Regional centre of Southeast Moravia
Baťa´s Plants, both the complex in Zlín and other factories in Czechoslovakia, were nationalized in October 1945 and the Baťa family moved the seat of its company to Canada (Batawa, Toronto). Zlín started to change considerably, with Communists gaining control over the nationalized industrial complex and at the same time taking over leading functions in Zlín's town hall. After February 1948 Communists took full control over the town and the former Baťa Plants. They also succeeded in pushing through the idea of renaming Zlín to Gottwaldov after the Communist president of Czechoslovakia Klement Gottwald who was given power by the 1948 coup. The decision came into force on January 1, 1949, when also the name of the Baťa Plants was changed to the Svitnational enterprise.
In the following years Zlín preserved its significant position thanks to its extensive industrial production. It was also strengthening its role as the administrative, educational and cultural centre of south-east Moravia. The 1968 the Prague spring reform movement found strong support in the region. This was reflected in attempts to restore effective economic management of local industrial enterprises and to return independence to cultural and educational institutions. The programme of reforms was stopped by the Soviet occupation in August 1968. Supporters of the reforms were removed from leading functions in municipal bodies, in plants and schools. A demonstration protest against the restored tough Communist line in August 1969 was ruthlessly suppressed.
In the past decades the city has considerably expanded due to its new housing construction. Since the 1940's, many new large residential quarters have been built together with an impressive theatre building and other facilities in the centre of the city. The cultural life was enriched by the opening of a city museum in 1944 and 1953, a theatre in 1946, establishment of a symphonic orchestra in 1946, and of an art gallery in 1953. The city became the starting point for travels to all continents by world-known travellers Jiří Hanzelka and Miroslav Zikmund. The Gottwaldov Film Studios earned their fame thanks to prominent Czech film directors Karel Zeman and Hermína Týrlová, whose work became well known not only in Czechoslovakia but also abroad. Annual festivals of films for children have been taking place since 1961. The town is also the seat of two institutions of higher learning: the Faculty of Technology of the Brno Technical University, which was opened in 1960, and a branch of the Prague School of Applied Arts opened in 1959 and since then the developing tradition of design created by Vincenc Makovský at the end of the 1930´s.
After the fall of the Communist regime in November 1989, people living in the city started to press for the return of its original name. Thus, since January 1, 1990, the city has been called Zlín again. The local elections in November 1990 brought new administration to the municipal town hall. The economic atmosphere of the town was changed by privatization in early 1990s. Large industrial enterprises ceased to be the property of the state and business became alive with private activities. The town serves as the financial and entrepreneurial centre of south-eastern Moravia, it is the seat of important cultural institutions, and numerous sporting activities take place here. Wider regional functions of the town were strengthened by the establishment of the regional administration of the Zlín Region (2000) and the founding of the Thomas Bata University (2001).
Zlín is currently the home of 85 000 people and thanks to its economic position continues to play an important role among prominent cities of the Czech Republic. As a garden city harmoniously settled in its beautiful natural surroundings, Zlín is a unique example of the architecture and town planning of the 20th century.
The materials have been used from the Brochure (Zlín- The town in gardens), that was published by the Statutory city of Zlín in 2005.
Text: L.Horňáková, P. Novák, Z. Pokluda