Prague gets its first nightlife mayor

Prague, photo: Roman Zázvorka, CC BY-SA 4.0

A special role has been created to regulate the excesses of Prague’s nightlife. Councillors of the Czech capital’s City Hall elected Jan Štern as “night mayor” on Monday. A special commission made up of district and police representatives will help him out. The man in charge says that he first wants to analyse the situation in detail and meet with his counterpart in Amsterdam for inspiration.

Prague,  photo: Roman Zázvorka,  CC BY-SA 4.0
Tasteless, noisy and an open-air museum, these are just some of the terms Prague’s angry residents’ use for the capital’s centre. Many of them see it as overfilled with drunken tourists and shady businesses.

One of the ways the new City Hall leadership wants to tackle the issue is through a special night commission that will analyse the situation and propose systemic solutions.

On Monday Jan Štern was elected head of the commission and he is now being referred to as the city’s “nightlife mayor”.

He opened up on some of the plans he has in store.

“We believe that nightlife is a very important asset for the city and its inhabitants, but it is also causing a set of specific problems that need to be targeted. As I see it, our work is not about regulating, but about cultivating.

Jan Štern,  photo: ČTK/Aleš Berný
"The most pressing issue at the moment is of course the city centre - Dlouhá street and its surroundings - where nightlife and all that is negative about it, is concentrated.”

Dlouhá is one of the streets that lead into Old Town Square, a popular sight-seeing destination for many of the capital’s visitors.

One of the powers now given to the night commission is the ability to come out with orders regulating closing times for bars and restaurants.

However, Mr. Štern says that including local bar and club owners in finding a solution is key to retaining life within the city centre, while also making it a place where residents can sleep at night.

“We are trying to include the bar and club owners in the situation. We would like them to be part of the solution to the situation outside of the clubs, out on the streets.

Dlouhá street,  photo: Gabriela Setničková
“I would also like to mention that we are looking at new ways of how to communicate directly with tourists that will enable us to explain to them directly what is ok to do on the streets of Prague and what is not.”

Prague’s new politician of the night also says he wants to meet his counterpart in Amsterdam, the city that pioneered the idea, in order to get some inspiration.

“I think that Amsterdam is really similar to Prague in many ways. In the type of tourists that are coming there and with the problems connected to the historical city centre they are trying to solve.

“That’s why I am going to Amsterdam next week to meet with the night mayor over there and we will see if they have some specific measures that we can try to implement.”