Czech Republic vs. Czechia

I never thought that one day I would write anything like that: Some people strongly oppose the use of the name Czech Republic. Instead, they want you to use the short form Czechia. The name Czechia was officially introduced in 2016. And why not? Even the Slovak Republic has a short form: Slovakia. So what is bad about using also Czechia? Probably nothing. Apart from the similarity to Chechnya. It is just a question of personal preference.

Officially, you can now choose between a long and a short form. But, in reality, you will be surprised how emotionally many Czechs react if your choice doesn’t match theirs. Just read the comments under the following video, or post a tweet with the hashtag #czechrepublic and wait for the lecture.

What’s in a name? Quite a lot in the Czech Republic. And even more in Czechia. Because language is all about identity and national boundaries.

Edit: After some discussions behind the scenes it might be necessary to clarify my own standpoint: I suggest that you use any of the two official names, when talking about the country in a context that requires an official name. And I oppose to being pushed into any preference. I myself will continue to preferably use “Czech Republic”. And since this blog is not a collection of deadly serious texts and much is just ironic, I might as well use “Czechia”.

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9 Responses

  1. Caleb says:

    Oh man, so much to say about this, as the co-creator of this video we thought this would be the least controversial topic we could film, and turned out it was the MOST. Since then the same small group has spammed any post we make about Czech Republic, and they do the same to VisitCZ, honest guide,, etc. So in honest curiosity, are the czechs you refer to ones that you meet personally and who live in the country, or just on social media? It seems to me that it’s the same 3-4 extreme supporters ( or perhaps even self-proclaimed enforcers) of “Czechia,” all of whom seem to be connected to business ventures such as visitczechia, which they probably hope will become the official slogan at one point. It’s also worth noting that those 3-4 enforcers don’t live in the country. In my experience most Czechs in the country react badly or strangely to Czechia. So for the time being we continue to follow the lead of the ministry of tourism (official multi-million dollar campaign: “Czech Republic, Land of Stories”) the Czech delegation to the UN (search for pictures of their plaque) and even national sports jerseys (search for Czech Olympic or hockey teams). It’s up to the Czechs to decide, but I think we should beware of being influenced by a few aggressive and self-interested individuals.

    • Christoph says:

      Hi Celeb, thank you for that comment! It never came to my mind that there might be business interests behind those comments. I wonder how people with such a bad communication style would be able to run a business, or maybe that’s just a typical thing with comments on YouTube.
      On Twitter I had some friendly but insisting rebukes when I used “Czech Republic”. I would expect some criticism if I said that one version is right and the other one is plainly wrong and should be avoided. But I was simply using one of the variants.
      And yes, I agree that most Czechs are very relaxed about that topic and seem to tend towards the name they’ve been using for a long time. Maybe the habits eventually will change, but I think this will take at least another 5-10 years. And the new name certainly won’t become more attractive by unfriendly proponents. 🙂

    • Jan Blanicky says:

      You really “should beware of being influenced by a few aggressive and self-interested individuals”……. you absolutely do not understand the sense and your accusation is absurd. Persons who care about the presentation of the state as well-established unit, which can be represented only by timeless, universally applicable geographic name (Czechia), not by the name of some momentary state-political system in the country should be really “self-interested”. It is product of people who absolutely do not understand the sense of matter. In addition, it is not possible to publish here any comment, which disagree with your lying and weak-minded statement.

    • Vaclav Sulista says:

      1)Visit Czechia is not a business and it will never be a business. Please stop spreading lies. And where do you see aggressive behaviour in informing people about the official and correct name?
      2) From the Civic initiative CZECHIA (and you can find the names in their website) there is only one person living abroad. So another like from your side. This person is me, Vaclav Sulista. And does living abroad disqualify me from being a patriot? Taking care of my country?
      Your comment really hurt, I live in Switzerland since 29 years, my wife is Swiss. I am helping my countrymen as translator free of charge since ages.
      You should apologize!

  2. Sam Beckwith says:

    How about agreeing on Czechian Republic as a compromise?

  3. Jan Blanicky says:

    Call our country CZECHIA /read “checkyia”/. Our country has more than 1200 years old history and only very small part of it is the history of republican system.
    Leave that cold and clumsy formal name Czech Republic for politics. Czechia is a geographical name, which is independent on time and state-political changes in the country, thus, it can be used for our country both in historical and contemporary context. Transient political name denominates only current state-political formation in Czechia.
    This name is very old, coming from Latin and has its equivalents in all languages, e.g. Chequia (ES), Chéquia (PT), Tchéquia (Brazilian PT), Tchéquie (FR), Cechia (IT), Tschechien (DE), Tjekkiet (DK), Tsjechië (NL), Tsjekkia (NO), Tjeckien (SE), Cehia (RO), Çekya (TR), Češka / Чешка (HR, RS), Чехия (RU, BG), Чехія (UA, BY), Τσεχία (GR), etc.. It is translation of Czech geographic name ČESKO.

  4. Eva Horová says:

    I suspect that the author does not know the correct pronunciation of Czechia [ˈtʃɛkiə] /check-i-ya/. If he did, he could not claim that Czechia is similar to Chechnya. Furthermore, it is rude and tasteless to make fun of the country´s geographic name, which is as standard and “official” as its political title (the Czech Republic) is. Instead of uttering would-be witty comments, you had better get accustomed to using Czechia. The country needs its short, geographic name and the best option is Czechia whether you personally like it or not.

  5. Christoph says:

    Wow, 4 people come within a few hours! So it is organized in the background. Impressive. And it seems to be the same people who appear in similar threads in other places. If someone goes knocking on EVERY door, they must be really desperate. Either they try to convince us to read the Bible or to use the word “Czechia”. 😀
    Reading this, I decided to use only “Czech Republic”. I realized now that It is expressively connected to the period of the republic, which is that part of their history that Czechs can be most proud of.
    But this is only my opinion and others can choose as they wish. I will not correct anyone who makes a different choice.
    So, let’s close that topic and simply wait for 5 years and then re-evaluate, how the Czechs in their majority have decided.
    Only time will tell.