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Central Europe

Major geographic features of central Europe

Central Europe according to The World Factbook

Central Europe (archaically Middle Europe) is a re- (2009),[19] Encyclopdia Britannica, and Brockhaus
gion lying between the variously dened areas of the Enzyklopdie (1998)
Eastern and Western parts of the European continent.
The term and widespread interest in the region itself came
back after the end of the Cold War, which used to divide
Europe politically into East and West, splitting Central
Europe in half.[1][2] It was followed by the EU accession
of the Visegrd Group member states.[3]
The concept of Central Europe, and that of a common
cultural identity, is somewhat elusive.[4][5][6] However,
scholars assert that a distinct Central European culture, as controversial and debated the notion may be,
exists.[7][8] It is based on similarities emanating from
historical, social and cultural characteristics",[7][9] and it
is identied as having been one of the worlds richest
sources of creative talent between the 17th and 20th
centuries.[10] Cross Currents: A Yearbook of Central European Culture characterizes Central Europe as an abandoned West or a place where East and West collide.[11]
Germanys Constant Committee for Geographical Names
denes Central Europe both as a distinct cultural area
and a political region.[12][13] George Schpin and others argue that Central Europe is dened by being a part
of Western Christianity",[14] while Samuel P. Huntington
places the region rmly within Western culture.[15]

Central Europe according to P. Jones (Leibniz Institute

for Regional Geography). Many Central European
countries and regions were parts of the German and
the Austro-Hungarian empires, or the Polish-Lithuanian
Commonwealth; thus they also have historical and
cultural connections.

From the 2000s on, Central Europe has been going

through a phase of strategic awakening,[16] with initiatives like the CEI, Centrope or V4. While the regions economy shows high disparities with regard to
income,[17] all Central European countries are listed by
the Human Development Index as very high development countries.[18]

In 1335 under the rule of the King Charles I of Hungary,
the castle of Visegrd, the seat of the Hungarian monarchs was the scene of the royal summit of the Kings of
Poland, Bohemia and Hungary.[26] They agreed to cooperate closely in the eld of politics and commerce, inspiring their late successors to launch a successful Central
European initiative.[26]
In the Middle Ages, countries in Central Europe adopted
Magdeburg rights.

1.2 Before World War I

Central Europe according to Lonnie Johnson, Central

Europe: Enemies, Neighbors, Friends [20]


Historical perspective
Middle Ages

Elements of unity for Western and Central Europe were

Roman Catholicism and Latin. Eastern Europe, which
remained Eastern Orthodox Christian, was the area of
Byzantine cultural inuence; after the schism (1054), it
will develop cultural unity and resistance to the Western
world (Catholic and Protestant) within the framework of
Slavonic language and the Cyrillic alphabet.[21][22][23][24]

A view of Central Europe dating from the time before the First
World War (1902):[27]
Central European countries and regions: Germany and AustriaHungary (without Bosnia-Herzegovina and Dalmatia)
Regions located at the transition between Central Europe and
Southern Europe: Romania

Before 1870, the industrialization that had developed in

Certain and disputed borders of Great Moravia un- Western and Central Europe and the United States did
der Svatopluk I (AD 870894)
not extend in any signicant way to the rest of the world.
Even in Eastern Europe, industrialization lagged far be Holy Roman Empire in 1400
hind. Russia, for example, remained largely rural and
agricultural, and its autocratic rulers kept the peasants in
Kingdom of Poland in late 12th-13th centuries.
serfdom.[28] The concept of Central Europe was already
known at the beginning of the 19th century,[29] but its
Bohemia in 1273
real life began in the 20th century and immediately became an object of intensive interest. However, the very
Kingdom of Hungary in 1190
rst concept mixed science, politics and economy it
According to Hungarian historian Jen Szcs, founda- was strictly connected with intensively growing German
tions of Central European history at the rst millen- economy and its aspirations to dominate a part of Eunium were in close connection with Western European ropean continent called Mitteleuropa. The German term
development. He explained that between the 11th and denoting Central Europe was so fashionable that other
15th centuries not only Christianization and its cultural languages started referring to it when indicating territoor even Dnieper, and from the
consequences were implemented, but well-dened social ries from Rhine to Vistula,[30]
An example of that-time vifeatures emerged in Central Europe based on Western
seen in J. Partschs book
characteristics. The keyword of Western social devel[31]
opment 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.[25]

On 21 January 1904 Mitteleuropischer

Wirtschaftsverein (Central European Economic Association) was established in Berlin with economic
integration of Germany and AustriaHungary (with



eventual extension to Switzerland, Belgium 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 Naumanns book
Mitteleuropa[32] in which he called for an economic federation to be established after the war. Naumanns idea
was that the federation would have at its center Germany
and the Austro-Hungarian Empire but would also include
all European nations outside the Anglo-French alliance,
on one side, and Russia, on the other.[33] The concept
failed after the German defeat in World War I and the
dissolution of AustriaHungary. The revival of the idea
may be observed during the Hitler era.


Interwar period

mostly outside Central Europe. The author use both Human and Physical Geographical features to dene Central
The interwar period (19181939) brought new geopolitical system and economic and political problems, and
the concept of Central Europe took a dierent character. The centre of interest was moved to its eastern part
the countries that have (re)appeared on the map of Europe: Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Poland. 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 conict of interests was too big and neither Little Entente
nor Intermarium (Midzymorze) 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.[29] After the
war, the Eastern part of Central Europe was placed at the
centre of the concept. At that time the scientists took interest in the idea: the International Historical Congress in
Brussels in 1923 was committed to Central Europe, and
Interwar Central Europe according to Emmanuel de the 1933 Congress continued the discussions.[37]
Martonne (1927)
Hungarian scholar Magda Adam 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, Romania
and Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (later Yugoslavia), created in 1921 not for Central Europes cooperation nor to ght German expansion, but in a wrong perceived notion that a completely powerless Hungary must
be kept down.[37]
The avant-garde movements of Central Europe were
an essential part of modernisms evolution, reaching its
Little Entente, Central European defense union of peak throughout the continent during the 1920s. The
Czechoslovakia, Romania and Yugoslavia[34]
Sourcebook of Central European avantgards (Los Angeles
County Museum of Art) contains primary documents of
the avant-gardes in Austria, Czechoslovakia, Germany,
Hungary, Poland, Romania and Yugoslavia from 1910
to 1930.[35] The manifestos and magazines of Western
European radical art circles are well known to Western
scholars and are being taught at primary universities of
their kind in the western world.
CE countries, Sourcebook of Central European Avant1.4
Gardes 19101930 (L.A. County Museum of Art)[35]
According to Emmanuel de Martonne, in 1927 the Central European countries included: Austria, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Switzerland. Italy and Yugoslavia are not considered by the author to be Central European because they are located


The German term Mitteleuropa (or alternatively its literal

translation into English, Middle Europe[38] ) is an ambiguous German concept.[38] 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 (encompass-

destroyed this kind of culture instead.[38][42][43] 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.

Main european regions

following actual state borders
following cultural proximities

Northern Europe

Bosnia and Herzegovina

San Marino







Hungary Romania





Central Europe
Czech Republic


Black Sea



1.5 Central Europe behind the Iron Curtain







Baltic Sea

North Sea



Eastern Europe






B.-H. Serbia



Southern Europe




Mediterranean Sea
Map based on documents of the institute
Stndigen Ausschuss fr geographische Namen (StAGN)


The Mitteleuropa: AT, CRO, CZ, GER, HUN, POL, SVK, SLO,
EST/LAT/LTV, large parts of ROM, minor parts of FRA, ITA,

ing AustriaHungary 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 18711918
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.[39] Later on, professor Fritz Epstein Politically independent CE states during Cold war: Finland,
argued the threat of a Slavic Drang nach Westen (West- Austria, Yugoslavia[44]
ern expansion) had been a major factor in the emergence
of a Mitteleuropa ideology before the Reich of 1871 ever
came into being.[40]
Following World War II, large parts of Europe that were
In Germany the connotation was also sometimes linked culturally and historically Western became part of the
to the pre-war German provinces east of the Oder-Neisse Eastern bloc. Czech author Milan Kundera (emigrant to
of Cenline which were lost as the result of World War II, an- France) thus wrote in 1984 about the Tragedy[45]
Connexed by Peoples Republic of Poland and the Soviet
increasUnion, and ethnically cleansed of Germans by communist authorities and forces (see expulsion of Germans after ingly applied only to the westernmost former Warsaw
World War II) due to Yalta Conference and Potsdam Con- Pact countries (East Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia,
states that were
ference decisions. In this view Bohemia and Moravia, Hungary) to specify them as communist
usage continculturally
with its dual Western Slavic and Germanic heritage, comued
these counbined with the historic element of the "Sudetenland", is a
core region illustrating the problems and features of the
entire Central European region.
The term Mitteleuropa conjures up negative historical associations among some elder people, although the Germans have not played an exclusively negative role in
the region.[41] Most Central European Jews embraced
the enlightened German humanistic culture of the 19th
century.[42] German-speaking Jews from turn of the 20th
century Vienna, Budapest and Prague became representatives of what many consider to be Central European culture at its best, though the Nazi version of Mitteleuropa

The post-World War II period brought blocking of the 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.[47]
At the end of the communism, publicists and historians
in Central Europe, especially anti-communist opposition,
came back to their research.[48]


Current views

According to Karl A. Sinnhuber (Central Europe: Mitteleuropa: Europe Centrale: An Analysis of a Geographical Term)[44] most Central European states were unable to
preserve their political independence and became Soviet
Satellite Europe. Besides Austria, only marginal Central
European states of Finland and Yugoslavia did preserve
their political sovereignty to a certain degree, being left
out from any military alliances in Europe.
According to Meyers Enzyklopdisches Lexikon,[49] Central Europe is a part of Europe composed by the surface of the Austria, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Germany,
Hungary, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Romania Habsburg-ruled lands
and Switzerland, and northern marginal regions of Italy
and Yugoslavia (northern states - Croatia and Slovenia),
A concept underlining the links connecting Belarus
as well as northeastern France.
and Ukraine with Russia and treating the Russian
Empire together with the whole Slavic Orthodox
population as one entity this position is taken by
1.6 Current views
the Russian historiography.
Rather than a physical entity, Central Europe is a concept of shared history which contrasts with that of the
surrounding regions. The issue of how to name and dene the Central European region is subject to debates.
Very often, the denition depends on the nationality and
historical perspective of its author.
Main propositions, gathered by Jerzy Koczowski,
West-Central and East-Central Europe this conception, presented in 1950,[51] 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 to Greece, placed between great empires of
Scandinavia, Germany, Italy and the Soviet Union.
Central Europe as the area of cultural heritage of
the PolishLithuanian Commonwealth Ukrainian,
Belarusian and Lithuanian historians, in cooperation
(since 1990) with Polish historians, insist on the importance of the concept.

A concept putting an accent on the links with the

West, especially from the 19th century and the
grand period of liberation and formation of Nationstates this idea is represented by in the SouthEastern states, which prefer the enlarged concept
of the East Centre expressing their links with the
Western culture.
According to Ronald Tiersky, the 1991 summit held in
Visegrd, Hungary and attended by the Polish, Hungarian
and Czechoslovak presidents was hailed at the time
as a major breakthrough in Central European cooperation, but the Visegrd Group became a vehicle for
coordinating Central Europes road to the European
Union, while development of closer ties within the region
Peter J. Katzenstein described Central Europe as a way
station in a Europeanization process that marks the transformation process of the Visegrd Group countries in different, though comparable ways.[53] According to him, in
Germanys contemporary public discourse Central European identity refers to the civilizational divide between
Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy.[53] He says
theres no precise, uncontestable way to decide whether
the Baltic states, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Romania, and
Bulgaria are parts of Central Europe or not.[54]

Central Europe as a region connected to the Western

civilisation for a very long time, including countries like the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth,
Kingdom of Croatia, Holy Roman Empire, later Lonnie R. Johnson points out criteria to distinguish CenGerman Empire and the Habsburg Monarchy, the tral Europe from Western, Eastern and Southeast EuKingdom of Hungary and the Crown of Bohemia. rope:[55]
Central Europe understood in this way borders on
Russia and South-Eastern Europe, but the exact
One criterion for dening Central Europe is the
frontier of the region is dicult to determine.
frontiers of medieval empires and kingdoms that
largely correspond to the religious frontiers be Central Europe as the area of cultural heritage of the
tween the Roman Catholic West and the Orthodox
Habsburg Empire (later Austria-Hungary) a conEast.[56] The pagans of Central Europe were concept which is popular in regions along the Danube
verted to Roman Catholicism while in Southeastern
and Eastern Europe they were brought into the fold
of the Eastern Orthodox Church.[56]

Multinational empires were a characteristic of Central Europe.[57] Hungary and Poland, small and
medium-size states today, were empires during their
early histories.[57] The historical Kingdom of Hungary was until 1918 three times larger than Hungary
is today,[57] while Poland was the largest state in Europe in the 16th century.[57] Both these kingdoms
housed a wide variety of dierent peoples.[57]

The Pannonian Plain, between the Alps (west), the

Carpathians (north and east), and the Sava/Danube

He also thinks that Central Europe is a dynamical historical concept, not a static spatial one. For example,
Lithuania, a fair share of Belarus and western Ukraine
are in Eastern Europe today, but 250 years ago they were
in PolishLithuanian Commonwealth.[57]
Johnsons study on Central Europe received acclaim and
positive reviews[58][59] in the scientic community. However, according to Romanian researcher Maria Bucur this
very ambitious project suers from the weaknesses im- Carpathian countries (north-west to south-east): CZ,
posed by its scope (almost 1600 years of history).[60]
The Columbia Encyclopedia denes Central Europe
as: Germany, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria,
Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary.[61]
The World Factbook[19] Encyclopdia Britannica and 2 States
Brockhaus Enzyklopdie use the same denition adding
Slovenia too. Encarta Encyclopedia does not clearly de- The comprehension of the concept of Central Europe is
ne the region, but places the same countries into Cen- an ongoing source of controversy,[63] though the Visegrd
tral Europe in its individual articles on countries, adding Group constituents are almost always included as de facto
Slovenia in south central Europe.[62]
C.E. countries.[64] Although views on which countries beThe German Encyclopaedia Meyers Grosses Taschenlexikon (English: Meyers Big Pocket Encyclopedia), 1999,
denes 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 to Vistula and from the Danube to the
Moravian Gate. Usually the countries considered to be
Central European are Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia,
Switzerland; in the broader sense Romania too, occasionally also Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg.

long to Central Europe are vastly varied, according to

many sources (see section Current views on Central Europe) the region includes the states listed in the sections


Czech Republic





The European oristic regions

Slovenia[65] (sometimes placed in Southeastern


Depending on context, Central European countries are

sometimes grouped as Eastern, Western European countries, collectively or individually[67][68][69][70] but some
place them in Eastern Europe instead:,[67][68][69] for instance Austria can be referred to as Central European, as
well as Eastern European[71][72] or Western European.[73]


Other countries and regions

Alps in the northwest down to the ar-Korab massif,

north-south. According to the Freie Universitaet Berlin,
Some sources also add neighbouring countries for histor- this mountain chain is classied as South Central Euroical (the former Austro-Hungarian and German Empires, pean.[89]
and modern Baltic states), based on geographical and/or
cultural reasons:

Croatia[20][74][75][76][77] (alternatively placed in

Southeastern Europe)[78][79]

Bukovina )



[81] [82][83][84]

The Baltic states, geographically located in Northern Europe, have been considered part of Central Europe in
the German tradition of the term, Mittleuropa. Benelux
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.

Danubian Central Europe

The Central European ora region stretches from Central France (the Massif Central) to Central Romania
(Carpathians) and Southern Scandinavia.[90]

At times, the term Central Europe denotes a geographic

denition as the Danube region in the heart of the contiSmaller parts of the following states may sometimes be nent, including the language and culture areas which are
included in Central Europe:
today included in the states of Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and

Italy (South Tyrol, Trentino, Trieste and usually also Austria and Germany, but never Russia and
other countries of the former Soviet Union towards the
Gorizia, Friuli, occasionally all of Northern Italy)
Ural mountains.[91]


Ukraine (Transcarpathia,[85] Galicia and
Northern Bukovina[81] )


Geography denes Central Europes natural borders with

the neighbouring regions to the North across the Baltic
Sea namely the Northern Europe (or Scandinavia), and
to the South across the Alps, the Apennine peninsula (or
Italy), and the Balkan peninsula[86] across the Soa-KrkaSava-Danube line. The borders to Western Europe and
Eastern Europe are geographically less dened and for
this reason the cultural and historical boundaries migrate
more easily West-East than South-North. The Rhine river
which runs South-North through Western Germany is an

4 Statistics
4.1 Data
Area: 1.036.370 km2 (2012)
Population: (calculated data) 163.518.571 (July
Population density: (calculated data) 157.78/km2
GDP (PPP) per capita: USD $34.444 (2012)
Life expectancy:

(calculated data) 78.32-year

Unemployment rate: 8.2% (2012)

Fertility rate: 1.41 births/woman (2012)

Human Development Index: 0.874 (2012) (very

Southwards, the Pannonian Plain is bounded by the rivers
Sava and Danube- and their respective oodplains.[87]
The Pannonian Plain stretches over the following coun Globalization Index (regional): 80.09 (2013) [92]
tries: Austria, Croatia, Hungary, Romania, Serbia,
Slovakia and Slovenia, and touches borders of Bosnia
and Herzegovina (Republika Srpska) and Ukraine (peri4.2 Demography
Pannonian states).
As southeastern division of the Eastern Alps,[88] the Central Europe is one of continents most populous reDinaric Alps extend for 650 kilometres along the coast gions. It includes countries of varied sizes, ranging
of the Adriatic Sea (northwest-southeast), from the Julian from tiny Liechtenstein to Germany, the largest European


country by population (that is entirely placed in Europe).

Demographic gures 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.[93] Other populations
include: Poland with around 38.5 million residents,[94]
Czech Republic at 10.5 million,[95] Hungary at 10 million,[96] Austria with 8.5 million, Switzerland with its
8 million inhabitants,[97] Slovakia at 5.4 million,[98]
World map by quartiles of Human Development Index in 2013.
Croatia with its 4.3 million[99] residents, Slovenia at 2
million (2014 estimate)
and Liechtenstein at a bit less
than 40,000.[101]

Slovenia: 0.874 (ranked 25)


Population density (people per km ) by country, 2006

Liechtenstein: 0.889 (ranked 18)

Czech Republic: 0.861 (ranked 28)

Poland: 0.834 (ranked 35)

Slovakia: 0.830 (ranked 37)

Hungary: 0.818 (ranked 43)

Croatia: 0.812 (ranked 47)

If the countries which are occasionally included in Cen

tral Europe were counted in, partially or in whole
Lithuania (3.5 million), Latvia (2.5 million), Estonia (1.5
million) it would contribute to the rise of between 20 5.3
37.5 million, depending on whether regional or integral
approach was used.[93] If smaller, western and eastern historical parts of Central Europe would be included in the
demographic corpus, further 20 million people of dierent nationalities would also be added in the overall count,
it would surpass the 200 million people gure.

Romania: 0.785 (ranked 54)




no information



Map showing the score for the KOF Globalization Index.

Currently, the members of the Eurozone include Austria,

Germany, Luxembourg, Slovakia, and Slovenia. Croatia, The index of globalization in Central European countries
the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Romania use (2014 data):
their currencies (Croatian kuna, Czech koruna, Hungarian forint, Polish zoty, Romanian leu), but are obliged to

Austria: 90.48 (ranked 4)

adopt the Euro.

Hungary: 85.91 (ranked 9)


Human Development Index

Countries in descending order of Human Development

Index (2014 data):

Switzerland: 85.74 (ranked 11)

Czech Republic: 83.97 (ranked 16)

Slovakia: 83.55 (ranked 18)

Switzerland: 0.917 (ranked 3)

Poland: 79.52 (ranked 25)

Germany: 0.911 (ranked 6)

Germany: 79.47 (ranked 26)

Austria: 0.881 (ranked 21)

Slovenia: 76.86 (ranked 29)



Croatia: 74.92 (ranked 33)

Hungary (ranked 47)

Romania: 72.24 (ranked 38)

Czech Republic (ranked 53, tied)

Liechtenstein: 29.23 (ranked 180)

Slovakia (ranked 54)

Croatia (ranked 61, tied)


Prosperity Index

According to the Bribe Payers Index, released yearly

Legatum Prosperity Index demonstrates an average since 1995 by the Berlin-based NGO Transparency Interand high level of prosperity in Central Europe (2014 national, Germany and Switzerland, the only two Central
European countries examined in the study, were respectively ranked 2nd and 4th in 2011.[105]

Switzerland (ranked 2)

Germany (ranked 14)

5.6 Infrastructure

Austria (ranked 15)

Slovenia (ranked 24)

Industrialisation occurred early in Central Europe. That

caused construction of rail and other types of infrastructure.

Czech Republic (ranked 29)

Poland (ranked 31)

Slovakia (ranked 35)

Hungary (ranked 39)

Croatia (ranked 50)

Romania (ranked 60)


5.6.1 Rail

Rail network density.

Central Europe contains the continents earliest railway systems, whose greatest expansion was recorded in
Austro-Hungarian and German territories between 18601870s.[106] 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).[106] Rail infrastructure in Central
Europe remains the densest in the world. Railway density, with total length of lines operated (km) per 1,000
Overview of the index of perception of corruption, 2013.
km2, is the highest in the Czech Republic (198.6), Poland
Most countries in Central Europe score tend to score (121.0), Slovenia (108.0), Germany (105.5), Hungary
above the average in the Corruption Perceptions Index (98.7), Romania (85.9), Slovakia (73.9) and Croatia
(72.5).[107][108] when compared with most of Europe and
(2014 data):[104]
the rest of the world.[109][110]

Perceptions Index
9 - 10

8 - 8.9

7 - 7.9

6 - 6.9

5 - 5.9

4 - 4.9

3 - 3.9

2 - 2.9

1 - 1.9

0 - 0.9

no information

Switzerland (ranked 5, tied)

Germany (ranked 12, tied)

Austria (ranked 23, tied)

Poland (ranked 35, tied)

Slovenia (ranked 39, tied)

5.6.2 River transport and canals

Before the rst railroads appeared in the 1840s, river
transport constituted the main means of communication and trade.[106] Earliest canals included Plauen Canal
(1745), Finow Canal, and also Bega Canal (1710) which
connected Timisoara to Novi Sad and Belgrade via



Danube.[106] The most signicant achievement in this re- 6.1 Languages

gard was the facilitation of navigability on Danube from
Languages taught as the rst language in Central Europe
the Black sea to Ulm in the 19th century.
are: Croatian, Czech, German, Hungarian, Polish, Slovak and Slovenian. The most popular language taught at
schools in Central Europe as foreign languages are: En5.7 Branches
glish, French and German.[116]
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, the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Switzerland by 1870, Austria, Croatia Hungary, Liechtenstein, Romania and Slovenia by 1880.[111]



Central European countries are some of the most signicant food producers in the world. Germany is the worlds
largest hops producer with 34.27% share in 2010,[112]
third producer of rye and barley, 5th rapeseed producer, sixth largest milk producer, and fth largest potato Map of the results of the 2014 EF English Prociency Index
producer. Poland is the worlds largest triticale producer, second largest producer of raspberry, currant,
third largest of rye, the fth apple and buckwheat producer, and seventh largest producer of potatoes. The
Czech Republic is worlds fourth largest hops producer
and 8th producer of triticale. Hungary is worlds fth
hops and seventh largest triticale producer. Slovenia is
worlds sixth hops producer.




Global adult literacy.

Central European countries, especially Austria, Croatia, Prociency in English is ranked as high or moderate, acGermany and Switzerland are some of the most competi- cording to the EF English Prociency Index:[117]
tive tourism destinations.[113] Poland is presently a major
destination for outsourcing.[114]

Poland (position 6)

Outsourcing destination

Krakw, Warsaw, and Wroclaw, Poland; Prague and

Brno, Czech Republic; Budapest, Hungary; Bucharest,
Romania; Bratislava, Slovakia; Ljubljana, Slovenia and
Zagreb, Croatia are among the worlds top 100 outsourcing destinations.[115]


Central European countries are very literate. All of them

have the literacy rate of 96% or over (for both sexes):

Austria (position 7)

Germany (position 10)

Slovenia (position 11)

Romania (position 16)

Hungary (position 17)

Switzerland (position 18)

Czech Republic (position 19)

Slovakia (position 22)

Croatia (not ranked)


Scholastic performance


Liechtenstein (not ranked)

Other languages, also popular (spoken by over 5% as a

second language):[116]
Croatian in Slovenia (61%)

Germany (position 16) above the OECD average

Austria (position 18) above the OECD average

Slovenia (position 21) above the OECD average

French in Romania (17%), Germany (14%) and

Austria (11%)

Czech Republic (position 24) similar to the

OECD average

German in Slovenia (42%), Croatia (34%), Slovakia (22%), Poland (20%), Hungary (18%), the
Czech Republic (15%), Germany (10%) and Romania (5%)

Slovakia (position 35) below the OECD average

Hungary (position 39) below the OECD average

Czech in Slovakia (82%)

Hungarian in






Italian in Croatia(14%), Slovenia (12%), Austria

(9%) and Romania (7%)
Russian in Poland (28%), Slovakia (17%), the
Czech Republic (13%) and Germany (6%)
Polish in Slovakia (5%)

Croatia (position 40) below the OECD average

Romania (position 45) below the OECD average

In the sciences:

Slovak in the Czech Republic (16%)

Spanish in Romania (5%)


Scholastic performance


Student performance has varied across Central Europe,

according to the Programme for International Student Assessment. In the last study, countries scored medium, below or over the average scores in three elds studied.[120] The results for the 2012 Science section on a world map.






no information

In maths:


Poland (position 9) above the OECD average

Liechtenstein (position 10) above the OECD


Germany (position 12) above the OECD average

Switzerland (position 19) above the OECD average

Slovenia (position 20) above the OECD average

no information

The results for the 2012 Maths section on a world map.

Liechtenstein (position 8) above the OECD


Czech Republic (position 22) above the

OECD average

Switzerland (position 9) above the OECD average

Austria (position 23) similar to the OECD


Poland (position 14) above the OECD aver-

Hungary (position 33) below the OECD average




Croatia (position 35) below the OECD average

Slovakia (position 40) below the OECD average

In reading:


Karolinum of the Charles University in Prague

no information

The results for the 2012 Reading section on a world map.

The list of Central Europes oldest universities in continuous operation, established by 1500, include (by their
dates of foundation):

Poland (position 10) above the OECD aver-

Charles University in Prague,[122] Czech Republic (1348)

Liechtenstein (position 11) above the OECD


Jagiellonian University[123] in Krakw, Poland


Switzerland (position 17) above the OECD average

University of Vienna[124] in Vienna, Austria


Germany (position 19) above the OECD average

University of Pcs[125] in Pcs, Hungary (1367)

Czech Republic (position 26) similar to the

OECD average

Heidelberg University[126] in Heidelberg, Germany (1386)

Cologne University[127] in Cologne, Germany


University of Zadar[128] in Zadar, Croatia


University of Leipzig[129] in Leipzig, Germany


University of Rostock[125] in Rostock, Germany (1419)

University of Greifswald[130] in Greifswald,

Germany (1456)

University of Freiburg[131] in Freiburg, Germany (1457)

University of Basel[132] in Basel, Switzerland


Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich[133]

in Munich, Germany (1472)

University of Tbingen[134] in Tbingen, Germany (1477)


Austria (position 27) below the OECD average

Hungary (position 33) below the OECD average

Croatia (position 35) below the OECD average

Slovenia (position 38) below the OECD average

Romania (position 50) below the OECD average


Higher education

The rst 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).[121]


Central European University

7 Culture and Society

Research centers of Central European literature include
Harvard (Cambridge, MA),[138] Purdue University[139]

7.1 Architecture

The entrance of the Central European University in Budapest

The Central European University (CEU) is a graduatelevel, 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.[135] In
the academic year 2013/2014, the CEU had 1,381 students from 93 countries and 388 faculty members from
58 countries.[136]

Central European architecture has been shaped by major European styles including but not limited to: Brick
Gothic, Rococo, Secession (art) and Modern architecture. Four Central European countries are amongst countries with highers number of World Heritage Sites:

Germany (position 4th=, 38 sites)

Poland (position 17th=, 15 sites)

Czech Republic (position 19th, 12 sites)

Switzerland (position 20th=, 11 sites)

7.2 Beliefs

Regional exchange program

Central European Exchange Program for University

Studies (CEEPUS) is an international exchange program
for students and teachers teaching or studying in participating countries. Its current members include (year it
joined for the rst time in brackets):[137]

Albania (2006)

Austria (2005)

Bosnia and Herzegovina (2008)

Bulgaria (2005)

Croatia (2005)

Czech Republic (2005)

Hungary (2005)

Kosovo (2008)

Macedonia (2006)

Moldova (2011)

Montenegro (2006)

Poland (2005)

Romania (2005)

Serbia (2005)

Slovakia (2005)

Slovenia (2005)

Central European major Christian denomination is Catholicism

(map) as well as large Protestant populations

Central European countries are mostly Roman Catholic

(Austria, Croatia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Poland,
Slovakia, Slovenia) or mixed Catholic and Protestant,
(Germany, Hungary and Switzerland). Large Protestant groups include Lutheran and Calvinist. Signicant populations of Eastern Catholicism and Old Catholicism 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.[140][141][142] The Czech Republic (Bohemia) was historically the rst Protestant country, then violently recatholised, and now overwhelmingly
non-religious with the largest number of religious being



Catholic (10.3%). Romania is mostly Eastern Orthodox 7.4 Human rights

with signicant Protestant and Catholic minorities.
In some of these countries, there is a number of atheists, 7.4.1 History
undeclared and non-religious people: the Czech Republic (non-religious 34.2% and undeclared 45.2%), Germany (non-religious 38%), Slovenia (atheist 30.2%),
Luxembourg (25% 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 specied 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).
St. Vitus Cathedral, Prague (Catholic), Czech Republic
Zagreb Cathedral, Zagreb (Catholic), Croatia
St. Marys Basilica, Krakow (Catholic), Poland
Jesuit Church, Lucerne (Catholic), Switzerland
Berlin Cathedral (Lutheran), Germany
Grossmnster (Calvinist), Switzerland
Metropolitan Cathedral, Iai (Orthodox), Romania
Abbey of Saint Gall (Catholic), Switzerland

Human rights have a long tradition in Central Europe. In

1222 Hungary dened for the rst time the rights of the
nobility in its Golden Bull. In 1264 the Statute of Kalisz
and the General Charter of Jewish Liberties introduced
numerous rights for the Jews in Poland, granting them de
facto autonomy. In 1783 for the rst time, Poland forbid
corporal punishment of children in schools. In the same
year, a German state of Baden banned slavery.
On the other hand, there were also major regressions,
such as Nihil novi in Poland in 1505 which forbade
peasants from leaving their land without permission from
their feudal lord.
7.4.2 Present
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, Poland and Romania also have a history of participation in the CIAs
extraordinary rendition and detention program, according to the Open Society Foundation.[144][145]

Cologne Cathedral (Catholic), Germany

Prejmer fortied church (Lutheran), Romania

7.5 Literature

Cathedral of Hajddorog (Eastern Catholic), Regional writing tradition revolves around the turHungary
bulent history of the region, as well as its cultural diversity,[146][147] and its existence is sometimes
Vaduz Cathedral (Catholic), Liechtenstein
St. Elisabeth Cathedral in Koice (Catholic), Specic courses on Central European literature are taught
at Stanford University,[149] Harvard University[150] and
Jagiellonian University[151] The as well as cultural mag Evangelical church in Partiznska upa azines dedicated to regional literature.[152]
(Lutheran), Slovakia
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.[153]
7.3 Cuisine
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).[143] Other foods
widely associated with Central Europe are goulash and
beer. List of countries by beer consumption per capita
is led by the Czech Republic, followed by Germany and
Austria. Poland comes 5th, Croatia 7th and Slovenia

7.6 Media
There is a whole spectrum of media active in the region:
newspapers, television and internet channels, radio channels, internet websites etc. Central European media are
regarded as free, according to the Press Freedom Index.
Some of the top scoring countries are in Central Europe

Austria (position 7)

Germany) hosted UEFA Euro 1988. Recently, 2008 and
2012 UEFA European Championships were held in Austria & Switzerland and Poland & Ukraine respectively.
Germany hosted 2 FIFA World Cups (1974 and 2006)
and are the current champions (as of 2018).[156][157][158]

8 Politics
Press Freedom Index results.

Germany (position 12)

Czech Republic (position 13)

Slovakia (position 14)

Poland (position 18)

Luxembourg (position 19)

Switzerland (position 20)

Liechtenstein (position 27)

Slovenia (position 35)

Romania (position 52)

Croatia (position 58)

Hungary (position 65)

Serbia (position 67)



There is a number of Central European Sport events and

leagues. They include:
Central European Tour Miskolc GP (Hungary)*
Central European Tour Budapest GP (Hungary)
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*[155]
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

8.1 Organisations
Central Europe is a birthplace of regional political organisations:
Visegrad group
Central European Initiative
Central European Free Trade Agreement
Middleeuropean Initiative
Central European Initiative
Visegrd Group
CEFTA founding states
CEFTA members in 2003, before joining the EU
Current CEFTA members
Central Europe according to Peter J. Katzenstein
The Visegrd Group countries are referred to as
Central Europe in the book[1]
countries for which theres no precise, uncontestable
way to decide whether they are parts of Central
Europe or not[2]
According to The Economist and Ronald Tiersky
a strict denition of Central Europe means the
Visegrd Group[3][4]
Map of Central Europe, according to Lonnie R.
Johnson (2011)[5]
Countries usually considered Central European
(citing the World Bank and the OECD)
Countries considered to be Central European only
in the broader sense of the term.
Central European countries in Encarta Encyclopedia (2009)[6]
Central European countries
Slovenia in south central Europe



The Central European Countries according to

Meyers Grosses Taschenlexikon (1999):
Countries usually considered Central European
Central European countries in the broader sense of
the term
Countries occasionally considered to be Central
Middle Europe (Brockhaus Enzyklopdie, 1998))
Central Europe according to Swansea University professors Robert Bideleux and Ian Jeries
Central Europe, as dened by E. Schenk (1950)[8]
Central Europe, according to Alice F. A. Mutton in
Central Europe. A Regional and Human Geography
Central Europe according to Meyers Enzyklopaedisches Lexikon (1980)
1. ^ Cite error: The named reference Peter_J_p._6
was invoked but never dened (see the help page).
2. ^ Cite error: The named reference Peter_J_p._4
was invoked but never dened (see the help page).
3. ^ Cite error:
The named reference Tiersky.2C_p._472 was invoked but never dened
(see the help page).

The Economist Intelligence Unit Democracy index map for

2014, with greener colours representing more democratic
Full democracies:
Flawed democracies:
Hybrid regimes:
Authoritarian regimes:
Insucient information, no rating:

Switzerland (position 6)

Luxembourg (position 11)

Germany (position 13)

Austria (position 14)

Czech Republic (position 25)

Slovenia (position 37)

Poland (position 40)

7. ^ ""Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and

possibly Poland, Slovenia and Croatia - Cutare

Slovakia (position 45)

Croatia (position 50)

8. ^ Erich Schenk, Mitteleuropa. Dsseldorf, 1950

Hungary (position 51)

Romania (position 57)

Liechtenstein (not listed)

4. ^ Cite error:
The named reference
From_Visegrad_to_Mitteleuropa was invoked
but never dened (see the help page).
5. ^ Johnson, pp. 16
6. ^ Cite error: The named reference Encarta was invoked but never dened (see the help page).


Democracy Index

Central Europe is a home to some of worlds oldest

democracie. However, most of them have been impacted
by totalitarian rule, particularly Nazism (Germany, Austria, other occupied countries) and Communism. Most of
Central Europe have been occupied and later allied with
the USSR, often against their will through forged referendum (e.g., Polish peoples 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:[159]

8.3 Global Peace Index

In spite of its turbulent history, Central Europe is currently one of worlds safest regions. Most Central European countries are in top 20%:[160]

Austria (position 3)
Switzerland (position 5)



Hungary (1890)

Slovakia (1890)

Czech Republic (1891)

Germany (1893)

Austria (1893)

Poland (1893[161] )

Slovenia (1893)
Switzerland (1894)

Top 20%
Top 40%
Middle 20%
Bottom 40%
Bottom 20%
no information

Global Peace Index Scores.

Czech Republic (position 10)

Slovenia (position 15)

Germany (position 16)

Poland (position 19)

Hungary (position 22)

Slovakia (position 23)

Romania (position 26)

Croatia (position 27)

Liechtenstein (not listed)

Liechtenstein (1894)

10 In popular culture
Central Europe is mentioned in 35th episode of Lovejoy,
entitled The Prague Sun, lmed 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.[162]
Wes Anderson's Oscar-winning lm The Grand Budapest Hotel is regarded as a ctionalised celebration of
the 1930s in Central Europe[163] and regions musical

11 See also
Central and Eastern Europe
Central European Initiative
Central European Time (CET)
Central European Time Zone (dark red)

Central European University

East-Central Europe

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 rst adopted in central Europe
(by year):

Geographical centre of Europe

Life zones of central Europe
Midzymorze (Intermarum)






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13 Bibliography
dm, Magda (2003). The Versailles System and
Central Europe Variorum Collected Studies. ASHGATE. ISBN 0-86078-905-5.
dm, Magda (1993).

The Little Entente and

Europe(1920-1929). Akadmiai Kiad. ISBN 963[145] https://www.transcend.org/tms/2013/02/




gh, Attila (1998). The politics of Central Europe.

SAGE. ISBN 0-7619-5032-X.
Hayes, Bascom Barry (1994). Bismarck and Mitteleuropa. Fairleigh Dickinson University Press.
ISBN 978-0-8386-3512-4.
Johnson, Lonnie R. (1996). Central Europe: enemies, neighbors, friends. Oxford University Press.
ISBN 978-0-19-510071-6.
Katzenstein, Peter J. (1997). Mitteleuropa: Between
Europe and Germany. Berghahn Books. ISBN 9781-57181-124-0.
O. Benson, Forgacs (2002). Between Worlds.
A Sourcebook of Central European Avant-Gardes,
19101930. MIT Press. ISBN 978-0-262-025300.
Tiersky, Ronald (2004). Europe today. Rowman &
Littleeld. ISBN 978-0-7425-2805-5.
Ttsy de Zepetnek, Steven (2002), Comparative
Central European culture, Purdue University Press,
ISBN 1-55753-240-0


Further reading

Jacques Rupnik, In Search of Central Europe: Ten

Years Later, in Gardner, Hall, with Schaeer, Elinore & Kobtze, Oleg, (ed.), Central and Southcentral Europe in Transition, Westport, Connecticut: Praeger, 2000 (translated form French by Oleg
Article 'Mapping Central Europe' in hidden europe,
5, pp. 1415 (November 2005)
Journal of East Central Europe": http://www.ece.
Central European Political Science Associations
journal Politics in Central Europe": http://www.
CEU Political Science Journal (PSJ): http://www.
Central European Journal of International and Security Studies: http://www.cejiss.org/
Central European Political Studies Review: http://


External links

The dictionary denition of central europe at Wiktionary


Halecki, Oscar. BORDERLANDS OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION A History of East Central

Europe (PDF). Oscar Halecki. Retrieved 8 August
The Centrope region
Map of Europe
Maps of Europe and European countries
Central Europe Economy
UNHCR Oce for Central Europe



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