Berlin, June 10 (CTK) – The “Bohemian Village” in Berlin’s Neukoelln neighbourhood, founded by Czech Protestants fleeing their homeland over their faith in the 18th century, was reopened after a two-year refurbishment.
Franziska Giffey, mayor of Neukoelln, told Czech journalists that the village is a kind of treasure for the whole neighbourhood, an oasis of peace in the city.
“The Bohemian Village is a basis of the immigrant history of our neighbourhood,” Giffey said.
“It is the beginning of the story of people leaving their country over their faith and seeking a better life who found their new homeland here,” Giffey said.
“People from all over the world are coming here in search of a better life. Our neighbourhood alone is home to people from 160 countries. They are bringing with them something from their homeland. The colourfulness of our neighbourhood started with the Bohemian Village that we consider a small treasure,” she said.
Mayor of Prague Adriana Krnacova, who attended the reopening of the Bohemian Village, said she considers immigration a source of enrichment for the places where they settle.
She said the Czechs’ restrained stance on immigrants is a consequence of the past. “It is a legacy of the isolation that was imposed on us during the 40 years of the Communist regime. But we are gradually becoming emancipated from it,” Krnacova said.
She said Prague is already an international city where many foreigners, including Slovaks, Ukrainians and Americans, live.
The reconstruction of the Bohemian Village aimed to bring in more tourists and improve the locals’ living conditions, cost hundreds of thousands of euros that were paid by the German side.
The history of the Bohemian Village started in 1737 when Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm I allowed 18 families of Czech Brethern, in total some 350 people, to settle in the former Rixdorf village. He had nine semidetached houses built for them and he granted them many privileges. Most of the refugees came from the strongly Protestant east Bohemia.