33 Things I’ve Learnt From Prague

In my time here, I’ve seen a lot, done a lot, learned a lot. It’s not often that I put these things into words, exactly, but I’m going to try. So, here are things I’ve learned from Prague, about Prague and the Czech Republic in general. Hopefully they will give you a window into Czech culture, too.

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1) Beer is good.

2) There are many, many different kinds of beer. I used to believe that beer was limited just to “piss” but I’ve since learned that it comes in many varieties – not  just light, dark, wheat, semidark, strawberry, honey etc but in many subtly different flavours.

3) When someone asks “How are you?”, the polite response is not “I’m fine thank you”, but “Ah, I feel like sh*t” or whatever is actually on your mind. Being super happy can be seen as bragging or being false.

4) Seems that the Communist/Capitalist thing is far, far from black and white. In local elections, the Communist Party just won quite a lot of votes. I’ve heard some Czech people lamenting the days where housing and jobs were secure and for life.

5) Gay Pride is big here, and a lot of fun, but adults (aka my students) will still giggle like school children at “gay” jokes and seem shocked to learn that somebody is gay.

6) A large percentage of Prague residents will escape to a “cottage” (theirs or a friend’s) in the countryside every weekend (to “the nature”).

7) Czech people seem to be into camping, hiking, walking, mountain climbing and skiing a lot more than any other nation I’ve encountered.

8) If you look hard enough and carry a dictionary/translator, you can find soy milk, gluten-free bread, vegan restaurants, organic vegetables and all that. Typical Czech food, on the other hand, is all meat, cheese and stodgy dumplings – good luck finding vegetables other than cabbage or green beans (and, of course, potatoes).

9) If you’re around any typical restaurant on a weekday (11am-3pm) you can get soup and a main meal for the equivalent of £3 or so.

10) When you enter a restaurant, you sit yourself down. Try asking a waiter for a table and they’ll look at you as if you’re a weirdo (unless it’s a very busy or touristy place).

11) It’s perfectly acceptable to drink beer at 11am.

12) The meanest looking teenagers will give up their seats on the tram/bus/metro for nice old people, and those old people will usually insist that they’re fine standing. This often results in a short exchange of “No, please, I insist” “No, it’s fine, you sit down,” etc. You also offer your seat to children.

13) Mullets are still OK here – on children, on old guys, even on people running for elections.

14) Dogs are allowed everywhere – on the metro, in restaurants, in your office while you work. Czech people love dogs (and babies, also everywhere).

15) Almost every day, somewhere in Prague, there’s a random festival going on with small food and drink stalls, or a nice farmer’s market where you can buy fresh produce.

16) Big groups of tourists are really annoying (think I knew this one already!).

17) At Christmas, you keep a live carp in the bath until you’re ready to cook it, and eat it with potato salad on Christmas Eve.

18) Also, at Christmas, Baby Jesus brings the presents. Earlier in December, “St Mikulaš” comes over with his buddies, the angel and devil. If a child has been naughty, the devil takes them to hell in his sack (unless the child sings a song).

19) At Easter, men hit women with sticks, and women give the men an egg. A revealing “fertility ritual”.

20) If you ride the tram out of the centre for 10 minutes, most people will struggle to understand English. It’s kind of nice…

21) “A beer a day keeps the doctor away”, eating massive chunks of meat make you a stronger drinker, and a shot of Becherovka calms the stomach. Allegedly.

22) Food and drink everywhere outside the Czech Republic is now too expensive. Beer is cheaper than water.

23) Czech people still cling to gender roles much more strongly than we do in the U.K. Women get three years of maternity leave for every baby they pop out, though, so it makes more sense for them to stay at home while the man’s out chopping wood and slaughtering bears, or whatever it is they do.

24) Czech T.V. is hilarious – whether it’s old English films dubbed over in Czech, badly acted dramas or “Czech & Slovakia’s Got Talent” (I don’t think it does, from what I saw…)! Czech film trailers look like this…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6mh1QiMPDE&feature=player_embedded

25) You can walk across Charles Bridge on any evening and find something lovely happening - a choir, a quartet, a man making music by rubbing glass rims…

26) No matter how many times I look up at the castle at night, I continue to be amazed that I live here.

27) Czech people enjoy their reputation as being stingy (taking bootloads of bread, cheese and ham on holiday to other countries for example) and yet none of my students had swiped a towel from a hotel room when I asked them.

28) Don’t bring up Roma (“gypsies”) unless you want to hear a barrage of thinly disguised ugly, racist sentiments (in 80% of cases). *This comment seems to be causing the most debate, so let me make it clear that this statement does NOT say “All Czech people are racist” – it says that the COMMENTS can be racist (not always) on this particular topic. The reason I say it is because I’ve ended up having to listen to all the terrible things that these ‘gypsies’ do from students (who might not have never met one) a few times. Some of the comments left below will illustrate what I mean.

29) A man whose body is 100% tattooed can get enough votes to run for President.

30) Politically incorrect jokes are very much OK here… don’t repeat them at home!

31) Czech people don’t seem to have much national pride (well, not compared to other places). I could be wrong.

32) Halloween isn’t celebrated here, although on April 30th they burn effigies of witches to celebrate the spring.

33) Public transportation was never as good as it is in Prague.

281 thoughts on “33 Things I’ve Learnt From Prague

  1. Nice! I do agree with all of this and I am czech.-) The racism is true, sadly. Not everybody is like that, I am not and my friends aren´t either, but in general I have to admitt it is an issue.

    • 85% crime is done by gypsies. Jails are full of gypsies. They never work, never educate themselves. no hygiene. They only stealing, from all of us here. Every Czech know the truth, gypsies are parasites, nothing more. Give me a break with racism, that’s bullshit … nobody got problem with another minorities!

      • I suggest you look up what “racism” means. All it takes is one minority, and you’re doing nothing but proving the racist comments right! How many gypsies do you know personally, and how much of your opinion comes from what other Czech people or magazines tell you? Ah, never mind, I’m not going to sway anyone’s opinion with this, but it seems a bit contradictory to say “I’m not racist, it’s just that all gypsies are scum”, don’t you think?

      • Reply to comment below – I was living in area between gypsies since my birth, almost 20 years. They attacked me many times when i was child. I was bullied. I saw them attack old people, other kids, destroying enviroment. They was stealing from us at school. And most currect experience – gypsies robbed me on vacation in one of the european cities. But you can get this experience in Prague too, very easily. So, please, trust me. I know what about i’m talking. I don’t read magazines. My “racist” opinion is racist, but they – gypsies – created it, not me and not willingly. You just have no experiences with them, not really. You don’t know nothing about them. And i’m happy for you, maybe you are lucky.

      • Is that why Czechs threw bananas at a black man playing football, in Prague, a few years ago and told him to ‘go back to the jungle?’ I’m pretty sure he wasn’t Romany.

      • The biggest crimes and thefts in this country have been done by lovely white people in a collar and tie – this probably includes one of our former presidents! Rixo, you should go and live for a while in progressive countries like New Zealand which have learned to tackle the problems of different mentalities.

      • Mel (and Gwynnie, too :)) > They threw bananas because they were idiots. They had no bad experience with black people whatsoever and yet they still acted like ignorant racist idiots. But that’s something very different if you live in one country with a group of very culturally different people that are often acting almost like animals, attacking people, stealing stuff, shamelessly living off the “welfare state” Czech Republic is providing us and thus multiplying infinitely within their own families, … and if you “dare” to point out their wrongdoings you are instantly accused of being racist yourself. :D Wtf. We all (at least those of us with elementary brain function) know white czechs do that too, but when we look at the statistics, we see that the percentage of gypsies in Czech Republic population is (by estimates) is 3%, yet in prisons it’s 50% of those in it, yet they’re the You’re not going to call the statistics (and it’s usage) “racist”, are you? :)
        I think you just can’t use the word “racist” in your western-black&white-meaning like that in our countries (Slovakia, too) and don’t often get the instant answer: “I’m not racist, it’s just that all gypsies are scum.” (very popular, btw :D) We just have bad experience (that can also come from TV in a form of news from seemingly unfair court result or whatever..). And if you have bad experience, you would be stupid to go into the same situation with the same expectations, wouldn’t you? When you see a gipsy in a tram acting like an idiot and shouting at other people, wouldn’t that make yourself a stupid fuck to NOT expect something wrong, if you’ve been in similar situation before and he attacked (even just verbally) or robbed someone? It’s experience. Don’t call it racist. If you knew people with dreads are bunch of assholes and you paid attention especially to those, then who are you? A hairist? :)

      • 85 %? Really? That is interesting. Can you give us a source of this information? Some official statistic would be great. Otherwise you are just lying idiot.

      • Stupid! You are wrong. I can´t agree. Because you don´t know everybody, you can´t say all gypsies are bad. Because you don´t know all of them. I know a lot of gypsies who go to work normaly. They haven´t any problems with laws and they are just polite, friendly and nice people..So calm down

      • hello Rixo, congratulations for being a racist jerk. “85% crime is done by gypsies” holy shit, where did you get that number? oh yes, you licked it up from your mother’s vagina, i know. i’m not sorry for being rude, because it is a shit of your kind which ruins our reputation as a country. You are the one who clearly does not know the shit about gypsies – you proved yourself to be a liar by your own statements. so, for your information: you’re are not right. and that’s not even all: the most dangerous crimes in CZ are done by white politicians and their buddies – no gypsies involved, not at all, not a single one. And the fact our jails are full of gypsies? Well, i’m not going to bother you with logic, you clearly wouldn’t be able to understand.
        In my neighbourhood there’s a shitload of gypsies, vietnamese, blacks and even muslims and guess what? In last ten years here I’ve encountered only two minor problems with members of those minorities. Fuckers like you are calling for integration, you are saying gypsies should become a part of our community – but it is impossible because you are the first to say “no thank you, i don’t want gypsies to be my neighbours/colleagues/friends”. You are the scum of the Earth. Go move to france, there are plenty of people which will understand you.
        PS. Ah and now I see in your next comment you had a terrible childhood. What a pity you probably deserved to be bullied and beaten up :D But well, frankly – no matter what they’ve done to you, you are still mentally retarded. You are so stupid, that you are even willing to show up with your terrible opinions on the multinational platform. Damn i’m so in need to kick off your teeth, really.

      • Gypsy no-hygiene? Uhh, sorry, mate, but the disgusting, smelly smells I’ve too often smelt are from NON-gypsies: CZECH men, women and teenagers!!! No racism? Of course there’s racism. It exists EVERYWHERE in EVERY country!

      • Speaking of education, before you accuse others of lacking it, you should proof-read your comment. :)
        They only stealing x they only steal; every Czech know x every Czech knows
        BTW try to imagine the situation when Gypsy would apply for work while most Czech people believe in the same stereotypes as you do.

      • That is the exact thing that happens in Serbia, gypsies are everywhere, like cockroaches, and they multiply like rabbits.I am not a racist, at all, I just hate them like so many of us, they have no education (neither do they want one), no sense of humanism and there is absolutely no use of them. And the hard truth is that in 300 years we are going to be a minority in our own country, while it becomes a gypsieland and a ruin.
        I was in Prague two years ago, and ever since then it remained my favorite city, not just because of its beauty, but the way it affects you. For me it felt like home. Luckily in a month i will get another chance to enjoy it.

      • Sometimes minority groups face socio-economic exclusion, and they are scapegoated for everything. What then occurs is something like this: They have hard time being offered gainful employment owing to racism. That equals: “They don’t want to work!” They become discouraged and resentful. This results in theft and other petty crimes. Which results in them filling jail cells. The police also keep an eye out for individuals who belong to groups who are scapegoated. So it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. Also, little assimilation and social networking, so social disparagement leads to their isolation, fewer social contacts, fewer job opportunities.

    • Reply to Mel:
      So you are sayin that football fans are great representative of Czechs? That is really dumb. And about Gipsies, you can see how they can destroy everything and everyone living close to them. The houses they got for free are without windows everything sellable is gone and they just sit in front of front door all day taking piss and shit in front of house. Im not saying every single of them is doing this but majority is. And thats why we are racist towards them.

    • Czech people are pretty ok with ANY other races, except for gypsies. And there is a reason for that. In Czech republic, gypsies often abuse the fact that they are a minority and keep screaming “Dyscrimination!!!” anytime their desired conditions aren’t met – which often means having 10-15 kids, living from their child support only, drinking and screaming at 3 a.m., robbing or beating white people without any reason, etc. Maybe your media aren’t telling you this. Maybe they are telling you only about the rare cases where a gypsy really is a victim. Czech people ARE NOT RACIST. They just often hate gypsies, because the gypsies are often giving them a good reason to. Don’t believe me? Take some to your country and watch…

  2. Hey, thanx for this post. I am Czech and got a few good laughs (esp. no. 19). No. 28 is a sad truth. When it comes to 32, you forgot the “Dušičky” (sth like “Little Souls”) – ppl are going to graves of their ancestors to light up a candle. Sadly, more and more Czech celebrates Halloween and St. Valentines Day (imported “traditions” are not my favourites, esp. stupid ones like StV) and “Baby Jesus” is being replaced by Santa Claus. Yesyes, we are being mcdonaldised and nobody is actually aware of it… Have a good one and continue enjoying Prague!

    • your comment should read “imported” traditions. StV and H have a LONG tradition in europe going back hundreds of years. Just because they died out in CZ during communism and have been forgotten here does not mean they are imported “traditions”. Just a quick example – The first recorded association of Valentine’s Day with romantic love is in Parlement of Foules (1382) by Geoffrey Chaucer “For this was on Saint Valentine’s Day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate.”This poem was written to honor the first anniversary of the engagement of King Richard II of England to Anne of Bohemia. 1381

  3. hey hey, the “carp” thing is false. We also keep the carps so that we can leave them back to their homeland – to waters. This habit, however, is slightly dying out as it is unhealthy for the carps and technically speaking, it is almost like killing them (but in a slower manner) and so more commonly, we just buy them and have them killed (professionally, so that the carp is sufferring the least) by the sellers.

    • Funny, though, the guys killing the carps for you at the pre-X-mas stalls announce and charge do not charge you an act of “KILLING” (=usmrcení) a carp, but its LIFE-REMOVAL (=”zbavení života”) instead :-)
      The same sometimes happen in popular notions about our history when re-branding takes place quite often – a thin line between cowardice and heroism, villains and victims. But it’s another story…

    • Living close to a large Carp Pond and quite a few smaller ones, I have learnt a thing or two about it, after being curious as to why I had Carp in the bath where I am trying to shower.

      Seems that Carp ingest a lot of mud in the shallow muddy lakes particular as they are drained during harvesting. To get a clean taste the carp need to swim in clean water for a couple of days. If that water is aerated then then are not really dying but will eventually starve if not fed. If you have your fish killed at the point of sale, then fish has probably been kept in clean water for a while. This is generally true as Carp are harvested from the ponds at the beginning of November before the onset of the Czech winter, whilst most of them are not consumed until at least 6 weeks later. Obviously, these have to be fed in the meantime.

      The one thing you really need to know about Carp is don’t swallow until you have thoroughly chewed. Bones are lethal.

  4. I laughed. It’s quite accurate. It’s hard put something like that into words but you did great job. My favorite is 22 btw :D

  5. mostly spot on to my own experience.
    However:
    1) you would need to be about 45 to have any concept of what communism was like for workers, so I wouldn’t take the granny protest votes too seriously. Communism ain’t coming back.
    5) gay pride is a joke in czech – since people here don’t judge others and allow you to live as you choose, prancing about shouting your life preferences is pretty pointless.
    8) stody food – you must be kidding. or about 10 GBp you can get a meal cooked by a chef who could stnd his own in France.
    20) People speak English everywhere – but obviously in rague they can get tired of foreigners who don’t learn some local lingo.
    24) Czech Tv is the CIA’s latest torture trick. Hilarious no – painful yes.
    27) Another habit of the over 45′s – communism taught frugality, and the younger generation are the total opposite.
    28) sadly true but that issue cuts both ways as anyone would see if they took the time to know the Romany culture.
    31) extremely proud people, but respectful enough to not shove it in foreigners faces. However they lose complete self control in the Slovak Vs Czech bragging and boasting about nothing game.

    • 1) I am 39 and remember quite a lot. And I also remember the regime has never regarded itself a Communist regime. Calling it Communist is really a legacy of McCarthyism rather than any kind of objective study of the regime. But I agree it is not coming back.
      24) True. Czech TV is just horrible. So is Czech press. Especially standard of Czech journalism is appalling.
      27) Yes, that habit is fading away (even for over 45s)

      • its not only granny protest votes counting for the Communist party. its younger people as well, deeply frustrated about what they are told that capitalism is. i think czech politics is more of a joke than czech media, but unfortunately it is bounded together more than it would be healthy. but thats not our invention, political marketing is actually older than Czech Republic itself.

      • Actually, I like a lot Czech TV. What, however, is difficult for Western Europeans to understand is the cultural continuity that pervades the communist era. Czechs still watch a huge amount of quality drama from that era. The notion that everything was communist propaganda is quite false. Some of it even seems to be light parody of what was going on. The Czechs had a massive theatrical legacy from the pre-war period. The communist actually channelled much of the talent into Television, which at that time was probably amongst the best in Europe. Of course, I am sure there was propaganda, but I have not seen much evidence of it.

  6. Gwynnie, your account of Czechs is far too positive. I have some additions to it.
    1) Beer is good.

    You only need to praise Czech beer and 95% of Czechs will believe you are a wonderful person (unless you are non-white or come from a poor country)

    4) Seems that the Communist/Capitalist thing is far, far from black and white. In local elections, the Communist Party just won quite a lot of votes. I’ve heard some Czech people lamenting the days where housing and jobs were secure and for life.

    But don’t expect all Communist Party voters being consistently left-wing. A lot of them would tell you opinions which right-wing politicians in the West would find too right-wing to say publicly.

    5) Gay Pride is big here, and a lot of fun, but adults (aka my students) will still giggle like school children at “gay” jokes and seem shocked to learn that somebody is gay.

    While most Czechs have no problem with gays they still don’t have a slightest clue why gays want to show their gayness in a march.

    7) Czech people seem to be into camping, hiking, walking, mountain climbing and skiing a lot more than any other nation I’ve encountered.

    Czech people also probably have the highest death rate in the environments unlike that in the Czech Republic such as high mountains or the sea because they generally do not believe something can happen to them.

    8) If you look hard enough and carry a dictionary/translator, you can find soy milk, gluten-free bread, vegan restaurants, organic vegetables and all that. Typical Czech food, on the other hand, is all meat, cheese and stodgy dumplings – good luck finding vegetables other than cabbage or green beans (and, of course, potatoes).

    Expect meat in vegetarian menus.

    9) If you’re around any typical restaurant on a weekday (11am-3pm) you can get soup and a main meal for the equivalent of £3 or so.

    This information is especially useful if you love meat and fat.

    10) When you enter a restaurant, you sit yourself down. Try asking a waiter for a table and they’ll look at you as if you’re a weirdo (unless it’s a very busy or touristy place).

    If you drink beer you don’t usually need to order another one. It keeps coming until you tell the waiter you really do not want any more beer.

    11) It’s perfectly acceptable to drink beer at 11am.

    And often necessary after what happened the night before.

    18) Also, at Christmas, Baby Jesus brings the presents. Earlier in December, “St Mikulaš” comes over with his buddies, the angel and devil. If a child has been naughty, the devil takes them to hell in his sack (unless the child sings a song).

    Devils, Saint Nick as well as angels are usually drunk.

    23) Czech people still cling to gender roles much more strongly than we do in the U.K. Women get three years of maternity leave for every baby they pop out, though, so it makes more sense for them to stay at home while the man’s out chopping wood and slaughtering bears, or whatever it is they do.

    Well, this is rather a result of income inequality than clinging to traditional roles. Some men stay at home with kids on maternity leave if their wives earn more money than them.

    24) Czech T.V. is hilarious – whether it’s old English films dubbed over in Czech, badly acted dramas or “Czech & Slovakia’s Got Talent” (I don’t think it does, from what I saw…)! Czech film trailers look like this…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6mh1QiMPDE&feature=player_embedded

    Czech films are generally very good at pretending they are clever. But they are usually not.

    28) Don’t bring up Roma (“gypsies”) unless you want to hear a barrage of thinly disguised ugly, racist sentiments (in 80% of cases). If you are not a racist you are a weirdo.

    If you dare to say anything against racism, you are the one who wants to make people feel uncomfortable and be generally unpleasant.

    29) A man whose body is 100% tattooed can get enough votes to run for President.

    You will easily find tens of thousands of young people who don’t mind the man was a violent Nazi and was recommended by a Nazi musician because it is fun to have a tattooed president.

    30) Politically incorrect jokes are very much OK here… don’t repeat them at home!

    If you object to virulently racist or sexist jokes you lack a sense of humour.

    31) Czech people don’t seem to have much national pride (well, not compared to other places). I could be wrong.

    Bragging about a lack of national pride is a national sport and a sentiment that “we would be great if only others hadn’t stopped us from being great” is widespread. Most outbursts of national pride are related to ice hockey.

    32) Halloween isn’t celebrated here, although on April 30th they burn effigies of witches to celebrate the spring…

    … which is just another example of an occasion for heavy drinking.

    33) Public transportation was never as good as it is in Prague.

    Tens of thousands of Prague citizens still prefer to drive to work every day, even though it takes longer than by public transportation because they regard public transport as only suitable for the poor, the homeless and the smelly.

    • I like your additions! You also give a good demonstration of the sense of humour that I’ve come to love so much. The comment on 33 – YES – I had this discussion with a student…
      Me: “How long does it take you to drive to work?”
      Him: “About 90 minutes.”
      Me: “Oh… but it’s only 60 minutes on public transport.”
      Him: “Yes, but I prefer my car. I have more freedom there.”
      Me: “But surely you can only move an inch every two minutes.”
      Him: “Well, yes.”
      Me: “I like public transport, because I can read my book.”
      Him: “I can read in my car, too.”

    • I assume you are reffering to the band Orlík and its singer Landa. If that is the case, I strongly suggest you check your facts before you make yourself look like even a bigger fool. There is a fine difference between nacism and patriotism. Orlík even had a song(s?) that ridiculed fascism. It is true that they might have sounded a bit racist, but to an extend. On account of their patriotism, they were against immigration and culture mixing. Which I think is a plus, not the contrary. (don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind people moving here and living their lives according to local laws and customs. I mind people who move here and then try to change the way our society behaves. Near east is the most painful case.

      If you are Czech and have an open mind, try reading this article, for example: http://www.rockandpop.cz/clanky/landa-=-nacek-blbost/

      Have a great day

      PS. as for the article itself – it didn’t only describe the situation in prague. I am a pilsener who enrolled on a university two months ago and I have to say it is just the same in my hometown. Well, except for the beer. It’s one of the things I miss in Prague – I can’t seem to find a pub where they would serve a decent Urquell for a decent price :(

      • dont be ridiculous.

        Nic ve zlim proti turistům
        když se sem chtěj podívat
        jenže není možný tady žít a taky pracovat
        co to bylo za ránu,
        kdo nám to sem z palmy spad
        černý oči, černý tělo to není můj kamarád.

        quoting that from Orlíks song called white league, which is superracist. oh and it says that they dont mind tourist but they dont want black people living and working here. i have very open mind and i recognise racism when i see it. and you know what, i dont want stupid racists living and working here!

  7. It was good fun. The carp in the bath was also a custom in Hungary which was followed by a terrible slaughter (yak) in the bathroom. That I don’t miss. But returning to the 33 points they really as jolly as I found the Czechs to be. I certainly enjoyed my time there; the city has the right size, fantastic buildings, good restaurants, kind people and yes the young generation is pretty decent lot. I do this all however, a secret so only those will go there who deserve to be in a nice place.

  8. Number 19, really? Kidding me? Come on, we don’t hit women with sticks! That would be kind of barbarian wouldn’t it? It’s not a stick! It’s a whip… :-/

    But I have to say, you are very very accurate otherwise..

  9. Czech people are not racist at all. They are one of the most tolerable nations in the world. That is why a Jew can become a president here and most likely will receive the most votes, that is why Japanese man has a considerable chance to become a president, a tattoed guy can become a president, the problem with gypsies is associated in most cases with their unwillingness to work which if combined with current economical situation raises passions among the working class against them. Personally I do not give a shit about the colour but a quality of man! The rest in the list is perfect :)

    • I think you mean tolerant :) – tolerable has a different meaning! Sorry, that’s the English teacher in me. I don’t mean to say Czech people are all racist, but some of the things my students have said have shocked me… not in a nasty, aggressive kind of racist way, but it seems that people will throw around stereotypes about countries here that might ruin your career in the overly-sensitive U.K. To give an example, a couple of my students have done the “Chinese eyes” and done ridiculous accents to go with it; another, when I asked him which person he would hire from two application letters (the point being that one was badly written and one was an example of fine English prose) he said “Neither, because she has a Spanish name and he has a Greek name, so they are both lazy.” It made me laugh – probably more out of surprise – and I wasn’t offended, but I can imagine even small comments like that back home causing a big stir.

      • Well, what I noticed when Czech gypsies come to country like Canada everybody is welcoming them and criticising the conditions in Czech…half a year passes and they do everything to quietly send them back. Nothing to do with colour, rather life/social/work ethic that is simply absent in this community.
        I’d also say it’s actually a good thing when you can be politically incorrect, and kind of normal state of things. You should be able to call the thing the real name. I will never use “visually challenged” instead of blind, it even offends blind people. You’ll never create balance through political corectness…also, what I’d say, people in other countries are politically correct but dep inside their thougths are usually more agressive towards strangers or minorities.

      • The cause of what you described is difference in history from Western Europe.

        We really are not multicultural or multinational country. We never had reason to build framework of politeness concerning racial topics. Other part of the problem is that we don’t really care about race, nation or religion. Our own culture, language and religion was almost beaten out of us by forced germanization. The funny think is that we did not won against germanization by force/revolution/guns. It was beaten by books, scholars, politicians. We wormed our own way into gaps in machine of Austrian Empire and created quite nice place to live in. We couldn’t talk freely for centuries. Because of that most of Czech people don’t really understand notion of national pride as other nations do and can’t imagine that it could be reason for war or harm. And for us talk is cheap especially concerning problematic topics. Also we dont see person as part of the nation. Not really, especially if we meet someone face to face.

        Please, do not interpret our fools who have full mouthes of racial blabbering with the same weight as of other countries. We are a bit crazy, we know … or don’t. :-D

      • Czech people are racist. It is an undisputable fact. Of course, not every single Czech is racist, but vast majority is to some degree. Racism is a part of Czech national culture these days. Most Czechs do not even understand the concept what racism is and are not interested to know. It has a lot to do with general political illiteracy and wide-spread anti-intelectualism that penetrates Czech society top down.
        Of course this racism is not consistent and some groups (like gypsies) are much more a target for racist abuse than others. Racism is hugely irrational and when you argue with most Czechs about racism you can clearly see how emotional they can get and how they actively reject any rational argument because their racism works very much on emotional level because vast majority was brought up racist.
        Those Czechs who are not racist had to go through a quite complicating process of rejecting the ideas they have been surrounded by all their lives and find courage to be different and face constant intimidation whenever they dare to bring up a rational anti-racist argument.
        That is just a fact – a sad one – but true. And it can be easily demonstrated by opinion polls, surveys, etc.

      • Those comments would really cause trouble in UK? That seems too strict to me. We just have a bit different style of humour, many jokes are dirty or offensive in a way. Nobody makes a big deal out of it :)

      • I worked in the UK for 4 years between 2006 and 2010. When I was leaving my job there I asked my boss, why he decided to hire me. I felt he was honest like most Czechs would. He said he did not have an option to hire an Englishman. He also said he was sincerely glad he did not. I think it is natural to be cautious or even sceptical when you encounter something you do not know well. It is also natural to try to maintain the status quo.

      • What is the difference between Czech and U.K.? Why have U.K. officers stopped all Gypsies in Ruzyne airport before their move to U.K.? You can easily reply to yourself. It’s not about minorities it’s racism against the human quality.

      • Gwynnie, sorry but I have to disagree with you. I am Czech living in the UK for more than 10 years and many people in the UK are openly racist/ignorant and it’s getting even worst. I have many friends from different backgrounds and I personally hate racism, xenophobia or any other kind of pigeonholing. I mean what you experience in Prague is nothing compare to what is happening in England. For example the Daily Mail’s online version had become the UK’s most popular newspaper website and it’s openly racist. The Daily Mail along with The Sun, etc typically finds time to bleat on about Gypsies, Eastern Europeans (means everyone who’s not British, Scandinavian or French) and Muslims. It is truly creative in finding a whole bunch of ways of paraphrasing “Kick all asylum seekers, gypsies, muslims and Eastern Europeans out, we hate foreign people”. What is published in these papers (and in the British papers in general) would be considered in the Czech Republic as illegal and against the law. It’s not all roses in the United Kingdom.

      • I still haven’t said that the UK isn’t full of racism. It definitely is… the more right wing you go, the worse it gets. We have things like the British National Party and the English Defense League, which are quite an embarrassment. Plenty of people have been attacked here because of their race. So, show me where I said the UK was a shining example of democracy and equality… because I certainly don’t think it is. We all have a long way to go.

      • Haha, attention to detail. :D Noticing the origins of the names. You should have praised them for the smart observation and quite a funny remark. The thing you seem not to understand here is they were not dead-serious. In real life they would be probably cautious but give the person a fair chance. There simply are differences and some recognizable traits although it´s just a lead, not applying to all which is normal. Human brain works like that. It´s natural. You yourself made a 33 point observation … I actually find the ramark really funny thanks for making my day.
        Just don´t take all the racist/ politically correct rubbish so seriously. I wouldn´t expect it from a British person (haha, generalization), you have some great absolutely incorrect in many ways comedians, series etc. I find it very refreshing and I believe that British humour is actually very close to the Czech one. What about Dylan Moran(I know, Irish), Frank Boyle(Scottish, I know), that funny looking fellow who looks like a ventriloquist puppet, can´t remember his name, that other one who looks so gay while claiming he is not and looks like he just jumped out of a “bed in with Oscar Wilde” picture, what a great fun is Jeremy Clarkson, the Yes Minister series (favourite Thatcher´s series) and so many others..
        ItIt´s all fun, tongue in cheek, dry, black, all kinds of humour, not serious the way you take it.
        Have friends from different countries, there are differences, even major once (from our point of view, my Mongolian friend never realised that taking other people´s stuff is really not the greatest thing around here, had to be told, please, don´t take at least my friends´ stuff) but she was great and would have done anything for a friend, but no-friend was simply a source etc.

        And the gay thing.. I think you might be wrong here. Since the era before 1989 destroyed religion and bigotry quite a lot, everything had to be based on science, I think being gay is nothing much to get our attention. We consider it a personal matter and don´t really care. He is gay? OK, I didn´t know, now I know, all right I probably should not ask him out any more. That´s the end. One of my closest friends is a transsexual, and..she´s just great. That´s what matters. Of course you find blockheads but I really do believe it´s not an issue at all around here.
        Actually the other day I saw an Americkan talk show, discussing some education/crime/religion/gay/trans etc matters, you can hear some opinions which for our society are a bit “out of the 18th century” arguments, and I think it is a lot thanks to the disappearnce of religion and bigotry here.

    • This is it! The problem is much more complicated than saying it is “racism”. They can’t get a better job because of bad education and reputation so than they do not want to work for low celery because the social benefits are almost the same. Their children have no motivation to study as they have no example. So there is a circle. Because they are not stupid, when they know that if they want more money from government they have to write the name of the eldest person (usually great grandfather) in the family as a father of the youngest (usually baby born to his great granddaughter). When someone die here his/her child get about 10 000 CZK/month. Or more other ways how to do that.

      I used to say that they are very poor when they have no jobs, bad possibility to get one and only the social benefits until this: My aunt used to work as clerk in employment office in the north of Bohemia. She didn’t want to continue after several attacks on her by all-life unemployed persons. She paid out the social benefits. The region of North Bohemia (region with the most problems) has a special account for the extra benefits, but you have to be a gypsy if you want them. The region is scared of being looted. They started with this account right after these people said they would do so if no more money and region said no and they half did it

      There are so many programs to integrate them, but obviously they do not want as some of them still do not speak the language even though they are here for decades. It is not about colour! I have many friends who look like gypsies but behave not and I also know a lot of people who look like majority but their life-style is like “gypsies”. The gypsy is not person with darker colour but with the behaviour.

      I hope you will understand it better. Most people (except for extremists) just want them to work but this is also problem as not all of the enterprises want them to hire as they have very bad reputation. This is the small picture of how it really is.

      And about racism. Is it ok to say: “you czech dirt”? Because it happens to me every time I go trough the quarter where they live. And also a word “gadji”….

      • Well no, of course it’s not ok for them to be racist to you either! It’s clearly a two-way problem that’s quite complicated. What you say makes sense, and I think it is very similar to the attitude people have to those on benefits in the U.K., especially those we call “chavs”. The difference is that anyone can be a chav (it’s some confusing thing defined by clothes, music, behaviour and usually if you have loads of kids and are on benefits, but you’ll find “chavvy” people with jobs) so somehow people can say negative things about them and nobody will see it as racist, whereas the Roma happen to also be a different race. I don’t imagine people would like them any more if they were white, really, it just ends up looking like racist when it’s really frustration with the way they treat the system.

  10. As Priker said. I happen to live here for quite some time now, having many opportunities to hang out with Czechs. There is little to no racism, Czechs love foreigners. There are vast colonies of Vietnamese people with shops, many Indians (e.g. from India) working at DHL and other big companies, Arabic culture seems to grow slowly with their (usually good) Kebap bistros, Black people are always in the center of interest… All these people contribute to the society somehow. Czech people don’t have problems with ethnic differences, on the contrary! They’re very curious. However, Czech people have problems with society parasites such as robbers, thieves, begging drunks, politicians…, generally people who sponge the society, draining it without giving anything back. Sadly, Gipsies and alike usually represent this kind of leeches – refusing to work, not creating any values, only taking social allowances which are comparable to an average income (where about 70% of Czechs are well below this income level). Czechs are also not very fond of Germans and Russians because of historic reasons but this is far from racism, I’d say it’s a slight prejudice that often fades rapidly.

    • Most people who really “sponge the society” are white Czechs – corrupt politicians and businessmen. What you are saying is exactly what most brainwashed Czechs believe. All you are saying can be easily disproved by just looking at statistics.

      • No offense Pavel but this is exactly what I usually hear from the “less fortunate” Czechs who are indeed a majority here, sadly (I happen to mention that in the post). Agreed on local politicians being leeches, in fact I mentioned that in the post as well. My original post was ment to shed some light on the so called “racism” and reasons for it. I’m not advocating the reasons though, they might be off (even though my personal experience says otherwise) but this is what most people think. My post was more broad then what you are reacting on.

        This nicely shows another problem Czechs have, again due to historic reasons. Majority of Czechs are lower class. That is a sad fact and can be proved by statistics. The problem is this lower class people tend to hate everyone whith an average income and above thinking they must have done something wrong, illegal or unfair. Czech people and especially the lower class are very very envious and very very lazy. They dispute the fact that nearly all of middle-to-higher class people gained what they have by honest work.

        All classes “hate” the “gipsies” except the lower class who hate everyone.

  11. Also:
    Age is not a big an issue in relationships between men and women.
    Sexually assertive women are simply healthy.
    Czech cougars are plentiful and they prowl.
    Infidelity in marriage for both women and men is rather common.
    Body hair is ok on men and women.
    Czechs get naked easily.
    Flirting is a national pastime.
    Czechs are passive aggressive, they know it and it is a source of national shame.
    Czechs become complete assholes behind the steering wheel of a car.
    Czechs are not aggressive when drunk. Instead of fighting they talk and talk and talk.
    Czechs are loyal friends.
    Czech jazz is world class.
    There is more live theatre (and classical music) in Prague per capita than any other city in the world.

  12. Your notices made me laugh aloud (which does not happen very often). Wonderful! :)
    Would you mind if we borrowed one or two for the next edition of USE-IT map?

  13. you forgot the most important :

    # They ALL remove their shoes in their house and put slippers (also for guest if necessary) :D

    • We have a 2 Generation home, and I get wrong all day long for not wearing the right footwear, even when I wearing none.

  14. I am Czech and live in New Mexico. I go home every summer and love my hometown – Prague. Great observations (for a Brit), ha ha. I agree with all of it.

  15. I must say that is nice for me as a czech person to read such a nice article about my country.
    Because lots of youngsters want to move to the West, me either.

  16. ad 28) – We are not racists, we are just realstic. Naive political correctness, so popular nowadays, denies the reality. Try to park your car in gypsy quarter (or dare to walk there at night)
    instead of preaching about political correctnes from distance. Have some experience first-hand, before condemning others /BTW saying that Czechs are racists isn’t racist?/ You have no idea what are you talking about, unless you rented an appartment in Gypsy house (Google Chanov for example).

    • Well, I didn’t say “Czechs are racist”, clearly, I said that in 80% of cases when I mentioned gypsies I heard a barrage of racist comments (which also means the comments, not the people, are racist). Yes, I’ve heard the whole “you’d be racist too if you spent time near gypsies”, and saying it only backs up my original point. What I meant is that Czechs don’t seem to have much love for Roma.
      Anyway, I get it, we have chavs in the UK, of course it’s more a socioeconomic division, but as well as sponging off the government a lot of “chavs”might start fights, damage property and commit other crimes. But point out where I was preachy, and where I condemned anyone – it was just an observation.

      • Isn’t it wonderful how racists use racist arguments to prove you are unfair to them if you call them racist? And isn’t it wonderful how easily they can get offended while they see nothing wrong about saying extremely offensive things about other people?
        Gwynnie, you did not overstate prevalence of racism in Czech society. If anything, you understated it. So do not worry about people who are somewhat hard of thinking for themselves and just blast stereotypes at you.

      • but you should – 90% of czech are racists and don’t know about it although they are proving it with every single sentence – as ‘not a racist’ kindly showed to us

  17. Hi Gwinnie,
    I have just read your report about Prague and the Czech rep. I am Czech guy living in Brazil for almost two years. Thank god I have very good internet connection so can watch Czech on-line TV and be well informed about my fatherland and Europe as well. It was very nice to read your pregnant and consise description. I am not sure if you experienced cultural chock or not. Here in Brazil I went through serious cultural shock (everything is too different, no European restaurants, no czech beer etc.) and I think I had to invent a new personal identity so you can imagine how much I did enjoy your image of the Czech rep.
    Thanks
    Ales

  18. Have to agree on 28 with Priker… People would have to go through the experiences to understand where the frustration comes from … A lot of enabling on the part of government … Hard working people don’t get any help at all despite their challengingly circumstances … Minority is not about numbers.. It’s about injustice towards particular group irregardless its size… Within the context of gypsies in Czech, non-gypsy is a minority these days … The pendulum has swung too far …

  19. 4. Human memory is bad, very bad. During Russian “communistic” occupation people were killed and tortured! Travelling was very limited. Information were censored. Economy was terrible, corruption huge. Famous Czech thievery is based in these ages, because every business was in state ownership, so nobody did’t take care of it. It was dark age. It’s unbelievable that some people, who were provably committing crimes against humanity, are still working in police, government etc. It’s the Czech flabby grain…

    • It is amazing that many ‘movers and shakers’ of Communism are still in government, being paid and largely ignored. But I can admit my country is no better, in more than one way. At least you guys have familiar faces. Rueful grin.

  20. Pingback: Life in the Czech Republic «

  21. “31) Czech people don’t seem to have much
    national pride (well, not compared to other
    places). I could be wrong.”
    Just wait untill we win the Ice-Hockey champiobship again. BTW a lot of Czechs would be angry to not read a thing about Hockey in this article.

    • Yes, it is difficult for the English to understand the obsession with Hockey, especially if you tell them it is more important than Football. They cannot get their heads around that.

  22. 12) The meanest looking teenagers will give up their seats on the tram/bus/metro for nice old people…
    13) Mullets are still OK here – on children, on old guys, even on people running for elections.

    Thinly disguised prejudices? ;)

  23. 28. I do feel offended. I’m sick and tired of foreigners calling Czechs to be racists. I’ve heard that kind of stuff so many times; in the Netherlands, USA, Germany… And I, as a native Czech, strongly disagree with this statement. Everything must reffer to a specific context, this generalisation without any kind of knowledge and understanding of the problem is totally ridiculous and silly. We are not racists anyway.

    The 30-something points left are quite funny (all of them) and true (with few exceptions, of course). Good job anyway.

  24. Well done. National pride is really hard to generalize. Czechs love to complain…its like a national sport. It nearly tragic how some people do not realize how lucky we are to live in this amazing country in its the most peaceful period in history. I love my country and I know many people who feel it the same way. We are just too critical when it comes to evaluating of our country. Also we can make some nice videos as well :)

    Anyway good job :)

  25. Pingback: 33 Things I’ve Learnt From Prague - Prague infomaps

  26. Well, I fell quite ashamed for Czech while reading this. Just like you mentioned in no. 31 :) And to no.28. I live i northern Czech and I have feeling, there live equal number of Czechs and gypsies. And yes, I’m racist to them, because living with them in the same quarter of city is being terrible! They act like animals – for real. They scream sooo loud at middle of the night, burn dustbins, abuse everyone, destroy what the city had repaired. They’re really ill-mannered. I’m sick of them.

  27. Unfortunately, maybe in Prague people talk about gippsy issues without knowing them, but I have lived really among them for almost 6 years and I know what is the truth. I actually witnessed the big clans of 50 people on each side beating each other with bags around midnight, shouting at the police (that was scarred to get out of cars before the reinforcement arrived and I don´t blame them), that this is their own internal thing and they should not interfear. I don´t think anyone would want to live in the middle of such neighbourhood. This kind of behaviour is not normal in any civilized society!:(

  28. On 7, Austria is the same if not more. On 28 true, but the more east you go the more blatant the racism gets, it goes like that all the way down to Poland in the north and Hungary in the south, with the Ultra-nationalists over there (Jobbik) growing everyday more, pretty much openly advocating the end of Roma (gipsy) and western “occupation”. On 31, the pride is more regional than national, with regional slangs making the people further proud of their family house in the middle of nowhere and “nationalistic” about the whole 30 speakers of that slang, even districts of the same city might have different slangs thus being practically of a different nationality. Might I also mention the critical pollution problem the country faces atm, primarily a result of the heavy industrialisation of cities as promoted during socialism, but also due to the use of fossil fuel heating in homes, with mass car sales further worsening the problem.

  29. Hi,

    nice observations. I think you should also add that Czechs are quite atheists and if we believe into something we don’t organize much and mostly keep it to ourselves. Organized churches and religions aren’t that popular here with exceptions of few rural areas. I observed that less religious people from high religious countries like Poland or Spain enjoy the tolerance and freedom that comes with it. But if someone tries to enforce or propagate their beliefs and religion on us too aggressively we will ignore them or laugh at them.

    And we are definitely racist – people whine all the time about gypsies, that they exploit the social services but studies show that costs of this chaving are much much less than losses caused by *white*-collar corruption (pun accidental). Governing class and media are exploiting strong stereotypes and the impoverisheds social inertia to their own profits without most people seeing it through. Divide and conquer at its clearest. It’s visible even in the previous comments. I was never beaten by gypsies, never robbed by them, my car was never broken into and I lived and parked near one of those neighbourhoods. But I admit I would not want them as neighbours because they are quite noisy. But I don’t like noisy people in general :)

    Lots of people are also quite intolerant or at least passive aggressive to people who practice alternative lifestyles and who don’t want to have much common with average society.

  30. About the “gipsy” topics: go find some fresh gipsy immigrants from CR in London, share some time living close to them, and you might understand. Not all are the same, but remember, after all that criticism about racist Czechs who opress gipsies they reintroduced visas for CR residents to keep the Czech gispy immigrants out of their country.

  31. The gypsy thing is very hard to explain. Calling it racism would be rather simplistic view of the problem. If I were to speak for people my age, I don’t think they are generally racist at all. Young people are quite cosmopolitan and open to all ethnicities. People in Czech Republic specifically don’t like gypsies. To be honest I have plenty of my own reasons to have a problem with them. It’s hard to talk about this to people who have not come to contact with them. I grew up on a council estate. I had gypsy friends as a kid. And neigbours. And they were perfectly nice. But more often you get abuse just for walking by. Verbal and physical. Quite violent. And I speak from a view of teenage girl. Without these experiences I would probably be going around annoyed by how people are hateful just because they’re different. It all sound nice.
    I’m all for gypsies rights groups. For education and help finding jobs. If anyone’s interested, that’s great. But although gypsies are like one tenth or 1/15 of czech population, I have not met one at my uni. And there’s plenty of asians, who are another rather large minority. From what I understand the situation in UK is quite similar with socially challenged groups, education and criminality issues, rioting and stuff. To be clear, I’m not saying this problem is concentrated around gypsies. Of course it’s not. I’ve met groups of teenagers half gypsy half czech, best mates, no racism from either side. But try walking by in the wrong coat or a shoe brand.
    Also my friend lived in Manchester for the past two years and he said that people would often not talk to him or see him as a low life because he had an eastern accent and they considered him to be “Polish”. So I guess every country has something like that. This wouldn’t be called racism though, because polish people are white.
    I realize you will probably categorize me as someone who “talks of terrible things that these ‘gypsies’ do”, but it is rather frustrating to get this abuse constantly from a certain group of people and then being patronised and called racist when speaking about it.
    I do understand though how hard it must be trying to actually build a life and being gypsy in Czech republic.

  32. sorry but No. 3 is definitely not true…maybe you meet really strange people but in general it is definitely like that

  33. Good observations, almost everything is realistic, unlike the overly-excited comments about Prague I keep hearing from many other expats.

    P.S. I love meeting similarly minded people, so you can drop a line to my email if you want to have a beer some day.

  34. Alright, as an American woman who lived in the CZ for years (Brno, then Prague, then back to Brno) I think your list is pretty succinct. The only additives? Czechs are fiercely proud yet antagonistic towards those that ‘got out.’ Forman and Jagr, to name just a few. They love them but hate that they left. I suppose Kundera could be under the same, which is ironic as he and Kafka (not Czech) or Schiele (not Czech) have made the CZ known to the outside world.

    As for the angry* people who are attacking you about ‘racism,’ I have no sympathy. None. I HAVE lived in gypsy neighborhoods. And Czech. The Czechs, due to my surname being ‘Germanic’ at the time, kept removing my name from my mailbox. Weekly. The Romany were not only friendly, not only open as a society- they also included me in the best ways possible- as in you’re not a foreigner, but a friend. I’ve been robbed 6 times in the CZ- by white Czech men, not gypsies. I’ve been intimidated twice by white Czech (drunk) men- never by gypsies. I have lived close to them. I have shared their lives, their feelings, their music. Some Czechs should try it sometime- it might make you think the next time you see someone with darker skin, and you cross the road.

    By the way, I had an English friend who couldn’t stomach Czech racism. She’s got a Mandarin father and a black mother- and it took her just a year to leave the stereotype in the CZ. Also an asian friend, who says he can smell* the racism pouring in when he steps on a train/bus coming from Vienna, of all places. His eyes are too slanty for Czechs, and they always ask him where he’s from. When he says ‘England,’ they ask about his parents. I don’t know many countries that are that invasive with ‘Hello,’ but it says a lot about pinpointing people according to their appearance.

    I love many things about the CZ- as you listed, and many more- loved this- but I have a small problem with under-schooled individuals. Thank you for posting this- it was sent me from a very close CZ friend. Who lives in Ireland. Ha. You have to love the information age. I hope you’re enjoying Prague, if you’re still there. The people are lovely and the city is eye-candy. Mej se hezky cas. (apologies for length)

    • I was never robbed by czech in Czech republic. I was robbed in Florida for the first time in my life. I was sent to work there for my company as specialist. .I spent an half year there. I accommodated, went in to my office first day and when i returned back all my stuff included personal data were stolen from my “secured” house in sunny state….
      If i had problem in CZ it was the problem with gipses. i am questioning to myself where did you live in CZ to be robbed 6x and by “white” czech? It can happen… but honestly i can imagine some parts of Brno city where it could happen but definitaly not by the way how you have described. Your story is most probably lie. Sorry. But to be robbed 6 times in CZ sounds me like elephant on the Moon. Or something wrong with you.
      If CZ people look at the foreigner with curiosity it is normal but it is not racism. Well, it is true when black person enter bus in ordinary city in CZ, most probably it is the first black guy in the most of eyes in this bus. They simply havent seen him before… only maybe in some american series with full correctnes … This is reality but it has notning to racism. People are curious and staring… Sorry, but CZ have never colonized any country, didnt import any slaves and generaly have much less time for accustom.. but it is naturely. I travel a lot around the world. I can easily say that CZ is one of the most open mind nation. We really dont care about color or shape of eyes…(tattoed guy as almost president, half japan guy as well and senator at this moment…approves my statement) …about gipsys – try to read history. From CZ perspective, there was not any gipsy after 2nd WW. All of them came later. We built houses for them, they got the best flats after the germans were moved eg… look at this parts of cities now… anyway… UK will wake up soon as well.
      I never steal i was never robbed in CZ. I cant approve any word from your story. And i feel offended.

    • Sure. All the bad stereotypes about Gypsies are based on such nice experiences. It’s very logical, after all. They are great people. We have lived with them for 600 years, but we haven’t been able to learn it. You came to our country and everything was clear to you within a very short time. Your fairy tale indicates that you may have lived in the middle of the Chánov settlement.

    • Hi mel – funny – found it by chance… and there is your comment:-)
      and for gwynnie – try to get out of prague too…

  35. I forgot one very important Czech thing: a phrase. ‘If you aren’t stealing from your company, you’re stealing from your family’s mouth.’ Ironically, the worst thing you can do to a Czech is steal from them.

    • Unfortunately, you are right. The people steal a lot. I really hate it, do not know why this is here. But I heard that the phrase: “If you are not stealing, you are stealing from family” was made in communism era, but not sure if this is the reason.

  36. I’m so annoyed with the gipsy part… all the Western Europeans (including my friends) always have to complain about gipsy racism, and they have never even met one in their lives (I literally had to google gypsies to show my friend what they looked like). Why? Cuz the EU pays us a very nice sum to keep them away from the west. Again, why? Because all these “stereotypes” about them are clearly something more than juststereotypes. All the rest was nice and I’m seriously thinking about visiting Prague after this :)

  37. we now have the eastern european gypsies in my city of derby [england] and everything is true,none work as they are illiterate in english [it as made my local papers headlines] we have seen crimes like pickpocketing rise, and we,ve had swans killed for food [something which was unheard of before eastern europeans came to britain] also we,ve had gypsy gang fights go off…forget the p.c crap..the gypsies are a bunch of low lifes

  38. Oh are you kidding me ? Well here is video from Karvina city http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nlg4KYacEmM look at this , gipsies work …. exactly , I´m living 3 blocks from there , and living with these “people” is …. uncredible. Have you problem with racism in Czech ? OK we can sent the all the gipsies to your county , and hell yes we will pay for it !

    • I don’t get it… The video shows me pretty messy demolition, but how is this meant to convince me that hating gypsies is ok? Also, I didn’t say it was good or bad (this racism), I said it exists, as many comments have proven. Also, thanks, but the UK has plenty of its own scapegoats without adding more.. Plus some Roma might be able to come over soon enough, we’ll see!

  39. Well, about movies… we had few good ones… about racism… if you are tourist, you never lived in gypsy ghetto, so STFU.. and about national pride… you have talket to wrong people…

    • A lot of the people who rant about it have never lived in the ghettos either. I’m sure it’s not fun. For the 100th time, saying something exists is not the same as saying it’s good or bad.. So while you all want to attack me for making an observation, you are somehow imagining that I am judging you. I won’t say it again – what I said is pretty clear in the article. My students often become angry and hateful when the topic of gypsies comes up. All I said.

      • I totally agree with you. I always hear nasty things when the word “gypsie” comes out. The truth is I´ve met quite a lot of them who live normal life, having a proper job, trying to do their best. But when they get into conflict with someone else “dirty gypsy” is always good way how to insult them. I am talking about people who have their own houses, flats.

        The problem is not gypsies per se, these problems come with poverty and the fact that someone is an outcast. And it really doesn´t matter whether he/she is a gypsie, half a gypsie, Ukrainian, Czech or Slovak. The fact that the majority of gypsy is in fact poor is a heritage from past times. They were forced to give up their way of life, they´ve been gathared to live together (houndreds of people living in poverty on the same street, that´s never gonna turn out good) and now they are a good aim for those who earn money on them. There are subsides for poor so thay can allow a rent, so plenty of gypsies live in flats in terrible conditions paying rent twice as high as would be acceptable. Flats are usually owned by “white” people.
        It is not only gypsies I see Czechs as quite judgemental. I believe that it is a consequence of being closed so long. Try to wear a hat and get ouside the downtown.

        What I ´ve notices about Czechs is that despite their love for sport activies, they ´re quite a fat nation. Over a half of adult men, almost half of adult women have either obesity or are overweight. And they like to wear almost professional equipment when going anywhere outside the town (or even in town).

        I live in Prague for 5 years now.

  40. Gwynnie: I am getting sick of this “Hey lets all live together in multicultural paradise” and anyone who is against it is a racist… How do you feel about London beeing slowly destroyed by muslims. Are you ok with their public hate speeches regarding killing anyone who does not believe to Allah? Are you ok with the fact that there are streets where British people cannot go because they would simply get robbed, rapped or even worse by Muslims? I dont want to be offensive but people like you (hypocrites without real experience) are reason that our once beautiful Europe is turning into shi*thole. Have you visited London, Brussel, Amsterdam or Malmo lately? Well if not, then do it and let us know then…

    • Once beautiful europe was it when? In the 1930′s? Or in the 1960′s perhaps? And which part of europe? And why is it not beautiful anymore? And have you been to mogadishu, addis abeba or asmara? They were once beautiful too, long time before your idea of a beautiful europe even existed. Now they’re shitholes, but of the real kind. London destroyed? I think rather than by muslims, by developers and by skyscrapers. Do you want to talk about public hate speeches? Just talk to greek people on the street and ask them what do they think about politicians, that would make a hell of a hate public speech :-)) and since you’re accusing the author of being an hypocrite without real experience (in what???) what’s your experience on the matter? Multiculturalism is not paradise, is just a way of living in the most possible civilised way. In the middle ages in sicily, arabs, greeks, normans, and any other people known at the time were all living together on one island. The world has always been multicultural. If you think multiculturalism just started few years ago, then you’re terribly wrong, i’m afraid. I don’t know where you’re from, but unless you’re from mars, the place where you grew up is always been multicultural. You maybe just didn’t know it.

  41. I cannot accept one thing. You mentioned taht decadent “western” Superstar-like competition “Czechoslovakia has talend”. If I was forced to say the worst thing that you can see in TV in ČR, it would be these horrible competitions. You should definetly see some REAL czech movies that belong to that “golden heritage”. I advice you something from Zdeněk Svěrák and Ladislav Smoljak, these are (mr. Smoljak was) geniuses of second half of 20th century in ČR. Do not believe to anything you see in “current” TV, that says nothing, we rather look out of the window than watch TV.

  42. Like your post and I’m happy you more or less like to be here. I’m not doing it too much but I’ll reply to your points as many did before me – just for you to know how some of us see it here.

    1) Beer sucks. Yes, I’m serious. Our beer is not as bad as the US beer for example but is NOT any good. It’s a history when Czech beer was one of the best in the world. Today, most of the beer we produce is simply shit. Mostly because people don’t care about the taste and just want it to be cheap so they can get wasted with a little impact on their money.

    3) Some people say “I feel like shit” because they have their idea of feeling good and anything different from that is simply “not good enough”. Also, it might actually mean that the person feels good. Sometimes you just can’t tell if people mean things or they’re just ironic or sarcastic.

    4) Since we never put communists out of law, I think this will keep going forever. I think it’s because many Czech don’t really care about freedom, because it means taking care of everything themselves and certain level of responsibility. And that’s not very popular here.

    5) It’s pointless. Most of us don’t give a fuck about someone being gay. And the reason why some people are protesting against Prague Pride is simply that we don’t give a fuck and it’s annoying. I’m not running on the streets, yelling that I do women. Because why should I? Nobody cares… Same as nobody cares about someone being gay. And gay jokes are fun (even more if gay people are telling them). Two guys/girls love each other? So what? Good for them.

    8) There’s a lot of food with vegetables, it’s just problem with Czech restaurants that they want to “do world cuisine” (which in most cases is just horrible) or they can’t shake off those few well known recipes and do something less known and more healthy.

    9) And if you’re lucky, you won’t have any health problems later that day. Lunch here can be fatal for a foreigner the same way as a lunch in Thailand for Czech :)

    10) Don’t even try to call a waiter in typical restaurant. You might event get kicked out as they think they’re something more than you. Get used to possible 30 minutes of waiting for your meal while the waiter is standing near the kitchen and smoking.

    11) It’s perfectly acceptable to drink anything at any time. Guess that’s why my friends from Scotland and Ireland loved it here.

    12) And the cutes looking granny will beat you to death with her bag full of stuff she got from sales if you overlook her and don’t jump out of the seat immediately.

    13) They’re not OK. We’re just tolerant and don’t tell those people they look like idiots, because we probably had it too when we were kids.

    14) Yes, we love dogs and cats. And babies. Grilled are the best.

    16) Big groups of any sort of people are annoying. Travelling in metro with group of elder people is a hell, especially if you have a baby with you. Elder guys are complaining, elder women are all soft from the kid (which is nice if there’s less the 200 around you).

    17) Some don’t go with carp and use other fish or even chicken instead.

    18) Yup, and we don’t want the fat weirdo Santa Claus here. We already had one Klaus and look what happened. That tradition with St. Mikuláš, angel and devil is one of the most idiotic things people ever invented. No other country have such a skill in making a simple devil look so scary. When I was a kid, I knew it’s my dad and uncle but those costumes still scared the shit out of me. Something I’ll gladly never do to my son.

    19) It’s not a stick. It’s more like a cable from wood. Ehm, no, that’s not going to work either.

    20) And if you ride a bus for 30 minutes, people won’t speak to you at all. It’s not that they don’t know – they just don’t want to talk to you. Some because they’re mean fuckers, some because they’re scared to reveal how badly they know the language (which sometimes is not even the case). We lack the teachers for English, many are just three lessons in advance before the children they teach.

    21) The main reason we drink beer so much is not to be healthy but to be as drunk as the doctor is. It’s not about massive chunks but eating some meat (brisket is perfect) will help the body to get rid of the alcohol, because of the fat.

    22) Yup, beer is cheaper and taste the same.

    23) It’s watching TV, drinking beer and complaining about politics. That’s what we do.

    24) Czech TV is the way to keep most of the people on the rails where politics want them. Give us some porn, romance and murders and we’re happy. I watch UK channels instead. I’m not gay but jesus, Stephen Fry… :D

    27) That’s why I hated holidays with grandparents when I was a kid. Not that they would steal the towels but… Well, what’s the point of going somewhere if you pretty much bring your home with you?

    28) Problem with Roma is that they really are as bad as Czech say. And they don’t want anything to change on that matter. My “uncle” (just friend of my father but we always called him uncle) is a gypsy. Great guy. Few guys I’ve studied with were gypsies. Also great guys. And they all did it. They have a job, they have a respect and nobody gives a damn about them being gypsies. Why? Because they don’t act like gypsies. They don’t threaten people, they don’t yell on the street, they don’t steal, they don’t break everything they see… I’ve spoken with one of the guys I’ve studied with and asked if he had a problem getting a job since he’s a gypsy. He said that he had no problem at all. When he tried his first job interview, they just asked “What is your education?” and “Are you able to start next monday?”.

    The problem is not in in us anymore. It’s in the majority of the Roma community. They want to be in the position of the racism targets, because it’s easier life for them. Everything they do can be simply excused with “You’re all just racist and hate us”. And people from organizations who “fight” for human rights take their word as true, because they never been there, never seen what they can do and never felt how agressive they can be (which I had the chance to feel on my own skin few times). And if we’re so bad, how is it that we don’t have problems with Vietnamese? They’re everywhere, yet there’s almost no conflicts with them. I think it’s because they want to be part of this country and live side by side with us, while gypsies (no matter if they’re Roma or white – oh yes, there’s quite a few of white gypsies too) don’t.

    29) Because people here will vote for anyone who will tell them enough shit or looks weird enough to make it fun. If there was a guy with two dicks on his head and walked on his arms, people would vote for him. It’d still be better than what we have now…

    30) Politicaly incorrect jokes are ok, because some of us are not pissing in their pants every time someone might feel offended. People who get offended should be offended. Political correctness is pure shit and one of the sources of racism and hatred in the world. If I’m making jokes on blacks, jews, gypsies, Germans, Chinese, Martians… it doesn’t meen I hate them or don’t respect them. I’m just making jokes on other people. That’s why I like comedians like Frankie Boyle or Jimmy Carr.

    31) There’s not much to be proud of if you look around.

    33) That’s what I said after a month in Rome. Was glad I was back here. Their public transportation was just horrible.

  43. It is not racism, we dont care about color of their skin. Have you noticed racism against black/asian people? No! because we just dont care about races, but we hate that they steal, dont work and dont get punished for something white people would

  44. Although Czechs are generally funny and goodhearted people, I must state that Czechs ARE racists. That is my long-term personal experience with the nation.

  45. Well, i don’t consider myself a racist, i really don’t care about race. But i have to say that gypsies are a big problem. Now, don’t get me wrong, not all of them. I know (though not personaly) gypsies who have education, jobs and all that things. But try living in neibourhood with tthe regular ones. The vast majority of gypsies are exactly as we say. Lazy, dangerous, stealing things etc. Hell, most of my friends from my city got beaten by them, my brother was robbed twice by them.

    And yes, i do know, it is not entirely their fault that they are mostly in poverty… but the main problem is they do nothing about it. Most of them simlpy expects to get everything from the state. And the worst thing is, they will usualy get a lot. New flats (which they effectively destroy after a few years), money and more. And still, we are bulling them. How exactly? By giving them money? Flats? For free? And try not to give them these things. Now you’re discriminating them and you got lawyers on your back…

  46. I do love the article and the most of the comments. But the racism thing seems to be most hot topic here. So, I don’t want to argue, we seems to slip to that kind of behaviour, but all of you who wrote that down (how you hate it), check this out:

    We (Czechs) are not racist. Hard to believe, right? Well, It’s a bit more complicated. It’s not just the racism, it’s more like the distrust or suspicion of the ppl who came here from the other countries. Because, in the history, if they did come here, it was never a friendly vistit. Period. For the decades or centuries we had been raped as the nation by the foreigners. I do want to be dramatic, it’s just the fack. You don’t need to be a history prodigy to check that up. Russia, Germany, Hungary, Austria, you name it! Our territory was occupied by many. Our language was targeted to complete eradication, our teritory belonged to counless nations, somebody from Moscow, Wien, Berlin etc. was made a decisions what czech book can be even published. And really, for centuries.

    That suspicious feeling that we have about the ppl coming from the outside wasn’t born over the night, it’s based on specific experiences of the many generations. So I argue that what seems to be racism, it’s more sort of xenophobia (well,from bad to worse :-)), only if somebody is black or asian, it’s just more clear to see they are not from here. So this is where it comes from. If you do not have experience to be from the nation who lived between two millstones (Germany, Russia), it must be hard to understand. How many of you did have the experince to be afraid of somebody on the street will hear you speak your born language (like my granny) or found a russian tank on the frontyard in the morning (lime my mom). So, I do not want to advocate the racism or the xonophobia. I hate that kind of prejudices. Also I believe part of czech ppl are racist, any nation has racist idiots in it, but please, think about it was I just wrote, it’s more complicated than it seems and it hopefully deserves a minute or two of your time. It wasn’t born over the night and it unfortunately means it not be gone over the next one. Wel, I wanna work on my prejudices¨and I hope the othe Czechs (which in my case means Moravian :-)) feels the same, but let me say again it’s not spite or stupidity in us, it’s more the historical experience formed by generations.
    I hope you all feel I don’t want to say that we do not have a racist behavior, we sure do, but I wanted you to see it from another angle, to see the background of it, the one you can’t find in any reference book.
    Thank you very much if you did or felt like you want to give a try to think about it (in spite of my bad english) and yes, Czech TV is one big load of shit :-). Cheers.

  47. No. 3 reminded me of a thing that happened to me around a year ago. I was having a beer with some erasmus students, when one of them asked me how I was. I was a bit fed up with repeating all the time that I was fine -which I wasn’t, having repeated “I’m fine” at least fifty times already-, therefore I switched to “it could be better” or “not that well” (not sure anymore, but basically true statements). Well, that expression was priceless! Therefore, if anybody would like to be “original” when talking to foreigners and just say what is on his/her mind – please don’t! It is better to be “just fine” and save yourself from an awkward situation.

    Unfortunately, I’ll have to partially agree with Dan (see comment above). I especially like the middle aged women, who instead of politely asking me if they could sit -I would immediately stand up- almost throw their bags in my face trying to look important and squish my face and preferably my whole body into/out of the window. Sorry people, but that is not the proper way to ask somebody for their seat. In those cases, I am sorry to say, I opt for ignoring this person.

  48. Nice list, feel I have to reply (as another Brit in Prague) to the issue of racism.

    Generally agree regarding the charge of racism, glad to hear it voiced. Most annoying is hearing how gypsies are a financial burden on the Czech state. I never hear this backed up with any statistics, all just anecdotage, most likely recital from the mainstream press.

    Also to all those who consider gypsies to be a permanent problem I would ask: what is the solution? Send them to work in camps? Solutions are never discussed, but I am pretty sure hatred is not going to make anything better. If the law is weak prosecuting criminals then that’s a problem of the judicial system, not gypsies. And yes, I have first hand experience with gypsies in Prague and Czech.

    Anyway, thanks Gwynnie for the list and for calling a spade a spade.

  49. Ps – no racists would ever identify themselves as racist, though they usually manage to with “I’m not a racist but…”

  50. Please, just find out some information about gypsies before you write an article like this. Czech people don´t have any problems with Asian or black people, just with gypsies. They don´t work, they just take the money from the state, destroy everything, steal everything… 85% of the people in jails are gypsies. It´s their fault that the Czech people hate them when they do all this stuff. And a know plenty of them. In my city with 20 000 people are like 5 000 gypsies.
    Maybe it´s true that we aren´t patriots. Just look at how many people agree with this article.
    I don´t think the Czech TV is that bad either. What´s wrong with old English films in Czech?? We do have a lot of very quality czech films that we are proud of.
    If you don´t like the Czech Republic that much just go back to your perfect England.

  51. Oh, look at it. What a tolerance! She is struck by: 29) A man whose body is 100% tattooed can get enough votes to run for President.

    So what? So he likes tatooing. He still can be a good president or? And political jokes? I’d never live in a country where somebody will tell me what I can and mustn’t laugh, tfuj. Despotism. Usually, people get jokes after they deserve it.

  52. To nám říkáte ze země, která okupovala protektorátně Severnií Irsko a podílí se na místní rasové segregaci? A co Ian Stuart Donaldson a Skinheads?BNP? Typický britský produkt Vašeho pokrytectví.

  53. I have to add there are people in the Czech Republic who live quite happily without EVER drinking beer; especially in South Moravia the culture is more inclined towards drinking wine. It’s a nice region, too, so you can go there and taste other flavours of the Czech culture… Bohemia and Moravia (not speaking of North Moravia) are quite different, really (and there are a lot of regional pride issues, which I do not want to comment on – I was born in Prague, which I like, and I live in Moravia, which I like too) – that is just to say that Prague does not equal all the country.

  54. Truth about Czech Gypsies:
    25% z celkového počtu Romů žije v Severních Čechách
    21% z celkového počtu Romů žije na Severní Moravě

    47% bytů obývaných Romy není vybaveno ani splachovacím WC, 40 m2
    bytové plochy obývá v průměru 6,9 Romů

    30% manželství v některých romských skupinách uzavírají příbuzní

    6% romských žen poprvé rodí mezi 14 a 16 lety

    19% romských žen poprvé rodí v 16 letech, až 4 interrupce v
    průměru připadají na jednu romskou ženu

    60% dětí umístěných v dětských domovech je romské národnosti

    51% romských dětí se učí ve zvláštních školách

    22% romských dětí propadá v 1. třídě

    25% romských dětí ve věku 6-7 let je v pásmu verbální debility

    56% Romů nemá ani základní vzdělání

    32,7% Romů má základní vzdělání

    8% Romů se vyučí v oboru

    2,5% Romů má středoškolské vzdělání

    0,8% Romů má vysokoškolské vzdělání

    85% Romů je nezaměstnaných

    60% Romů je nezaměstnaných déle než 3 roky

    30% dospělých Romů se živí nelegálním způsobem

    60% dospělých vězňů ve věznicích jsou osoby romské národnosti

    75% se Romové podílí na kriminalitě (v některých lokalitách
    dosahuje až 95% = kapesní krádeže)

    30% pouličních prostitutek má romskou národnost

    25% pouličních romských prostitutek má za pasáka svého příbuzného.

    Nejtalentovanější Romka Věra Bílá má naštěstí jediné dítě, přesto
    kriminálníka, její muž je rovněž kriminálník, promarnila všechny
    šance, které v našem státě nikdo jiný nedostal, je závislá na
    automatech a všichni tři berou soc. podporu a jsou přítěží pro
    společnost.

    Velké množství mladých Romů bere sirotčí důchod. Mladá Romka
    většinou uvede jako otce novorozeňátka nejstaršího člena rodiny.

    Růst romské populace:

    rok 1945 – 10 000 Romů

    rok 1959 – 20 000 Romů

    rok 1973 – 40 000 Romů

    rok 1987 – 80 000 Romů

    rok 2001 -160 000 Romů

    rok 2015 -320 000 Romů

    Každých 14 let se počet Romů zdvojnásobí !!!!

    Růst romské populace je největším bezpečnostním rizikem pro Českou republiku.

    Věznění 12 000 romských vězňů nás stojí letos 4 miliardy korun.

  55. 25 % of the total number of Roma live in North Bohemia
    21% of the total number of Roma live in North Moravia

    47 % of dwellings occupied by Roma is not equipped or flushing toilet , 40 m2
    residential area inhabited by an average of 6.9 Roma

    30 % of marriages in some Roma groups conclude relatives

    6% of Roma women have their first child between 14 and 16 years

    19 % of Roma women have their first child at age 16 to 4 in abortion
    average fall on one Roma woman

    60 % of children placed in orphanages is Roma

    51 % of Roma children are taught in special schools

    22 % of Roma children drop in the 1st class

    25 % of Roma children aged 6-7 years is in the range of verbal debility

    56 % lack even basic education

    32.7 % of Roma have basic education

    8 % of the Roma is teaching in the field

    2.5 % of Roma have secondary education

    0.8 % of Roma has a university education

    85 % of Roma are unemployed

    60 % of Roma are unemployed for more than 3 years

    30 % of adult Roma living illegally

    60 % of adult inmates in prisons are persons of Roma nationality

    75% of the Roma involved in crime ( in some locations
    reaches 95 % = pickpocketing)

    30 % of street prostitutes has Roma nationality

    25 % of Roma street prostitutes have a pimp for his relative .

    The most talented Rom Vera White has fortunately only child, yet
    criminal, her husband is also a criminal, missed all
    chance that in our country no one else get , depends on
    machines and all three take soc . support and are a burden to
    company .

    A large number of young Roma takes orphan’s pension. young Rom
    usually referred as the father of the newborn’s oldest family member.

    Roma population growth :

    year 1945 to 10 000 Roma

    year 1959 to 20 000 Roma

    year 1973 to 40 000 Roma

    year 1987 to 80 000 Roma

    year 2001 -160 000 Roma

    year 2015 -320 000 Roma

    Every 14 years, the number of Roma doubled ! !

    The growth of the Roma population is the biggest security risk to the Czech Republic.

    Imprisonment 12000 Roma prisoners us this year is four billion crowns.

    • Yep these are the facts. Sources don’t matter. But this is not the truth about gypsies, these are just true statistics, they don’t reflect the real truth. Now, i have to assume either of two things: you’re an extraterrestrial being, or, you’re blind and can’t reason properly. Imagine an E.T., that flies across space and comes to visit our planet earth. He observes us for a while and makes a nice list of statistics, exactly the same as the one you gave, for example, there are two million people in this city, 30% of them live go somewhere in the morning and then come home in the evening, another 10% always scream like crazy, but only on sunday, other 1 million sits inside a box and moves their hands and the box moves too, along with many other boxes, but they all seem to stop at the same time or go at the same time, etc etc. What kind of crazy facts will the E.T. infer from these strange humans? That we like moving hands in a box while running around with many other boxes across the city? Or maybe that we scream on sunday because during the other days is forbidden to scream? What these statistics will tell E.t.? Absolutely nothing. He has to come down to earth and see these things if he wants to know why we beahave the way do. That’s what i suggest you to do as well, come down to earth and see these things for yourself. Then you’ll know why.

    • Yes. But they know better then to to talk like that.
      Czech say ‘Roma this – roma that. . It is inherently racist (and wrong) to describe a whole ethnic group in a negative way.

      Even if there would be one gypsy, getting education, working hard, being honest … it would be unfair.
      And there is surely more then one.

      Reason may be partly just bad English :-) , and partly the fact that Czechs did not had in their history much chance
      to oppress other ethnic group. Unlike US and Brits, and colonial nations, they were (and see themselves) as underdogs.

      So, there is not such a strong feeling of guilt and shame about saying racist statements.

      However, there is time to stop saying ‘gypsies are’, and you can still say, This guy (gypsy or Czech or whatever)
      is a lazy bum.

      Everybody would feel better.

  56. Almost every czech man has a bad experience with gypsies. No matter whether you are young or old. I love people who come to Czech and after one year say “Czechs are racists because they don’t like gypsies”. You can’t judge other nation if you have no knowledge of the problem, or do you? Did you live between them in Czech? I don’t speak about see them somewhere on the street only, but personally experience what they do, how they live, how the behave to the other people etc. I guess you would change your mind. It’s so easy to judge for you if you clearly don’t know what you talking about.
    I can’t imagine that I would live in any country for a one year only and say what’s good and what’s wrong. That’s like US army in Iraq (in extreme example)

    on the other hand

    some of yours points are right :) (but totally not this one)

  57. Když se Ti Česko tak hnusí, tak proč se tu cpeš? , taky nepíšu že Anglie a jim podobné státy nechávají utopit u Svých břehů lodě s uprchlíkama, atd. a když neznáš význam RASISMUS tak si o významu toho slova zkus něco najít

  58. :D Neat!
    I love the way how my fellow citizens are confirming the racism point by discussing it so much…
    Thanks for pointing it out…
    Also, try to scout outside Prague more… You might be surprised…

  59. Racist sentiments? Really? But there is no racism without race. The theory about human races is outdated. Maybe before it could have been racism, but not between Czechs and Romani people. Becouse in the time of human race distribution theory we were the same (indoeuropean) race. So maybe xenophobic sentiments, but rather antiziganist sentiments. And also, I have personal bad experiences with them. I never did anything to them, but they did assault me. And my dad was robbed by them. And my granddad too. Your 80% of cases is from 80% of personal experience. I don’t have anything against any other nation or ethnic group except the mighty Roma.

  60. The gypsies do not know anything. Czechs are not racists. Only the Czechs resent the behavior of gypsies. Gypsies have a huge advantage in the social system. Gypsies do not work, they just need to be home and have the money for social support. When you spend money on social support, slot machines and spend on drugs. So begins gypsies steal, iron, sewer hatch, they attack people. Therefore, the Czechs do not like gypsies. Live in the Czech, Vietnamese, Ukrainians, a black man, but these work, do not steal, do not attack people. Other nationalities Czechs do not mind, because the others are decent. But the gypsies do not want to integrate into the life they want to be at home, enjoying, and not to work. Next time before you start to write, please find out information.

  61. The question for a teacher or 34th thing: Why do not call our country by normal, common, short form name, which is Czechia ? And what is the reason for using sometimes erroneous adjective form “Czech” instead of it ? Only rhetorical questions…:

    http://www.czechia-initiative.com

  62. Gypsies lying, stealing, killing, rapeing, racist behavoir… Communist Party gypsy problem solved. All people had to work, who want to work, went to jail. Now we have in Czech Republic: Vietnamese, Jews, Slovaks and other minorities. Problems are only with Gypsy. Where is error? In Czechs?
    Why Czechs do not like gypsies.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rWJgUOLeLKc – Gypsies tactic: 20 versus 2 – Normal gipsy fight.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2RwkCaLWuiU – gypsies 15 versus 1 + police intervention

    Survival is lives near Gypsies.

  63. well I live in UK.
    All people doing in UK is drinking beer as much as they can and everytime when possible.
    Writer probably never been to West Yorkshire . Pub opens at 1100 and are full of chavs drinking from morning then fighting on the street…
    Walking is something what people really don’t like.They will rather queuing for 20 min in their cars,poluting ,but will never walk,because their bodies would be probably demaged.
    Rasism… I have been called fu…ng bastard from east Europe so many times…just because I not English and I wasn’t born in UK.As I see.people in UK are scared to say something about other nations,If they do ,they can get to serious trouble,thats why this country is full of crime , child abuses ,terrorism…they let everybody in and then they are surprised there is not much room left for real British. So they are not rasist because their freedom dont allow it…Thats what we trying to avoid in CZ.
    Food: Butty chips , or butty with crisps, soup from can…what kind of food is that??
    Public transport nightmare…
    there is no traditions at all… bank holidays,chrismast…… is only reason to get pissed even more tehn ussualy.
    Why should people in Czech speak English?? Does peple in Uk speak Czech?? What will they tell you when you are speaking in other then English language…speak English you T..t,because we don’t understand…

    • I think you’re reading this as a criticism. It’s not – it’s observation. I also agree with a lot of things you say about the UK – but again, that’s only true of a proportion of it. I’m really not going to be hurt by anti-England attacks, as a) I’m Welsh, b) I left the UK for some of the reasons mentioned (although I’m back there right now) and c) I never said the UK was in any way better. I think the Czech Republic has a LOT of points going for it above the UK… I would have liked to stay there, and would happily live there again.

  64. Well, actually we do celebrate Halloween in here… It is becoming to be a traditional habit in the Czech republic. I have heard about loads of people who have stolen towel from hotel.. sad but it is very often unfortunatelly. Beer is not cheaper than water. It is maybe excuse of some people who have a problem with alcohol or so. I cannot disagree with meal in here, but we try to eat better I think coz lot of people have a problem with ilnesses and just do not want to be fat and ugly. -not saying that fat people have an ugly soul, just talking about estetic view..hope you got what I mean. Mainly meal for 3 Pound is just awesome for people from UK, isn’t it??? :) At the end I would like to say that you can see the huge different between countries from West (as UK is) and East (as we are) very clearly. Do not blame us please, we try to be better and better and all hope you will like our country as we have a loads of beautiful buildings and very nice traditional culture in Moravia. Come and you will see :) You are very welcome!

  65. Tak jak to tady čtu ty Britská Píčo , zřejmě jsi obklopena jenom Pražáky ty jsou z jiný planety eeeee a krmená mediálníma sračkama . Jet na venkov a přijdeš na význam slov nebe a dudy , jsme za to rády že se zatím bráníme multikultůrní invazi kdy dochází ke nadměrné kriminalitě této etnické žumpě a diskriminaci domorodých obyvatel na úkor naivity dobročinné demence . Zničili jste svůj vlastní Britský národ a děláte nám zde přednášky o tom že to máme snad dělat jako vy , děláte si z nás snad prdel ? Jestli vám nestačí že chodíte celí den po městě kdy potkáte všehovšudy dva domorodé Brity v davech ani ne identifikovatelných národností mnohdy vyhlížejících jako divoši z džungle , tak vám tam můžeme nějaké ještě deportovat můžete si nějaké i nastěhovat do domu . Zřejmě to bude zý vaši strany také důvod proč žijete v čechách a né ve své rodné zemi , protože se tam už žít ani nedá , Britové jsou raději zalezlí doma a nechodí z těchto důvodů ani po ulici , udělali jste si ze své země nebezpečnou zonu .

  66. Well done, such a nice and interesting article! Definitely described us very well…as well as the comments below:)wish I manage to write the same interesting facts about British people on my blog:)

  67. I am Czech and I see my country and my people the same way. Maybe it’s because I travel a lot and lived in another country for two years, so I have a little better perspective then my countrymen who never left. I lived in the city with a strong Romani comunity and I never had any problems. Whenever I was attacked or robbed or conned it was by white people. Romani people are not the only target of the Czech rasismus – also Vietnamese, Chinese, Arabs…
    Anyway, you should also explore more of our hiking trails (the best trail marking I ever seen!) and mushroom picking phenomenon :-)

  68. Love it! Such a good observation! I totally agree with most of the points.
    3 – definitely! I work with UK colleagues and I had to learn saying that I am fine as I was used to saying the truth or slightly more negative answer.
    5 – also true, I have never relized it, but true, true… :-)
    I also like and couldnt agree more with: 6, 7,9, 10, 12, 14, 17, 28 + beer being cheaperthan water and maternity for 3 years as a normal thing ;-)

  69. I live in the country side near Ostrava, and really love it here despite speaking very little Czech. Most of the Authors observations are spot on.

    Yes, they are racist but generally with good reason. This is not limited to Romany. Generally, they have little time for Hungarians, Poles or Slovaks, and even Swedes. They pretty much hate Russians and Germans. They don’t generally differentiate Austrians for Germans and generally when they talk about Germans they mean Austrians. A brief study of Czech history will put much of this into clear perspective.

    Oddly, despite the fact that we relied heavily on them to get us out of the shit in 1940 after selling them down the river in 1938 and then again after WWII they have huge and frankly probably deeply misplaced affection for anything British. Well apart from the Beer and sausages, which frankly is understandable.

    Anyway, best place in the World to live. The only problem is that appreciate things fully, you need to speak Czech which is damned nearly impossible.

  70. I know, I am a little late with my comment, but I will write it anyway. I used to live in Prague in a “gypsy-ghetto” and never had any problems. NEVER. And it is a very sad thing, that there are so many racists, but I have the impression, there are more and more smart people (universitiy-students and others), who are fighting against this problem and the ignorant prejudices against Roma. One has to be really stupid, to think, there is one race less willing to educate and cleam themselves (and if you take a look to other comments: the most racist comments are the ones with the worst English! ;)

    • There is not a real gypsy ghetto here in Prague, like they have them up north.
      Well – a friend of mine lives next to a gypsy family who haven’t paid the rent for their flat for the last five years.
      They are all well dressed and drive a nice car – no poverty. Should I tell my friend not to be racist, and pay his rent while gipsies don’t have to?

  71. 24 – I wouldn’t say, that czech TV is hilarious, I would say that it sucks a*s, sometimes, when I turn on TV (and I don’t do that very often), I feel embarrased about how bad it actually is. And if you look at News (no matter what channel), they are biased and are showing mostly unimportant news, when there are way more serious ones.

    I have to say that most of those points are true, you’ve described us very well.

  72. I am keen on this blog. I have been living in the UK for half a year. I can compare. :-) I love Wales the most, even more than Scotland. Wales looks like a “fairy tale country”. And yes, I am typical Czech when it comes to the nature, that´s why I liked Wales.
    Well, I tend to agree with majority of your observations, except food. It is no longer true that Czechs eat just meat and dumplings. In restaurants, there is a broader offer than in the UK (where they serve burgers, fish & chips and pies only)

  73. Came here for comments, lulz were had.

    “I am not racist but…” is classical Czech saying, but fear not, racism is not THAT bad in Prague. I mean, it’s MUCH worse if you travel to more poor regions, like Morava, etc…

    Don’t let that scare you away, Prague is nice city filled with many interesting cultures!

  74. I love: 24) Czech Tv is the CIA’s latest torture trick. Hilarious no – painful yes.
    Czech press translate this: 1) Beer is good.
    To this: British women wrote: Czech people drink too much beer. And add picture with geremans in pub with liter glass of beer.

    Yes we are racists. We dont want forein people to buy our factories and close them. Buy our fields and build there solar systems. Buy our houses and live there. But we have no choose our leaders are corrupted or in jail. There is only few things which stay czech. But it is not a reason to kill somebody like it is in two nations little far to east and south.

    And of course we are only racist not sending our armies to another countries to kill civilians in fight for oil. Or.. we dont selling our alies like UK.

  75. You criticize Czech people for being racists although some of them have never met a gypsy. Have YOU? Because I have. Actually I grew up in an area in which there is the highest number of gypsies in the Czech Republic. They bullied me, they threatened to kill me, they called me cunt without any reason (I just stood on a bridge with my boyfriend and we were chatting, and a gypsy started insulting us), my friend was once stabbed by a gypsy. Half of inhabitants in our building are gypsies, they play guitar and sing at 3 AM – they probably think that they are in a steppe like few centuries ago. They steal lightbulbs every week, don´t ask me why, they cost like 20 Kč. They stole mine and my sister´s bike. My mom is a teacher in a local school and they insult her and lie to her every day. Gypsies get money from the government just because they go to school! Why don´t Czech children get the same money? I once knew a good girl, she was a gypsy, but nice as her parents, but then she turned 15, started smoking, doing drugs and she got pregnant three times. I don´t claim that Czech people are ideal and that they don´t steal, do drugs etc. But I know dozens of gypsies and none of them is good (maybe the parents of that girl). My mom knows dozens of them too and she thinks the same. And my friends and many other people in that area. So don´t ask people in Prague, most of them never saw a gypsy, maybe on TV. There are also Vietnamese people, almost as many as gypsies, but nobody has a problem with them, because they work, they don´t steal, they don´t harm anybody etc. – they are actually quite nice people, very smart. Few months ago, I saw a queue in front of a building of welfare office the day in which unemployment benefits are paid, and it was very long and 95% of those people were gypsies. So I guess, unless you have any experience with gypsies, don´t criticize people, who have lots of negative experience and they know what they are talking about.

  76. Hi,
    first I must agree with many people here – the problem with Gypsies is caused by bad experience with them. I often met them (mostly 3 or more) and they always try to bully or provoke me shouting insults on me or my sister. They often shoved into me and then shouted something like “Pay attention where you are going you f***ing idiot.” or something such “friendly” (for example “the white swine” etc.). I knew only one gypsy whom I could trust however few of them tried to get some money from me saying that they borrowed it to me some time ago (impossible) – two boys about 9-12 years threated beating me and left only because I got so angry to kill them if they would touch me (they probably saw I took it seriously).

    I do not have problem to work with people from Asia, Africa or any country – black, white, asian – no mather. For me the color of the skin is not important. I often avoid meeting crews of so called football or hockey fans, skinheads and also the gipsies as all of them are potential risk for me. We have a plenty of immigrants from Vietnam but the only problem is related to paying taxes and selling fake Adidas t-shirts etc. but not with their integration into our society… The gipsies live here much longer time but are still not integrated and have problems to accept are laws and rules.

    So please try to understand, that we have relevant reasons for our “racism”.

    And of course, about the jokes – we have plenty of “incorrect” jokes related to gays, gipsies, black or white people and also indians but these are just jokes. Black humour is also very popular here although we are not nation of murderers :-)

  77. Can everyone just lay off with the racism? She just made an observation without judgement and Czechs go apes*it …
    As you can see Gwynnie, Czechs are also very aggressive when they disagree with someone (regardless of the time and place, they will tell you what they feel, even if you might not be interested in hearing it) … also most are much more aggressive on the internet :)
    You’ve done a pretty good job with your observations, as a Czech these things always give me a chuckle, so thanks!
    - that I saw as a purpose – chuckle for the Czechs, some insights for foreigners interested in Czech rep.. But you managed to create a serious debate on racism, while media are completely ignoring it (at least from a solution perspective) – well done! :D

    Let’s see if we can spark another frenzy of angry comments:

    If the state allows you to be a leech and make a living without actually working, or actively seeking work, is it really the fault of the person who takes advantage (regardless of color)? Maybe, just maybe the anger should be directed at legislative gaps (mildly put) that allow such exploitation and to a ridiculous extent tbf.

    I will be completely honest – If I am given choice between certain amount of money for no work, and the same or even lesser amount for working 5 days a week, I’m going “gypsy” every fu*king time! :D (yes you were spot on with no. 30).

    So I understand that people who work and have less money than people who do not work are angry- COMPLETELY UNDERSTANDABLE AND JUSTIFIABLE. The direction of the anger is the main issue here IMHO, it is much easier to direct it at gypsies, or even you, than the real source of problem, because that would actually require some real effort from the people to resolve…and Czechs are 34) really lazy!

  78. Article about your blog just appear in Aktualne.cz, so you will get more comments I guess. In many comments you are right, about food well majority is with meat but we have so many delicious veggie food just not easy to find it by tourist or we prefer to cook it at home. About gypsy topic, well I dont believe your coment that there is someone in Prague or Czech who doesn’t meet one, and I would say 80% of people HAVE negative experience with them. Its just like that, I cant distinguish how many of them are Czech or Romanian, or others to came to Prague and rob tourist and locals but its like that. I’ve never been robed by Vietnamese or other Asian people or black, sorry just gypsy looking. I have few gypsy friends from school, nice people respecting others, study etc But major experience is like this….

  79. We can now see that even much superrior countries like UK, France, Sweden and many other countries in EU have problems with gypsies and they dont know what to do with them. By the way for not czech people….do you know how those people were called for hundreds of years until know? Cikan (in czech it means “to lie”). Probably because all our ancestors were racist:). Now they call themselv Roms.

    By the way if I would go to London and live there for a year could I say hey there are 30 things about english people what they do. WTF. Plus in London british people are not majority, but that is not important.

    • Cikán is from medieval greek “Ethiganoi” (because that is where they were comming through) and it means something like “pagan”. It is derrogatory term, but it has nothing to do with lying. In late 18th century, there were Moravian counts, that specifically wanted Roma (or Gypsies, as you want) on their counties just for their “sheer prowes in metalworking and blacksmithery”. The whole problem stems from 1) WWII destroying most of the population of Gypsies so there was a considerable immigration of them from east. 2) The exodus of 3 milion Germans (another hot topic) which made large parts of Bohemia practically uninhabited (mainly north) and so the communists settled the immigrants there (that is why there is much more Gypsies in the north than elsewhere). 3) Continuing decline of heavy industry that caused bad social situation ammong the Roma. 4) Total negligence of said problems by both communist and democratic governments 5) A great number of entreprenuers making big money of the so called “ubytovny” and literally making ghettos out of thin air.

      No government in last 20 years has done anything with any of the issues that are mentioned here and they are turning blind eye on the rasistic and xenophobic sentiment that is clearly present in our culture. I think that anyone who wants to say something about this issue should do at least as thorough research as I did ( that is read a few fucking random books about the issue).

      And if you think that I havent ever have experience this “Gypsy oppression” i have to say that I have spent considerable ammount of time in Brno’s Cejl and I have to say, that this ghetto is not the safest part of Brno. This said, it does not mean, that I must think that Roma are violent criminal mongrels, even though some are that way.

      I think that if we put Czechs through all the shit Roma have been through, it would not have ended differently (just remember those Austrian “Češi, nekrást tady”(Czechs, no steal here) sings from 90. do you think the Austrians did not have good reason to put those signs there? Or it was Roma who was doing all the stealing there?

      • I like your article here :-) Have you ever read or heard anything about from where do those so called “Cikans” came from? I think before they came through Medieval Greek?

  80. Just a note, “St Mikulaš” is the original Santa or Saint Nick or Saint Nicholas (So “they have Santa on 5 December instead of at Christmas” would be more accurate ;).

  81. “It’s perfectly acceptable to drink beer at 11am.”

    They are an indolent lot in Prague.

    In Moravia, the day starts at 6 AM and it generally starts with a beer. Who can afford to drink water?

  82. This is very sad issue and trust me, i am not happy about it either. I AM AWARE that one should not put them all to one group, i know that there is a small persentage of them who are not like that and they may try to work and achieve everything in proper way. I know that some white people may be even worse than some well behaved gypsies. However, there is such a small number of the good ones that it is really hard to not to build certain opinion about them. As it has been mentioned, they are trying to find ways how to escape any kind of job, making a lot of children so they have benefits, though taking care of them very badly, stealing around, making fun of old people, bullying the small ones, beating random people just because they feel like that (personal experience), swearing around and of course stealing. One time, i was sitting on the bench in the square and near to me was bunch of them, one man, two women and probably 6 children running around. The man was swearing and shouting, at the small children! The words that no parent would ever imagine to say in front of them (calling them bastard, im sorry ? … ) Plus, he was saying and I quote: No, you just go there and they will tell you for which benefits you are entitled to. In addition to that he was saying about beating someone up and things like that, he was being very aggressive in a way he was talking, i was even scared to look there, i actually left very early, completely disgusted.. I am not making up, why would I do that???? This should be role model for their children,, this is seriously normal? No doubt they are the way they are later :(

  83. I don’t think that Czechs are rasists. They don’t mind Vietnamies, Russians, Ukrainas, Chineses, Indians, Peruvians, Scandinavians, Eskymos, Egyptians, Kenyans… black people, red people, yellow people .. they just have centuries long bad experiences with gypsies, that’s it.

  84. Thank you Gwynnie. First of all a big apologize for my bad English. I hope there will be an opportunity to meet and discuss with you more on your article and other similar topics.

    BTW this is Very, very great observation within your short period of stay in Prague. I agree with you and appreciate your work 33x :-)

    Perhaps you may not know the following very popular Czech saying, then which is not form Gypsies.

    “Kdo nekrade – okrádá rodinu!” Google translation for you: “Who does not steal – stealing from family.”
    So stealing depending on the occasion is not something not normal at this corner of the world. But it is bad when others do it.

    So that’s why Mr. former president acted on public as an example person.

    It seems we Czechs are okay when any Czech steals hundreds of millions. Keep in mind that that is not stealing like Roma but it is TUNELOVANI, which is new Czech word contribution to the world heritage.
    We are not racist but we don’t like Romas because they steal in Metro, trams shops etc …..
    Very complicated approach to understand who we are :-)
    Generally, we seem to be allergic to any reflections of the reality from outside. There is steal going huge critical comments against in Czech different blogs on Mary Heimann: Czechoslovakia – The State That Failed.
    As we can some comments here and there it’s very difficult to expect changes during our generation.

    I think we need to start thinking that giving equal opportunity in education and work life will more benefit Czechs as nation than permanent generationally inherited hatred approach against very significant size of minority.
    If help them they will start participating in building the countries economy together with the majority. Hatred is not a solution let alone racism because today’s out-voiced will turn one day against disabled, bad looking Czechs etc. You know racism and hatred are fruits of ignorance originated in the minds of uneducated paranoiac people.

  85. Standard view of typical upper-middle class expat living in prague. Not much to learn here. Hmm the racism in czech rep. topic: i usually don’t comment when people say something about gypsies, ukrainians or vietnamese. It’s not my place to judge czech people in their own country, as i’m not czech. unfortunately, most expats don’t speak the language, and this is a serious handicap, as it prevents them to have a better, more informed view of the society they live in. You can’t live in a place just by reading 1 (!!) newspaper that publishes in english, word-of-mouth hear-say, or even worse, by reading about czech in the foreign press, let alone in the innumerable blogs of wannabe freelance journalists living in prague (and that’s only where 1 tenth of the population lives). So are czech racists? I’d say they’re racist as any other nation in the world. Now, is that racism founded on facts, is it well grounded on an unconfutable truth? Nobody knows. But everybody has an opinion. My opinion is that there is a huge distortion in how the “gypsy problem” is perceived in this society, the main culprit being: (yes politicians, too but it’s not their fault, they’re not capable of solving problems) the awful state of czech media: the pressure and the direction given by czech media (tv and newspapers, but newpapers for the best and most part) towards social and racial problems goes one way only. Why? Well that’s what people want to hear, they want to hear that there was a riot in ceske budejovice or in litvinov, they want to have their stereotypes reinforced and re-assured. And newspapers have to sell. No wonder the best selling printed news are “bulvary”, where only scandals and sensational events are depicted. Few (i’d say 1) publications have the breadth (and the balls) to engage in a public debate about social issues with reason, with common sense, and i’d add, with humanity. Now, i know that there are a lot of people that have had, had or are having problems with member of the gypsy community (i never had any and i lived next to them for 3 years, maybe i was lucky!), of course they’ll be pissed off if their car or bike got stolen, i’d be too, trust me. If they make generalised comments it’s their anger speaking, coming from their own experience. But if you are hammered every day, over and over again, by a press, and make no mistake, a press whose sole modus vivendi is the pecuniary one, that only tell the worst side of a people, what can you expect? You make your own decision about czech people being racist or not, and don’t forget that ignorance, not evil, is the root of racism.anyway, just my 2 cents (or haléře :-))

  86. I really enjoyed this post. A lot of things are spot on! I have to weigh in on this racism thing, though…

    I’m also a foreigner (American) living in Prague. You’re right that racism toward Roma people is extremely prevalent and accepted. You can find this racism in every social circle, socioeconomic class, etc…It’s definitely hard to sit through, and I think being a gypsy must be pretty hard sometimes.

    But

    If you’ve taken the time to explore the less polished parts of this country like I have, you can’t deny there are some elements of Roma culture that are legitimately problematic. If it is racist to simply point this out, then this PC wave everybody’s been riding has gone way too far. Like, what’s the difference between this blog post and someone saying, “Gypsies are problematic.” You made some general observations and applied it to an entire nation of 10 million people. Kind of the same thing, don’t you think?

    Several people have illustrated why this attitude toward the Roma community exists, and I think it’s important to have these conversations without being labelled a “racist.” If you do enough research, the things people have been saying are true…they are generally less employed, their neighborhoods are in extreme disrepair, and they commit crimes at an exponentially higher rate. Instead of grabbing a torch and pitchfork and going on a witch hunt, you should take a step back and say…okay, these problems exist. Why? And what are some possible solutions? To completely dismiss a legitimate point as racist without bringing anything else to the table is almost as ignorant as the racist sentiment itself…it just offends less people. I think this holier than thou, self-righteous attitude is pretty typical amongst Brits. I spent a semester there (had a great time) and everyone is WAY too politically correct. Meanwhile, there are legitimate problems in your own country with assimilation of immigrants, increase in crime and the reemergence of religious politics to a secular country, but these problems are hardly addressed due to fear of being “racist.” But I guess that’s the price you pay when you realize your country took over half the world and left those places in a pretty effed up condition.

    I also think it’s unfair to hold a country that is only 24 years removed from an oppressive socialist regime to the same standards as a nation like the UK for example. I personally think the Czech Republic is a very vulnerable nation right now. The people here are still struggling to find their own identity, their own recipe for success. Despite this, it’s experiencing rapid change in more ways than one. Everyone needs to go through the motions.

    • “let me make it clear that this statement does NOT say “All Czech people are racist” – it says that the COMMENTS can be racist (not always) on this particular topic” – from the original post. I suggest you read some of the other comments, as well as my replies. I’ve stated time and time again that even what seems like well-founded racism can still be racism, that I never denied that there IS a problem (or that Roma themselves are racist towards others), and that I never pretended that the UK was in any way superior. Maybe my 80% of comments thing was not actually scientifically measured, but you can see from the comments left here by several Czech people that the arguments are not always rational. While a lot of people obviously have had a lot of negative experiences with Roma, it doesn’t justify branding 100% of them as subhuman scum. There are clearly two (perhaps) incompatible cultures trying to exist in the same country, and yeah – this is a problem that extends to other countries, including the UK. Hate is not the answer. I see why people are frustrated, but the media and government seem to be using Roma as a convenient scapegoat for all their problems. Nobody said that we should deny that there is an issue here. But hate-fueled comments are never going to solve anything; they’ll just further the divide between people.

      • Dear Gwyn,
        nobody said 100 percent.. Seems you´re trying to rescue your original statement instead of learning something new, you repeat yourself. I know you wrote it for fun but since you´re a teacher and a young person you should be less superficial. Yes, it is a sore subject, as you can tell by the fiery responses, major social issue, not being dealt with properly by the government and not being dealt in time. It is very complicated. But people here get angry when they are called racists because some of them have to face this problem every day and all of us just pay the tax and huge ammount of the gypsies just live on it. It´s primarily not their fault, they have learnt how to use the system. And yes, the race intolerance is on both sides, since stealing from a “gadzo” “not Roman” is sort of a brave and “a good job” act. (many tourists in Prague have their own experience-since the pickpockets are mainly Gypsies etc)
        I don´t think political correctness is a good thing. It blurs the problem, any problem, and it may be more difficult to study it and do something about it. About 20 years ago the university in Brno came up with a complex plan to deal with Romani people issue which had just started to be an obvious future problem. It was swept away because politicians were afraid it would be called racist. (It was a lot about education etc, not shooting them..) I love Romani music and their culture is very different. I have a degree in culture antropology, it is “my field”. But different culture + government not taking care of the issue led to this situation, we get angry when other countries call us racists but when our Gypsies run away to Britain or Canada people start realizing and they don´t want them either.

        Maybe people get angry and heated in a conversation about it with you just because your view is a bit too superficial and you start banging their heads with political corectness and racism “labels”.

        That is a huge simpification. Not very good when something is a real pain in the kneck.

        And a “joke” to end it (a real story)
        I was coming home once, late at night, live in a part of the town where a lot of gypsies live and one of them was following me. Very often they are not the smartest (generalization, I know, and I know some from university, have a gypsy friend etc, but this one was one of those layabout petty little thief/cheats.
        I stopped at the door and he stopped behind me.

        “Do you need anything?”
        “I am going to visit my friend”. (wanted to get in the house.
        “Which one?”
        “That one” (pointed at the door bell of my friend)
        “I know him, what´s his first name?”
        “Johnathan” (very unusual name around here)
        “I know him. His name isn´t Jonathan”
        “actually Marian”. (again, not very common name)
        “Not even that. Why don´t you just ring the bell, then?”
        “That would wake him up……”

        Except for names, which were unusal but no idea what they were it is 100 percent real story. And I quicky closed the door and shut him out.

  87. Wow, this has become really popular again! I don’t actually live in Prague any more, but it’s interesting to see the debate it continues to spark. All I’ll say, as ever, is that I didn’t actually call anyone racist, and that justifying racism doesn’t stop it from being racism. Everybody finds ways to justify their prejudice. Of course, it’s normal to have a bad opinion of a group because of bad experiences with them – but if you’re saying that ALL members of that group are bad, because of bad experiences with a few, then you’re generalising; if you’re saying that that group is scum, sub-human etc, then it’s racism. It doesn’t matter whether your bad experience was genuine; yes, it sounds as if these Roma are also racist towards you. Nobody said they were angels. It’s clearly a problem on both sides that needs to be solved. Finally, racism doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the colour of your skin. For example, in UK legal speak, it can also refer to nationality, ethnic or national origin. Saying that you don’t have a problem with other ethnic groups or races doesn’t mean anything either – it just means that instead of hating “non-Czech” people or “non-whites”, you hate, specifically, one national/ethnic group. Once again.. I’m sorry for those of you who’ve had bad experiences with Roma… but taking that experience and saying that it means ALL of them are bad still looks pretty much like racism from the outside. Also, I was never insulting the Czech Republic. I love it there, and I miss it. But come on, guys… I never pretended that the UK was in any way better. We have plenty of problems over here, and I’m probably not going to disagree with a lot of things said about it. But me – upper-middle class? Haha, not at all… why make that assumption? Class is meaningless in this day and age, but if you were to count it based on money/income, no way.

    • I wasn’t counting it on money/income. I know a lot of bums that are full of money and a lot of seemingly upper class people that really are bums with no money :-)) just the attitude, first impression from what you wrote in this article, you want to be informative but without being aggressive, firm in your opinions but in an educated way, adventurous but in a safe manner. Anyway, wrong assumption, sorry :-)

    • Hi, I work at Czech Police. Every day I have to solve the problem with the gypsies, assault, theft. Here in my town has 13 Gypsies who work, children go to school. And in my town has 180 gypsies who steal, attack, not to work, children are at home. Surrounding cities have the same problem. Our study was done about gypsies and racism. The result of the study is that Czechs are not racists, but are mad at social living gypsies.

    • If I my add sth. to the discussion, let me explain my view on one example. If you are bitten by a dog, your friend is bitten by a dog, and other friend and other friend, you probable start to fear dogs. This is what everybody calls racism in here. I do not believe that it is hate for most of the people. It’s just fear of those who looks like a dog that had bitten them.

      If a common Czech sees a man, woman or a family with a “brown face” in normal nice, clean clothes, minding their own business, he will probably not recognise if they are Italien, Indian, Spanish or Gypsy. But if he sees the same brown face on a group of men standing in front of the cassino, hands in the pockets, looking around… or a single man in a track suit doing nothing just browsing around or a man in shiny boots wearing golden chains and rings againg doing nothing just standing and looking… he would be probably scared and hatefull to those people. I wrote “brown face”, but it actually does not matter if this face is brown white or purple. Sad thing is, that it is brown in 90%. This is the Czech racism if you wanna call it like that.

      I do not like people, who do not want to work, steal in shops or public transport, in working hours sit on the bench on a square and just make noise, make mess aroung where ever they are. Am I a racist because 90% of people doing that are gypsies? Is it really about the color of the skin or about the not acceptible lifestyle? In the same way I also do not like teenages listening to a loud house music on a bus. What am I according to that?

      How come people do not recognise, if a man in a suit is a gypsy or an Italien (and pay no attention to that)? Sad is, that based on bad experiences of many people and no will for change from gypsies, for those, who want to change, it is a long run from a track suit to a suit. And those who attempt to do that are expelled from the comunity with no return if they fail. (Who is the rasist now, if you expell your family member because he tries to look and behave like the majority?)

      BTW I live in Ostrava and I had an opportunity to meet several teacher of English from London, Scottland, New Zealand, US and even Australia. White or black, young or old, every single one became what we call “a racist” in here.

  88. Please, don’t judge Czech people as long as you’ve been staying only in Prague! Prague is a state in a state. People here have different mentality and conditions for living. If you really want to know what it really means “to live a life of a Czech person”, go to a small town or a village somewhere far from Prague. It’s absolutelly different life and absolutely different people.

  89. this came from person outside Czeech. You have no clue how it works in here. I was living there 5 years I had enough. No matter if it is Slovakia or Czech GYPSIES are fucking parasits, Im sorry maybe there are some of them living like everybody else. But have a look what EU says about us. They say that we are abusing them and that tehy have no rights. But it is F…Ing BULLSHIT. They are just using our social system. Never get a job, make children just to make money. Maybe check on google.maps.com area called Lunik 9, Kosice. Then you will have a great example what GYPSIES are. They never tried to change where are they living. They even sold they heating systems becasue they didnt want to work and get money for doing nothing Let them go to England, France and whatever else country in Europe and I will be interested what would you say after couple of years… I really like people outside these countries sayng their opinions, YOU HAVE NO IDEA. LETS GYPSIES LIVE IN YOUR AREA AND THEN ACT LIKE CLEVER YOU IDIOTs!!!

  90. 34-) Czech girls are beautiful.
    35-) Fall in love with a czech girl and you’ll be wishing every single day and night to see her again, eventhough you loss contact with her as the time passes away.
    36-) If you ever go to Prague, you’ll definetely will want to come back, trust me it happens.
    37-) If you ever will call a second place “home”, Prague will be the one.
    38-) Czech people are nice, even if at first glance they don´t seem to.
    39-) When czechs start arguing it is really scary, but something cool to watch :D
    40-) Na zdraví

  91. Gwynnie, its really on the spot in 95 % what you have written. I sincerely hope that you enjoy your stay in Czech republic thanks to and despite of that. Every country has its issues, but its always very revealing how the foreigners see Czech republic. Ad. point 23, most of the rest of West world actually envy us this. It is not necessarily a gender thing, even a man can take a maternal leave… But 3 years are definitely better then 6 weeks you get in USA…

    Be safe and have fun,

    P.

  92. Almost absolute agree. Almost because Czechs are not racist. We only hate gypsies because almost no one knows any who is working. They are living from social supports from state and stealing and mugging.
    We tolerate other nations and races who comes here and work and live according to our habits and laws.
    P.S. that trailer is really funny. You wouldnt be able to choose anything better:-)

  93. Hello everybody,
    I have to react to the topic of Czech people to be racists.
    Maybe I am a racist too, but I swear that I do not have problem with any other community than gypsies.
    I have black, Slovak, Vietnamese and Ukrainian friends and all of them I respect and I do understand their slightly different culture and habits.
    But regarding Gypsies, I am definitely racist, but it is not the case of hating them without reason.
    I have lived in Letnany area and as a student, I always had conflict with them. They were stealing from us, bullying us and when I wanted my stolen watches back, their parents did not do a single thing to solve it.
    Then I moved to another place (Zizkov) where the gypsy minority is also quite strong and I can give you many examples, how do they behave towards us and we are simply afraid of some of them. I am not saying, that white people are not bad, but without any hesitation, I can tell you that the ratio of normally behaving citizens is really different.
    But for sure, I have met also good gypsies and I am not saying 100% of them are bad. I can only compare the split versus other nations and it is bloody different!

    I can guarantee to you that in case you have the similar experience with gypsies that I have, you will definitely hate them.
    I feel stupid about being racist, but I am convinced, that it is not my fault, they simply caused it. :(

  94. The thing is that the Czech are just pretty much illiterate regarding political corectness. Most of them have an aversion to the term, thinking it’s just some hypocritical nonsense “dumb Americans” came up with. Most of the Czech people have never had to deal with serious problems concerning skin color and ethnicity, and we aren’t raised to be considerate in this regard. So while we are often blunt and superficially prejudiced towards certain ethnic groups, in most cases it’s just ignorance and there’s no real animosity behind it. Those hints of racism fade quickly on a personal level – a guy can make fun of slanted eyes and call black people monkeys, yet his best buddies may be an asian and an afro-american guy.

    Gypsies, of course, are a whole different thing. There’s no denying that many (probably most) Czechs are blatantly racist towards this ethnic group. On the other hand, both the statistics and personal experiences send a clear message: if somebody’s Roma, there’s just a much, much higher chance that he will also be abusive, dishonest and aggressive. Can you blame people for just not taking their chances with members of this group, especially after they’ve had some bad experience themselves? I realize I’m walking on very thin ice here, but is there such a thing as rational racism?

  95. Hi there,
    I am so sorry Gwynnie that you became a target of such fury, but you see that this issue is a very complicated one. I think that the Czech xenophobia/racism/whatever-you-label-it also resulted in the hundreds of years of multiculturalism (jews, germans, czechs) which proved not to work. I tend to see the single-minded hatred for gypsies as a result of desperation and I am terrified that in the end this will outgrow into another major conflict.
    I too live in a very small town where about half the population lives in a terrible ghetto. I remember that when I was young, it may have been a bit shabby place but not even close to what it has become. There are always new faces arriving from all over the state. I am deeply interested in this topic and I have been for a while. I observe the circle of life there – the Roma “elites” being expelled from their own community, kids starting reasonably well in the school (a bit behind only because they lack the pre-school education which is not compulsory) until some 4. or 5. grade when they stop going there. Their parents in many cases never worked and see no point in their child going to school. And what child can do well in school when not supported by its parents and loooked down uppon by (at least some of) their single-minded classmates? So if the kid is a girl, she gets pregnant at the age of 15 and never returns to school. 30 years ago, a teacher from our elementary school, if the child did not arrive to school, would go to the family, check that the child was dressed in clean clothes and would see to it that the child got to school. Try that today. I think that it works in the UK, however – if the kids don’t go to school, there is a mechanism to change that (or the parents are cut off the support from the state). However our state is toothless and none of our politicians would try to change that because if you want to keep the votes of the plebs, you do not do unpopular decisions.
    This is not something you want to sum up under “racism” – we had enough of Western World poking us with their ideas of how we treat those people wrong. We do. We spoiled them by our bad system which can be easily exploited. We don’t try enough to support the kids who could have a better perspective if they would understand they can have a better life.
    Again I appologize to you for all of us and our fiery comments – you did not deserve that. Your article is fun and well written. I appreciate it and I wish you all the best ;)

  96. back to point 8) – come to the South Moravia during traditional hog-killing time and you can change your
    opinion or get more repugnancy to eat meat. It’s not killing but it’s ceremony. Can understand here, how small package of meat appear in market …

  97. Racist??? I dont think so. Im not saying every gypsy is a theif nor every theif a gypsy. You only need to stand outside masarik train station for 30 minutes and you will see why this oppinion is formed. I think people are accidently racist because its easier to say “gypsys are theifes” then to say “gypsys live in impoverished conditions with poor educations, victimised daily because of who they are. providing for their family in the best way they can, who wouldent take the easyway.” if I was in the same situation with no job no money and a family to feed I would break in to housed and steal. but I still would say gypsies are theifs.

  98. Correction: Women don’t get 3 years maternity leave per child. Women get 6 months maternity leave, then there is is the option of ‘Parental leave’ which can be the man or woman.

  99. Gypsies are a problem everywhere, not just here in the Czech Republic.. I’m glad I don’t live in a city where there are lot of them, in my city there are none! Couldn’t imagine the living hell people must go through when they live next to them. All people hate them here, it is not because of their minority, it is because of what they do and how they behave, none of my friends or people who I know have problems with black, vietnamese or even people from middle east, we don’t mind these people, because they work and they are behaving like normal civilized people, this is an absolute opposite of gypsies and that is not racism. That’s hatred against gypsies.

    Nice article btw, you’re right with beer being cheaper than water lol, in most restaurants it is like this.

  100. To everybody who tends to be “multicultural liberal never-racist sunny all-loving” person – I am not a racist. I never met a Gypsy in personal. I just saw houses that used to be Gypsies’. They were given (for free!!!) a large number of houses, so they could live there. They never had to pay anything. But everything they did is having destroyed those places. It looks like a ghost town. You can look just through the building. Do you still think that Czech people don’t prefer Gypsies?

    Actually, there is no problem with Asian people, they work, have their own business, their children are usually the smartest in classes… Why can’t they be like them? Why don’t they try?

    So… Dear sunny all-loving people. Let’s talk about racism after you see some of those transparent buildings and after you take a walk in Chanov (full of Gypsies, you’ll love it).

  101. ok,maybe I got it wrong,It might not be critic,but id does sound like it would be.
    About gypsies.I thing many people from CZ had problems with gypses,including me,bud I also never said they are all bad,Most of them are not educated,taking benefits,never worked…but there is few ,who are really nice,educated … Bud because most of them is really bad,people talking about whole group.
    At the place where I live in CZ we have couple of gypsies and they are very nice,I fallen in love with one really nice gypsy girl,but because her parents were” tipical” bad gipsies,we could not be together…
    So We are not racist,bud we just do not like bad people,and the problem is most of the bad people are gypsies.
    I would say it is same in Britain with Asian people,just nobody sayng this loudly,and people rather hiding because they don’t want to get in trouble.
    About “how are you” … I don’t thing there is something wrong if you say the true,Why to pretend you are ok,if you for example not feeling well that day.
    Czech TV… who cares, when everybody hiking,skiing,ice scating,doing tourism…nobody has time to watch it … :-D
    The true is I have been in Britain for nearly 9 years,so I don’t know anything about Czech tv,bud before I came to Uk a watched tv maybe 3 hrs in a week,cos I was too busy,with other things.

  102. Very accurate description of my countrymen, including myself. Thank you. Except 14) I hate dogs and 28) I think 80% is a moderate estimation judging from people I know. When it comes to Gypsies, people generalise too much, which is often as bad as rascism. ,

  103. Thanks for you observations. As a Czech mom raising children abroad I see how culture plays such an important role in day to day life. I am really happy that my kids have a change to explore different countries, cultures etc. But I still love the Czech Republic. Your article made me smile.

  104. I must also agree with petval (November 13, 2012 at 12:45), that a lot of people in Czech Republic are atheists. However In my opinion this has also positive influence on Czechs as they are very tolerant to other religions or things like interruptions unlike in the strong catholic Poland. And also the so called “atheists” can be divided into multiple groups:

    1) those who simply do not think about religion – product of our “consumer world”, the worst sort of atheists
    2) those who though about religion very deeply and finally refused existence of any god
    3) people who do not fit any organized church, or even have their own way – however they can believe in existence of something although they do not define it as god – these are often taken as atheists too :-)

    I think the people like the freedom of thinking and simply do not like anyone to trying to force them to change it. The church was influencing us very negatively in history and especially the catholic church suppressed freedom and destroyed parts of our culture. We often see the hypocrisy and prudency in Poland and even in the USA, where showing a uncovered nipple in TV is much worse than all the brutal violence in movies and where people often go to the church and pray etc. just because they would be bullied if the say they are atheists. I think I would rather let the kids watch an erotic movie than “R” rated brutal movie (this is extreme but I still think that natural naked body is nothing harmful unlike the violence.

    And finally about dubbed movies :-) I think it is already a tradition here. We always have dubbed movies however our dubbing studios have very good quality in contrast to other countries – I saw some polish film and all the people were dubbed by one man with the same voice (no matter if saying “Two beer, please.” or “I will kill you!” – both sounded the same way) – especially in romantic movies it sounded terribly. :-)

    BTW: you do not dub movies? If you have Spanish or other ones you always have them with English subtitles? What about those for kids?

  105. I am Czech, and I’m extremely proud of it. Character is very different because everyone is just different .. 90% of Czechs are not really Czechs, but the descendants of Germans, Celts, Swedish .. We all are just different .. We hate our government … but we are hardworking, friendly ..very distrustful, quieter ..
    But we ARE NOT RACIST.!
    We hate it when it say about us.. because it is not true.
    The fact that we do not like Gypsies now does not mean that we are racists . simply, gypsies are a mistake of nature .. because of him belong Czech between countries where the most steals. -_-

  106. Btw .. I have to say.
    In Britain, a plague called Islam. The British are without pride, still complain, and there are still around pulling foreigners from other countries, and then complain. It’s pretty funny because the British brought in to us all the time, but now you have problems you :)
    So please ..
    Take care of yourself, you solve Britain’s problems .. and then goes to the Czech Republic, thank you. ;).

  107. Loved the post, I agree with most of it & could even add a few things I learned while I lived there. As far as racism is concerned, there is a lot of racism in CZ against Roma people. And for all of you defending yourselves with “statistics” are misinformed, imo. Racism puts more Roma in jail because they are judged before they are proven guilty. We don’t know truly who commits the most crimes because Roma people are probably stopped for questioning more than others. What I’m saying is, there are many crimes which go unreported because those people don’t get caught. The high incarceration rate for Roma is likely because they are caught doing the crimes more frequently than other “white” Czechs.
    I also had bad experiences with Roma (fortunately not violent ones) where I caught 2 of them trying to steal from me on 2 separate occasions. Even though no one from any other race tried to steal from me, I still judge these people as individuals and not by their heritage.
    Having said that, I am from the West, where not being politically correct is a huge faux pas and have been “trained” to think this way. Racism in the Czech Republic is a totally different animal than it is in the West. Perhaps working off of stereotypes works for them. Can’t say it works for everyone though because I was in school with a Roma student who seemed to have a lot of difficulty overcoming the judgements made against himself, his family and his people.

    • You are right saying we live by stereotypes and it’s not fair to those, who are not meeting them. FYI – if you call that a racism, then it’s important to know, that it’s selective and used mostly for Roma ppl. Usually ppl with other colour of their skin or just from other countries are treated much better – you would say with respect, that Roma people don’t have.

      Roma/gipsy stereotypes have been there not for last couple of decades after regaining freedom, but for centuries. There are some words in old czech language like “ciganit” (cikan=gipsy), which means “to lie”.

  108. Here I can see again how untypical Czech I am. I haven’t ever tasted beer (or any other alcohol), I hate skiing, I don’t like carps and I don’t hit women with sticks at Easter.

  109. Czechs are the best nation in the world.
    We are the best.
    The smartest.
    The most beautiful.
    We have the best beer.
    The most beautiful language.
    The most beautiful anthem.
    The most beautiful castles ..
    The most beautiful nature.
    The best artist.
    We are friendly.
    We’re the good ppl.
    We are atheists.
    We have a beautiful history.
    We play the best hockey.
    We are proud.
    We are brave.
    We are awesome ..
    This is the Czech Republic.
    The best country in the world.
    With the worst government :).

  110. I dont know how long long you stayed in Prague, but your impressions are incredibly accurate for a person from UK (I lived in the UK for 6 months). Thank you for sharing your view!

  111. It’s important to say, that we (Czechs) make jokes about race or nations (gipsies, jews, blacks, indians, slovak, russians even czechs), sex, police, politics, death, deviants, sickness, war, hunger. We call black people “black”, white people “white” and stupid people “idiots”. That does not mean we are racists or that we feel that way. That does not mean we are happy about other people’s tragedies all over the world. Maybe racism is bigger problem than outside, maybe not, but we are not a racist country. We just love incorrect jokes and also its completely legal here (compared to some country with lot’s of “freedom” in their mouths).

    However your observations are fairly accurate. I like the one with pride.

  112. Most people want to talk about Roma, I see.OK, lets do it.
    It always gets me that so many people have the need to start with “I’m not a racist, but…”, and we know where it goes. Best are the ones who even admit they never met a Gypsy but they know they are all bad. I hope one day to find someone who will say point blank: “Look, I’m a racist, but I must say that that new Iva Bittova’s album is pretty good!”
    Are Gypsies out of work? Yes, they are. Would you give a Gypsy a job? Yeah, I did not think so…
    Do they commit crimes? Sure…why don’t you demand more support and money for Police? It’s more fun to be racist, right?
    TV stations love to report crime news and they focus on Gypsies. But they don’t focus on the fact that police stations are few and far in between, or that the police don’t even have a gas money to do regular patrols in the problematic areas. And then it’s easy to get the idea that half of the crime is committed by gypsies – the TV said so, after-all.
    I’m not saying people don’t have problems with noise and general quality of life in the middle of the night, but why isn’t a police cruiser there? Why are not the people making noise at midnight being arrested? Why is nobody asking these questions but rather calling people like me “sunny liberals” who just don’t understand that all Gypsies are bad…? Is this dump racism going to solve any of these problems? No, because politicians love the fact they can get away with not giving enough money to the Police (and in turn keeping more for themselves) and then pander to the racist vote with promises how they gonna go after the abusers of social payments…yeah right.
    That being said, this anti-gypsy sentiment is a phenomena of the whole eastern Europe, not just Czech rep. Madonna just got booed last year, I think, at a concert in Romania for suggesting that the country could do more to integrate the Roma minority…her fans actually booed her for that. She might have a better luck in Czech, IMHO ;-)

    • I dont remember we had any issues with other races/nationalities here in Czech rep (vietnamese/chinese/korean people etc…). Why is that? Its simple – they integrated. They came to live in our country, if they want to stay here, they should adapt on our conditions or leave. But our goverment listens to “big countries” that we are discriminating them, so they are giving them things that others people cant get without work and thats bad. Its making our intolerance to them. In fact even gipses who live here from era of socialism are usually adapted really well and even they are distancing from those problematics (not all) who came recently.

      Our goverment wanted give “gipses” advantage of giving their children into kindergadens (with money for driving them there, schools in nature, lunches). Happily that didnt happend, because proffesionals appointed that it would escalate situation in problematics parts of our country.
      Funny thing is that lots of gipses families are forcing their daughters to have child as soon as possible. When she got the child she will give up the child. Her mother will take the child. More children – more money (exponencially). On the other hand other “normal” people dont know how to give their child proper home because of money….

      These are just examples what causes “racial intolerance ;-) ” in my opinion. Trying of gipses integration in way its now only causes problems… For real integration they must do it (mostly) on their own.

  113. dear lady, czech republic is made of 3 lands bohemia moravia and silesia. We moravians are very proud of Moravia, same as u English are proud of England :-). U should come and visit us here in Moravia. I’ve spend many years in Britain and must say our youngsters dont usually carry knives to hurt sum1 :-)

  114. What about these lovely Roma people, now back at your home, in the UK.

    Fear, loathing and prejudice in Blunkett’s back yard: A deeply disturbing dispatch as the ex-Labour Home Secretary warns of race riots over the Roma influx in Sheffield

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2508120/Fear-loathing-prejudice-Blunketts-yard-A-deeply-disturbing-dispatch-ex-Labour-Home-Secretary-warns-race-riots-Roma-influx-Sheffield.html

    Put the money where you mouth is and go and live near them for a while, ok?

    Only then, come here an tell us how we are all racists and whatnot. Until you do that, you just simply have no idea what you’re talking about and your accusations are without a merit.

  115. Pingback: Brytyjka o Czechach: piwo, rasizm i świetny transport publiczny | CZECHOFIL

  116. To jsou pěkný kecy! Já ti dám rasizmus ty dilino! Se podívej tam k vám na předměstí Sheffieldu a zeptej se tvých místních spoluobčánků, jak se jim líbí záplava romů, která tam teď bují! Jen ať se ukáže ta vaše solidarita s těma uřvanejma bordelářema, ty světaznalá chudinko…trapná… Lara ti tady dala i odkaz! Kecáš kraviny a děláš chytrou.

  117. How many years ago was this written???? Or is it just about Prague?
    8/ not true at all. Unless you were eating in a village in the middle of CZE, not in Prague
    11/ are you joking??? During the summer, weekend, while BBQ maybe, but normally? No way! Unless people don’t have jobs…..drinking during the day is more common in UK!!
    23/ maternity leave is here 28 weeks. Get your details correct! The 3 years are hardly paid and it’s mainly cos here is nothing before kindergarden education unless it’s private an very bad option for part time jobs. On the other side you forgot to mention that it’s becoming normal that men stay at home with kids while the woman earns clearly more money ! Also the breastfeeding is definitly here bigger issue than in UK….
    28/ don’t agree!! It tell us some one from the country that occupied Protectorate Northern Ireland and participates in local racial segregation? And Ian Stuart Donaldson and Skinheads?
    L.H. (Czech woman, born in Prague, married to an Irish man for 15 years, 2kids)

  118. Never talk about the gypsies with Westerners. It’s of no use. In fact they aren’t even interested what the gypsies are really like. 90% of them are indoctrinated with those marxist-multicultural-politically-correct-at-all-cost lies and they see the racial heresy everywhere (except in themselves). They look down on us, ignorant brutes from the East, and yet they are unable to put their own house in order. The real problem is that they haven’t managed to brainwash us in their own image yet. That’s why the criticism. The Czechs have many flaws, but the common sense is not one of them.

  119. So you lament the lack of vegetables and then you commend the ubiquitous farmers markets….. BTW, what I tell all Foreigners – go outside of Prague once in a while. The rest of the country and Prague might as well be separate countries from the cultural point of view (except for hipster parts of Brno, they are interchangeable with ones in Prague).

  120. People talking about racism on czech gipsies mostly don´t have any experience with them. Funny thing is that other countries critisised us for being so racist, and after short while, when these countries accepted some number of czech gipsies, they are now also racist :D:D Because they finally saw what they are doing and how they are living. Its not about color of the skin, its about social behaviour.

  121. Czech people are pretty ok with any other races, except for gypsies . I was living in area (Praha 3 žižkov- full of Gypsies) between gypsies since my birth. They attacked me many times , They was stealing from us .They robbed me (twice!). And most horible experience gypsies raped girl from our school . So, please, trust me. I know what about i’m talking. We don´t have any problem with black people , asians , jewish , muslims , christians or something else .we don’t mind these people, because they work and they are behaving like normal civilized people . We are not racist,bud we just don´t like bad people,and the problem is most of the bad people are gypsies. We also never said they are all bad,Most of them are nice . So the problem with Gypsies is caused by bad experience with them !!! Thats all.

  122. I’m very sorry, but my own experiences in CR were really negative. You just get out from downtown and”ll see the real Prague: dirt, misery, squallor, fucked people all over the place, retarde, asocials, drunkards, middle age people already crippled by bad alimentary diet and cold who can hardly stand, frustrated backward people, rotten houses, gloomy surroundings.
    The Czechs are persons not to trust in anyway, especially when money, even a few coins, is involved in the matter. They have quiet often horrible family situations, they do not know what decent living means, they are full of problems: social, economic, familiar, about their health, with no real social connections, they received an education that twisted their mind and turned them into individuals blocked by all sort of complex and barriers. That’s way the spit on gypsies instead of checkin out what they are and what they really do appear to be at westerner’s eyes. For a change sometimes they would start despising their Slavic cuisins: slovacks, ukrainians, poles and so on.
    Hospitals, schools, railway systém, retirement wages, are at a third world level. Social conditions are the worst in the world, I believe, ’cause they do not know what solidarity and social relationship are.
    Envy is the more frequent feeling to be found.
    Every where you go, you can breathe the hostility they feel towards each other, for they have always been disappointed by anyone they entered in touch with: by their family member right at start- daddy abandoned them and cares not at all, rather going to the hospoda, mom has been cheated by her uncle, and so on – and then by the neighbour, by their school-mates, and then by anyone else, so they learned they live in a place where there’s nobody trustwothy.
    Most of the them are very unpolite, the personification of mere ignorance and frustration, they do not know what rationality means, if they may get into troubles by taking the worst decion,.. well they’ll jump straight into that. The great major part of the people I met where very sad, tormented, without a sparkle of brightness or completely deprived of sense of humor.
    They grow up with nobody teaching them the most elementary principle at the base of dignity: sense of family, professional ethic, friendship, solidarity, religion or whatever might help to get an individual not even quite honest and straight, but decent at least.
    At the beginning Í thought they are this way because of the communist dictatorship, at the end I realized that it is the other way round: they had that sort of tretament because they stand without an historical path of their own behind their shoulders, for their destiny has been decided by their colonizators all through the centuries.
    You can see these barbarians bitching about the gypsies even on youtube, bitching while standing in front of their rotten flat inside the panelak, bitching against somebody else while showing the poor wreck they are.
    These people are hopeless, I see no possibilty of improvement for them.

    • Unfortunately I have to second that, that is very true. Not only in Prague anyway, but it is actually worse in the rest of the country.

      I will just add that you have forgotten to mention how much the government screw its own people up, how the police turns an eye to pretty much everything, and how the justice system is worse than in third world countries.

  123. Dear Gwynnie,
    I want to confirm your opinion on the racism in Czech republic. Yes there is racism ,but not everybody is the racist.
    I´ve got some experience with this. I used to live with chinese people in their community.
    I wanted to get them to know ,started to learn their languange ,went with them out many times
    and suddenly I got into problem ,became hated,couldn´t go to a pleces where I always went everytime if I was with them.
    I think that people don´t know what racism is at all,because it´s not just question of coulour of our skin.
    They should read more books and definition.I am fascinating how most of people react at all.
    Nearly everytime you start to talk about racism in CZ rep. ,most of people think that you are talking about gympsies.
    I think that everybody should observe more and more, to be interested in people ,how do they live and always ask what they need.
    And generally it´s important to think about people like about individual personalities not like about groups.
    I went once (not just one time) among gypsies,sit down at their table ,greet them and spend with them some time,
    nobody from them ever hurt me,they were very friendly.
    when somebody hurts you ,think about his individuality ,not about whole group.
    I live in England now – in Warrington,I am testing life here and compare everything.
    I saw many worrying situation .
    There´s some kind of hate here.
    Not everybody here behave this way,I say as well.
    But I saw english teenagers throwing stones after foreigners and screaming “Polish,Polish. ”
    When you meet somebody , he may ask you “Where do you came from?”.
    (First question is usually “Are you polish?” ) ,they see that you are foreigner.
    If you say yes I am they go away or do some : “Bleah ,ueeaah .
    I saw similar situation and behavior once when I was with gypsies in disco bar in Czech rep.People went away
    from disco floor doing ” “Bleah ,ueeaah. ”
    In each case nobody ask us or them who we really are ond what we really are like.
    I told about it my english friend from Manchester and he said: ” Each country has its own idiots.”

  124. I miss Prague with all my heart after living there for a semester. All this is so true! I lived 15 min off the Metro, and it felt nice having to work to communicate sometimes (except when I would go to they gym and not know how to ask where or what things were!). I wrote a paper on Roma as well as on the role of women (and interviewed some amazing Czech Women who worked in organizations to get women in government), and there’s definitely truth to what you said.

    I do miss all the adorable dogs too :)

  125. For one, It’s not really racism. Roma are the same racial group as us, specifically, the Indo-European race. The problem lies in our cultural differences. Many – if not most – Roma people simply refuse to do their part in our society; they consider themselves outside the system and above the law, they believe it is their given right to take what they can and give nothing in return. Dishonesty towards a “white” person (a “gadzho”, as they call everyone who isn’t one of them) is considered to be a virtue. Sure, it is not their fault, for they were born and raised like this. But it is not our fault either, so kindly stop blaming us. We haven’t invited them to stay here, and as such, we owe them nothing.

    For two, an original inhabitant of a country can’t be considered racist just because he dislikes foreigners. Negative attitude towards foreigners was an essential part of the Czech emancipation movement back in the 18th and 19th century. It is our nature, a part of our cultural self-expression, and last but not least, a direct result of our history. Tatar and Mongol invaders; 30 Years War; centuries of German rule; the Protectorate; the 1968 Russian invasion; the US interference during the 90s; foreigners buying our factories to get our recipes and patents, then shutting the factories down to get rid of the competition; foreigners coming to our land offering nothing and expecting free hand-outs. We have every reason and every right to be cautious and disdainful towards foreigners. This isn’t a matter of race, and it never was… this is a matter of self-preservation. We simply don’t want to become second-rate citizens in our own country yet again.

    Of course, I don’t really expect you to understand. You’re British; you guys are used to rule the world, not to be subjugated and occupated. One of my earlies memories is foreign tanks in the streets outside our house, and my grandfather – a hard, strong man who survived through two wars – watching them and crying. Think twice before calling us racists.

    • Ljenka who is so called “second-rate citizen” according you? Don´t call anybody so ,one day somebody can call as well so.
      Don´t whimper,there were even light moments in czech history.

  126. I completely agree with Vergan Peter. Czechs are sad useless people. They are lazy, they steal, they rape, murder and live on benefits. I am deeply ashamed of them. Any decent person agrees that we do not want them in Czech Republic anymore. Stop the Czechs before they multiply and invade your country as well. Nobody wants them here. http://www.stopcechum.cz/

    • Its funny…. ambiguity Czechs / Gipsy
      “Think twice before calling us racists”
      Yeeha its true. We arent racist we are alergic on Gipsy. :-)

      Representation of ethnic minorities in Czech Republick is 38%
      only 0,3% = 30 000 are Gipsy and only Gipsy are big problem.

  127. I think it’s said almost all the discussion is about gypsies, yet the article is a very very nice write up. I agree with pretty much every point, even the negative ones. Noone’s perfect I guess, but that doesn’t mean we should not care.

  128. Thanks to author, very nice! Im also czech. 31 – nation pride – exactly. People from almost any nationality are saying good words about themself. Czech not. First of all Czech say what is negative here.
    I had feeling that foreigners see czech only like people with bored faces. Im happy you´ve point out many nice things.

  129. I love it!!!! I made notes like this while my stay in the United States :D …never realised how funny could be reading such notes about CR xD

  130. Never read such tripe in all my life. A really disappointing list, not interesting to read, and rather cheeky to insult the Czech for saying no to being the next dumping ground for immigrants and low life. The ignorance and conditioning of the author has allowed the establishment of the UK to turn a once great country into a toilet. I’m glad that the Czech Republic is traditional and the locals are mostly Czech. People have the right to stick up for their country and be against those who wish it harm.

    • I’m an American happily married to a Czech. We have divided our lives living in both countries. As a first impression of the country from a foreign point of view, I believe the author was correct in his initial assessment. Having spent more time in the Czech Republic, I can see the flaws in his assessment. However, the initial experiences took a while to look past, so I forgive the writer his lack of experience and enjoy the column for what it is (a first impression).

  131. Do Czech people drink beer at 11 am? Madness:D!! I’m not a beer lover, but totally addicted to hot chocolate and coffee. It looks like Prague was a great experience and a lesson of life!

  132. Hey hey hey! We DO have national pride! (Just watch a game of world cup hockey in a pub or somewhere out)!

  133. @Agness:
    This is not common here. Probably some of those beer addicts drink beer even in the morning but I do not know any. There are even people who do not drink beer :-)

    But such people do not visit pubs etc.

  134. those who think that gypsies are all nice should go to cities full of them i guess they would change their mind easily after being robbed, raped or something like that many times…police don’t care because they are afraid, jesus ask social workers they have their experiences too yes there are some good ones but most of them just aren’t and your excuses for them are just ridiculous… I live next to úpice and i see them almost everyday.. i must have someone to go with me because they don’t care they can rob you at daylight.. parents are afraid everyday to send children to school (well not now at holiday but you know what i mean), they are afraid to go to work.. because of them… yes i have some good friends from school that are gypsies but thats nothing compared to all of them it’s like 5% of them .. (yea it’s not some fuckin official statistic but they are all manipulated like everything else so who cares?)
    PS: don’t forget to comment my english jerks!

    • Well we really hate gypsies for one reason. They are pretty lazy, there aren’t working, their only job is having children and taking money from the government. Lets say you are czech and you work in czech republic, your sallary is 40 000 kc and then because of those spongers, you have only 20 000 kc, just because gypsies aren’t able to work and they onyl get money from the government. If we won’t give them the money they would rape, beat people, burglaries. Just freaking mess! That’s the reason we hate gypsies so much, surely they are some who work, are nice and that kind of stuff, but most of them are these cases -_-

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