Bohemian gypsy men

Bohemian gypsy men DEFAULT

Roma in the Czech Lands

Such provisions were issued repeatedly, indicating that the law was not effectively implemented at the local level. After the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648), hard times befell the Roma. In 1697, the Emperor Leopold I, King of Bohemia, declared ‘Gypsies’ outcasts (vogelfrei); Romani men could be killed like animals. Bohemian criminal law sentenced men to death by hanging at public executions, whilst punishments for women and older children included whipping, a part of their ear or the entire ear being cut off and branding. Children could be taken away for forced labour, or a ‘Christian re-education’. With the help of the army, Romani people were rounded up and brought to the border, then left to their fates. The Roma would, nevertheless, come back into the Czech lands, as ‘Gypsies’ were banished across the entirety of Christian Europe.

Their presence on any given territory was possible only until they were caught. The Roma were seen as beyond the rule of law; when sentenced to death, their only right was to beg for mercy. Members of Roma communities, therefore, learnt to survive underground, to protect their own lives and to distrust the ruling classes. At the time of the promulgation of the many anti-Gypsy decrees, something remarkable happened in a fertile part of southern Moravia, near Uherský Brod, on the land of the Kounic family. Before 1698, the nobility had permitted the exemption the family of the blacksmith Štěpán Daniel (also known as Vajda), from the proscriptions. The Daniel family (originally from Slovakia and the north of Hungary), was allowed to settle and sell complementary blacksmith services (not to compete with the locals), in return for actual assimilation and cutting all ties with their extended family.

During the reign of Charles VI (1711-1740), the terror against the Roma in the Czech lands reaches its climax. Helping ‘Gypsies’ became a reason enough for punishment; Romani women were executed as well as men and warning signs, depicting various kinds of punishment for ‘sneaking Gypsies’, could be seen at the border. Empress Maria Theresa (1740-1780) began, in the 1760s in Hungary and Transylvania, a progressive and economically motivated project with some humanistic benefits. Forced settlement and assimilation made Roma, for the first-time, legal citizens and subjects. Joseph II (1780-1790) continued in the work of his mother, particularly in Moravia, where he established Roma settlements in eighteen villages and in two villages in Silesia. Important personalities in the Romani movement during the entire post-1945 period in Czechoslovakia, originally came from a large and historic Romani settlement in Oslavany u Brna. After Joseph II, no ruler continued with these pragmatically motivated settlement programmes.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, other Roma from Slovakia followed the Daniel family, living under the protection of the Kounic nobility, as rumours about a better life travelled quickly amongst the Roma. Nobody was encouraging them to settle, yet they persisted in their effort to find a permanent home. In between the wars, there were about thirty large Romani settlements in south Moravia, whose inhabitants slowly integrated into the local society. The differences between them, however, grew. Romani settlements would often be built behind villages, should the locals allow it, frequently on infertile or disputed lands. To escape from the isolation of the Romani settlements and to move to the local villages was not easy; individuals or small families were more likely to succeed. Their children, however, already had the possibility to attend local schools. The co-existence with the locals would bring natural changes in the behaviour of previously nomadic families. Now settled, they would leave parasitism behind and form functional relationships with neighbours on whom they could count if need be. The Roma in Bohemia, as opposed to Moravia, remained mobile, even though the nomadic circles of blacksmiths, knife-grinders, horse-traders, musicians, merry-go-round owners, door-to-door salesmen and others were limited only to several villages. Even these Roma gradually integrated into the countryside life.

The first Czechoslovak Republic (1918-1938) issued Law no.114/1927, applying to ‘itinerant Gypsies’. The developing democracy followed the French and Bavarian examples and tried to shield itself from the so-called, ‘Gypsy plague’. Nomadism, as a source of uncontrollable crime, was subjected to a bureaucratic and police control. ‘Gypsy identity cards’ were issued, and group leaders were given documentation permitting travelling. It specified territory where nomadic ‘Gypsies’ were not allowed to enter, and it allowed the state to take children away from their families if these regulations were contravened. The new regulation did not, however, define the term ‘Gypsy’; this allowed the prosecution of non-Romani homeless people, as well as settled ethnic Roma.

Following the Munich Agreement (29th September 1938) and the detachment of the Sudeten borderland, the Roma and German Sinti moved away from the newly-incorporated Nazi territories. The number of unemployed and homeless people grew, whilst the already negative attitudes of the Czech public towards the Roma, became acute. The developments in the neighbouring Nazi racial state, in Germany only contributed further to this. The Czech state was encouraged to follow the German example, in terms of dealing with the Jews and ‘Gypsies’. Even before the occupation on the 2nd March 1939, a regulation on Disciplinary Labour Camps (DLC, see below) was issued, in the second Czechoslovak Republic.

During the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia (March 16, 1939), the discrimination against Roma was at first disguised as an initiative against people with asocial behaviour. It became obligatory for people described as ‘Gypsies’, to settle by the end of January 1940. Those who did not comply, together with healthy men unable to demonstrate the source of their income, were placed in the newly opened DLCs (10th August 1940) either in Bohemia, near the village of Lety close to the city of Písek, or in Moravia, near the village of Hodonín close to the city of Kunštát. Those ‘in need of discipline [were] re-educated’ for periods, through forced labour. Only ten to twenty-five percent were of Romani origin. The Law on Itinerant Gypsies was still in effect, but ‘Gypsy identity cards’ were newly issued for all Roma, for reasons of ‘race and biology’, regardless of their way of life.

In 1942, the incorporation of Protectorate offices into the apparatus of the Nazi occupation was completed and followed by a fight against Roma on an openly racist platform. Based on the order to eradicate ‘the Gypsy vice’ (from July 1942, the imperial template copy from December 1938), a thorough registration of ‘Gypsies and people of Gypsy origin’ took place on the 2nd August 1942. A smaller group was immediately sent to Lety and to Hodonín, which had been turned into the so-called ‘Gypsy Camps’ (GC). What is crucial here is that the GCs were designed for entire families, including children, whose members had committed an offence at some time in the past, or who fell into the wide category of ‘asocial people’, in which case it was deemed desirable to put them into ‘preventive police confinement’.

The life conditions in the GCs were horrifying; the camps were not suitable for child prisoners. Overcrowded barracks, hard work, lack of nutrition and clean drinking water, together with appalling hygienic conditions (no water pipes and drainage), resulted in the outbreak of a typhus epidemic with a high death rate in both camps. The staff were exclusively Czech, many wardens behaved towards the inmates in an unnecessarily cruel way and the governors constantly cut food portions. Even if the GCs were a part of the Nazi occupation machinery, the share of guilt of the Czech wardens, in the tragic destiny of Romani inmates, remains unclear to this day. The GCs became the place from which many Roma were transferred to the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp.

Based on Heinrich Himmler’s order from the 16th December 1942 (the so-called, Auschwitz Decree ), related to the deportation of ‘Gypsies and people of Gypsy origin’ from the Third Reich and its territories, massive deportations of almost all Roma from the Protectorate to Auschwitz-Birkenau II took place from March 1943 to January 1944. Free Roma who had jobs were deported first, followed by the inmates from the GCs that had, in the meantime been closed or quarantined, because of the outbreak of typhus. It was the criminal police that managed the liquidation of the ‘Gypsies’, who were considered to be hereditarily asocial. The choice of deportation lists was made by the Nazis based on subjective, anthropological features. Only one-tenth of the original 6,500 documented Roma, from the death camps of the Protectorate, survived after the war; the entire community of Czech and Moravian Roma, as well as German Sinti, were slaughtered.

After 1945, Roma from the agricultural east of Slovakia, often from very poor settlements, start coming to the industrial parts of the Czech lands. They settled in the border areas where the Germans and Jews used to live, where they were given housing and employment. In the cities with a high concentration of Roma, ghettos came into existence – problematic and socially excluded localities, many of which remain. The Communist regime (from February 1948) annulled the Law on Itinerant Gypsies and the Roma were de facto granted equal rights in 1950. The regime focused on eradicating illiteracy, but a particular approach that considered the history of exclusion of the Romani pupils was missing. Often unsuccessful Romani pupils were transferred to special schools, even though they did not have special needs. Following the Soviet example, the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (CPC) adopted a model of state-directed ‘Gypsy assimilation’, in 1958. The Roma and their culture, as well as their confidence, suffered substantially from such a measure. It entailed an insensitive effort to integrate ‘Gypsies’ into the mainstream society. At this stage, however, the Roma were guaranteed jobs, even though unqualified due to their poor education, as labourers, maids, and other unskilled workers.

Thanks to the relaxation of the political situation in 1968, the very first Romani organization was established, the National Association of Gypsies-Roma (AGR, 1969-1973). The AGR of the CR had its headquarters in the capital of Moravia, Brno, where the descendants of the Roma that had integrated before the war lived. They were at the head of the AGR. The political, social and educational activities included the efforts to elevate Romani culture. Collections for a planned museum were being assembled and efforts were being made to compensate and commemorate the victims of the war-time racist persecution. During the process of ‘normalization’, the Association was dissolved in 1973, under the pretext of errors in accounting and economy. The Communist regime did not return to the strict assimilation measures, but until the fall of the regime in 1989, the Roma in CSSR did not have the possibility to manifest their ethno-emancipatory aspirations.

The development of the situation of the Roma after 1989 in the Czech Lands

The origins of a new state

In the framework of the general revolutionary euphoria following 1989, the Roma were accepted as a part of the regeneration process in the society, until 1993, when the former polity was divided into two states, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Roma were seen as one group. Their development after this date took different paths. What has remained a constant, is their common solidarity. At first, Roma took part in events of all kinds; they would even appear amongst the most prominent speakers at the city squares. During the first free elections, the lists of the Civic Forum party in Bohemia and Moravia, and the Public Against Violence in Slovakia party, featured more than ten Romani personalities, that were elected to three parliamentary bodies. The first political Romani party was established, Romani Civic Initiative (RCI). It was very popular amongst the Roma; at the moment of its establishment it had 25,000 members. After the overthrow of the former Communist regime, it was the first attempt to create authentic Romani political representation. Such a successful development came to naught after a couple of years, due to the inability of Romani leaders to integrate into the political structures of the wider society.

The subsequent development of Roma initiatives moved towards the non-governmental sector, though such a positive initiative lasted only about two years. Then everything started to take a turn for the worse, in several ways. The first manifestations of hatred towards the Roma, led to the first Romani victims. From those times into the first decade of the new century, neither the executive, nor the judiciary, had the political will or motivation to recognise the racial motivation of such crimes. The 1993 division into two states was an unfortunate act, more coveted by politicians than by the public, bringing the first discriminatory laws promoted by the Czech members of the parliament. There were no Romani representatives among them. One of the worst laws, which very negatively influenced the majority of Romani people was Law no. 40/1993, of the Code on the acquisition and loss of Czech citizenship. Until then, registering Czech and Slovak citizenship hadn’t been thought of as a necessity, since more than ninety percent of the Romani population in the Czech lands were Slovak Roma, often third generation. The relationship of these Roma to their original land was ill defined, though they formally remained citizens of the Slovak state. Because of the new Czech Law, they lost their civil rights, such as the right to vote, the right to collect social benefits and the right to free health care in the Czech Republic. The Law was general, but it was clear that in reality, it was aimed at one group in particular. Such a tragic introduction to the beginning of the new state, influenced the lives of most of the Roma for many years to come and its negative impact resonates to the present day.

The development between 1992 and 1997

Subsequent developments in the Czech Republic were undertaken as part of preparation for European Union accession. One of the demands of the EU Commission was to challenge some features of the negative attitudes of the general population towards the Roma, which had already reached a low point in the mid-1990s. The segregation of Romani children in the Czech education system had to be eliminated as well. In terms of wrongful placement of Romani pupils in special schools in the Czech Republic, the key decision was the judgement of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, 13th November 2007. The Grand Jury accepted the case of eighteen Romani students from Ostrava in the north of Moravia, that they had been deliberately excluded, on the basis of ethnicity and denied their rights to education, during the period 1996 – 1998. The Czech state insisted on its innocence and was not willing to take measures that would prevent a similar scenario from happening in the future, though reforms to the education system from 2017 have improved the situation of Romani children to a degree. The issue has not been effectively dealt with, so far, especially due to the reasons of social aversion towards the Roma and strong lobbying of an association of special needs teachers. The current governmental programme, even if it deserves support and recognition, cannot lay claim to be reducing levels of segregation at all schools.

Poor relationships between the Romani minority and the majority, high unemployment levels amongst unqualified people, as well as low motivational social politics, have only deepened the dire conditions of the Roma and their unequal position in society. These factors, highlighted by the popular media, led to several waves of immigration of Roma families to the Great Britain and Canada, where they sought political asylum, from 1997. The then Prime Minister, Václav Klaus, had to admit that the situation was extremely serious and required an effective solution. Such a solution should have resided in the establishment of the Interdepartmental Commission for Romani Matters. The then shadow minister issued the Bratinka Report, which analysed the cause of these dire conditions and outlined several possible solutions. These proposals were reflected in the governmental programme for the integration of Roma into wider society. The Interdepartmental Commission later became the Council for Romani Matters, under the office of the Prime Minister. The Council was an advisory body, but at a relatively high level. It was composed of the representatives with the function of a deputy, corresponding to the same number of representatives from the civil society sector, exclusively of Romani origin. The executive authority to make effective change has been missing however, to the present day. In any case, the establishment of the Council has meant the adoption of an agenda to solve matters that concern the Roma and that the government should preoccupy itself with.

The first quarter of the new millennium in token of moderate progress towards the Roma

At the beginning of the new millennium, it seemed that the situation of the Roma stabilized. It could be characterized as follows: not worse, but not much better either. Another law directly concerning the Roma was Law no. 261/2001 of the Code on compensation, for those who were forced to hide during the war because of race, so that they wouldn’t be imprisoned in the concentration camps. The law applied to the Jews and the Roma born before the end of the Second World War. It was a law that entailed extremely complicated administrative measures for those who could benefit from it, not to mention that almost sixty years after the end of the war, the memory of many was unclear. It was also impossible to provide documents that would confirm stories from the long past about marginalised people, who were not even registered. The concrete evidence of the rightful claim for compensation was, therefore, very hard to find, if not impossible. A considerable proportion of applicants, even though the stories of their persecution were confirmed and supported by historians from the Museum of Romani Culture, did not qualify. The second symptomatic case of a negative attitude towards the Roma, which resonated also in the Parliament and in a section of the political representation, was later called, ‘the law that institutionally denies the Romani Holocaust’.

Racially motivated violence

Shortly after November 1989, an unprecedented manifestation of racial violence towards the Roma and Vietnamese inhabitants of the Republic occurred. The perpetrators were far-right-wing members of skinhead and punk movements. Armed with machetes, baseball bats, chains and knives, they would attack the Roma and Vietnamese people in the streets and in front of their houses. The first casualty was a student, a Turkish citizen, mistaken by the attackers for a Roma person.

Emil Bendík, a twenty-two-year-old boy did not survive a three-day assault on a Romani family; a non-swimmer, Tibor Danihel from Písek, was forced to jump into a river where he drowned. In Hrádek nad Nisou, a skinhead shot a twenty-one-year-old Rom with a legally owned gun. Tibor Berki died of brain haemorrhage after being hit with a baseball bat; a Roma man, Oto Absolon, was murdered in Svitavy in 2001. A night-time fire that started after an incendiary grenade was thrown into a house in Vítkov in April 2009, fatally burnt eighty percent of the body of a eighteen-month-old girl. The statistics of racially motivated crimes was unrelenting. There were seventeen similar cases in 1990, fifty-one in 1993, 273 in 1997 and there were 544 acts with a confirmed racial violence subtext, in 2002.

A chapter of its own, which started in the Communist state in 1971, was the sterilization of Romani women, carried out without their full and informed consent. It was so common that the procedures on Romani women continued during the 90s, and the last case was recorded in 2007. Thousands of women were affected. An obvious and undeniable phenomenon is the negative attitude towards the Roma at all levels of society, including amongst health care professionals. This is the basic characteristics of the current situation in society in relation to the Roma.

Holocaust of the Roma 70 years after the war

The Holocaust of the Roma in the Czech Republic remained, until recently, unknown. A sad fact is that it would have probably remained so, if protests, which were originally a part of commemorative events at one of the two Protectorate Concentration Camps for the Roma, Lety u Písku, wouldn’t have spoken against the long-lasting presence of a pig farm on the site of the camp. Its very existence was a humiliating element in the Romani pieta. The cultural public in the CR and Europe, repeatedly voiced the request towards the Czech government, to take care of such a disgrace by either demolition or by transfer of the pig farm somewhere else. It is indisputable, however, that the Czech government reached a consensus in 2017 to destroy the pig farm and has already taken concrete steps to do so.

The role of the non-governmental sector

While the first president, Václav Havel, respected the non-governmental (NGO) sector and supported its embedding in the structures of society, his successor, Václav Klaus, denied the civil rights sector such a possibility and he was very clear about it. All of that played a negative part in the creation of the civil rights sector in the CR, that considerably lags behind other states, with a more traditional and long-lasting democracy.

Already in 1991, the Association of Roma in Moravia (ARM) was established, as well as the Association of Experts and Friends of the Museum of Romani Culture. The efforts of the latter led, in 2005, to the establishment of a state museum incorporated into a network of professional museum institutions. A unique workplace focusing on building, preservation and presentation of an original collection of Romani items, is a rarity in Europe.

Shortly after, a youth centre Drom (Path) was created in Brno, as well as the organization IQ Roma Servis. Romodrom operates in Prague, where the international festival Khamoro has been organized for the past nineteen years, by Word 21. In the fields of media and internet news, has achieved a high level of prestige. Since 1999, some newspapers have been published – a fortnightly, Romano hangos, for nineteen years in a row now, and a monthly periodical, Romano voďi (Romani soul). An authentic Romani civil rights movement, which would work as the rightful spokesperson of the entire Romani population in the Czech Republic, has not emerged though. The question remains whether the young, educated Roma generation will be strong and ambitious enough to create such an authentic representation. If so, it will be an unmistakable sign of the regenerative power of the Roma community in the wake of centuries of persecution and discrimination.

Roma in Slovakia

The oldest records about the Roma in Slovakia dates back to the second half of the 14th century; they were mentioned in the Zemplín County records, in 1377 and 1381. In 1417, there was a group of three hundred, led by their king (Sindel) and dukes (Panuel, Michal, and Ondrej). They came from Budín, passing through Košice and heading towards Bratislava, presenting themselves as penitents from ‘Little Egypt’. The locals initially behaved in a hospitable way. Noblemen, monarchs and even the Pope issued protective decrees and safe conduct letters. Such a letter was issued for the ‘Gypsy Duke Ladislav’, by Sigismund of Luxemburg, at the Spiš Castle in 1423.

The Ottoman Empire enlarged its border in the 16th and 17th centuries to the southern part of Slovakia. At the time of war, both sides, Turkish and Slovak, were using the services of the local inhabitants. It was an opportunity for Romani blacksmiths who, apart from agricultural tools, could provide parts of weapons. The Roma at noble courts acted as musicians and soldiers as well. The oldest records regarding the first Romani settlements on the territory of present-day Slovakia, also come from the 16th century.

At the Age of Enlightenment, Empress Maria Theresa and Joseph II, tried to assimilate the Roma living in the Hungarian territories of the Hapsburg Empire. Their approach included some of modern ideas; for example, a focus on school attendance and the education of children. One of their measures was also documentation of the Empire’s citizens. We learn that in the second half of the 18th century, the Roma living in the Slovak territories were mostly settled, working as blacksmiths, musicians and occasionally as farmers.

Recurrent efforts trying to regulate the life of the Roma started to appear at the end of the 19th century. As a preparatory measure, a census was carried out. In 1893, there were almost 245,000 Roma living in Hungary, in other words 1.8% of all inhabitants. Up to 90% of them were settled Roma. Considering the current Slovak border, there were more than 35,000 Roma living in given counties in 1893 and only 2,000 of these were nomads.

After the birth of Czechoslovakia in 1918, whose Slovakian territories included many Roma, there were major efforts to take control of the nomadic Roma. In 1927, a Law on Itinerant Gypsies was adopted, based on which, it was obligatory to report regularly at police stations in the home county of the family and to come back if summoned. A “Gypsy survey” was in place as well.

The saddest chapter of modern Romani history is the period of the Second World War (1939-1945). The military Slovak state, which came into existence in 1939 following the break-up of Czechoslovakia, followed the discriminatory and racist laws of Nazi Germany. In 1940, in line with the military law, the Roma and the Jews were stripped of the possibility of enlisting in the armed forces. They were compelled to work in labour camps as building and construction workers.

After the Vienna Arbitration in November 1938, the southern and eastern regions of Slovakia became a part of Admiral Horthy’s Hungary. The Roma were gradually forced out of society, they weren’t allowed to enter public places or to go to schools. The situation became even worse at the beginning of 1944, when the majority of Roma were deported to labour and concentration camps; people from eastern and southern Slovakia were deported to the Detention Camp in Komárno from which they were sent to the Concentration Camp Dachau or other Concentration Camps.

In April, 1941, based on the notice aimed at the “correction of the Gypsy situation”, the Olah Roma were prohibited from nomadizing and the settled Roma had to remove their housing from public roads. The Roma weren’t allowed to use public transportation, they had limited access to public places, to cities and villages. Another persecution measure was the establishment of the so-called labour institutes for Romani men. They were forced to do the most difficult kind of work building dams, roads and railways. The largest institutes were in Dubnice na Váhom, Ilava, Orava, and in Hanušovce nad Topľou.

In August 1944, the Slovak National Uprising broke out in Slovakia. After its suppression by the German army, reprisals against the military personnel, insurgents and civilians started. The Roma were persecuted for their active participation in the partisan movements and a suspicion of their co-operation in the revolt was enough to be punished. Executions and deportations to places of mass executions in Kremnička, Nemeckej, Kováčov, Dolný Turček and in the Jewish cemetery in Zvolen, followed. The majority of Romani victims came from Ilija (the county of Banská Štiavnica), Čierny Balog (the county of Brezno), Tisovec (the county of Rimavská Sobota), and Lutila (Žiar nad Hronom).

The persecution of Roma reached its climax in November 1944, in Dubnice nad Váhom. A Gypsy Detention Camp was built, and Romani families were deported there. Cold winter weather and insufficient hygiene had a deleterious impact on the health conditions of the inmates, the most serious being an epidemic of typhoid fever. The camp was put into quarantine and the German command ordered the execution of 26 infected people (including women and children) in 1945. The camp was dissolved before the arrival of the frontlines of the Red Army. With the advancing front, the brutality spiked. Several Romani communities were murdered on the southern territory of Slovakia, for example in Slatina (the county of Levice) or near Trhová Hradská (the county of Dunajská Streda).

After the end of the Second World War, Roma from Slovakia started to immigrate to the Czech Lands where they could find better employment and housing. They were settling the borderline regions after the Germans had left. Similarly, the Roma were leaving eastern Slovakia in the 50s to move to the city centres (Most, Sokolov, Teplice, Ústí nad Labem, Chomutov, Cheb, Kladno or Ostravsko) – often as a result of organized recruiting. The state bodies after the WWII refused to see the Roma as an ethnic group. They weren’t even using the term Roma or Gypsy, but ‘people of Gypsy origin’ instead.

One of the measures was a forced prohibition of nomadizing, carried out by a law adopted in 1958. The prohibition affected a smaller group of Olah Roma. In 1965, the Czechoslovak government outlined a ‘conception of the liquidation of Romani settlements and the following dispersion of the Gypsies’ on the territory of Bohemia and Moravia. In 1969, the Governmental Committee for the Matters of Gypsy Citizens was created at the Slovak Ministry of Social Affairs. Similar committees were created at the county levels and a network of social curators was gradually coming into existence.

The political changes after 1989 meant for the Roma the right of self-determination. In 1991, the newly approved, Basics of the Governmental Policy of the Slovak Republic towards the Roma gave them the status of a national minority. That enabled the formation of cultural unions, interest groups and non-profit organizations as well as the establishment of the Romathan theatre in Košice and the Department of Romani Culture in Nitra.

In consequence of the socio-economic transformation, the majority of Slovak Roma faces social exclusion. To co-ordinate the policies aiming at the integration, the Slovak Government Plenipotentiary for Romani Communities was established in 2001. The democratization of society enabled the formation of the Romani political representation. Several Romani political parties were created, but none of them received enough votes to secure seats in the Parliament. In the 2012-2016 election period, Peter Pollák won a seat for the political movement, OĽANO.

Rights held by: Jana Horváthova — Zuzana Kumanová | Licensed by: Jana Horváthova — Zuzana Kumanová | Licensed under: CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 International | Provided by: RomArchive


Literature (Czech Lands)

Davidová, Eva: Cesty Romů. Romano drom 1945–1990. Univerzita Palackého v Olomouci, Olomouc, 1995.

Davidová, Eva, Lhotka, Petr, Vojtová, Petra: Právní postavení Romů v zemích Evropské unie. 1. vydání. Praha: Triton, 2005. p.156.

Horváthová, Jana: Devleskere čhave. Svedectvom starých pohľadníc. Region Poprad s.r.o, Poprad 2006 (in English, too).

Life in black and white. Gallery, Praha, 2000.

Pavelčíková, Nina: Romové v českých zemích v letech 1945–1989. Sešity Úřad dokumentace a vyšetřování zločinů komunismu, no. 12, Praha, 2004.

Petráš, René - Petrův, Helena - Scheu, Harald, Christian: Menšiny a parvo v České republice. Auditorium, Praha 2009,

Romové v České republice. Sešity pro sociální politiku, Socioklub, Praha 1999.

Wyatt, Chad, Evans: Roma Rising: romské obrození. Argo, Praha, 2005 (in English, too).


Literature (Slovakia)

Horváthová-Čajánková, Emília: Cigáni na Slovensku. Slovenská akadémia vied, Bratislava, 1964.

Jurová, Anna: Vývoj rómskej problematiky na Slovensku po roku 1945. Goldpress Publishers, Bratislava 1993.

Edit. Michal Vašečka: Čačipen pal o Roma, Súhrnná správa o Rómoch na Slovensku. Bratislava 2002. p. 911.


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What is bohemian?

By Andy Walker
Today, Radio 4

The word "bohemian" is bandied about now, applied to everyone from Pete Doherty to Kate Moss, but what exactly is one?

Eccentric. Rebellious. Amoral, quite often. But bohemianism was, maybe still is, about much more than just frightening the horses.

The writer Virginia Nicholson recently told the Today programme that "in a sense, we are all bohemians today".

But what is a bohemian, how do you spot one, and might you be a boho, too?

"Bohemian" was originally a term with pejorative undertones given to Roma gypsies, commonly believed by the French to have originated in Bohemia, in central Europe.

The Oxford English Dictionary's definition mentions someone "especially an artist, literary man, or actor, who leads a free, vagabond, or irregular life, not being particular as to the society he frequents, and despising conventionalities generally".

But the connotation rapidly became a romantic one. From its birth in Paris in the 1850s, and the huge success of Murgier's play Scenes de la vie de Boheme, the ethic spread rapidly.

Gypsy clothes became all the fashion, sparking a style which lives on today through lovers of boho-chic like Sienna Miller and Kate Moss. And artists and poets from Baudelaire to van Gogh characterised bohemian ideals.

Its foundations in the Romantic movement of the 19th Century imbued bohemians with an almost quasi-religious sense of purpose.

In Puccini's opera La Boheme, the poet Rodolfo and his friends do not shiver in their Parisian garret where Mimi's hand is famously frozen merely because of their poverty. Theirs, as Rodolfo has it, is a higher, if more sensual, calling.

What's my employment? Writing.

Is that a living? Hardly.

I've wit though wealth be wanting,

Ladies of rank and fashion

All inspire me with passion;

In dreams and fond illusions,

Richer is none on earth than I.

Although steeped in its French roots, the bohemian ideal transferred easily to many countries and cultures.

In Britain, the pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and the aesthetic movement of the 19th Century imbued bohemianism with a dangerous, dashing, social cachet. Later, the exploits of the Bloomsbury group - one of whom was Nicholson's grandmother, Vanessa Bell - thrust it into the cultural limelight.

Across the Atlantic, poets and writers like Jack Kerouac, William S Burroughs and Paul Bowles led their own offshoot. And the playwright Arthur Miller's prose conjures the musty essence of that temple of American bohemia, Manhattan's Chelsea Hotel, where "there are no vacuum cleaners, no rules and shame".

"Everyone has a view of what the bohemian is," says Nicholson. "The bohemian is an outsider, defines themselves as an outsider and is defined by the world as an outsider... A lot of people regard them as subversive, elitist and possibly just a little bit immature."

Bohemians were typically urban, liberal in outlook, but with few visible political passions and, above all, creative. Though critical of organised religion, they were keen - witness the pre-Raphaelites and Oscar Wilde - to defend and explore the religious spirit.

Above all, they defied the constrictions of hearth and home and the false morality which they believed underpinned it.

In essence, bohemianism represented a personal, cultural and social reaction to the bourgeois life. And, once the latter was all but swept away by the maelstrom that was the 1960s, the former was doomed, too.

The late Ian Dury lived what could be considered a bohemian life, constantly on the move, awash with musical and artistic creativity, challenging preconceptions of disability, while costumed in a range of sometimes outlandish second-hand clothes, famously complemented with "new boots and panties".

But, apparently the freedom of bohemia palled even for him, as he explained in typical fashion:

I wanna be straight, I wanna be straight

I'm sick and tired of taking drugs and staying up late

I wanna confirm, I wanna conform

I wanna be safe and I wanna be snug and I wanna be warm

So who, today, is a true bohemian?

Keith Richards who, by his own admission "used to walk down Oxford Street with a slab of hash as big as a skateboard", is regularly touted as the ultimate boho. But, as he told the Daily Telegraph's Neil McCormick: "The image thing is a ball-and-chain. There's nobody like Keith Richards that would ever be alive. No way. But you can't buck the image. As long as I don't have to be that guy all the time, or with my friends."

Paul Stokes, associate editor at the NME, says: "It's more difficult with Pete Doherty. When Pete first came out his talent was enormous. But his tolerance for the bohemian lifestyle has hit the buffers. His work with the Libertines was lauded, but the missed gigs with his next band Babyshambles saw his fans lose patience."

Stokes cites artists like Patrick Wolf, Naysayer and MGMT as worthy heirs to the bohemian tradition. Morrissey, he says, has lived a boho life but his love of boxing and league football now count against him. And Amy Winehouse "doesn't strike me as someone who would drop everything and go to Marrakech".

Laren Stover, author of Bohemian Manifesto: A Field Guide to Living on the Edge, has identified five archetypes: Nouveau, gypsy, beat, zen and dandy.

Bohemians might look for work as nude models, she suggests, will be banned from fancy restaurants for use of patchouli and will have a bookcase containing all the Romantics, Jack Kerouac's Dharma Bums and erotica by Anais Nin.

"And in the pantry there are obscure grains from South America, medieval spices and a miniature Krishna," Stover says. "Your diet may be considered extreme: macrobiotic, vegan, or a real nose-to-tailer who knows 100 ways to cook and saute a snout. And nothing you wear was inspired by a fashion magazine."

Nicholson, author of Among the Bohemians, believes today's bohos retain that original spirit of revolt. "We take it for granted that society is fluid, that informality prevails. On the other hand there's still plenty to reject: there's consumerism.

"In a sense the environment movement could be seen as today's bohemians. There's that sense of sacrifice, there's that sense of purity, there's that sense of a burning mission, of giving up things."

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Men bohemian gypsy


Practice of an unconventional lifestyle

For other uses, see Bohemian (disambiguation).

Not to be confused with Bohemistics or Bohemism.

Bohemianism is the practice of an unconventional lifestyle, often in the company of like-minded people and with few permanent ties. It involves musical, artistic, literary, or spiritual pursuits. In this context, bohemians may be wanderers, adventurers, or vagabonds.

This use of the word in the English language was imported from French in the mid 19th century and was used to describe the non-traditional lifestyles of artists, writers, journalists, musicians, and actors in major European cities.[1]

Bohemians were associated with unorthodox or anti-establishment political or social viewpoints, which often were expressed through free love, frugality, and—in some cases—simple living, vandwelling or voluntary poverty. A more economically privileged, wealthy, or even aristocratic bohemian circle is sometimes referred to as haute bohème[2] (literally "high Bohemia").[3]

The term bohemianism emerged in France in the early 19th century, out of perceived similarities between the Bohemians and the Romani. Bohémien was a common term for the Romani people of France, who were mistakenly thought to have reached France in the 15th century via Bohemia (the western part of modern Czech Republic). Bohemianism and its adjective bohemian in this specific context are not connected to the native inhabitants of this region (the Czechs).[4]


European bohemianism[edit]

Literary and artistic bohemians were associated in the French imagination with the roving Romani people. Not only were Romani called bohémiens in French because they were believed to have come to France from Bohemia,[4][5] but literary bohemians and the Romani were both outsiders, apart from conventional society and untroubled by its disapproval. Use of the French and English terms to refer to the Romani is now old-fashioned and archaic, respectively, and both the French and English terms carry a connotation of arcane enlightenment (and are considered antonyms of the word philistine) and the less frequently intended, pejorative connotation of carelessness about personal hygiene and marital fidelity.

The title character in Carmen (1876), a French opera set in the Spanish city of Seville, is referred to as a "bohémienne" in Meilhac and Halévy's libretto. Her signature aria declares love itself to be a "gypsy child" (enfant de Bohême), going where it pleases and obeying no laws.

The term bohemian has come to be very commonly accepted in our day as the description of a certain kind of literary gypsy, no matter in what language he speaks, or what city he inhabits .... A Bohemian is simply an artist or "littérateur" who, consciously or unconsciously, secedes from conventionality in life and in art.

— Westminster Review, 1862[4])

Henri Murger's collection of short stories Scènes de la vie de bohème (Scenes of Bohemian Life), published in 1845, was written to glorify and legitimize the bohemian lifestyle.[6] Murger's collection formed the basis of Giacomo Puccini's operaLa bohème (1896).

In England, bohemian in this sense initially was popularised in William Makepeace Thackeray's novel, Vanity Fair, published in 1848. Public perceptions of the alternative lifestyles supposedly led by artists were further molded by George du Maurier's romanticized best-selling novel of Bohemian culture Trilby (1894). The novel outlines the fortunes of three expatriate English artists, their Irish model, and two colourful Central European musicians, in the artist quarter of Paris.

In Spanish literature, the Bohemian impulse can be seen in Ramón del Valle-Inclán's play Luces de Bohemia, published in 1920.

In his song La Bohème, Charles Aznavour described the Bohemian lifestyle in Montmartre. The film Moulin Rouge! (2001) also imagines the Bohemian lifestyle of actors and artists in Montmartre at the turn of the 20th century.

American bohemianism[edit]

In the 1850s, Bohemian culture started to become established in the United States via immigration.[7] In New York City in 1857, a group of 15 to 20 young, cultured journalists flourished as self-described bohemians until the American Civil War began in 1861.[8] This group gathered at a German bar on Broadway called Pfaff's beer cellar.[9] Members included their leader Henry Clapp Jr., Ada Clare, Walt Whitman, Fitz Hugh Ludlow, and actress Adah Isaacs Menken.[9]

Similar groups in other cities were broken up as well by the Civil War and reporters spread out to report on the conflict. During the war, correspondents began to assume the title bohemian, and newspapermen in general took up the moniker. Bohemian became synonymous with newspaper writer.[8] In 1866, war correspondent Junius Henri Browne, who wrote for the New York Tribune and Harper's Magazine, described bohemian journalists such as he was, as well as the few carefree women and lighthearted men he encountered during the war years.[10]

San Francisco journalist Bret Harte first wrote as "The Bohemian" in The Golden Era in 1861, with this persona taking part in many satirical doings, the lot published in his book Bohemian Papers in 1867. Harte wrote, "Bohemia has never been located geographically, but any clear day when the sun is going down, if you mount Telegraph Hill, you shall see its pleasant valleys and cloud-capped hills glittering in the West ..."[11]

Mark Twain included himself and Charles Warren Stoddard in the bohemian category in 1867.[8] By 1872, when a group of journalists and artists who gathered regularly for cultural pursuits in San Francisco were casting about for a name, the term bohemian became the main choice, and the Bohemian Club was born.[12] Club members who were established and successful, pillars of their community, respectable family men, redefined their own form of bohemianism to include people like them who were bons vivants, sportsmen, and appreciators of the fine arts.[11] Club member and poet George Sterling responded to this redefinition:

Any good mixer of convivial habits considers he has a right to be called a bohemian. But that is not a valid claim. There are two elements, at least, that are essential to Bohemianism. The first is devotion or addiction to one or more of the Seven Arts; the other is poverty. Other factors suggest themselves: for instance, I like to think of my Bohemians as young, as radical in their outlook on art and life; as unconventional, and, though this is debatable, as dwellers in a city large enough to have the somewhat cruel atmosphere of all great cities.

— Parry, 2005[13])

Despite his views, Sterling associated with the Bohemian Club, and caroused with artist and industrialist alike at the Bohemian Grove.[13]

Canadian composer Oscar Ferdinand Telgmann and poet George Frederick Cameron wrote the song "The Bohemian" in the 1889 opera Leo, the Royal Cadet.[14]

The impish American writer and Bohemian Club member Gelett Burgess, who coined the word blurb, supplied this description of the amorphous place called Bohemia:

To take the world as one finds it, the bad with the good, making the best of the present moment—to laugh at Fortune alike whether she be generous or unkind—to spend freely when one has money, and to hope gaily when one has none—to fleet the time carelessly, living for love and art—this is the temper and spirit of the modern Bohemian in his outward and visible aspect. It is a light and graceful philosophy, but it is the Gospel of the Moment, this exoteric phase of the Bohemian religion; and if, in some noble natures, it rises to a bold simplicity and naturalness, it may also lend its butterfly precepts to some very pretty vices and lovable faults, for in Bohemia one may find almost every sin save that of Hypocrisy. ...

His faults are more commonly those of self-indulgence, thoughtlessness, vanity and procrastination, and these usually go hand-in-hand with generosity, love and charity; for it is not enough to be one’s self in Bohemia, one must allow others to be themselves, as well. ...

What, then, is it that makes this mystical empire of Bohemia unique, and what is the charm of its mental fairyland? It is this: there are no roads in all Bohemia! One must choose and find one’s own path, be one’s own self, live one’s own life.

— Ayloh, 1902[15])

In New York City, the pianist Rafael Joseffy formed an organization of musicians in 1907 with friends, such as Rubin Goldmark, called "The Bohemians (New York Musicians' Club)".[16] Near Times Square, Joel Rinaldo presided over "Joel's Bohemian Refreshery", where the Bohemian crowd gathered from before the turn of the 20th century until Prohibition began to bite.[17][18][19][20]Jonathan Larson's musicalRent, and specifically the song "La Vie Boheme," portrayed the postmodern Bohemian culture of New York in the late 20th century.

In May 2014, a story on NPR suggested, after a century and a half, some Bohemian ideal of living in poverty for the sake of art had fallen in popularity among the latest generation of American artists. In the feature, a recent graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design related "her classmates showed little interest in living in garrets and eating ramen noodles."[21]


The term has become associated with various artistic or academic communities and is used as a generalized adjective describing such people, environs, or situations: bohemian (boho—informal) is defined in The American College Dictionary as "a person with artistic or intellectual tendencies, who lives and acts with no regard for conventional rules of behavior".

Many prominent European and American figures of the 19th and 20th centuries belonged to the bohemian subculture, and any comprehensive "list of bohemians" would be tediously long. Bohemianism has been approved of by some bourgeois writers such as Honoré de Balzac,[citation needed] but most conservative cultural critics do not condone bohemian lifestyles.[citation needed]

In Bohemian Manifesto: a Field Guide to Living on the Edge, author Laren Stover breaks down the bohemian into five distinct mind-sets or styles, as follows:

  • Nouveau: bohemians that are rich who attempt to join traditional bohemianism with contemporary culture
  • Gypsy: the expatriate types, they create their own Gypsy ideal of nirvana wherever they go
  • Beat: also drifters, but non-materialist and art-focused
  • Zen: "post-beat", focus on spirituality rather than art
  • Dandy: no money, but try to appear as if they have it by buying and displaying expensive or rare items – such as brands of alcohol[22]

Aimée Crocker, an American world traveler, adventuress, heiress, and mystic, was dubbed the "queen of Bohemia" in the 1910s by the world press for living an uninhibited, sexually liberated, and aggressively non-conformist life in San Francisco, New York, and Paris. She spent the bulk of her fortune inherited from her father Edwin B. Crocker, a railroad tycoon and art collector, on traveling all over the world (lingering the longest in Hawaii, India, Japan, and China) and partying with famous artists of her time such as Oscar Wilde, Robert Louis Stevenson, Mark Twain, the Barrymores, Enrico Caruso, Isadora Duncan, Henri Matisse, Auguste Rodin, and Rudolph Valentino. Crocker had countless affairs and married five times in five different decades of her life, each man being in his twenties. She was famous for her tattoos and pet snakes and was reported to have started the first Buddhist colony in Manhattan. Spiritually inquisitive, Crocker had a ten-year affair with occultist Aleister Crowley and was a devoted student of Hatha Yoga.[citation needed]

Maxwell Bodenheim, an American poet and novelist, was known as the king of Greenwich Village Bohemians during the 1920s and his writing brought him international fame during the Jazz Age.

Former brewery turned artist center in Prenzlauer Berg

In the 20th-century United States, the bohemian impulse was famously seen in the 1940s hipsters, the 1950s Beat generation (exemplified by writers such as William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti), the much more widespread 1960s counterculture, and 1960s and 1970s hippies.

Rainbow Gatherings may be seen as another contemporary worldwide expression of the bohemian impulse.[23] An American example is Burning Man, an annual participatory arts festival held in the Nevada desert.

In 2001, political and cultural commentator David Brooks contended that much of the cultural ethos of well-to-do middle-class Americans is Bohemian-derived, coining the oxymoron "Bourgeois Bohemians" or "Bobos".[24] A similar term in Germany is Bionade-Biedermeier, a 2007 German neologism combining Bionade (a trendy lemonade brand) and Biedermeier (an era of introspective Central European culture between 1815 and 1848). The coinage was introduced in 2007 by Henning Sußebach, a German journalist, in an article that appeared in Zeitmagazin concerning Berlin's Prenzlauer Berg lifestyle.[25] The hyphenated term gained traction and has been quoted and referred to since. A German ARD TV broadcaster used the title Boheme and Biedermeier in a 2009 documentary about Berlin's Prenzlauer Berg.[26] The main focus was on protagonists, that contributed to the image of a paradise for the (organic and child-raising) well-to-do, depicting cafés where "Bionade-Biedermeier sips from Fair-Trade".[26]

See also[edit]


  1. ^First occurrence in this sense in English, 1848 (OED).
  2. ^"SeaDict Online Dictionary". Archived from the original on 6 April 2015. Retrieved 16 November 2013.
  3. ^Turque, Bill (17 February 2013). "Montgomery County looks to get hip". Washington Post. Retrieved 16 November 2013.
  4. ^ abcHarper, Douglas (November 2001). "Bohemian etymology". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 2008-12-27.
  5. ^BohemianArchived 2018-08-14 at the Wayback Machine in The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company.
  6. ^"Scenes de la Vie de Boheme". Retrieved 2008-04-22.
  7. ^Roy Kotynek, John Cohassey (2008). "American Cultural Rebels: Avant-Garde and Bohemian Artists, Writers and Musicians from the 1850s through the 1960s". McFarland
  8. ^ abcThe Mark Twain Project. Explanatory Notes regarding the letter from Samuel Langhorne Clemens to Charles Warren Stoddard, 23 Apr 1867. Retrieved on July 26, 2009.
  9. ^ abTarnoff, Benjamin (2014). The Bohemians: Mark Twain and the San Francisco Writers Who Reinvented American Literature. Penguin Press. pp. 54–55. ISBN .
  10. ^Brown, Junius Henri. Four Years in Secessia, O.D. Case and Co., 1866
  11. ^ abOgden, Dunbar H.; Douglas McDermott; Robert Károly Sarlós Theatre West: Image and Impact, Rodopi, 1990, pp. 17–42. ISBN 90-5183-125-0
  12. ^Bohemian ClubConstitution, By-laws, and Rules, Officers, Committees, and Members, Bohemian Club, 1904, p. 11. Semi-centennial High Jinks in the Grove, Held in Field Circle on the Night of Friday July 28, 1922: Haig Patigian, Sire Semi-centennial high jinks in the Grove, 1922], Bohemian Club, 1922, pp. 11–22.
  13. ^ abParry, 2005, p. 238.
  14. ^"Leo, the Royal cadet [microform] : Cameron, George Frederick, 1854–1885 : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive". 2001-03-10. Retrieved 2011-12-30.
  15. ^Burgess, Gelett. "Where is Bohemia?" collected in The Romance of the Commonplace. San Francisco: Ayloh, 1902. pp. 127–28
  16. ^Krehbiel, Henry Edward. The Bohemians (New York Musicians' Club) A historical narrative and record. Written and compiled for the celebration of the fifteenth anniversary of the foundation of the Club (1921), pp. 7–11.
  17. ^"SEIZE $75,000 LIQUOR IN BIG 'DRY' DRIVE". The New York Times. September 2, 1920. Retrieved March 26, 2011.
  18. ^"You Mustn't Crack Up the Darwinian Theory at Joe's". The New York Times. November 2, 1913. Retrieved March 26, 2011.
  19. ^Peters, Lisa N. (February 18, 2011). "Max Weber's Joel's Café: A Forgotten New York Establishment Comes to Light". Spanierman Modern Contemporary and Modern Art Blog. Retrieved March 26, 2011.
  20. ^"Joel's bohemian refreshery" Restaurant-ing through history
  21. ^Neda Ulaby (Director) (2014-05-15). "In Pricey Cities, Being A Bohemian Starving Artist Gets Old Fast". All Things Considered. NPR. Retrieved 2014-05-31.
  22. ^Stover, Laren (2004). Bohemian Manifesto: a Field Guide to Living on the Edge. Bulfinch Press. ISBN .
  23. ^Niman, Michael I. (1997). People of the Rainbow: a Nomadic Utopia. Knoxville: The University of Tennessee Press. ISBN .
  24. ^Brooks, David (2001). Bobos in Paradise: the New Upper Class and How They Got There. New York NY: Simon and Schuster. ISBN .
  25. ^Sußebach, Henning (2009-01-08). "Szene: Bionade-Biedermeier". Die Zeit. ISSN 0044-2070. Retrieved 2016-09-02.
  26. ^ "ARD-Doku 'Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg': Boheme und Biedermeier". Archived from the original on 2015-09-28. Retrieved 2015-09-27.


Further reading[edit]

  • Levin, Joanna (2010). Bohemia in America, 1858–1920. Stanford University Press. ISBN .
  • Smith, Lemuel Douglas (1961). The Real Bohemia: A Sociological and Psychological Study of the Beats. Literary Licensing, LLC. ISBN . A study of the beat lifestyle of the 1950s and 1960s
  • Siegel, Jerrold (1999). Bohemian Paris: Culture, Politics, and the Boundaries of Bourgeois Life, 1830–1930. The Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN .
  • Tarnoff, Benjamin (2014) The Bohemians: Mark Twain and the San Francisco Writers Who Reinvented American Literature. Penguin Books. ISBN 978-1594204739.

External links[edit]

Gypsy Man shows off his custom made Lurcher Ring

Bohemian Outfits for Men – 27 Ways How to Get a Bohemian Style


↓ 26 – Natural Hippie Vibe

While traditional bohemians consider going barefoot, modern-day guys will likely object as they find the option unhygienic (which, of course, it is). So go for loafers and slip-ons, but you can also opt for leather-strap sandals as the trendsetting bohos of this generation love them. But cross Nike pool slides and velcro sandals out of your list, please.


↓ 25 – The Traveler


↓ 24 – Boho In The Beach

While modern fashion rules tell you to wear pants everywhere but the beach, bohemian men break the norms by embracing shorts.


↓ 23 – Retro-Vintage Shirt

Save the pinstripes and checks for your workwear, and let your creative side run its course. The style would also include florals, paisleys, and even subtle animal prints. Just make sure they’re catchy enough. Embrace your bohemian self and choose a lightweight cotton shirt. DO NOT iron it – don’t mind the creases as they are an essential part of the boho style. One more thing, rolled-up long sleeves and open buttons give off the laid-back attitude you want.


↓ 22 – Boho-Inspired Scarf

When the weather gets too cold, put the shorts away and opt for jeans instead. They are another wardrobe staple that bohemians love. Make sure that your jeans have the appropriate weekend casual style. Steer clear of those smart, dark denim you wear on casual Fridays and washdays. Instead, opt for rugged and ripped, light or mid-blue jeans. Also, pleated trousers create a natural vintage feel. It would be ideal to wear them baggy in the legs and belted at the waist.


↓ 21 – Summer Boho Look

The summer season is the perfect time to have a wardrobe overhaul. Look for pieces that are more relaxed yet creative. And these bohemian menswear styles are ideal for men wanting to look chic while being comfortable during the hot weather.


↓ 20 – Boho Cardigan


↓ 19 – Bohemian Blazer

The bohemian style involves being confident enough to rock unstructured silhouettes. For instance, it would be inappropriate to don a tailored blazer in fall or winter. So instead, keep a preppy look by choosing loose fits and by leaving the buttons undone. It’s even better if your outerwear looks a little worn out. For backup, go for lightweight, oversized, and patterned pieces.


↓ 18 – Bohemian Suit

If you’ve been invited to a boho-themed party, let layering be your “plus-one.” For starters, some baggy cuffed trousers and a loose button-up shirt will do. And if you’re in the mood, get some pieces with bold patterns, like this funky suit.


↓ 17 – Winter In Bohemian Style

Bohemian winter wear may sound confusing and ambiguous to many men, but it can be effortless and easy to carry if the right dress is picked. Wear a faded blue or light-colored sweater with khaki pants. You can also carry it ideally with shoulder-length hair to look unique and different. RECOMMENDED: Trench Coat Outfits Men-19 Ways to Wear Trench Coats this Winter


↓ 16 – Rustic Bohemian Look for Work

Men with medium-toned bodies can opt for rustic style. This means wearing khaki pants with a triple layer of shirt and with a waistcoat and a jacket. However, you must ensure that the shirt must be worn with a different colored waistcoat and a complimenting coat color. You can let your hair be loose or tied in a loose man bun to complement the whole look.


↓ 15 – The Ripped Denim Swag

Ripped denim is the easiest and the safest way to pull off the bohemian look. You can complement it with a long coat and a printed scarf to add more charm to the look. This look is ideal for young boys as well as men in their middle ages. This can make your personality look subtle as well as fun at the same time. Check out these Men Ripped Jeans Outfits-18 Tips How To Wear Ripped Jeans


↓ 14 – The Old Age Boho Look

Who says the Bohemian style is only for young or middle-aged men? Let us prove you wrong by giving old age the perfect and the most lit bohemian style. A denim jacket with a plain shirt and trousers coupled with lots of stone accessories is the ultimate way to go by. In addition, you can have a full long beard and hair pulled back in a man bun to add more to the look. Here are 17 Smart Outfits for Men Over 50- Fashion Ideas and Trends


↓ 13 – The Folded Pants Style

Folded pants not only look smart but add charm to your personality. To up your bohemian game, wear khaki pants, fold them and wear a contrasting colored button-down shirt with lots of hand accessories and a hat! This will look fabulous if you’re planning to go on a beach date with your loved one. Here are 20 Outfit Ideas to Wear Black Pants with Brown Shoes for Men


↓ 12 – Go Fancy

Don’t want to wear many pieces of clothing? Want to look bohemian and all casual? Well, here is an easy tip for all the men out there. Wear a fancy and different textured shirt that will complement your event and give you the right bohemian look that can be carried to the beach or a casual BBQ lunch with friends.


↓ 11 – Bohemian Pants

Sometimes you don’t want to opt for crazy colors. For such days, the best thing to do is opt for the basic colors yet style them to give you the best bohemian style. Ripped denim with a white vest, a gray scarf, and a black jacket will provide you with the right style to carry.


But if you want something genuinely bohemian, go for funky boho harem pants, perfect for a beach day!




↓ 10 – The Artistic Boho Style

If you have an artistic flair to your personality, then why not dress creatively? To do a fusion between the bohemian style and some artistic style, all you have to do is pick on a jacket, or waistcoat multicolored and printed, wear it over your tee shirt and pants. If you’re looking for something more fun, then wear a hat to complete the look. RECOMMENDED: Men Outfits with Hats – 15 Ways to Wear Different Hats Fashionably


↓ 9 – Tattoo It Up!

For the guys in their 20s or 30s, they must change their looks; they are also willing to experiment and choose the style which will suit them best. For such experimental souls, we suggest why not go for an arm tattoo. You can combine it with your rugged bohemian style and shoulder-length hair. This is an easy way to carry yourself without getting in the hassle of thinking about carrying different sorts of dresses.


↓ 8 – Hairstyle With Bohemian Outfits

Men are often confused about the hairstyle as to which style will look best with their bohemian style. Our best pick is the man bun! If tied correctly, the man bun not only looks classy but makes your personality shine out. Man-bun suits men of all ages, so it is not at all age bounding. Have a look at the Men Scarves Fashion; 18 Tips How to Wear Scarves for Guys


↓ 7 – Go Formal In Bohemian

Most men are reluctant to go informal, especially in Bohemian outfits. Most men are confused about what to put together, so the outfit looks formal yet bohemian in fashion. An easy solution is to pick your favourite black skinnies with a tee shirt and leather jacket. Add a hat and a complimenting colored scarf, and here it is your perfect bohemian and formal look!


↓ 6 – Colorful Bohemian Party Outfit

Bohemian fashion can vary in prints, colors, or simply the way you wear different pieces together. A fun way to look bohemian at a wedding is to wear a printed colorful coat over your formal dress. This will make you look unique and fashionable at the same time. RECOMMENDED: Men’s Party Outfits; 14 Best Party Wear for Men for All Seasons


↓ 5 – Footwear With Bohemian Outfits

Patterned shorts are a wardrobe staple for guys. Look for bold botanicals and busy patterns to keep this look stylish. The bohemian look involves the right choice of footwear as well. Wear your sandals with your casual tee and shorts, and enjoy your Sunday relaxing around the town. Sandals don’t only look fashionable but also provide great comfort.


↓ 4 – The Floral Boho Print

Another beautiful yet straightforward way to look bohemian with minimal effort is to opt for a floral print tee shirt. Now, this can be worn with shorts, ripped denim, or formal pants as well.


↓ 3 – How To Dress Like A Bohemian Gentleman

The bohemian gentleman look can be very easily achieved. All you need is a casual button-down shirt combined with a jacket and scarf. This look is very intimidating and gives you the ultimate gentleman look.


↓ 2 – What Accessories Should Men Wear For Boho Look

The bohemian look doesn’t necessarily mean putting on the right clothes. Sometimes it can also be achieved by wearing the right accessories. Wear pendants and long-chain necklaces with bright colored scarves, and you’re all set to rock the look. Check out these Trendy Mens Clothing and Fashion Accessories


↓ 1 – The Printed Scarf

The easiest trick to add the bohemian flair into your persona is to carry an abstract printed scarf with any dress you plan to wear. This trick works wonders on all occasions and at all times and gives you the radiant bohemian look!


The best part about bohemian outfits is that they can be easily composed together and will give you a completely different and unique look. Bohemian style entails the will to express yourself and feel comfortable with your out-of-the-norm outfits.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Where can I buy Boho clothes?

Q. How do I look Bohemian?

A. Start by disregarding skinny jeans and sleek tailoring as options. Instead, choose loose shorts and trousers. And jeans should be ripped and a little worn in.

Q. What shoes look Bohemian?

A. While traditional bohemians consider going barefoot, modern-day guys will likely object as they find the option unhygienic (which, of course, it is). So go for loafers and slip-ons. Still, you can also opt for leather-strap sandals as the trendsetting bohos of this generation love them. But cross Nike pool slides and velcro sandals out of your list, please.

Q. What accessories look Bohemian?

A. No Bohemian man is really complete without the right accessories. A simple straw hat, canvas tote bag, patterned scarf, and wooden bead bracelet will all help you complete the boho look. And steer clear of sleek sunglasses and minimal watches as they are contradictory to the style you’re trying to achieve.


Similar news:

Where to Find Bohemian Clothing for Men: THE ULTIMATE LIST!

Boho Fashion for Men | Bohemian Style for Men

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This list took ages to finish! Why? Because finding online stores that sell unique, good quality bohemian clothing for men is tough! That's why you're probably here, huh? Well, look no further! I've compiled this huge list of awesome places on the internet to find men's bohemian clothing of all styles!

I've rounded up shops that sell:

  • General boho style fashion

  • Earthy and tribal style

  • Dandy, dapper, and victorian styles

  • Edgy, gothic clothes

  • Quirky, fun, and colorful clothes perfect for festivals

  • Authentic and inspired ethnic clothing

Many of these clothes are made by small independent business whose clothes are completely handmade, so please understand that this might result in higher than mainstream retail prices.

Check back often because I'll be updating this list as soon as I find new stores.

This post contains affiliate links.

General Bohemian Style.

For the free spirited guy desiring a casual, effortless boho or hippie look.

Island Importer - Linen suits and separates, perfect for summertime, and beach weddings.

Shein - This is a very large store that has a massive selection of unique mens clothes.

Earthbound Trading Company - Their men's selection has expanded greatly over the past couple years!

Gift Muscle - Eccentric duds at affordable prices. Like seriously, brace yourself to see some pretty amazing clothes.

Umba Love - This cool shop, based in Boulder, CO features clothing and accessories from over 100 local designers and artists!

Hong Tong Shop- Beautiful unisex bohemian clothes including shorts, harem pants, and jackets.

Natural Flow Direct - Unisex tops, perfect for everyday wear and renaissance faires.

Shop Hippie - Fun and funky hippie/boho threads for the entire family!


These sites provide clothing for dudes seeking a more earthy, elven, or mori boy look.

Primitive Tribal Craft - The name says it all! These clothes and accessories are made from handwoven fabrics using ancient and traditional techniques from all over the globe.

Ajjaya- Super awesome ponchos, scarves, shawls, and more!

Elven Forest Creations- As it stands, there's not a ton of men's clothing to choose from, but what they do have is spectacular and worth taking a look at.

Chintamani Alchemistry - Amazing lightweight cotton clothing with raw edges and unique silhouettes. Absolutely perfect for summer, beach time, and Burning Man.

Oriki Designs- Stellar urban boho designs including, tanks, unique cut tops, shorts, kimonos and more.

Natura Spirit Shop - Consciously created earthy clothes accessories made of ethical, eco-friendly and hand-loomed fabrics from Asia, Africa, and Europe.

Dress for Earth - Original designs made from 100% organic, hand woven hemp fabric.


Dapper, vintage inspired duds for the modern gentleman.

Historical Emporium - Victorian replicas and steampunk clothing; perfect for the guy seeking an authentic and bold dandy look.

Unique Vintage - 30s, 40s, and 50s inspired clothing in retro and modern cuts.

River Junction - A huge selection of high quality wild west and Victorian replica clothing, accessories, and footwear.

Contemposuits - This site has a very nice selection of affordable vintage style suits, hats, and shoes! You can find their gangster style suits HERE, and general vintage style HERE.

Atom Retro - James Bond style 70s British cut 3-pieces, mod suits, and separates reminiscent of those worn The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix.

Men's USA - Affordable vintage style suits in all kinds of colors including red, purple, and royal blue!


Dark, edgy, and post-apocalyptic inspired clothing.

Rebel's Market - Edgy pieces that can be put together for an intense look or pick one great piece as the feature of your gothic bohemian outfit.

Dark in the Closet - Elegant neo-Victorian gothic fashion.

Dreamtime Clothing - A little piratey, a little punk, a little tribal, a little post-apocalyptic with a whole lot of style!

Psylo- Urban boho streetwear. Based in the UK with free worldwide shipping for orders over £150.

Delicious Boutique - Handmade in Los Angeles, this is your ultimate shop for post-apocalyptic threads, perfect for Burning Man!


Colorful, flamboyant clothing and festival gear for the eccentric bohemian man.

Shinesty - Fun, allover print suits for all occasions.

Ragstock - Funky new and vintage clothing.

Fashion Nova - Bold clothes for men with quirky taste.

Jackfruit - 80s and 90s inspired original designs in funky tribal prints and neons.

Loud Elephant - Fun and funky hippie/boho clothing sold on eBay.

Global/Ethnic/Afro Punk.

Authentic and global inspired fashion for cultural appreciators.

Karma Place - Fabulous authentic formal and casual Indian clothing.

Kimonoshi - Amazing modern Japanese style kimono shirts, and trousers.

Rus Clothing - Authentic Russian and Ukrainian traditional and contemporary clothing.

D'Iyanu - Stunning Afrocentric tops, bottoms, and suits.

Panesh - A huge selection of formal and casual traditional Indian clothing.

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Do you know of or own a shop that should be on this list?

Tell us about it in a comment below!


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