Economics and business
The Czech Republic now has a stable market economy where
the driving force lies in an export-oriented industrial
production, including large car production. The industry
accounts for 37 percent of GDP. Economic development is
unevenly distributed within the country, and it is mainly
areas around Prague and close to the German and Austrian
borders that have an expansionary economy. The northern
parts still have poor economic development.
After the beginning of the 1990s a bit shaky, the Czech
economy showed strong growth until 2008–09 when the
international financial crisis hit the country; In 2009, GDP
fell by about 5 percent. Subsequently, some recovery has
countryaah, the country reached a high industrial level already
during the interwar period, for example in the engineering
industry. The communist holdings of power led to the same
restructuring of business as in most other eastern states, ie. a transition to plan management and investment in heavy
industry, and a reckless utilization of natural resources.
In addition, there was also a transformation of agriculture
to above all cooperatives.
Following the fall of communism, a rapid return to market
management was implemented. In 1990, state control of the
business sector disappeared, and in 1991 a sale of the
smaller state-owned enterprises began, which in 1992 and
1993 was followed in two stages by privatization and
transformation into public companies by the large
state-owned companies. The public was given the opportunity
to obtain shares in these companies via coupons.
The Czech Republic is Europe's largest producer of poppy
seeds, canary seeds and hops. Other important crops are
wheat, sugar beets, barley, rapeseed, corn and potatoes.
Animal production is specialized in dairy products, chicken
meat, pork and beef.
More than half of the Czech Republic's land area is
agricultural land. Agriculture employs about 4 percent of
the labor force.
During the 20th century, Czech agriculture underwent
several major changes. After the First World War, a land
reform was carried out which meant the fragmentation of the
major goods. After World War II, land belonging to the
Germans was confiscated and distributed, and after 1948
agriculture was almost completely collectivized (upper limit
for private land was 0.5 ha). As a result of the 1991
privatization law, there has been a return to the interwar
ownership conditions and most state farms have returned to
private ownership. However, some cooperatives remain.
About 1/3 of the area of the Czech Republic is forested
and forestry is of great importance. During the 00s,
approximately 13 million m 3 of forest were
harvested per year; In 2010, felling was 15.6 million. As a
result of increasing environmental damage, extensive
forestry has taken place in recent years.
Raw material resources and energy supply
The production of coal, coke and steel is of great
domestic and regional importance. Only imported iron ore is
used for steel production. The Czech Republic's most
important natural resources are lignite (with extensive
deposits in northern Bohemia) and coal, which is mined in
the Ostrava area of eastern Moravia. The latter area is a
Czech offshoot of Górny Śląsk's large mining district in
Poland. Other assets are of no major importance. Field
minerals and dolomite are extensively mined among industrial
minerals. Mining contributes financially with about 1
percent of GDP (2009).
For the fossil-fueled heat power plants, the extensive
lignite resources in northern Bohemia have largely been
utilized. The large use of coal energy has meant severe
environmental pressures. Therefore, in recent years, the
country has increasingly sought out other energy sources. In
2010, coal covered about 45 percent of the country's total
energy needs, while gas and oil covered almost as much.
Import of crude oil and natural gas, mostly from the Russian
Federation, accounted for about 25 percent of energy
The country has two nuclear power plants that contribute
just over 15 percent to energy production. The newest
nuclear power plant was commissioned in 2000, despite
protests from neighboring Austria. In 2010, renewable energy
sources, mainly biofuels, accounted for approximately 7
percent of the energy supply.
The engineering industry, with the automotive industry as
the main export industry, has for a long time been a leading
industrial industry. During the 1990s, the industry had a
steady increase in production until 2008, when the
international financial crisis hit the industry. The decline
was mainly due to Germany's main export market experiencing
an economic downturn. Since then, industry has recovered and
the country has tried to broaden its industrial base so as
not to be so dependent on international developments in the
automotive market. Other important industries are the
brewery industry, the electronics, glass, optical and
The Czech Republic was an important industry at an early
stage and the successful and highly specialized engineering
industry during the communist era transitioned during the
communist era to large-scale and heavy industry (in Prague
and the Ostrava area, for example) and chemical industry (in
northern Bohemia, among others). During this time, the
industry accounted for 70 percent of GDP. Due to incorrect
investment and lack of investment, the industry became
inefficient and the products were not attractive in the open
After the fall of communism, the Czech industry has been
transformed, price controls have been removed, companies
have been privatized and foreign investment is pouring into
Thanks to growing vehicle exports, the Czech Republic has
had a positive trade balance since 2007. Both exports and
imports are dominated by the commodity groups machinery,
vehicles and raw materials. The most important trading
partners are Germany, Poland and Slovakia.
Tourism and gastronomy
The Czech Republic is a popular tourist destination and
the number of visitors has steadily increased. During the
00s, the country has been visited annually by 6-6.5 million
tourists. Primarily, Germans visit the Czech Republic, but
in recent times the number of Russians and Spaniards has
The country's main tourist destination is the capital
Prague, which is located on both sides of the river Vltava
(Moldova). The old town center on the right beach, with
alleys, detached houses, towers, churches and bridges (ties
including the medieval Charles Bridge), invites you to
explore. On the left is the castle cliff Hradčany and the
Sankt Veitsdomen. In addition to Prague, there are a variety
of cities of different sizes with medieval cityscapes,
including the two beer towns of Plzeň and České Budějovice.
To the west of Prague are several famous health resorts:
Karlovy Vary (Carlsbad), Mariánské Lázně (Marienbad) and
Františkovy-Lázně (Franzensbad). The country also offers
exciting nature experiences, for example in the mountains
Krušné hory (Erzgebirge), Děčínské stěny
(Elbsandsteingebirge) and České středohoři.
Czech food is largely Central European, influenced by
German, Hungarian and Polish cuisine. The portions usually
consist of a lot of meat (usually pork), potatoes, rice or
dumplings (dough balls of potatoes and flour or just flour)
and plenty of sauce and cooked vegetables or sauerkraut. The
national dish is knedlo-vepřo-zelo,
dumpling, pork and sauerkraut. The seasoning is
characterized by salt, poppy seeds, cumin and smoked pork.
The meal is usually started with soup, e.g.
bramborová polévka on potatoes, drštková polévka
with inner food or hovězí polévka, beef in broth.
Prag ham, often served with cucumber (Pražská šunka s
okurkou), belongs to the specialties, as well as
svíčková na smetaně, roast beef with dumpling and sour
cream. Game like deer, hare and pheasant are not uncommon.
Among the fish dishes are carp (capr), trout (pstruh),
pike (ětika) and eel (úhoř). Sausages (klobásy,
buřty or párky) are often very tasty, as is
the ubiquitous guláš, goulash. The desserts show
the rich presence of fruits and berries, which are often
served pickled or in pies and puddings.