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Introduction to Central Bohemia

  • Economic conditions
  • Living conditions
  • Housing characteristics
  • Way of life
  • Social security system

Central Bohemia Region is one of the 14 administrative units of the Czech Republic. It was established on July 1, 1960 according to the Act no. 36/1960, “On the territorial division of the state”, and since January 1, 2000 has an autonomous local government. In the same year the first elections were held. In comparison with other Czech regions it does not have its regional office seat located in its own territory but in the capital city of Prague (which has the status of an independent region). Central Bohemia Region is the largest Czech region with the area of 10,929 (2017) square kilometers that makes up almost 14% of Czech Republic and is also the most populous in the country with a total of 1.3 million inhabitants (the most populated district of the region is the Praha-East district with 171,914 inhabitants). The population of the region is increasing mainly due to suburbanization – migration from other regions and from Prague to districts surrounding the capital, constituting to some extent the metropolitan background of the capital city.

Central Bohemia Region is divided into 12 districts: Benešov, Beroun, Kladno, Kolín, Kutná Hora, Mělník, Mladá Boleslav, Nymburk, Prague-East, Prague-West, Příbram and Rakovník, with a total of 1,144 municipalities. The five largest cities in the region are Kladno, Mladá Boleslav, Příbram, Kolín and Kutná Hora. The highest number of municipalities is concentrated in the Mladá Boleslav Dictrict and in the Příbram District (120 municipalities each), while the lowest number of municipalities is in the Mělník District (69). The highest population density is in the Praha-West district, the Praha-East district, and the Kladno district (over 200 inhabitants per km2). All these districts have strong socio-economic connection with Prague and they constitute to some extent the metropolitan background of the capital city (CSU, 2017).

The demographic development of the region changed significantly in the late 1990s, mainly due significant settlements of suburban areas near Prague. The population has been steadily increasing since then. The area has been populated  by a large number of  mainly young families due to the proximity of the region to the capital city.  Since 2006, more children have been born in the region than the natural decline in population. The average age of the region’s population is 41 years, which is among the lowest in the Czech Republic. Nevertheless, a nationwide trend toward the growth of  the average age of the pupulation  is also visible and  from 2015 persons aged 65+ prevail over children aged up to 14 years.

The location of Central Bohemia Region and the close ties with the capital city of Prague significantly affect its characteristics. The regional office of Central Bohemia Region is located in Prague. There is a strong interdependence between the two regions in commerce, industry and research. From the economic point of view, both regions are interrelated. Most important sectors of influence are healthcare, food, social, education, recreation and transportation.

Economic conditions

The economic performance of the Central Bohemia Region ranks among the best in the long term as compared to the other regions in the Czech Republic. It has the second highest share (11.6%) in the national GDP after Prague in comparison with other Czech regions.

The manufacturing industry plays a significant role in the regional economy (39.4% in comparison with 23% in Germany and 19% in Austria) driven by automotive industry, engineering and food. The companies operating in these fields account for almost 40% of the economic output and create more than 30% of jobs.

The region has had a very rapid development of modern research activities in a number of fields from biotechnology, optics, photonics and nuclear technology; through advanced materials; to humanity fields like psychiatry and mental health-care.

According to Eurostat, the lowest unemployment rates among member states in February 2017 were in the Czech Republic (3.4 %), Germany (3.9 %) and Malta (4.1 %). The highest rates were in Greece (23.1 % in December 2016) and Spain (18.0 %). The unemployment rate in the Central Bohemia region has long been  below the national average. As at 31 December 2016, the unemployment rate in the region was 3.1%.

Agriculture benefits from excellent natural conditions in the northeastern part of the region. The region excels mainly in plant production – cultivation of wheat, barley, sugar beet, potatoes, the suburban parts of fruits, vegetables and ornamental plants. It also develops energy crops, especially oilseed rape.

The region is significantly involved in the global economy by means of foreign trade – predominantly to the West European markets (main trade partner is Germany). Central Bohemia is the region with the second highest export performance in the country.  From this perspective the automotive industry contributes to the high export dependency (products from the automotive value chain account for almost 50% of export).

The inflow of foreign direct investments (FDI) in relative terms (per capita) is the second highest after Prague. An important trend is a growing intensity of FDI influx to the region thanks to ‘localization factors’ and excellent transport connections. It clearly ranks among the most successful regions, together with Prague.

Living conditions

The gross domestic product (GDP) per capita in the region reached 91.7% of the average national level of the Czech Republic in 2016, which ranked the region 4th within all the regions of the country. It is markedly influenced by the strategically favourable location of the region.

According to Czech Statistical Office (CSU) the income of Central Bohemian households is the second highest among all Czech regions, higher than the national average and the second highest after Prague.

Housing Characteristics

The level of housing is one of the basic indicators of living standards. More than half of households in the region (52.6%) lived in their own house, namely due to the fact that there is a higher proportion of dwellings in family houses than in other regions.

In Central Bohemia, housing surface area is above the national average. In 2015, the average living space per person in Central Bohemia was approximately 34.3 square meters, 0.7 square meters more than in the whole country. Most households have 3 rooms (34.6%) and a total area of 60-80 m2 (29.3%). In 2016, housing utilities represented 15% of net income of the entire household. This was 2.7 percentage points less than the national average (17.7%).

The highest share of expenditure on housing utilities were electricity charges with a  monthly average of CZK 1,764 (66 EUR) which represent one third of overall housing costs. Other monthly fees associated with housing are usually less than one thousand CZK and are in general below the national average.

2016

Housing costs, total  CZK 5,306 EUR 204
(per month per household)

rent CZK 943 EUR 36

electricity CZK 1,743 EUR 67

gas (from a gas grid) CZK 831 EUR 32

heat and hot water CZK 591 EUR 23

water supply and sewerage collection CZK 457 EUR 18

solid and liquid fuels CZK 433 EUR 17

other utilities CZK 309 EUR 12

Housing costs as percentage of net income  EUR 15.0


Source: Statistical Yearbook Central Bohemia, CSU, 2017

Cost of living in Central Bohemia

Rent

As anywhere, rental costs may vary depending on the area, location and quality of the accommodation. Often there are differences between rents for similar flats in the same location, for this reason looking around will pay off.

In cities like Dolni Brezany (where two of the most important research institutes are located) the rents start at about 10,000 CZK (1+1/1+kk). When you agree to rent a flat or a house, is common that you will have to pay 1 to 2 month’s rent in agency fees (if you decide to use their services) plus the deposit.

Type of housing

There are different types of advertisement for housing, this is an overview:

  • 1 + 1 One-bedroom flat. The other room would usually be a separated kitchen.
  • 1 + kk One-bedroom flat. KK stands for a kitchenette .
  • 1 + 0 This term may be used as synonym for 1 + kk. However, most of the time it describes one room only.
  • 2 + 1 (3 + 1, 4 + 1, …) This is a flat with two rooms and a kitchen (or three or four rooms respectively). A bathroom is included.

Panelak: block apartments, type of building built between 1950-1990. The condition of the interior may vary greatly.

Houses: Houses to rent are more likely to be located outside of Prague. They tend to have very thick concrete walls and small rooms, rather than fewer larger ones.

If you would like to know more about the housing in Czech Republic, you can find more information in a brochure for foreigners prepared by the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs in cooperation with the Ministry of Interior of the Czech Republic.

You can visit the different cities in Central Bohemia and get a feel for the location of an individual property.

As for costs of living, in this website (NUMBEO) you can find an estimate of the cost of living in some of the cities in Central Bohemia, such as Kladno, Nymburk and Mlada Boleslav and you can compare them with Prague.

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Way of life

Central Bohemia is considered the natural centre of the Czech Republic with many attractions to make it the perfect getaway for weekend or holiday. There are many important and historically valuable sights and several Protected Landscape Regions. The highest concentration of historical buildings and monuments is in the town of Kutná Hora (Cathedral of St. Barbara, Italian Court, Hrádek – Czech Museum of Silver and Medieval Silver Mine, Ossuary and Cathedral of the Assumption of Our Lady and St. John the Baptist), which was added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

There are 34 urban conservation zones in the region and 29 national cultural monuments. The most famous castles are Karlštejn and Točník in Beroun area, Křivoklát in Rakovník area, Český Šternberk in Benešov area, and Kokořín in Mělník area. The most interesting castle ruins are Žebrák in Beroun area and Okoř in the Praha-západ District. The most important chateaux are Konopiště in Benešov area, Žleby and Kačina in Kutná Hora area, Loučeň in Nymburk area, Lány in Rakovník area, castles Mělník and Nelahozeves in Mělník area. One of the most important places of pilgrimage in Bohemia is Svatá Hora in the town of Příbram.

Among the most frequently visited museums in the Region are: ŠKODA Museum in Mladá Boleslav, Mining Museum in Příbram, and Czech Museum of Silver in Kutná Hora; among monuments it is Lidice Memorial near the town of Kladno.

The most valuable natural area of the region is the Křivoklátsko protected landscape area, which is one of biosphere reserves of UNESCO; among other important areas are Český kras (the Bohemian Karst) protected landscape area, Český ráj (the Bohemian Paradise), Blaník and Kokořínsko (the area of a Czech well-known poet Karel Hynek Mácha). As at 1 January 2016, a new protected landscape area of Brdy was established on the territory of an former military training area. This territory was re-allocated to adjacent municipalities of the Central Bohemia Region and the Pilsen Region; thus, the total area of Central Bohemia decreased by 87.9 km2.

Social security

The Czech social security system is built on three pillars. The first pillar is compulsory social insurance, which covers sickness benefits, unemployment benefits and pension insurance. The second pillar is state social support, covering the cost of subsistence and other basic personal needs of children and families. The third pillar is the social assistance provided to people in need.

Health insurance is compulsory for anyone who resides permanently or is working for an employer located in the Czech Republic. You can find more information about social security in Czech Republic here.