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A Symphonic Journey: The European Union’s Official Anthem


The stirring “Ode to Joy” is the crowning finale of the last symphony composed by Ludwig van Beethoven, the giant of 19th-century music. Beethoven calls for all men to become brothers, to celebrate freedom, and to be united in diversity.

Complete Video Script

Enjoying this music, I am reminded that while every nation has its unique struggles, one thing they all have in common is that fundamental yearning for freedom. And music can express and empower that basic human emotion.

You know, in so many ways, the 19th century laid the groundwork for the freedoms that we enjoy today in the 21st century. And that passion for freedom is still strong in Europe.

Of course, the big news in our generation is the gradual integration of that long bickering continent into a peaceful union. And while it’s tough to get all those proud nations to do anything at the same time, their motto is “united in diversity.” And one thing they do very well together is embrace the ideals of their anthem.

This last piece was conceived in the revolutionary spirit of the 19th century and set to a poem about universal brotherhood. It’s an anthem relevant today as it was when Beethoven set pen to paper calling all men to brotherhood to celebrate freedom and to be united joyfully in their diversity.

As we go to this last piece, I would like to thank you all for joining us. We hope you’ve enjoyed our symphonic journey. Now, let’s finish with the official anthem of the European Union, Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy.”