Abroad, or still ‘at home’? Young noblemen from the Czech lands and the empire in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries
Taking inspiration from the book—‘northern metropolises and early modern travel behaviour’—this chapter examines the reasons for this reorientation in travel culture towards the north and analyses how these changes were linked with the new perception of the sense and purpose of the Grand Tours. It describes the phenomenon of the Grand Tour as it has hitherto been understood by Czech, Austrian or German historiography—as a journey undertaken by central European aristocrats for the sake of knowledge in order to complete their education. An aristocrat would take the journey after completing his education at home, and in the company of his hofmeister. The fact is that a touring aristocrat arriving from the Czech lands in the eighteenth century would have spent more time in the Empire or, more precisely, in the territory of the German states. Reconstructing a typical Grand Tour taken in the latter half of the seventeenth century is quite a difficult task.