Johann Wilhelm Wilms

Johann Wilhelm Wilms

Johann Wilhelm Wilms

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This article is about the composer. For the disease, see Wilms' tumor.

Johann Wilhelm Wilms (March 30, 1772 (baptized) РJuly 19, 1847) was a Dutch-German composer, best known for writing Wien Neêrlands Bloed, which served as the Dutch national anthem from 1815 to 1932.

Wilms was born in Witzhelden near Solingen. After lessons from his father and oldest brother in piano and composition, Wilms studied flute on his own. He moved to Amsterdam in 1791 where he played flute in two orchestras and was soloist in Mozart and Beethoven piano concertos, giving them their Dutch premieres.

He also taught piano at the Koninklijk Nederlandsch Instituut voor Wetenschappen, interviewed applicants for church organist positions, judged composition competitions and wrote for the Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung, a publication he once used as a soapbox to complain about the lack of performance of music by contemporary Dutch composers like himself.

As the events of the French Revolution affected the Netherlands, Wilms wrote several patriotic hymns. However, following the fall of Napoleon, and the return of the House of Orange to power, Wilmsin 1816 won the open competition for the new Dutch anthem with Wien Neêrlandsch bloed (with lyrics by Hendrik Tollens), leading to lots of commission from churches and other organizations.

For 23 years Wilms was the organist at a Baptist church in Amsterdam, where he died.


Wilms wrote seven symphonies, the one in F major was lost and...
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