My team and I have been touring Central and Eastern Europe this summer, and our travels recently took us to the Czech Republic. It’s a country with an interesting history, and from our perspective, it also holds a variety of interesting potential investment opportunities, too. It’s filled with lots of visitors from all over the world – I recognized both Korean and Mandarin being spoken on the streets in the beautiful city of Prague, and in our hotel there was a group of Japanese tourists. Clearly, they traveled a long way to get there! Prague is an attractive destination not only because of its history but also its collection of beautiful buildings and interesting architecture, an important draw for travelers. There are all kinds of architectural styles including Medieval, Art Deco, Beaux Arts, Baroque, Victorian and extreme Modern (like the Dancing House by Frank Gehry). The Vltava River running through the city is a focal point, and the famous Charles Bridge decorated with baroque statues of saints is a great place to view the Hradčany Castle on the mountain overlooking the city.
The Czech Republic (formerly part of Czechoslovakia) has seen periods of separation as well as unification with its regional neighbors throughout its history. The Czech Republic’s modern history centers around the peaceful “Velvet Revolution,” which swept the Communist Party from power at the end of 1989 and ushered in a renewed era of democracy and a market-based economy. In 1993, Czechoslovakia separated through a non-violent “velvet divorce” into what’s known today as the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic.
Today, the population of the Czech Republic is just under 11 million while the Slovak Republic’s is about five million.1 The Czech Republic has benefited from integration with the European Union (EU) – it became a member in 2014 – although it has not yet adopted the euro as its currency. The Czechs have close relations with their western neighbor Germany; a recent survey from the Czech-German Chamber of Commerce (ČNOPK) revealed the Czech Republic is the second-most attractive country for German investors after Poland, from the 15 countries in Central and Eastern Europe.2 In fact, 88% of German investors would choose the Czech Republic as a place for their investment again.3 It certainly piqued my interest to find out why!
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