Though modern Germany as a unified nation of states has only been in
existence since 1873, its national anthem is several decades older.
Germany has seen numerous geopolitical changes since August Heinrich
Hoffmann wrote "Deutschlandlied," which means “Song of
Germany,” in 1841.
Germany will celebrate the 175th anniversary of the song in 2016
with a commemorative silver €20 coin, according to an announcement from the German Ministry of Finance.
Hoffmann (who called himself Hoffmann von Fallersleben, referencing
his birthplace), wrote the lyrics to match music that Austrian
composer Joseph Haydn wrote in 1797 as an anthem for the birthday of
Francis II, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire and later of Austria.
Hoffmann’s lyrics call for a unified Germany, instead of the various
states under monarchial rule as they were, with a reference in the
third stanza to unity and justice and freedom that could flourish in a
The song was chosen as the national anthem of Germany in 1922,
during the Weimar Republic. West Germany adopted
"Deutschlandlied" as its official national anthem in 1952,
though only the third stanza was sung on official occasions. Upon
German reunification in 1990, the third stanza alone was adopted as
the national anthem.
Stuttgart artist Claudius Riedmiller designed the 2016 coin, which
shows Hoffmann with the first words from the portion chosen as the
national anthem, translating to “unity and law and freedom.”
The reverse depicts the eagle, the nation’s name (in German), the
denomination, an indication of the coin's silver fineness and the year
date of issue. In addition, the coin carries 12 stars representing the
European Union, and the J Mint mark of the Hamburg State Mint, which
will strike the coin.
The edge contains an incuse inscription translating to “are the
pledge of happiness,” words taken from the anthem.
The coin weighs 18 grams and measures 32.5 millimeters in diameter.
A Brilliant Uncirculated version will be distributed at face value
through post offices. A Proof version will be offered at a premium
above the face value.