Nov. 17 holiday in Czechia: Shop openings, museum free days, and transport closures

Public events will honor the Velvet Revolution while many Czechs are expected to begin their holiday shopping. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 14.11.2023 17:00:00 (updated on 15.11.2023) Reading time: 3 minutes

On Nov. 17, the Czech Republic observes a significant national holiday, honoring both the Day of the Struggle for Freedom and Democracy and International Student Day. This date holds special significance as it marks the 34th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution.

This holiday grants many people in Czechia a day off work and offers the chance to visit various public institutions without charge. Unlike typical national holidays, however, Nov. 17 doesn't entail store closures, although operating hours might be altered.

Why is this day significant?

The Czechs commemorate this day due to the pivotal events that unfolded on Nov. 17, 1989. It all commenced with a demonstration in Prague led by a sizable group of students. Approximately 10,000 to 15,000 students congregated at the Slavín cemetery in Vyšehrad, paying homage to the slain student Jan Opletal, a victim of Nazi oppression, and celebrating World Students’ Day.

These events and the subsequent widespread protests became known as the Velvet Revolution, eventually culminating in the overthrow of the communist party and ushering in a new era in Czechoslovakia's history.


According to Czech law, both small and large stores and supermarkets do not need to close on Nov. 17. This is the last public holiday of 2023 when all stores can remain open. 

With Christmas just over a month away and some Black Friday deals already in place, several stores anticipate high numbers of visitors coming through their doors on Friday.

Representatives of large retail chains such as Globus and Penny Market have confirmed that they will operate the same opening hours as usual. Grocery-delivery services as well as food-delivery operators will also be working as normal.


Prague will see several outdoor tributes and commemorations to mark the Day of Struggle for Freedom and Democracy. A free event primarily organized by students in the district of Albertov, Prague 2, will include choirs, speeches by representatives of universities and students, as well as talks by historians and columnists. It gets underway at 10 a.m. on Friday and lasts until the mid-afternoon.

The main event will take place on Prague’s Národní trída, which will see a public parade commemorating Nov. 17, which will last the entirety of the day. Part of the Czech Freedom Festival, the event will host live podcasts, debates, concerts, exhibitions, performances at the X10 theater, and also feature the traditional Havel Living Room event. The day will include the Prayer for Martha accompanied by live projection mapping.

Starting at 10 a.m., the festivities on Národní třída kick off with a Velvet brunch on the street, featuring performances by an orchestra. 


Transport disruptions

Beware of some metro and tram line closures on Friday, which could complicate your journey around the capital.

Metro closures

From Friday, Nov. 17 to Sunday, Nov. 19, there will be no service on the metro C (red) line between the I.P. Pavlova and Vltavská stations (in both directions), affecting the central Muzeum and Hlavní nádraží stops. An alternative XC bus service will serve as a replacement, as will the special tram number 36, the Prague Public Transport Company (DPP) writes.

Trams affected, too

Due to the commemorative events on Friday, there will be a temporary suspension of tram services between the Újezd ​​and Lazarská stops in the center of Prague for the whole day. This will affect lines 2, 9, 18, 22, 23, 42, which will all be diverted. There will be no replacement services, as the Újezd ​​to Lazarská journey is only one stop.

From Friday, Nov. 17 to Sunday, Nov. 19, tram and bus operations between Palmovka and Ke Stírce (Prague 8) will be disrupted, according to the DPP. This will impact tram lines 3, 10, and 95, and bus number 58 – all will have diversions. Replacement bus service numbers X3 and X10 will be introduced in daytime operation, and X95 during the night.

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