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Thanks to the Velvet Revolution, democracy is reinstated, and the President, Václav Havel, becomes a household name the world over. In many countries, Eva Herzigová causes traffic chaos with her alluring billboard for Wonderbra, and in Prague a young artist, David Černý, paints a Soviet tank pink. Frank Gehry enlivens the Prague embankment with his Dancing Building, new Czech design celebrates success in Milan, and the Czech ice hockey team reinforces national pride with a gold medal at the Winter Olympics in Nagano.

1990 Václav Havel receives one official visit after another (the Dalai Lama, the Pope, George Bush, the Rolling Stones...). The designer Bořek Šípek begins teaching at the reformed Academy of Applied Arts in Prague.

1991 David Černý, a student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, paints a Soviet tank pink. Soviet forces leave the country for good.

1992 Czechoslovakia splits into two countries.

1993 The Czech Republic is founded as an independent state. Jan Železný sets a new world record for the javelin. The town of Telč joins the UNESCO World Heritage List.

1994 Škoda makes its millionth Favorit, and at the end of the year Volkswagen becomes Škoda’s majority shareholder.

1995 The Trade Fair Palace is opened as the National Gallery’s Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. Radio Free Europe moves to Prague.

1996 Frank Gehry and Vlado Milunič complete their Dancing Building in Prague.

1997 Jan Svěrák’s film Kolya wins an Oscar. The Café Slavia is reopened after reconstruction work. Václav Havel marries the actress Dagmar Veškrnová.

1998 Czech design is successful at the Milan fair. Fashion designer Klára Nademlýnská opens a boutique in Prague, designed by the Olgoj Chorchoj studio. The Czech ice hockey team wins a gold medal at the Winter Olympics in Nagano. Geri’s Game, a four-minute film by Jan Pinkava, wins an Oscar in the short animated films category.

1999 The first Designblok festival is held in Prague. Artist Milan Knížák is appointed Director of the National Gallery. The Czech Republic joins NATO.