Healing Hearts in Zagreb, Croatia

Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb

Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb

In the shadow of the Lotrscak Tower in Zagreb’s Upper Town lies a museum dedicated to failed relationships. Beginning as a traveling exhibition, Zagreb’s Museum of Broken Relationships, is a tribute to the notion that not all relationships work.

In the shadow of the Lotrscak Tower

In the shadow of the Lotrscak Tower

Located in a traditional building, the Kulmer Palace, this non-traditional museum exhibits objects that people have held onto following the end of a relationship. The museum accepts donations of personal artifacts, which have been received from around the world. The bilingual stories in Croatian and English are powerful and in some cases, I almost found myself gasping for air, as the stories communicated a great sense of grief. This museum is a catharsis for the trauma of ending a relationship.

Several rooms of displays include:

1. A stuffed rabbit that was going to travel around the world, but the relationship only made it as far as Iran.

2. A red reindeer from Peru from an excited newlywed celebrating a first Christmas together who sadly discovers her marriage would not last a second Christmas.

3. Two ceramic figures from Ireland donated from a woman who bought one each for her two children after fleeing an abusive husband in the United Kingdom.

4. A love letter from a 13-year-old boy on meeting a young girl fleeing the siege of Sarajevo.

5. A car mirror that had been removed from a vandalized car after a girlfriend discovers her boyfriend had cheated. His car faced her anger.

The rabbit that didn't make it around the world

The rabbit that didn’t make it around the world

A Christmas reindeer with a sad tale

A Christmas reindeer with a sad tale

This museum explores tough topics including betrayal, false love, death, politics and war, disease, addictions, violence and revenge. The stories themselves can be disturbing, emotional or moving and I found myself reading the story of each and every donated object.

Museum Entry--The figurine in the poster has a moving story

Museum Entry–The figurine in the poster has a moving story

The cold walls in some of the rooms also reflect the chill in a relationship and the starkness of the end of something that wasn’t meant to be. The white-tiled rooms almost seemed like a mortuary, signifying the death of a relationship.

Included in the various rooms is a map of the traveling exhibition which has been around the world. To me, this map shows that broken relationships translate into any language and culture.

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For 25 kunas, this museum is fascinating and well worth the admission price. Facilities also include a small gift shop and a coffee shop.

Alfred Lord Tennyson said “Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all”. The Museum of Broken Relationships is a critical reminder of the frailty of the human heart when love ends and loss begins.

Museum of Broken Relationships
Sv. Cirila i Metoda 2
Upper Town
10000 Zagreb, Croatia
Phone: 385-1-4851-021

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