Border: Czech Republic-Germany

Border: Czech Republic-Germany

Date(s) of establishment: Official existence in 1993; current demarcation in 2004
Length of border: 646 km
Regions concerned: Germany – Bayern (Bavaria), Sachsen (Saxony); Czech Republic – Regions of Liberec, Ústí nad Labem, Karlovy Vary, Plzeň and Jihočeský kraj (South Bohemia)

European programme(s):

The German-Czech border begins in the north-east, to the south of the German town of Wittau, with the tripoint formed by its intersection with the German-Polish and Czech-Polish borders, located on the river Neisse. The border runs alongside the ridgeline of the Ore Mountains up to the village of Mittelhammer in Bavaria. Before German reunification, this Bavarian village formed the tripoint between the FRG, GDR and Czechoslovakia. The border then turns to the south-east and passes through the forests of the Upper Palatinate and Bohemia to the tripoint with the German-Austrian and Austro-Czech borders at the edge of the Šumava National Park.

History

The border between Saxony, Bavaria and Bohemia is one of the oldest in Europe: it already existed within the Holy Roman Empire between Saxony and Bavaria, which were electorates, and the Kingdom of Bohemia. From 1806 to 1918, the latter formed part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Bavaria and Saxony joined the Confederation of the Rhine, then the German Confederation and finally the German Empire in 1871. In 1918, Czechoslovakia was created.

During World War II, Germany annexed the Sudetenland (Czech region inhabited in 1938 by a significant number of Germanophones, whose name is derived from the Sudeten Mountains in the Bohemian Massif, which straddles Germany to the west, Poland to the north and the Czech Republic to the south and marks the border between the latter two countries) and created the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia under German occupation. Czechoslovakia was restored in 1945.

During the Cold War, there were two borders in this location – one between Czechoslovakia and Saxony in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) in the north-east, and the other with Bavaria in the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) in the south-west. While the first was monitored in a conventional manner, between two countries of the Warsaw Pact, the second formed part of the Iron Curtain, especially as the FRG was a member of NATO. This part of the border was therefore highly secured with barbed wire and watchtowers.

While the Czech Republic had existed since 1969 as a federal state of Czechoslovakia, with an almost identical border demarcation, the border with the Czech Republic was established on 1 January 1993, with the dissolution of the Czech and Slovak Federation and the independence of its two republics. The Czech Republic joined the European Union in 2004, and has been part of the Schengen area since 2007. The most recent changes to the border (concerning a few square meters) were made in 2004. Today, the German-Czech border is a "simple" land border between two countries of the European Union.

Cross-border cooperation

Following the fall of the Berlin Wall, consumer tourism allowed the formation of the first cross-border cooperation links. On one side of the border there was now a new neighbour with attractive prices and on the other side, the Czech inhabitants came to discover the German offering. This cooperation then took on a larger dimension and entrepreneurial cooperation has developed significantly in these cross-border spaces that have become real trading areas. Many Czechs are crossing the border for economic reasons, as wages are higher in Germany. However, language remains a major obstacle to cooperation and the two countries are trying to address this through multiple initiatives for learning the language of the neighbouring country.

Since the early 1990s, many cross-border cooperation structures have emerged, such as the Euroregion Neisse (DE, CZ, PL, 1991), Elbe-Labe (DE, CZ, established in 1992), Erzgebirge/Krušnohoří (DE, CZ, established in 1992), Egrensis (DE, CZ, established in 1993) and Bayerischer Wald-Böhmerwald-Unterer Inn (DE, AT, CZ, established in 1994 and enlarged in 2004). In addition the Europaregion Donau-Moldau (DE, AT, CZ) was launched in 2011.

The German-Czech border is now covered by two cross-border cooperation programmes: The first is the "Sachsen-Tschechien" (Saxony-Czech Republic) programme. The territory covered by the programme is characterised by a lack of cross-border infrastructure and differences in per capita income between neighbouring regions. The objective of the programme is to promote sustainable development and economic competitiveness of the border region through an integrated cross-border approach. Among its priorities are the development of social frameworks (including infrastructure improvements and development of financial instruments for small projects), the development of the economy and tourism as well as cooperation in the field of the environment.

The second programme is the "Freistaat Bayern – Tschechische Republik" (Bavaria – Czech Republic) programme. The territory covered by this programme is characterised by significant economic disparities on either side of the border, but also between urban and rural areas. However, the region has advantages: its strategic location in Central Europe, the stability of its industry, the quality of its education and cooperation between educational institutions at all levels. The area also has great potential for tourism development (the Šumava and Bayerische Wald parks). The priorities of the programme are: economic development, human resources and networks, spatial planning and the environment. Investments by the programme aim to bring about improved accessibility and the development of tourism potential, as well as the strengthening of trust between the two countries through projects between inhabitants.

 

 


Territory projects and institutional bodies for cooperation

Cross-border cooperation at the regional level

Eurorégion Elbe-Labe
Eurorégion Egrensis
Eurorégion Neisse-Nisa-Nysa