Zdravljica – the Message of the European Spring of Nations 

The EHL Site

“Zdravljica” is a poem written in 1844 by the Slovenian poet France Prešeren. It was only published in 1848, after the abolishment of censorship in the Habsburg Empire as part of the Spring of Nations. Written in Slovenian, it has influenced the development of Slovenian identity, and more generally the promotion of freedom of expression. The continued importance of Zdravlijca was illustrated in 1944 when the partisans resisting Nazi-fascism re-printed the poem, and when it was sung on various occasions in the 1980’s and early 1990’s during the period of democratisation leading to the independence of Slovenia. In 1991 in the new Slovenian Republic, the 7th verse of the poem was chosen as the national anthem. In this verse the poem expresses the ideal of a peaceful co-existence of all nations.

European dimension

Zdravljica carries a profound humanistic message about the essential idea of an integrated and peaceful Europe. It is representative of 1848 – the Spring of Nations or Year of Revolution, an important movement in European history. The role of literature, written in national or minority languages, in kindling nationalist feelings, and shaping demands for the removal of censorship and the right of freedom of expression, was reflected across Europe.

The transnational message of Zdravljica, imbued with human-emotions, has powerful Pan-European symbolic value. It illustrates equality of European languages. It praises the Spring of Nations as an important movement in the history of Europe, anticipating assertion of human rights, including freedom of speech. It addresses free citizens, devoted patriots but also supporters of equality of nations in peaceful transnational integration.

The organization

The National and University Library is the national library of the Republic of Slovenia. Its key mission is to collect, protect and enable the use of the national collection of library materials, to provide professional support to libraries in performing public service, and to support the national bibliographic system. NUK also implements duties of the university library of the Ljubljana University and supports study and research process, coordinates the library role at the University, directs acquisition, offer, deposit and weeding of the University library material. The Library is included in many international networks and is the Slovenian national aggregator of cultural e-contents for Europeana. The Library building is monument of national importance and part of the UNESCO World Heritage List.