Definition of Central Europe
Central Europe or Middle Europe is a region in Europe between Western, Eastern, Southeastern, Southern and Northern Europe. Geographically, there are no clear criteria that could be used for delimitation. For the geographical delimitation, climatic and natural conditions (for example vegetation types or tectonic phenomena) can be used. The natural sciences define the oceanic to subcontinental, moderately warm large-scale climate as a criterion.
A rough demarcation of Central Europe is the Rhine in the west and northwest, the North Sea and the Eider (or alternatively Skagerrak / Kattegat) and then the Baltic Sea in the north. In the east, the Vistula and Eastern Carpathians are ideal, in the southeast the lower reaches of the Danube, in the south the Drava and the Central Alps. But there are doubts as to whether rivers such as the Eider or the Vistula are sufficient to define a subcontinent. In any case, the geographical division remains vague.
The term “Central Europe” can also be defined politically, in terms of cultural history or in terms of natural space. In addition, the conception of the term is subject to historical and political change. Central Europe cannot therefore be clearly defined, but the question has received greater attention since the end of the Cold War.
Religious demarcation to the east and south-east
Before the Second World War, and even more clearly before the First World War, Central Europe was religiously delimitable. In Central Europe, in addition to Jewish minorities, the Catholic and Protestant denominations of Christianity were almost exclusively represented. To the east and south-east, this cultural area encountered Russian Orthodox and Greek Orthodox creeds and the Islamic of the Bosnian-Herzegovinian Muslims.
Even today, cultural and religious criteria are sometimes used to delimit Central Europe, more precisely: the predominance of the Roman Catholic creed. This “border” would therefore run through the roughly equally Catholic and Protestant states of Germany and Latvia and demarcate itself from Eastern and Southeastern Europe to the Orthodox creed (Belarus, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia), partly (with Bosnia and Herzegovina) also to Islam. A demarcation of Central Europe to the west and south can hardly be made with this approach.
Countries in Central Europe
- Czech Republic