Prague’s Národní Třída To Become a Festival of Freedom and Democracy on 17 November
Prague, 25 Oct (BD) – On 17 November, to mark the Day of the Fight for Freedom and Democracy, Prague’s Národní třída will transform into a corso, thriving with social and cultural activities, for the 10th year.
The now-traditional Korzo Národní event, organised by the association Díky, Že Můžem (“Thank you, that we can”), commemorates the freedom fighters against the previous regime and the values of democracy, in the context of current social issues. A number of prominent public figures, organisations and associations will take part in the celebrations on the street, and in nearby theatres and galleries. The motto of this year’s celebration is “Times are changing”.
Times are changing – Freedom Week and Velvet in schools
Every year, Korzo Národní prepares a program for the general public to commemorate the values of Freedom and Democracy, with emphasis on current social issues and the future direction of the Czech Republic. This year’s motto is “Times are changing”.
“We don’t just want to remember, we want to look at the present and above all the future,” said Jan Hlaváček, director of Díky, Že Můžem. “We want the topics that Czechs would like to hear. Whether it is the right to marriage for all, a quality education system, equal opportunities, or the competitiveness of our country. We also feel the need to debate the challenges that our society is afraid of in a rapidly changing world, such as the uncertain future in the shadow of the climate crisis, the complex economic situation, the war in Ukraine, or the crisis of democracy in Central Europe.”
The goal of Korzo Národní is not only to celebrate 17 November, but also to create a community of young people actively interested in changing the world in and outside of school. For this, Díky, Že Můžem has prepared “Velvet in schools”, a program bringing the celebration of freedom to universities, secondary schools, and elementary schools. Active students and young people will also be recognized as part of the Jan Opletal Awards, and freedom will be celebrated even before 17 November during Freedom Week in Prague’s cultural and educational institutions.
What to expect
The programme for this year’s event includes more than 100 program items and more than 400 performers. As every year, the Czech national anthem will ring out from the balcony of the Metro Palace at 1 pm, as well as the iconic Prayer for Marta at the symbolic time of 17:11, sung by Hana Holišová and accompanied by live Video Mapping.
At 5:45 pm, the X10 Theater will host a debate on the crisis in the media with the editors-in-chief of leading Czech media outlets, including Ondřej Suchan (Radiožurnál), Pavel Tomášek (Deník N), Erik Taber (Týdeník Respekt), Jiří Kubík (Seznam Zprávy) and Tomáš Vojáček (CNN Prima News), who will talk about the media as a pillar of democracy, the pressure they face in the age of digital technologies, declining trust, and the social context of news and journalism. The debate will be moderated by Světlana Witowská.
Other debate and interview events in the programme will touch on topics such as the post-election situation in Slovakia, young people and their view of the EU, whether the Czech Republic lags behind the countries of Western Europe, and how politicians use the symbol of 17 November. There will also be lighter topics including post-revolutionary talk shows, the music industry of the previous regime, and more.
This year, Václav Havel’s Living Room commemorates the personality of the late Olga Havel on the occasion of her 90th birthday. There will be readings from contemporary titles and texts by Václav Havel dedicated to Olga. A special space will also be dedicated to texts from female authors, including Petruška Šustrová, Dana Zátopková, Vlasta Chramostová and Dana Horáková. The biography of beatnik femme fatale Vladimíra Čerepková will also be read. On Václav Havel Square, texts will be read from 10:30 by actresses Martha Issová and Ester Geislerová, journalist Linda Bartošová, actors Vladimír Polívka and Jan Cina, and journalist and YouTuber Jiří Burýšek from the Jirka Vysvětluje Věci channel.
The programme will also include activities for families, including a special tram ride, art workshops, street theatre, and several interesting exhibitions.
The 17 November celebrations on Národní třída will start at 10 am with a Velvet brunch on the street, accompanied by the CTU orchestra. Proceeds from the brunch, held in cooperation with Antonín’s bakery, will go to help single mothers supported by the Fandi Mámám organisation.
From 5:45 pm on Národní třída’s Pravda a Láska stage, a concert by the singer Lenny will symbolically close the day of celebrations. You can find more information about the programme at the event website.