Tag Archives: Eastern Europe

Myth #46: Poland is in Eastern Europe

No it’s not, it’s in Central Europe. The modern use of the term ‘Eastern Europe’ is a confusion from the days of the Eastern Bloc (those countries in Europe occupied by the USSR between 1945 and 1989). We’ve taken to referring to the European nations that were part of the Eastern Bloc as Eastern European. In fact they’ve always been regarded by historians, geographers, and anyone else with any sense as Central European. The Western European view of where Europe begins and ends was seriously skewed by the years of the Cold War. Any conventional definition of Europe begins at the Atlantic Coast and stretches as far as the Ural Mountains in Russia. Look on a map, that puts Poland slap bang in the middle of Europe, not at it’s eastern edge. In fact two of the four most widely accepted locations for the geographical center of Europe are on Polish territory; one in Torun and another in Suchowola.

Does it matter? Well, yes, because suggesting that a place is on the eastern fringe rather than in the middle makes it sound peripheral and marginal. Villages on the slopes of the Urals are marginally European; Poland is at the heart of what Europe is about. Take a slightly longer perspective than the past 60 years and it becomes apparent that Poland has been at the cultural and historical heart of Europe for more than a thousand years. So stop with this silly ‘Eastern European’ nonsense and I’ll say no more about it.

More myths? We’ve got a million(ish) of ’em!

Tagged , , ,