Beethoven anniversary project BTHVN2020 is Cultural Brand of the Year | Culture | Arts, music and lifestyle reporting from Germany | DW | 02.12.2021

Visit the new DW website

Take a look at the beta version of We're not done yet! Your opinion can help us make it better.

  1. Inhalt
  2. Navigation
  3. Weitere Inhalte
  4. Metanavigation
  5. Suche
  6. Choose from 30 Languages


Beethoven anniversary project BTHVN2020 is Cultural Brand of the Year

The European Cultural Brand Award recognizes initiatives that have established a strong brand through their media strategy. DW supports the award.

Watch video 03:57

BTHVN 2020 European Cultural Brand

The Beethoven Anniversary Society BTHVN2020, which initiated and coordinated numerous projects for the composer's anniversary year, has been named Cultural Brand of the Year 2021.

Ralf Birkner, commercial director of BTHVN2020, and his team accepted the award on December 2, 2021, at the Beethovenhaus in Bonn.

The Cultural Brand Award, established in 2006 by Hans-Conrad Walter, honors projects that have distinguished themselves in Europe's cultural landscape.

Despite the challenging pandemic situation, 110 cultural organizations from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Belarus, France, Israel, Lithuania, Russia, Serbia and the Netherlands applied for the award.

The prestigious cultural prize is awarded by a 40-member jury of experts in eight competition categories. 

Jury of the European Cultural Brand of the Year 2021 waving to the camera.

The jury of the European Cultural Brand of the Year 2021


Beethoven anniversary year: a successful "Mission Impossible"

"It was a 'Mission Impossible': coordinating a national Beethoven anniversary theme of events at a time when music festivals were forbidden," Malte Boecker, artistic director of BTHVN2020, told DW.

Still, they succeeded thanks to the perseverance and flexibility of all those involved: thousands of projects and events with more than 200 partners took place beginning in December 2019 and continuing through September 2021. The events celebrating the 250th birthday year (in 2020) of Ludwig van Beethoven were extended into this year due to the pandemic.

"This was a great concern for us, to initiate a very wide variety of formats and projects: film screenings, looking at Beethoven in rock and pop contexts, in the visual arts, and in theater," Boecker said.

Music was played "not only in concert halls, but also in living rooms, out in nature. I think it has become one of the most colorful festivals," he noted.

Malte Boecker in the Beethoven House in Bonn, smiling at the camera.

Malte Boecker in the Beethoven House in Bonn

Concerning its choice of the Cultural Brand of the Year 202, the jury called BTHVN2020 "the greatest musical impetus of the last two years. In addition, the project was convincing through its consistent brand management and a vivid brand identity."

Rolf Rische, head of DW's Culture and Lifestyle department and a member of the jury, also praised the masterly approach of the project-makers: "A concert became a live stream, a hall event became an open-air event. So, despite everything, the anniversary program became reality. And in the process, we succeeded in developing national and international appeal with consistent and sustainable brand management," he said.

According to Rische, BTHVN2020 represents, just "like the immortal composer himself, …creativity, quality, sustainability, freedom, vision and innovation."

Highlighting Europe's cultural capabilities

In addition to BTHVN2020, other projects were also in the run for the title of Cultural Brand of the Year. 

The State Palaces and Gardens of Baden-Württemberg were nominated not only for their preservation of cultural heritage, but also for their ongoing development of a modern presentation of monuments.

And the European Hanse Museum in Lübeck is, according to the jury, "a highly modern innovative museum facility as an attraction in the here and now."

In addition to the Cultural Brand of the Year award, prizes are given in seven other categories as well. According to coordinator Hans-Conrad Walter, the aim is "to make culture and cultural mediation visible and to honor the best of the best."

Fireworks over Novi Sad at night.

Novi Sad is to become European Capital of Culture in 2022

For example, the European Trend Brand of 2021 is the Serbian city of Novi Sad. The jury found the "programmatic and the overall appearance of the future cultural capital, which had applied with several small projects," absolutely compelling.

Jasmin Vogel, director of the Kulturforum Witten, was named European Cultural Manager of the Year 2021. Vogel's "skills in strategy development" were honored, making her the "shooting star" of the competition.

Also nominated was star pianist Igor Levit. At the beginning of the pandemic, Levit offered up nightly "bright spots" with his house concerts streamed on social media. In addition to his work as a piano virtuoso, he directs the Chamber Music Academy of the Heidelberger Frühling festival.

Eliad Moreh-Rosenberg honored

Israeli cultural manager Eliad Moreh-Rosenberg traveled to Dresden to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Born in Paris, Moreh-Rosenberg is curator and director of the Museum of Holocaust Art at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. Her approach to the museum presentation of the history of the Holocaust is considered groundbreaking.

Eliad Moreh-Rosenberg smiling into the camera.

Curator Eliad Moreh-Rosenberg received an award for her work commemorating victims of the Holocaust

She has curated numerous exhibitions and presented them in a range of museums in Europe in order to perpetuate the memory of the Shoa. "Humanity will prevail" is her central message in that pursuit.

Culture, despite the pandemic

Due to the pandemic, the major award gala in Dresden had to be canceled. Most of the award recipients will pick up their trophies during smaller events.

"I regret that we cannot honor the laureates with a larger European participation this year," Hans-Conrad Walter told DW. "But the very fact that our international laureates, such as Eliad Moreh-Rosenberg and the representatives of Novi Sad, have traveled to Dresden to receive their awards is a sign that culture can build bridges and knows no borders." That sentiment will remain even once the pandemic is over.


This article has been translated from German.

DW recommends

Audios and videos on the topic