Catalonia

Catalonia is located in the Northeast of the Iberian Peninsula and in the West of the Mediterranean Sea. Its strategic location has made it a top rank position as a gateway to the South of Europe. With a surface area of 32,107 km2, Catalonia has a very diverse orography going from sea level to mountains reaching 3,000 m high. It has a population of seven and a half million people, which represents the 16% of the whole of Spain. Its territory is formed by 4 provinces and 42 subregions called “comarques”.

The Generalitat is the institutional system around which Catalonia's self-government is politically organised. It consists of the Parliament, the Presidency, the Government and other self-governing institutions. Currently, the Presidency of the Generalitat is held by the 131st President of Catalonia, Mr Joaquim Torra i Pla. The Catalan Parliament, constituted in 1283, is one of the oldest in Europe.

Catalonia, whose GDP represents 20% of the Spanish GDP, is considered the industrial avant-garde of Spain. In recent years, special attention has been given to new technologies and the audio-visual industry, which is already giving a distinct personality to the Catalan economy. In addition, tourism has been growing in such a way that it has become one of the most important economic activities. The Catalan cities have created commercial hubs that have contributed to the revitalisation of urban centres and have made possible the coexistence between traditional trade and international brands. Catalonia has a great tradition of scientific research and nowadays stands out in the bioscience field with the ambition of becoming the most important bioregion in the world.

The official languages in Catalonia are Catalan, Spanish and Occitan (Aranese). Catalan is the language used in schools and the most part of the population can understand it and speak it. It is also spoken in Valencia (Valencian), Balearic Islands, La Franja (Aragon border), Andorra (where it is the only official language), in some southern areas of France, and in the city of Alghero (Island of Sardinia). With nine million speakers Catalan is the ninth most spoken language in the European Union. Catalan, as Spanish and Occitan, was established between the eighth and the tenth centuries as an evolution from Latin.

Catalonia has always been an intersection of cultures and influences where art and thought trends seep into Catalonia. The innovative character, the creativity, capacity to absorb different influences, and the coexistence of values have shaped a culture that is unique, cosmopolitan and widely pro-European.

For more information, please visit: web.gencat.cat/en