10 of Beethoven’s family members

An introduction into some of Ludwig's relatives

Ludwig's brother, Nikolaus Johann van Beethoven

Michel van Beethoven (1684-1749)

A baker by training, Beethoven’s paternal great-grandfather also traded art and lace.


Ludwig van Beethoven (1712-73)

Born in Flanders, Beethoven’s paternal grandfather was Kapellmeister at the Bonn court and ran a wine business.

María Josepha Poll (1714-75)

Beethoven was nicknamed ‘The Spaniard’, possibly due to his alcoholic paternal grandmother’s Spanish roots.

Johann van Beethoven (c1739-92)

Beethoven’s tyrant father was a tenor at the Bonn court and alcoholic. The composer battled to ensure he supported his sons.

Maria Magdalena Keverich (1746-87)

Beethoven was fond of his mother, but she died of TB while he was a teenager. Three of her seven children survived.

Kaspar Karl van Beethoven (1774-1815)

Eldest of Beethoven’s younger brothers, he worked in Vienna’s Finance Department. Married Johanna Reiss, 1806.

Nikolaus Johann van Beethoven (1776-1848)

Like Karl, Johann followed Ludwig to Vienna where he worked in a pharmacy before making a fortune in Linz.

Karl van Beethoven (1806-54)

Subject of a custody battle betwee uncle, Beethoven, and mother. Attempted suicide. Served in military, married and had children.

Johanna van Beethoven, née Reiss (c1784-1868)

Beethoven distrusted his sister-in-law, whom he called the Queen of the Night.

Therese van Beethoven, née Obermayer (1787-1828)

Therese had an illegitimate daughter, Amalie Waldmann, with Beethoven’s brother Johann.


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