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Beethoven meets Fridays for Future - A long path to climate neutrality

Sustainability Talks - Presented by Germany in Belgium

Sustainability Talks - Presented by Germany in Belgium, © Deutsche Botschaft Brüssel

12.02.2021 - Artikel

On 22/2/21, we will host a discussion with leading voices from the fields of art, science and politics from the EU, Belgium and Germany. We will look back on #EU2020DE and its accomplishments on climate neutrality, discuss what should be done next and what connects Beethoven to Fridays for Future!

EU presidency, climate and Beethoven: not only has 2020 been the year of the German EU Council presidency during which important decisions concerning EU climate politics have been made, but also it was the year of Ludwig van Beethoven’s 250th birthday.

The European hymn, which derives from the „9th symphony“, was written by Beethoven, whose family’s roots are to be found in Belgium. He was an outspoken friend of nature and the environment, which is echoed in symphony no. 6, the „pastoral“, an ode to nature and the environment. Nature was more than a simple refuge for Beethoven: „No man can love the countryside as much as I do. Woods, trees, rocks - they echo everything man wishes for!“ (1810)

Equally, the protection of nature and the climate are central to the European Union’s agenda. The Green Deal is supposed to render Europe into the first continent to be climate neutral. Amongst others, the youth movement Fridays for Future (in Belgium: Youth for Climate) can be credited for the fact that by now, the importance of topics such as climate neutrality and biodiversity is widely acknowledged by the general public.

Beethoven, a climate activist of the first hour – this is how he was presented last year at the exhibition BEETHOVEN HOTEL which was shown at the BOZAR in cooperation with the Bundeskunsthalle Bonn on the occasion of the German EU Council presidency and which, unfortunately, was on display way to short due to the current Corona measures and a fire that struck the premises in January.

This is why we invited important voices from the fields of art, culture, science and politics from the EU, Belgium and Germany in order to connect the dots – from Beethoven up to Fridays for Future. We want to find out what exactly has been accomplished during the German EU Council presidency, what steps still have to be taken in order to reach the climate target and what it is that we, including the arts and music scene, can contribute.

You are cordially invited to ask questions which will be answered by our guests at the end of the discussion. As to this, please use the comment function under the YouTube livestream.

Moderation: Alexandra von Nahmen (Head of studio Brussels, Deutsche Welle)


Adelaide Charlier (the French-speaking voice of Youth for Climate Belgium)

Florika Fink-Hooijer (Director-General for Environment at the European Commission)

Prof. Jean-Pascal Van Ypersele (professor at the„Institute of astronomy and geophysics Georges Lemaître“of Université catholique de Louvain, member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change)

Dr. Karsten Sach (Head of department „International Cooperation“ at the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety)

Malte Boecker (Director and executive board member of the Beethoven Haus, artistic director of BTHVN2020)

Conclusion remarks

Martin Kotthaus (German Ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium)

Telma Branco (Environment Attaché at the Permanent Representation of Portugal to the EU)

The event will be held in English.

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