Central Europe or Middle Europe is the central part of Europe.
Central Europe has more than one meaning:
- Central Europe - the part of Europe around European geographical centre in Purnuškės, Lithuania;
- Central Europe-a non-geographic term, having various definitions, but generally implying the geographical central and western Europe adjusted by the cultural similarities. It includes the following countries:
In wider context Central Europe can also refer to:
Central Europe is the place where many European cultures met. It is Europe's melting spot, where many important historical events took place. Central Europe is where the money or potential money in Europe is - all Central European countries are very highly or highly developed (except for Moldova). Most central European countries are in the European Union and NATO or seek membership in the organisations.
Central Europe demonstrates great similarities:
- synchronic or diachronic existence of Protestantism and Roman Catholicism, while Orthodoxy and Islam play only marginal roles;
- shaped - as a specific - by German, Polish and Jewish cultures in addition to other Slavonic, Romance, Hungarian a.o. cultural layers (present also outside Central Europe);
- early development of an urban system and an independent urban society in counter- balance to nobility, sovereign and church compared to East and Southeast Europe;
- early free farmers independent of feudal landlords;
- traditions of local and regional self-government as a consequence of early political particularism;
- cultural (linguistic, denominational) and ethnic variety within countries;
- politically and economically oriented towards the continent (and not towards overseas);
- delayed industrialisation compared to Western Europe, but much earlier than in Eastern and Southeast Europe;
- used to have significant Jewish communities and this is where the Haskalah started;
- for about 45 years, during the Cold War, Central Europe was divided into two mutually hostile blocs - Western Bloc and Eastern Bloc, which led to the idea that some countries in Central Europe are western European and some of them are eastern European. This idea is now declining
Culturally Central Europe is a melting pot. It was where most European Jews lived, before Shoah was where Protestantism was born (in what is now Lutherstadt Wittenberg, about 50 miles south from Berlin).