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Introduction to Central Bohemia

  • economic conditions
  • living conditions
  • housing characteristics
  • way of life
  • social security

Central Bohemia Region is one of the 14 administrative unit of the Czech Republic, which was established in July 1, 1960 according to the Act no. 36/1960, “On the territorial division of the state”, and since January 1, 2000 is an autonomous local government, same year when the first elections were held. In comparison with other 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 independent region).Central Bohemia Region is the largest region in the country with an 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 (171,914 inhabitants). 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 it’s made up of 1,144 municipalities spread among its 12 districts: Benešov, Beroun, Kladno, Kolín, Kutna Hora, Melník, Mlada Boleslav, Nymburk, Prague-East, Prague-West, Přibram and Rakovník. The five largest cities in the region include 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 population density is the highest 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 ties with Prague and they constitute to some extent the metropolitan background of the Capital City (CSU, 2017).

Demographic development of the region started to distinctively change in the second half of the 1990s, mainly thanks to construction of satellite settlements in the environs of Prague. The population has been constantly increasing and it is mainly internal migration, which contributes to the population increase. A big amount of especially young people moved into the region setting up their families there due to the good location of the region. Thanks to that, the natural decrease has gradually dropped and starting in 2006 more children are born in the region than there are deaths. The region was the youngest in the Czech Republic as for its average age of the population, which was 41 years in 2016. Nevertheless, a nationwide trend of the population ageing affected the region and from 2015 persons aged 65+ years started to prevail in their number over children aged up to 14 years.

The location of Central Bohemia Region and the close ties with the capital city of Prague significantly affects its economic characteristics. The regional office of Central Bohemia Region is seating in Prague and 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: healthcare, food, social, education, recreation and transportation.

Economic conditions

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

The manufacturing industry plays a crucial 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 this field account for almost 40% of the economic output and create more than 30% of jobs.

However, 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, among the Member States, the lowest unemployment rates in February 2017 were recorded in the Czech Republic (3.4 %), Germany (3.9 %) and Malta (4.1 %). The highest rates were observed in Greece (23.1 % in December (2016) and Spain (18.0 %). The unemployment in the region is lower than the national average for a long-term. As at 31 December 2016, the share of the unemployed persons in the Region was 3.1%.

In addition, 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, it is necessary to point out that the automotive industry contributes to the high export dependency (products from the automotive value chain account for almost 50% of export).

The influx 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 in 2016 was 91.7% of the average level of the GDP per capita of the Czech Republic, 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) Central Bohemian income households is the second highest among the regions, higher than the national average and second highest after household in 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 most other regions.

In Central Bohemia, housing surface area are above national average. In 2015, the average living space per person in Central Bohemia was approximately 34.3 square meters, 0.7 square meters above 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 item of expenditure on housing utilities was electricity charges, these charges were a monthly average of CZK 1,764 (66 EUR) represented a third of the expenditure for housing and the county is highest. Other monthly fees associated with housing have generally been below one thousand crowns and generally have lower than 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 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 house, is common that you will have to pay 1 to 2 month’s rent in agency fees (if you decided 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 kitchen.
  • 1 + kk One-bedroom flat. KK stands for a miniature kitchen
  • 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 included.

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

Houses: Houses to rent are more likely to be found 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 it in this information 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 cost 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 weekend or holiday. There are many important and historically valuable sights and several Protected Landscape Regions. The biggest 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 abolished military training area. The territory of the former military training area was re-allocated to adjacent municipalities of the Central Bohemia Region and the Pilsen Region; thus, the total area of Central Boemia decreased by 87.9 km2 less compared to the status as at the end of the year 2015 (11,015 square kilometers).

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.