Prague’s Vietnamese Markets

Manning the table at the Vietnamese market.

Manning the table at the Vietnamese market.

Today I went street market where many Vietnamese vendors were selling various products like clothing, fragrances, food and souvenirs. The market is near the Vltavska metro stop.  At one tent selling purses and bags, a young boy greeted me and stared as if to ask, “what can I help you with?” The small boy was manning the area on his own and taking his job seriously.

Vietnamese people form the largest immigrant community in the Czech Republic and the third largest ethnic minority after Slovaks and Romas. Immigrants began moving to Prague during the Communist period when it was a part of Czechoslovakia. They were encouraged to learn skills by training and studying in Czech and return to Vietnam, but when communism collapsed in Czechoslovakia, they many remained in the Czech Republic, specifically Prague. Immigration laws changed to be more inclusive in the country. Today, more than 60,000 Vietnamese people live in the country and the majority of Vietnamese Czech citizens live in Prague. While many Vietnamese Czechs work as street vendors, the majority have opened up their own small businesses.

Unlike Czechs, Vietnamese people tend to be religious. In Prague, their religious beliefs range from Buddhism, Confucianism, Catholicism and ancestor worship.


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