'We’re all family': soprano sings Ghent version of European hymn

On the occasion of Europe Day, Ghent soprano Annelies Buyssens sang a Ghentian version of the European hymn from her balcony

From her balcony at Sint-Amandsberg Annelies Buyssens sings the European hymn. 17  other European cities now follow the example set by Ghent and have a local singer perform the hymn.

Appeal to solidarity

Every night at 8 pm, Annelies Buyssens has performed operatic pieces for her neighbours from her balcony at Sint-Amandsberg since the coronavirus measures were introduced. On the occasion of Europe Day on 9 May 2020, the City of Ghent asked her to sing a Ghentian version of the European hymn with lyrics by Lieven Tavernier and accompanied at the piano by Yves Meersschaut. A video of her performance is shared on the City of Ghent’s social media channels in Dutch and in English.


Bologna, Bonn, Braga, Budapest, Edinburgh, Espoo, Firenze, Karlsruhe, Leuven, Leipzig, Nicosia, Pau, Pesaro, Stuttgart, Tampere, Valladolid and Vienna have followed the example set by Ghent and have asked a singer or choir to perform the hymn. On Europe Day (9 May 2020), the montage of these performances is posted online by Eurocities. This way, the participating cities call for European solidarity and cooperation.

It is fantastic that our Ghent initiative to sing the European hymn has been resonating in various European cities. The coronavirus know no borders. European solidarity and cooperation are now needed more than ever.

Mathias De Clercq , Mayor of Ghent

Projects funded by the EU

On Europe Day, Ghent normally enables the general public to visit projects which have been made possible by European funding, including the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Unfortunately, this is impossible this year. Examples of such projects include: the circus church in Malem, the renovated Maria Goretti church (Blaisant church), the historic cranes at Oude Dokken and Louisa D’havébrug at Zuiderpoort.

Eurocities is a network of 140 European cities which share their urban policy expertise and jointly work towards policy cooperation with the European Union. Ghent is closely involved and mayor Mathias De Clercq is a member of the executive committee.


Virginie Verstraete ( - 0486 82 35 71) or Els Uytterhoeven ( - 0476 46 52 80)