“I am delighted that Prague is being inspired by the world's metropolises, such as London and Amsterdam, and that it is setting up a commission for nightlife. This will enhance cultural exchange and reinforce security in the streets of Prague at night. Prague is a modern metropolis and aspires to be a trendy 24-hour city,” says Lord Mayor Zdeněk Hřib.
“I want to avoid simplification and shortcuts, and I want to emphasize that the role of the night mayor is not for a single person to walk down the streets at night, asking people to calm down. It is a team of people who will introduce systematic measures. It will not be a quick fix, like waving a magic wand,” Hana Třeštíková explains. According to Třeštíková, the Commission’s aim is to keep opportunities for the residents of Prague to entertain themselves in the evening, as well as to promote the prosperity of Prague, which partly comes from tourism. At the same time, it is also necessary to ensure that the inhabitants of Prague can move comfortably and safely during the night and can sleep peacefully.
“A night mayor is a board that operates in various forms in many cities across Europe. And Prague, with its vibrant nightlife and lively tourist activity, needs a systematic solution. According to official statistics, tourists spend the same number of nights in our capital city as, for example, in Barcelona - over 18 million,” says Jan Štern, adding, “I want to emphasize that the interest of those who live and work in the city always comes first. We will surely get inspiration from Western European capitals such as Amsterdam.”
According to both Štern and Třeštíková, the team will work on a combination of immediate and long-term measures. The first steps will include an effort to increase the presence of the Municipal Police in the worst places where the inhabitants of Prague cannot sleep properly, “We will negotiate the possibilities of improving the situation with the Municipal Police, especially in Dlouhá Street, which has been the most problematic part of Prague, in terms of interference with the peace at night, for a long time,” says Jan Štern.
Another measure that should be introduced in the foreseeable future is a decree, allowing urban districts to set closing times of businesses in selected locations within their territory. The amendment procedure is currently taking place with the various districts of Prague. “We definitely do not intend to introduce an officially appointed closing hour at ten in the evening. However, it is not possible to run unrestricted businesses 24/7 in the streets where the residents of Prague live. People need to sleep - that is a fundamental right of everyone living in the city,” emphasizes Pavel Čižinsky, Mayor of Prague 1.
"In addition, it is important to seek long-term solutions. One of these is a gradual natural shift of businesses with late opening hours away from the places where the residents of Prague live, to parts of the city where their impact would be minimal. The solution might be the use of derelict sites and other land owned by the city. Apart from the fact that the nightlife disturbs the people of Prague, it is also devastating for our common cultural heritage in the historic heart of the city. Drunken tourists, for example, damage historic sculptures,” adds Councillor Třeštíková.
The Commission will also initiate negotiations with representatives of night-time businesses and operators of major cultural events. The aim is, among other things, to strengthen their self-regulation. According to Prague City Council, the operators should invest more in the staff - on one hand, to quieten guests standing outside, and on the other hand, to reasonably regulate the serving of alcohol when necessary. According to Hana Třeštíková, the long-term goal is to change the image of the capital. It is important to increase the number of tourists who are interested in the culture and history of Prague and to decrease the number of tourists who are only interested in late-night drinking. That is a task that must be tackled across the board through a number of councillors - such as territorial development, culture, housing and airbnb regulation, but also city property management.
Prague City Tourism, among other things, will lead an extensive informational campaign targeting foreign tourists. Another goal is to start and expand the project of tourist cards. These cards should offer foreign tourists who are interested in daytime and night-time activities information on locations all throughout the city; therefore, it should help to disperse them better across the whole city. They can be accessed through mobile phone applications.
About Jan Štern:
Jan Štern is one of the creators of the idea to create a team for nightlife in Prague. As a co-founder and operator of cultural centres Containall and Stalin, which revive Prague's public space, he has long-term experience with cultural events and with bar and club operators, and he is able to communicate effectively with them. At the same time, he has experience in state administration - he worked at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic. He is a capable negotiator and organizer. He is a part of the team of Hana Třeštíková in City Hall.