The delegation from ČT and the EBU have announced that the Czech Republic will no longer officially compete at Eurovision – they have now changed their name to Czechia! This follows the Czech government’s official change of name in 2016, aiming to use the short-form name of the country across the international stage.
The move marks the second name change for a Eurovision country in recent years. 2019 was the first year that North Macedonia took to the stage, after changing their name from “The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” (or FYR Macedonia).
Czechia will be represented at Eurovision 2023 by Vesna with “My Sister’s Crown”, following their victory at ESCZ earlier this week.
Czechia: A Brief History
While Czechia may be a new name for the Eurovision stage, it has a long history! The first known usage of the word Czechia in English comes from a book published in 1841 by Henry and Thomas Rose, “A New General Biographical Dictionary Projected and Partly Arranged.” Similarly, the name was used following the establishment of Czechoslovakia to refer to lands in the Czech parts of the state.
Moves to re-adopt Czechia as the country’s common name (as the translation of Czech-language name Česko) re-emerged in the 1990s, as Czechia and Slovakia once again became two distinct sovereign states. Discussions also considered other names, including Czechomoravia; the root of the word Czech or Česko refers specifically to Bohemia, just one area of the wider country, with other names being considered to reflect other parts of the nation as well. However, in 2013, Czech president Miloš Zeman recommended the wider official use of Czechia, and in 2016, the government agreed to make Czechia the official short name.
The EBU becomes the latest international institution to reflect this name change. It follows the United Nations, major sports federations such as the International Olympics Committee and the Associated Press. The Czech Republic remains the official full name of the country (just as France’s long-form name is the French Republic, for example), but will be used rarely outside of official documentation.
Czechia’s Eurovision Journey
Czechia made their debut in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2007, with Kabát’s “Malá dama”. However, their debut entry finished last in a 28-song semi-final, scoring only 1 point. Afterwards, this kicked off three consecutive non-qualifications, with their best result coming in 2008, finishing in second-last place. Having withdrawn in 2009 due to poor results, Czechia returned to the Contest in 2015. In 2016, Czechia qualified for the first time with Gabriela Gunciková’s “I Stand”.
In 2022, We Are Domi represented Czechia with their song “Lights Off”. Performing in the second semi-final in Turin, the band qualified for the final – and finished in 22nd place in a field of 25 with 38 points.
Are you happy to see Czechia in the Eurovision line up? As always, let us know what you think by commenting below. Also, be sure to follow “That Eurovision Site” on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Tiktok as we look ahead to Eurovision 2023!
News Source: ČT
Photo Credit: EBU/Sarah Louise Bennett