Anthem of Europe

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"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[1][2] 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 is 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".[3] 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.[4] 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, taking up a suggestion made by Count Richard Nikolaus von Coudenhove-Kalergi in 1955.[5] 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. The same tune was later adopted as the National Anthem of Rhodesia, in 1974.

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