In 1972, the Council of Europe chose The Ode to Joy for its own anthem and since 1985, it is the official anthem of the European Union (not intended to replace the national anthems of the Member States but rather to celebrate the values they all share).

Herbert von Karajan was asked to write three instrumental arrangements of the anthem, one for piano, one for wind instruments and one for symphony orchestra.

Schiller's lyrics are not part of the anthem, just the music. The reason is: "Without words, in the universal language of music, this anthem expresses the ideals of freedom, peace and solidarity for which Europe stands." (