Official figures say that some 70,000 Vietnamese live in the Czech Republic
A widespread Vietnamese surname has made it into the Czech Republic’s top 10 ranking of family names, according to a website that draws on official statistics and maps the popularity of first names and prevalence of family names.
The finding by the website Kdejsme.cz (Where we are) that “Nguyen” now ranks as the ninth most common Czech surname is a reflection of the Vietnamese community’s importance as the third-biggest group of foreigners in the Central European country, behind Slovaks and Ukrainians.
It also is mirrors the fact that the surname Nguyen is extremely common among Vietnamese; according to some sources, up to 40 percent of Vietnamese employ that surname, which is in use for both men and women. The Czechs, however, have usually different versions of the same surname even for married couples, meaning that they are pushed down the ranking. For example, the male version of the surname “Němec” and its female equivalent, “Němcová,” would have leapfrogged Nguyen in the Kdejsme.cz table if they had been counted as one. The surname Nguyen was most common in the west of the Czech Republic.
The website found that the surname Nguyen was most common in the west of the Czech Republic and in particularly in the far western border town of Cheb, where it was likely to crop up as one in every 58 family names. This makes it more common there than the most prevalent Czech surname nationwide, “Novaková,” which is only found on average once for every 368 citizens of the town.
No distinctly foreign names are found in the top 20 first names, the most popular being the boy’s name Jiří (George), followed closely by the girl’s name Marie (Mary).
Czech official figures suggest around 70,000 people of Vietnamese origin live in the country, through that figure is certainly higher due to undeclared residents. Close relations were tied between communist North Vietnam and communist Czechoslovakia in the 1960s, with a large influx of Vietnamese to work in factories following the signing of cooperation and friendship treaties in 1979 and 1980.
Official close relations between the ideological bother countries eased after the so-called Velvet Revolution and toppling of the communist regime in Czechoslovakia in 1989, but were maintained at a personal level by relations between Vietnamese in their new country and those left at home.