Karel Havlíček Borovský – Life and Legacy

Permanent exhibition dedicated to Karel Havlíček Borovský

Do not miss visiting Havlíček’s apartment. At any time during the museum’s normal opening hours you can see this permanent exhibition entitled “Karel Havlíček Borovský – Life and Legacy” on the first floor of the museum. Karel Havlíček Borovský a native of nearby the village Borová was a Czech poet and journalist. He is considered the founder of Czech journalism satire and literary criticism. He is literally classified into realism, politically belongs to the so-called 2nd generation of national revivalists. In May 1945 in his honor the town of Německý Brod was renamed the town of Havlíčkův Brod. Read more about the exhibition and visit us in Havlíček’s house.

Exposition bears witness to the fate of Karel Havlíček

The whole exhibition is dedicated to Karel Havlíček who lived in the house with his wife Julie and daughter Zdenka before deportation to Brixen. The apartment in Havlíček’s House today’s museum was purchased by the parents of Karel Havlíček Borovský at the end of 1832. There are a number of personal monuments in four rooms of the original flat where Havlíček and his wife Julie and daughter Zdenka lived and where he was taken into exile in Brixen. The exhibition is located in the original interior of the mid-19th century.

The furniture in the “bow” room belonged to the parents of Karel Havlíček and served them already in Havlíček’s childhood. Karel Havlíček’s father made it to a carpenter in  Přibyslav before Havlíček moved from the Borová. The desk and secretary in the “office” comes from Havlíček’s Prague office of the National newspaper. The furniture in “Zdenka’s Room” belonged to Havlíček’s only daughter. The piano she loved was bought by guardian Brauner of the “national gift” (a lottery in favor of “Daughters of the Nation”). Ordinary personal belongings today rare monuments once belonged to Havlíček, Julie, daughter Zdena, brother František, mother Josef and father Matěj. All this exudes a strange sadness a testimony to Havlíček and his closest life.

You can visit the permanent exhibition dedicated to Karel Havlíček Borovský
every day except Monday at 9-12h and 13-17h

Full price 40, –
Discount (children, students, pensioners, disabled…) 50%

Admission includes a tour of the current exhibition and underground house.


Havlíček was not always an exemplary student at school

Since 1830 Havlíček studied in the city Německý Brod, first at the main school, then at the grammar school. Before the arrival of his parents, he lived under sublease by the Berliš family in a house called Dlabačovský located on the west side of the square in Brod. Havlíček remembers his childhood in Německý Brod: “I was honored to do strange pieces and not to give up to anyone”. Indeed, his benefit was not at all profound at first, and he did not even have a great deal of morals. Only later did he calm down and become an excellent student. Good professors from the Želiv Premonstratensians allowed older pupils to visit pubs on the outskirts of the town, Havlíček liked the pub “Na Rozkoši”. The students were sitting with beer, playing cards and bowling, but mostly playing guitar and singing. Havlíček liked playing the guitar very much. In the local exposition there is a guitar, which has been published for years as a guitar by Havlíček. According to the latest findings, Havlíček’s guitar is owned by the National Museum and apparently belonged to his daughter Zdena. At the same time, it is connected with a moving story related to another of our culture, a poet from the most beloved, Jaroslav Seifert.

In 1838 Havlíček went to Prague and after two years of studying philosophy he entered the priestly seminary. After a year, when he was just on holiday in Německý Brod, he received a report of dismissal due to lack of benefit. Havlíček looked for another existence, lived in Prague, studied Slavic languages, and in 1843 he took the position of a tutor in the family of Professor Ševyrev in Russia. When he told his father in Německý Brod, he was very angry and prophesied to Havlíček that he would destroy his career in Austria. Unfortunately, after two years of returning disillusioned with the Russian situation, he could no longer talk to his father. Matěj Havlíček, father of Karel Havlíček, died three weeks before Karl’s return. Havlíček learned about it on his way to Německý Brod at a pub in Česká Bělá. Havlíček later wrote: “This unfortunate event has changed many of my plans completely, and I have to spend the whole winter at home with my mother”.

So Havlíček stayed in Brod, he wrote “Paintings from Russian” and because Německý Brod was at that time completely nationally indifferent, he organized Czech amateur theater together with his brother František. Soon there were several burgher sons and daughters from leading Brod families willing to try and play. One of the enthusiastic amateurs was the daughter of a wealthy German merchant and councilor, Fany Weidenhoffer, who became a great Havlíčková love. Havlíček planned to marry and therefore went to Prague to ensure his existence.

He decided to “make a living with the writers”. He wrote articles for newspapers and magazines and rarely went to Brod. However, he and Fany corresponded diligently. When he succeeded in completely disabling such a “patriot” as Josef Kajetán Tyl, he gained the favor of the whole young generation around the Matice of the Czech Republic and the National Museum. In an article published on July 1, 1845 in Česká Včela, he underwent overwhelming criticism of his novel “The Last Czech”. Fany wrote about it: “I have gained a lot of acquaintances and fame in this very cheap way.” Havlíček became editor of the Prague newspaper, which provided him with a steady income. There is a lot of speculation about why there was no planned marriage. The Weidenhoffer family itself quite credibly refutes the most widespread version that Fany and Havlíček broke up because of his uncertain existence. Soon after his break with the Fans Havlíček married Julia Sýkorová and on December 23, 1848, his daughter Zdenka was born. He was fully employed by both political and journalistic activities, and with German Brod, he mainly kept the letters together, and he was rarely a guest here.


Return to Havlíčkův Brod

Five years later, when he was already disgusted with the constant disputes with the Viennese government, Havlíček decided to leave journalistic activities and moved to Německý Brod to his mother. She left him an apartment with a kitchen, two rooms and an alcove on the first floor of the square. The corner room was equipped with a bay window and a closet with a bedroom. Havlíček wanted to buy a farm in the surroundings of Německý Brod and pursue a farm. However, he failed because on December 16, 1851 he was just arrested in the bay room and taken to Brixen. It offered a parable, went abroad for its conviction, as 223 years ago unfortunate exile Tomáš Roland and perhaps even contributed to the emergence of a national legend of the Bressanian martyr. The last time he returned to his father’s house in May 1855 after his release from Brixen, when German Brod was ordered to stay by the police. He lived abandoned aside from public life, formerly known patriotic ranks did not join him. Later, he moved to his brother Francis, who bought house no. 87 in the Upper Suburbs.

He died in Prague on July 29, 1856, where he left with the permission of the police in May 1856 to seek a doctor. Six years later, Havlíček was no longer dangerous and so the whole nation began to profess and chant him. In 1862, on the eve of the unveiling of the memorial plaque at Havlíček’s House in his native Borová, a national manifestation took place in front of the local house, attended by about 10,000 people. Leading the parade

In 1871 a commemorative metal plate with the head of Havlíčková was set in the middle of the house facade and the house shield was rebuilt in neo-Gothic style according to the plans of Chrudim architect František Schmoranz. In 1880, Havlíček’s mother sold the house to the town savings bank. In 1920, the Havlíčkův House acquired the town of Německý Brod and donated it to the Town Museum, which was established here by the Karel Havlíček Memorial. Today, the house is home to the Vysočina Museum of Havlíčkův Brod, a contributory organization of the Vysočina Region, and the permanent exhibition is dedicated to the stay of Karel Havlíček in Německý Brod.