Bohemian Switzerland’s VIPs


Bohemian Switzerland has deservedly won a reputation of a unique place becuase of its gorgeous nature. However, it is also a region where a number of important persons lived, created their works and left an significant trace.

Painters of Bohemian Switzerland

Real interest in the artistic depiction of the landscape of the Elbe Sandstones and of the area of today’s Bohemian and Saxon Switzerland was born in the era of Romanticism at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries. Painting saw biggest popularity during the 19th century, to be subsequently pushed out by photography.

Adrian Zingg (1774-1816), Karl August Richter (1770-1853) and his son Adrian Ludwig Richter (1803-1884) were among the first Romantic painters – landscpists, who mainly taught at the Saxon Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Dresden. Naturally, they were enchanted by the nearby part of the Elbe Sandstones, mainly by the surroundings of the Pravčice Gate (Pravčická brána), which inspired them to show the face of the landscape. The most significant landscape artist of Early Dresden Romanticism was Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840).

August Frind (1852-1924)

Born in Krásná Lípa, he started fully pursuing a painter’s career at the age of twenty. The family of industrial magnate Karl Ditrich of Krásná Lípa soon became the sponsors of the poor artist, thus allowing him to obtain funds to study at the prestigious Academy of Arts in Dresden. Besides painting, Frind also focused on heraldry and was the author of the coat of arms of the town of Varnsdorf and (in 1893) of the coat of arms of Krásná Lípa. August Frind’s biggest contract in Krásná Lípa was the decoration of the tomb of the family of his benefactor Ditrich. His most frequent themes included Biblical motifs, but his painting also often captured every-day moments of the lives of ordinary people.

 (Text partially adapted according to: Labské pískovce a výtvarné umění, published by Elbe Sandstones PLA Administration, 2004)

Music and Bohemian Switzerland

Not only painters, but also composers found the charming landscape of Bohemian Switzerland and of the adjacent Šluknov Spur inspiring. Musical tradition itself has a long-standing history in the region. The region was also home to a number of reputable producers of musical instruments, namely organs, pianos and violins.

Franz Bendel

Born in Krásná Lípa in 1832, he studied in Weimar with Franz Liszt, who spoke highly of his pupil. A versatile composer, writer of 141 pieces of mainly chamber and piano music. He was an outstanding pianist of his time and later became professor in Berlin.

Antonín Dvořák

Born in 1841, he stayed in Česká Kamenice in 1856-57 and was send to the town to learn German. He also continued his music education here, studying with F. Hanke. Dvořák was a gifted pupil and soon often substituted for his teacher as an organ player in St. James Church in Česká Kamenice. The former butcher apprentice seems to have been so much influenced by his stay in Česká Kamenice that he decided to further pursue musical career and was admitted to an organ school in Prague in 1857.

Fryderyk Chopin 

Born in 1810, he became acquainted with the Thun-Hohenstein noble family from Děčín in the 1830s and was their children’s piano teacher for nearly two years. Also important for Chopin was 1835 and his extended stay at the Děčín Chateau, which was much to the enjoyment of the entire family. He was inspired to write the “Děčín Walz”, which commemorates the happy moments spent in Bohemia.

Taddeus Palme

Born in Krásná Lípa in 1756, he was also called the “North Bohemian Beethoven”. He was an important musician, organist, teacher and conductor in his home town.

Augustin Stradal

Born in Teplice in 1860, he graduated from music school and was the last pupil of Franz Liszt in Weimar. After Liszt’s death he returned to Teplice, where we worked as a music teacher, and took up an independent musical career to become a prime performer of Liszt’s works. After the end of his career as a performer, Stradal moved with his wife to Krásná Lípa, where he composed and taught music. He died in Krásná Lípa in 1930.

Richard Wagner

Born in Leipzig in 1813. In 1845-48 he wrote his romantic opera „Lohengrin“ and claimed that one of the sources of inspiration had been the nature during his stay in Dittersbach (today’s Jetřichovice) in Saxon Switzerland.

Carl Maria von Weber

Born in Eutin in 1786, he was appointed as Royal Saxon Kapellmeister in Dresden. Two years before that, he stayed in the spa resort of Lázně Libverda for therapy. This was where his opera “Der Freischütz” was written, and it is the drama and tension of the romantic landscape that is reflected in this work.

 (Text partially adapted according to: Labské pískovce a hudba, published by Elbe Sandstones PLA Administration, 2004)


Naturalists and Scientists of Bohemian Switzerland

Bienert Brothers

František Bienert (born 1911) and his brother Eduard (born 1909) spent all their lives in Šluknov. Tourism and the history and geography of the region were their lifelong hobbies. František Bienert worked for a number in the textile company Bytex in Rumburk and, although a Sudetenland German by birth, was allowed to stay in Bohemia after WWII. On the contrary, his brother Eduard was exiled from the country but escaped from the transport and spent a number of years hiding in his house in Bohemia. For the many years he was forced to hide, Eduard read and studied old geography and history publications, guidebooks and maps to provide the information to his brother, who looked for inscriptions, memorials and other monuments in Bohemian Switzerland. The brothers organised trips around the region, of which they had detailed knowledge and could tell many stories. The brothers died a tragic death in 1990.

Thaddeus Haenke

Born in Chřibská in 1761. Physician, famous traveller and naturalist. He participated in a voyage along the Pacific coast of America, crossed the Pacific Ocean to collect samples in teh Philippines and in Australia to eventually return to America. He settled in the town of Cochabamba (Bolivia). From his new home, he maintained contact with leading European botanists and sent to museums and science institutes minerals, plants and studies about the nature and the life of the native inhabitants. On a journey to the tributaries of the Amazon, he discovered and described the Victoria water lilly (Victoria regia). Haenke’s native house in the square of Chřibská now hosts a museum.

Rudolf Kögler

He was born in 1899 into a poor family of textile workers in Krásná Lípa. He worked in a knitting mill in Zahrady, but showed great interest in nature and science at an early age – he was mainly interested in mineralogy, botany and astronomy. One of the greatest activities of Rudolf Kögler was the creation of a geological map. Unsupported by the authorities of his time, Rudolf Kögler managed to mark the first trail in the then Czechoslovak Republic. The 12-kilometre trail was eventually opened on 12 October 1941  and was provided with seventy information panels. Rudolf Kögler died in April 1949. The Municipal Authority of Krásná Lípa has currently initiated the reconstruction of Kögler’s nature trail, which should be further extended and made available to the public in 2007.

Ferdinand  Náhlík

In 1860-64 he worked as adjunct gamekeeper in the service of Prince Ferdinand Kinský in Rynartice near Jetřichovice. Náhlík published the first ever printed guidebook to Bohemian Switzerland. The 1864 issue called Průvodce po Českém Švýcarsku (“Guide to Bohemian Switzerland”) was reprinted by the public service organisation České Švýcarsko in 2003 and can be ordered here.

Industrialists and Benefactors

Eduard Hielle

One of the owners of the textile factory Hielle/Ditrich in Krásná Lípa. His luxurious New Renaissance-style mansion was built in Pražská St. In Krásná Lípa in 1885-1887 by Dresden architects Lossow and Viehweger (later became a home for the elderly, now the mansion next to the Krásná Lípa sports centre).

Karl Ditrich

The other owner of the Hielle/Ditrich textile factory. He was one of the benefactors of the entire town of Krásná Lípa and also sponsored painter August Frind. Ditrich was one of the first entrepreneurs to start paying retirement pensions. He is now reminded by a number of buildings in Krásná Lípa, such as the hospital (now the long-stay patients’ home), family mansion (current seat of the Bohemian Switzerland National Park Administration), and the family tomb in the municipal park near the cemetery.

Albin Hugo Liebisch

Born in Rumburk in 1888. In 1920 Liebisch and his family moved to Krásná Lípa and became the chief mechanic in Alfred Hielle's automotive shop. In 1922 Liebisch applied for a trade license and in 1925 he started serial production of the Böhmerland motorcycles, which, however, only lasted for less than ten years. Liebisch continued to work in Krásná Lípa but never managed to resume motorcycle production during or after WWII. Liebisch eventually left for Passau, Germany, where he died in 1965.