Expat voices: Czech hospitality ranges from feast to famine, but always generous with alcohol

We asked Expats.cz readers to evaluate hospitality in Czech homes. Here's what you had to say.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 29.07.2022 15:05:00 (updated on 10.09.2022) Reading time: 6 minutes

Sparked by the internet rabbit hole that is now known as #Swedengate, we recently asked for your opinion about hospitality in Czech homes

While it appears that Swedes, and many other Nordic people, have a somewhat peculiar habit of not feeding guests who arrive at their house, we wanted to learn more about your experiences as the guest of a Czech family. 

Although we received plenty of insightful answers that shed light on Czech culture, it would be hard to nail down an overall opinion on just how welcoming Czech people are to guests.

There were five possible answers given in our hospitality poll: 1) very high, 2) high, 3) normal, 4) below average, and 5) not at all hospitable.

Notably, among the almost fifty people who responded, 19.6 percent rated Czech hospitality as "very high" and the same number as "not at all hospitable." Twenty-one percent said it is "very high," and another 19.6 percent deem Czech hospitality "below average." Only 13 percent agreed that hospitality in Czechia could be deemed "normal."

Here were some of the reader responses that we found to be particularly enlightening.(Answers have been edited for length and clarity.)

Czechs are not at all hospitable

"The thing that I experienced after 2 years, Czechs are kind of above average, but they're not welcoming. Especially when someone doesn't speak Czech, they won't accept them in their groups, neither make any relationships. This is so sad. Many other cultures surround themselves with foreign people even if they don't speak their language and make them feel warm and feel at home. But here.... almost not at all." (Anonymous)

"People back home are much more welcoming and friendly. We invite over friends and family quite often but here it is mostly an annual event (or never)." (Daniel)

"In my home country (Iran), people are much more hospitable, especially toward strangers. Here people do not care about the guests or their foreign colleagues. Even if you are a guest in a Czech home, they do not offer anything to eat. Just maybe water... And one more thing, they do not care whether there is a foreigner at their gatherings. They start to speak Czech with each other and you feel absolutely lonely. This is my experience of 2.5 years staying here but I cannot generalize it to all Czechs." (Sahand)

"Czechs are very cold and inhospitable in my experience as well as the experience of most foreigners I know here. I have lived here for almost 10 years yet cannot remember a single time I have been invited to a Czech house for coffee/tea, a meal, etc. This is very different than my country and the country of my ancestors, where we value and appreciate guests and always invite friends, acquaintances, and often strangers to share food/drinks and socialize." (Mike)

Czech hospitality is below average; except when it comes to alcohol

"Over the 8 years we've lived here, we've had Czechs say they want to have us over to their homes, then they rarely do. It seems Czechs prefer to meet people in restaurants, not in their homes. When I've been in situations where different people brought food to an event, people often eat the food they brought and don't share it with others. In other situations the host has not been sensitive to the guests: not making sure everyone has something to drink, passing food around, etc. There seems to be a lack of awareness of others' needs." (Sherri)

"In the Czech Republic, it's very rare to be invited into someone's house at all, let alone for a meal. South Africans are generally friendlier, more curious about foreigners, and quick to extend hospitality." (Anonymous)

If you are invited to have a shot in somebody’s house, and you refuse (while you are not on meds or driving), you most likely are asked to leave… not the house… the country."

-Anonymous

"While in my country people invite each other over for meals, in the Czech Republic this is strictly a family business. It is considered rude to even call someone during meal hours, especially lunch and dinner on the weekend. Also, dining is seldom a social event, thus the high speed of consumption of meals, especially during weekdays. Things, however, are different about sharing alcohol, at home and in the pub. If you are invited to have a shot in somebody’s house, and you refuse (while you are not on meds or driving), you most likely are asked to leave… not the house… the country." (Anonymous)

"In Malaysia, locals and visitors especially are treated very warmly and with respect and if you dine out with a local, they will most likely pick up your bill. If you are a visitor and happen to visit the home of a stranger, you would always be offered a drink and if you are invited as a guest, you can expect a feast. Czechs tend to be more reserved, sometimes cold although this trend is slowly changing." (Anonymous).

It takes a lot of effort to get invited to a Czech home but they we welcoming

"When invited into Czech homes, my hosts always made sure we didn’t just eat, but that we feasted. They brought us much more food and drink than we needed, and they expected us to eat it." (Addison L.)

"I am from the U.S. but have called Prague home for four years now. Hospitality in Czech homes is actually very pleasant. I have been served many meals, had good conversations, and overall had a great experience. They are welcoming of your children as well. However, I only have this opinion from being invited to a select few families' homes. So honestly, it takes a lot of time and effort to be invited to their homes... At this point, I consider myself officially 'accepted' by the Czech family." (M. Theriault)

"When invited into Czech homes, my hosts always made sure we didn’t just eat, but that we feasted. They brought us much more food and drink than we needed, and they expected us to eat it."

-Addison L.

"Each time that I come to someone's place in the Czech Republic the hosts always invite you to have a glass of juice or wine, etc. as well as some snacks, cakes, or toasts. Whereas in France (except for a meal invitation) it will, in general, be limited to water, tea, or coffee. And then if you stay for a while at someone's place, they will propose you eat with them." (Aude)

"I think it's more acceptable to drop by in the Czech Republic. It seems like most Czech people offer very similar foods and drinks whereas in my country it would vary a little more." (Amanda)

"In America, it's considered rude just to stop over without a phone call. If someone does call and ask to stop by for a visit, they are usually offered something to drink but not usually food. When I married my Czech husband, I was informed to keep cheeses and salami in the fridge in case someone stops over, and if they do stop over to be sure to set out some of it for them to eat. Every home in which we have dropped by without a phone call has always set out food to eat, usually cheese and salami." (Katrina)

Hospitality is a Czech tradition

"Hospitality [in the Czech Republic] is less of an option and more of an entrenched tradition." (Chris)

"When we visit friends in the Czech Republic the welcome and hospitality are always fantastic." (Ant Dews)

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