European Tree of the Year comes from the Czech Republic

European Tree of the Year comes from the Czech Republic

The Guardian of the Flooded Village in Vysočina Region

HomeWhat's NewEuropean Tree of the Year comes from the Czech Republic
The European Tree of the Year is an annual contest held to find the most 'loveable tree' in Europe. In 2020, a lonely pine tree near a flooded Czech village won this contest, beating stiff competition from a Croatian gingko tree, a Portuguese chestnut and an English oak. Known to the locals of Chudobín as the Guardian of the Flooded Village, the tree is estimated to be 350 years old – the villagers attribute its supernatural powers to tales of a devil who played the violin beneath it during the night. Once part of a larger forest, it was left isolated after the area was flooded during the construction of a dam.

Memento of the lost village

This pine from Chudobín (Bytřicko region, Vysočina) grows on the rocky headland of the dam called Vír. The name of the pine is in connection with the flooded village of Chudobín, which ceased to exist due to the construction of a dam. According to a legend narrated by locals, a devil sat under the pine in the night and played the violin. However it is much more likely that they were hearing the strong winds blowing over the valley. This pine tree is not only an important landmark but also an impressive testimony to its high resistance to climate change and human impact.

Supernatural powers attributed to trees ranked multiple times in this year’s competition: another guardian tree, from Romania, took fifth place and two witch trees – in the Netherlands and Ireland – also scored highly.

About the Competition

The European Tree of the Year competition has been running since 2011 and selects a tree from participating countries (now 15 in number) by public vote. It was inspired by an earlier Czech national tree contest. Most countries hold a national poll to select their entrant for each year. Nominations are made in the year preceding the award. Voting for the European tree of the year commences on 1 February each year and lasts until the end of the month. A live, online display of the votes cast for each tree is displayed until the last week in February when final voting figures are kept secret. The winner is announced at an awards ceremony in late March held in the EU Parliament, Brussels.

The ceremony for this year’s popular competition, which attracted more than 285,000 votes across Europe, was called off in Brussels because of the widespread coronavirus lockdown, and took place online instead, with a video presentation of the history of the three top trees.

 
The Guardian of the Flooded Village

The Guardian of the Flooded Village