Czech Republic  

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Following the First World War, the closely related Czechs and Slovaks of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire merged to form Czechoslovakia. During the interwar years, the new country's leaders were frequently preoccupied with meeting the demands of other ethnic minorities within the republic, most notably the Sudeten Germans and the Ruthenians (Ukrainians). After World War II, a truncated Czechoslovakia fell within the Soviet sphere of influence. In 1968, an invasion by Warsaw Pact troops ended the efforts of the country's leaders to liberalize Communist party rule and create "socialism with a human face." Anti-Soviet demonstrations the following year ushered in a period of harsh repression. With the collapse of Soviet authority in 1989, Czechoslovakia regained its freedom through a peaceful "Velvet Revolution." On 1 January 1993, the country underwent a "velvet divorce" into its two national components, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The Czech Republic joined NATO in 1999 and the European Union in 2004.


Central Europe, southeast of Germany

Geographic coordinates:

49 45 N, 15 30 E


total: 78,866 sq km
land: 77,276 sq km
water: 1,590 sq km

Land boundaries:

total: 1,881 km
border countries: Austria 362 km, Germany 646 km, Poland 658 km, Slovakia 215 km


0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims:

none (landlocked)


temperate; cool summers; cold, cloudy, humid winters


Bohemia in the west consists of rolling plains, hills, and plateaus surrounded by low mountains; Moravia in the east consists of very hilly country

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Elbe River 115 m
highest point: Snezka 1,602 m

Natural resources:

hard coal, soft coal, kaolin, clay, graphite, timber

Land use:

arable land: 38.82%
permanent crops: 3%
other: 58.18% (2005)

Irrigated land:

240 sq km (2003)

Natural hazards:


Environment - current issues:

air and water pollution in areas of northwest Bohemia and in northern Moravia around Ostrava present health risks; acid rain damaging forests; efforts to bring industry up to EU code should improve domestic pollution

Geography - note:

landlocked; strategically located astride some of oldest and most significant land routes in Europe; Moravian Gate is a traditional military corridor between the North European Plain and the Danube in central Europe


10,235,455 (July 2006 est.)

Age structure:

0-14 years: 14.4% (male 755,098/female 714,703)
15-64 years: 71.2% (male 3,656,021/female 3,629,036)
65 years and over: 14.5% (male 576,264/female 904,333) (2006 est.)

Median age:

total: 39.3 years
male: 37.5 years
female: 41.1 years (2006 est.)

Population growth rate:

-0.06% (2006 est.)

Birth rate:

9.02 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Death rate:

10.59 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Net migration rate:

0.97 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.64 male(s)/female
total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2006 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 3.89 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 4.24 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 3.52 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 76.22 years
male: 72.94 years
female: 79.69 years (2006 est.)

Total fertility rate:

1.21 children born/woman (2006 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

less than 0.1% (2001 est.)

people living with HIV/AIDS:

2,500 (2001 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

less than 10 (2001 est.)


noun: Czech(s)
adjective: Czech

Ethnic groups:

Czech 90.4%, Moravian 3.7%, Slovak 1.9%, other 4% (2001 census)


Roman Catholic 26.8%, Protestant 2.1%, other 3.3%, unspecified 8.8%, unaffiliated 59% (2001 census)



Country name:

conventional long form: Czech Republic
conventional short form: Czech Republic
local long form: Ceska Republika
local short form: Ceska Republika

Government type:

parliamentary democracy



Administrative divisions:

13 regions (kraje, singular - kraj) and 1 capital city* (hlavni mesto); Jihocesky Kraj, Jihomoravsky Kraj, Karlovarsky Kraj, Kralovehradecky Kraj, Liberecky Kraj, Moravskoslezsky Kraj, Olomoucky Kraj, Pardubicky Kraj, Plzensky Kraj, Praha (Prague)*, Stredocesky Kraj, Ustecky Kraj, Vysocina, Zlinsky Kraj


1 January 1993 (Czechoslovakia split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia)

National holiday:

Czech Founding Day, 28 October (1918)


ratified 16 December 1992, effective 1 January 1993

Legal system:

civil law system based on Austro-Hungarian codes; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction; legal code modified to bring it in line with Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) obligations and to expunge Marxist-Leninist legal theory


18 years of age; universal

Legislative branch:

bicameral Parliament or Parlament consists of the Senate or Senat (81 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve six-year terms; one-third elected every two years) and the Chamber of Deputies or Poslanecka Snemovna (200 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: Senate - last held in two rounds 5-6 November and 12-13 November 2004 (next to be held November 2006); Chamber of Deputies - last held 14-15 June 2002 (next to be held by June 2006)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - ODS 37, KDU-CSL 14, Open Democracy 13, CSSD 7, Caucus Open Democracy 7, independents 3; Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - CSSD 30.2%, ODS 24.5%, KSCM 18.5%, KDU-CSL & US-DEU coalition 14.3%, other minor 12.5%; seats by party - CSSD 70, ODS 57, KSCM 41, KDU-CSL 21, US-DEU 10, independent 1

Judicial branch:

Supreme Court; Constitutional Court; chairman and deputy chairmen are appointed by the president for a 10-year term

Economy - overview:

The Czech Republic is one of the most stable and prosperous of the post-Communist states of Central and Eastern Europe. Growth in 2000-05 was supported by exports to the EU, primarily to Germany, and a strong recovery of foreign and domestic investment. Domestic demand is playing an ever more important role in underpinning growth as interest rates drop and the availability of credit cards and mortgages increases. Current account deficits of around 5% of GDP are beginning to decline as demand for Czech products in the European Union increases. Inflation is under control. Recent accession to the EU gives further impetus and direction to structural reform. In early 2004 the government passed increases in the Value Added Tax (VAT) and tightened eligibility for social benefits with the intention to bring the public finance gap down to 4% of GDP by 2006, but more difficult pension and healthcare reforms will have to wait until after the next elections. Privatization of the state-owned telecommunications firm Cesky Telecom took place in 2005. Intensified restructuring among large enterprises, improvements in the financial sector, and effective use of available EU funds should strengthen output growth.

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$185.7 billion (2005 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):

$110.2 billion (2005 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

4.8% (2005 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$18,100 (2005 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 3.4%
industry: 39.3%
services: 57.3% (2004 est.)

Labour force:

5.27 million (2005 est.)

Labour force - by occupation:

agriculture: 4%
industry: 38%
services: 58% (2002 est.)

Unemployment rate:

9.1% (2005 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: 4.3%
highest 10%: 22.4% (1996)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:

25.4 (1996)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

2% (2005 est.)

Investment (gross fixed):

26.2% of GDP (2005 est.)


revenues: $48.16 billion
expenditures: $53.04 billion; including capital expenditures of $NA (2005 est.)

Public debt:

33.1% of GDP (2005 est.)

Agriculture - products:

wheat, potatoes, sugar beets, hops, fruit; pigs, poultry


metallurgy, machinery and equipment, motor vehicles, glass, armaments

Industrial production growth rate:

6% (2005 est.)

Electricity - production:

78.18 billion kWh (2003)

Electricity - consumption:

56.5 billion kWh (2003)

Electricity - exports:

26.3 billion kWh (2003)

Electricity - imports:

10.1 billion kWh (2003)

Oil - production:

12,380 bbl/day (2003)

Oil - consumption:

185,200 bbl/day (2003 est.)

Oil - exports:

26,670 bbl/day (2001)

Oil - imports:

192,300 bbl/day (2001)

Oil - proved reserves:

17.25 million bbl (1 January 2002)

Natural gas - production:

133 million cu m (2003 est.)

Natural gas - consumption:

9.623 billion cu m (2003 est.)

Natural gas - exports:

1 million cu m (2001 est.)

Natural gas - imports:

9.521 billion cu m (2001 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves:

3.964 billion cu m (1 January 2002)

Current account balance:

-$3.523 billion (2005 est.)


$78.37 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Exports - commodities:

machinery and transport equipment 52%, chemicals 5%, raw materials and fuel 9% (2003)

Exports - partners:

Germany 36.2%, Slovakia 8.5%, Austria 6%, Poland 5.3%, UK 4.7%, France 4.6%, Italy 4.3%, Netherlands 4.3% (2004)


$76.59 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Imports - commodities:

machinery and transport equipment 46%, raw materials and fuels 15%, chemicals 10% (2003)

Imports - partners:

Germany 31.7%, Slovakia 5.4%, Italy 5.3%, China 5.2%, Poland 4.8%, France 4.7%, Russia 4.1%, Austria 4% (2004)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

$30.49 billion (2005 est.)

Debt - external:

$43.2 billion (30 June 2005 est.)

Economic aid - recipient:

$2.4 billion in available EU structural adjustment and cohesion funds (2004-06)

Currency (code):

Czech koruna (CZK)

Fiscal year:

calendar year

Telephones - main lines in use:

3,427,700 (2004)

Telephones - mobile cellular:

10,782,600 (2004)

Telephone system:

general assessment: privatization and modernization of the Czech telecommunication system got a late start but is advancing steadily; growth in the use of mobile cellular telephones is particularly vigorous
domestic: 86% of exchanges now digital; existing copper subscriber systems now being enhanced with Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) equipment to accommodate Internet and other digital signals; trunk systems include fiber-optic cable and microwave radio relay
international: country code - 420; satellite earth stations - 2 Intersputnik (Atlantic and Indian Ocean regions), 1 Intelsat, 1 Eutelsat, 1 Inmarsat, 1 Globalstar

Radio broadcast stations:

AM 31, FM 304, shortwave 17 (2000)

Television broadcast stations:

150 (plus 1,434 repeaters) (2000)

Internet country code:


Internet hosts:

819,773 (2005)

Internet users:

4.8 million (2005)


121 (2005)

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 44
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 9
1,524 to 2,437 m: 14
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 17 (2005)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 77
914 to 1,523 m: 28
under 914 m: 49 (2005)


2 (2005)


gas 7,020 km; oil 547 km; refined products 94 km (2004)


total: 9,543 km
standard gauge: 9,421 km 1.435-m gauge (2,893 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 122 km 0.760-m gauge (23 km electrified) (2004)


total: 127,672 km
paved: 127,672 km (including 518 km of expressways) (2002)


664 km (principally on Elbe as well as Vltava and Oder rivers) (2005)

Merchant marine:

registered in other countries: 2 (Malta 1, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 1) (2005)

Ports and terminals:

Decin, Prague, Usti nad Labem

Military branches:

Army of the Czech Republic (ACR): Joint Forces Command (includes Air Forces), Support and Training Forces Command (2006)

Disputes - international:

in February 2005, the ICJ refused to rule on the restitution of Liechtenstein's land and property assets in the Czech Republic confiscated in 1945 as German property; individual Sudeten Germans seek restitution for property confiscated in connection with their expulsion from Czechoslovakia after World War II; Austrian anti-nuclear activists have revived blockades of the Czech-Austrian border to protest operation of the Temelin nuclear power plant in the Czech Republic

Illicit drugs:

transshipment point for Southwest Asian heroin and minor transit point for Latin American cocaine to Western Europe; producer of synthetic drugs for local and regional markets; susceptible to money laundering related to drug trafficking, organized crime