This article was tranlated by Iustrans
These days, thanks to the #txokotxeko meeting (held under the direction of Markéta Lehecková –in charge of CzechTourism for the Iberian Peninsula, and supported by the Blog on Brands team) we had the chance to learn about the culture and cuisine of this Central European country.
As our readers can find out about this experience from our previous articles, where we addressed the issue from a twofold perspective:
- Gastronomy: we described our encounter with Czech cuisine in a txoko in Bilbao.
- Europeanism: we recalled how Pilsen and San Sebastian, two cities with a great gastronomic tradition, hold the title of “European Capital of Culture” (Pilsen in 2015 and San Sebastian in 2016).
But we wanted to learn more. Our readers already know how much we enjoy finding connections and links between the Basque and any other issue.
Truth be told, we thought that finding such connections was going to be difficult, but, once again, we’ve been pleasantly surprised. Links do indeed exist, and they are quite strong.
Let us begin by speaking about the cultural relationship, which, while less “tangible”, is no less important.
Masaryk University (in Brno) offers lessons in Basque language and culture to their students, thanks to an agreement signed with the Basque Government. The existence of this readership of Basque language and culture at Brno (as it is officially called) offers students the opportunity of taking part in cultural activities (as well as formal lessons) to promote Basque language and culture.
Just a month ago, for example, the Basque writer Unai Elorriaga analyzed ‘SPrako tranbia’ – ‘A little chocolate’ with students from the readership .
Moreover, we’d like to highlight that these cultural activities go beyond the scope of the academic field; they include festive and popular activities devoted to promote Basque language and culture, such as the Korrika, an old acquaintance in the Czech Republic. Prague and Brno have seen the Korrika race through their streets many times, with both Czech and Basque participants running to support euskera.
Radio Paha, the Czech public radio station, has sometimes mentioned this event on their news, as was the case with the 2015 edition .
In order to have a broad general overview of Basque-Czech cultural relations, it is advisable to look at the information collected over the years by the Euskalkultura website.
If our readers are surprised by the thriving Basque-Czech cultural relationship, they will be excited to learn that the relationship between both countries concerning economic and commercial issues is no less buoyant.
Since 2002, the SPRI has an office for Basque business in the Czech Republic, which gives an indication of the country’s strategic relevance for the Basque economy.
But there’s no better way to illustrate the nature of this relationship than to provide data to quantify its relevance: the Basque Country’s (CAPV) exports to China in 2012 amounted to 493.5 million, 424.9 to Mexico, 199.9 to Russia and 162.1 to India. All of those countries are keys to the Basque economy, absorbing very large volumes of its exports. What was the volume of Basque exports to the Czech Republic, a country of 10.5 million people? Well, the “insignificant” amount of 361.8 million euros of Basque exports is purchased by companies from this country.
Indeed, Basque exports to the Czech Republic represent 73% of the exports to China. That is, together with Germany and France, this country is the main importer per capita of Basque products. If you want a clue to help you understand the Czech Republic’s strategic value for the Basques, please see this information from SPRI.
In short, we more and more want to visit the Czech Republic. Not only because of its spectacular culture and landscape, but also because as we look more closely, we find more and more connections between both countries.
Video of the Korrika in Prague in 2015
This is the third installment of articles written to mark the presentation of the direct air link between Bilbao and Prague, and the cultural, tourist and gastronomic riches of this country. Enjoy this extraordinary presentation by Markéta Lehecková, director of CzechTourism for the Iberian Peninsula, who, supported by the team of Blog on Brands, organized a fun, different and magical event in a Bilbao txoko. They called it #txokotxeko.