Jablonec nad Nisou or Appletown?

Jablonec nad Nisou, photo: ŠJů, CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported

Situated some 100 kilometres north of Prague, the town Jablonec nad Nisou has a lot to be proud of - predominantly its glass and jewellery -two major export articles that have made it renown all over the world. Last week Jablonec hit the headlines as the first Czech town to get its own town "anthem" on the occasion of its 140th birthday next year. Contrary to what you might expect the lyrics are not about glass or jewellery - they are about apples and love!

Jablonec nad Nisou,  photo: ŠJů,  CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported
To cut a long story short, this is how it happened: a young Czech rock musician fancied a girl from Jablonec and wrote a song about wanting to move to Appletown. Jablon means "apple tree" in Czech, a reference to the row of apple trees that once graced the town's main street. Whether or not an invitation was extended is not clear. What is known is that the deputy mayor of Jablonec Radek Louda happened to hear the piece on a CD by the rock group Hush and decided that this was just the kind of publicity that would help present the town as a cosmopolitan, dynamic place.

"We see Jablonec as a European town, a town that is attracting ever more visitors and we feel that a dynamic rock piece by a group of young musicians is just the kind of image that the town needs to project. It says that we are dynamic, that we are not afraid of change and that we are young at heart."

The deputy mayor's suggestion that Appletown should become the town's theme song, to be played on all important occasions marking the anniversary celebrations, came as something of a shock to both the town councillors and the inhabitants of Jablonec. The town is now divided into two camps - those who believe that Appletown is just the kind of publicity needed to make Jablonec more cosmopolitan and those who were outraged that the town should take for its theme song an English piece written by a teenager, a song that many of them couldn't even understand. As for Jan Mikulicka, the rock musician who wrote the piece, he's rather taken aback at the unexpected turn of events. He set out to win a girls heart - instead he's managed to rock the town of Jablonec in its foundations.