Dr. France Prešeren (1800-1849) is Slovenia's greatest and most celebrated poet. The national awards for culture bear his name, and are awarded on the National Day of Culture (8th February), an official holiday.
A widely renowned figure of European Romanticism, Prešeren established through his prodigious work a focus for Slovenia's first national programme.
Zdravljica represents the peak of Prešeren's political poetry. It was written in autumn 1844, removed from the manuscript of the collection of poems Poezije (1847) by the censors, and published on 26th April 1848 in the newspaper Novice after the collapse of Metternich's absolutism and the termination of censorship. Its dominant idea, a radical demand for freedom of the Slovenian nation, arises from the humanistic vision of equality and friendly coexistence of all nations, and all people's right to independence. It originates from the concepts of the French Revolution of equality, freedom and brotherhood, which were adjusted to the basic political needs of the Slovenian people at the time of the 'Spring of Nations' and concerned their independence. However, Prešeren's "Marseillaise" reaches beyond the nature of a political manifesto and bears a strong note of intimate humanity.
In the history of constituting the Slovenian nation Prešeren's Zdravljica was of extreme conceptual significance. It became particularly topical during the occupation and National Liberation Struggle from 1941 to 1945, and in the period of what was called the 'Slovenian Spring' in the eighties when it started to be sung as the national anthem on state holidays and major public events.
Zdravljica was proclaimed the new Slovenian anthem on 27th September 1989 when the Slovenian Assembly adopted the Amendments to the Slovenian Constitution. The Law on the National Anthem of the Republic of Slovenia adopted on 29th March 1990 specified the seventh stanza set to the music of Stanko Premrl as the actual anthem.
Following the independence of Slovenia, the National Assembly adopted (in 1994) the law governing the official crest, the national flag and the anthem of the Republic of Slovenia.
Summarised from Enciklopedija Slovenije, Vol. 9.