Heil dir im Siegerkranz

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Heil dir im Siegerkranz

Former national anthem of
the German Empire
Royal anthem of Prussia
LyricsHeinrich Harries, 1790
MusicUnknown composer (uses the melody of "God Save the King/Queen")
Adopted1795 (as the royal anthem of Prussia)
1871 (as the national anthem of the German Empire)
Succeeded by"Das Lied der Deutschen"
Audio sample
"Heil dir im Siegerkranz"

"Heil dir im Siegerkranz" (pronounced [ˈhaɪ̯l diːɐ̯ ʔɪm ˈziːɡɐkʁant͡s]; German for "Hail to Thee in the Victor's Crown", literally: "Hail to Thee in the Victor's Wreath") was the Kaiserhymne (imperial anthem) of the German Empire from 1871 to 1918 and royal anthem of Prussia from 1795 to 1918.[1]

Before the foundation of the Empire in 1871, it had been the royal anthem of Prussia since 1795 and remained it after 1871.[2] The melody of the hymn derived from the British anthem "God Save the King". For these reasons, the song failed to become popular within all of Germany. Not only did it fail to win the support of most German nationalists, but it also was never recognized by the southern German states, such as Bavaria or Württemberg.[3] At the near end of World War I, the German Empire was overthrown and "Das Lied der Deutschen" was adopted as the national anthem of its successor, the Weimar Republic.[4]

It is often called the official national anthem of the German Empire.[5][6] However the German Empire never had an official anthem like the Weimar Republic or the Federal Republic of Germany (Lied der Deutschen). Together with "Die Wacht am Rhein" both songs had the status of unofficial national anthems.


Heinrich Harries wrote the lyrics in 1790 in honour of King Christian VII of Denmark, and the line "Heil, Kaiser, dir" originally read "Heil, Christian, dir". In 1793, Harries' text was adapted by Balthasar Gerhard Schumacher [Wikidata] (1755–1805) for use in Prussia. Schumacher shortened Harries' text and replaced the word Christian with König (king). After the proclamation of the German Empire, the word König was replaced by Kaiser (emperor).[7]

Kaiser Wilhelm in the lyrics originally referred to William I who reigned until 1888. His son, Frederick III, who reigned for only 99 days, was succeeded by Wilhelm II. One of the jokes at the time was that the song's title is changed to "Heil Dir im Sonderzug" ("Hail to Thee in Thy Royal Train"), owing to Wilhelm II's frequent travels. After the beginning of World War I in 1914, Hugo Kaun set the text of the anthem to new music to remove the similarity to "God Save the King".[9]

Other hymns[edit]

"Die Wacht am Rhein" ("The Watch on the Rhine") was also a patriotic hymn so popular that it was often regarded as an unofficial national anthem.[10]

In the Kingdom of Bavaria, the official hymn was "Bayerische Königshymne" ("Heil unserm König, Heil!"), also sung to the melody of "God Save the King". Likewise, Liechtenstein has "Oben am jungen Rhein" (1920), sung to the same melody.

The Hawaiian anthem "Hawaiʻi Ponoʻī", composed by the Prussian Kapellmeister Henri Berger, is a variation of the melody.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "und" can also be used instead of "nicht".



  1. ^ Fischer & Senkel 2010, p. 90.
  2. ^ Fischer & Senkel 2010, p. 91.
  3. ^ Fehrenbach, Elisabeth. Politischer Umbruch und gesellschaftliche Bewegung: ausgewählte Aufsätze zur Geschichte Frankreichs und Deutschlands im 19. Jahrhundert. Oldenburg, 1997. p. 312.
  4. ^ Sternburg, Wilhelm von [de]. Die Geschichte der Deutschen. p. 131.
  5. ^ "Germany (1871-1918) – nationalanthems.info". Retrieved 2023-06-02.
  6. ^ "National anthem". Domestic Protocol Office of the Federal Government. Retrieved 2023-06-02.
  7. ^ Fischer & Senkel 2010, p. 93.
  8. ^ Song No. 50 in Allgemeines Deutsches Kommersbuch, p. 47
  9. ^ "Heil dir im Siegerkranz" (Kaun): Score and MIDI-based audio at the International Music Score Library Project
  10. ^ Reichel, Peter. Schwarz-Rot-Gold: Kleine Geschichte deutscher Nationalsymbole nach 1945. C. H. Beck: Munich, 2005. p. 35.
  11. ^ "Hawaiʻi ponoʻī". Archived from the original on 2018-01-17. Retrieved 2018-06-02. The melody was based on the Prussian hymn originally titled "Heil dir im Siegerkranz.


  • Fischer, Michael; Senkel, Christian (2010). Klaus Tanner (ed.). Reichsgründung 1871: Ereignis, Beschreibung, Inszenierung. Münster: Waxmann Verlag.

External links[edit]

No anthem before
First German nation state
Imperial anthem of the German Empire
Succeeded byas national anthem