by France Prešeren
Original manuscript of the poem,
written in the Bohorič alphabet
CountryCarniola, part of Austria-Hungary, present-day Slovenia
Media typePrint (periodical)
Publication date1848

"Zdravljica"[i] (Slovene pronunciation: [zdɾau̯ˈljiːtsa]; English: "A Toast") is a carmen figuratum poem by the 19th-century Romantic Slovene poet France Prešeren, inspired by the ideals of Liberté, égalité, fraternité.[1] It was written in 1844 and published with some changes in 1848. Four years after it was written, Slovenes living within Habsburg Empire interpreted the poem in spirit of the 1848 March Revolution as political promotion of the idea of a united Slovenia. In it, the poet also declares his belief in a free-thinking Slovene and Slavic political awareness. In 1989, it was adopted as the anthem of Slovenia, becoming the national anthem upon independence in 1991.[2][3]


A censored manuscript, ready to be published in the Poezije (Poems) collection in 1846. A modified version was published in full in 1848.

The integral version of the poem was first published only after the March Revolution when Austrian censorship was abolished, since the censorship did not allow for the poem to be printed earlier because of its political message. On 26 April 1848, it was published by the Slovene newspaper Kmetijske in rokodelske novice, that was edited by the Slovene conservative political leader Janez Bleiweis.[citation needed]

A memorial with "Žive naj vsi narodi" the first line of the Slovene national anthem by France Prešeren near the Schuman roundabout, Brussels.

Before the censorship was abolished, Prešeren omitted the third stanza ("V sovražnike 'z oblakov / rodú naj naš'ga treši gróm") because he intended to include the poem in his Poezije collection (Poems), however the censor (fellow-Slovene Franz Miklosich in Austrian service) saw in the fourth stanza ("Edinost, sreča, sprava / k nam naj nazaj se vrnejo") an expression of pan-Slavic sentiment and therefore did not allow its publication either. Prešeren believed the poem would be mutilated without both the third and the fourth stanza and decided against including it in the Poezije.[citation needed]

"Zdravljica" was first set to music in the 1860s by Benjamin Ipavec and Davorin Jenko, but their versions didn't go well with the public, probably because the stanzas that they chose were not enough nationally awakening.[4] In 1905, the Slovene composer Stanko Premrl wrote a choral composition. It was first performed only on 18 November 1917 by Glasbena matica [sl] ("Slovene Music Centre") in the Grand Hotel Union, Ljubljana. It became an immediate success.[4]


  1. ^ Also called Zdravica – from a toast expression "Na zdravje" (to health) in Slovene.


  1. ^ Danica Veceric (2006). Slovenia. Looking at Europe, The Oliver Press, Inc., ISBN 1881508749
  2. ^ Uradni list SRS 46. 1989, page 1762.
  3. ^ Plut-Pregelj, Leopoldina; Kranjc, Gregor; Lazarević, Žarko (2018). Historical Dictionary of Slovenia. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 978-1-5381-1106-2. Retrieved 30 December 2019. ... in September 1989 ... 'Zdravljica' had been chosen as the national anthem by the Socialist Republic of Slovenia.
  4. ^ a b Cigoj Krstulović, Nataša (2005). "Himna kot simbol naroda: premislek ob stoletnici nastanka Premrlove Zdravice" [The Anthem as a Symbol of the Nation: A Reflection on the 100th Anniversary of the Creation of Premrl's Zdravica] (PDF). De Musica Disserenda (in Slovenian). I (1–2): 11–28.