Czech Republic is a small country and it comes as no surprise that many people don’t know much or even anything about it. Some are surprised to see how modern this country is, others are surprised by the mere fact that this country exists. Here are some misconceptions about the Czech republic, some are common, funny and sometimes understandable, other less so…
“Is Czech Republic the capital of Moscow? Yep, I was really asked that.”
Fortunatelly, the Czechs have a great sense of humor and self-irony and are somewhat used to hearing loads of nonsense about their country without getting offended. Maybe with a few exceptions…
Some foreigners have never heard about the Czech Republic. And we’re not talking about indigenous people living in a rain forest but about those who live the “modern” life with TV, internet…
Oh the geography
While it’s understandable that many people from other continents don’t know where to place the Czech Republic on a map (or that it even exists), it’s eyebrow-raising to say the least that many Europeans have the same problem.
“When I was studying law in Catalonia in 2010, I’ve heard over and over from my fellow students that it’s the first time they hear about Czech Republic and those who knew of its existence were ready to argue it wasn’t in the European Union. To be fair, they were saying the same about Great Britain and Poland.”
Czech people who travel abroad often hear statements like “it’s right next to Russia” which is often a common denomination for all European countries east of Germany. We could even argue that the Czech Republic isn’t really in Eastern Europe because it’s as much a Central European country as Austria.
“When I said I was from the Czech Republic, a friend told me: I know that place, I was there on holidays, it’s in South Africa, right?”
“When I was moving to the Czech Republic from Spain a friend asked me whether it was in French Polynesia.”
Czech people who attended highschool are usually very well educated in geography as there are mandatory geography classes in most types of highschools. And the Czech geography classes include such detailed knowledge like knowing all African countries and their capitals and placing them on a blind map. So no wonder it’s surprising for many Czechs that in other countries you can drop geography when you’re 11.
Good old Czechoslovakia
Despite the fact that Czechoslovakia dissolved 28 years ago, it’s not been enough time for some people to update their info. While this might lead to some funny stories it’s less funny to realize that public institutions in some of the EU-countries have the same problem:
“After several years living in France I had to register to public authorities Conseil regional and CAF. This turned out to be a huge problem even well into the year 2016 because I simply couldn’t choose my country of origin – they still had Czechoslovakia in the list instead of Czech Republic! It resulted in a seven-month-long battle…”
They speak Russian there…
Often times people from non-Slavic regions refer to all Slavic languages as “Russian”. And when you watch Hollywood movies which take place in Prague, there’s usually a villain named Ivan or Sergei (common Russian names) who speaks English with a Russian accent.
Belonging to the Slavic family has a great perk – you can go to almost any Slavic country and understand the locals without speaking their language. For Czechs it’s more difficult in countries like Russia or Ukraine but very easy in Slovakia, Poland, Croatia, Slovenia and several other countries.
It’s not a third-world country
Not to make fun of the third-world countries but the Czech Republic isn’t one of them. Come and see for yourself, there are many reasons to visit Czechia!
“They asked me whether we have wi-fi in the Czech Republic.”
“I was asked whether we knew what TV, pizza and yoghurt are:D”
“They think I came to Spain because there’s not enough food in my country.”
Eastern block? Yes! Soviet Union or Russia? No!
To set things straight once and for all, neither the Czech Republic nor Czechoslovakia were ever a part of the Soviet Union or even Russia. Politically, the country belonged to the eastern block and was a so-called satellite state of the Soviet Union until the Velvet Revolution. It basically means that the leadership of the Czech Communist party was taking orders from the leaders of the Soviet Union and many decisions within the country were made based on the commands of the Soviets. However, the Czech Republic was never a part of the Soviet Union. Therefore, it’s also wrong to call it a post-Soviet country.
Also not Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia means “the land of the southern Slavs” and neither the Czech Republic not its predecessors have ever been part of it although this misconception is as common as the previous one. You can read more about Yugoslavia here.
Definitelly not Chechnya (seriously?!)
After the Boston Marathon Bombing in 2013 the Czechs were not only shocked by the news of the terrorist attack but also by the fact that many US-citizens mistook the Czech Republic for the terrorists’ country of origin – Chechnya. Even sadder is that many continue commiting this mistake even years later. Czech Republic and Chechnya have literally nothing in common, politically, geographically or religiously. So if you’re one of those who tend to confuse these two, please don’t.
— himbo slice (@MrPooni) April 19, 2013
“So you’re from Prague!”
However beautiful Prague might be, not all Czech people come from the capital. Many Czechs are familiar with the assumption that they are from Prague when they mention their Czech origin.
It is ok to have been only to Prague but don’t forget there are other beautiful places in the Czech Republic. You can discover some of them in our posts.
Beer drinkers everywhere
Probably one of the most common misconceptions about the Czech Republic. Although is it true that Czechia is the country with the highest beer consumption per capita and there are small and large breweries all over the country, not all Czechs drink beer.
“I don’t like beer.”
– shocking statement by a Czech person who prefers to remain nameless
In fact, there is even a region which specializes in wine production and you can taste most exquisite wines on nearly every corner. That wine region is South Moravia.
That’s where Melania is from…
This one goes especially to our US-readers (we know you’re there) because we’ve heard this one more than enough. Melania Trump, the wife of Donald J. Trump, does not come from the Czech Republic, Czechoslovakia or even Slovakia. She comes from Slovenia which is another beautiful Slavic country. Trump’s first wife Ivana is the one who’s Czech;) And by the way, we have a list of famous people who have Czech roots, so check it out!
And there’s more
“I was asked multiple times whether we celebrate 4th of July.”
No, guys, Czech Republic really doesn’t observe and celebrate other countries’ national holidays…
Also, it’s not constantly cold and snowing in Czechia which is something southern Europeans tend to think and Czechs drive on the right side of the road.
One of the most pleasant things we’ve heard is that the Czech women are the most beautiful women in the world. Whether that is a misconception or not we leave up to you;-)
Now it’s your turn to tell us which misconceptions about the Czech Republic you’ve heard or even believed!