Shouldn't there be a page for the European Union as well? Since some things, such as the currency, are common to most (if not all) EU countries, it would seem like a good idea to put this information in a single page, which would then be linked to from each country page. -Timo
I guess I can see this, but I'm not really sure. I mean, why would a European Union page be different from a "SEATO" page, or a "West African Monetary Union" page? I realize that it's important for Europeans, but what about for travelers? My experience in Europe, as a traveler, has had very limited contact with the EU. Besides the euro, what information do you think would go on a European Union page? I'm not saying not to do it -- I'm just wondering what relevance the EU has to everyday travelers. -- Evan 14:04, 7 Nov 2003 (PST)
Okay, maybe an EU page is not necessary at this stage. I think that as the integration goes forward, having such a page could become useful in the future, but that will take time. But maybe just a Euro page then? -Timo
Evan, I disagree with you. There are some travel related infos that are the same for all (or most) EU countries, e.g. currency (in 12 countries), traffic rules and signs, migration, visum and toll stuff, and for sure some others that don't come into my mind right now. So the EU is not to compare with the "SEATO" or "West African Monetary Union", since there are much more common things than just the currency. -- Hansm 01:40, 2003 Nov 11 (PST)
OK, that sounds fine. What kind of article would it be, though? A travel topic? A continental section? I'm having a hard time fitting my head around how it would work. But, hey, let's start it and see where we go. One last thing: it's important to remember that Wikitravel articles need to be guides. What does European Union do for the traveler? Would anyone ever print out European Union and put it in their back pocket to carry around? Or are we just excited that we know some facts (the European Union is composed of these countries, the currency in most of the countries is the euro, the capital of the EU is in Brussels, the EU was founded in this year, dah dah dah) and want to write them down? We're not a general knowledge collection site, but a travel guide site. -- Evan 06:34, 11 Nov 2003 (PST)
Well, indeed, the EU doesn't fit into the Geographical Hierarchy. I'd propose to handle it similar to a coutry article, but it will remain something special that doen't fit into any template form. The use of that page would rather be to work as a target to witch the EU coutry pages could link the same way as different coutry pages link to the same phrasebook or what ever. So, the EU page need not to be listed on the Europe page since it is no actual country. -- Hansm 06:29, 2003 Nov 12 (PST)
Can somebody give me a good reason why each country should only appear once? Example: Estonia is a Baltic state sometimes regarded as lying in Scandinavia and is a former Soviet republic, so not adding it under those three makes this list quite arbitrary. DhDh 13:50, 1 Jan 2004 (PST)
I see your point, and the fact that Wikitravel isn't paper-based means there can be multiple ways to get to a country article. On the other hand, I imagine we would have an overview map with the continental sections marked, and it would therefore make sense to be able to draw dividing lines. Matthewmayer 15:03, 1 Jan 2004 (PST)
A couple of things: Wikitravel is paper-based. OK, not -based, but we do want things to work on paper as well as on-line.
Second: I agree about maps. --Evan 15:23, 1 Jan 2004 (PST)
I agree with Dhum Dhum about the issues with Estonia and similar countries. I think we shouldn't really double up any countries, but if necessary, we should do so. Really, I think Estonia shouldn't be doubled up. I still have something against the name Scandinavia as a category - Scandinavia really only contains Sweden, Denmark and Norway, and maybe Iceland, but in no way really Finland and the rest of the countries listed there. I know Northern Europe probably sounds worse, but it's better in terms of category. In Northern Europe, we could list Estonia as well, and Finland, etc, because when people go to these places, they are more likely to couple these countries together (a lot of people visit Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland together, and then make two-day trips to Estonia, or maybe to the Faeroe Islands, but you can't really make all these countries Scandinavian). Anyway, I've sorted out the countries an alternative way at the Romanian Wikitravel, which is similar in terms of structure but just a bit different in terms of which countries go where (you can see it at ro:Europa. -- Ronline 17:17, 1 Jan 2004 (PST)
The problem with divisions like these is that they are based on different criteria: geological (eg. the Alps), political/cultural/geographical (eg. Western Europe) and historical (eg. the former Soviet Union), all heaped together. You are bound to get overlaps this way. I think there are two solutions to this problem: we either choose only one way to split up Europe -- but that will be a difficult choice, or we accept that there is overlap. I see no problem with applying the latter in the Europe article: we can have more than one map where regional borders are drawn following different criteria. I am convinced that an article about the Alps needs to have information on the French Alps, the Slovenian Alps and everything in between (because that's what I, as a traveller, would expect), otherwise you should just call it the Swiss Alps or something. The same goes for the former Soviet Union which by all means must include the Baltic States. Etc... DhDh.
Yes, I agree with overlap - it's a good thing sometimes. But, I think we should just sort out the categories in blocks of countries that tourists are bound to visit together (i.e. Central Europe, with Hungary, Poland, Czechia, etc. and Northern Europe, with Finland, Sweden, Norway, etc.). The only place where overlap would really occur is concerning the Baltic States, Northern Europe and the former USSR. So, it could be sorted out the following way:
I think the Baltic States category is unnecessary. With all respects for the Baltics, few people would actually visit these states alone, and they are too small a region to be classified alone. They are, however, very different from the former USSR - politically, economically and most of all culturally, which impacts on tourism. The Baltic States are very rarely classified as the former Soviet Union today - they will soon be part of the EU, they've moved past that stage. Among themselves, they're also very different, meaning that they can be broken up among other regions - Estonia could go with Northern Europe (it classifies itself as a Northern European country, and the vast majority of people visiting it actually make side trips from Finland, not from Russia or from Latvia, Poland, etc). Latvia and Lithuania could go in Central Europe - they're more likely to be in the same travel itinerary as Poland, Romania, Czech Republic, etc. So, finally, I think the categories should be arranged touristically (if that's a word ;-), which after all, shouldn't be hard to do.
Concerning the Alps region, I think it's also an unnecessary category - all those countries (except Slovenia) should go in Western Europe, since they're bound to be visited together (i.e. a lot of people visit France, Austria, Germany, Spain, etc in a Grand Tour of Europe). I think the Alps just further complicates the structure, also since a lot of the countries there aren't really Apline countries. France and Germany, for example, are mainly visited for other destinations than the Alps - it's really only Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein who are renowned for their Alpine destinations. Ronline 18:44, 2 Jan 2004 (EST)
I have no problem with overlap, but I would disagree with the claim that few people would visit Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia alone. There are several travel companies based in the United Kingdom which offer trips through these three countries alone - and I would argue that the majority of British people (possibly Western Europeans) think of them as the Baltic states. MykReeve 01:12, 03 Jan 2004 (GMT)
I visited (just) the three Baltic States last summer, and I had a Lonely Planet guidebook covering all three. I'd suggest keeping that category, they are different from many Eastern European countries and the former USSR. We could rename Scandinavia to 'Nordic countries' be be less ambiguous . I think the aim with the categories should be to have categories narrow enough so that sensible generalisations can be made in the guidebook sections of the category page, but wide enough so that we're not just duplicating stuff in the country articles. 18.104.22.168 07:45, 3 Jan 2004 (EST)
Turkey and Russia really should not be in the Europe section. Russia is really an asian nation (even if parts west of the Urals get lumped in with Europe now and then); and while I know that Turkey technically has a tiny bit that's European, it really is a mid-eastern country. If anything, include them in the special note at the end. But they're really not European nations.
-nils 23:20, 8 JAN 2004 (CET)
Russia spans two continents. St Petersburg and Moscow are European cities really, not Asian. Anyway, we can link through both from the Europe and Asia articles. Matthewmayer 17:48, 8 Jan 2004 (EST)
The British Isles
I think this page would be more userfriendly if the Irish page was separate from the British isles; for Irish users at least. Whatever about the political history of the names we just do not view ourselves as being part of the British isles -rather we see ourselves part of Europe.
The British Isles is the name we use for the cluster of islands off the northwest edge of Europe. No matter some Irish people's distaste for any meager association with the UK, Ireland just isn't tucked somewhere between Austria and Switzerland. It's in this island group.
The traveller comes first on Wikitravel. We need to call a spade a spade. We're not going to make a map that shows Ireland anchored off the coast of France, and we're not going to bowlderize the geographical hierarchy just so two countries who don't like each other don't get mentioned on the same page. This isn't kindergarten -- it's a travel guide. --Evan 11:01, 19 Jan 2004 (EST)
How do I get to Prague?
So right now you can't get to any of the Eastern European destinations from the Europe page-- Prague, Budapest, etc. I know the whole "Eastern" vs "Central" Europe thing is a can of worms, but we gotta do something with it. I have to say I've never heard "Central Europe" used to describe these places, thought I get that it's a PR/image issue. But we do call Bombay Bombay because that's what the majority of travellers are going to look for, can't we do the same with this? I'd say it would be a good point to include in the Understand section of course... Majnoona 21:27, 29 Feb 2004 (EST)
I am more than unhappy with this seemingly random division of Europe. Just to give one example: Belgium is not considered part of Western Europe, while Cyprus, lying in the extreme Southeast is. If I'm a traveller and the traveller comes first, I would be more than confused with this kind of hierarchy. In the next few days I'll try to work out an alternative proposal. Dhum Dhum Akubra 12:03, 21 Mar 2004 (EST)
I agree, go for it.-- maybe create Talk:Europe/Hierarchy? I know we'll always have more than one index to European countries, which is a good thing, but I'd like to see at least one "common sense" traveller-oriented version-- ie where Cyprus is not west of Belgium. Majnoona 13:28, 21 Mar 2004 (EST)
Hey, so I've noticed Yann and maybe others doing a lot of moving, reorging the Europe pages. Could we maybe hash it out on the
Talk:Europe/Hierarchy page before doing stuff? I just dont want it to turn to edit wars and rollbacks. Maybe just agree on round of changes and then makes them go... otherwise it seems like duplicate work Majnoona 20:32, 22 Mar 2004 (EST)
The problem, of course, with all divisions of Europe is that they are arbitary and a bit confusing. There are no "official regions of Europe", and I feel that adding too many more regions will merely cause difficulty. I suggested the current five divisions for several reasons.
They are similar to the divisions used by a well-known brand of travel book (cough <<lonely planet>> cough). Not that we have to copy them, but the average traveller in Europe is familiar with these books, and will recognise the divisions.
The 7 plus or minus 2 rule. Five categories make more sense than 9.
Having travelled a lot in Europe, I believe that the "Eastern" countries do have many in common; they are generally cheaper to travel in and are post-communist societies. The other regions do have things in common, as well.
It saves us from pointless arguments as "Is Hungary a part of the Balkans? How about Romania? And so on.
Most importantly, they are the easiest for the traveller, for a combination of the reasons above. I strongly believe that the European regional divisions be left as they are. Professorbiscuit 14:11, 16 Nov 2004 (EST)