Here’s why the Czech Republic has changed its name to Czechia

The country is increasingly being referred to as ‘Czechia’ at sports events like football and in literature and the media

Ed Cunningham
Written by
Ed Cunningham
News Editor, Time Out UK and Time Out London
Photograph: Shutterstock

Countries changing their names is nothing new. In fact, plenty of states have done so over the years. Whether trying to better capture the geography of a country, ditch a colonial past or to just simplify things a little, there are plenty of reasons why states change how they’re known on a world stage.

Despite initially being a bit difficult to get used to, these things gradually become completely normalised. Zimbabwe was once Rhodesia, Thailand was Siam, Myanmar was Burma, Iran was Persia and the Netherlands was once Holland. In recent years, other countries have made slight tweaks to their name, too. The Republic of Iceland became just ‘Iceland’ in 2022, while last year Micronesia became the ‘Federated States of Micronesia’. 

The Czech Republic also wants to go by a different name – ‘Czechia’. But what’s the story?

Why is Czech Republic called Czechia?

Czechia and the Czech Republic have both been used in an official capacity for years (since 2016, in fact), with the former being simply a shortened form. From now on, however, Czech Republic will only be used in things like official government documents, legal correspondence and embassy business. Sort of how France is called the ‘French Republic’ in some very formal contexts.

Czechia, on the other hand, is what the country would prefer to be called in more practical, less formal situations. Czechia will be used in things such as literary works and newspapers, as well as by people representing the country like sportspeople. For example, 'Czechia' is the official name of the national men’s football team, listed as such by UEFA and FIFA. The name is increasingly being used by commentators and pundits for football tournaments, including the UEFA Euros 2024

When did Czech Republic become Czechia?

This isn’t the first time that Czechia (or the land that now constitutes the country) has undergone a name change. Historically known in English as Bohemia, the area was known as Czechia as early as the 1990s, when still part of Czechoslovakia. The Czech Republic emerged after a peaceful split from Slovakia in 1992. 

Even though we got the news of the renaming in spring 2023, the government resolution was actually passed back in 2016. 

So, better get used to reading and hearing about Czechia! Now read our guide to the most essential stuff to see and do in the Czech capital Prague

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