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Open House 2018 – What a Turn Out!

Almost 4,000 visitors came to the Czech Embassy to celebrate 100 years of Czech Independence and discover Czech-US connections across America during its annual open house.

The Czech Embassy opened its doors to the public for six hours with a festive atmosphere on Saturday, May 12, and welcomed close to 4,000 friends, partners, and curious guests. There was much to celebrate as the Czechs are observing 100 years of Czech Independence throughout 2018. Visitors thus received a historical overview of the last centennial and learned about significant personalities who have contributed to the deep Czech-US ties across America.

Ready to answer any questions about the centennial anniversary, Czech Ambassador Hynek Kmoníček and his wife, Indira Gumarová, welcomed the guests and spoke to them at length about the Czech Republic. The visitors were able to walk up to the Ambassador’s private residence, located within the Embassy’s several spacious acres of grassy meadows in the beautiful Rock Creek Park, for a rare look inside the architecturally stunning structure.

At the Embassy, live music by the five member Domažlice Bagpipers greeted the young and old and intrigued many as the bagpipers used special Czech folk instruments called vozembouch, which have their roots in medieval times and are played by being hit against the ground rhythmically. Guests also had the chance to view a group of almost 30 children, some as young as 3 years old, from American Sokol Washington DC perform several traditional songs and dances in national folk costumes. The children danced beneath the statue of Tomáš Guarrigue Masaryk, the founding father of the Czech and Slovak free nation in 1918.

The lively sounds were accompanied by the delicious smell of Czech cuisine. The Embassy chef grilled savory sausages from the Czech Republic and prepared crisp cabbage salad to complement the golden lager, Pilsner Urquell, on draft. The beer is the world’s original pils, brewed in the Czech Republic since 1842. Czech Wine Imports, an importer into the US, presented red and white collections from the South Moravian region of the Czech Republic, sparking much interest about the wineries.

For dessert, the Embassy’s staff, rolling and grilling dough in the day’s summer rays, prepared fresh trdelnik, a delightful, traditional sweet pastry, which is crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside and is topped with vanilla sugar. Sweet delicacies were further offered by Bistro Bohem, a Czech restaurant located in Washington DC’s Shaw neighborhood, and La Bohemia Bakery, a European artisan bakery in Rockville, MD.

Visitors were able to not only take in the traditions of the Czech Republic but also view the latest urban and farm technologies coming from the country.  Mmcité, a Czech company with its branch in Charlotte, NC, strives to make a positive impact on public space, specializing in the design, development, manufacture, and supply of street furniture. The company displayed its ultramodern city smart bench, which provides the luxury of a WIFI hotspot and USB charger, using its integrated technologies such as solar panels.  The tractor manufacturer Zetor, a household name in the Czech Republic, displayed a heavy-duty durable model, which was very popular with the youngest visitors.  Zetor has been active on this side of the Atlantic since 1970 with dealerships across the US.  

Fascinating K-9 demonstrations by Czech bred canines and the Rockville City Police Department, a local testament of Czech and American allied crime fighting partnership, were everyone’s favorite. Cpl. Dickerson and Cpl. Marshall spoke about their service and how they work with their canine partners.

Children celebrated the centennial of Czech independence by having their faces painted with Czech flags and taking photos with the Embassy’s large banner, before jumping for joy in the moon bounce in the shade. They were also able to meet the queens of the Miss Czech Slovak US Pageant, who were dressed in folk costume.

Inside the Embassy’s main hall, gorgeous photo images of the photo exhibition, Czech-American? Zoom-In!, were on display.  As part of the centennial commemorations, the Czech Embassy reached out to communities across the United States and welcomed Americans of Czech heritage to submit a photo of what it means to be Czech-American to them. The collection, which is the best of the submitted photos, depicts utmost pride and immense love for Czech heritage, language, intellect, theater, cuisine, products, and life. Underlined with a bit of nostalgia yet brightly glowing with continuation and sincere celebration, the photos of the young, old and remembered clearly demonstrate the vivid and thriving inspiration brought about by Czech-American transatlantic ties and friendships in the past, present, and the next centennial.

After viewing the unique photo collection, guests spoke with the Embassy’s Military Section as well as the Public Diplomacy Department about the fall’s highlight events of the centennial celebrations, which may also be accessed at the website, www.czechindepence.org. Visitors were further able to chat with the non-profit organization American Friends of the Czech Republic about Czech-American relations as well as CzechTourism about their next trip to Prague.

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 28 EU Member States to the United States offer a rare look inside their Embassies and provide a unique opportunity to experience each country’s cultural heritage and national traditions. Each year, visitors avoid long lines in downtown DC and spend hours inside the Czech Embassy’s grounds.

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

For a full report on the Czech Embassy's Open House by Czech Television, CLICK HERE.



EU Open House 2018