Slovenian poem Zdravljica receives European Heritage Label


The seventh stanza of Zdravljica, or A Toast in English, set to music by Stanko Premrl in 1905, was chosen to be Slovenia's national anthem in March 1990.

An ode to wine, it is one of few national anthems that is not militant, but in fact celebrates the idea of tolerance and co-existence among nations.

The most celebrated Slovenian poet was inspired to write it by pan-Slavic ideas, which had gained ground as a counterweight to growing German nationalism in the Hapsburg Empire, and by the ideas of the French Revolution and patriotism.

"The Slovenian anthem rejects wars and fights, and stressed unity and friendship among nations," historian Božo Repe told the STA as 30 years passed on Sunday since Zdravljica officially became Slovenia's anthem.

"Even if it was written back in 1844, it is still topical. Especially during these crisis times when humanness at home and abroad being put at test over and over again."

Prešeren (1800-1849) wrote it in Slovenian and published it only in 1948 after the abolishment of censorship in the Hapsburg Empire as part of the Spring of Nations.

The poem influenced the development of Slovenian identity, but also the promotion of freedom of expression.

It was also very popular during WWII among the Partisan movement fighting against the Nazi-fascist occupation, and was sung on various occasions during the period of democratisation leading to independent Slovenia in the 1980s.

The English translation of the poem is available here.

The winners of European Heritage Label were chosen by a jury from among entries sent in by EU member states, the European Commission said today.

A total of 48 sites have so far been given the title, three of which in Slovenia – apart from Zdravljica also the WWII Franja Partisan Hospital (in 2015) and the Church of the Holy Spirit on Javorca hill (2017).