Czechia ranked 12th-friendliest country in the world – is it really?

A study found that people in Czechia had higher levels of agreeableness and made others feel more 'at ease' than several other European countries.

Thomas Smith

Written by Thomas Smith Published on 21.06.2024 16:35:00 (updated on 22.06.2024) Reading time: 2 minutes

How friendly as a country is Czechia? A new survey finds that – perhaps surprisingly – it is relatively welcoming to non-Czech visitors. A new study by global payment service Remitly finds that Czechia is the 12th-friendliest country on the globe, scoring higher than the likes of the U.S., Italy, and Portugal.

Remitly asked over 3,000 people from each surveyed country a series of questions that reflected their agreeableness, based on the so-called Big Five personality traits. According to Remitly, this was the best way to gauge social harmony with foreigners. 

Respondents were asked questions to ascertain how much concern they feel for others, whether they take the time out for other people, and whether they like to make people feel at ease. People with higher scores were more likely to be warm and friendly with those they had just met.

Based on these responses, Czechia scored an average “friendliness score” of 32.4 (out of 40) points, ranking 12th. The likes of Japan (14th), the Netherlands (16th), and neighboring Poland (19th) trailed. A total of 25 countries featured in the ranking.

Interestingly, next-door Germany was among the highest-ranking European countries, coming in at 8th overall. South Africa topped the overall list, followed by Greece and Croatia.

Other studies suggest friendliness is limited

A similar study from 2019, conducted by accommodation platform Booking.com, found that Czechia was the “second-most welcoming county” in the world. This, however, was likely skewed by the offerings of accommodation facilities rather than people.

Not all rankings agree with the view that Czechs are welcoming. According to the 2023 Ease of Settling In index from expat-oriented social enterprise InterNations, Czechia comes a lowly 50th (out of 53 countries) in a global ranking of locals’ friendliness. 

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In 2021, 28 percent of expats in Czechia rated the general friendliness of the population negatively, versus 16 percent globally, according to InterNations.

In similar vein, the 2023 Best Countries index by the U.S. News outlet found that Czechia scored just 40 points out of 100 in the “Friendly” category. Czechia ranked 38th out of 87 countries in terms of its friendliness. 

Do you find locals in Czechia to be friendly and welcoming?

Yes 20 %
No 67 %
Moderately 13 %
524 readers voted on this poll. Voting is open

One of the reasons why many people may find Czechia not as welcoming as other countries is its language barrier: a 2022 study found that Czechia is “the most challenging country” in Europe to navigate linguistically. 

The country also ranked 22nd out of 29 countries in its English proficiency ranking, and another report from teaching institute Education First found that just 45 percent of the population can communicate in some level of English.

A cultural basis?

A Czech journalist penned an article last year that revealed foreigners often viewed Czechs as “frowning,” or perpetually looking “worried, busy, sad or desperate.”

The author said, though, that this was typical of Czechs rather than evidential of being unfriendly towards foreigners. "Putting on a suitably gloomy face and complaining that we've had a terrible day is our national sport," commented writer Dora Hanzelová.

Sociologist Pavel Pospěch commented in a 2022 interview with Czech media outlet Aktuálně.cz that Czechs still feel the hallmarks of communism – which could explain an inherent distrust or unwelcoming nature toward outsiders. 

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