COUNTRY

Total area of Czech REPUBLIC is almost 79,000 square kilometers, and the population is 10,349,372 people. The Czech Republic is a midsize European country. It’s size is comparable to that of Austria or Ireland and it would fit seven times into France. The Czech Republic makes up 2% of the European Union.

The country is made up of three historical regions – largest Bohemia (in the west), Moravia and Silesia (in the south-east and north-east respectively). The Capital of Czech Republic is Prague (Praha) which is located in the middle of Bohemia. Administratively, the Czech Republic is divided into 14 regions (the biggest is the region of Central Bohemia around capital city of Prague). Czech Republic has 6 232 municipalities.

Largest cities are the capital-Prague (1, 3 mil.), Brno in southern Moravia (376 000), Ostrava in northern Moravia (337 000) and Plzeň (Pilsen) in western Bohemia (164 000). Plzeň is famous for its beer – Pilsner Urquell.

The main rivers running through the Czech Republic are the Elbe (in czech Labe, 370 km) and Vltava (433 km) both are located in Bohemia. The main Moravian rivers are: Morava (246 km), Dyje (306 km) and Odra (Oder) (135 km).

From a geographical point of view, the Czech Republic lies on the boundary line of two mountain ranges. The hilly western and middle part of Bohemia is formed by the Czech highlands and the slightly higher mountain ranges of Šumava, Český les, Krušné hory, Krkonoše (the highest point in the country, the Sněžka, at 1,602 metres), Orlické hory and Jeseníky. The West Carpathian Mountains (Beskydy) lie in the eastern part of the country.

ECONOMY

Currency: Czech koruna (CZK)

The Czech Republic possesses a developed, high-income economy with a GDP per capita of around 80% of the European Union average. It is one of the most stable and prosperous of the post-Communist states. Its economic growth is lead by exports to the European Union, especially Germany, and foreign investment (KIA Motors, Panasonic, Volkswagen, Toyota) The economy grows at about 6% per year. The famous czech companies are CEZ (power industry), Skoda (automobil industry), Pilsner Urquell and Budweiser (breweries) and Skoda Plzen (machine-tool).

Skoda Felicia (1960)

koda Felicia (1960) - source

The post-2004 EU membership years have been the period of economic boom for Czech Republic. GDP growth in the Czech Republic jumped from 1.5% to 4.6% in 2005. In 2006 and 2007, the economy grew by around 5 to 6%.

Pilsner Urquell, Czech beer

Pilsner Urquell, Czech beer - source

400 – 0 BC – the Celtic era – The Celts were the first modern human inhabitants of this territory. The Latin name of the biggest czech land – Bohemia was "Boiohaemum" and it is derived from the name of the Boii Celtic tribe. The centres of the Boii were found at Zbraslav and Zavist, near the capital city of Prague.

0 – 500 AD– The Germanics era – the tribes of Marcomanni and Quadi – these tribes had contacts with the Roman Empire.

6th century – The Slavic era ensued due to migration of Slavic tribes from the east. Around this time the first „Czechs" appeared in this area. According to popular Czech legend there were two brothers: Czech and Lech. One day, they decided to find a new place to live, and so they and their tribes set out on a journey west. One day they climbed to the top of a hill in Bohemia called Rip (Říp). They saw a rich land with rivers, meadows and forest and Czech had decided that this was the place for him and for his tribe to stay. Lech and his people continued their journey and settled in present-day Poland." ( Radio History Online)

9th century – first state on the territory of the Czech lands - Great Moravia

Ruins of a Great Moravian castle in Ducové

Ruins of a Great Moravian castle in Ducové - source

9th to 12th centuries – foundation of the second Czech state – at first the Principality Bohemia and since 1198 Kingdom under the rule of the Dynasty of Přemyslovci (Premysl house) – important person was king Wenceslas I (Václav).

1198-1306 – the period of the strong Kings of Premysl house – the Czech state was an important power in Central Europe.

1310-1437 – The rule of Dynasty of Luxemburg – John of Luxemburg´s son, the Emperor Charles IV was an enlightened rule, whose mother was from the house of Premysl. Prague was the capital city of Holy Roman Empire. Czech Kingdom was the central power of Europe. Charles University was founded - the oldest university in Central Europe.

1415 – Czech religious reformer Jan Hus was burned to death at Constance

1419-1434 – Husite wars – religious reformation (early Protestantism) and Czech national revolution

Hussite Wars

Hussite Wars - source

1526 – The Czech lands become part of the Habsburg Empire, Protestantism was permitted

Emperor Rudolph II (1576–1611) Prague is again the center of Empire, period of arts, mysticism and alchemy

1620 - Religious freedom was abandoned, the only permitted faith was the Roman Catholic religion. Non-Catholics had to choose between emigration and abandoning their faith. Many chose to depart the country – incl. Jan Ámos Komenský - Comenius „the teacher of nations" – founder of modern pedagogy

18th and19th century – Habsburg Empire dominates the Czech nation. However, gradually, due to efforts of Czech patriots a modern Czech nation is born

1918-1938 – First Czechoslovak Republic incorporating the Czech lands and Slovakia. Czechoslovakia is the island of democracy and economical prosperity in the Central Europe. Czechoslovakia is a tolerant democratic and multi-ethnic state. The president and builder of the First Republic was Prof. Tomáš G. Masaryk

Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk

Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk - source

September 1938 - Germany, Britain, France and Italy signed the Munich Pact, giving Hitler the right to invade and claim Czechoslovakia’s border areas

1939-1945 – Nazi Occupation – Czech lands were under Hitler’s tyranny - more than 250 000 Czechoslovak citizens were murdered, including some 180 000 Jews. The Czechoslovak Government in exile was established in London – under leadership of President Edvard Beneš. Czech military contingents were set up in Britain, Soviet Union, and North Africa.

1945-1948 – a brief period of post war democracy

1948-1989 – Czechoslovakia was part of the Soviet communist Empire. There was total control of the state and society by the Communist Party. More than 5000 people were killed, 280 000 kept in prisons. The communist regime was responsible for the destruction of Czech national independence, democracy and economical prosperity.

1967-1968 – Prague Spring - an attempt at reforming the communist system – the Symbol was Alexander Dubček.

August 1968- Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia (21.8.1968), resulted in the abandonment of democratic reforms

November 1989 – the Velvet Revolution – the end of Communist Regime. Leader of the anti-communist opposition was Václav Havel. Havel was elected President of Czechoslovakia.

1.1.1993 - the Czechoslovakia peacefully split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

12. 3. 1999 – The Czech Republic was accepted as a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)

1. 5. 2004 - The Czech Republic becoming a member of the European Union

The Czech Republic is a Parliamentary Democracy. There are two houses – House of Representatives and the House of Review - the Senate. The House of Representatives has 200 members. They are elected for four-years. The Senate has 81 members. Senators are elected for six years. The right to vote is general, equal and direct, and voting is confidential. In order to enter the House of Representatives, a party must win at least 5 % of the popular vote. At this moment, there are 5 parties in the Czech Parliament:

1. The Civic Democratic Party (in czech Občanská Demokratická Strana – ODS). It’s policies are is similar to the Conservative party in the United Kingdom.

2. The Christian-Democratic Party ( Křesťansko-demokratická unie – Československá strana lidová - KDU-CSL). It is a Christian-conservative party like, for instance, the CDU in Germany.

3. The Greens (Strana zelených). It’s policies are oriented on ecological issues.

4. The Czech Social Democratic Party (Česká strana sociální demokratická – ČSSD)– It’s policies are typical of the European social-democratic parties.

5. The Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (Komunistická strana Čech a Moravy – KSČM) – It is a radical leftist party.

The Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic

The Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic - source

The president of the Czech Republic, who is the official head of state, is elected indirectly in a joint session of both houses of the Parliament. The President is elected for five years and this term can be extended only once. Current President of the Czech Republic is Mr. Václav Klaus. The prime minister is Jan Fischer (No political party). Czech Republic

Last national elections: 2006, next 2009

Last national elections: 2006, next 2009

http://www.parties-and-elections.de/czechia.html

Last European Parliament election June 2009

See:

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/parliament/archive/elections2009/en/czech_republic_en.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Parliament_election,_2009_(Czech Republic)

The Czech Republic, along with Estonia, has one of the most non-religious populations in the European Union. According to the 2001 census, 59% of the people are either atheists, non-believers or believers who are not members of any particular denomination. 26.8% of Czechs are Roman Catholics and 2.5% are Protestants.

The composers Antonín Dvořák, Bedřich Smetana, Leoš Janáček, writer Franz Kafka, painter Toyen, Oscar-winning director Miloš Forman, writer Milan Kundera and singer Magdalena Kožená were all born in the Czech Republic, and their work is known around the world. The Czech writer Josef Čapek invented the word robot, in his play RUR.

http://www.czech.cz/en/culture/czech-arts/

Antonin Dvorak

Antonin Dvorak - source

Famous Czechs

Jan Hus (1369/1370-1415) – famous Czech religious thinker, reformer and preacher of the medieval period.

Jan Amos Komenský (Comenius) (1592-1670) – Czech writer and teacher whose work and achievements are known worldwide.

J.A. Komensky

J.A. Komensky- source

Božena Němcová (1820-1862) – a famous 19th century Czech autor.

Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk (1850-1937) – a Czech philosopher, historian and the first president of Czechoslovakia.

Jaroslav Hašek (1883-1923) – a writer, publicist and journalist.

Franz Kafka (1883-1924) - a Prague-based writer in the German language who was of Jewish background, and one of the most influential and prized authors of the 20th century.

Karel Čapek (1890-1938) – author, journalist, playwright, philosopher and translator.

Bohumil Hrabal (1914-1997) – novelist and one of the most influential and unique writers of the late 20th century.

Arnošt Lustig (*1926) – a Czech writer and publicist and the author of a number of works on the Holocaust.

Milan Kundera (*1929) – a Franco-Czech writer, widely translated author of Czech origin.

Václav Havel (*1936) – an author and playwright, one of the initial members of the Charta 77 dissident movement and a leading figure in thevpost-November 1989 political changes and the first president of the post-communist Czechoslovakia

Michal Viewegh (*1962) – author and publicist, currently the best selling Czech novelist.

Poets:

Karel Hynek Mácha (1810-1836) – poet and a leading figure in the Czech Romantic Movement.

7.Statue of Karel Hynek Mácha in Petřín Park, Prague

7.Statue of Karel Hynek Mácha in Petřín Park, Prague - source

Karel Jaromír Erben (1811-1870) – writer, poet, translator, literary historian and collector of Czech folk tunes and fairy tales.

Jan Neruda (1834-1891) – famous Czech poet and journalist.

Vítězslav Nezval (1900-1958) – poet, writer and translator, the leading figure in Czech Surrealism.

Jaroslav Seifert (1901-1986) – Czech poet, writer, journalist and translator, Winter of the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Karel Kryl (1944-1994) – Czech poet and song writer, one of the leading protagonists in the Czech political protest song movement from 1968 – 1989.

You can listen to audio samples of Czech Music at Audio

There are almost two million people abroad who claim Czech origin – a figure representing one-fifth of the current Czech population (see table ). Many of them do not speak Czech, but still feel a sense of solidarity with the Czech nation and the culture of their ancestors.

Czechs abroad

 

CZECH CORE VALUES

1. ADAPTABILITY

2. INVENTIVENESS

3. TENDENCY TO ACCEPT CONDITIONS

4. ABILITY TO BE IN CONTROL (RISE ABOVE PROBLEMS)

5. PREFERENCE FOR SECURITY AND COMFORT

6. COMPASSION

7. SECULARISM

8. PATRIOTISM

CZECHS AND CULTURAL DIMENSIONS

Individuals within Czech culture tend to behave in the following manner:

1. THEY ARE INDIVIDUALISTS RATHER THAN COLLECTIVISTS

2. THEY TEND TO ACCEPT LARGE POWER DISTANCE

3. THEY TEND TO AVOID UNCERTAINTY

4. THEY FAVOUR MASCULINE VALUES

5. THEY PREFER SHORT TERM ORIENTATION OVER LONG TERM GOALS

6. THEY TEND TO BE PARTICULARISTS RATHER THAN UNIVERSALISTS

7. THEY TEND TO BE MORE AFFECTIVE THAN NEUTRAL

8. THEY FAVOUR DIFFUSE RATHER THAN SPECIFIC BEHAVIOUR

9. THEY PREFER REWARDS BASED ON ACHIEVEMENT RATHER THAN ASCRIPTION

CZECH VALUES AND BEHAVIOUR IN WORK AND STUDY ENVIRONMENTS

1. ABILITY TO IMPROVIZE, INVENTIVENESS AND FLEXIBILITY

2. EMPHASIS ON FUNCTION RATHER THAN PERFECTION

3. ADAPTABILITY AND ABILITY TO LEARN QUICKLY

4. ABILITY TO BE IN CONTROL

5. COMPASSION TOWARDS OTHERS IN NEED

6. TENDENCY TO ACCEPT CONDITIONS

7. ORIENTATION ON EMOTIONAL TIES

8. INSUFFICIENT CONTROL OF OWN EMOTIONS AND INABILITY TO MANAGE EMOTIONS OF OTHERS

9. INADEQUATE SKILL OF ACTIVE LISTENING, EMPATHY AND APPROPRIATE ASSERTIVENESS

10. INADEQUATE SKILLS IN GIVING FEEDBACK

11. SWINGS BETWEEN CONFIDENCE AND INSECURITY

12. PARTICULARISTIC BEHAVIOUR TOWARDS CO-WORKERS

13. LACK OF CONFIDENCE IN UNIVERSAL RULES AND PROCEDURES

14. INTEGRATINON OF PROFESSIONAL AND PERSONAL LIVES INCLUDING LACK OF EMPHASIS ON PLAYING THE WORK ROLE

15. DISTANCING FROM THE EMPLOYER ORGANISATION INCLUDING LACK OF LOYALTY

16. UNWILLINGNESS TO ACCEPT GREATER DEGREE OF RESPONSIBILITY

17. RELIANCE ON CONTEXT RATHER THAN DIRECT COMMUNICATION

18. TIME MANAGEMENT PROBLEMS

GUIDE TO COMMUNICATION WITH CZECHS IN THE WORK AND STUDY ENVIRONMENTS

1. Factual argumentation may not be enough. Motivational factors, personalized reasoning and even some emotionality may help to make your point.

2. Place some emphasis on social relationships such as personal meetings, staff outings, but beware of falsehood.

3. Sincerity and openness in social interaction are highly valued, but do not underestimate Czech intuition. Place friendship and courtesy before correctness.

4. Reduce your expectations, be patient, give your Czech colleagues time and space. They will explain everything in their own way, including the context, which you may not appreciate.

5. Try not to separate personal and work agendas completely. Leave some connections visible.

6. It is expected that the managers will be aware of the current moods of their subordinates and that they will attempt to resolve their work related conflicts.

7. Show your personality, including some minor faults. Small deficiencies can be attractive.

8. It is extremely difficult to convince your Czech co-workers of your good intentions. The informal ways might be your only chance.

9. When hiring new employees, choose people with good social skills as well as professional competencies.

10. It is good to develop the social side of the company life (celebrations, lunches, dinners and rewards for good work).

11. Critique should concentrate on factual aspects of any problem. Individuals should not be blamed (unless it is unavoidable).

12. Create conflict only as a last resort, in very important circumstances.

13. Less significant conflicts should be resolved in a way which does not impact on the social relationships within the company.

14. Take seriously Czech suggestions to improve work systems and procedures. If necessary add your own comments.

15. When you have to deal with excuses, react with humour, rather than aggression. You will show that you understand your Czech counterpart.

16. Do not behave as a dictator, be prepared to point out your weakness. For example: "I am a bit of a choleric". Generally, you will find understanding from the Czech side.

17. Do not expect long discussion from the Czech side, first ask for the views of your Czech colleagues. If you start yourself, you will not get much information from them. Always emphasize priorities.

18. In your presentation, hold back a little. Do not try to boast. Modesty, even understatement, are highly valued in Czech culture.

19. Acknowledge mistakes, apology for one’s own mistakes is considered polite

20. Support your Czech colleagues in representative roles. They are no used to "stand in the front row".

21. If you don’t speak Czech, use third, accepted communication language (e.g. English) rather than your native tongue. This approach will balance the relative disadvantages of the communicating parties

22. Do not expect absolute punctuality from your Czech colleagues, their understanding of time is slightly more relaxed. Work with small reserve, say ten minutes. You should be the only person who knows.

TRAVEL and TOURISM

The Czech Republic is the home to many historical landmarks, twelve of them have been designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. http://www.mkcr.cz

Virtual travel accros The Czech Repubic – tips for trips:

Virtual Travel - Prague

Virtual Travel - Karlstejn Castle

Virtual Travel - Prague Castle

Virtual Travel - Klaster Klatruby

Virtual Travel - Cesky Krumlov

Virtual Travel - Mikulov

Virtual Travel - Klatovy

Virtual Travel - Hluboka

Virtual Travel - Lednice

Virtual Travel - Plzen

Virtual Travel - Prague ZOO

Virtual Travel - Aquapark babylon

Virtual Travel - Pilsner Urquell

Virtual Travel - Budweiser

www.czech.cz

www.czso.cz

www.virtualtravel.cz

www.myczechrepublic.com

www.archiv.radio.cz

www.czechsite.com

www.wikipedia.org

www.wikipedie.org - History

www.lonelyplanet.com

www.cnb.cz

www.executiveplanet.com

Dunford, L., Atkinson,B., Wilson,N. Czech and Slovak Republics, Lonely Planet, 2007.

Frýbort L. Češi očima exulanta, Anonce k.s., Praha, 2000.

Hofstede, G. Cultures and Organizations, McGraw-Hill, 1997.

Information Booklet for Foreign Nationals Czech Republic, Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, 2006.

Jedlička J. České typy, Nakladatelství Franze Kafky, Praha, 1992.

Kuras B. Češi na vlásku, Baronet, Praha, 1999.

Nový, I. a Schroll-Machl, S & Kol. Interkulturní komunikace v řízení a podnikání, Management Press, Praha, 2001.

Průcha J. Interkulturní psychologie, Portál, Praha, 2004.

Trompenaars, F. & Hampden-Turner, C. Riding the Waves of Culture, McGraw-Hill, 1998.