Central Europe

Central Europe is the region comprising the central part of Europe. It is said to occupy continuous territory that are otherwise conventionally Western Europe, Southern Europe, and Eastern Europe.[2][3][4] The concept of Central Europe is based on a common historical, social and cultural identity.[5][6][7][8][9][8][10][11][12][13][14] Central Europe is going through a phase of "strategic awakening",[15] with initiatives such as the CEI, Centrope and the Visegrád Four. While the region's economy shows high disparities with regard to income,[16] all Central European countries are listed by the Human Development Index as very highly developed.[17]

Central Europe (Brockhaus)
Central Europe according to The World Factbook (2009),[1] Encyclopædia Britannica, and Brockhaus Enzyklopädie (1998)

Historical perspective

Middle Ages and early modern era

Elements of unity for Western and Central Europe were Roman Catholicism and Latin. However Eastern Europe, which remained Eastern Orthodox Christian, was the area of Graeco-Byzantine cultural influence; after the schism (1054), Eastern Europe developed cultural unity and resistance to the Western world (Catholic and Protestant) within the framework of Church Slavonic language and the Cyrillic alphabet.[18][19][20][21]

Carolingian empire 843 888

Frankish Empire and its tributaries (AD 843-888)

Great Moravia

Certain and disputed borders of Great Moravia under Svatopluk I (AD 870–894)

Church in poland 12-13c

Kingdom of Poland in late 12th-13th centuries.

Karte Böhmen unter Ottokar II

Bohemia in 1273

Europe mediterranean 1190 cropped

Kingdom of Hungary in 1190

Deutsche Ostsiedlung

Stages of German eastern settlement, 700-1400

Holy Roman Empire ca.1600

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.[22]

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, Bohemia and Hungary.[23] They agreed to cooperate closely in the field of politics and commerce, inspiring their late successors to launch a successful Central European initiative.[23]

In the Middle Ages, countries in Central Europe adopted Magdeburg rights.

Before World War I

Central Europe 1902
A view of Central Europe dating from the time before the First World War (1902):[24]
  Central European countries and regions: Germany and Austria-Hungary (without Bosnia & Herzegovina and Dalmatia)
  Regions located at the transition between Central Europe and Southeastern/Eastern Europe: Romania

Before 1870, the industrialization that had developed in Western 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.[25] The concept of Central Europe was already known at the beginning of the 19th century,[26] 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 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 to Vistula, or even Dnieper, and from the Baltic Sea to the Balkans.[27] An example of that-time vision of Central Europe may be seen in J. Partsch's book of 1903.[28]

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, 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 Naumann's book Mitteleuropa[29] in which he called for an economic federation to be established after the war. 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 Anglo-French alliance, on one side, and Russia, on the other.[30] 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.

Interwar period

Central Europe (Geographie universelle, 1927)
Interwar Central Europe according to Emmanuel de Martonne (1927)
Avantgarde CE
CE countries, Sourcebook of Central European Avant-Gardes 1910–1930 (L.A. County Museum of Art)[31]

According to Emmanuel de Martonne, in 1927 the Central European countries included: Austria, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Switzerland. The author use both Human and Physical Geographical features to define Central Europe, but he doesn't care about the legal development, the social, cultural, economic, infrastructural developments in these countries.[32]

The interwar period (1918–1939) brought new geopolitical system and economic and political problems, and the concept of Central Europe took 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, 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 conflict of interests was too big and neither Little Entente nor Intermarium (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.[26] 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.[33]

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 Europe's cooperation nor to fight German expansion, but in a wrong perceived notion that a completely powerless Hungary must be kept down".[33]

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, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Hungary, and Poland from 1910 to 1930.[31] 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.

Mitteleuropa

Grossgliederung Europas-en
Mitteleuropa may refer to an historical concept, or to a contemporary German definition of Central Europe, as shown here in a recommendation by the Standing Committee on Geographical Names, Germany.[34]

The German term Mitteleuropa (or alternatively its literal translation into English, Middle Europe[35]) is an ambiguous German concept.[35] 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.[36] 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.[37]

In Germany the connotation was also sometimes linked to the pre-war German provinces east of the Oder-Neisse line which were lost as the result of World War II, annexed by People's Republic of Poland and the Soviet Union, and ethnically cleansed of Germans by communist authorities and forces (see expulsion of Germans after World War II) due to Yalta Conference and Potsdam Conference decisions. In this view Bohemia and Moravia, with its dual Western Slavic and Germanic heritage, combined with the historical 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 elderly people, although the Germans have not played an exclusively negative role in the region.[38] Most Central European Jews embraced the enlightened German humanistic culture of the 19th century.[39] 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" destroyed this kind of culture instead.[35][39][40] 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 behind the Iron Curtain

Politically independent Central European states during Cold war
  Politically independent CE states during Cold War: Finland, Austria, Yugoslavia[41]

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.[42] 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.[43] 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 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.[44] At the end of the communism, publicists and historians in Central Europe, especially anti-communist opposition, came back to their research.[45]

According to Karl A. Sinnhuber (Central Europe: Mitteleuropa: Europe Centrale: An Analysis of a Geographical Term)[41] most Central European states were unable to preserve their political independence and became Soviet Satellite Europe. Besides Austria, only the marginal Central European states of Finland and Yugoslavia preserved their political sovereignty to a certain degree, being left out of any military alliances in Europe.

According to Meyers Enzyklopädisches Lexikon,[46] Central Europe is a part of Europe composed of Austria, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Romania and Switzerland, and northern marginal regions of Italy and Yugoslavia (northern states – Croatia, Serbia and Slovenia), as well as northeastern France.

Current views

Geopolitical Challenges
Geopolitical Challenges - Panel on the Future of Europe

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 define the Central European region is subject to debates. Very often, the definition depends on the nationality and historical perspective of its author.

Main propositions, gathered by Jerzy Kłoczowski, include:[47]

  • Central Europe as the area of cultural heritage of the Habsburg Empire (later Austria-Hungary) – a concept which is popular in regions along the Danube River: Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, Serbia, Slovenia, large parts of Croatia and Romania, also smaller parts of Poland and Ukraine. In Hungary, the narrowing of Central Europe into former Habsburg lands are not popular.
  • A concept underlining the links connecting Belarus and Ukraine with Russia and treating the Russian Empire together with the whole Slavic Orthodox population as one entity – this position is taken by the Russian historiography.
  • 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 Nation-states – this idea is represented by in the South-Eastern 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 Visegrád, 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 Visegrád Group became a vehicle for coordinating Central Europe's road to the European Union, while development of closer ties within the region languished.[49]

Floristic regions in Europe (english)
The European floristic regions
Carpathian Basin-Pannonian Basin
The Pannonian Plain, between the Alps (west), the Carpathians (north and east), and the Sava/Danube (south)
Mapcarpat2
Carpathian countries (north-west to south-east): CZ, AT, PL, SK, HU, UA, RO, RS

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.[50] According to him, in Germany's contemporary public discourse "Central European identity" refers to the civilizational divide between Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy.[50] He says there's no precise, uncontestable way to decide whether the Baltic states, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Romania, and Bulgaria are parts of Central Europe or not.[51]

Lonnie R. Johnson points out criteria to distinguish Central Europe from Western, Eastern and Southeast Europe:[52]

  • One criterion for defining Central Europe is the frontiers of medieval empires and kingdoms that largely correspond to the religious frontiers between the Roman Catholic West and the Orthodox East.[53] The pagans of Central Europe were converted to Roman Catholicism while in Southeastern and Eastern Europe they were brought into the fold of the Eastern Orthodox Church.[53]
  • Multinational empires were a characteristic of Central Europe.[54] Hungary and Poland, small and medium-size states today, were empires during their early histories.[54] The historical Kingdom of Hungary was until 1918 three times larger than Hungary is today,[54] while Poland was the largest state in Europe in the 16th century.[54] Both these kingdoms housed a wide variety of different peoples.[54]

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 230 years ago they were in Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth.[54]
Johnson's study on Central Europe received acclaim and positive reviews[55][56] 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).[57]

The Columbia Encyclopedia defines Central Europe as: Germany, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary.[58] The World Factbook[1] 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".[59]

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 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, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland; in the broader sense Romania too, occasionally also Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg.

Central Europe Katzenstein
Central Europe according to Peter J. Katzenstein (1997)
  The Visegrád Group countries are referred to as Central Europe in the book[50]
  countries for which there's no precise, uncontestable way to decide whether they are parts of Central Europe or not[51]
Central Europe Katzenstein
Visegrad group countries

According to The Economist and Ronald Tiersky a strict definition of Central Europe means the Visegrád Group[49][60]

Central Europe (Lonnie R. Johnson)2
Map of Central Europe, according to Lonnie R. Johnson (2011)[61]
  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 Europe (Lonnie R. Johnson)2
Central-Europe-Encarta
Central European countries in Encarta Encyclopedia (2009)[59]
  Central European countries
  Slovenia in "south central Europe"
Central-Europe-Encarta
Central Europe (Meyers Grosses Taschenlexikon)
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 European
Central Europe (Meyers Grosses Taschenlexikon)
Central Europe (Brockhaus)

Middle Europe (Brockhaus Enzyklopädie, 1998)

Central-Europe-SwanseaUniv

Central Europe according to Swansea University professors Robert Bideleux and Ian Jeffries (1998)[62]

Central Europe (by E. Schenk)

Central Europe, as defined by E. Schenk (1950)[63]

Central Europe (by A.Mutton)

Central Europe, according to Alice F. A. Mutton in Central Europe. A Regional and Human Geography (1961)

Central Europe (Mayers Enzyklopaedisches Lexikon)

Central Europe according to Meyers Enzyklopaedisches Lexikon (1980)

States

The comprehension of the concept of Central Europe is an ongoing source of controversy,[64] though the Visegrád Group constituents are almost always included as de facto C.E. countries.[60] Although views on which countries belong 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 below.

Depending on context, Central European countries are sometimes grouped as Eastern or Western European countries, collectively or individually[65][66][67][68] but some place them in Eastern Europe instead:[65][66][67] for instance Austria can be referred to as Central European, as well as Eastern European[69] or Western European.[70]

Other countries and regions

Some sources also add neighbouring countries for historical reasons (the former Austro-Hungarian and German Empires, and modern Baltic states), or based on geographical and/or cultural reasons:

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

The following states or some of their regions may sometimes be included in Central Europe:

Geography

Geography defines Central Europe's 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[93] across the Soča-Krka-Sava-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 Rhine river which runs South-North through Western Germany is an exception.

Danubemap
The Danube river watercourse system throughout Central and Southeastern Europe

Southwards, the Pannonian Plain is bounded by the rivers Sava and Danube- and their respective floodplains.[94] The Pannonian Plain stretches over the following countries: Austria, Croatia, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia, and touches borders of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Republika Srpska) and Ukraine ("peri- Pannonian states").

As southeastern division of the Eastern Alps,[95] 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.[96]

The Central European flora region stretches from Central France (the Massif Central) to Central Romania (Carpathians) and Southern Scandinavia.[97]

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, Hungary, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and usually also Austria and Germany, but never Russia and other countries of the former Soviet Union towards the Ural mountains.[98]

Demography

Population density countries 2018 world map, people per sq km
Population density (people per km2) by country, 2018

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.[99] Other populations include: Poland with around 38.5 million residents,[100] Czech Republic at 10.5 million,[101] Hungary at 10 million,[102] Austria with 8.8 million, Switzerland with 8.5 million,[103]Serbia at 7.1 million,[104] Slovakia at 5.4 million,[105] Croatia with its 4.3 million[106] residents, Slovenia at 2 million (2014 estimate)[107] and Liechtenstein at a bit less than 40,000.[108]

If the countries which are occasionally included in Central Europe were counted in, partially or in whole – Romania (20 million), Lithuania (2.9 million), Latvia (2 million), Estonia (1.3 million) – it would contribute to the rise of between 25–35 million, depending on whether regional or integral approach was used.[109] 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.

Economy

Currencies

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).

Human Development Index

2013 UN Human Development Report Quartiles
World map by quartiles of Human Development Index in 2013.
  Very High
  Low
  High
  Data unavailable
  Medium

Countries in descending order of Human Development Index (2014 data):

  • Switzerland: 0.917 (ranked 3)
  • Germany: 0.911 (ranked 6)
  • Liechtenstein: 0.889 (ranked 18)
  • Austria: 0.881 (ranked 21)
  • Slovenia: 0.874 (ranked 25)
  • 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)
  • Serbia 0.798 (ranked 56)

Globalisation

Globalization Index
Map showing the score for the KOF Globalization Index.

The index of globalization in Central European countries (2015 data):[110]

  • Austria: 89.83 (ranked 4)
  • Switzerland: 87.01 (ranked 5)
  • Hungary: 85.78 (ranked 9)
  • Slovakia: 83.62 (ranked 16)
  • Czech Republic: 83.60 (ranked 17)
  • Poland: 79.90 (ranked 23)
  • Germany: 78.24 (ranked 27)
  • Slovenia: 76.24 (ranked 32)
  • Croatia: 75.59 (ranked 35)
  • Serbia 74.97 (ranked 37)
  • Liechtenstein: not listed (ranked 180 in 2015 with 29.23)

Prosperity Index

Legatum Prosperity Index demonstrates an average and high level of prosperity in Central Europe (2016 data):[111]

  • Switzerland (ranked 4)
  • Germany (ranked 11)
  • Luxembourg (ranked 12)
  • Austria (ranked 15)
  • Slovenia (ranked 20)
  • Czech Republic (ranked 27)
  • Poland (ranked 34)
  • Slovakia (ranked 36)
  • Croatia (ranked 43)
  • Hungary (ranked 47)
  • Serbia (ranked 53)

Corruption

Transparency international 2015
Overview of the index of perception of corruption, 2015.
     90–100      60–69      30–39      0–9
     80–89      50–59      20–29      No information
     70–79      40–49      10–19

Most countries in Central Europe score tend to score above the average in the Corruption Perceptions Index (2015 data):[112]

  • Switzerland (ranked 7)
  • Germany (ranked 10, tied)
  • Austria (ranked 16, tied)
  • Poland (ranked 30, tied)
  • Slovenia (ranked 35)
  • Czech Republic (ranked 37, tied)
  • Croatia (ranked 50, tied)
  • Hungary (ranked 50, tied)
  • Slovakia (ranked 50, tied)
  • Serbia (ranked 78)

According to the Bribe Payers Index, released yearly since 1995 by the Berlin-based NGO Transparency International, Germany and Switzerland, the only two Central European countries examined in the study, were respectively ranked 2nd and 4th in 2011.[113]

Infrastructure

Industrialisation occurred early in Central Europe. That caused construction of rail and other types of infrastructure.

Rail

Rail density map
Rail network density.

Central Europe contains the continent's earliest railway systems, whose greatest expansion was recorded in Austro-Hungarian and German territories between 1860-1870s.[114] 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).[114] 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).[115][116] when compared with most of Europe and the rest of the world.[117][118]

River transport and canals

Before the first railroads appeared in the 1840s, river transport constituted the main means of communication and trade.[114] Earliest canals included Plauen Canal (1745), Finow Canal, and also Bega Canal (1710) which connected Timișoara to Novi Sad and Belgrade via Danube.[114] The most significant achievement in this regard was the facilitation of navigability on Danube from the Black sea to Ulm in the 19th century.

Branches

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, Serbia and Slovenia by 1880.[119]

Agriculture

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,[120] third producer of rye and barley, 5th rapeseed producer, sixth largest milk producer, and fifth largest potato producer. Poland is the world's largest triticale producer, second largest producer of raspberry, currant, third largest of rye, the fifth apple and buckwheat 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 plums and second largest of raspberries.[121][122] Slovenia is world's sixth hops producer.

Business

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.[123]

Tourism

Central European countries, especially Austria, Croatia, Germany and Switzerland are some of the most competitive tourism destinations.[124] Poland is presently a major destination for outsourcing.[125]

Outsourcing destination

Kraków, Warsaw, and Wrocław, Poland; Prague and Brno, Czech Republic; Budapest, Hungary; Bucharest, Romania; Bratislava, Slovakia; Ljubljana, Slovenia, Belgrade, Serbia and Zagreb, Croatia are among the world's top 100 outsourcing destinations.[126]

Education

Central European countries are very literate. All of them have the literacy rate of 96% or over (for both sexes):

Country Literacy rate
(all)
Male Female Criteria
World 84.1% 88.6% 79.7% age 15 and over can read and write (2010 est.)
Liechtenstein 100% 100% 100% age 10 and over can read and write
Poland 99.7% 99.9% 99.6% age 15 and over can read and write (2011 est.)
Slovenia 99.7% 99.7% 99.7% (2010 est.)
Slovakia 99.6% 99.7% 99.6% age 15 and over can read and write (2004)
Czech Republic 99% 99% 99% (2011 est.)
Germany 99% 99% 99% age 15 and over can read and write (2003 est.)
Hungary 99% 99.2% 98.9% age 15 and over can read and write (2011 est.)
Switzerland 99% 99% 99% age 15 and over can read and write (2003 est.)
Croatia 98.9% 99.5% 98.3% age 15 and over can read and write (2011 est.)
Austria 98% N/A N/A age 15 and over can read and write
Serbia 97.9% N/A N/A age 15 and over can read nd write

Languages

Languages taught as the first language in Central Europe are: Croatian, Czech, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Polish, Romansh, Serbian, Slovak and Slovenian. The most popular language taught at schools in Central Europe as foreign languages are: English, French and German.[127] Proficiency in English is ranked as high or moderate, according to the EF English Proficiency Index:[128]

  • Slovenia (position 6)
  • Luxembourg (position 8)
  • Poland (position 9)
  • Austria (position 10)
  • Germany (position 11)
  • Serbia (position 18)
  • Hungary (position 21)
  • Czech Republic (position 18)
  • Switzerland (position 19)
  • Slovakia (position 25)
  • Croatia (not ranked)
  • Liechtenstein (not ranked)

Other languages, also popular (spoken by over 5% as a second language):[127]

  • Croatian in Slovenia (61%)
  • Czech in Slovakia (82%)[129]
  • French in Romania (17%), Germany (14%) and Austria (11%)
  • German in Slovenia (42%), Croatia (34%), Slovakia (22%), Poland (20%), Hungary (18%), the Czech Republic (15%) and Romania (5%)
  • Hungarian in Romania (9%), Serbia (7%) Slovakia (12%)[130]
  • 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%)
  • Slovak in the Czech Republic (16%), Serbia (2%)
  • Spanish in Romania (5%)

Education 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 fields studied.[131]

In maths:

PISA-Maths-2012
The results for the 2012 "Maths" section on a world map.
  • Liechtenstein (position 8) – above the OECD average
  • Switzerland (position 9) – above the OECD average
  • Poland (position 14) – above the OECD average
  • Germany (position 16) – above the OECD average
  • Austria (position 18) – above the OECD average
  • Slovenia (position 21) – above the OECD average
  • Czech Republic (position 24) – similar to the OECD average
  • Slovakia (position 35) – below the OECD average
  • Hungary (position 39) – below the OECD average
  • Croatia (position 40) – below the OECD average
  • Serbia (position 43) – below the OECD average

In the sciences:

PISA-Science-2012
The results for the 2012 "Science" section on a world map.
  • Poland (position 9) – above the OECD average
  • Liechtenstein (position 10) – above the OECD average
  • Germany (position 12) – above the OECD average
  • Switzerland (position 19) – above the OECD average
  • Slovenia (position 20) – above the OECD average
  • Czech Republic (position 22) – above the OECD average
  • Austria (position 23) – similar to the OECD average
  • Hungary (position 33) – below the OECD average
  • Serbia (position 34) – below the OECD average
  • Croatia (position 35) – below the OECD average
  • Slovakia (position 40) – below the OECD average

In reading:

PISA-Reading-2012
The results for the 2012 "Reading" section on a world map.
  • Poland (position 10) – above the OECD average
  • Liechtenstein (position 11) – above the OECD average
  • Switzerland (position 17) – above the OECD average
  • Germany (position 19) – above the OECD average
  • Czech Republic (position 26) – similar to the OECD average
  • 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
  • Serbia (position 49) – below the OECD average

Higher education

Universities

156 Univerzita Karlova, o Karolinum (Universitat Carolina)
Karolinum of the Charles University in Prague

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).[132] The list of Central Europe's oldest universities in continuous operation, established by 1500, include (by their dates of foundation):

Central European University

Building of CEU entrance
The entrance of the Central European University in Budapest

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.[147] In the academic year 2013/2014, the CEU had 1,381 students from 93 countries and 388 faculty members from 58 countries.[148]

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 first time in brackets):[149]

  • Albania (2006)
  • Austria (2005)
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina (2008)
  • Bulgaria (2005)
  • Croatia (2005)
  • Czech Republic (2005)
  • Hungary (2005)
  • Kosovo*[150] (2008)
  • Macedonia (2006)
  • Moldova (2011)
  • Montenegro (2006)
  • Poland (2005)
  • Romania (2005)
  • Serbia (2005)
  • Slovakia (2005)
  • Slovenia (2005)

Culture and society

Research centres of Central European literature include Harvard (Cambridge, MA),[151] Purdue University[152]

Architecture

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

  • Germany (position 5th, 42 sites)
  • Poland (position 18th, 16 sites)
  • Czech Republic (position 22nd, 12 sites)
  • Switzerland (position 25th, 12 sites)
  • Austria (position 27th, 10 sites)
  • Croatia (position 29th, 10 sites)
  • Serbia (position 35, 6 sites)

Religion

Catholic Church by Country in Europe
Central European major Christian denomination is Catholicism (map) as well as large Protestant populations
Juden 1881
Jews in Central Europe (1881)

Central European countries are mostly Roman Catholic (Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia) or mixed Catholic and Protestant, (Germany and Switzerland). Large Protestant groups include Lutheran and Calvinist. Significant 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.[153][154][155] The Czech Republic (Bohemia) was historically the first Protestant country, then violently recatholised, and now overwhelmingly non-religious, nevertheless the largest number of religious people are Catholic (10.3%). Romania and Serbia are mostly Eastern Orthodox with significant Protestant and Catholic minorities.

Before the Holocaust (1941–45), there was also a sizeable Ashkenazi Jewish community in the region, numbering approximately 16.7 million people.[156]

In some of these countries, there is a number of atheists, 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 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 Europe church buildings gallery

Veitsdom-sideview

St. Vitus Cathedral, Prague (Catholic), Czech Republic

Kathedrale - Zagreb - 2010

Zagreb Cathedral, Zagreb (Catholic), Croatia

Katedra św. Jana Chrzciciela we Wrocławiu - widok z bulwaru z drugiej strony Odry

Wrocław Cathedral (Catholic), Poland

Krakow- Kosciol Mariacki

St. Mary's Basilica in Kraków (Catholic), Poland

Basilique Saint-Étienne de Pest

St. Stephen's Basilica in Budapest (Catholic), Hungary

Jesuit Church, Lucerne, Switzerland

Jesuit Church, Lucerne (Catholic), Switzerland

View from Humboldtbox - Berlin Cathedral

Berlin Cathedral (United Protestant - Lutheran & Calvinist), Germany

Grossmünster - Münsterhof 2014-05-23 12-08-43

Grossmünster (Calvinist), Switzerland

Debreceni református nagytemplom

Reformed Great Church of Debrecen (Calvinist), Hungary

Kölner Dom 2013-06-06-01

Cologne Cathedral (Catholic), Germany

Matthias Church, Budapest, 2017

Matthias Church is a Roman Catholic church in Budapest, Hungary

Wien - Stephansdom

St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna (Catholic), Austria

Partizánska Ľupča (Deutschliptsch, Németlipcse) - evanjelický kostol

Evangelical church in Partizánska Ľupča (Lutheran), Slovakia

EsztergomBazilikaFotoThalerTamas

Esztergom Basilica (Catholic), is an ecclesiastic basilica in Esztergom, Hungary

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).[157] 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 13th.

Human rights

History

Human rights have a long tradition in Central Europe. In 1222 Hungary defined for the first 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 first 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.

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, and Poland also have a history of participation in the CIA's extraordinary rendition and detention program, according to the Open Society Foundation.[158][159]

Literature

Regional writing tradition revolves around the turbulent history of the region, as well as its cultural diversity.[160][161] Its existence is sometimes challenged.[162] Specific courses on Central European literature are taught at Stanford University,[163] Harvard University[164] and Jagiellonian University[165] The as well as cultural magazines dedicated to regional literature.[166] 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.[167] Likewise, the Vilenica International Literary Prize is awarded to a Central European author for "outstanding achievements in the field of literature and essay writing."[168]

Media

Press freedom 2018
Press Freedom Index results.

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, although the situation in Poland, Hungary and Croatia is described as "problematic". Some of the top scoring countries are in Central Europe include:[169]

  • Switzerland (position 7)
  • Austria (position 11)
  • Germany (position 16)
  • Slovakia (position 17)
  • Czech Republic (position 23)
  • Liechtenstein (position 32)
  • Slovenia (position 37)
  • Poland (position 54)
  • Hungary (position 71)
  • Croatia (position 74)
  • Serbia (position 76)

Sport

There is a number of Central European Sport events and leagues. They include:

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 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 2014).[171][172][173]

Politics

Organisations

Central Europe is a birthplace of regional political organisations:

CEI members

Central European Initiative

Visegrad group countries

Visegrád Group

CEFTA 1992

CEFTA founding states

CEFTA 2003

CEFTA members in 2003, before joining the EU

Europe-cefta-map

Current CEFTA members

Democracy Index

Economist Intelligence Unit Democracy index
The Economist Intelligence Unit Democracy index map for 2016, with greener colours representing more democratic countries

Central Europe is a home to some of world's oldest democracies. However, most of them have been impacted by totalitarian rule, particularly Nazism (Germany, Austria, Croatia, 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 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:[174]

  • Switzerland (position 6)
  • Germany (position 13)
  • Austria (position 14)
  • Czech Republic (position 25)
  • Slovenia (position 37)
  • Poland (position 40)
  • Slovakia (position 45)
  • Croatia (position 50)
  • Hungary (position 51)
  • Serbia (position 57)
  • Liechtenstein (not listed)

Global Peace Index

Global Peace Index
Global Peace Index Scores.

In spite of its turbulent history, Central Europe is currently one of world's safest regions. Most Central European countries are in top 20%:[175]

  • Austria (position 3)
  • Switzerland (position 5)
  • Czech Republic (position 11)
  • Slovenia (position 14)
  • Germany (position 17)
  • Slovakia (position 19)
  • Poland (position 23)
  • Hungary (position 22)
  • Serbia (position 23)
  • Croatia (position 26)
  • Liechtenstein (not listed)

Central European Time

Time zones of Europe
Central European Time Zone (dark red)

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):

  • Hungary
  • Slovakia
  • Czech Republic
  • Germany
  • Austria
  • Poland (1893[176])
  • Serbia
  • Slovenia
  • Switzerland
  • Liechtenstein

In popular culture

Central Europe is mentioned in 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."[177]

Wes Anderson's Oscar-winning film The Grand Budapest Hotel is regarded as a fictionalised celebration of the 1930s in Central Europe[178] and region's musical tastes[179]

See also

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Bibliography

Further reading

External links

Allied Joint Force Command Brunssum

The Allied Joint Force Command Brunssum (JFCBS) is a NATO command at Brunssum, the Netherlands.

Baltic region

The terms Baltic region, Baltic Rim countries (or simply Baltic Rim), and the Baltic Sea countries refer to slightly different combinations of countries in the general area surrounding the Baltic Sea in Northern Europe.

Central European Summer Time

Central European Summer Time (CEST), sometime referred also as Central European Daylight Time (CEDT), is the standard clock time observed during the period of summer daylight-saving in those European countries which observe Central European Time (UTC+01:00) during the other part of the year. It corresponds to UTC+02:00, which makes it the same as Central Africa Time, South African Standard Time and Kaliningrad Time in Russia.

Central European Time

Central European Time (CET), used in most parts of Europe and a few North African countries, is a standard time which is 1 hour ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). The time offset from UTC can be written as UTC+01:00. The same standard time, UTC+01:00, is also known as Middle European Time (MET, German: MEZ) and under other names like Berlin Time, Warsaw Time and Romance Standard Time (RST), Paris Time or Rome Time.The 15th meridian east is the central axis for UTC+01:00 in the world system of time zones.

As of 2011, all member states of the European Union observe summer time; those that during the winter use CET use Central European Summer Time (CEST) (or: UTC+02:00, daylight saving time) in summer (from last Sunday of March to last Sunday of October).A number of African countries use UTC+01:00 all year long, where it is called West Africa Time (WAT), although Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia also use the term Central European Time.

Central and Eastern Europe

Central and Eastern Europe, abbreviated CEE, is a term encompassing the countries in Central Europe (the Visegrád Group), the Baltics, Eastern Europe, and Southeastern Europe (Balkans), usually meaning former communist states from the Eastern Bloc (Warsaw Pact) in Europe. Scholarly literature often uses the abbreviations CEE or CEEC for this term. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development also uses the term "Central and Eastern European Countries (CEECs)" for a group comprising some of these countries.

Corded Ware culture

The Corded Ware culture, CWC (German: Schnurkeramik; French: céramique cordée; Dutch: touwbekercultuur) comprises a broad archaeological horizon of Europe between c. 2900 BCE – circa 2350 BCE, thus from the late Neolithic, through the Copper Age, and ending in the early Bronze Age. Corded Ware culture encompassed a vast area, from the Rhine on the west to the Volga in the east, occupying parts of Northern Europe, Central Europe and Eastern Europe.According to Haak et al. (2017), the Corded Ware people were genetically closely related to the people of the Yamna culture (or Yamnaya), "documenting a massive migration into the heartland of Europe from its eastern periphery," the Eurasiatic steppes. The Corded Ware culture may have disseminated the Proto-Germanic and Proto-Balto-Slavic Indo-European languages. The Corded Ware Culture also shows genetic affinity with the later Sintashta culture, where the proto-Indo-Iranian language may have originated.

Czechoslovakia

Czechoslovakia, or Czecho-Slovakia (; Czech and Slovak: Československo, Česko-Slovensko), was a sovereign state in Central Europe that existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until its peaceful dissolution into the Czech Republic and Slovakia on 1 January 1993.

From 1939 to 1945, following its forced division and partial incorporation into Nazi Germany, the state did not de facto exist but its government-in-exile continued to operate.

From 1948 to 1990, Czechoslovakia was part of the Eastern Bloc with a command economy. Its economic status was formalized in membership of Comecon from 1949 and its defense status in the Warsaw Pact of May 1955. A period of political liberalization in 1968, known as the Prague Spring, was forcibly ended when the Soviet Union, assisted by several other Warsaw Pact countries, invaded. In 1989, as Marxist–Leninist governments and communism were ending all over Europe, Czechoslovaks peacefully deposed their government in the Velvet Revolution; state price controls were removed after a period of preparation. In 1993, Czechoslovakia split into the two sovereign states of the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Eastern Europe

Eastern Europe is the eastern part of the European continent. There is no consensus on the precise area it covers, partly because the term has a wide range of geopolitical, geographical, cultural, and socioeconomic connotations. There are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region". A related United Nations paper adds that "every assessment of spatial identities is essentially a social and cultural construct".One definition describes Eastern Europe as a cultural entity: the region lying in Europe with the main characteristics consisting of Greek, Byzantine, Eastern Orthodox, Russian, and some Ottoman culture influences. Another definition was created during the Cold War and used more or less synonymously with the term Eastern Bloc. A similar definition names the formerly communist European states outside the Soviet Union as Eastern Europe. Some historians and social scientists view such definitions as outdated or relegated, but they are still sometimes used for statistical purposes.

Galicia (Eastern Europe)

Galicia (; Ukrainian and Rusyn: Галичина, Halyčyna; Polish: Galicja; Czech and Slovak: Halič; German: Galizien; Hungarian: Galícia/Kaliz/Gácsország/Halics; Romanian: Galiția/Halici; Russian: Галиция, Galitsiya; Yiddish: גאַליציע‎ Galitsiye) is a historical and geographic region between Central and Eastern Europe. It was once the small Kingdom of Galicia–Volhynia and later a crown land of Austria-Hungary, the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria, which straddled the modern-day border between Poland and Ukraine. The area, which is named after the medieval city of Halych, was first mentioned in Hungarian historical chronicles in the year 1206 as Galiciæ. In 1253, prince Daniel of Galicia was crowned the King of Rus (Latin: Rex Rusiae) or King of Ruthenia following the Mongol invasion in Ruthenia (Kyivan Rus). In 1352 Kingdom of Galicia and Volhynia was annexed by the Kingdom of Poland as Ruthenian Voivodeship (Latin: Palatinatus Russiae).

The nucleus of historic Galicia lies within the modern regions of western Ukraine: Lviv, Ternopil and Ivano-Frankivsk near Halych. In the 18th century, territories that later became part of the modern Polish regions of Lesser Poland Voivodeship, Subcarpathian Voivodeship and Silesian Voivodeship were added to Galicia. It covers majorly such historic regions like Red Ruthenia (centered in Lviv) and Lesser Poland (centered in Kraków). Galicia was contested between Poland and Ruthenia since the Medieval times and in the 20th century between Poland and Ukraine. In the 10th century, several cities were founded in Galicia, such as Volodymyr and Jaroslaw, that marked their relation to the Grand Prince of Kyiv. There is considerable overlap between Galicia and Podolia (to the east) as well as south-west Ruthenia, especially a cross-border region (centred on Carpathian Ruthenia) that is inhabited by various nationalities.

German

German(s) may refer to:

The German language, mainly spoken in Central Europe

Something derived from or related to Germany

Germans, an ethnic group

A citizen of the Federal Republic of Germany, or any political predecessor (or part of it), under German nationality law

(historically) Something derived from or related to Germania. While now obsolete, it is still found in old names, translations of Latin and Greek works, and similar material.

Any one of the original Germanic languages, including Proto-Germanic

Any of the historical or modern Germanics

German cuisine, traditional foods of Germany

HBO Europe

HBO Europe is a premium television group of channels by HBO. It is available as a group of film channels and VOD operate in Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Moldova while VOD-only with original programming is available in Spain, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland.

The first channel was launched by HBO and Sony Pictures in Hungary on September 28, 1991. This was followed by the launch in Czech Republic, in 1994. In 1995 Walt Disney entered in joint-venture. In Poland was launched in 1996, a launch in Slovakia in 1997, 1998 in Romania,1999 in Moldova, 2002 in Bulgaria, 2004 in Croatia and Slovenia 2006 in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro and 2009 in Macedonia.

In 2010 Time Warner acquired from Sony and Disney all shares and became first fully owned subsidiary outside US.

HBO has been available in the Netherlands as well. It was a joint venture between Time Warner and cable company Ziggo. It launched on 9 February 2012 but closed on 31 December 2016. Ziggo has acquired the broadcasting licenses of HBO content for the Dutch market.

Landlocked country

A landlocked state or landlocked country is a sovereign state entirely enclosed by land, or whose only coastlines lie on closed seas. There are currently 49 such countries, including five partially recognised states. Only two, Bolivia and Paraguay in South America, lie outside Afro-Eurasia (the Old World).

As a rule, being landlocked creates political and economic handicaps that access to the high seas avoids. For this reason, states large and small across history have striven to gain access to open waters, even at great expense in wealth, bloodshed, and political capital.The economic disadvantages of being landlocked can be alleviated or aggravated depending on degree of development, language barriers, and other considerations. Some landlocked countries are quite affluent, such as Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, and Austria, all of which frequently employ neutrality to their political advantage. The majority, however, are classified as Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs). Nine of the twelve countries with the lowest Human Development Indices (HDI) are landlocked.

Morava (river)

The Morava (German: March, Hungarian: Morva, Polish: Morawa) is a river in Central Europe, a left tributary of the Danube. It is the main river of Moravia, which derives its name from it. The river originates on the Králický Sněžník mountain in the north-eastern corner of Pardubice Region, near the border between the Czech Republic and Poland and has a vaguely southward trajectory. The lower part of the river's course forms the border between the Czech Republic and Slovakia and then between Austria and Slovakia.

Neolithic circular enclosures in Central Europe

Approximately 120–150 Neolithic earthworks enclosures are known in Central Europe.

They are called Kreisgrabenanlagen ("circular ditched enclosures") in German, or alternatively as roundels (or "rondels"; German Rondelle; sometimes also "rondeloid", since many are not even approximately circular). They are mostly confined to the Elbe and Danube basins, in modern-day Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, as well as the adjacent parts of Hungary and Poland, in a stretch of Central European land some 800 km (500 mi) across.

They date to the first half of the 5th millennium BC; they are associated with the late Linear Pottery culture and its local successors, the Stroke-ornamented ware (Middle Danubian) and Lengyel (Moravian Painted Ware) cultures. The best known and oldest of these Circular Enclosures is the Goseck circle, constructed c. 4900 BC.

Only a few examples approximate a circular form; the majority are only very approximately circular or elliptic. One example at Meisternthal is an exact ellipse with identifiable focal points.

The distribution of these structures seems to suggest a spread from the middle Danube (southern Slovakia and western Hungary) towards the west (Lower Austria, Lower Bavaria) along the Danube and to the northwest (Moravia, Bohemia, Saxony-Anhalt) following the Elbe.

They precede the comparable circular earthwork or timber enclosures known from Great Britain and Ireland, constructed much later during c. 3000 to 1000 BC (late Neolithic to Bronze Age).

But, by contrast to the long lifetime of the "Megalithic" culture, the time window during which the

neolithic Roundels were in use is surprisingly narrow, lasting only for about 200–300 years (roughly 49th to 47th centuries BC).The earliest roundel to be described was the one at Krpy (Kropáčova Vrutice), Bohemia, by Woldřich 1886, but it was only with systematic aerial survey in the 1980s and the 1990s that their ubiquity in the region became apparent.

Three types have been distinguished:

two semicircular ditches forming a circle and separated by causeways at opposing entrances.

multiple circuits of ditches interrupted with entrances at cardinal or astronomically-oriented points and also having an internal single or double timber palisade.

a single ring ditch.The structures are mostly interpreted as having served a cultic purpose.

Most of them are aligned and seem to have served the function of a calendar (Kalenderbau), in the context of archaeoastronomy sometimes dubbed "observatory", with openings aligned with the points sunrise and/or sunset at the solstices. This is the case with the "gates" or openings of the roundels of Quenstedt, Goseck and Quedlinburg.

The observational determination of the time of solstice would not have served a practical (agricultural) purpose, but could have been used to maintain a lunisolar calendar (i.e. knowledge of the date of solstice allows an accurate handling of intercalary months).Known Circular Enclosures:

in Slovakia (Ivan Kuzma 2004): about 50 candidate sites from aerial surveys, not all of which are expected to date to the Neolithic. There are 15 known neolithic (Lengyel) sites. The largest of these are (with outer diameters of more than 100 m): Svodín 2 (140 m), Demandice (120 m), Bajtava (175 m), Horné Otrokovce (150 m), Podhorany-Mechenice (120 m), Cífer 127 m, Golianovo (210 m), Žitavce (145 m), Hosťovce (250–300 m), Prašník (175 m). others: Borovce, Bučany, Golianovo, Kľačany, Milanovce, Nitrianský Hrádok, Ružindol-Borová

in Hungary: Aszód, Polgár-Csőszhalom, Sé, Vokány, Szemely-Hegyes

in the Czech Republic (Jaroslav Ridky 2004): 15 known sites, all dated to the late Stroked pottery (Stk IVA). Běhařovice, Borkovany, Bulhary, Krpy, Křepice, Mašovice, Němčičky, Rašovice, Těšetice, Vedrovice

in Austria (Doneus et al. 2004): 47 known sites with diameters between 40 and 180 m. Lower Austria: Asparn an der Zaya, Altruppersdorf, Altruppersdorf, Au am Leithagebirge, Friebritz (2 sites), Gauderndorf, Glaubendorf (2 sites), Gnadendorf, Göllersdorf, Herzogbirbaum, Hornsburg, Immendorf, Kamegg, Karnabrunn, Kleedorf, Kleinrötz, Michelstetten, Moosbierbaum, Mühlbach am Manhartsberg, Oberthern, Perchtoldsdorf, Plank am Kamp, Porrau, Pottenbrunn, Pranhartsberg, Puch, Rosenburg, Schletz, Simonsfeld, Statzendorf, Steinabrunn, Stiefern, Straß im Straßertale, Strögen, Velm, Wetzleinsdorf, Wilhelmsdorf, Winden, Würnitz. Upper Austria: Ölkam.

in Poland: Biskupin (Wielkopolska), Bodzów, Rąpice [1][2], Pietrowice Wielkie (Śląsk), Nowe Objezierze (Pomorze)

in Germany

Saxony Anhalt (Ralf Schwarz 2004): Quenstedt, Goseck, Kötschlitz, Quedlinburg, outer diameters between 72 and 110 m.

Saxony: Dresden-Nickern (3 sites), Eythra (2 sites), Neukyhna (3 sites)

Bavaria: Lower Bavaria: Eching-Viecht, Künzing-Unternberg, Meisternthal, Moosburg an der Isar-Kirchamper, Oberpöring-Gneiding, Osterhofen-Schmiedorf (2 sites), Stephansposching Wallerfing-Ramsdorf, Zeholfing-Kothingeichendorf; Upper Bavaria: Penzberg

Nordrhein-Westfalen: Borchum-Harpen, Warburg-Daseburg

Niedersachsen: Müsleringen

Franconia: Hopferstadt, Ippesheim

Brandenburg: Bochow, Quappendorf

Rheinland-Pfalz: Goloring

Paprika

Paprika (US English more commonly (listen), British English more commonly (listen)) is a ground spice made from dried red fruits of the larger and sweeter varieties of the plant Capsicum annuum, called bell pepper or sweet pepper. The most common variety used for making paprika is tomato pepper, sometimes with the addition of more pungent varieties, called chili peppers, and cayenne pepper. In many languages, but not English, the word paprika also refers to the plant and the fruit from which the spice is made.

Although paprika is often associated with Hungarian cuisine, the peppers from which it is made are native to the New World and were later introduced to the Old World. Originating in central Mexico, paprika was brought to Spain in the 16th century. The seasoning is also used to add color to many types of dishes.

The trade in paprika expanded from the Iberian Peninsula to Africa and Asia, and ultimately reached Central Europe through the Balkans, then under Ottoman rule, which explains the Hungarian origin of the English term. In Spanish, paprika has been known as pimentón since the 16th century, when it became a typical ingredient in the cuisine of western Extremadura. Despite its presence in Central Europe since the beginning of Ottoman conquests, it did not become popular in Hungary until the late 19th century.Paprika can range from mild to hot – the flavor also varies from country to country – but almost all plants grown produce the sweet variety. Sweet paprika is mostly composed of the pericarp, with more than half of the seeds removed, whereas hot paprika contains some seeds, stalks, placentas, and calyces. The red, orange or yellow color of paprika is due to its content of carotenoids.

Rugby League European Championship B

The European Shield is a rugby league football competition. The competition is organised by the Rugby League European Federation and is designed to promote the sport of rugby league in Central Europe and Eastern Europe. It was first officially held in 2007, though its precursor - the Central Europe Development Tri-Nations - was held the year prior.

Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe

Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) is the headquarters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's Allied Command Operations (ACO). SHAPE is located at Casteau, north of the Belgian city of Mons.

The commander of ACO and SHAPE is Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), a U.S. four-star general officer or flag officer who also serves as Commander, U.S. European Command.

United States Army Reserve

The United States Army Reserve (USAR) is the reserve force of the United States Army. Together, the Army Reserve and the Army National Guard constitute the Army element of the Reserve components of the United States Armed Forces.

On 30 June 2016, Lieutenant General Charles D. Luckey became the 33rd Chief of Army Reserve, and Commanding General, United States Army Reserve Command (USARC).On 2 November 2012, Command Sergeant Major James Lambert was sworn in as the Interim Command Sergeant Major of the Army Reserve, serving as the Chief of the Army Reserve's senior advisor on all enlisted soldier matters, particularly areas affecting training, leader development, mobilization, employer support, family readiness and support, and quality of life.

Visegrád Group

The Visegrád Group, Visegrád Four, or V4 is a cultural and political alliance of four Central European states – the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, that are members of the European Union (EU) and NATO – for the purposes of advancing military, cultural, economic and energy cooperation with one another along with furthering their integration in the EU.The Group traces its origins to the summit meetings of leaders from Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Poland held in the Hungarian castle-town of Visegrád on 15 February 1991. Visegrád was chosen as the location for the 1991 meeting as an intentional allusion to the medieval Congress of Visegrád in 1335 between John I of Bohemia, Charles I of Hungary and Casimir III of Poland.

After the dissolution of Czechoslovakia in 1993, the Czech Republic and Slovakia became independent members of the group, thus increasing the number of members from three to four. All four members of the Visegrád Group joined the European Union on 1 May 2004.

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