DUSSELDORF AND BONN

The cobblestone street where the Museum is located

The cobblestone street where the Museum is located

I arrived in Dusseldorf early this morning. This city is the capital of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. Situated right on the Rhine River, it is the second most economically important center of Germany after Frankfurt. After a short nap in my beautiful suite, a driver took me on an hour drive to Bonn where Dr Michael Ladenburger, Director of the Beethoven House and Museum, met me at the entrance of a narrow, picturesque, cobbled street, closed to cars, where shops and restaurants surround the birthplace and museum of the world’s greatest and most interesting composer. (That’s my opinion)

The old bar in the restaurant where Dr Ladenburger took me to lunch

The old bar in the restaurant where Dr Ladenburger took me to lunch

Outside the Beethoven museum and Archives

Outside the Beethoven museum and Archives

The plaque

The plaque

Outside the Beethoven House

Outside the Beethoven House

On the left is the Beethoven House. The garden is behind.

On the left is the Beethoven House. The garden is behind.

This statue of Beethoven was sculpted by Naoum Aronson who trained with Rodin

This statue of Beethoven was sculpted by Naoum Aronson who trained with Rodin

The small dormer window above was the room where Beethoven was born

The small dormer window above was the room where Beethoven was born

Another view of the house

Another view of the house

Cello, flutes and other instruments used in Beethoven's day

Cello, flutes and other instruments used in Beethoven's day

A violin used by Beethoven

A violin used by Beethoven

This is a piano forte that Beethoven played. Unlike the clavichord, the piano forte could be soft or loud as the name suggests

This is a piano forte that Beethoven played. Unlike the clavichord, the piano forte could be soft or loud as the name suggests

The "hearing” horns that Beethoven used for people to talk into when he was going deaf
a bust of Beethoven made from a life mask (made of his face while he was alive)

a bust of Beethoven made from a life mask (made of his face while he was alive)

Beethoven's desk

Beethoven's desk

There's the room he was born in. Check out the beautiful slate tile roofing

There's the room he was born in. Check out the beautiful slate tile roofing

This is the room he was born in, a small room where his parents lived as well. She would have 7 children only two of whom survived. Those are the original floor boards

This is the room he was born in, a small room where his parents lived as well. She would have 7 children only two of whom survived. Those are the original floor boards

This is the piano where "33 Variations" was first performed. I wish I was actually playing but I flaked out as a kid in spite of years of piano lessons. Dr Ladenburger played the beginning of 33 Variations on it for me.

This is the piano where '33 Variations' was first performed. I wish I was actually playing but I flaked out as a kid in spite of years of piano lessons. Dr Ladenburger played the beginning of 33 Variations on it for me.

There is a room filled with computers where scholars (or any interested party) can pull up all of his manuscripts, even details like these where you see he wrote with ink over the original pencil when he’d decided to keep something.

There is a room filled with computers where scholars (or any interested party) can pull up all of his manuscripts, even details like these where you see he wrote with ink over the original pencil when he’d decided to keep something.

With Dr Ladenburger in front of Beethoven's house. The good doctor looks sterner than he is in life.

With Dr Ladenburger in front of Beethoven's house. The good doctor looks sterner than he is in life.

The archives are in a basement vault beneath the beautiful concert hall. I tried to photograph this hall but the pictures didn’t come out. Dr Ladenburger said the idea is that when the musicians perform, they can feel and be inspired by the presence of the great master beneath them. I was not allowed to take photos in the archives. It is a hallowed place where few people are allowed. I felt so privileged and moved. Dr Ladenburger handled the pages of manuscript so carefully, never touching them directly with his fingers.

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54 Comments
  1. Dusseldorf & Bonn look like a beautiful towns.

  2. Thanks so much for sharing this. It must have been a very exciting adventure to be in this space, seeing history open before you in this personal way.

  3. Thanks for this post! I thoroughly enjoyed it!

  4. Hi Jane,
    Love the pictures. You look stunning. Bonn is beautiful. Very German. Was the old capital of Germany before they moved to Berlin after reunification which celebrates 20 years next week.
    Hope you had a good old German beer and pigs knuckles!
    There’s soooo much you could ask Yusuf Islam. Where should I start? Hopefully that young children will not be taught about the Kuran incorrectly and that the Moslem elders will teach the youth of Islam about love and not hate. I think it can only come from within their own circles.
    As they say in Germany, Alles Gute und Beste Grüsse aus Hamburg
    Jason

  5. What a totally awesome thing to be able to do. Thank you for sharing. My 15yo daughter is in a youth orchestra here in nashville I will show her your pictures.

  6. Love the pictures!!!! You took the shots I would’ve taken. I felt I was there myself!

  7. That is so very interesting….I love the way you tell a story.

  8. What great photos! I especially love that slate tile roofing, and the views of the gardens. Jane, thank you so much for chronicling your travels for all of us to read about. Your posts are always so wonderfully warm!

  9. You are such a generous human being, and I thank you for sharing so much.

  10. Jane,

    Many thanks for sharing your experience and photos. Fascinating to actually see the history of the man. Thanks again.

  11. Jane: it is so nice of you to share the wonderful photos,Beethoven is one of my most beloved composer.
    Sharing the photos with all of us demonstrates again what a thoughtful and nice person you are.No all of us can travel when and where we would like to go,seeing the pictures makes me believe I’m there admiring such wonderful and valuable historic place.We learn thru each others experiences and today I have added another beautiful chapter to my library of knowledge in my brain.
    Thank you again Jane
    The best to you always
    Carmen

  12. Wow. You are the world’s Jane Fonda, and Beethoven’s. So will there be a film of “33 Variations”? Are you scouting the location? Looks like you are having the great time that I wished you. Please post a photo of the award itself.

  13. North Rhine-Westphalia is the english word for NORDRHEIN WESTFALEN?! That looks funny.
    It´s my home. Nice to have you. Enjoy. Don´t forget to see Cologne. OK: no Beethoven, but the KÖLNER DOM. Very impressive!

  14. Beautiful! Love the roof on Beethoven’s room. Have you ever been to Mozart’s birth house in Salzburg? Also beautiful!

  15. Thanks you Jane ,
    As a Educational media specialist I enjoyed the few photos and you comments, well done.
    As a Artist and teacher was wonderful , I was moved by the concept of history and music .
    I know in DUSSELDORF that Dorf is a village wonder what Dussel is?

    The weather look good not too cold yet,in June I was in France and Amsterdam but have not spent any real time in Germany, looks wonderful.lucky the archives made it through the wars, the many from Beethoven’s days. Thanks I found you information on the suject just great and I am sure that it was a experience for you.

  16. Thank you very much for sharing the pictures!

  17. Not only did this post bring me back to 33 Variations but also added ANOTHER must see to my bucket list. Excellent pictures, two amazing artists. Thanks Jane. Will you be enjoying pig’s knuckles?

  18. …And the beat goes on! So thrilled for you. It makes me feel like I’m there too.

    Going on tour to play the Wizard in WICKED for nine months. Wish me luck!

    Miss you and my girl.

    Love, Don

  19. It sounds like you had a fabulous visit, Jane! Now I want to read more about Beethoven’s life.

    Enjoy the rest of your visit to Germany.

  20. As an agnostic that was born Jewish, I am curious to know why Muslims hate the Jews for religious reseans yet fight with the Zionists that, for most, are secular Jews? Everything seems to be related to Muslim religious extremests yet they have more problems with secular Jews and Christians. I could see if the different religions don’t jibe but again, they continue to fight the secular people and have no problems with the very religious. It seems a conflict of apples and oranges. Also, what was his rationalle for completely ceasing to give people that liked his music such enjoyment and, instead, depriving people of that enjoyment? It just seems a contradiction of everything that is good about religion and humanity.

  21. Thank you for taking us on your trip with you. Appreciate the wonderful pictures and your comments.

  22. Love the photos. Looks so neat there as if it is all kept so well.
    Who knows when any of us will ever get to Dusseldorf, so very grateful for your posting them.
    Keep bloggin’
    Thanks
    Steve

  23. Thank you for sharing these beautiful photos. They have inspired me to read about Beethoven’s life.

  24. thank you so very much for this! A virtual visit to a place I would dearly love to see but would never have the chance.
    Deanne

  25. WOW! That place is amazing. How incredible that must have been to be there and see all of these things right there in front of you. Wonderful!

  26. Oh Jane! What a privilege to be allowed access there!! But you know that already. Thank you for sharing!

  27. I like what you said about Dr. Ladenburger looking sterner than he was in real life –

    xo
    Dr. Gertie Ladenburger

    ps. I envy you your trip there – Sorry I couldn’t be there to greet you 🙂

  28. Thank you so much for sharing this with all of us. I have never posted a comment before but felt the need to do so now.

    My daughter is a flutist, (or flautist as some prefer) with the Youth Symphony in Southern Oregon. She is currently studying the life of Beethoven. This was wonderful to share with her. Thank you

    • Kellie, I wish you success in your quest of the ninth!. When the film will be completed?

  29. Dear Ms. Fonda,

    I will be traveling to Bonn on Tuesday, from Venice California. I’m working on the final filming for a documentary on Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. I’ll be following in your footsteps this time, and going from Bonn to Vienna.

    Thanks for the photos and for the performance of 33 variations.

    Here’s the trailer for the film on the Ninth.

    http://www.followingtheninth.com

    Have a great trip.

    kerry candaele
    venice, ca

  30. Jane, thanks for posting this. I found the pictures to be quite moving, actually. I guess I am in awe of Beethoven’s genius.

    A great actress visiting the home of a great composer! That’s something. You look so beautiful in these pics.

  31. Isn’t amazing when you go to a place that connects with your real life so much. I remember dreaming of going to Liverpool to see where the Beatles came from from about the age of 4. I also had to go to Rome to see what I had studied and Poldark Country in Cornwall because I loved the books and mini series so much. Climbing the Eiffel Tower, standing at the rim of Grand Canyon, seeing the Hollywood sign and walking in the steps of Dickens and Wilde and co in London…you know what I mean! These things mean so much more when you have experienced a connection with them outside the area.

    Great pics.

    Cheers
    Karen

  32. Jane,

    Thanks for sharing these beautiful photos with us. I’ve enjoyed reading about your travels.

    Take care,
    Dave

  33. very attractive, it’s givse ”Sehsucht” as the german say, full of the poetry of the past,beautiful longing of historical and music,keep on enjoying your stay! Frederique Dhenein

  34. Miss Fonda,
    We saw your play in the winter of this year and at time I remember emailing you that we had a magical evening at the theatre. And that we were deeply moved by the performances. We came especially to see you and not really expecting to like the play a whole lot. Well for goodness sakes…..you are on stage that was a New York Event. One does not miss Jane Fonda on stage. Quelle surprise. We ended up liking the play enormously.
    Now to read what you had to say and view the photographs of this historical place is indeed an added treat.
    Thank you…..
    James..

  35. Thank you for sharing these beautiful pictures and places! Germany is my ancestral home and it is a dream to go to such places! I am related to Bach by marriage on my mothers side. My grandparents used to argue in German. Such amazing composers came from this Country! Beethoven yes, the greatest among them.

  36. Wellcome to Germany. Hope you enjoy it. I’m living next to Bonn. Bonn is a beautyfull city, i love it. I visited the Beethoven Haus several times and it’s great. maybe you have time to visit the “Haus der Geschichte”. It’s a museum about german history and very interesting. O wish you all the best. You are great:-) Have fun in Germany

  37. This must have been quite a moving experience after 33 Variations.

  38. You look so great after such a long trip. Thanks so much for the interesting pictures. I really like traveling with you, and I get to avoid jetlag.

    Watched Joy House last night. Do you have any memories of making that film? You looked spectacular in it, but you look spectacular now too.
    Bill

  39. These are wonderful pictures, Jane! Beethoven’s house is lovely. I know it must have been an exhilarating experience to see the actual pages of Beethoven’s work! How exciting that must have been! So glad you are having a great time in Germany!:)

  40. How fascinating. Thank you so much for sharing your experience there through these photos. Creativity like Beethoven’s is always inspiring

    • Hi Jane,
      my for-uncle, Theodor Wildeman, protected Beethovens original Instruments from the bombs of the second world war. He took it in a mine in the Eifel-mountains near Bonn.He was the Präsident of the Beethoven house association in this terribele time.

      Nevertheless I´ve seen you, of course in a different from the audience, at the german Nachhaltigkeitsprice in Düsseldorf. My stepson, Karim, took your make up in the gaderobe, on this day. He told me you tasted the apple & roses sparkling wine from my organic apple orchard with 4000 roses(growing only for beauty) 60 kilometers north from Düsseldorf.

      Dear Jane, best wishes from

      Rolf

      • How good to hear rom you. Karim was an angel. So sweet to me and generous. Loved the sparkling wine. xx Jane

        • HiJane,

          remember, I am the stepfather from Karim, your make up artist on the “Deutscher Nachhaltigkeitspreis Düsseldorf” in Germany.
          I wrote you some informations about Beethoven and my orchard with apples and thouthends roses here in Germany.

          I wish you a happy new year !

          You remember,you send me a short message on Nov.8 2009 at 6:51pm. So, I would like to keep in contact with you.
          I am one of the first organic fruitgrowers in europe, beginning with it 30 years ago.Today I produce some organic sparkling wines from my apples and sell it in whole europe.
          Since 2 weeks we get a new product, an Apple Prosecco without alcohol. I would like to send you in friendship a bottle from it for your beginning of the new year.
          If you interestet,send me a message to: [email protected]

          Best wishes again,
          Rolf

          • Thanks, Rolf, I would love a frendship bottle. Please send to me at 1450 W Peachtree St, suite 200, Atlata, GA 30309. Give your stepson my best and to all of you, Happiness in the New Year. xx jF

  41. Sorry, this is not a comment about your amazing trip….just wanted to say I’m sitting here with my daughters and niece watching Monster-In- Law…..seen it many times and it is ALWAYS funny!!! My girls LOVE this movie:-)

    Michelle

  42. When my future husband and I were dating, we listened to Beethoven’s symphonies in his apartment!
    He used to say that the popular music I liked was ‘spider music’!…whatever that meant. Noticed that the bust of Beethoven has my husbands lips!!!thank you for these photos. They brightened my day.

  43. Dusseldorf :I see Düssel is a small right tributary of the River Rhine in North Rhine Westphalia, Germany. Its source is between Wülfrath and Velber
    and as Dorf is 1. village 2. backwater
    one can see the place that Beethoven’s Creativity
    came from a rolling river near a village on the backwater of life.

  44. Jane:

    Thank you for sharing the photos. I thoroughly enjoyed them. My father was a huge Beethoven fan. It reminded me of him .. thanks.

    Diane

  45. Hi Jane,

    Thank you for posting your photos. What a treasure. Everything in Beethoven’s house looks so spotless and beautiful. This was a treat to see.

    Safe travels.

    Janet

  46. A home says a lot about an artist. Art is a way of life as well as a profession. I can see things at Beethoven’s house that would inspire me.

  47. Hallo Jane Fonda,
    I was very pleased to see you visited the Beethoven-Haus in Bonn.
    Beautiful pictures you have taken. I’m very jealous because,living in Holland, I’ll visit the Beethoven-Haus several times a year, but normaly no one is allowed to take pictures.
    It pleases me very much that you called Beethoven the best and also the most interesting composer ever and I fully agree!
    Thank you for that.
    Regards,
    Netty
    The Netherlands

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