Czech Republic’s Tourist Information Site Rebrands As “VisitCzechia”
The problem of how to refer to the country has been an ongoing controversy. Photo credit: VisitCzechia, via Facebook.
Brno, Mar 3 (BD) – The Czech Republic’s tourist information site, previously known as “VisitCzechRepublic”, has rebranded as “VisitCzechia”.
The problem of how to refer to the country has been an ongoing controversy. “Czechia” was suggested as an informal short name for the Czech Republic after its split from Slovakia in 1993, as an English form of the Czech term “Česko”, which was itself divisive.
However, despite evidence of its use as early as 1925, no consensus was found for this short-form name, and it was not adopted. It was not until 2016, on the recommendation of President Milos Zeman, that the government agreed to make Czechia the official international short name. Since then, it has gradually come into use mainly for official purposes, such as in the United Nations, and by international companies such as Google Maps and Apple. 2022 saw a variety of other organisations, including UEFA, FIFA, NATO, the World Bank, and the Czech Olympic Committee, announce that they were making the change. This year, the name Czechia will be used for the first time in the Eurovision Song Contest.
However, the term is still rarely heard in conversation, and remains deeply unpopular with many Czechs, as well as foreigners living in the country. Arguments against include aesthetic criticisms of how the word sounds in English, as well as complaints that the name refers primarily to Bohemia, thereby erasing Moravia (and Silesia).
“So how to call our country? Which is the correct name? Both!” wrote the organisation previously known as VisitCzechRepublic in a Facebook post on 22 February. “Czechia and Czech Republic are synonyms and are both official names. However, Czech Republic is used in more formal communication, e.g. in the names of representative offices, official correspondence, etc. The shorter version is less formal. Simply put, Czechia is used to represent our domestic achievements, history or personalities. That’s why we are now VisitCzechia!”
Response was swift from Facebook users. “Nothing like using a name that is disliked by most!” wrote one, while another commented that: “‘Czechomoravia’ would sound better in English. Or ‘Bohemia’. Or the French ‘Tchequie’. But I will never use “Czechia’”.