Croatian minority in Czech Republic
According to the estimates of different associations, as well as the Embassy of the Republic of Croatia in Prague, there are about 800 Croats in the Czechs Republic. This is one of the smallest Croatian communities that have managed to preserve its customs and its language.
Croats settled in the Czech Republic (in the area of former Moravia) during the 16th century. In terms of their national identity and until the mid-20th century, Moravian Croats, remained homogenous in the villages of Jevišovka, Dobro Polje, Nova Penava, Hlohovec, Chorvatska Nova Ves, Poštorná and Novi Prerov. During the Austro-Hungarian Empire they were able to maintain closer ties with other Croats. However, after 1918 they were separated by the two different countries and the two different political systems. The forced assimilation of the Croats was conducted (1946-1950) when the Croatian community in the above mentioned villages was forcibly displaced in as many as 118 different localities in the former Czechoslovakia. Their property was confiscated and their gatherings were forbidden. Starting with 1989 Croatian community members began to gather and in 1991 they registered their organization "The Association of Citizens of Croatian nationality; the Croatian minorities South Moravia." Croats also live in Prague and Brno. Every year (since 1991) they celebrate the Day of Croatian culture, and along with the mass in the Croatian langue, they also hold cultural programs.
There is willingness for openness and cooperation at all levels of bilateral relations between Croatia and the Czech Republic. The Republic of Croatia and the Czech Republic have similar or identical foreign policy priorities. Bilateral relations have been in progress regarding the issue of the Croatian minority in the Czech Republic and the Czech minority in Croatia. Both countries provide full support for the preservation of cultural and national identity of their respective minorities on their respective territories.
The Croats in Czechoslovakia had not been recognized as a national minority until the democratic changes that occurred in Czechoslovakia in 1989. Today, in the official Czech statistics Croats are mentioned as „others". The Constitution of the Czech Republic from 1993, in the Article 6, talks about the protection of all national communities and minorities living in the Czech Republic. In 1994, the Czech government adopted a bill regarding the support for all national minorities and their efforts to preserve their culture and identity, and also to pursue their publishing and educational efforts.
On August 2, 2001, a law entered into force in the Czech Republic, on the national minorities, which regulates the rights of national minorities and stipulates the competence of administrative and the self-governing bodies. A significant provision of this Law is Article 6, according to which members of the national minorities are to become members of the Council of the Government for National Minorities. The minority members are to be elected pursuant to a separate statute.
Associations, publishing and media
In Brno, the Croats are united in the Association of Southern Slavs. Since the beginning of 1994 there is the Czech-Croatian Friendship Society, with more than 50 members, and which maintains good relations with the Croatian-Czech Friendship Society in Zagreb. Today, Croats have a registered association "the Association of Citizens of Croatian nationality – the Croatian Minority of South Moravia." On February 15, 2008, in the former Croatian village Hlohovec, the "Association of the Citizens of Croatian nationality of Bohemia and Moravia" was founded
On December 5, 2008 the Prime Minister Dr. Ivo Sanader opened a historical documentation center of the Croatian minority – The Croatian House at Jevišovka.