In a city known for its baroque, Gothic, and Art Nouveau architecture, Prague’s postmodern Dancing House (Tancící dum) stands out for displaying none of these architectural styles. The curvaceous, concrete, metal, and glass building was designed by the architectural duo of Czech-Croatian Vlado Milunić and Canadian-American Frank Gehry (of Guggenheim Bilbao fame) and completed in 1996.
On Prague’s Rasin embankment, overlooking the Vltava river, the Dancing House occupies the site of a house that was destroyed during the U.S. bombing of Prague in 1945. You can learn more about this history on a World War II-focused walking tour of Prague; other, more general, sightseeing tours by foot, bus, or bike also typically visit the building. You can get a different perspective on a sightseeing cruise along the Vltava.
Most of the nine-story building is given over to offices, but the top floor is home to several public spaces, including a modern French restaurant and a bar with a terrace offering excellent views across the river to Prague Castle. A ground-floor art gallery supports young Czech artists.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Dancing House is a must-see for architecture lovers.
- There’s no fee to enter the building, but there’s a small fee to enter the gallery.
- When the building was completed, its nontraditional aesthetic initially caused much controversy in Prague.
How to Get There
Jiraskovo namesti tram station is right next to the building, and the Karlovo namesti Metro station is a five-minute walk away.
When to Get There
The Dancing House is open daily from morning until night. The art gallery keeps slightly shorter opening hours than the bar and restaurant, so be sure to plan your visit accordingly.
“Ginger and Fred”
The Dancing House’s colloquial name comes from its resemblance to a pair of dancers—Gehry originally named it “Ginger and Fred” for the legendary dancing duo Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. The formal name, however, is the Nationale Nederlanden building, named for the Dutch insurance company that sponsored, and now occupies, most of the structure.