Central Europe is the area around the Alps and Carpathian Mountains lying between the regions of Eastern and Western Europe. It includes countries that may also be referred to as Eastern or Western European. The understanding of the concept of Central Europe varies considerably from nation to nation, and also has from time to time.
The region usually includes:
Alternative Definitions change
If one were to divide the continent of Europe into two halves like it was during the Cold War, the Iron Curtain would subsequently split the mainstream definition of "Central Europe" in half. When using this definition, the countries of Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia would be included in Eastern Europe: whereas the countries of Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein and Switzerland would be considered Western Europe instead. Some experts consider this definition outdated, but many still use them. Supranational organizations like the UN and EU also make use of them.
In addition, other countries such as Croatia and the Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia can be included in "Central Europe": though they are now mostly considered a part of either Southern Europe or Northern Europe respectively.