Central Europe is the central region of Europe
. Central Europe includes contiguous territories that are sometimes also considered parts of Western Europe
, Southern Europe
and Eastern Europe
The concept of Central Europe is based on a common historical, social and cultural identity
and is a patchwork of territories that are traditionally Catholic
. The Thirty Years' War
between Catholicism and Protestantism was a significant shaping process in the history of Central Europe, and neither side was able to prevail in the region as a whole.
Historically, Central Europe comprised most of the territories of the Holy Roman Empire
and the territories belonging to the two adjacent kingdoms to the east (Poland
). Hungary and parts of Poland were later parts of the Habsburg Monarchy
, which was also a significant shaping force in its history. Unlike their Western European counterparts, few Central European states had any overseas colonies, owing to both their central location and other factors. This has often been cited as one of the causes of World War I
. After World War II
, Central Europe was divided by the Iron Curtain
to the parts belonging to the West and those of the Eastern bloc
. The Berlin Wall
was the most visible symbol of that division.
Central Europe began a "strategic awakening" in the early 21st century, with initiatives such as the Central European Initiative
, and the Visegrád Four Group
. While the region's economies show considerable disparities of income, all Central European countries are listed by the Human Development Index
as very highly developed
[2010 Human Development Index](_blank)
(PDF). Retrieved 29 October 2011.
Middle Ages and early modern era
Elements of cultural unity for Northwestern, Southwestern and Central Europe were Catholicism
. However Eastern Europe, which remained Eastern Orthodox
, was the area of Graeco-Byzantine cultural influence; after the East–West Schism
(1054), Eastern Europe developed cultural unity and resistance to the Catholic (and later also Protestant) Western world within the framework of Orthodox Church, Church Slavonic
language and the Cyrillic alphabet
File:Carolingian empire 843 888.jpg|Frankish Empire and its tributaries (AD 843–888)
File:Great Moravia.svg|alt=Moravia under Svatopluk|Certain and disputed borders of Great Moravia under Svatopluk I (AD 870–894)
File:Church in poland 12-13c.svg|Kingdom of Poland in late 12th–13th centuries.
File:Karte Böhmen unter Ottokar II.png|Bohemia in 1273
File:Europe mediterranean 1190 cropped.jpg|Kingdom of Hungary in 1190
File:Deutsche Ostsiedlung.png|Stages of German eastern settlement, 700–1400 adapted from Walter Kuhn
File:Holy Roman Empire ca.1600.svg|Holy Roman Empire in 1600 superimposed on modern state borders
According to Hungarian historian Jenő Szűcs
, foundations of Central European history at the first millennium were in close connection with Western European development. He explained that between the 11th and 15th centuries, not only Christianization and its cultural consequences were implemented, but well-defined social features emerged in Central Europe based on Western characteristics. The keyword of Western social development after millennium was the spread of liberties and autonomies in Western Europe. These phenomena appeared in the middle of the 13th century in Central European countries. There were self-governments of towns, counties and parliaments.
In 1335, under the rule of the King Charles I of Hungary
, the castle of Visegrád
, the seat of the Hungarian monarchs
was the scene of the royal summit of the Kings of Poland
They agreed to cooperate closely in the field of politics and commerce, inspiring their post-Cold War
successors to launch a successful Central European initiative
In the Middle Ages, countries in Central Europe adopted Magdeburg rights
Before World War I
Before 1870, the industrialization that had started to develop in Northwestern and Central Europe and the United States did not extend in any significant way to the rest of the world. Even in Eastern Europe
, industrialization lagged far behind. Russia
, for example, remained largely rural and agricultural, and its autocratic rulers kept the peasants in serfdom.
The concept of Central Europe was already known at the beginning of the 19th century,
but its real life began in the 20th century and immediately became an object of intensive interest. However, the very first concept mixed science, politics and economy – it was strictly connected with the intensively growing German economy and its aspirations to dominate a part of European continent called ''Mitteleuropa''. The German term denoting Central Europe was so fashionable that other languages started referring to it when indicating territories from Rhine
, or even Dnieper
, and from the Baltic Sea
to the Balkans
. An example of that-time vision of Central Europe may be seen in Joseph Partsch
's book of 1903.
On 21 January 1904, ''Mitteleuropäischer Wirtschaftsverein'' (Central European Economic Association) was established in Berlin
with economic integration of Germany and Austria–Hungary (with eventual extension to Switzerland
and the Netherlands
) as its main aim. Another time, the term Central Europe became connected to the German plans of political, economic and cultural domination. The "bible" of the concept was Friedrich Naumann
's book ''Mitteleuropa'' in which he called for an economic federation to be established after World War I. Naumann's idea was that the federation would have at its centre Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire
but would also include all European nations outside the Triple Entente
. The concept failed after the German defeat in World War I
and the dissolution of Austria-Hungary
. The revival of the idea may be observed during the Hitler era
According to Emmanuel de Martonne
, in 1927 the Central European countries included: Austria, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Switzerland. The author uses both Human and Physical Geographical features to define Central Europe, but he doesn't take into account the legal development or the social, cultural, economic, infrastructural developments in these countries.
The interwar period
(1918–1939) brought a new geopolitical system, as well as economic and political problems, and the concept of Central Europe took on a different character. The centre of interest was moved to its eastern part – the countries that have (re)appeared on the map of Europe: Czechoslovakia
. Central Europe ceased to be the area of German aspiration to lead or dominate and became a territory of various integration movements aiming at resolving political, economic and national problems of "new" states, being a way to face German and Soviet pressures. However, the conflict of interests was too big and neither Little Entente
(''Międzymorze'') ideas succeeded.
The interwar period brought new elements to the concept of Central Europe. Before World War I, it embraced mainly German states (Germany, Austria
), non-German territories being an area of intended German penetration and domination – German leadership position was to be the natural result of economic dominance.
After the war, the Eastern part of Central Europe was placed at the centre of the concept. At that time the scientists took an interest in the idea: the International Historical Congress in Brussels
in 1923 was committed to Central Europe, and the 1933 Congress continued the discussions.
Hungarian historian Magda Ádám wrote in her study ''Versailles System and Central Europe'' (2006): "Today we know that the bane of Central Europe was the Little Entente
, military alliance of Czechoslovakia
and Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes
(later Yugoslavia), created in 1921 not for Central Europe's cooperation nor to fight German expansion, but in a wrong perceived notion that a completely powerless Hungary must be kept down".
The avant-garde movements of Central Europe were an essential part of modernism's evolution, reaching its peak throughout the continent during the 1920s. The ''Sourcebook of Central European avantgards'' (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) contains primary documents of the avant-gardes in Austria
, and Poland
from 1910 to 1930.
The manifestos and magazines of Central European radical art circles are well known to Western scholars and are being taught at primary universities of their kind in the western world.
'' may refer to an historical concept, or to a contemporary German definition of Central Europe. As an historical concept, the German term ''Mitteleuropa'' (or alternatively its literal translation into English, ''Middle Europe'') is an ambiguous German concept. It is sometimes used in English to refer to an area somewhat larger than most conceptions of 'Central Europe'; it refers to territories under Germanic cultural hegemony
until World War I (encompassing Austria–Hungary and Germany in their pre-war formations but usually excluding the Baltic countries
north of East Prussia
). According to Fritz Fischer
''Mitteleuropa'' was a scheme in the era of the Reich of 1871–1918
by which the old imperial elites had allegedly sought to build a system of German economic, military and political domination from the northern seas to the Near East and from the Low Countries through the steppes of Russia to the Caucasus. Later on, professor Fritz Epstein argued the threat of a Slavic "Drang nach Westen" (Western expansion) had been a major factor in the emergence of a ''Mitteleuropa'' ideology before the Reich of 1871 ever came into being.
In Germany the connotation was also sometimes linked to the pre-war German provinces east of the Oder-Neisse line
The term "Mitteleuropa" conjures up negative historical associations among some elderly people, although the Germans have not played an exclusively negative role in the region. Most Central European Jews embraced the enlightened German humanistic culture of the 19th century. German-speaking Jews from turn of the 20th century Vienna
became representatives of what many consider to be Central European culture at its best, though the Nazi version of "Mitteleuropa" destroyed this kind of culture instead. However, the term "Mitteleuropa" is now widely used again in German education and media without negative meaning, especially since the end of communism. In fact, many people from the new states of Germany
do not identify themselves as being part of Western Europe
and therefore prefer the term "Mitteleuropa".
Central Europe during World War II
During World War II, Central Europe was largely occupied by Nazi Germany. Many areas were a battle area and were devastated. The mass murder of the Jews depopulated many of their centuries-old settlement areas or settled other people there and their culture was wiped out. Both Adolf Hitler
and Joseph Stalin
diametrically opposed the centuries-old Habsburg principles of "live and let live" with regard to ethnic groups, peoples, minorities, religions, cultures and languages and tried to assert their own ideologies and power interests in Central Europe. There were various Allied plans for state order in Central Europe for post-war. While Stalin tried to get as many states under his control as possible, Winston Churchill
preferred a Central European Danube Confederation to counter these countries against Germany and Russia. There were also plans to add Bavaria and Württemberg to an enlarged Austria. There were also various resistance movements around Otto von Habsburg
that pursued this goal. The group around the Austrian priest Heinrich Maier
also planned in this direction, which also successfully helped the Allies to wage war by, among other things, forwarding production sites and plans for V-2 rocket
s, Tiger tank
s and aircraft to the USA. So Otto von Habsburg also tried to detach Hungary from its grasp by Nazi Germany and the USSR. There were various considerations to prevent German power in Europe after the war. Churchill's idea of reaching the area around Vienna and Budapest before the Russians via an operation from the Adriatic had not been approved by the Western Allied chiefs of staff. As a result of the military situation at the end of the war, Stalin's plans prevailed and much of Central Europe came under Russian control.
Central Europe behind the Iron Curtain
Following World War II
, large parts of Europe that were culturally and historically Western became part of the Eastern bloc
. Czech author Milan Kundera
(emigrant to France) thus wrote in 1984 about the "Tragedy of Central Europe" in the New York Review of Books
. The boundary between the two blocks was called the Iron Curtain
. Consequently, the English term ''Central Europe'' was increasingly applied only to the westernmost former Warsaw Pact countries (East Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary) to specify them as communist states that were culturally tied to Western Europe. This usage continued after the end of the Warsaw Pact when these countries started to undergo transition.
The post-World War II period brought blocking of research on Central Europe in the Eastern Bloc
countries, as its every result proved the dissimilarity of Central Europe, which was inconsistent with the Stalinist
doctrine. On the other hand, the topic became popular in Western Europe and the United States, much of the research being carried out by immigrants from Central Europe. At the end of communism, publicists and historians in Central Europe, especially the anti-communist opposition, returned to their research.
According to Karl A. Sinnhuber (''Central Europe: Mitteleuropa: Europe Centrale: An Analysis of a Geographical Term'')
most Central European states were unable to preserve their political independence and became Soviet Satellite Europe. Besides Austria
, only the marginal European states of Finland
preserved their political sovereignty to a certain degree, being left out of any military alliances in Europe.
The opening of the Iron Curtain
between Austria and Hungary at the Pan-European Picnic on 19 August 1989 then set in motion a peaceful chain reaction, at the end of which there was no longer an East Germany
and the Eastern Bloc had disintegrated. It was the largest escape movement from East Germany since the Berlin Wall was built in 1961. After the picnic, which was based on an idea by Otto von Habsburg
to test the reaction of the USSR and Mikhail Gorbachev
to an opening of the border, tens of thousands of media-informed East Germans set off for Hungary. The leadership of the GDR in East Berlin did not dare to completely block the borders of their own country and the USSR did not respond at all.
This broke the bracket of the Eastern Bloc and Central Europe subsequently became free from communism.
According to American professor Ronald Tiersky
, the 1991 summit held in Visegrád
and attended by the Polish
presidents was hailed at the time as a major breakthrough in Central European cooperation, but the Visegrád Group
became a vehicle for coordinating Central Europe's road to the European Union, while development of closer ties within the region languished.
American professor Peter J. Katzenstein
described Central Europe as a way station in a Europeanization process that marks the transformation process of the Visegrád Group
countries in different, though comparable ways. According to him, in Germany's contemporary public discourse "Central European identity" refers to the civilizational divide between Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy. He says there is no precise, uncontestable way to decide whether the Baltic states, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Romania, or Bulgaria are parts of Central Europe.
Rather than a physical entity, Central Europe is a concept of shared history that contrasts with that of the surrounding regions. The issue of how to name and define the Central European area is subject to debates. Very often, the definition depends on the nationality and historical perspective of its author.
The main proposed regional definitions, gathered by Polish historian Jerzy Kłoczowski
* West-Central and East-Central Europe
– this conception, presented in 1950, distinguishes two regions in Central Europe: German West-Centre, with imperial tradition of the ''Reich
'', and the East-Centre covered by variety of nations ''from Finland
'', placed between great empires of Scandinavia
, Germany, Italy
and the Soviet Union
* Central Europe as the area of cultural heritage of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth
ian and Lithuania
n historians, in cooperation (since 1990) with Polish
historians, insist on the importance of the concept.
* Central Europe as a region connected to the Western civilisation
for a very long time, including countries such as the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth
, Kingdom of Croatia
, Holy Roman Empire
, later German Empire
and the Habsburg Monarchy
, the Kingdom of Hungary
and the Crown of Bohemia
. Central Europe understood in this way borders on Russia
and South-Eastern Europe
, but the exact frontier of the region is difficult to determine.
* Central Europe as the area of cultural heritage of the Habsburg Empire (later Austria-Hungary
) – a concept which is popular in regions along the river Danube
, the Czech Republic
, large parts of Croatia
, also smaller parts of Poland
. In Hungary
, the narrowing of Central Europe into former Habsburg lands is not popular.
* A concept underlining the links connecting Belarus
and treating the Russian Empire
together with the whole Slavic Orthodox
population as one entity – this position is taken by the Russia
* A concept putting the accent on links with the West, especially from the 19th century and the grand period of liberation and formation of Nation-states – this idea is represented by the South-Eastern
states, which prefer the enlarged concept of the "East Centre" expressing their links with Western culture
Former University of Vienna professor Lonnie R. Johnson points out criteria to distinguish Central Europe from Western
and Southeast Europe
* One criterion for defining Central Europe is the frontiers of medieval empires and kingdoms that largely correspond to the religious frontiers between the Catholic
West and the Orthodox East
. The pagans of Central Europe were converted to Catholicism while in Southeastern
and Eastern Europe
they were brought into the fold of the Eastern Orthodox Church
* Multinational empires were a characteristic of Central Europe. Hungary
, small and medium-size states today, were empires during their early histories. The historical Kingdom of Hungary
was until 1918 three times larger than Hungary is today, while Poland was the largest state in Europe in the 16th century. Both these kingdoms housed a wide variety of different peoples.
He also thinks that Central Europe is a dynamic historical concept, not a static spatial one. For example, Lithuania
, a fair share of Belarus
and western Ukraine
are in Eastern Europe
today, but years ago they were in Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth
Johnson's study on Central Europe received acclaim and positive reviews in the scientific community. However, according to Romanian researcher Maria Bucur
this very ambitious project suffers from the weaknesses imposed by its scope (almost 1600 years of history).
Encyclopedias, gazetteers, dictionaries
''The Columbia Encyclopedia
'' defines Central Europe as: Germany, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary.
The World Factbook
uses a similar definition and adds also Slovenia. Encarta Encyclopedia
and Encyclopædia Britannica
do not clearly define the region, but Encarta places the same countries into Central Europe in its individual articles on countries, adding Slovenia in "south central Europe".
The German Encyclopaedia ''Meyers Grosses Taschenlexikon'' (''Meyers Big Pocket Encyclopedia''), 1999, defines Central Europe as the central part of Europe with no precise borders to the East and West. The term is mostly used to denominate the territory between the Schelde
and from the Danube
to the Moravian Gate
. Usually the countries considered to be Central European are Austria
, the Czech Republic
; in the broader sense Romania
too, occasionally also Belgium
, the Netherlands
, and Luxembourg
According to ''Meyers Enzyklopädisches Lexikon'', Central Europe is a part of Europe composed of Austria
, and northern marginal regions of Italy
and Yugoslavia (northern states – Croatia
), as well as northeastern France
The German (Standing Committee on Geographical Names), which develops and recommends rules for the uniform use of geographical names, proposes two sets of boundaries. The first follows international borders of current countries. The second subdivides and includes some countries based on cultural criteria. In comparison to some other definitions, it is broader, including Luxembourg, Croatia, the Baltic states
, and in the second sense, parts of Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, Italy, and France.
There is no general agreement either on what geographic area constitutes Central Europe, nor on how to further subdivide it geographically.
At times, the term "Central Europe" denotes a geographic definition as the Danube
region in the heart of the continent, including the language and culture areas which are today included in the states of Croatia
, the Czech Republic
and usually also Austria
, but ''never'' Russia and other countries of the former Soviet Union towards the Ural mountains.
Governmental and standards organisations
The terminology EU11 countries refer the Central, Eastern
and Baltic European
member states which accessed in 2004 and after: in 2004 the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Poland, Slovenia, and the Slovak Republic; in 2007 Bulgaria, Romania; and in 2013 Croatia.
File:Central Europe Katzenstein.png|Central Europe according to Peter J. Katzenstein (1997)
File:Visegrad group countries.png|According to The Economist and Ronald Tiersky a strict definition of Central Europe means the Visegrád Group
File:Central Europe (Lonnie R. Johnson)2.PNG|Map of Central Europe, according to Lonnie R. Johnson (2011)
File:Central-Europe-Encarta.png|Central European countries in Encarta Encyclopedia (2009)
File:Central Europe (Meyers Grosses Taschenlexikon).PNG|The Central European Countries according to Meyers Grosses Taschenlexikon (1999):
File:Central Europe (Brockhaus).PNG|Middle Europe (Brockhaus Enzyklopädie, 1998)
File:Central-Europe-SwanseaUniv.png|Central Europe according to Swansea University professors Robert Bideleux and Ian Jeffries (1998)
File:Central Europe (by E. Schenk).PNG|Central Europe, as defined by E. Schenk (1950)
File:Central Europe (by A.Mutton).PNG|Central Europe, according to Alice F. A. Mutton in ''Central Europe. A Regional and Human Geography'' (1961)
File:Central Europe (Mayers Enzyklopaedisches Lexikon).PNG|Central Europe according to Meyers Enzyklopaedisches Lexikon (1980)
The comprehension of the concept of ''Central Europe'' is an ongoing source of controversy, though the Visegrád Group
constituents are almost always included as ''de facto
'' Central European countries.
Although views on which countries belong to Central Europe are vastly varied, according to many sources (see section Definitions
) the region includes the states listed in the sections below.
Depending on context, Central European countries are sometimes grouped as Eastern or Western European countries, collectively or individually
but some place them in Eastern Europe instead:
for instance Austria can be referred to as Central European, as well as Eastern European or Western European.
Other countries and regions
Some sources also add neighbouring countries for historical reasons (the former Austro-Hungarian
and German Empire
s, and modern Baltic states
), or based on geographical and/or cultural reasons:
(alternatively placed in Southeast Europe
, along with Banat
, and Maramureș
as well as Bukovina
[Klaus Peter Berger]
The Creeping Codification of the New Lex Mercatoria
Kluwer Law International, 2010, p. 132
and Northern Belgrade
(alternatively placed in Southeast Europe
and Northern Bukovina
The Baltic states
, geographically in Northern Europe
, have been considered part of Central Europe in the German tradition of the term, ''Mitteleuropa
countries are generally considered a part of Western Europe, rather than Central Europe. Nevertheless, they are occasionally mentioned in the Central European context due to cultural, historical and linguistic ties.
The following states or some of their regions may sometimes be included in Central Europe:
or all of Northern Italy
Geography defines Central Europe's natural borders with the neighbouring regions to the north across the Baltic Sea
, namely Northern Europe
), and to the south across the Alps
, the Apennine peninsula
), and the Balkan peninsula
across the Soča
-Danube line. The borders to Western Europe
and Eastern Europe
are geographically less defined, and for this reason the cultural
and historical boundaries migrate more easily west–east than south–north. The river Rhine
, which runs south–north through Western Germany, is an exception.
Southwards, the Pannonian Plain
is bounded by the rivers Sava
– and their respective floodplains. The Pannonian Plain
stretches over the following countries: Austria
, and touches borders of Bosnia and Herzegovina
("peri- Pannonian states").
As southeastern division of the Eastern Alps
, the Dinaric Alps
extend for 650 kilometres along the coast of the Adriatic Sea
(northwest-southeast), from the Julian Alps
in the northwest down to the Šar-Korab massif, north–south. According to the Freie Universität Berlin
, this mountain chain
is classified as South Central European
. The city of Trieste
in this area, for example, expressly sees itself as a città mitteleuropea. This is particularly because it lies at the interface between the Latin
and Jewish culture
on the one hand and the geographical area of the Mediterranean
and the Alps
on the other. A geographical and cultural assignment is made.
The Central European flora region
stretches from Central France (the Massif Central
) to Central Romania
) and Southern Scandinavia
Central Europe is one of the continent's most populous regions. It includes countries of varied sizes, ranging from tiny Liechtenstein to Germany, the largest European country by population (that is entirely placed in Europe). Demographic figures for countries entirely located within notion of Central Europe ("the core countries") number around 165 million people, out of which around 82 million are residents of Germany
. Other populations include: Poland
with around 38.5 million residents, Czech Republic
at 10.5 million, Hungary
at 10 million, Austria
with 8.8 million, Switzerland
with 8.5 million, Slovakia
at 5.4 million, and Liechtenstein
at a bit less than 40,000.
If the countries which are occasionally included in Central Europe were counted in, partially or in whole – Croatia
(4.3 million), Slovenia
(2 million, 2014 estimate), Romania
(20 million), Lithuania
(2.9 million), Latvia
(2 million), Estonia
(1.3 million), Serbia
(7.1 million) – it would contribute to the rise of between 25 and 35 million, depending on whether regional or integral approach was used. If smaller, western and eastern historical parts of Central Europe would be included in the demographic corpus, further 20 million people of different nationalities would also be added in the overall count, it would surpass the 200 million people figure.
Currently, the members of the Eurozone
include Austria, Germany, Luxembourg, Slovakia, and Slovenia. Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland use their currencies (Croatian kuna
, Czech koruna
, Hungarian forint
, Polish złoty
), but are obliged to adopt the Euro. Switzerland
uses its own currency – Swiss franc
, Serbia too (Serbian dinar
), as well as Romania (Romanian leu
Human Development Index
In 2018, Switzerland topped the HDI list among Central European countries, also ranking #2 in the world. Serbia rounded out the list at #11 (67 world).
The index of globalization
in Central European countries (2016 data):
Switzerland topped this list as well (#1 world).
Legatum Prosperity Index
demonstrates an average and high level of prosperity in Central Europe (2018 data). Switzerland topped the index (#4 world).
Most countries in Central Europe tend to score above the average in the Corruption Perceptions Index
(2018 data), led by Switzerland, Germany, and Austria.
Industrialisation occurred early in Central Europe. That caused construction of rail and other types of infrastructure.
Central Europe contains the continent's earliest railway systems, whose greatest expansion was recorded in Austro-Hungarian
territories between 1860-1870s. By the mid-19th century Berlin, Vienna, and Buda/Pest were focal points for network lines connecting industrial areas of Saxony, Silesia, Bohemia, Moravia and Lower Austria with the Baltic (Kiel, Szczecin) and Adriatic (Rijeka, Trieste). Rail infrastructure in Central Europe remains the densest in the world. Railway density, with total length of lines operated (km) per 1,000 km2, is the highest in the Czech Republic (198.6), Poland (121.0), Slovenia (108.0), Germany (105.5), Hungary (98.7), Serbia (87.3), Slovakia (73.9) and Croatia (72.5). when compared with most of Europe and the rest of the world.
River transport and canals
Before the first railroads appeared in the 1840s, river transport constituted the main means of communication and trade. Earliest canals included Plauen Canal (1745), Finow Canal, and also Bega Canal
(1710) which connected Timișoara
to Novi Sad
via Danube. The most significant achievement in this regard was the facilitation of navigability on Danube from the Black sea to Ulm in the 19th century.
Compared to most of Europe, the economies of Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Switzerland tend to demonstrate high complexity
. Industrialisation has reached Central Europe relatively early: Luxembourg and Germany by 1860, Czechia, Poland, Slovakia and Switzerland by 1870, Austria, Croatia, Hungary, Liechtenstein, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia by 1880.
Central European countries are some of the most significant food producers in the world. Germany is the world's largest hops
producer with 34.27% share in 2010,
[Gnel Gabrielyan, ]
Domestic and Export Price Formation of U.S. Hops
'' School of Economic Sciences at Washington State University. PDF file, direct download 220 KB. Retrieved 25 April 2014.
third producer of rye
, 5th rapeseed producer, sixth largest milk producer, and fifth largest potato
producer. Poland is the world's largest triticale
producer, second largest producer of raspberries, currant
s, third largest of rye, the fifth apple
producer, and seventh largest producer of potatoes. The Czech Republic is world's fourth largest hops producer and 8th producer of triticale. Hungary is world's fifth hops and seventh largest triticale producer. Serbia is world's second largest producer of plum
s and second largest of raspberries
Slovenia is world's sixth hops producer.
Central European business has a regional organisation, Central European Business Association (CEBA), founded in 1996 in New York as a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting business opportunities within Central Europe and supporting the advancement of professionals in America with a Central European background.
Central European countries, especially Austria, Croatia, Germany and Switzerland are some of the most competitive tourism destinations. Poland is presently a major destination for outsourcing.
, and Wrocław
(Czech Republic), Budapest
(Serbia) and Zagreb
(Croatia) are among the world's top 100 outsourcing destinations.
Various languages are taught in Central Europe, with certain languages being more popular in different countries.
Student performance has varied across Central Europe, according to the Programme for International Student Assessment
. In the 2012 study, countries scored medium, below or over the average scores in three fields studied.
The first university east of France and north of the Alps was the Charles University in Prague
established in 1347 or 1348 by Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor
and modeled on the University of Paris, with the full number of faculties (law, medicine, philosophy and theology).
Central European University
The Central European University
(CEU) is a graduate-level, English-language university promoting a distinctively Central European perspective. It was established in 1991 by the Hungarian philanthropist George Soros
, who has provided an endowment of US$880 million, making the university one of the wealthiest in Europe. In the academic year 2013/2014, the CEU had 1,381 students from 93 countries and 388 faculty members from 58 countries.
Culture and society
Research centres of Central European literature include Harvard (Cambridge, MA), and Purdue University.
Central European countries are mostly Catholic
(Austria, Croatia, Hungary, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia) or mixed Catholic and Protestant
, (Germany and Switzerland). Large Protestant groups include Lutheran
. Significant populations of Eastern Catholicism
and Old Catholic
ism are also prevalent throughout Central Europe. Central Europe has been a centre of Protestantism in the past; however, it has been mostly eradicated by the Counterreformation
. Czechia (Bohemia) was historically the first Protestant country, then forcibly recatholised, and now overwhelmingly non-religious, nevertheless the largest number of religious people are Catholic (10.3%). Romania
are mostly Eastern Orthodox
with significant Protestant
Before the Holocaust
(1941–45), there was also a sizeable Ashkenazi Jewish
community in the region, numbering approximately 16.7 million people.
In some of these countries, there is a number of atheist
s, undeclared and non-religious
people: the Czech Republic (non-religious 34.2% and undeclared 45.2%), Germany (non-religious 38%), Slovenia (atheist 14.7%
), Luxembourg (23.4 non-religious
), Switzerland (20.1%), Hungary (27.2% undeclared, 16.7% "non-religious" and 1.5% atheists), Slovakia (atheists and non-religious 13.4%, "not specified" 10.6%) Austria (19.7% of "other or none"), Liechtenstein (10.6% with no religion), Croatia (4%) and Poland (3% of non-believers/agnostics and 1% of undeclared).
Central European cuisine
has evolved through centuries due to social and political change. Most countries share many dishes. The most popular dishes typical to Central Europe are sausages and cheeses, where the earliest evidence of cheesemaking in the archaeological record dates back to 5,500 BCE (Kujawy
, Poland). Other foods widely associated with Central Europe are goulash
. List of countries by beer consumption per capita
is led by the Czech Republic
, followed by Germany
comes 5th, Croatia
7th and Slovenia
Generally, the countries in the region are progressive on the issue of human rights: death penalty is illegal in all of them, corporal punishment is outlawed in most of them and people of both genders can vote in elections. Nevertheless, Central European countries struggle to adopt new generations of human rights, such as same-sex marriage
. Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, and Poland also have a history of participation in the CIA's extraordinary rendition and detention program, according to the Open Society Foundation
Regional writing tradition revolves around the turbulent history of the region, as well as its cultural diversity. Its existence is sometimes challenged. Specific courses on Central European literature are taught at Stanford University
, Harvard University
and Jagiellonian University
The as well as cultural magazines dedicated to regional literature. Angelus Central European Literature Award is an award worth 150,000.00 PLN (about $50,000 or £30,000) for writers originating from the region. Likewise, the Vilenica International Literary Prize
is awarded to a Central European author for "outstanding achievements in the field of literature and essay writing."
There is a number of Central European Sport events and leagues. They include:
*Central European Tour Miskolc GP
*Central European Tour Budapest GP
*Central Europe Rally
(Romania and Hungary)*
*Central European Football League
(Austria, Croatia, Hungary, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Turkey)
*Central European International Cup
(Austria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Switzerland and Yugoslavia; 1927–1960)
*Central Europe Throwdown*
Football is one of the most popular sports. Countries of Central Europe had many great national teams throughout history and hosted several major competitions.
Yugoslavia hosted UEFA Euro 1976
before the competition expanded to 8 teams and Germany (at that times as West Germany
) hosted UEFA Euro 1988
. Recently, 2008
UEFA European Championships were held in Austria & Switzerland and Poland & Ukraine respectively.
Germany hosted 2 FIFA World Cups (1974
) and are the current champions (as of 2014).
Central Europe is a birthplace of regional political organisations:
* Visegrád Group
* Central European Initiative
* Central European Free Trade Agreement
* Middleeuropean Initiative
* Central European Defence Cooperation
File:CEI members.svg|Central European Initiative
File:CEDC.svg|Central European Defence Cooperation
File:Visegrad group countries.svg|Visegrád Group
File:CEFTA 1992.PNG|CEFTA founding states
File:CEFTA 2003.PNG|CEFTA members in 2003, before joining the EU
File:Europe-cefta-map.png|Current CEFTA members
Central Europe is a home to some of world's oldest democracies. However, most of them have been impacted by totalitarianism
, particularly Fascism
. Germany and Italy occupied all Central European countries, except Switzerland. In all occupied countries, the Axis powers
suspended democracy and installed puppet regimes loyal to the occupation forces. Also, they forced conquered countries to apply racial laws and formed military forces for helping German and Italian struggle against Communists. After World War II
, almost the whole of Central Europe (the Eastern and Middle part) was occupied by Communists
. Communism also banned democracy and free elections, and human rights did not exist in Communist countries. Most of Central Europe had been occupied and later allied with the Soviet Union
, often against their will through forged referendum (e.g., Polish people's referendum in 1946
) or force (northeast Germany, Poland, Hungary et alia). Nevertheless, these experiences have been dealt in most of them. Most of Central European countries score very highly in the Democracy Index
Global Peace Index
In spite of its turbulent history, Central Europe is currently one of world's safest regions. Most Central European countries are in top 20%.
Central European Time
The time zone used in most parts of the European Union is a standard time which is 1 hour ahead of Coordinated Universal Time. It is commonly called Central European Time
because it has been first adopted in central Europe (by year):
* Czech Republic
* Poland (1893)
In popular culture
Central Europe is mentioned in the 35th episode of Lovejoy
, entitled "The Prague Sun", filmed in 1992. While walking over the famous Charles Bridge
, the main character, Lovejoy says: " I've never been to Prague before. Well, it is one of the great unspoiled cities in Central Europe. Notice: I said: "Central", not "Eastern"! The Czechs are a bit funny about that, they think of Eastern Europeans as ''turnip heads''."
's Oscar-winning film The Grand Budapest Hotel
is regarded as a fictionalised celebration of the 1930s in Central Europe, and the region's musical tastes.
*Central and Eastern Europe
*Central European Initiative
*Central European Time
*Central European University
*Geographical midpoint of Europe
*Life zones of central Europe
Shared Pasts in Central and Southeast Europe, 17th–21st Centuries. Eds. G. Demeter, P. Peykovska. 2015
* Ágh, Attila. ''Declining Democracy in East-Central Europe: The Divide in the EU and Emerging Hard Populism'' (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2019).
* Baldersheim, Harald, ed. ''Local democracy and the processes of transformation in East-Central Europe'' (Routledge, 2019).
* Brophy, James M. "Bookshops, Forbidden Print and Urban Political Culture in Central Europe, 1800–1850." ''German History'' 35.3 (2017): 403–430.
* Case, Holly. "The strange politics of federative ideas in East-Central Europe." ''Journal of Modern History'' 85.4 (2013): 833–866.
* Centre of Central European Studies, ''Agrarianism in Central and Eastern Europe in the 19th and 20th Centuries'' (2013online review
* Donert, Celia, Emily Greble, and Jessica Wardhaugh. "New Scholarship on Central and Eastern Europe." ''Contemporary European History'' 26.3 (2017): 507-507. DOINew Scholarship on Central and Eastern Europe
* Gardner, Hall, ed. ''Central and South-central Europe in Transition'' (Praeger, 2000)
* Kenney, Padraic. "What is the history of 1989? New scholarship from East-Central Europe." ''East European Politics & Societies'' (1999), 13#2 pp 419–431.
* Lederer, David. ''Early Modern Central European History'' (2011online review by Linnéa Rowlatt
* Margreiter, Klaus. "The Notion of Nobility and the Impact of Ennoblement on Early Modern Central Europe." ''Central European History'' 52.3 (2019): 382–401.
* Tieanu, Alexandra. "Shared Culture, Peace and Bridging: Western Influences on the Dissident Idea of Central Europe in the Communist States during the 1980s." ''Valahian Journal of Historical Studies'' 20 (2013): 215–232.
* Vachudova, Milada Anna. "From competition to polarization in central Europe: How populists change party systems and the European Union." ''Polity'' 51.4 (2019): 689–706online
* Vachudova, Milada Anna. "Ethnopopulism and democratic backsliding in Central Europe." ''East European Politics'' 36.3 (2020) pp: 318–340online
* Zimmerman, Andrew. "Race against Revolution in Central and Eastern Europe: From Hegel to Weber, from Rural Insurgency to “Polonization”." ''East Central Europe'' 43.1-2 (2016): 14–40.
* 'Mapping Central Europe' ihidden europe
5, pp. 14–15 (November 2005)
''Journal of East Central Europe''Central European Political Science Association's journal "Politics in Central Europe"CEU Political Science Journal (PSJ)Central European Journal of International and Security Studies
Central European Political Studies Review
Maps of Europe and European countriesCENTRAL EUROPE 2020Central Europe Economy
Category:Regions of Europe