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Different views of Central Europe
Central Europe according to The World Factbook (2009),[1] Encyclopædia Britannica, and Brockhaus Enzyklopädie (1998). There are numerous other definitions and viewpoints.
Central Europe or Mitteleuropa: usage recommendation by the Standing Committee on Geographical Names, Germany.[2]

Central Europe is the region comprising the central part of Europe. Central Europe occupies continuous territories that are otherwise sometimes considered parts of Western Europe, Southern Europe and Eastern Europe.[3][4][5] The concept of Central Europe is based on a common historical, social and cultural identity[a] and is a patchwork of territories that are traditionally Catholic and Protestant. The Thirty Years' War between Catholicism and Protestantism was a significant shaping process in the history of Central Europe, and neither side was able to prevail in the region as a whole. Historically, Central Europe comprised of the most territories of the Holy Roman Empire and the territories belonging to the two adjacent kingdoms to the east (Poland and Hungary). Hungary and parts of Poland were later parts of the Habsburg Monarchy, which was also a significant shaping force in its history. Unlike their Western European counterparts, few Central European states had any overseas colonies, owing to both their central location and other factors. This has often cited as one of the causes of the World War I. After World War II, Central Europe was divided by the Iron Curtain to the parts belonging to the West and those of the Eastern bloc. The Berlin Wall was the most visible symbol of that division.

Central Europe began a "strategic awakening" in the early 21st century,[16] with initiatives such as the Central European Initiative (CEI), Centrope, and the Visegrád Four Group. While the region's economies show considerable disparities of income,[17] all Central European countries are listed by the Human Development Index as very highly developed.[18]

  • Cent

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

  • States

    The comprehension of the concept of Central Europe is an ongoing source of controversy,[80] though the Visegrád Group constituents are almost always included as de facto Central European countries.[76] Although views on which countries belong to Central Europe are vastly v

    The comprehension of the concept of Central Europe is an ongoing source of controversy,[80] though the Visegrád Group constituents are almost always included as de facto Central European countries.[76] Although views on which countries belong to Central Europe are vastly varied, according to many sources (see section Definitions) the region includes the states listed in the sections below.

  • CEFTA members in 2003, before joining the EU

  • Current CEFTA members

  • Democracy Index

    Central Europe is a home to some of world's oldest democracies. However, most of them have been impacted by totalitarianism, particularly Fascism and Nazism. Germany and Italy occupied all Central European countries, except Switzerland. In all occupied countries, the Axis powers suspended democracy and installed puppet regimes loyal to the occupation forces. Also, they forced conquered countries to apply racial laws and formed military forces for helping German and Italian struggle against Communists. After World War II, almost the whole of Central Europe (the Eastern and Middle part) was occupied by Communists. Communism also banned democracy and free elections, and human rights did not exist in Communist countries. Most of Central Europe had been occupied and later allied with the Soviet Union, often against their will through forged referendum (e.g., Polish people's referendum in 1946) or force (northeast Germany, Poland, Hungary et alia). Nevertheless, these experiences have been dealt in most of them. Most of Central European countries score very highly in the Democracy Index.[166]

    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%.[167]

    Central European Time[167]

    Central European Time

    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 (b

    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):[citation needed]

    • Hungary
    • Slovakia
    • Czech Republic
    • Germany
    • Austria
    • Poland (1893)[168]
    • Serbia (1884)[169]
    • Slovenia
    • Switzerland
    • Liechtenstein

    In popular culture

    Central Europe is mentioned in the 35th episode of Lovejoy, entitled "The Prague Sun", filmed in 1992. While walking over the famous Charles Bridge, the main character, Lovejoy says: " I've never been to Prague before. Well, it is one of the great unspoiled cities in Central Europe. Notice: I said: "Central", not "Eastern"!

    Central Europe is mentioned in the 35th episode of Lovejoy, entitled "The Prague Sun", filmed in 1992. While walking over the famous Charles Bridge, the main character, Lovejoy says: " I've never been to Prague before. Well, it is one of the great unspoiled cities in Central Europe. Notice: I said: "Central", not "Eastern"! The Czechs are a bit funny about that, they think of Eastern Europeans as turnip heads."[170]

    Wes Anderson's Oscar-winning film The Grand Budapest Hotel is regarded as a fictionalised celebration of the 1930s in Central Europe, and the region's musical tastes.[171][172]

    See also