The best and the worst places to live in the Czech Republic

Hradec Kralove, Photo: Lenka Zizkova

An old saying goes, "in Prague is bliss" but a recent study shows that in fact, Hradec Kralove is the place to live in the Czech Republic. This town located about 100 km east of Prague scored very well on ten quality of life indicators including employment, housing, crime and quality of the environment. In contrast, the city of Louny, placed 60 km north-west of Prague was dubbed the worst place to live.

Hradec Kralove,  Photo: Lenka Zizkova
Hradec Kralove is the place to live according to a recent survey. The picturesque town with its famous medieval square boasts of satisfied inhabitants working in service jobs, health care and education. The air is clean and bicycles are to be seen everywhere. I spoke to the former mayor, Martin Dvorak about his favourite town:

" I think it is nothing new, Hradec Kralove was announced as one of the best places in the Czech Republic a long time ago. I think it is because of a long tradition of city planning. Secondly, the city is quite conservative, it means there are several families and several generations here and the whole place is quite quiet. It is not strongly oriented towards industrial development, it is more geared at administration, research and the university. All this together, creates very nice conditions for life."

The study was based on a ten criteria ranging from employment rates, cost of housing, health care, criminality and quality of environment- Louny, another very historic Czech town, but in the struggling industrial north-west of Bohemia was identified as the place not to live. The survey pointed to high unemployment and low income as a major problem facing the town. The mayor, Jan Kerner, did not agree with the methodology of the survey but did admit that unemployment was the major problem. I asked him about possible solutions.

" The long term solution is that the low average incomes will attract more firms to come and unemployment will decrease. Of course, commuting to Prague is also a solution for us. We hope it will not take a long time until the highway is built to Prague."

Since strong city planning and focusing on the development of non-industrial jobs had worked so well for Hradec Kralove, I was curious to know if Mayor Kerner felt that adopting this approach was a solution to the problems faced by Louny.

" I am not a friend of strong planning, I don't believe this is a solution for anything. Generally, development depends on private investment and there is no that much that town hall can do about it."