Anyone wishing to pay homage to one of the greatest composers of all time can visit Beethoven’s grave in Vienna. The location is verdant and beautiful, and you can almost hear his music in the air.
- Set among a cluster of famous composer graves in Vienna’s Zentralfriedhof cemetery
- Look for Grave 29 in Group 32a
- There is no charge to visit the cemetery
- See also: Beethoven locations in Vienna
Beethoven’s burial history
Ludwig van Beethoven had the dubious pleasure of three burials. He died on the 26th of March, 1827 in the Schwarzspanierhaus and was buried a couple of days later in the Währinger Ortsfriedhof (a cemetery in one of Vienna’s outlying districts).
Then in 1863 the authorities decided to repair his burial site. They exhumed the body and put it in a new and better metal coffin before burying him again.
Unfortunately, the Währinger cemetery shut in 1873, eventually converting to a park in the mid-1920s. In the meantime, it was decided to move Beethoven’s remains to a better site.
So in 1888, they dug up Beethoven once again and reburied him in a special honorary grave at the Zentralfriedhof, which is Vienna’s main cemetery and home to numerous esteemed former residents of Austria’s capital.
A newspaper report on the fresh burial noted (my rough translation):
The gracious chirping of songbirds left a poignant impression as they rang out from the willows and acacias in the middle of the prayers of the clergy and among the sombre tones of the trumpets (?).
The grave’s location and surrounding cemetery is astonishingly peaceful and, dare I say, beautiful. Beethoven lies among flowers, shrubs, trees and other greenery. In spring or summer, you can bask in sunlight, close your eyes, and seem to catch the sounds of a piano floating through the air.
Where is Beethoven’s grave?
The Zentralfriedhof is a huge site, but Beethoven’s grave resides among a cluster of famous composers in one of the areas reserved for honoured “guests” only.
Look for Grave 29 in Group 32a on the cemetery maps dotted around the area. Near neighbours include Schubert, Brahms and Johann Strauss II.
You can find the grave very easily if you enter the cemetery through the second (i.e. main) entrance, which is called Tor 2. Go straight on, through the middle of the stone arcade ahead of you, and towards the large church. Just keep your eyes on the left hand side to eventually spot the grave.
For directions to the Zentralfriedhof, see the main cemetery article.
Beethoven’s gravestone is a copy of the original from the Währinger cemetery. Written on it are the following words (in German of course)…
This gravestone was built to the same design as the original in the Währinger Ortsfriedhof and erected by the Association of Friends of Music in 1888 with financial help from the Imperial City Development Fund of Vienna and the Philharmonic Association
Address: Zentralfriedhof, Simmeringer Hauptstraße 234, 1110 Vienna