Prague moves to shut down controversial Old Town ham stand

The stand operates on property owned by a children’s foundation, which is supposed to offer cultural activities, not make a profit. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 19.10.2023 11:14:00 (updated on 19.10.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Prague 1 will evict a controversial ham stand that has long occupied a prime location in Prague’s Old Town Square. The vendor’s lease agreement has a lengthy notice period, meaning it can still operate for up to two years.

A misused area

The ham stand is operated by the Prague Children's Foundation (PCF), together with Prague 1 and the Association for the Restoration and Development of Craft and Artistic Traditions, which focuses primarily on organizing sports events for children. 

To rent the prime location on the Old Town Square, the PCF pays the municipality CZK 2,000 per day. However, neither the city nor the foundation operates the ham stand, which is leased to another operator.

“I don't think that this way of supporting the foundation is the right one," said Giancarlo Lamberti, chairman of the city council’s financial committee. Lamberti also noted that not many cultural events are held in the area. "These are not cultural activities that need to be subsidized by low rent, nor is it a profitable rental relationship for the City of Prague,” he said.

Ripping off tourists?

The stand has been accused of deceptive business practices, with tourists claiming that it serves a smaller quantity of food than actually advertised.

Janek Rubeš and Honza Mikulka, the duo behind the Honest Guide YouTube channel, published a video about the stand where they also claimed the stand sells some of the most expensive food in all of Prague.

The road ahead

The City of Prague plans to develop a concept for the future use of the land and present it to city representatives. However, former Prague 1 mayor and opposition politician Petr Hejma proposed postponing the decision to avoid depriving the foundation of its income, which is crucial for fulfilling its primary purpose.

Meanwhile, Pavel Čižinský, leader of the opposition group Praha 1 Sobě, pushed for immediate dismissal without a notice period, citing legal grounds to support his position. Lamberti, however, believes that a two-year notice period provides ample time for the other party to secure alternative sources of income. Lamberti also said that, while he disapproves of the two-year waiting time, the main priority is that the next steps are legally sound.

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