Moving to Zittau

ARD of Germany reported last night in Tagesthemen that there’s a trend of Czechs moving to the border-area town of Zittau in Saxony because of the lower rent and job opportunities. The town has lost about a third of its population since the reunification and is mostly welcoming to Czechs, according to the report. In a controversial book last year (Der Osten: eine westdeutsche Erfindung), Dirk Oschmann argued that the western part of his country keeps expecting the eastern part to become “normal” but deliberately uses economics, power politics and other means to prevent it from doing so. Czechs have benefited from this state of affairs, because some of the investment that might have gone into eastern Germany went instead across the border, where wages and labor conditions are more attractive. If Czechs like Kateřina Linek of Liberec are now moving to Zittau because of lower rent and better opportunities, perhaps ARD’s message is that German companies should start thinking about it too.

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