• 20 Oct. 2016
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A NATO hymn?

The earliest proposals for a NATO hymn can be traced back to the late 1950s, when various composers began eagerly submitting music in the hope of seeing it officially crowned in time for the 10th anniversary of the Alliance in 1959.

In 1958, Thomas Hildebrand Preston, O.B.E. (United Kingdom) composed a NATO ceremonial march originally meant to accompany visitors to NATO Headquarters at the Palais de Chaillot, Paris. The following year, a “NATO Song,” composed by Captain Hans Lorenz of the German Air Force with lyrics by Captain Stephanus van Dam of the Netherlands and Leon van Leeuwen of the United States, was presented by an orchestra and a chorus at the NATO 10th anniversary pageant.

The most democratic approach for a NATO theme came in 1960 when Air Marshall Sir Edward Chilton (United Kingdom) proposed a NATO anthem arranged by Squadron Leader J.L. Wallace, which merged all the national anthems of the-then 15 member states.

To celebrate NATO’s 40th Anniversary in 1989, a large NATO choir sang "The Atlantic Hymn" by José Ludovice and the Luxembourg Military Band played a “NATO anthem,” composed by its director Captain André Reichling. This composition proved most successful of all and was played at many NATO events, becoming NATO’s de facto hymn for nearly thirty years. It eventually became the official "NATO Hymn" when the North Atlantic Council approved it on 3 January 2018.

It has no lyrics, and is scored for twenty musical instruments: piccolo, flute, oboe, three clarinets, three saxophones, two cornets, two trumpets, horn, baritone horn, three trombones, tuba, and snare drum.

Listen to it below!


  • The NATO Hymn