How To Change Your Primary Culture in EU4

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You can change your primary culture with the “Culture Shift” mechanic in the Government tab. This is a two-step process:

  1. Your desired culture must become an accepted culture
  2. It must have at least 50% development of all your state cores

Each step costs 100 diplo mana.

Note: For empires, their cultural union perk prevents them from switching to cultures within their culture group. You can work around this by shifting to another culture group and then shifting back to your desired culture.


I. Promoting Cultures

To promote a culture:

Step 1: Open the Government tab

Step 2: Make sure your desired culture has at least 20 dev in states

  • You can improve the base dev of your desired culture’s provinces. You can also conquer more provinces that have your desired culture.
  • In both cases, turn those provinces into state cores.
  • You can check how much dev you need by hovering over the percentage beside your desired culture.

Step 3: Click the “Promote Culture” button next to your desired culture

Promoting a Culture in the Government Tab / EU4
Promoting a Culture in the Government Tab

II. Shifting Cultures

To change your primary culture:

Step 1: Open the Government tab

Step 2: Adjust your states so your desired culture has over 50% of your total dev in states

You have four ways of making this adjustment:

  • For provinces that have your desired culture:
    • Turn their territories into states
    • Improve their base dev
  • For those that don’t have your desired culture:
    • Revert their states back into territories
    • Exploit their base dev

Warning: You may lose a lot of income if you choose to revert states into territories. Do that only if your economy can take the hit.

Step 3: Click the “Cultural Shift” button next to your desired culture

Changing Your Nation’s Primary Culture / EU4
Changing Your Nation’s Primary Culture

Benefits of Changing Your Primary Culture


#1: Access to Culture-Locked Formable Nations

The main reason players change their primary cultures is to form certain countries.

Most formables are hidden behind cultural requirements.

For example, the Mughal Empire is only available to Iranians, Turkmens, Uzbeks, or Kyrgyz. If you shift your primary culture to any of those cultures, you’ll unlock the decision to form the Mughals, even if you started as a distant, unrelated nation.

As to why you’d want to do this method instead of just starting as a culturally-related nation, consider these points:

  1. Forming another country comes with a new mission tree.
  2. You have the option to keep your current national ideas or to replace them with your new nation’s set.
  3. You’ll retain any permanent modifiers you’ve earned from your previous mission tree.

This all means that you can create your own combination of ideas and modifiers.

You can basically optimize any nation beyond their existing parameters.

Note: Culture-shifting for formables is only for fun. You won’t get their achievements with this method. Most of those achievements require that you start as a culture/nation related to the formable.


#2: Access To Larger Culture Groups

If the bulk of your culture group is in low-dev regions, it might be a good idea to shift to a larger group in a better region.

It’s more cost-efficient than accepting individual cultures.

For example, the Chinese culture group is one of the biggest in the world. They also have a lot of provinces with over 20–30 dev.

Instead of accepting each Chinese culture individually, you can save up on diplo mana just by shifting to their culture group.

When you become an empire, all cultures in your culture group automatically become an accepted culture.

The 15 Cultures That Comprise the Chinese Culture Group / EU4
The 15 Cultures That Comprise the Chinese Culture GroupChanging Your Nation’s Primary Culture
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Louie Nelson Zafico

As a frustrated otter who dreams of getting published, Louie instead wastes his life cuddling his cats. He spent his childhood playing Suikoden, grew up with Total War, and matured (somewhat) with EU4. He hopes to someday find a geopolitical JRPG with the 4X systems of a Paradox game.