The Bavarian Anthem

The Bavarian anthem was already widely known in the second half of the 19th century before it was made the official anthem of the State of Bavaria by initiatives of the Bavarian State Parliament.

Munich teacher Michael Öchsner, publisher of the first periodical of the Bavarian Teacher’s Association, wrote the lyrics of the original version. The composer was Konrad Max Kunz, professor at the Munich Conservatorium (today the Academy of Music), choir director in the Royal Opera (today State Opera) and member of the Bavarian Chorale Society. Öchsner and Kunz worked together in the old Munich Bürger-Sänger-Zunft (“Citizens-Singers-Guild”), to which they dedicated the hymn “For Bavaria”. It quickly spread among clubs in which Öchsner, Kunz and their friends from the singers’ guild participated (shooting clubs and the gymnastics clubs, Bavarian Teacher’s Association and Bavarian Chorale Society newly established in the years following 1860).

After the national anthem of the Weimar Republic had been designated as the anthem of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1952, the Bayerischer Landtag unanimously decided that the German national anthem and the hymn “For Bavaria” should be taught in schools and jointly used by the Bavarian broadcasting corporation (BR). The Bavarian state government at that time (grand coalition comprised of CSU and SPD) executed the Landtag resolution on 3 March 1953. Since the responsible interior ministry advised against statutory regulation of the “anthem issue” in 1964, it was finally regulated by an announcement published by the Minister-President. The “Bayernlied”, which has been officially called “Hymne” or anthem since 1964, enjoys the protection of Sec. 90a StGB (Penal Code), which prohibits the denigration of national anthems and state anthems.

The original version of 1860 had a third verse, the so-called “King’s Stanza”. Its first verse began: “God be with him, the Bavarian King! Blessing over his dynasty!” This stanza was deleted from most songbooks in 1918. The Bavarian poet Josef Maria Lutz composed a new third stanza in 1946. It starts with the words: “God be with all who faithfully protect and preserve the holy law of humans!”

Minister-President Franz Josef Strauss ended the debate about differing text compositions with an announcement on 19 July 1980 stating that the two-stanza text, which essentially corresponds to the original version, would be used on official occasions.


The Bavarian Anthem

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