Us Europeans

Northern neighbours

For half a century, the border between Austria and then-Czechoslovakia marked the dividing line between the world`s competing ideologies: communist and capitalism. Czechs barely knew anything about what happened on the other side of the border, and the same was true for the Austrians. The gradual disappearance of the Iron Curtain has allowed Austrians to freely travel into Czech Republic, but how much of that opportunity are they actually using? And how much do they know about their northern neighbour from whom they were separated for so long?

Posted by Bruno

For half a century, the border between Austria and then-Czechoslovakia marked the dividing line between the world`s competing ideologies: communist and capitalism. Czechs barely knew anything about what happened on the other side of the border, and the same was true for the Austrians. The gradual disappearance of the Iron Curtain has allowed Austrians to freely travel into Czech Republic, but how much of that opportunity are they actually using? And how much do they know about their northern neighbour from whom they were separated for so long?

Posted by Bruno

If there`s one cultural concept that has proved to be worth exporting, it`s the Irish Pub. Anywhere outside Northern Ireland, the Irish tricolore and the Guinness logo stand for a warm welcome, no matter whether the local reality comes anywhere near that promise. The Irish Pub in Trutnov is doing better than that. It was set up by a real Irishman, and is now run by Gabriela, 27, Czech, who speaks perfect English with a subtle Irish accent.

Posted by Bruno

Holiday plans

The Spanish stay in Spain, the Greeks go to their birthplaces or to the islands, the Swedes leave for South-East Asia or pretty much anywhere around the world, the young Austrians all plan to get to South America and Dutch youngsters opt for the beaches of Spain and Turkey. Or Australia to travel and work. Today`s question: Where do people have a chance to run in to Czech people this summer.

Posted by Bruno

No fewer than twelve countries have been added to the European Union in the last 10 years. Czech Republic was one of the former ex-communist states which joined in May 2004. Within barely fifteen years after the revolution, Czechs have had to convert from a centrally-planned market economy with work and accommodation for everybody, into a capitalist state ran by financial gains and egoism. Today, I am asking people which communist traits have survived the revolution and are still commonplace today.

Posted by Bruno

European football fans are counting down towards the beginning of June, when Switzerland and Czech Republic kick off for the first match of the European Football Championships 2008. Sixteen countries will compete for the title. For Austria, it will be the first time they even join this stage of the competition. Along with co-host Switzerland, Austria is automatically qualified this time. Expectations for the overall tournament are high; expectations for the Austrian team seem to be modest to fatalistic.

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Ahoy from Budweis

With only 15 years of age, the Czech Republic and neighbouring Slovakia are the two youngest country in the European Union. Both came into existence after putting an end to their Czechoslovakian union, which had lasted for the 80 years following World War I. Capital of the Republic is Prague, home to 1.5 million people out of the 10 million of Czechs who populate the entire country.

Posted by Bruno

Working life

Austria can pride itself in having one of the lowest unemployment rates in Europe. The current figure is as low as 5%, although that figure doesn`t mean that everybody is happy about what they are doing, or about how the Austrian system works. Here`s some quick insights on working life in Austria:

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Writing about youth subcultures is a risky project. Once they are noticed, the trend is usually already over. Austrian media keep writing about `Krocha` these days, a subculture that was born in Vienna a few months ago and quickly spread over all of Austria. What is there to know about these `Krocha` people?

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Austrian Elisabeth

Throughout the `Us Europeans` project, I have found it increasingly easy to just step up to people in the street and start asking them questions. Interviewing people is a perfect way to collect surprising opinions and to learn about how many stories hide behind a single face. Today, I am interviewing Elisabeth (22), a social sciences student from Graz who recently spent half a year in Tanzania and will soon start working as a social caretaker in Austria. Or possibly in India..

Posted by Bruno