10 things I wish someone told me before I moved to Prague

Moving to a new country can certainly be a very strong life experience. No matter how much I was travelling before, and all the knowledge and experience I had accumulated on intercultural learning, culture shock and stuff like that, the fact of actually moving to Prague, Czech Republic in 2015 still hit me like a truckload of bricks.

Granted, Prague is a wonderful place to live in (and one of the main tourist destinations in Europe) and I don’t regret at all my decision. Still, at times it may be hard. That’s why I decided to write this post which will be a bit more silly than the rest of the stories I publish on this blog.

Hope is, this may help others not to make the same mistake and never leave home to adapt more easily when moving to a different country. Or maybe not, but it feels very liberating to be able to put these thoughts in plain text. And anyway, learning about a different culture is also the best way to learn about our own culture, and ourselves.

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Don’t make my same mistakes. A new culture can embrace you a bit too tight, sometimes.

A bit of a disclaimer here: I certainly don’t want to offend anybody. The post intends to be humourous and has to be read with a bit of a satirical tone in mind. Plus, if you think that my observations are not complete and comprehensive, it’s because they aren’t. They are just that: observations.

If in the post there is something that offsets you – hey, peace. We can breathe the same air and have different opinions on stuff. Hard to believe, but it’s possible. Maybe you don’t like the music, but please don’t shoot the pianist. 

Edit (after 3 days and about 5,000 visits):

A BIT MORE DISCLAIMING. As I feared, the first wasn’t enough. The post got an unexpected visibility (great!) and with visibility, come people who read quickly and are willing to get offended even more quickly (not so great!). To hopefully end the arguments, the meaning of the word “satire” can be found here.  

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Anyway, ready for the list? Here we go!

1) For Czech Republic, Prague is “The Capitol” from The Hunger Games.

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In Italy, Rome is the political capital, but there are many main cities with their own distinct identity, and sometimes something interesting happens there too (except in Viterbo, because nothing ever happens there). It’s like the country has more than one centre of gravity, and it’s fine.

But here in the Czech Republic, Prague is really THE city. Everything happens there, and all the power seems to be concentrated in one place. Politics, culture, media, jobs, opportunities. People just live different lives than in the rest of the country, can do strange things like being vegan or have an Asian brunch, they wear fancy clothes and have blue or purple hair.

Prague natives are also somewhat proud of their local accent (which to me sounds funnier, slower, with longer vowels, and seems to be really hated by everybody else in the country).

Salaries are way higher than anywhere else, but so is rent (like two, three times more), eating out and basically everything else.

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See what I mean?

But if you travel just outside of the city, you will enter a different country. Small-town Czech Republic will present different challenges of course (be prepared to attract puzzled looks as a foreigner, and almost nobody will understanding a word of English, for example), but it will also provide with unique rewards and many hidden gems.

Like having a full meal or a round of beers for an incredible price. Or meeting people who love to live a simpler, slower life and will be genuinely interested in hearing about you. I had experiences especially in the area around Brno and Ostrava. New companies, farms, NGOs and the local university are very active to create an alternative to the “Capitol City” lifestyle.

If you love art and history, the country has the highest concentration of perfectly preserved castles in Europe, apparently. And the nature is also really diverse, peaceful and beautiful.

Seriously, plan a trip to explore Czech Republic outside Prague, when you have a chance. You will be rewarded.

2) A lot of people seem to be in a bad mood. Always.

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The grumpiest of all is probably the president, Milos Zeman.

Aaah, there is something true in every stereotype, isn’t there?

The average Czech you meet in the street will most likely be in a great hurry to be somewhere else than in your presence (see point #7, below), and will look like they just had a very bad day. Even if it’s early in the morning – maybe even worse. This grumpiness extends to driving (= no patience at all for the slightest hesitation or mistake) and public transport (= if you stand in the wrong line or place, someone will correct that. Probably by pushing, elbowing or stomping on your feet).  At least, in Prague. Having to rely on a random act of kindness by a stranger can be an experience that requires patience. For your own good, try never to be confused by the bureaucracy in a public office, and never, ever get stuck with your car on the side of the road.

In a way, it’s a very encouraging learning environment. In the sense that you are encouraged to learn fast. Or die.

3) Language is hard. I mean: real hard

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No, seriously. Sources disagree, but I read that it’s one of the hardest in Europe, and possibly in the world. It’s estimated that a person needs about 4 years of study to reach fluency (and I am not studying).

First of all, there are some factors that don’t encourage you to learn it at all. You can live in a social bubble that doesn’t speak Czech, for example. Or, you can just panic and stop going out altogether. I would know, I tried it.

But if you try to learn the beautiful language, at the beginning you feel like everything is against you. Accents and digraphs make for a stunning 42 characters in the alphabet (nice, uh?). Some sounds are also very specific to learn, with the terrible Ř that will give me troubles until the end of my life. It sounds like a drrj, by the way

And then, grammar starts.

7 cases (for the first time in my life I am happy I studied all that Latin at school) and 4 genders (!): masculine, feminine, neutrum and masculine inanimated. The latter still doesn’t make any sense at all to me – as well to anybody else I asked, including native speakers. It’s for objects that are not objects enough to get the neutrum, maybe. I don’t know. The word for car (auto) is neutrum, while the train (vlak) is masculine. Go figure.

There are also (a few) good news. At least there are no articles, thanks to the cases. Which explains why many Czechs don’t know what to do with articles in languages like English or French. And the verbs and prepositions are not such a horrible mess as in Italian.

Not only Czech is a slavic language, but it’s considered the model for many other languages of the group. Which means, more “pure” and with less foreign interferences. Arranging an appointment or a date is a challenge, since you have to learn even the names of the week days and the months from scratch. Your only hope for help is if you speak Polish or Slovak, and that’s not exactly helping my case here.

The longest sentence without a vowel seems to be: Strč prst skrz krk (“stick your finger through your throat”). Try that next time, as a tonguetwister!

Edit: as Petr E commented, the longest sentence without a vowel seems to be different. “Blb vlk pln žbrnd zdrhl hrd z mlh Brd skrz vrch Smrk v čtvrť srn Krč.” (A dumb wolf full of bad drinks proudly excaped from the mist of Brdy forest through Smrk hill into the deers’ district Krč).

“Full of bad drinks” surely indicates that the wolf is not Czech. Polish, probably.

4) Eating & Drinking habits can be equally intense. 

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Czech Republic is famous for its beer, and rightly so. Czechs are well aware of it. They seem to be the biggest beer drinkers in the whole world (followed by the Seychelles. Which makes sense. What else are you supposed to do, if you live on a paradise island? Drink until you explode, obviously).

A Czech drinks an average of 142 litres of beer in a year, which makes for almost a pint a day, each day, for every man, woman or child living in the country. Not bad at all.

This helps to put a lot of things in context, for example the first time I met my father-in-law, and we all ended up totally drunk, before having dinner. But no worries, Czechs also love drinking wine, as well as everything else with alcohol. All in the name of health (na zdraví) of course. Of course.

When you are at it, try Kofola. It’s the national alternative to Coca Cola. I find it more refreshing!

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Same for the food. Czech traditional cuisine is like other parts of the culture: rich, solid, intimidating. It’s a paradise for high protein, meat eaters. Bara, my wife, has approximately half my body mass. And yet she never ceases to surprise me when she digs into her Svíčková (roasted beef with onion, double boiled in cream and served with dumplings) like it’s a piece of cake. But then, she would never eat fruit after a meal, because “it’s bad for digestion”. Makes sense. 

5) People like to be naked and to go around just like that. 

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Now, nothing could prepare me for this. Czechs have a very casual approach to nudity (which somehow extends to sexuality at least in part, but that’s another story). Be warned when you accept an invitation to go to sauna, for example. In most places it’s actually forbidden to enter with your swimming suit on! 

A visit to a “Beer Spa” however (picture above) is one of the things you have to do, before you die. Yes, you are actually bathing in beer. No, the girls are not always there.

But not only. My friends here have absolutely no problem at all getting naked for a quick swim in the local river or lake, even with people having their picnics all around. It’s just a thing they do.

If I can imagine a scale going from total prudishness to absolute love for nudity, it would probably look like this:

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And I was thinking to be more or less in a comfortable middle position.

But actually, I still feel terribly embarassed about that one time I had to take a swim in my underwear…

Being in the Czech Republic and engaging in social activities here, challenged me on how prude I really am.

6) Xenophobia is on the rise. Except, maybe not really. 

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Now that’s worrying, when talking about Central Europe. Don’t take me wrong, it could be much worse (think Hungary, or Poland). Things here are still much softer, and Czechs don’t like to take an extreme point of view on racism – just as on many other topics. It’s not a culture of strong, radical opinions.

The country, and Prague in particular, has a very strong international vocation and is right in the middle between Eastern and Western Europe, which is why it has always been a natural crossroads of cultures.

But here is the thing, the whole place is a paradox.  The international presence in the country is strong (about 4.5%), and in Prague, almost 10% of residents are non-Czech. And yet, politicians and opinion leaders manage to pull out incredibly racist or aggressive stunts, like President Zeman who manages to insult someone with every other speech, or like that time when a group of “activists” held an event in the Old Town Square involving a jeep, a camel and firing shots in the air with a fake kalashnikov – creating general panic to “warn against the danger of a Muslim invasion”. Crazy.

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Yes, this thing really happened.

Also, to add to the general confusion, two of the most visible political leaders in the somewhat-nationalist-area are Tomio Okamura (Czech, of Japanese origins) and Andrej Babiš (Slovak), media tycoon, Finance Minister and possible next Prime Minister. One would think that the country must be really welcoming towards foreigners, except… they try to convince everybody that it isn’t so.

To make a comparison: imagine a Canadian citizen who moves to USA, manages to join the Republican Party and becomes a member of the US Government; then, on top of that, he makes a coalition with the Democratic President, and together they work to warn people against the danger of a “Mexican invasion”.

It’s not a perfect example (and Zeman certainly is not Obama), but it more or less gives an idea of how intricate things look.

Look. I don’t want to sound too strict or ungenerous. The truth is that the vast majority of the people I have met here have a big heart, a strong sense of hospitality, and are generous beyond words. And every time I try to remind them that I, too, am an immigrant indeed, the comment I receive is “naa, you are fine“.

And after all, I guess that’s the bottom line about racism. People from a different background look and feel scary at first, but after you meet them in person, you realise that naa, they are just fine. And this is valid everywhere.

(The fact that one of them may end up marrying your daughter has probably also a role in how fast you accept that fact, I guess).

So my final opinion on this is: maybe because of the media pressure or the general international situation, Czechs would like to portray themselves as intolerant and unwelcoming. Just to feel like everybody else.

But they fail, because… they aren’t!

7) Time keeping and planning stuff is not a habit. It’s a national obsession. 

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Now this came from the words of Sabrina, a German (I said, German) volunteer who was in Prague for a period. “Czechs are totally obsessed with time!“, she cried. As I found out, it’s completely true.

Czechs are almost always in a hurry getting someplace or another, and they just love to keep their agendas as packed as possible, and then some. From the (early) morning till sunset, they just need to be busy. Work, leisure, culture and social time, everything is organised and planned and the more details, the better. When you are 5 minutes late, you are late (and people will be grumpy, see #2).

This is also reflected as they travel. When abroad, if things are not super organised, clearly described and planned to the tiniest detail, they will feel slightly lost and without direction. Which will result in more grumpiness and some (always polite) passive-aggressive complaining.

One of the first sentences I learned is “máte plán na vikend?”, which means “what’s your plan for the weekend?

I came to fear the sound of these words, since when I am not somewhere working I love to keep my weekends as empty as possible, like desolate desert islands where only dead projects and ideas lay, shipwrecked. A space for reflection, inspiration and pure and simple lazyness. 

But Czechs always have a plan for their weekends. Sports (the harder, the better: see point 8 below), trips, family meetings, events. When they really have nothing else to do, they move to their little country houses, where they spend saturday and sunday “relaxing”: that is, working their ass off to repair the roof, fix an old bicycle or weed out the garden. And then, have barbecue.  

8) EVERYBODY is sporty and outdoorsy.

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This is to show that, look, I also engage in outdoor sports! Once a year.

Aaaand – I am not.

Please take a second to appreciate how hard this must feel, sometimes. Really, every Czech is a natural born sportsperson and they all – I haven’t found an exception yet – love physical activity. Whether it be cycling, skating, running, swimming, parachute, indoor gym, martial arts – it doesn’t matter, as long as it involves moving, and sweating. And they do it with enthusiasm and total commitment.

This also applies to outdoors activities. Czechs love and respect their nature, and try to spend time in it as often as they can.

A hike that lasts less than 6 hours is not even considered being outside. They all seem to be mushroom and berries experts. In summer (and I suspect, in winter too) the rivers are packed with canoe and kayak enthusiasts. Entire families, babies included.

And a certain disregard for anything even remotely related to safety and prevention of risks contributes to making it a very exciting picture.

Czechs love their outdoor equipment and keep it in perfect efficiency. It’s a second skin for them, and in fact they consider it normal to walk in the city streets dressed as they would be in a forest: boots, backpack, packed lunch, 2 different sport bottles, and all the rest. Which for me is, like, the opposite of “sexy”, but certainly must have some advantages too.

Really, if a zombie apocalypse or if nuclear war breaks out, I would feel really relieved to be surrounded by Czechs. These people are natural survivors. And they can always spare a sandwich.

9) Public transport takes you everywhere, but people still take their cars.

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This must be one of the few really good things that Socialism has left in the country. The public transport is excellent: rides are frequent, the system is organised and efficient. I take my car maybe once, twice in a month (how does it feel compared to Italy, I leave to your imagination).

In Prague metro and tram tickets are still a bit of a funny business, relying (incredibly) on the little obsolete, yellow machines which are out of order 50% of times, and only accept coins. Weird. But since I have my yearly pass, I feel I can get anywhere, simply and reliably. This includes extra-urban transport, and every little town seems to be connected to the network in somewhat of a satisfying way. Again, the comparison with Italy is brutal – there, if you live in a small town, you simply need a car to get anywhere; and if you live in a big city, better forget the public transport and take your car anyway.

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So why do Czechs still own – and drive – cars? Finding a parking place in Prague is as hard a job as in Napoli, and that simply doesn’t make sense to me. Probably the answer has something to do with #7 of this list, the time obsession. I hear people saying: “Sure, I can go to work by tram, but if I take the car it will save me 12 minutes“.

I still can’t help but smile, every time. In Rome, if you can save 12 minutes by taking a car, it still means you will probably be 48 minutes late for your appointment.

Edit: in the comment section, Vladimir helped me to get a more complete view on this topic. He writes:

“Perhaps if there really is a special Czech affinity for cars, it’s not because of obsession with time, but rather status. This is a common thing for whole central and eastern Europe. We had to (and most still have to) live in relative poverty, therefore we want at least not to FEEL poor. Average Czech would drive to work even if it takes twice as much time as with public transport, because, you know, public transport is for losers. Very common derogatory nickname for public transport is “socka”, as in “social case”. Go figure”.

It’s also true however that, Czechs being the nature lovers that they are, the environmental awareness is growing really fast all over the country. I have seen in person a lot of brave and progressive projects to reduce CO2 emissions and switch to renewable energies, or to reduce the environmental footprint of life in general.

So, let’s not lose hope, becase Times, they are a-changing!

10) Czech Republic is a place where Etiquette still matters. A lot.  

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This was a big surprise for me, and it can be very important in a relationship, so listen up, don’t repeat my mistake and don’t underestimate this aspect.

The Czech culture is based on a certain level of conformism. Traditions are important and nobody is expected to cause any trouble. There is no such thing as “speaking in a loud voice” (a common discussion between two Italians on what to have for dinner would appear like an incredibly aggressive brawl, here) and I have never heard people shouting – except when drinking too much, of course.

In CZ, people really care for things to be – and look – proper. You go to theatre, you dress up. There is no limit “up”. But you just don’t walk in a theatre (or God forbid! Opera) in your jeans, unless you want to attract a lot of attention of the wrong type.

As well, men are supposed – no, expected! – to perform little actions such as opening a door, holding the chair, helping ladies with their luggage or taking on and off their coats.  Apparently in the local understanding, there is no “gender inequality” value attached to it. So don’t try to judge it with your metrics: it’s just the way things work. If you want to blend in, you just adapt to it.

All boys and girls take ballroom dancing lessons as part of their education, and many companies and organisations hold balls in the festive season, which are attended with enthusiasm. Also, in a country that is surprisingly not attached to any religion, people still follow traditional festivities, go to church on Christmas eve, visit the cemetery to pay their respects.

All this, combined with what I said in #2, can be dangerous to the unsuspecting foreigner. In a tram, failing to leave your seat to an elder will attract so many bad looks, you will wish to disappear. Equally bad is when you mess up with the tipping in a café or a restaurant.

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And that was my decalogue this time. Thank you for reading!

Edit: an article with my reflections and comments on the insane success of this post can be found here.

Again, my point was not to offend anybody with this post. This is not a scientific study and has not been validated by a panel of experts (although if you made it reading so far, you probably got that).

I will be happy to react and edit any information that might be incomplete or wrong. Writing was mainly my way to celebrate my almost 1 year and a half in Prague. I love the city and the life here, and I continue to discover more and more parts of its rich and fascinating culture.

And how is it for you? Did you have a similar experience when moving to a new country? I would love to have a little discussion in the comments section. All stories are the welcome!

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603 thoughts on “10 things I wish someone told me before I moved to Prague

  1. Nice article .. Your sense of humor is akin to my own. The nudist graph is absolute confirmation of this. Im thinking of doing some extended traveling in Prague this spring/summer.. thanks for the tips !

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Living here for quite a month now (and already 2 years with a Czech girlfriend) and had to laugh + widely agree. Thanks a lot for this amazing collection!

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  3. Has to be most accurate article on prague i have read so far! Nice city no doubt but has drawbacks in a weird n funny way

    After visiting the city and reading this article certainly matches up all my thoughts n a great summary overall :)

    Thanks and great job!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I LOVED reading your article filled with personal observations! Very insightful, indeed. I was born in Czechoslovakia, but my family left (1968 Soviet invasion) for Canada, when I was still a little kid. I grew up in Calgary. When we arrived, I was old enough and observant enough to experience a culture shock of my own. Sort of like your experiences but in reverse. I didn’t want to leave my birthplace, was too attached to my wonderful childhood there. That made my culture shock so much more intense. Till this day, I feel somewhat displaced and observe both cultures as a foreigner. I would love to write about my experiences, but have never found the right opportunity. Just to put it down on “paper” would be very cathartic. It may also be enjoyable for someone else, who can relate. Maybe someday…
    Sure enjoyed your article!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Joseph! I have been learning so much from comments and stories like yours.
      I am sure that your observations as a “double expat” will be interesting for many. We live in times of high mobility and so many can relate.
      And yes, to write them down can be very liberating. Not to mention, great comedy material :)
      Maybe this will inspire you to start your own creative project! Don’t forget to let me know :)

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  5. “Now that’s worrying, when talking about Central Europe. Don’t take me wrong, it could be much worse (think Hungary, or Poland). ”

    this line is interesting seeing that when EU asked people from each country: Would you feel comfortable if your child was in a relationship with ___? (black, asian, muslim and jew), Czech republic people were more against it then polish people(in some cases TWICE as much).

    Before you call some country racist check your facts first

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    1. Thank you for your comment. Now, where to start.

      First: you took a single sentence out of the context of a 2,000+ words article, and used it to prove your point, whatever it is. That hardly seems like a high standard when it comes to discussion.
      What is the source of your information, by the way? “The EU asked people from each country” doesn’t sound like something people should take at face value.

      Second, the “facts”. My facts are what I observe in my everyday life, as I repeated a hundred time in the post, what I wrote is solely based on my observations and doesn’t want to be an academic paper of universal value.
      And what are my observations? Racism is rising in Czech Republic, true, but people keep it to a minimum, mostly pub talk. At least for now. I have witnessed one hate aggression, but apart from that the country seems to me welcoming and open. Much more than people care to admit.
      In Czech Republic I haven’t seen thousands of “patriots” marching in the streets, singing hate slogans and waving flags. The same cannot be said about Hungary and Poland.
      If you are so worried about what people observe about the place you live in, work to make it look better. Instead of blaming the observers.

      I am not a big fan of nationalism (or as some people call it, “patriotism”). For me, it’s a XIX century ideology that was maybe useful in the past, but by now has made much more damage than the good it was initially designed for. There is no way it can lead to “win-win” scenarios, and to a healthier future for us as a species. That is my main concern. And that much is clear to anybody who follows my work regularly, rather than reading some random lines from a single blog post.

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      1. here is source:

        map is made based on eurobarometer survey, direct link to it:
        http://www.equineteurope.org/IMG/pdf/ebs_437_en.pdf

        Maybe you should visit Poland before you decide to Judge it.

        The march you mentioned was March of Independence Day, yes there were some racists there but NOT whole march, there were only few slogans among 60,000 people. and those racists are now persecuted for their slogans.
        There is horrible amount of misinformation about this march in other countries.

        Reality is that in poland asians lived for MANY years(we had Vietnamese people sicne 70s) with no problems and I NEVER saw anyone saying anything negative about them.

        also recently my brother had to go to ophthalmologist and ophthalmologist taking care of him had tanned skin, beard and name Ahmed and no one had problem with him.

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      2. good on your brother.
        What makes you think I didn’t visit Poland? In fact, I am coming again in 10 days. I travel a lot. I have been all over Europe.

        Look, I understand history hasn’t been particularly generous for the Polish people. I really do and I feel sympathy.

        Just, I believe that if we don’t want to repeat the mistakes of the past, we need to change our approach to the challenges we have.

        Marching for “patriotism” is not the solution. It has never been, because force is always opposed by force. It opens the door to problems. And let me be very clear: if honest, good willing people are walking side by side with guys who want a “White Europe” (doesn’t matter how many) and do nothing to stop them, for me THAT is a problem.

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    2. Cześć, Mr. Sadkowski.
      Be so kind and stop spreading that EU survey rubbish, because it was done very poorly.
      Namely, the translation of the survey questions was botched – they didn’t consult linguists or anybody sensitive to language nuances. As you can imagine, in statistics such as these, it is extremely important that the question is identical (or as identical as possible, given language differences) in each country.

      This is the original question in English:
      Would you feel comfortable if your child was in a relationship with a black/asian/muslim/jewish person?
      This is how it sounded in Czech as well as in Slovak:
      Would it make you happy if your child had an affair with a … person?
      1) They used an expression that still used to mean “relationship” about a century ago. In modern Czech and Slovak, however, it has negative connotations, and can even refer to “extramarital affair”.
      2) “Feeling comfortable” is fairly neutral. It means not being actively opposed to such a relationship. The expression used in Czech and Slovak suggested one should actually derive some kind of pleasure from the situation.

      If they had asked the same question about dating a white christian person (sadly, they didn’t), the responses would also have been very negative – only due to how the question was posed.
      Very few people would be _happy_ if their son/daughter had an _affair_ with anyone, no matter their race or religion. And few people managed to rephrase the question in their mind before answering.

      Statistics offer a dangerously skewed reflection of reality, if their sources aren’t carefully checked.
      Peace to Poland.

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  6. The thing is that Poland in its history was always a country that was diverse, Jew’s had high positions in poland and we even have muslim in poland living in peace in form of tatars, ironic is that our muslim are in conflict with foreign-born muslim because both sides want to represent islam in poland but their view are incompatible since tatars are progressive muslim while foreign-born muslim are conservative.

    Poland also had great religous freedom in the past, churches of different religions were standing side by side. of course this diversity was ruined by many events in history of poland. I am not saying POland is perefect, it isnt, there are polish people who sold out jew’s during WW II but there was a lot polish people risking their lives to save them, there is no country wh has more “Righteous Among the Nations” then poland

    I disagree that patriotism is bad by itself(and I say it as not very patriotic person), its only bad if it goes too far, patritism is what made poland survive Partitions of Poland which out it Poland wouldnt exist right now.

    What did you exactly expect people to do, beat them up ? maybe people told them to leave and they didnt want to, I dont know I wasnt there but I am happy it didnt end in violence.

    My problem with your article is that you made it sound like poland and Hungary are very racists countries compared to Czech Republic which is not only not true but oposite is actually closer to truth acording to statistic.
    How would you feel if I said that Poland should watch out to not become as racist country as Czech Republic ? it isnt nice thing to say isnt it, and you know what I would never say something like this because I believe that there is more to people then just what statistic say.

    also in reddit link I earlier provided some czech people agree with statistics.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do not deny what you are saying. I am well aware of the great things Poland-Lithuania represented for Europe in the past. Although that is one of the problems with history – it’s mostly a story.

      I will just explain a little bit more my position, then I believe we had a good and fruitful discussion, but I am not here to change your opinions on anything.

      I understand as I said before that nationalism was (maybe) necessary in the past, but I believe we need to leave it in the past, if want to progress and overcome the problems of our present.

      The challenges we face today are global (space exploration and climate change for example) and I don’t think we can face them if we keep thinking in terms of tribes. My people, my interests, etc.

      Migrations are an inevitable fact (in fact, we are only at the beginning of climate migrations), and it’s impossible to deal with them if we don’t learn how to deal with diversity.

      And once again, I am not judging you. Sorry for the bad start (I had a bad impression by your first post, I apologize), I really think you expressed your ideas calmly and with depth of argument.

      you wrote:
      > How would you feel if I said that Poland should watch out to not become as racist country as Czech Republic ?

      As long as we agree that racism has to be contrasted, I would feel happy :)
      Really, no problem about it. I don’t have a faction in this party. My argument is, nationalists marching do not work in this direction (I believe).

      > it isnt nice thing to say isnt it,

      I don’t write to be “nice”. When I want to be nice, I send flowers :)
      As I stated everywhere in the post, my observations didn’t want to offend anybody. Said that – if anybody (or an entire country) gets offended from a line in an article, or a joke in a comedy club, then that person’s opinions are a bit vulnerable. When a finger touches a wound, the problem is the wound, not the finger.

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      1. Sorry for sounding less then pleasant in my first message but very frustrated with many western articles portraying my country as some kind of racist place, especially since many of wester articles either doesnt do their research or out right lies to push agenda.
        For example in USA some left-wing people said that migrants do less crime then local population but after some people did some research on this topic they found out that it is true but only for legal migrants, illegal migrants on other hand do much MUCH more crimes in proportion to population.
        I believe that going too far left is as bad as going too far right.

        I believe I am pretty liberal person, I have absolutely no problem with people of different races(one of my closest friends is dark skined person from USA) I also have zero problem with gay people or anyone like that(I believe everyone has right to be happy as long as they dont hurt others), I am also Pro-EU person and I would support Federalisation of the EU if its done properly. And yet I do have patriotic feelings about my country, there are things in my country that I am proud about and also things that I am not proud about.
        I believe that abandoning patriotism is only fine IF everyone does it(at least in same group of countries like EU), and I am sorry to say that I dont see it happening anytime soon, look at germany its very anti-natinalistic country but its still country that focuses on its own prosperity first and foremost, like trying to build nord stream 2 that could be damaging to poland and in general make EU more dependant on russian gas, even though EU was planing to become less dependant on russian gas,
        Also Germany trade surplus in general is bad for economy of other EU countries.
        EU is sadly responsible for rise of nationalism in some countries, for few reasons, one of them is that it doesnt treat all EU countries equall, Germany and France broken deficit rule in 2003 and were not punished because they were too important.

        another example: my country cutting the ancient forest(I am strongly against what goverment of my country is doing with the forest) and EU wants to punish my country, and yet in germany they are recently decided to cut their own ancient forest to expand mine and no one from EU mentions it. when I see stuff like this I am starting to lose faith in EU, I think EU should have interfeared in both cases and not only in case of Poland.

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      2. I agree. The EU has huge responsibilities in why less and less people support it.
        But it’s a human organization, and it can never be better than the sum of the people who compose it.
        The European decision making process was designed with a very complex systems of checks and balances, so that (for example) the big countries cannot decide anything alone. They need the support of small countries, 2/3 of the total number of member states have to agree on a decision in the Council for it to be approved (like for the economic sanctions).

        Plus, there is the parliament, where (theoretically) people are elected to represent the whole EU and not only their countries.

        In theory. What happens in practice? Many smaller countries are not strong or brave enough to oppose the will of the big ones, and instead become “satellite states” that vote in a way or another in order to maximize immediate political gain, and not long term vision.
        I will not make names now because I don’t want anyone else to get offended, but I am sure you get what I mean.

        Plus, the members of the European parliament forget their international mandate too often, and behave as representatives of their respective countries. Again.

        So you see where I am going. It’s national and local interests, again, what work against collective and superior good.

        I am really saddened about the whole story with the economic sanctions, I think it’s idiotic and counterproductive, because what will happen is that states (=families, taxpayers) end up paying for the bad policies of the government.
        Plus, the government will have an easy task to turn the story around and say “see? Europe is evil! They are all against us!” and get even more support for their policies. Rinse and repeat. I see it happening all over Europe by all the populist factions.
        We need to be careful not to support this narratives. There is no “west Vs East”. In fact, the “liberal west” (whatever it is, I don’t think it exists) wants Poland, Ukraine, Turkey, Hungary closer, not more alienated from it.

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  7. Keep calm and call our country CZECHIA, please. Our country has more than 1200 years old history and only very small part of it is the history of republican system. Leave that cold and clumsy formal name Czech Republic for politics. Czechia is a geographical name, which is independent on time and state-political changes in the country, thus, it can be used for our country both in historical and contemporary context. The name is very old, coming from Latin and has its equivalents in all languages, e.g. Chequia (ES), Chéquia (PT), Tchéquia (Brazilian PT), Tchéquie (FR), Cechia (IT), Tschechien (DE), Tjekkiet (DK), Tsjechië (NL), Tsjekkia (NO), Tjeckien (SE), Cehia (RO), Çekya (TR), Češka / Чешка (HR, RS), Чехия (RU, BG), Чехія (UA, BY), Τσεχία (GR), etc.. It is translation of Czech
    geographic name ČESKO. More, Czechia is an official geographic (short form) name of the country

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  8. It is controversial for people who are not used to it and do not distinguish universally applicable geographic (Czechia) and transient political name. Political names change, geographic name represents stability and historical continuity. The use of naturally transient political name (which was changed here 9 times in recent 100 years) is only bad habit, ingrained by long term exclusive use of it. But, political name alway stays on the lower position than geographic – Czech Rep. is nothing more or less than the current state-political formation in Czechia.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. what about using Bohemia? this is the right Geographical name, also considering that there lived also other nationalities for centuries… ;-)

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  9. Hi!
    I just happened to read your blog as I’d like to stay in Prague for a while. Curious thing, maybe because I myself am Eastern European (North-Eastern, to be exact), I found czech people very kind and at the same time pleasantly not annoying during my visit to Prague. They seem maybe distant, but then maybe I do even more, we Estonians are very reserved, too. I got lost in the city, it was night and I just knocked on the glass door of the police station. Everybody was very helpful and a policeman escorted me to my hotel. And the people everywhere were the same. You just have to ask and they will kindly come. Otherwise they think you maybe want to be left on your own. That’s how Eastern Europeans are, I guess.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am very glad to read your story :)
      Well, I have been lucky and sometimes not so lucky in my encounters (I had trouble with my car and really, people just didn’t want to stop and help me – I guess I was just unlucky!).
      It’s definitely true that the attitude you bring with you, very often influences the way people react to you. Thanks for the comment!

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  10. Czechs don’t want refugees. And that’s a good thing. One of the reasons I came here is because of the lack of 3rd world migrants. So #6 is confusing to me…

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