th Symphony.

Extended Deadline: 3 December 2020

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