You say Slovakia, we say Slovenia! 5 quick facts to stop mixing up the two countries
Both Slovenia and Slovakia are very nice countries to visit. But a big problem with Slovenian identity abroad is that it is often being confused with Slovakia. And vice versa. Coming from Slovenia, let’s look into some main differences between the two countries.
True. The names may sound similar, and even their flags look very similar, too. But this is not really a reason that Slovenia and Slovakia are the same country. The mix-up has led to many public and ridiculous confusions, some of them involving first-line politicians.
Also, even though both countries have been independent for over two decades, it still happens today that the wrong anthem at a sport tournament is played: Slovenian Anthem Plays For Slovakia At IIHF World Championships.
Here are the 5 things to remember:
There are two countries in between Slovenia and Slovakia
Slovenia and Slovakia are both Slavic-speaking, of catholic tradition, and they both were once part of the Austro-Hungarian empire. As such they are usually considered to be part of “Central Europe”, because of this cultural inheritance.
However, they are not situated in the same place: Slovenia is south of the Alps, by the Adriatic sea, bordering Italy and Croatia. It is separated from Slovakia by two non-Slavic countries: Austria and Hungary.
Slovakia is further north, between Poland, Hungary, Ukraine and Czechia.
Their history is very different
Both countries were former member states of larger nations, and experienced different historical events that led to their formation. At the beginning of the 1990’ies Slovakia rose from the Czechoslovakia (Slovakia is the end of the word Czechoslovakia), Slovenia from Yugoslavia. While Slovenia suffered of a war conflict, Slovakia separated from its Czech neighbour in a peaceful way.
Slovenia has a population of about 2 million, Slovakia 5.4 million.
Slovenia is a coastal country
As mentioned earlier, the geographic position of the two countries is very different. Slovenia is the only country in Europe that combines four diverse geographical regions namely: the Alps, the Mediterranean, the Karst, and the Pannonian Plains (covering Hungary, Serbia, Croatia, Slovakia, the Ukraine, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Romania, Austria, and Slovenia). Furthermore, being by the Adriatic sea, Slovenia is a coastal country, whereas Slovakia is inland, situated directly in Central Europe with no access to the sea.
4. Yes, Slavoj Žižek and Melania Trump are from Slovenia
Slavoj Žižek is undoubtedly Slovenia’s biggest intellectual export. A Slovenian-born philosopher and psychoanalyst is referred to as both the” Elvis of cultural theory” and the biggest box-office draw postmodernists have ever had.
Love him or hate him, he is undeniably a prolific author and thinker, having written over 75 books and endless streams of articles, opinion pieces on everything from Brexit and the refugee crisis to the hermeneutics of toilets.
Coming from a small Slovenian town of Sevnica, Melania Trump is one of the most talked about woman in the world today.
Green is more than a colour in Slovenia
Slovenia and Slovakia are both amazingly beautiful countries and tourist destinations on the rise. They both offer unspoiled natural landscape to explore, spa towns, lakes, caves and gorges. However, since more than half of Slovenia’s surface is forests (62 percent), Slovenia belongs to the top most forested European countries. It is a real GREEN PARADISE of Europe. The green colour was recognized as the most typical colour in Slovenia, its trademark.
The “Slovene green” expresses the balance between calmness of nature. It stands for intact nature and its focus to keep it that way, it represents the harmony of all senses.