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16 Facts You Need to Know About Czech People

Czechs
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According to many travelers, Czechia or the Czech Republic is the most beautiful country in Europe. 

The country is a paradise for architects. Baroque, Gothic, Renaissance, Romanesque, Classicism, Art-Nouveau, Cubism or Communist architecture, you name it, the country is filled with buildings, bridges, monuments made in many different architectural styles.

The Czech Republic is the country with the most castles in Europe – over 2000 castles and chateaus. Prague Castle is the largest castle in the world.

This is a country of culture and art, with many galleries and museums. In Prague, there is the unique “Hygiene Museum” where over 2,000 historical chamber pots, toilets, and loos are on display, including a seat from the “Titanic”.

“Mission Impossible”, “The Illusionist”, “Yentl”, “Les Misérables” (1998 version) and “Casino Royale” were shot all in Prague.

The country has beautiful national parks in the mountains, and the Czech people are amazing.

In this article, you will learn about their culture, their peculiarities and their wonderful country.

Facts About Czech People

1. They Are Individualists

There is a common stereotype that Czechs are cold people. Quite often they seem uninterested in certain subjects and are not embracing new friendships with warmth and a smile on their faces.

However, that doesn’t mean that they are cold, unfriendly or not interested. They just don’t show it and don’t have time for polite chatting. They would rather open a discussion on various interesting subjects and openly share their opinions.

They are not at all intrusive and enjoy the passing of time just as it is. Czechs have various interests and do not like being bothered a lot. But once you interest them, you can expect endless conversations and rounds of beer.

Czechs do know how to enjoy life.  Quite often, they enjoy exciting hobbies such as hiking, rock climbing, motorcycling, bike riding, and mushroom picking. 

Czechs love to spend time in nature, and they have a reason for it – nature in the Czech Republic is very picturesque.

Almost every Czech person you’ll meet will be intimidatingly well-read and some of them will have eccentric and unusual opinions on politics, society, history, and the environment.

Have in mind that all those conversations become more interesting if you are drinking beer.

2. Highly Educated People

First of all, the literacy rate among the Czech population is 99%. Secondly, In 2019, 33% of 25-34 year-olds had a tertiary degree in the Czech Republic compared to 45% on average across OECD countries [1].

Programmers, IT specialists, WEB-designers and software developers are on the top of the list. Medicine is the second most popular profession for the Czechs. 

As a matter of fact, medical faculties in the country are so good and highly ranked (especially the one in Prague) that every year thousands of foreign students try to enroll there.

Then, of course, finance, economy, and marketing analytics are also the most common professions among Czechs. Fifth on the list of the most popular subjects among Czechs is chemistry.

Czechs are also well educated and interested in the arts. Especially popular are the film studies. FAMU, the Czech Film Academy is one of the most internationally recognized programs for studying film techniques and history.

Charles University in Prague is the oldest university in Central Europe, founded in 1348.

3. Czechs Don’t Trust Their Government 

According to a survey, over 60% of the Czechs don’t trust their government. 

The Czech people have a complicated political history and many of them have families who suffered during the communist regime. The Communist Party seized power in 1948 and until 1990, Czechoslovakia was under the communist rule.

The Czech Republic blossomed as a separate democratic republic from Slovakia (Czechoslovakia ceased to exist) during the presidency of Vaclav Havel who served as the first president of the republic from 1993 to 2003. 

To this day, he is considered the best president of their country..

However, Havel’s presidency wasn’t without it’s faults, and neither was the presidency of his successors. 

There are numerous political and financial scandals around Czech politicians, including the current prime minister, Andrej Babis. Allegedly, Babis stole €2 million in EU subsidies (designated for small businesses).

There are those who think that the current president of the country, Miloš Zeman is the worst president (that’s probably something that many people all over the world think about their president).

4. Czech People Apologize All the Time

“I’m sorry for apologizing” – The Czech culture is one of those where people apologize frequently, for every minor and insignificant thing. 

Czechs are honest but polite individuals. Even though they enjoy being ironic, they are still apologetic. If they do something offensive they will immediately apologize. 

They will apologize if they accidentally bump into you on the street, or in a crowded metro train, or if they keep the toilet in a bar occupied for too long, while you wait outside.

You might find yourself in a situation where you are exchanging sorry’s with a Czech person – “I’m sorry”, “No, I am sorry”, “No, I am sorry”, and so on.

5. Czechs Are Not Particularly Religious

The Czech Republic is one of the least religious countries in the world with 39.8% of the people considering themselves atheist, and 13.4% undecided. The support of a traditional religion among the Czechs is low.

Only 21% of the Czech population  belongs to the Catholic church. And yet, there are numerous cathedrals around the country. Although they are not religious, there are many people who visit the local church on holidays, just to keep up with the tradition.

Again, this is related to the 41 years of the communist regime in the country. 

6. Beer Is Their Favorite Drink

The Czech Republic is the country of beer. Not only that Czechs love beer, but in supermarkets, a bottle of beer is sometimes cheaper than a bottle of water. No wonder that Czechs consume the most beer per capita in the world.

There are many pubs that serve different types and brands of beer, but the most famous is Pilsner Urquell, named after the city of Plzen where it has been brewed since 1842.

There is a whole beer culture around the ordering of beer. As a matter of fact, there are three different ways in which you can order your beer in the Czech Republic.

‘Hladinka’ is the standard pour with about one quarter of foam on top of the glass. This is the perfect creamy ratio of beer-to-head [2].

‘Šnyt’ is just a little bit of beer served in a large mug, filled with a lot of foam that allows you to actually say that you are having some beer. The good thing about šnyt is that the foam keeps the beer fresh, so it can be enjoyed slowly.

The third way is ‘Mlíko’ or milk beer – a tiny bit of beer is poured in a mug which is topped with a glass full of froth. This is common for the end of a beer night.

7. Sarcastic and Use Irony

Czechs don’t take anything too seriously. They are very desiccated and hard-working people but don’t take their jobs too seriously. They are indifferent to everything else for that matter (except maybe beer. I am kidding, of course).

And they are joking all the time. Even when you think a Czech person is serious, in fact, they might be sarcastic. They use irony to explain everything from describing their day to discussing politics.

Sometimes they may seem rude to foreigners, but the irony is what saved the Czech spirit throughout history and what drives them through hard times.

8. Czechs Are Obsessed With Sports

Czechs love sports indeed. 

Football is the most popular sport and the most popular national teams are SK Slavia Prague and AC Sparta Prague. 

Czechoslovakia was in the World Cup finals in 1934 and 1962 (lost both times), and won the European Championships in 1976. Football is a passion of many people in both countries now.

The second most popular sport among Czechs is hockey. The men’s national ice hockey team is one of the best in the world. There are many Czech players who played in the NHL, such as Jaromir Jagr who is considered one of the greatest NHL players ever.

The highest-level ice hockey league in the Czech Republic is Czech Extraliga. 

Another popular sport among the Czechs is tennis. The Czech player, Martina Navratilova has been ranked as the second-best female player of the 20th century, right after Steffi Graf. Today, there are eight Czech players who are ranked among the 100 best in the world.

The snowboarder and alpine skier Ester Ledecká, who won the gold medal in alpine skiing at the Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang in 2018, is Czech [3].

9. A Real Bohemian in Bohemia

Bohemia is the place for a real Bohemian. Every city is a piece of art and every city contains many places where you can enjoy art.

Prague is a city of beautiful and diverse architecture, full of music, food, and stories within its walls. There are numerous Czech writers, artists, musicians, and scientists for whom the city served as an inspiration.

The word ‘bohemian’ is associated with the region Bohemia and the people who lived there.

Among the most famous bohemians are the writers Franz Kafka, Jaroslav Seifert who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1984, and Karel Čapek who has introduced the word “robot” for the first time in his science-fiction play R.U.R. in 1921. 

The writer of the incredible novel “The unbearable lightness of being”, Milan Kundera, who is based in Paris, is of Czech origin.

The composers Bedřich Smetana and Antonín Dvořák are also Czech. As well as the artist Alphonse Mucha.

Gregor Johann Mendel, who established the laws of genetics and heredity – Mendel’s Laws – was Czech.

Also the Oscar-winning director Miloš Forman was Czech [4].

Read: 14 Famous Czechs

10. Czechs Love Music

There are musical events all around the Czech nation. 

There are a lot of classical music concerts, concerts of popular artists, DJs in clubs, alternative bands in underground bars,  jazz jams, and street music performers. There is music everywhere.

In Prague for example, in a single night, you can visit a classical music concert in a music hall, have a drink in a bar, continue in some of the wonderful clubs and enjoy any type of music you prefer.

On top of that, you can end up listening to a jam set until the morning hours (in some underground bar).

During the day, there are amazing street performers who play at different spots around the city. They are famous for working on the streets all day. They might bore the locals but never cease to amaze the thousands of tourists that pass by daily.

There is always music everywhere. In case there isn’t any live music around, there is probably some shop that plays music. Czechs also love to sing and dance.

11. Czechs Are Excellent Rock Climbers

Behind the popular urban landscape, there is the Czech nature, where people escape during the weekends or holidays. Besides the urban artistic madness, Czechia boasts amazing natural wonders.

The Czech Republic is filled with rocks and is a great destination for rock climbers. There are countless limestone, sandstone, and granite crags, quarries, and boulders. 

It is the country of spectacular sandstone towers that can be found in North Bohemia and granite rocks for bouldering that can be found in the magical forests of Petrohrad [5].

Labské Údolí (Elbe-Valley or “Labák”) is a particular sandstone area with a mixture of sport and trad climbing.

No wonder that some of the world’s top climbers are Czech.

Everyone can enjoy rock climbing in Czechia. There are rocks for professionals as well as for beginners. There are also many professional rock climbers who teach the sport. 

12. The Most Western Slavic Nation

The Czech language belongs to the West group of the Slavic languages, which is why the Czechs are considered Slavs. However, their cultural, social, and ethnic identity is rather a complex mixture of German, Austrian, French, and Slavic elements.

Landlocked between Germany, Austria, Slovakia, and Poland, the country has been a bridge between the East and the West and a place where different political systems and cultures intertwined. 

In the interwar period between World War I and World War II, Czechoslovakia became the most prosperous and politically stable state in Eastern Europe. 

During World War II, Czechoslovakia was under German occupation, which explains the strong influences from the German culture.

However, they have the Slavs’ spirit for partying and enjoying life.

13. Moravia vs. Bohemia

The Czech Republic contains the historic regions of the Kingdom of Bohemia to the west, Moravia to the east, and Czech Silesia to the northeast. 

Moravia and Bohemia are covering over 90% of the Czech land and the people from these two regions are perceived as very opposite from each other. The Bohemians are more reserved and love beer, while Moravians are very friendly and fond of wine.

The Moravian dialect is a separate one and the Moravians consider themselves to be a sovereign nation. However, they haven’t been politically recognized as such.

14. Czechia is One of the Safest Countries in the World

It’s not because there are thousands of castles protecting it, but rather the great quality of life, the good economy, and the good-spirited people.

The average salaries are around 26,000 CZK (USD $1000). Compared to other European cities where the rent of a three-bedroom apartment might cost up to $3,500, in the Czech capital it costs $400 per month [6].

In many western European cities, a meal for two tends to be quite expensive but in Czech cities, it costs around $20.

Also, there is only 1,91% of unemployment. Naturally, the crimes are rare compared to other countries.

15. Czech Cuisine

The national Czech cuisine is just one more reason to spend some time in this country. A few of the must-try dishes are:

  • Česnečka – a garlic-heavy soup with croutons
  • Uzené – smoked meat, usually beef, served with juniper berries and peppers
  • Guláš (goulash) – a pork or beef stew with lots of onions
  • Rajská omáčka – a beef in tomato soup
  • Moravský vrabec (Moravian sparrow) – the most popular pork dish, served with sides of sauerkraut and dumplings

If you are interested in Czech cuisine, check out this article about traditional Czech foods.

16. Ready to Meet the Country of the Czech Bohemians?

What more can you wish for if there is good and cheap beer, a lot of music on every corner of its cities that are filled with breathtaking architecture and ironic but polite locals? 

Who wouldn’t like a place with beautiful nature, where you can rock climb, hike to abandoned castles, or just chill. 

Czechia is said to be the mecca for travelers in Europe and there are thousands of reasons why. You will just have to find out those reasons by yourself.

References:

  1. http://www.oecd.org/education/Czech%20Republic-EAG2014-Country-Note.pdf
  2. https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/czech-republic-beer-guide/
  3. https://www.czechuniversities.com/article/20-interesting-facts-about-the-czech-republic
  4. https://www.czechuniversities.com/article/famous-people-from-the-czech-republic
  5. https://www.mountainproject.com/area/106423314/czech-republic
  6. https://www.topuniversities.com/blog/10-things-you-didnt-know-about-czech-republic

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Meet the Slavs

Posts by the Meet the Slavs Team.

Meet the Slavs is your most comprehensive online resource about Slavic people, their cuisine, culture, history, mythology, and more.

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