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EU Open House 2016

The Czech Embassy Focused on Czech Sports, Sporting Companies, the Olympics and Martina Navrátilová as This Year’s Torch Bearer for the Mutual Inspirations Festival.

For the 10th annual EU Open House on May 14, the Czech Embassy welcomed 3,300 visitors, an impressive number validating the quality and diversity of the programs offered each year.  For 2016, the Embassy prepared a rich presentation with ten stops around its grounds to familiarize the DC public with Czech sports and sporting companies and the Czech Olympic Team, preparing for the greatest sports competition of this summer, the 2016 Olympics. Moreover, the Embassy introduced and generated interest for its upcoming fall Mutual Inspirations Festival 2016 - Martina Navratilova.

During the event, Czech Tourism also enticed the public to travel to the picturesque Czech Republic. A large back drop of the beautiful city of Česky Krumlov presented the perfect photo opportunity with the chance to win special prizes.

Stop #1 - Welcome table

Experiencing no wait times at the Embassy gates, the guests moved quickly through to be welcomed by diplomats, who spoke about the Czech Republic being a land of great athletes and fervent fans. The staff also introduced Martina Navratilova as a Czech-American living legend, the best tennis player of all time, among men or women, with 59 Grand Slam titles and a record 9 Wimbledon singles championships.

Stop #2 - Gymnastics

Children gathered for a fun day of face-painting and proudly wore the day’s selection of the Czech flag or lion, Olympic rings, and tennis racket.  In the afternoon, curious onlookers watched children of Czech heritage from American Sokol Washington DC tumble and roll, exhibiting their gymnastics routines and talent.

Stop #3 - Soccer

Children showed off their best soccer skills in a shootout for prizes within the assembled soccer court made by the Czech company Uher and under the watchful eyes of DC United’s coach James Shields and forward Andre Akpan. The court was donated to the professional club’s Academy at the conclusion of the event. 

Stop #4 - Basketball

Adding to the family fun, youngsters enjoyed bouncing around in a basketball themed mood bounce and then shot hoops for Czech Olympic prizes.

Stop #5 - Tennis

The Embassy’s Public Diplomacy representatives spoke to the guests at length about the Mutual Inspirations Festival 2016 and Martina Navratilova, who has become an inspirational leader to athletes, rising stars, women, breast cancer patients, and minorities and is a fierce advocate for human rights and healthy living. Thrilled to learn about the musically charged festival launch, thought-provoking panel discussions and intriguing film screenings in honor of Martina and her 60th birthday this fall, guests took numerous selfies with an oversized, old-fashioned tennis racket provided by the well-known Czech company Artis.

Stop #6 - Czech Olympics

One of the most captivating stops of the open house was the chance to hear Jana Janotova, the representative of the Czech Olympic Committee, who spoke about the 2016 Czech Olympic Team as well as the team’s 2016 mascot and personality, Emil Zatopek.  He was a Czech long-distance runner and the first to ever run 10km under 29 minutes as well as 20km under an hour. The exhibition on Czech Olympic athletes in the Embassy’s main hall highlighted him.

Stop #7 - Track and field

Czech born German Shepherds jumped over hurdles before hundreds of viewers during an immensely popular demonstration by the Rockville City Police K-9 Unit, which has collaborated with the Embassy on its open house for the fifth year in a row and is a symbol of Czech-American crime-combating partnership.

Stop #8 - Badminton

Visitors to the open house had the opportunity to examine state-of-the art badminton rackets manufactured by the Czech company Artis and read about how Martina became an expert on nutrition which gave her that extra competitive edge. Unfortunately, games of badminton were cancelled due to the grounds being saturated from the rain.

Stop #9 - Cycling

Adults and children sped off on kick bikes produced by the Czech company Kostka along the paths leading to the lovely Ambassador’s residence. The kick bikes were in fact so popular that the products sold out before the end of the event.

Stop #10 - Volleyball

The open house is the only time during the year that visitors have the opportunity to tour the stunning residence of the Czech Ambassador, admiring the artwork by Czech artists and the architectural design of the building.  Games of volleyball on the lawn were cancelled due to rain but the respected Czech company Gala presented its manufactured volleyballs, which were incredibly well-liked by the guests.

The Embassy’s festive open house atmosphere was filled with lively music by the eight member band, Czech and Then Some, which traveled from Texas to play at the event. The visitors took in the sounds and scenery while drinking delicious cold beers, Pilsner Urquell and Czechvar, and savoring the Embassy chef’s goulash.



EU Open House 2016