Czech people a have friendly and welcoming nature, but there are some differences that can be unfamiliar to you. How do local people act and react?
- Greet someone you’ve just met with a handshake. On subsequent meetings , women will often kiss each other on both cheeks to say hello. Usually people say “Dobrý den/Good day” when entering a shop of any kind, a doctor’s office, a train compartment, or even an elevator.
- It is customary to give up your seat on public transportation to elderly people, pregnant women and children.
- Czech humor is well known for its irony and sarcasm. The Brave Soldier Svejk is its most outspoken representative (Jaroslav Hašek`s notorious book, written in Prague in the early 1920s, has been translated into over 25 languages).
- Modesty is an important value. For example, a proper response to a compliment is not to say thank you but to disagree.
- On escalators, always stand on the right side to let people pass on the left. Let people out of the tram or metro before you enter.
- Czechs have the largest number of dogs per capita in all Europe. About two million dogs and one million cats are estimated to live in households in the Czech Republic. They are commonly found in public transport, and occasionally even in restaurants and offices.
- Take your shoes off when entering a house.
- You may know the name of the one of the greatest Czech playwrights, poets, composers, teachers, travellers, philosophers, inventors, detectives, mathematicians and sportsmen of the 19th and early 20th century, Jára Cimrman, who was elected the Greatest Czech in 2005 (the fact is that Cimrman is a fictional personality).
Some practical tips before your arrival
- An overcoat is necessary not just in winter but also in early spring and late autumn. For winter, a wool cap, gloves, scarf, a down jacket and waterproof warm shoes are essential.
- You must always have official identification with you (your passport, ID or residence card) and an health insurance card, which you are obliged to show to a police officer upon request. Although you will rarely happens be asked to identify yourself, it can save you a lot of trouble if you have documentation with you.