#Ode2Joy Challenge

On the occasion of the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018, Europa Nostra and its President Maestro Plácido Domingo invite all citizens in Europe and beyond to contribute to the #Ode2Joy Challenge. Supported by Ambassadors such as the European Union Youth Orchestra (EUYO), the Liszt Ferenc Music Academy in Budapest (Hungary) and the BOZAR Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels (Belgium), this participatory initiative celebrates Europe through our shared cultural heritage. It seeks to unlock creativity and encourage participants to make an “#Ode2Europe” as a humanistic and cultural project, based on shared values, history & heritage.

Since it successfully kicked-off on 9 May 2018 – Europe Day-, already more than 100 reinterpretations from over 25 countries across Europe and beyond of the Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” – the European Anthem – have been filmed at heritage sites and shared via social media.

From renowned artists, famous choral ensembles, school orchestras and choirs, flashmobs, European policy-makers, to enthusiastic European citizens, they have all accepted the challenge! The participation of several European networks gave a particularly symbolic European dimension to the challenge, which also reached countries outside of the European Union and other continents through the large network of European delegations.

Video clips compiling a selection of “Ode to Joy” reinterpretations were shown during the European Heritage Awards Ceremony on 22 June in Berlin, which was co-hosted by Maestro Plácido Domingo and EU Commissioner Tibor Navracsics, in the presence of Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Federal President of Germany, and the 800 participants in the audience.

All contributions to the #Ode2Joy Challenge can be viewed via the dedicated YouTube playlist.

The challenge continues until 9 May 2019, symbolic day when EU leaders will discuss the future of the Union at a European Council held in Sibiu, Romania.



  • Everybody is invited to contribute! The #Ode2Joy Challenge does not only target professional and amateur performing artists (such as singers, musicians or dancers); any creative and imaginative interpretation or expression of “#Ode2Joy” is also welcome (e.g. photography, video, a drawing, a cartoon, an app, a game, design, story and or poem). The participation of schools is also strongly encouraged;
  • Let yourself be inspired by the Ode to Joy composed by Ludwig van Beethoven. This famous music has become a symbol of Europe, the anthem of Europe. Perform the original score or create your own version and do this at a heritage site which matters to you: a small parish chapel, a famous historic theater, a garden in your village, or a museum in your town;
  • To contribute, record your creation and share it via social media as of 9 May – Europe Day – using the hashtag #Ode2Joy and mentioning Europa Nostra’s social media account (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube). It is also possible to submit your contribution by email to odetojoy@europanostra.org (it will be published by Europa Nostra).


    • 31 January: Official launch of the #Ode2Joy Challenge by Plácido Domingo (via video message) at the Citizens’ Dialogue in Brussels with Michel Magnier, Director for Culture & Creativity, DG EAC;
    • February-April: imaginative and dynamic promotion of the #Ode2Joy Challenge & mobilisation of a large range of supporters/contributors (heritage sites, networks, artists, schools & the general public);
    • 9 May / Europe Day: Focal point of the #Ode2Joy Challenge with as many performances/contributions as possible from across Europe (and beyond) to be live streamed or recorded and posted on social media. On this occasion, a special event with reinterpretations of the Ode to Joy in various styles will be organised by Europa Nostra in Bougival near Paris (France) in collaboration with the Centre Européen de Musique and the City of Bougival.
    • 22 June: A selection of “Ode to Joy” reinterpretations were included in video clips shown at the European Heritage Awards Ceremony during the European Cultural Heritage Summit.
    • Until 9 May 2019: on-going promotion of the results of the #Ode2Joy Challenge which will stay available (via creative commons license) & new performances/recordings will continuously be encouraged and added.

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