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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4 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, expats.cz, 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. 🙂

  2. How about agreeing on Czechian Republic as a compromise?

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