Flanders buys two sketches by Ludwig van Beethoven

The Flemish Community has acquired two sketches by Ludwig van Beethoven, Culture minister and minister president Jan Jambon announced on Monday at an informal summit with European culture ministers at KMSKA in Antwerp.

The sketches are in Beethoven's handwriting and were made for the last movement of the Piano Sonata No. 1 in F (Op. 2 No. 1). They are included in the Flemish list of recognised rare and indispensable cultural objects that are subject to special protection measures.

The owner applied for an export licence to sell the pieces abroad, but the Flemish Council for the Preservation of the Movable Cultural Heritage intervened. The owner then agreed to sell the sketches to the Flemish government. It paid 101,000 euros through the Topstukkenfonds, which is used to buy and restore cultural heritage.

According to Jambon, the manuscript is "extremely important for the study of Beethoven". The German composer was the first to sketch pieces of music as he composed them.

The purchase is also important for Flanders because Beethoven had Flemish roots: his grandfather Lodewijk was born in Mechelen. That is why his surname begins with the Dutch "van" instead of its German variant, "von".

The sketches will be deposited at the Alamire Foundation, the International Centre for the Study of Music in the Low Countries. Flanders is now working with Mechelen to see how they can be made accessible to the public.


#FlandersNewsService | A musician performing Beethoven's 10th Symphony © PHOTO FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

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