Amanda Rivkin

Prague Stag Nights

Bachelor Parties in Prague

CNN Photos

by Elizabeth Johnson

November 6, 2012

When friends living in Eastern European nations began complaining of noisy, drunken tourists in their historical towns, American photojournalist Amanda Rivkin wanted to dig deeper.

In Prague, Czech Republic, Rivkin tagged along for two “stag,” or bachelor, weekends with men from the Netherlands and England celebrating the upcoming marriage of their respective friends.

Many of the stag parties hop to different strip clubs set up within a packaged tour. Some of the bars in the city no longer allow stag parties, so they are generally confined to one area of town.

It’s a cheap weekend getaway for many Western Europeans. The country’s capital is “one of Europe’s premier tourist destinations,” according to Lonely Planet.

Locals appreciate the economic boost, Rivkin said, but they tend to avoid the areas where the stag parties take place. Her friends have told her stories of being assaulted on the streets by groups of drunken men.

Rivkin sees Eastern Europe transitioning still from the post-Berlin Wall era, and the stag parties are part of those growing pains.

"Nothing like this existed under communism, both in terms of local culture and what many imagined contact with the West would look and feel like," she said. "The reason why I did this story is that it reflects the some less savory aspects of conditions and attitudes of Western Europe towards 'new Europe.' "

The type of industry that tourism in the area cultivates is the bigger question, Rivkin said.

“Personally, I think it’s a shame the first exposure for people in the West is through various forms of sex tourism,” she said. “Surely this region has other things to offer.”

Stag nights are mostly controlled and safe, and she said she never felt compromised. It reminded her of being in college, hanging out with a large group of guys.

She felt like she stood out as a woman in these clubs, so she wore dark clothing to prevent being noticed as she photographed. Any nervousness she felt was camera-related, she said.

“It was kind of fun to explore the other side of something I’ve heard about from young professional females,” she said.

PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC.  Stag and soon to be married (second from left) Michael Klos, 23, receives a table top lap dance as friends (l-r) Roald de Jongh, 24, Ronald Stelt, 23 and Herman Bruinslol, 23, of Rotterdam, the Netherlands look on at Hot Peppers in Prague, Czech Republic on August 12, 2011.
  
PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC.  Friends and family hold a stag party for Lee Meynell (not pictured), 28, of Middlesbrough, England two weeks ahead of his wedding day at a bar in the Main Square on August 5, 2011. Stag, or bachelor, tourism in Central and Eastern Europe is a popular and low cost alternative to holding similar festivities in the U.K., bringing hordes of drunken British men into main squares and bars across the region, drawing complaints from local women.
  
PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC.  (Center) William Gerritsma, 23, of Rotterdam, the Netherlands, a stag night tourist, blows foam from the top of his beer at his friends at the Beer Factory on Weneslaus Square in Prague, Czech Republic on August 12, 2011.
     
  
PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC.  Stag night tourist and soon to be married Michael Klos, 23, of Rotterdam, the Netherlands toasts with his friends at the Goldfinger strip club on Weneslaus Square in Prague, Czech Republic on August 12, 2011.
  
PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC.  (L-r) Angelo Eleveld, 22, of Rotterdam, the Netherlands, a stag tourist celebrating the impending marriage of his friend (not pictured) Michael Klos, 23, dances with stranger and fellow stag tourist, the soon to be married Blair Skadden of New Zealand in the
  
PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC.  Angelo Eleveld, 22, carries his friend Jeffrey Snyder, 23, on his shoulders while drinking with friends at the Beer Factory on Weneslaus Square in Prague, Czech Republic on August 12, 2011.
     
  
PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC.  Friends and family hold a stag party for Lee Meynell, 28, of Middlesbrough, England (at left with pink balloon breasts) two weeks ahead of his wedding day at a bar in the Main Square of Prague, Czech Republic on August 5, 2011.  Stag, or bachelor, tourism in Central and Eastern Europe is a popular and low cost alternative to holding similar festivities in the U.K., bringing hordes of drunken British men into main squares and bars across the region, drawing complaints from local women.
  
PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC.  Marco Piepedeen, 23, grabs stag and soon to be married Michael Klos, 23, of Rotterdam, the Netherlands by the shirt collar as an older local couple walks a few feet ahead on Weneslaus Square in Prague, Czech Republic on August 12, 2011.
  
PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC.  Stag tourists Angelo Eleveld, 22, picks up and spins his friend Sietse Dehaam, 23, as Roald de Jongh, 24, of Rotterdam, the Netherlands tries to spank him as he turns mid-way through the night on Weneslaus Square in Prague, Czech Republic on August 12, 2011.
     
  
PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC.  (L-r) Stag night tourists Michael Klos, 23, whips his friend, Arnold Valkema, 27, of Rotterdam, the Netherlands with the aid of a stripper's prop and her encouragement at the Goldfinger strip club on Weneslaus Square in Prague, Czech Republic on August 12, 2011.
  
PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC.  (L-r) Stag night tourist and soon to be married Michael Klos, 23, of Rotterdam, the Netherlands receives a partial lap dance in an effort to coerce him into paying for the full dance at the Goldfinger strip club on Weneslaus Square on August 12, 2011. Klos and his friends declined to spend the money it would cost for a second lap dance and left the club for a nightclub a short while later.
  
PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC.  Stag night tourists from Rotterdam, the Netherlands (clockwise from top left, standing) Sietse Dehaam, 23, Angelo Eleveld, 22, Michael Klos, 23, and Jeffrey Snyder, 23, collapse on the sidewalk outside a department store on Weneslaus Square after doing an impromptu head count to make sure everyone in the group is accounted for after exiting the Hot Peppers strip club on Weneslaus Square on August 12, 2011.
     
  
PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC.  Herman Bruinslol, 23, William Gerritsma, and Jeffrey Snyder, 23, from Rotterdam, the Netherlands, begin a night out after a day of heavy drinking in Prague, Czech Republic as stag night tourists celebrating the engagement and final nights of freedom of friend Michael Klos, 23, (not pictured) who is getting married in a few weeks time on August 12, 2011.
  
PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC.  Stag tourists from Rotterdam, The Netherlands celebrating the upcoming marriage of Michael Klos, 23, eat hot dogs on the street outside a shop following a day of heavy drinking and before an even bar crawl on Weneslaus Square on August 12, 2011.
  
PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC.  Stag night tourist Angelo Eleveld, 22, of Rotterdam, the Netherlands feels sick mid-way through the night as his friends alternatively seek to comfort and tease him while locals look on in consternation on Weneslaus Square in Prague, Czech Republic on August 12, 2011.  Michael Klos, 23, whose wedding a few weeks later was the occasion for the trip to Prague to celebrate his last nights of freedom, has his arm around his friend.
     
  
PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC.  (L-r) Stag tourists Herman Bruinslol, 23, and the soon to be married Michael Klos, 23, walk down Weneslaus Square as Sietse Dehaam, 23, all of Rotterdam, the Netherlands, runs up to spank him en route to a strip club in Prague, Czech Republic on August 12, 2011.