Prague (AFP) – The Czech Republic on Thursday said it was tired of its long and unwieldy name and would like to be called “Czechia” from now on.
“We recommend using the single-word name in foreign languages in situations when it’s not necessary to use the country’s formal name: sports events, marketing purposes etc.,” the president, prime minister and other Czech officials said in a statement.
“The foreign ministry will ask the United Nations to include in its databases the correct equivalents of the country name in its official languages — Czechia in English, la Tchequie in French etc.”
Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek told reporters the government decided to take action because “there have been distortions and misspellings”.
The Czech ice-hockey team, for instance, has been using the word “Czech” — an adjective — on its jerseys.
The Czech Republic is a successor state to former Czechoslovakia following a peaceful split with Slovakia in 1993.
The country has had misgivings over its name for years, so much so that the issue even came up in conversation between President Milos Zeman and his Israeli counterpart in 2013.
“I use the word Czechia because it sounds nicer and it’s shorter than the cold Czech Republic,” Zeman told then president Shimon Peres on an official visit to Israel.
But not all Czechs are keen on the change.
“I disagree with the name ‘Czechia’,” Regional Development Minister Karla Slechtova tweeted on Thursday.
“I don’t want people to confuse our country with Chechnya.”