Beethoven’s home town has formed a ring of steel around 700 statues designed to celebrate the composer’s birthday because the tourist attractions keep being nicked.
The 700 small Ludwig van Beethoven statues were placed on the Muensterplatz square in the German city of Bonn, where the famous composer was born in 1770.
In the run-up to the celebration of 250 years since the composer’s birth next year, the city authorities of the former capital of West Germany have placed the 700 temporary statues on the square facing a large, fixed statue of the composer which has stood there since 1845.
The statues, which are either gold or green, turned out to be as popular with thieves as with picture-snapping tourists and locals coming to the square.
In the early hours of Sunday morning, two unknown perpetrators were reportedly spotted running away with a green Beethoven statue in their hands.
Security personnel managed to catch one of the suspected thieves, although the second culprit managed to escape together with the green Beethoven.
The statue was found moments later in front of a house and returned to the square, although the same day another statue was again stolen from the square.
In order to protect the 699 remaining Beethovens, the city authorities have taken drastic measures.
They have decided to fence in the statues in the square in order to make life more difficult for thieves.
The Beethoven festival organisers outlined the new measures which included “fences at one-and-a-half meters distance to the objects”.
The organisers explained that the Beethovens will only be fenced in at night and that during the day the fences will be removed and visitors will be able to move freely on the statue-filled square.
Other measures mentioned were “a security guard on each side from 8pm to 8am” as well as “reinforced controls by police and security guards”.
Would-be-thieves even need to fear being chased by dogs as an “irregular deployment of a security guard with dog” was also communicated as part of the new measures.
A Bonn city marketing spokesman said: “Unfortunately there is no other option.”
The police are currently investigating the statue thefts from the square.
Beethoven has been described as one of the greatest ever classical music composers, marking the transition to the romantic era in the genre.
He also had the reputation of being a fantastic pianist despite his hearing problems and becoming almost completely deaf at the age of 41.