Jean Antoine Zinnen

Jean Antoine Zinnen (25 April 1827 – 16 May 1898)[1] was a Luxembourgian composer, best known for the Luxembourgish national anthem, Ons Hémécht.[2]

Memorial in Neuerburg


Zinnen was born in Neuerburg, in the Prussian Rhineland, close to the border with Luxembourg. When he was six, his family moved to Luxembourg. After serving as a musician in the army, he naturalised as a Luxembourg citizen in 1849. In 1851, he became the first director of the Diekirch choral society Sangerbond.[3] In 1852, he was appointed Luxembourg City's director of music, and, soon after, director of the city conservatoire.[2] In 1863, he was appointed the director of the newly founded Allgemeiner Luxemburger Musikverein (ALM) which, in 1947, was renamed Union Grand-Duc Adolphe, the national umbrella organisation for music societies, bands, choirs and orchestras.[4]

Ons HémechtEdit

The following year, at the first celebration of the ALM in Ettlebrück, Ons Hémecht was sung by a choir. Michel Lentz, the national poet who was a member of the ALM's central committee, had written the words, wishing to convey a powerful feeling of patriotism. Zinnen set the poem to music, later transforming it into a solemn hymn. On 25 June 1865, on the occasion of a music festival in Vianden, Ons Hémecht was performed for the first time with an instrumental accompaniment.[4] Ons Heemecht was adopted as Luxembourg's national anthem in 1895.

Jean-Antoine Zinnen died in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France, at the age of 71, and was buried in Limpertsberg, Luxembourg City. Two years after his death, a monument was constructed at the churchyard in which he is buried, paid for by private donations.


  1. ^ Slonimsky, Nicolas (1978). "Zinnen, Jean-Antoine". Baker's Biographical dictionary of musicians (6th ed.). New York: Schirmer Books. p. 1949. ISBN 0-02-870240-9.
  2. ^ a b "Zinnen, Jean-Antoine (Johann-Anton)", Luxemburger Lexikon, Editions Guy Binsfeld, Luxembourg, 2006. (in German)
  3. ^ "Jean Antoine Zinnen" Archived 2011-07-15 at the Wayback Machine, Personnages Luxembourgeois. (in French) Retrieved 7 January 2011. (1827–1898)
  4. ^ a b "Union Grand-Duc Adolphe: Verbandsgeschichte" Archived 2011-07-22 at the Wayback Machine, (in German) Retrieved 8 January 2011.