At Nimerice Castle, half an hour north of Prague, the first ceremonial meeting of the recently in Budapest appointed Czech Commandery took place. Among the guests was the Deputy Grand Master HIRH Georg von Habsburg. After the arrival of the knights at the palace and a common lunch, the host vice-commander Michael Heres led through his estate.
The eventful history of Nimerice also reflects the ups and downs of the Czech Republic. The beginnings of the castle date back to the 14th century, to the reign of the Czech king Charles IV. Nimerice received its present appearance in 1834. In the same year the castle gardens were laid out. In 1862 the composer Bedřich Smetana composed his opera “The Brandenburgers in Bohemia” here. At the beginning of the 20th century, the Heres family bought the castle, which was later expropriated by the communists. After the estate was returned to the family in 1990, a new era began. It was a considerable challenge to restore the original elegance and beauty of the castle.
Archduke Georg planted an oak tree at the first meeting of the Commandery – a highly symbolic act that underlined the rootedness of the lands of the Wenceslas Crown in the House of Habsburg – and signed the guest book. For the gala dinner in the evening, the Commandery welcomed a whole series of top-class guests from Czech society and the order’s government. Procurator Baron Vinzenz Stimpfl-Abele underlined the importance of the official presence of the Order in the Czech Republic. The foundation of the Commandery represented an important, so far missing building block in the construction of the Order. In the future, the Order must be fully represented in all countries of the former Danube Monarchy – i.e. throughout Central Europe. After the national anthem was played by a string ensemble, the Commander Milan Novak addressed the audience. In his speech, he referred to the vow of the Order, which every knight takes at his investiture, and promised to make particularly strict demands when building the Commandery in order to lay a firm foundation for the Order of St George in Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia. The folk anthem followed and it was asked to take place for dinner.
After the first courses of the excellent menu, Vice-Chancellor Peter Harold pronounced a toast. In order to underline the arrival of the Order of St. George in the Czech Republic and as a sign of the future residence of the Commandery in Nimerice and Prague, Vice-Commander Hubert Fischl solemnly presented two plaques with the Order logo. The evening in Nimerice Castle ended in a cosy, atmospheric ambience, with many interesting conversations in front of the fireplace.
In spring 2020 the convent will be held in Prague.