We in Brazil are tremendously used to thinking of Europe exclusively in terms of east and west, a temporary division, the result of a specific moment in the 20th century, and already outdated.
There were centuries of history before the capitalism-communism duet segregated Europe, and that earlier history remains very much alive and reborn — visible in gastronomy, architecture, the other arts and people’s habits.
A Pole or a Czech who hears you call their countries “Eastern Europe” will probably correct you by saying that Poland and the Czech Republic are Central Europe (a term that few people in Brazil understand).
Central Europe is a region with a common cultural matrix, made up mainly of countries from the former German and Austro-Hungarian empires. A land of strong Germanic influences, but not only. Particular Hungarian or Slavic influences (from Poland, Slovenia, Slovakia or the Czech Republic) make up the painting.
It is because it makes sense to speak of Central Europe as a cultural (and geographical) entity that the houses in Vienna are so similar to those in Budapest, even though they were on opposite sides of the capitalism-communism divide. That’s why this entire region holds the lovely Christmas fairs at the end of the year. That’s why they eat similar things, and more.
Central Europe is one of the most beautiful regions in Europe, and one of the easiest to travel around, thanks to its excellent train connections. Below, by clicking on the pictures, you will be directed to the respective Central European country.
Land of Goethe, Bach and Beethoven; Oktoberfest and the Berlin Wall. Beautiful little towns, medieval corners, rich gastronomy of delicacies, and a lot of historical stuff.
Imperial glamour, tradition and charm in the capital Vienna (the main cultural reference in Central Europe), in the Innsbruck Alps, and in other places such as Salzburg, the city of Mozart.
One of Europe’s gems slowly being discovered. Lakes, caves, and the beautiful and simple capital, Ljubljana.
One of the most exceptional countries in Europe, with a very different language and culture. From spectacular Budapest, one of Europe’s most up-and-coming capitals, to the country’s lesser-known countryside.
The largest of the Slavic countries within the European Union, the famous capital Warsaw, the legendary and medieval Krakow, Gdansk and its historic “Polish corridor”, and the friendly little towns where illustrious people like Copernicus and others were born.
Heart of Europe, with medieval Prague (one of the best preserved capitals on the continent) and other period cities. The Bone Church in Kutná Hora, Mendel’s Garden in Brno, and more.
Main achievements of the European Union and tangible benefits
Since 1957, the European Union has achieved great achievements for its citizens and for the world:
- a continent at peace
- the freedom for citizens to live, study or work anywhere in the EU
- the biggest single market in the world
- assistance and development assistance for millions of people around the world
- peace and stability
The EU has ensured more than half a century of peace, stability and prosperity. In addition, it plays an important role in diplomacy and seeks to promote these same benefits — as well as democracy, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law — throughout the world. In 2012, the EU received the Nobel Peace Prize for its achievements in this field.
The main driver of the European economy is the single market, which allows most goods, services, capital and people to move freely across most of the continent.
It has certainly become much easier to move around Europe — all EU citizens have the right to study, work or retire in any EU country. For employment, social security and taxation purposes, all EU countries must treat any EU citizen in exactly the same way as they treat their own citizens.
The euro—used by more than 340 million EU citizens—has removed the risk of currency fluctuation and currency costs and strengthened the single market, to the benefit of us all.
Phone and digital services — you can use your phone and services online free of charge across the EU, thanks to the end of roaming rules.