Open house days

12. 11. 2010

Open-Door Day in the Kramář Villa

On the occasion of the national holiday – the Independent Czechoslovak State Day and the oncoming 150th anniversary of birth of the first Prime Minister of Czechoslovakia Karel Kramář, the Office of the Government of the Czech Republic will open the Kramář villa to the public on 28 October 2010.


After more than one year, visitors will have a unique opportunity to see places where meet important personalities of the Czech and world political scene. The Office of the Government of the Czech Republic will open the villa to public on the occasion of the celebration of the national holiday – the Independent Czechoslovak State Day. We would also like to remind that on 27 December of this year, 150 years will have gone by since the birth when the original owner of the villa the first Czechoslovak Prime Minister and a man who played an important role in forming the independent state – Karel Kramář. The villa will be open from 10:00 to 16:00, guided tours will be organized in groups and visitors will have an opportunity to hear a presentation on the life of Mr. and Mrs. Kramář and on the history of the villa.

Karel Kramář

Karel KramářKarel Kramář was born on 27 December 1860 in Vysoké nad Jizerou in a family of a rich constructor. After graduation from the Faculty of Law of the Charles University in Prague, he studied economy in Berlin and political science in Paris. Originally he intended to devote his life to the academic career and he was preparing for higher doctorate. Nevertheless, it was politics which became his fate and in 1889 he founded, together with T.G. Masaryk and J. Kaizl, the realistic movement. One year later he entered the Young Czechs Party and was elected for it a Member of the Austrian Reichsrat - the parliament of the Austria-Hungary. At the beginning of the 20th century he became a renowned leader of the party. Before the First World War, he was a leading representative and supporter of so-called positive policy, which rejected the Czech radicalism which was directed to the gradual strengthening of economic, political and cultural position of the Czech nation and other Slavic nations of the Austria-Hungary Monarchy.

After the outbreak of the First World War he was forming the domestic revolt. In May 1915 he was arrested and in June 1916 condemned for high treason to death penalty. But the sentence was first reduced to 20-year imprisonment. Then he was awarded amnesty and involved himself into the political life again. Since 1918 he served as the Chairman of the National Committee and after the formation of a new state was appointed the first Prime Minister. On account of this post he attended the peace conference in Paris. He pointed out fatal consequences of the Russian October revolution for the whole world and in the course of negotiations he forced winning powers to mobilize in their own interests all forces to restore democracy in Russia. Victory and consolidation of the Bolshevik regime definitely buried his vision of Russian democratic power which would be a support for smaller Slavic states including Czechoslovakia and their auspices before possible recurrence of German aggression. Karel Kramář remained in his post until general elections in 1919 when he was replaced by a representative of the winning party – social democrat Vlastimil Tusar. Half-a-year activity in the position of Prime Minister meant the culmination of his political career.

Throughout the entire existence of the First Republic, he was a leader of the National Democratic Party and a member of the National Assembly. He was critical to the one-sided orientation of the Czechoslovak foreign policy, in particular to the overestimation of the importance of the League of Nations. In the home policy, he was an adherent of the concept of Czechoslovakia as a nation-state unlike Masaryk who was in favour of a national-state. Thanks to his opinions he got in early 1930´ on the fringe of the Czechoslovak political scene. His failure in politics was accompanied by problem in his business affairs. Kramář's companies were heavily affected by the economic crisis. Karel Kramář died in May 1937 as in fact an abandoned, unappreciated and misunderstood politician, who was often nearly naive, a politician with great charisma, beloved by many members of his political party and venerated by nearly sonly love. He failed in adaptation to changed conditions after 1918 and his removal from the post of Prime Minister as well as the inter-war foreign orientation of Czechoslovakia considered as his personal injustice.

Kramář's Villa

Dining RoomIn 1890 Karel Kramář (1860-1937) made his first study trip to Russia. During his half-a-year stay he travelled throughout the country from Petersburg via Moscow to Baku and get knowledge on the life in the country as well as in big cities. Up to then he had travelled through the West Europe; however the trip to the East influenced him a lot. Not only that he loved Russia, but he also found his wife-to-be, Nadezhda Nikolajevna Abrikosa (1862-1936) there. The couple had a pretentious villa built in Prague at the Bastion of Mary Magdalene in 1915. The 700 squared metres villa had 56 rooms. There were bedrooms, studies, dining rooms, reception rooms, guest-rooms, and also large baths. In the surroundings of the villa there were greenhouse, tennis courts and a park. A path-breaking interior of the villa was designed by significant artists, e.g. a professor of the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design J. Beneš and sculptor Celda Klouček. After death of Mr. and Mrs. Kramář, the villa was transferred to the possession of the Society of Karel Kramář. In the end of 1930´ the villa was administered by the National Museum and in 1952 it was placed under the management of the Office of the Government. Then it served in particular for representation purposes and as an accommodation facility for state visits. In 1990´ it was completely refurmishmeted and since 1998 it has been a residence of the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic.

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