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12 myths about the Czech and the Czech Republic: what worths (and does not worth) believing in and why

Maksim Khan

3 July 2023

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French women wear red berets and sailor striped vests in the style of Coco Chanel, and eat crispy baguettes for breakfast. Italy is an endless “dolce life”, coffee and Vespa scooters are everywhere. Such popular stereotypes about countries usually irritate local residents. Alexandra Baranova, author of the GoStudy blog, talks about myths about the Czech Republic and Czechs.

The Czech have a specific sense of humor (fiction)

Sense of humor is a reflection of the nation's mindset, that is why you just need to get used to it. The Czech can make all sorts of jokes: kind, funny and flat ones: it totally depends on a specific person. If a joke fell flat or offended you, just calmly say it: you will be heard and, most probably, receive apologies.

The symbol of the Czech sense of humor is Jaroslav Hašek and his novel "The Good Soldier Švejk". The Czech themselves are rather irritated by this outstanding novel: a fully image of a soldier created by the author seems vulgar and baddy to them. Besides, despite the dissatisfaction, Josef Švejk turned into a brand long ago and now is used by the Czech to attract tourists.

The Czech do not like the city life as much as nature (50% true)

Czechs have been accustomed to spending a lot of time outdoors since childhood. Country houses, where they, like many other peoples, spend weekends or holidays, are an integral part of their culture. City residents try to spend their free time in nature: the whole family or a group of friends go cycling, camping or camping. However, city dwellers love the place they live in and would never trade going to the movies or hanging out in stylish cafes for country life.

The Czech are gloomy and melancholy people (fiction)

The Czech like laughing and joking, yet can swear at the politicians in the government. Senior citizens look back with nostalgia on the time before the socialism. Here and there you can hear irritated comments in a Prague tram during the peak hours. However, there is nothing unusual about it. If you address to a passer-by in the street, you will definitely get a friendly reply.

For instance, the Czech are much more cold-minded and languid in comparison to the Italian, but they are definitely not gloomy and melancholy.

They refill beer in any Czech taverns without asking you (50% true)

This rule works in some taverns, especially for the tavern denizens who always order the same number of pints of beer. However, if you indeed want no more beer, you can politely refuse from it.

Life in the Czech Republic is inexpensive (50% true)

It depends on what standard of living you are used to. On average, prices in Prague are about the same as in other major European cities. And buying a home in the capital is as expensive as buying a house. Life in smaller Czech cities is indeed cheaper than in the capital.

The Czech and fashion are incompatible (50% true)

The truth is that the Czech do not sacrifice comfort to fashion trends. Women in Prague do not wear stilettos but allow wearing comfortable wide heels due to undulating land and paving stone blocks where one can easily twist their ankle. An absolute majority of the Czech prefer functional sport style unless it is required to wear a dress-code. And what is the reason of spending a fortune on a fashionable skirt or jeans if you can buy a bicycle or a firm tent? (see. the section about love for nature)

Long story short, Prague is definitely not the fashion capital, and yet there is a lot of boutiques with fascinating items produced by the Czech designers.

The Czech eat only pork, cabbage and knedliks (fiction)

There are many interesting bistro and cafes with diversified menu, including vegetarian and vegan meals, in Prague, Brno and other big cities. Also, health cooked meal delivery for a week is in good demand (so called "krabičkové diety"). However, plant-based diet lovers who live in small Czech towns and villages will have to count only on homemade food as vegetarian menu in cafes is scant.

The Czech Republic is Europe, which means it is clean and tidy all around the place (50% true)

The Czech are law-abiding and usually follow the rules and instructions. If a sign says "No littering" or "No smoking", they follow it. Obviously, sometimes they can cross a road in the wrong place or sit on the grass where it is forbidden. The capital and regional centers look cleaner and tidier than small towns where you can come across real ghetto.

The Czech are closed-off people (fiction)

They keep distance with new friends until they know the real person (heart-to-heart talks in taverns do not count). If you are not close friends, you will not get an invitation to the "kitchen" get-togethers as it is not the thing to do. On the other hand, it is extremely honorable to receive an invitation for a Christmas party: it means that they treat you almost like a family member.

A girl always pays for herself when dating a Czech (50% true)

Dating or even marrying a Czech do not mean that a man automatically takes full financial responsibility for his wife and children. The position "man works, and I am pretty" is not popular and will not be understood by the Czech men. The Czech respect and support their partner's independence, desire to build a career and achieve their own goals. It is not that unusual for fathers to take a maternity leave while his spouse goes back to work and provides for the family.

However, if we are talking about the first date, the Czech, as men in other countries, usually behave themselves in a gentlemanly way.

Conclusion: take everything what people say and write about the Czech Republic with a pinch of salt. Or better come and make your own opinion.

The Czech Republic is a small country in Central Europe, bordering Poland, Germany, Austria, and Slovakia. The population of the Czech Republic is 10.5 million people, mainly ethnic Czech. The Czech Republic is comparable to the UAE, Lithuania or Georgia in terms of area (78 866 km²). The Czech Republic was formed as a result of the dissipation of the Czechoslovakia in 1993. Besides, both countries remain extremely close to each other: Czech and Slovak languages are very similar, many Slovak work in the Czech Republic, and vice versa.

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Maksim Khan

30 June 2023

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