Czechs pick 'Czechia' as one-word name after decades of hesitation

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PRAGUE, April 15 (Reuters) - The Czech Republic's leaders have chosen "Czechia" as the one-word alternative name of their country to make it easier for companies, politicians and sportsmen to use on products, name tags and jerseys.

The choice, agreed on Thursday evening by the president, prime minister, heads of parliament and foreign and defense ministers, must still win cabinet approval before the Foreign Ministry can lodge the name with the United Nations and it becomes the country's official short name.

The Czech Republic emerged, along with Slovakia, from the peaceful breakup of the old Czechoslovakia in 1993. But so far there has been no standardized one-word English name for the Czech Republic, unlike, say, France, the shortened version of the French Republic.

That has led to a lot of head-scratching. The largest part of the country is known as Bohemia ("Cechy" in Czech), but there are also other parts, Moravia and Silesia, so one name is needed that does not exclude those historic lands.

The Czech Republic's adored ice hockey team has donned "Czech" on their jerseys, as have bottles of the country's premium export beer, Pilsner Urquell. But "Czech" is an adjective and cannot be used as a one-word name for the country.

Check out the gallery below for some of the best desserts in Europe:

Best desserts of Europe
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Czechs pick 'Czechia' as one-word name after decades of hesitation

France: Croquembouche

A cone-shaped pile of choux pastry balls wrapped in threads of caramel. Typically served at weddings.

Photo: Getty

Luxembourg: Bretzel 

A large pretzel-shaped puff pastry commonly topped with almonds and icing in Luxembourg. During Lent, there is a festival called 'Pretzel Sunday' where men give their girlfriends pretzels to symbolize two lovers arm in arm.

Photo: Getty

Germany: Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (Black Forest Cake)

Layers of chocolate sponge cake wedged between sheets of whipped cream and chopped cherries. It is decorated with more cherries, more whipped cream, and chocolate shavings.

Photo: Getty

Italy: Sfogliatelle

Shell shaped filled pastries filled with ricotta native to Italian cuisine, especially from Naples.

Photo: Getty

Sweden: Princess cake 

A dessert made with layers of pastry cream, sponge cake and whipped cream. It is traditionally topped with green marzipan.

Photo: Getty

Norway: Krumkake

Patterned waffle cookies made on a decorated, two-sided iron to give that luxurious texture. Krumkake is traditionally eaten after Christmas Eve dinner. It can be eaten plain or with whipped cream and fruit.

Photo: Getty

Switzerland: Vermicelles

Sweetened, puréed chestnut dessert piled on a meringue base and topped with whipped cream.

Photo: Getty

Portugal: Pasteis de Nata 

Sweet egg custard baked in puff pastry crusts.

Photo: Getty

Belgium: Liege waffle

Waffle made from a thick batter that resembles bread dough. Pearl sugar is mixed into the batter, which caramelizes as it cooks.

Photo: Getty

The Netherlands: Poffertjes

Tiny pancakes made of buckwheat and yeast that are baked in a cast iron pan. Typically served with butter and powered sugar.

Photo: Getty

Spain: Churros con chocolate caliente

Fried pastry dough in long prism shapes that can be dipped in thick hot chocolate or eaten on its own. Churros are typically eaten for breakfast in Spain, but you can find them around the clock.

Photo: Getty

Iceland: Pönnukökur

Crepes that are typically filled with whipped cream or yogurt and topped with fruit. Cherries are shown, but Icelandic people love their rhubarb jam.

Photo: Getty 

Greece: Koulourakia 

Butter-based biscuit that is typically served at Easter. It is hand-shaped and glazed with an egg wash. They are frequently topped with sesame seeds.

Photo: Getty

Ireland: Bread pudding

Warm and hearty, the bread pudding is steamed to achieve a custardy inside and crispy, crusty outside. 

Photo: Getty

Finland: Pulla

Sweet dessert bread spiced with crushed cardamon seeds and occasionally raisins. Eat with coffee!

Photo: Getty

United Kingdom: Eton Mess

Traditional English dessert consisting of pieces of meringue, cream, and strawberries. The sweet treat is named after Eton College, a secondary school that popularized the dish.

Photo: Shutterstock

Denmark: Aeblskiver

Round pancakes made of wheat flour. Batter is poured into little cast iron well pans and turned with a metal knitting needle. Traditionally cooked with apple slices inside, they are now served with jam.

Photo: Getty

Austria: Linzer torte 

A buttery, nut-flavored pastry base, topped with a thick layer of jam and a lattice crust. 

Photo: Getty


Supporters of "Czechia" say the term in English can be traced back to the 19th century and was codified by the Czech surveying and mapping authority soon after the 1993 split of Czechoslovakia as a possible one-word alternative.

But it never gained traction until now and it may not have an easy start once it gains official status.

To some, it sounds ugly. Others, including Regional Development Minister Karla Slechtova, think it is too close to "Chechnya," making it prone to confusion.

Slechtova tweeted on Thursday that the Czech Republic had invested more than $40 million into a tourism promotion campaign using its full name, and should stick to it.

In some other languages, including French and German, the Czech Republic is already designated by a single name, but in Czech itself the name 'Cesko' has only made slow progress since 1993 and 'Cechy' - or Bohemia - is still commonly used to mean the whole country.

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