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EU Open House 2022

The Czech Embassy was thrilled to welcome 3 thousand visitors as part of the EU Open House on Saturday, May 14, 2022.

After two years of uncertainty and Covid-related lockdowns, the Czech Embassy opened its doors once again. Three thousand curious guests poured onto the Embassy’s vast grounds to learn about Czech culture and cuisine in a fully packed, daylong program.

The mood was festive and based on the Embassy’s upcoming fall Mutual Inspirations Festival 2022 – Voskovec & Werich.  The festival’s personalities, George Voskovec and Jan Werich, were genius playwrights, comedians, and performers of intellectual humor, who are synonymous with the golden age of jazz. Hence, at the open house, the local band, the Blue Crescent Syncopators, played many favorites of that time. Couples of the local group, Fidgety Feet, danced the lindy hop to accompany the playful tunes.

The 1920s and 1930s were also a time of great Czech national pride. Hence, young children of the families of the Czech Embassy performed former first President Tomáš Masaryk’s favorite song, “Ach Synku, Synku” along with several others. Inside the Embassy’s main hall, an exhibition was on view from the artist Joža Uprka (1861-1940), who combined elements of Impressionism and Art Nouveau to document the folk life in the region of Moravia in the Czech Republic.

Next, a highly anticipated presentation of traditional Czech national costumes (called “kroje”) followed. Miss Oklahoma Czech Slovak Queen Anna Sedivy-Thompson, Miss Kansas Czech-Slovak Queen Jessica Wonderlich, Miss Czech-Slovak US 2018-2019 Runner-Up Heather Vikla, the Embassy’s Masaryk Diplomatic Program participant, Jonathan Sapplington and others modeled authentic and absolutely splendid kroje from various Czech regions in front of the Embassy for the large audience, who fervently listened to detailed explanations of each of the costume’s design and origin.

Inside, guests were able to speak to the representatives of the Embassy’s Public Diplomacy Department about the Mutual Inspirations Festival 2022 – Voskovec & Werich as well as other events on the calendar. Eager to travel visitors delved into planning their next trip to the Czech Republic with representatives of CzechTourism. Plamen Press was also on hand to offer tips on the best Czech books to read.

Diplomats from the Political Department were available to answer any questions about Czech-US relations today as well as the current crisis in Ukraine.  The local artist group, the IceBox Collective, promoted awareness and support for Ukrainian resistance and refugees via a large art installation, the Nomadic House Project, as a visualization of home and shelter. As a testament to strong Czech-US collaboration, visitors watched security demonstrations by Czech born canines of the Rockville City Police K-9 Unit, which has been presenting at the Embassy’s open house for eleven years.

The Embassy’s chef grilled delicious sausages and served the hearty meal with the world’s first pale lager, Pilsner Urquell, hailing from the Czech Republic. La Bohemia Bakery, a European artisan bakery in Rockville, Maryland, offered sweet Czech delicacies, such as koláče. Guests also enjoyed Moravian wine from the Spevak Winery, imported into the US by Wills International.

Lastly, families were able to get a rare glimpse inside of the Czech Ambassador’s private residence, which overlooks the Embassy’s meadow in the majestic Rock Creek Park. Children rejoiced in the moon bounce and had Czech flags painted on their faces on the joyous occasion. 

The Czech Embassy’s open house is a part of the EU Open House, an annual event during which the Delegation of the European Union to the United States and the Embassies of EU Member States to the United States welcome the public in order to present the experience of each country’s cultural heritage and national traditions. Each year, visitors avoid long lines downtown and spend hours inside the Czech Embassy’s grounds.

The Embassy of the Czech Republic thanks all its guests for visiting this year!