Unlike most European countries, the Czech Republic has lacked a one-word version of its name in foreign languages.
Now, the country is set to use the name Czechia in English, Tschechien in German or Tchequie in French,” translations of “Cesko” in Czech.
The foreign ministry said a one-word name is more practical and flexible for various uses.
Neighbouring Slovakia is officially the Slovak Republic. Similarly, Russia is used for the Russian Federation.
Czech leaders, including president Milos Zeman, prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka, speakers of both chambers of parliament and the foreign and defence ministers met on Thursday and endorsed the new name.
In a statement, they said “it is recommended to use a one-word name in foreign languages if it is not necessary to use the formal name of the country”.
They mentioned sports events and marketing as an example. The statement added that the country will ask the UN to update its name on its official database in time for the Olympics this summer.
Not everyone is happy with the name choice. Some critics say it could be confused with the Russian republic of Chechnya, including the country’s regional development minister Karla Slechtova who tweeted that she didn’t like the name.
Others say it does not properly represent two parts of the country historically known as Moravia and Silesia, only the Czech part, known as Bohemia. The official name for the country will remain as “Czech Republic,” but Czechia will become the official shortened version of the name.
The country was established in 1993 when Czechoslovakia split into two countries – The Czech Republic and Slovakia. Because the name of the country is quite long, companies often brand their merchandise and with the word “Czech” to show which country their product comes from. One company that does this is Pilsner Urquell beer which has “Brewed in Plezen – Czech” written on the bottle.