Central Europe, sometimes referred to as Middle Europe, is a region of the European continent lying between the variously defined areas of Eastern and Western Europe. Widespread interest in the region and the term itself resurfaced by the end of the Cold War, which had divided Europe politically into East and West, splitting Central Europe in half.
The concept of Central Europe, and that of a common identity, is somewhat elusive. However, scholars assert that a distinct "Central European culture, as controversial and debated the notion may be, exists." It is based on "similarities emanating from historical, social and cultural characteristics", and it is identified as having been "one of the world's richest sources of creative talent" between the 17th and 20th centuries. Cross Currents: A Yearbook of Central European Culture characterizes Central Europe "as an abandoned West or a place where East and West collide". Germany's Constant Committee for Geographical Names defines Central Europe both as a distinct cultural area and a political region. George Schöpflin and others argue that Central Europe is defined by being "a part of Western Christianity", while Samuel P. Huntington places the region firmly within Western culture.
From the 2000s on, Central Europe has been going through a phase of "strategic awakening", with initiatives like the CEI, Centrope or V4. While the region's economy shows high disparities with regard to income, all Central European countries are listed by the Human Development Index as "very high development" countries.
Famous quotes containing the words central and/or europe:
“But when the self speaks to the self, who is speaking?the entombed soul, the spirit driven in, in, in to the central catacomb; the self that took the veil and left the worlda coward perhaps, yet somehow beautiful, as it flits with its lantern restlessly up and down the dark corridors.”
—Virginia Woolf (18821941)
“The city is recruited from the country. In the year 1805, it is said, every legitimate monarch in Europe was imbecile. The city would have died out, rotted, and exploded, long ago, but that it was reinforced from the fields. It is only country which came to town day before yesterday, that is city and court today.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (18031882)