Danish youth once again descend on Prague

Despite last year’s drunken rampage, the Czech capital is bracing for another invasion

The city of Prague is being besieged once again by hordes of drunk Danish teenagers. Last year’s winter holidays saw 30 Danish youngsters admitted to local hospitals for alcohol poisoning and stabbings and other violent injuries. Six were arrested for attacks on other youngsters or the Czech police.

Christian Hoppe, the Danish ambassador to the Czech Republic, called the behaviour of Danish youth last year “reprehensible” and hoped that everyone involved will think twice this year.

“This applies primarily to young people, but also their parents, who I hope have spoken to their children,” Hoppe told DR Nyheder. “The Czech police have certainly learned from the experience and will be more attentive and conducting more patrols this year.”

The Danish Embassy in the Czech Republic has estimated that 6,000-6,500 young Danes will be in Prague over the next two weeks. Although significantly less than last year’s 10,000 revellers, the embassy has taken on an additional employee sent from the Danish Foreign Ministry to help keep an eye on the Danish youth.

READ MORE: Stabbings and vandalism: Danish students cause chaos in Prague

Danish police in Prague
Four Danish cops will also be in Prague over the next two weeks. The so-called ‘dialogue officers’ will assist Czech police during patrols and provide advice and guidance on how Danish police usually handle young people who have had too much to drink.

“They are not going to perform Czech police tasks,” said Hoppe. “They are there as advisors and to help handle troublemakers.”

Hoppe said that he does not expect a repeat of last year’s turmoil.

The new travel agency Prague Week is sending 3,000 of the teenagers to Prague during this year’s winter holidays.

“Many of last year’s problems happened at the hotels, and this year both Czech and Danish police will be on site at the hotels," Prague Week press officer Erik Harvig told DR Nyheder.

Harvig said that Prague Week had communicated to the youngsters that they must behave properly and that there could be consequences if they do not.

“We have also sent letters to the parents in which we pointed out the possible consequences of breaking the Czech laws,” he said.

Travel agency pitched boozefest to kids
Meanwhile another travel agency, Go Travel, has been reported to Forbrugerombudsmanden, the consumer ombudsman, for advertising that targets young people under the age of 18, which violates the Marketing Act.

The company’s Facebook page contained ads for pub crawls featuring open bars and happy hours at discos.

Since children under 18 are also on the Prague trips, the company was in violation of the law.

”Following last year's massive media coverage of young people in Prague during the winter holidays, I found it necessary to monitor the way travel companies marketed to the very young this year,” the ombudsman said in a statement.

"A lot easier in Prague"
Prague has become a favourite destination for young people in the country's upper-secondary schools, with entire classes taking the trip to the city famous for its discos and cheap alcohol. Travel agencies report that this year’s trips are sold out

Despite protests by the travel agencies to the contrary, at least one under-aged teenager had no problem admitting why she wanted to go to Prague.

Laura Bahnsen Gothelf, a 17-year-old, told DR Nyheder that she would be hitting the town with friends all week long.

“You can get into all sorts of places,” she said. “In Denmark, you need a fake ID if you are under 18, so you are doing something illegal. It’s a lot easier in Prague.”