Must Try Foods in the Czech Republic

The Czech Republic is well known for its beers and it’s no wonder, with over 400 active breweries in the country. However, what are its traditional foods? No dive into a country’s culture is complete without some knowledge of its cuisine.

So what is Czech cuisine like?

Czech cuisine has been influenced by its surrounding regions and mostly consists of very filling and heavy meals. Such meals are mostly centered around meats, starches and root vegetables, as the region’s climate did not allow for many fresh vegetables during the long winter months.

Let’s discover some of the must-try foods together!

Czech knedlíky

A staple in every traditional Czech restaurant as well as in any Czech home, Knedlíky can be translated as Czech Dumplings. 

These soft dumplings are made of flour, potatoes and eggs with varying fillings depending on the intended final results. Czech knedlíky, in fact, exist in both savoury and sweet variants. 

If enjoyed as a dessert, Czech knedlíky are usually filled with fruits and jams and topped with sour cream. In their savoury counterpart, smoked meat and onions are used instead. 

The most famous variant, served with many traditional Czech dishes, is houskové knedlíky. Made with the addition of bread crumbs to the original recipe, they are shaped in a cylinder roll and boiled or steamed. They are then served cut into slices.

Czech Cuisine Ovocne Knedliky

Svíčková

One of the most famous dishes in Czech cuisine, Svíčková is a popular dish for celebrations, such as weddings or family reunions as its preparation can require between 3 to 6 hours. In fact, the dish tastes best when the meat is prepared and marinated a day in advance.

This dish consists of marinated sirloin beef boiled with vegetables and served with a creamy gravy made from root vegetables and sour cream. The dish is also accompanied by traditional knedlíky, whipped cream and cranberry sauce.

Early mentions of this recipe can be found in the Domácí kuchařka (A Household Cookery Book) written by Magdalena Dobromila Rettigová in 1826.

Czech Cuisine Svickova Knedliky

Vepřo knedlo zelo

This is another traditional dish you can definitely find in any Czech restaurant. The name is an abbreviation of the dish itself, which consists of roasted pork served with bread dumplings and pickled cabbage. 

Variations of this dish can be found in all of Central Europe.

Chlebíčky 

Chlebíčky were first invented in the 20th century. They are small open sandwiches made with white bread decorated with cheese, ham, tomatoes, pickles, potato salad, garlic spread or even parsley! Every family makes its own unique combination.

A staple at celebrations and festivities, they are also enjoyed by many as breakfast food or a snack. 

Czech Cuisine Chlebicky

Tatarský biftek

The tartar steak is a Czech dish particularly popular during pub outings with friends. In fact, it’s usually made in a batch and enjoyed as a group. It consists of tartar made from ground sirloin beef topped with a raw egg and with raw garlic and fried bread (known as “topinky”) on the side.

To enjoy this dish, gently rub a piece of garlic on a bread slice and then put a portion of the mixed tartar on top. 

Extremely popular in Czech pubs, it is considered one of the best dishes to have together with beer.

Bublanina

Bublanina is a soft spongy traditional Czech cake made with cherries. It can also be commonly found in Slovakia. 

Similar to the French Clafoutis, Bublanina is a simple cake to bake as it does not require any special equipment and its ingredients are quite common. The cake, in fact, is prepared by mixing beaten eggs, flour, sugar and milk with seasonal fruits (most commonly cherries and blueberries in the Czech Republic).

The name Bublanina means “Bubble Cake”, as the batter while solidifying around the fruits makes small bubbles. It can be found in traditional Czech restaurants or markets, but the best ones are those made by grandmas. Try to ask your friend or colleague if they can share with you their family recipe: they will for sure have one!

Czech Cuisine Bublanina

Koláče

We couldn’t close this list without mentioning another traditional Czech sweet: Koláče. With its name deriving from “Kola” meaning “Wheels”, these round-shaped pastry rolls are typically topped with plums, cheese or poppy seeds. 

The origins of Koláče date all the way back to the XVIII Century, where round breeds were popular for ritualistic purposes, symbolizing the sun and the moon. Nowadays, they are usually baked for special occasions: small koláčky, for example, can be found at every wedding.

Curious to learn more about Czech traditions? You can check our article on Czech holidays.

If you are instead interested in moving to the Czech Republic, do not hesitate to contact us. We would be happy to assist you!

5 Surprising Facts about the Czech Language

Czech is a language spoken by around 12 million people worldwide. Not only is it the national language of Czech Republic, but it is also a minority language recognized in Austria, Serbia, Slovakia, Poland, Ukraine and Bulgaria.

As a Slavic language, radically different from ones with Germanic or Romance origins, Czech is said to be a hard language to master for many foreigners. Not only does it have a completely unfamiliar vocabulary, but it also features a complex grammar that can leave first-time learners puzzled with its many exception cases. 

If, after mastering the basics, you are interested to know more about this language, we collected in this article a couple of facts for you!

  • Czech cares about vowel length

In the Czech language, vowel length matters.  The letters á, é, í, ó, ú, ů, and ý (indicated with an acute accent or a ring) should be pronounced approximately 1.75 times longer than normal ones. If it sounds too hard, however, don’t worry!

Czech is a language where it is possible to find words containing no vowels at all! This is the case, for example, of the words hound (“chrt”), finger (“prst”) and neck (“krk”). 

  • Czech is the only language with the letter ř

The most unique letter in the Czech alphabet has to be the letter ř. Pronounced as “rzh” but with a “r” rolling sound, it is a letter that is not present in any other officially recognized language.

It is, however, used in the Upper Sorbian languages of Germany and in certain Norwegian dialects close to Narvik.

  • The Czech alphabet has 42 letters

The Czech alphabet comprises 42 letters, with two of them (q and w) used only in foreign words. If you are learning Czech, learning the correct pronunciation of the alphabet is extremely important, as it is a language in which words are read exactly as they are written.

Some of the most difficult letters to pronounce include:

  • É é – pronounced like the “a” in care
  • Ý ý – pronounced like the “ee” in seen
  • Ě ě – pronounced like the “ye” in yes
  • C c – pronounced like the “ts” in cats
  • Č č – pronounced like the “ch” in church

Would you like to learn more on how to pronounce the entire alphabet? Then you may want to check this link. Happy learning!

  • Czech Capitalization rules are complex

Czech has quite complex Capitalization rules that can be hard to respect also for native speakers!

Other than capitalizing the first letter of a sentence and names, in Czech you also capitalize:

  • In you/You to show respect (for example “Děkuji Vám” if used to thank one person you respect, while “Děkuji vám” refers to more than one person)
  • Headings
  • Names of cities, towns and villages, as well as the names of other geographical locations. However, common words such as ulice (street), náměstí (square) or moře (sea) are not capitalized
  • Nationalities and nation names
  • Brands when used as trademarks or to refer to companies
  • Official names of institutions
  • Possessive adjectives from proper names

Be careful however when writing an email! Czech will start with a small letter on the first sentence on a letter or email after using a comma (i.e. Dear XYZ, let me know…).

  • Czech is one of two languages to have its own unique word for kangaroo

This list wouldn’t be complete without a fun fact!

While most foreign languages have adopted variations of the Aboriginal Guugu Yimithirr people’s original name “Gangurru”, Czech and Croatian have created their own word for it.

Where English calls it a “Kangaroo”, Italian a “Canguro” and French a “Kangourou”, Czech refers to it as “Klokan”. The word was created in the 19th century by language reformers during the Czech National Revival.

Your Renting Contract Is Ready? Watch Out!

When moving to a new country, finding a new place to call home is definitely one of the first (and possibly also one of the biggest) challenges. 

However, what happens once you have found the perfect place? What matters should you watch out for?

Let’s discover them together!

Review your lease agreement 

The first thing we suggest, before signing the lease agreement, is to carefully review it. Especially, always make sure that the property is legally owned by the person stated in the agreement. 

To find out, you can try to navigate the information through the cadastre website here. You may find out that the person who signed the contract is not legally entitled to do so or that you are simply signing a sublease without being informed. 

This is important to know as sublease agreements do not protect tenants to the same extent of lease agreements. 

For example, if the tenant who subleases the room or apartment to you breaches the contract with the landlord, the contract can be immediately terminated and you will be evicted from the property without any rights to a time notice or compensation.  Because of this, always make sure to be provided with all legal documents relating to the ownership of the property and evidence between the landlord and the tenant clearly stating that the last has the right to sublease the property.  

Moreover, a proper review of the lease agreement may be essential for further dealing with authorities (i.e. when applying for a Residence Permit in the Czech Republic, an extension of a Residence Permit or reporting a change of your address at the Ministry of Interior). 

Take pictures of the property

Before moving in, during the handover from the landlord, we advise that you take pictures of the property down to the details. This is to ensure that you take account of any defect present. Make sure to then share with the landlord the pictures you took, so that clear evidence exists of the condition of the apartment when it was handed over to you.

If it is possible to repair any of the present defects, agree with the owner on the steps to take with a specific deadline for completion. Make sure to write it down in the handover protocol and have it signed by the landlord. Otherwise, make a point to keep the pictures to be used, if needed, when you will be leaving the property at the end of your lease.

Report the change of your address 

Once you have selected a new property to move into, you are responsible for reporting the change of your address to the authorities:

  • Non-EU citizens holding a visa for a stay over 90 days or a Long-term Residence Permit are required to report a change in the place of residence in the Czech Republic within 30 days of it occurring if the change in the place of residence is expected to last longer than 30 days.
  • Non-EU citizens holding a Permanent Residence Permit are required to report a change in the place of residence in the Czech Republic within 30 days of it occurring if the change in the place of residence is expected to last longer than 180 days.
  • EU citizens or their family members that are holders of Temporary/Permanent Residency are required to report a change in the place of residence within 30 working days of this change occurring. This obligation applies if the change in the place of residence is expected to last longer than 180 days.

If you are not sure how to proceed properly, contact us! We will be happy to help you!

How can you handle moving-abroad fear?

Moving abroad is a stressful experience, even if we feel ready to do so or have a job prospect already lined up. It opens up many new exciting opportunities but also unknown variables we might not know how to tackle. 

What are the most common fears of moving abroad? And how can they be overcome?

  • Language Barriers

Fear of cultural and language barriers is common when moving to a country with no English as its first language. In fact, while English is universal, not everyone speaks it, which is especially true in common everyday settings. The first time at the grocery store can easily become a haunting experience.

How to overcome this?

Start by learning the country language before moving. Make sure to learn the most common phrases, such as “Good morning” and “Thank you”, to help you establish a first connection with the locals and thus decrease the disconnect with the new culture. If you decide to make the new country your permanent home, you may want to undertake a full language course.

  • Moving 

Relocating your entire life and belongings abroad requires a long and painstaking process that can quickly become overwhelming. Hiring international movers is an excellent way to speed up the process and reduce stress. The movers will take care of all the details for you, from packing to shipping, all the way to custom clearance and even, at times, unpacking in your new home. 

  • Cost of Living

While the move can already prove expensive, you might be worried about the cost of living you’ll encounter. How should you plan for it? What are the prices you can expect? 

It would be best to research such information before moving to put some money aside to be used in case of emergencies or settling in expenses. For example, in the Czech Republic, first payments for properties usually include first rent + utilities (usually around 2.000 – 10.000 CZK) as well as a security deposit (between 1 to 3 months of rent) and a commission for the real estate agent (in the amount of 1 month rent + 21% VAT), which altogether can easily reach an amount between 50.000 and 150.000 CZK. Another good practice is to create a plan to respect before and after your move, to keep your finances under control.

  • Bureaucracy 

To live and work legally in another country, depending on where you are coming from, might require you to obtain several documents. From visas to residence permits, navigating a new country’s bureaucratic landscape can be a nightmare.

To lessen the strain, you can look up a Facebook group of people looking to move or who have moved to the specific country you are interested in and ask them for advice or you can also hire a professional service to overcome language barriers and ensure you don’t miss any step.

  • Safety

When we do not know the reality of the country we are going to move into, it is normal to ask ourselves “Is it safe?”. 

In the case of Prague, the answer is yes. The city has often been rated high in safety indices around the world. However, even in safe areas, it is important to always apply common sense and research beforehand.

For a more complete outlook on the country’s situation, we would suggest checking not only government websites but also blogs of people living there and possibly finding ways to get in touch with locals.

Here at ReloCare, we offer 1 on 1 consultations to answer any questions you may have concerning your move abroad. From Cost of Living and Safety to Bureaucracy and Moving, our expertise is at your service to resolve all your doubts. 

If you would like to know more, do not hesitate to reach out.

The Challenge of Waste Sorting in Prague

Moving to a new country presents many exciting opportunities, but also a number of challenges, some of which we might not have envisaged before embarking on our journey. While being away from family, having to learn a new language and lots of paperwork are expected obstacles, we often tend to overlook how much harder little things can become in a new environment.

How do people purchase produce in supermarkets? Where can you buy a specific house product? How do pharmacies work? And especially, where can you throw your trash?

Waste management rules can differ greatly from country to country, from their breadth to how they are enforced. For example, where in one country paper might be thrown into mixed waste, it may need to be separated into different types in another. At the same time, a blue bin can be used for plastic collection in one place and for cans in another. 

As the city of Prague is increasingly attentive to the care of the environment and sorting waste correctly, there exists a wide set of well-encoded rules. With over 3000 collection bins around the city for paper, glass and plastic, it is easy to dispose of trash thoughtfully and do your part in keeping the city beautiful.

How to sort trash correctly in Prague?

At the time of the writing of this article, according to the valid Ordinance of the Capital City of Prague No. 24/2001, waste should be sorted as follows: 

  • Paper and Cardboard (blue containers)
  • Glass (white containers for clear glass, green for colored glass)
  • Plastics (yellow containers)
  • Cans (grey containers)
  • Bulky waste (high-capacity containers in selected locations)
  • Hazardous waste (only at selected collection points)
  • Mixed waste (black containers)

The city is also testing a separate collection of packages for beverages (orange containers) and biological waste.

Other important collections sites

Of course, from time to time we might need to dispose of less common items like expired medicines or small electronics. Where can we do so?

  • Pharmacies

You can bring to pharmacies around Prague any expired or unused drug/medicine, old mercury-filled thermometers and used syringes.

  • Red Containers

Small electronic waste, batteries and lightbulbs can be disposed of at specific red bins. Such containers are also available in every elementary school and in every secondary school.

  • Collecting yards

Any type of waste (with the exception of mixed waste) can be disposed of at the collecting yards of the city of Prague. Other than pneumatics, every type of waste can be disposed of free of charge. Please note, however, that to use the collecting yards the person needs to verify themselves as a permanent resident in Prague with a valid identity card.

Items hard or impossible to recycle

Unfortunately, not every item can be recycled. Currently, in Prague it is impossible to recycle the following items:

  • CDs
  • Tapes
  • Vinyls
  • Any item featuring C/ on the label, as they are a composite material (with the exception of beverage containers that can be recycled in the orange bin as mentioned above)
  • Cigarette Butts

If possible, try to down-cycle such items or include them in creative projects. Otherwise, all of them need to be disposed of in mixed waste containers.

 

You are now ready to take on the waste sorting challenge in Prague! If you still need a little help, you can use the following website to find the appropriate collection point near you for any material: https://www.kamsnim.cz/ 

Happy sorting!

The Czech Healthcare System

When moving abroad, it is important to get to know and understand how the healthcare system of the country we just moved into actually works. 

The Czech Healthcare system is among the best in Central Europe, with most citizens enjoying universal healthcare coverage via their employers. In fact, the country has one of the most accessible systems and ranks 4th in Europe for its number of Operational Hospital Beds: with 6.6 hospital beds per 1,000 citizens, it is 35% above the EU average of 4.9 per 1000 citizens.

Nevertheless, how does it actually work?

Private vs. Public

In the Czech Republic, both EU and Non-EU citizens are required by law to have health insurance. For this reason, during the immigration procedure, people are required to provide proof of actually owning health insurance.

It is possible to have either Private and/or Public Insurance. With Public Insurance, you will be granted similar coverage as Czech Citizens which includes diagnostic and preventative care, hospital care (including rehabilitation and care of chronic illnesses), basic dental care and medicines. 


Private Insurance coverage depends on the company and plan chosen. However, you have to consider that in order to be able to complete your immigration process, your insurance company must be recognized by the Czech National Bank list. If it is not, you will have to buy another local Czech insurance for the full duration of your permit in addition to the private insurance you have obtained. This is a very crucial point when searching for insurance options as you may end up paying for two. 

Do I need a General Practitioner (GP)?

In the Czech Republic, it is necessary to be registered with a general practitioner (GP) to receive care. Many expats are not required to do so in their home country and do not see the need to become a patient in a specific clinic. However, it is a needed step to do upon your arrival since if you will require treatment in the future, you may have a problem finding an available GP to accept you. Even when visiting a specialist such as a dermatologist, neurologist and similar, you will have to show a reference from your GP or pay as a private service. 

In Prague, you may face difficulty finding a general doctor who is well versed in the English language, so it is advised to start looking for a public clinic with which to register, right upon arrival. Please be aware that it may require you to call several places before you will find one that is available. If you know foreigners in Prague, ask them for recommendations on where they care about their health as not all the clinics can be provided with English (or other languages) support. 

One can choose to register via a private or public clinic. Private clinics might be included in a private insurance plan, but can be accessed via public insurance by paying an additional yearly membership fee for the upgraded service level. Public clinics do not require any membership fee, however have limited availability. It is becoming more and more popular that gynecologists take yearly membership subscriptions even if they are considered public medical centers. However, the government is trying to fight the habit and soon it will be forbidden.

 

What to Expect In a Czech Hospital?

Prague has many hospitals, so you will always find one that is no more than 10-15min. distance from your home.  Motol Hospital is located in Prague 5 and is the biggest hospital and the only one that has a building dedicated to children’s care. 

When attending the hospitals you may have a language barrier during admission or registration, as the nurses often do not speak any language but Czech.  However, once you pass that obstacle you will have with high probability an English-speaking doctor, even though the level of English can differ from one doctor to another.

Consider that when attending the hospital during working hours, you may be requested to go back to your GP or other specialists. The hospital does not normally treat cases that are treatable by other open clinics.  

When arriving after working hours at the hospital, you will be required to pay a fee of CZK 90 to be admitted during the registration process. There are special machines dedicated to the payment of this fee close by the reception area. 

The emergency department is called “Pohotovost” or “Ambulance”. 

Insurances and Charges at the Hospitals

Czech Hospitals are quite strict on which types of health insurance they accept. This can lead to two different scenarios when visiting a hospital:

  • If you have insurance

By law, you can be treated immediately if you are insured by a company recognized by the Czech National Bank. You will also be admitted immediately if insured with either the Czech public insurance (VZP) or the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

  • No Insurance

If visiting for an ordinary procedure, we would suggest you visit the Motol University Hospital. This hospital also treats patients who do not have the Czech National Insurance. You will have to, however, visit the Foreigner’s Department of the hospital, leave a deposit and then return after treatment to settle the payment.

In life-threatening or trauma cases, you will be taken straight to emergency.

Special Rules of the Czech Healthcare System

Additional facts about the Czech healthcare system that might be useful to know are the following:

  • If you would like to visit a specialist, you must have a written reference from your general practitioner.
  • Children in the Czech Republic are under pediatric care until they are 18 years old.
  • It is mandatory in both private and public schools for enrolled children to be vaccinated.
  • Most doctors accept visits only during working hours. While the hospital is open 24/7, outside of working hours it will accept patients only if it’s really necessary. For non-urgent cases, they will ask the patient to visit their general practitioner in the morning.

Ambulance Services

There are two types of ambulance in the Czech Republic: 

    • Emergency medical service (Zdravotnická záchranná služba, ZZS)
  • Transport medical service (Dopravní zdravotnická služba, DZS)

You will call the emergency medical service in the event of a sudden accident or serious acute health problem. The contact line is 155 or 112. The transport is then covered by the public health insurance company. For private insurance, you most probably will need to pay and then ask for the reimbursement of the fee from the insurance later. 

The transport medical service is used for planned journeys for examinations by specialists – in a situation where other types of transport are not suitable for health reasons, for example due to reduced mobility, malaise, infectivity of the disease, post-operative conditions or psychiatric illnesses. 

In order to use a transport medical service, a pre-written request from the general practitioner is required. If it is a journey from home to an examination, the doctor must provide the patient with a transport voucher in advance at the same time as he files a request for the examination by the specialist. When a journey back home is required due to health conditions, a transport voucher will be issued by the doctor who sends the patient home, i.e. the doctor from the ambulance or hospital where the patient was treated. Such transports are covered by the health insurance company.

 

Prague National Museum at night. "Národní Muzeum"

Discover 7 “Must-Visit” Museums in Prague

Prague’s history is rich and varied. This translates into a city that has a lot to offer from a cultural standpoint, with several unique and outstanding museums scattered all over Prague.

Let’s discover some together!

  • National Museum – Národní Muzeum

Founded in 1818, the National Museum is the oldest museum in the Czech Republic. It houses important collections representing a variety of fields such as mineralogy, zoology, anthropology and archaeology. The entomology collection alone numbers more than 5 million specimens! 

The historical building of the National Museum was declared a national cultural monument in 1962 and now offers a stunning architectural contrast with the new building, which presents a unique modern look thanks to the addition, in the 1960s, of a superstructure to its mainframe (originally built in 1938).

Its wide breadth of permanent and temporary exhibitions, united with its rich history, make the National Museum a definite must-visit in Prague.

Address: National Museum, Václavské náměstí 68, 115 79 Praha 1- Nové Město

Website: http://www.nm.cz 

  • Franz Kafka Museum – Muzeum Franze Kafky

Opened in 2005 in the Lesser-Town bank of the Vltava River, it provides a full immersion into the world of Czech writer Franz Kafka. Kafka was born in Prague in 1883 and lived a very lonely life before his death in 1924, due to tuberculosis, in Austria. His life turmoils were expressed through his novels, which explored themes such as existential anxiety, guilt, absurdity and alienation.

Few of his works were published during his lifetime, however, he is today best known for the novels “Die Verwandlung” (“The Metamorphosis”), Der Process (The Trial), and Das Schloss (The Castle). 

The museum to him dedicated is divided into two parts. The first illustrates how the city or Prague impacted the author via his diaries and his correspondence with family and friends, while the second one focuses on Kafka’s use of imaginary topography in his works and how this has been applied to the city of Prague itself.

This exhibition also showcases many unique pieces, such as most of the first editions of Kafka’s works as well as 3D installations and audiovisual pieces specially created for the exhibition.

Address: Franz Kafka Museum, Cihelná 2b, 118 00 Praha 1- Malá Strana

Website: https://kafkamuseum.cz/ 

  • The Museum of Decorative Arts – Uměleckoprůmyslové Muzeum v Praze (UPM)

The Museum of Decorative Arts was first opened in the late 1800s in an effort to preserve art and hand-made objects after the advent of industrialization. The building today hosts a variety of exhibitions, from goldsmithing and lace manufacturing to bell-founding. It also administers collections of fashion and design, furniture, toys as well as written and picture documentation.

Especially remarkable is the glass collection, which is one of the most extensive in the world. This is thanks to one of the museum’s benefactors, knight Vojtěch Lanna, who donated half of his own private glass collection to the museum.

Address: Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague (Uměleckoprůmyslové museum), 17. listopadu 2, 110 00 Praha 1- Staré Město

Website: http://www.upm.cz 

  • Museum of Public Transport – Muzeum Městské Hromadné Dopravy

Located in the Střešovice tram depot, this museum tells history from a unique perspective: that of public transport. Opened in 1993 by the DPP (Prague’s Public Transport Company) it includes a permanent collection of 40 historical vehicles as well as models, maps, photographs and tickets.

The depot itself is a historical monument, as it dates back to 1909 and represents what a typical depot building of the time would look like. As a number of historical vehicles are fully operational, they are often used for special private and public tours around the city. In the summer, it is possible on weekends and holidays to ride on the historic tram line 41. A true immersion in the past!

Address: Public Transport Museum – Střešovice Depot (Muzeum městské hromadné dopravy), Patočkova 4, 160 00 Praha 6- Střešovice

Website: https://www.dpp.cz/zabava-a-zazitky/historie-dpp/muzeum-mhd 

  • Staropramen Center – Návštěvnické Centrum Staropramen

Beer is an important part of Czech culture. With Czech people drinking an average of 160 liters of beer per person each year, over 1000 years in brewing history and 400 active breweries in the country, this fact is not surprising. Therefore, visiting a Czech Brewery is a must for anyone interested in learning more about Czech culture and traditions.

On this note, we have to talk about the Staropramen Center. The second-largest beer producer in the Czech Republic, Staropramen has opened its Center to guide visitors through the history of beer brewing since its founding in 1869 till today. 

The interactive tour also includes a beer tasting in beer glasses crafted by Czech Glassmakers.

Located in its original Brewery in Smíchov, the Staropramen Center is a definite “must-visit” location in Prague.

Address: Staropramen Brewery, Nádražní 84, 150 00 Praha 5- Smíchov

Website:https://www.centrumstaropramen.cz/en/ 

  • Strahov Monastery – Strahovský Klášter

Strahov Monastery Library

Strahov Monastery Library

Strahov Monastery is a Premonstratensian monastery that was founded in 1140. ⠀

It includes numerous attractions, among which the church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the rare Strahov Library with a collection of medieval manuscripts, maps and globes. This library contains over 200,000 books and it was chosen as one of the 8 most beautiful libraries in the world.

The complex also includes the Strahov Gallery, one of the most significant Central European collections of Gothic paintings, Rudolfian art, Baroque and Rococo paintings. ⠀

Address: Strahov Monastery (Strahovský klášter), Strahovské nádvoří 1/132, 118 00 Praha 1- Hradčany

Website: http://www.strahovskyklaster.cz 

  • National Technical Museum – Národní Technické Muzeum

Established in 1908 in a functionalist building located near Letná Park, this museum features a unique collection consisting of 14 permanent exhibitions and several temporary ones.

Its permanent exhibitions cover a wide range of topics, from Architecture to Printing, from Transportation to Gaming Technologies. This museum also contains a section on the Measuring of Time and it showcases the developments of chronometry as well as that of local watchmaking, which became prominent during the reign of the Luxembourgs in the country.

The National Technical Museum is truly a place where wonder and technology walk hand in hand.

Address: National Technical Museum (Národní technické muzeum), Kostelní 42, 170 00 Praha 7- Holešovice

Website: https://www.ntm.cz/en 

If you enjoyed these museums, you would probably also love Prague Museum Night, a great event that allows for one night to visit selected museums for free! It is usually a very popular event, which takes place on the second Saturday of June every year,

Unfortunately, for 2021, this event has been canceled due to COVID. However, we encourage you to visit their website and hope to have it back next year!

Famous Celebrations in the Czech Republic

Each country has its own holidays, celebrations and cultural traditions. The Czech Republic is no different and while they follow some commonly celebrated holidays (like Christmas and Easter) they also have their very own.

Let’s discover them together!

February 2: Hromnice

Hromnice is related to Czech folklore. This festivity falls on the same day as the US Groundhog day tradition and it stems from the same Celtic custom: according to tradition, how long winter will be is determined by the weather on that day.

If the day is clear and sunny, it is said that winter will last 6 more weeks. If not, spring instead should be close.

The name of this holiday comes from the name given to the candles that would be lit on the night of February 2nd in case of a storm (storm = “Hrom” in Czech). 

While a festivity, Hromnice is not a bank holiday so on this day you can expect all establishments to operate normally.

April 30: The Burning of the Witches (Pálení čarodějnic)

A centuries-old tradition, the Burning of Witches takes place on the evening of April 30th. This tradition is said to celebrate the end of winter and the beginning of spring. 

The date is not chosen randomly: according to folklore, April 30th was the day in which evil forces would be at their peak after festering for the entirety of winter. People believed that witches would gather together to enchant cattle and damage the soil on this night, so they would prepare bonfires to protect them against this threat. They would also burn an effigy to warn these evil forces away.

Today, this celebration is a big festivity, with multiple events organized around the country often accompanied by food, beer and music.

May 1: The Day of Love (Svátek zamilovaných)

On May 1st, Czech people celebrate the day of love: on this day, couples all around the country share a kiss under cherry blossoms. There is also a saying that girls who will not be kissed on this day under the cherry blossoms will dry out.

The festivity comes from the romantic poem written by Czech poet Karel Hynek Mácha entitled “May” which is set on May 1st. Because of this, on the day, many couples also visit the statue of Mácha in Petrin Park to lay flowers.

July 5: Saints Cyril and Methodius Day (Den slovanských věrozvěstů Cyrila a Metoděje)

Cyril and Methodius were two Greek-Byzantine brothers who left a deep impression on the Czech land. In 863 they brought Christianity to the country and also the liturgical Slavonic language and Glagolitic alphabet (which then went on to become the Cyrillic Alphabet), helping with the spread of the old Slavonic language in Great Moravia.

The historical significance of their work is admired and respected to this day.

July 6: Jan Hus Commemoration (Den upálení mistra Jana Husa)

Jan Hus was a priest who started a reform movement against the corruption of the Catholic church. His sermons were conducted in Czech, to be understood by commoners, in Prague’s Bethlehem Chapel. As his ideology was not liked by the Church, he was burned at the stake in 1415. His death sparked a rebellion in Bohemia which became known as the Hussite wars.

Today, Czech Republic remembers Jan Hus via the main statue in the Old Town Square and commemorates his martyrdom every year on July 6th.

September 28: Czech Statehood Day (Den české státnosti)

Czech Statehood Day has been celebrated since the year 2000. The choice of this day, however, was not casual.

On September 28th, 935 A.D. Czech Prince Wenceslav of the Přemyslid dynasty was murdered in a plot orchestrated by his brother Boleslav, in a bid for power. Later on, his remains were brought to Prague where Boleslav himself insisted on Wensceslav’s canonization as a saint.

This started the cult of St. Wenceslas, who is now one of the most celebrated Czech saints as a patron saint, martyr and key figure in the emancipation of the Czech State.

October 28: Independence Day (Den vzniku samostatného československého státu)

Czechoslovak independence was declared on October 28th, 1918 starting an important historical chapter for two nations that until then had been under the Austro-Hungarian empire for half a century.

November 17: Freedom and Democracy Day (Den boje za svobodu a demokracii)

The origins of this holiday are on November 17, 1939. On this day, Nazi forces stormed Czech Universities following organized demonstrations due to the killings of student Jan Opletal and worker Václav Sedláček. On this occasion, nine Czech students and professors were executed while 1,200 were sent to concentration camps.

The event is now remembered with a National Holiday on November 17, which also became known as International Students’ Day.

The day is also a reminder of the brutal police intervention against student demonstrations in Prague on November 17th, 1989, during the 50th anniversary of the events of 1939. 

This sparked a series of demonstrations against the communist party, which led to the rebirth of Czechoslovakia as a democratic country. These events are now known as the Velvet Revolution.

10+ Useful Phrases & Words To Know in Czech

Moving to a new country can be overwhelming. With many changes taking place all at once, it’s inevitable to feel scared and stressed.

This can be even more true when moving to a country of which we do not know the language. 

If you are planning or considering moving to the Czech Republic, we have compiled this list of useful words and sentences for you: knowing how to communicate basic needs, in fact, will help you get settled easier, move around with less trouble and reduce the stress of the entire procedure. 

Which are the most useful phrases to know in Czech?

  • Dobrý den

Learning how to say “Good Day!” is an important step. As a matter of fact, it is probably one of the most used sentences and one you can learn easily. It’s a simple way to establish connections with the locals and also be polite: the perfect opening for any interaction.

“Dobrý den” can also be used in the evenings or just as a phrase to say “Hello” in a polite manner, for example when entering a store or when someone joins you in the elevator. When greeting friends, however, you can use the informal “Ahoj”.

  • Děkuji Vám/Děkuju

Second on the list, we couldn’t have anything other than “Thank you”.

You can say it both in its extended form “Děkuji Vám” or in its shortened one “Děkuju”. If “Good day!” is the perfect opening expression, this has to be one of the perfect closing ones!

  • Na shledanou

Of course, we don’t always need to thank someone to end an interaction. Sometimes, we might just want to say “Goodbye”.

For every time you will be leaving a shop or a store or at the end of a day at work, you can say “Na shledanou” (or “Ahoj” to your closest colleagues) to take your leave in perfect Czech style.

  • Nerozumím / Mluvíte anglicky? / Nemluvím česky

These next few sentences will be useful to you before you start learning the language. If someone starts speaking to you in Czech, you can use one of them to express that you do not understand (“Nerozumím”) or that you do not speak Czech (“Nemluvím česky”). If the exchange is important, for example during a bureaucratic procedure, you can ask instead if they speak English (“Mluvíte anglicky?”). These sentences will help you navigate your most complex interactions.

  •  Prosím, napište to

It can happen, however, that it is not possible to have a conversation in English. In that case, if no external help is available, you can ask to please write down what they are trying to communicate by saying “Prosím, napište to”. This can enable you to have a copy of the message to double check with a friend or a mobile app, thus making sure to avoid potential misunderstandings.

  • Platit, prosím / Kartou, prosím

Of course, not every interaction has to be difficult and it can feel empowering to be able to handle smaller ones in the local language. At a restaurant, you can ask for the check by saying “Platit, prosím” or “Ucet, prosím” and, if you would like to then pay with a card, it will be sufficient to say “Kartou, prosím”. This latter one can also be used to pay by card in other stores, not only in restaurants.

  • Chcete tašku? / Mám tašku

Another extremely useful sentence, which you will hear often in any store you visit, is “Chcete tašku?” or “Do you want a bag?”. If you do have your own bag you can simply reply “Mám tašku”, otherwise you may need the words of our point number 8.

  • Ano / Ne

In Czech, “Ano” means “Yes” and “Ne” means “No”. In some cases, for yes, the contracted form “Noo” may be used, which can cause confusion in foreigners. So beware!

  • Muži / Ženy

This set of words will allow you to find the correct toilet in any public setting! In Czech “Muži” is “Man” while “Ženy” is “Woman”. Learning the two can avoid stalling at the bathroom stalls. Sometimes, the alternative “Páni” for “Men” and “Dámy” for “Ladies” may be used.

  • Otevřeno / Zavřeno

Is the shop open or closed? Learning these words will help you know the answer! “Otevřeno” in fact means “Open” while “Zavřeno” means “Closed”. Knowing them will also help you interpret Shop Opening Hours, also called “Otevírací doba”.

  • Pomoc / Pozor

Towards the end of our list, we find two extremely useful words that appear quite similar but have slightly different meanings. 

If someone tells you “Pomoc” they will be calling for “Help”. It may not necessarily mean that they are in need of SOS help, but they might be simply asking for support: carrying a heavy bag for example or crossing the street. You can also use this word yourself if you are in need of assistance.

If you see, instead, the writing “Pozor”, this means “Attention”. For example, crossroads can present the writing “Pozor Tram”, to invite you to pay attention to potential Trams passing by (as they have precedence, also over pedestrians!). These are two very useful words to both know how to ask for help if needed and to know if there is anything you should be careful about.

  • Promiňte / Pardon

Last but not least, we have “Promiňte/Pardon”. Ever been on a bus or tram, approaching your stop and needing to ask for space to get off? These words will help you do just that! All locals are familiar with them and will react more promptly to it than to the English “Excuse me”.

Which other words or phrases would you have included in this list?

Renting in Prague. What’s the challenge?

If you are a foreigner looking to move to the Czech Republic, you wouldn’t be alone, especially not in Prague.

According to the latest census, over 1,3 million people live in the city and, with the active workforce numbering approximately 700,000, it is estimated that more than 25% of them are not Czech natives.

Overall, in the country, the number of foreigners with permanent or temporary residence has reached close to 600,000 people. This number does not consider those who can legally stay in the country without a permit, via Schengen visas or by being an EU citizen.

So, while you will face many expected challenges in your moving process, we have some information for you to make one of the bigger ones, finding a place to rent, a bit easier.

As a matter of fact, this is a task that can be more challenging than anticipated in the Czech Republic. 

The Prague housing market is overheated.

Moving to a new country and renting property there, where you may not have any connections, can prove demanding. You need to scout properties for rent, get in touch, get appointments and plan specific periods for your visits to ensure that you get to double-check any house or apartment that catches your eye. 

This is a lengthy process with which you might want to take your time, if nothing else to ensure the most comfortable living space for you and your family. After all, the overall process is expected to take about 2-4 weeks if you are flexible with your demand, with 7-10 days dedicated only to the contract drafting and negotiating. While it might be stressful that your negotiation takes so long, well, in the Czech Republic things just take longer. 

The landlords will expect your move between 2-4 weeks so if you plan to stay in temporary accommodation for 60 days, for example, you should start your search about 4-6 weeks before your booking ends.

However, the Prague housing market is so dynamic that you cannot wait to provide confirmation on a property you like as that could lead you, in the end, to lose your favourite option.

Why is the market so “overheated”?

This is mostly due to the following two factors:

  • Prague’s building approvals – the municipality offers a limited quota of new units 
  • The city high rate of tourism

Since the Czech Republic has some of the longest and most complicated building procedures in the world, Prague has been slow in its development. While more and more people were moving to the city, not enough properties were being built to sustain the increased demand for accommodations.

Now, this fact makes any standing property an extremely hot commodity, giving landlords the power to actually pick and choose their tenants. 

In addition to the limitation of the city hall to the developers of real estate, the Czech Republic generally lacks professional construction employees. New development needs to book work years ahead. The price of the constructions are rising and, as a result, the price of the purchase of properties has increased as well. For investors who purchase an apartment and expect a certain return, the immediate solution is the increase of the rental price.    

Moreover, the number of available properties is further reduced by the high tourism in the city. With over 8 million visitors to the city of Prague in 2019 alone, it is no wonder that many landlords prefer more profitable short-term rentals over long-term ones and simply earn more. However, this is not the case during 2020 and the beginning of 2021 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

How do you navigate such a market?

It is not only foreigners that are confronted with these renting challenges in Prague: locals are subjected to them too. However, while this further increases the competition, it doesn’t do so for every property.

The Prague housing market can be roughly divided into two sides: affordable properties also sought after by locals and more expensive ones, mostly rented by foreigners and companies.

The price that demarks this separation is usually around 25.000 CZK: a local would rather become a homeowner and pay such an amount to a bank as their mortgage monthly payment than pay it as rent. 

To summarize, going for a more expensive property will provide you with more time to make a final decision, given the lower competition, but will require a higher budget.

Whereas, a more affordable property will, given the higher rate of competition, require you to perform as much research as possible beforehand to be ready to confirm your interest promptly after a viewing as apartments might become unavailable very quickly.

Now that you are equipped with this basic knowledge of the Czech housing market, we wish you the best of luck in your apartment hunting!
And if you need any more tips or help, we here at ReloCare are there for you