Every third Czech lives in a „panelák“. These blocks of flats made of prefabricated parts are a typical feature of all the former Soviet satellite countries. They were built to last only for two or three generations. Now, their inhabitants are doing their best to prolong their life-span. However, they still pose a serious housing problem for the future.
Czechs have always had somewhat contradictory feelings toward their nobility. One of the country’s leading aristocrats once even bitterly complained that Czechs are either louts or boot-lickers, nothing in between. One of the first laws of the newly independent Czechoslovakia, one hundred years ago, forbade the use of aristocratic titles. On the other hand, today Czechs have developed an avid interest in the lives of their dukes and counts.
Like all other developed countries, Czechia has a waste problem. Even though Czech households do not, actually, produce half as much garbage as those in the United States, the government is looking for new ways to increase recycling. Ironically, some towns and companies make a lot of money from traditional landfills. So, it is not always easy to change old practices.
Elena Gorolová, a Roma social worker from the north Moravian city of Ostrava, has been included on an annual BBC list of 100 inspirational and influential women for 2018. The BBC highlighted Ms Gorolová’s campaign against forced sterilisation as well as her work to return institutionalised children to their birth families.
The annual Festival of Freedom, which organises many of the November 17th celebrations, will offer a wide-ranging programme in dozens of cities across the country. Visitors can look forward to concerts, theatre shows, discussion panels and readings in some of the iconic locations of the Velvet Revolution. The main theme of this year’s festival will be the support of discussion in society.