No votes against (no votes of support as well), so just did that. -- JanSlupski 15:45, 5 Feb 2005 (EST)
Please someone edit this map division, clearly everyone who reads it from Europe will see that the divisions are wrong and will give visitors the wrong idea about the culture of Europe, par example: Britain, France, Germany and Spain are all Cultulrly part of western euirope as well as politically. YOu only have to go on Google images and then type in divisions of Europe to see the true Cutural Divions. thank you
Guys, here's the the proposal for division of Europe that hopefully will satisfy everyone (... OK, I know I'm being so naive here). I admit this is mostly addressing the Central Europe controversy. Let's keep it simple and keep Europe divided into Western, Northern, Central, Southern and Eastern. I've rearranged the colours on Professorbiscuit's map to better illustrate this:
I believe this division satisfies the following criteria:
Up-to date - it's 2005 and wikitravel is supposed to be futureproof for the next several years and it's important not to use archaic/outdated systematisation. We have no more Austrohungarian empire, no more Czechoslovakia and no more "two Europes".
Simple and intuitive - keeps the number of regions down to 5. As a traveller pick any European country, look at the 5 regions and think where would your particular country best fit ?
Politically neutral - the cold war and iron curtain is over for several years already. There's no reason to artificially divide Europe in line with military or other political pacts. It's much better to have the division based on geography, not politics.
Not confusing for the traveller - we're not calling regions what they're not and avoiding unnecessary further confusion.
Correct, and as an extra bonus in line with Wikipedia ;-) (yes, I remember the argument that we don't have to do it the same way, but it does not mean we cannot ?)
NPOV - I know that historically for the Brits Europe consisted of "UK + the continent", while many Americans still believe there is "East" and "West" and the Berlin wall in between. Wikitravel however is for global audience and NPOV should be respected with this in mind.
Respect - does not ignore what local people call themselves. Respect is an important quality for any traveller and I strongly believe should be promoted on wikitravel.
What do you think ?
Wojsyl 14:07, 2 Jan 2005 (EST)
I like this too. I'm tempted to shift Germany and Switzerland over to Western Europe, and the Baltics to Northern though -- but I could be argued the other way too, as this is admittedly more political than geographical. Jpatokal 23:33, 3 Jan 2005 (EST)
As for Germany, for most Germans it's quite obvious that they are in the heart of "Mitteleuropa". It seems both historically and geographically justified to have German speaking countries in Central Europe. In fact they have coined the term in the first place.
For the Baltics, I'm not sure. Again, politcally I'd gladly see them in Northern, however if you're going to Lithuania, do you think you're going to Northern Europe or rather Eastern ? Certainly they would deserve their separate small group of the Baltics, but this is sacrified here for the sake of simplicity. So here "Northern" equals Scandinavian, which again is a simplification of course. This is like asking whether Italy is an Alpine or Mediterrenean country. No good answer. Wojsyl 04:10, 4 Jan 2005 (EST)
I like this solution also. Much better than what we have now. Only Lithuania, Latavia and Estonia were always Baltic States for me, no Eastern or Northern. -- JanSlupski 20:19, 23 Jan 2005 (EST)
Having not really participated in the conversation before I feel I can say as a neutral party that I like the proposed solution as well. -- Mark 03:40, 24 Jan 2005 (EST)
Can I echo that last assessment please? The reasons outlined make a very good case for a compass-point division.... Everything else is just outdated politics and cultural cringe. The only variations I would suggest to the scheme is that Romania and Bulgaria might be moved into Eastern Europe to better reflect their geographical position (NOT their cultural affiliation! - about to join the EU....) - that way nearly 'all the countries in Southern Europe would basically be those with a Mediterranean coastline, providing a useful alternative designation / characterisation for the region as "Mediterranean Europe". What do others think about this proposal? Pjamescowie 06:30, 24 Jan 2005 (EST)
I like it, and would in fact suggest we use the term Mediterranean Europe only. Jpatokal 08:31, 24 Jan 2005 (EST)
Mediterranean is quite tempting, even if it destroys the simplicity of compass-point, but seems more intuitive indeed. As for the Baltics, I think we should not attempt to list all the smaller regions like Benelux, the Balkans etc. and keep the division general at this level, instead. I've also moved Romania and Bulgaria as Pjamescowie suggests. So here we are:
Western Europe = the British Isles, France and Benelux.
Northern Europe = Scandinavia, Island and Finland
Central Europe = Germany, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland and Slovenia
Eastern Europe = Baltic countries, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Romania, Bulgaria, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia.
Mediterranean Europe - Portugal, Spain, Andorra, Italy, San Marino, Vatican, Monaco, Greece, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro, Cyprus, Turkey and Malta.
I'd leave it for a few more days here to see if there are still any strong opposing views around. Otherwise, I'll assume that the consensus has has been finally reached. Wojsyl 17:07, 24 Jan 2005 (EST)
Maybe for these last few days create announcement on main Europe page, to attract more attention, like: -- Jan Słupski 17:30, 24 Jan 2005 (EST)
Europe Hierarchy is currently being reworked. You can add you comment on a discussion page
All right, no more voices, I assume the consensus has been reached. I have then implemented the division. Wojsyl 18:55, 5 Feb 2005 (EST)
I think the Baltic States belong rather to Nordic countries, Northern Europe I mean. Hope it's not too late. -- bujatt 06:13, 12 Jun 2005 (EDT)
I think the so called Baltic States should be replaces with the names of the countries. Estonia and Lithuania are very very different politically, culturally and historically. Also, being called an Eastern European country is pretty offensive, at least in Estonia.
True, it is offensive. According to Wikipedia at least, the Baltics do belong to Northern Europe. Why should Estonia, which practically shares its language and culture with Finland, be in the same group with Azerbaijan or Armenia. They are nothing alike. Estonians see themselves as part of Northern Europe, why can't everyone else see it too? 22.214.171.124 10:35, 2 July 2008 (EDT)
Why is the grouping as it is shown? I cannot find any source backing the proposed grouping. Am I right, when I assume that this map is original research? Otherwise, please provide a reference to a source that proposes exactly this grouping. We might still have an POV issue then, but at least have some backing to our claim, which is the less severe of the two options. If there exists no reference (perhaps Lonely Planet, I know that they do similar groupings) then, I am afraid we will have to remove the map. 126.96.36.199 18:40, 8 July 2008 (EDT)
European map colors
I really like design where not foucsed contries on the map are gray (like on Baltic states map).
Eventually it could be smart to show which country on the map is which. Maybe use different color for each country (like on Europe map)? I know it would be difficult for Mediterranean Europe, but should be possible for other European regions. What do you think?
Next, I would show where Europe ends (gray out Asiatic part of Russia and Turkey).
Also don't like yellow color on Europe map. It's to bright (may on LCD?).
I agree grey seems better. That's why I'm experimenting with vaious colours and that's why the Baltics map has grey for "inactive" areas. I'm not sure about more colours on a single map though. Wojsyl 10:46, 6 Feb 2005 (EST)
With all do respect here, this map uses a quite wrongful division of Europe. First thing that comes to my mind - Bulgaria is not in Eastern Europe in the sence you present here. East and West are not what they used to be. East used to mean communist, and West democratic. Even Greece was labled Western Europe under that criteria. But it's time to categorize Europe within cultural and historical limits. If you follow the old criteria then you should put Serbia, Macedonia and all the other ex-communist countries in Eastern Europe too. Historically, culturally and geographically Bulgaria is in Southeastern Europe a.k.a. the Balkans. Serbia and Macedonia don't even have a coastline, they are landlocked!!! Not to mention the Med sea. Bulgaria had Med sea coastline to the south, before it lost it to Greece in WWI. Now the Med is only 30 km away from the south border with Greece.
Second of all, I think the whole map needs to be reorganized. You can not group East and West Med together! They are very different. We need a Balkans or Southeast Europe category (or east Med if you will). Then you also need to put a Baltics cetegory - also different from Eastern Europe in a sence.
Please read Talk:Europe/Hierarchy. Jpatokal 22:48, 7 Feb 2006 (EST)
I read it so what? You proposed it...but it makes no sence. Bulgaria has very little in common with the East European states. Geographically it is in South Europe. Med sea is like 30 km way from the south border. Used to have Med sea coast till WW1. South Bulgaria has Med climate. Culturally and traditionaly a South Europen state. Part of the Ottoman Empire and so on...name something in favor of placing it as E Europ.
If you drew a line down the middle of Europe, Bulgaria would be in the East. Bulgaria is a former communist country and shares economic, political, linguistic and historical ties with the other Eastern European countries.
If we were doing a travel guide for the 1890s, of course, we'd include Bulgaria in Mediterranean Europe. If we were going to work on some other imaginary travel guides, we could put Bulgaria on Neptune or in Mordor. But we're not doing imaginary what-if travel guides, and we're not here to rewrite history. Travelers are going to be looking for Bulgaria in Eastern Europe, and it should be there when they look. --Evan 15:39, 27 February 2006 (EST)
My friend I want you to tell me base on what do you group the countries here? Serbia and Macedonia have no Med coast and have the same culture and traditions and virtually the same language - Bulgarian and Macedonia are almost the same. Still SR and MK are put into the Med Europe. Following your logic, if we were to prepare a travel guide before 1991, they would be put in Med as part of Yugoslavia. It really makes no sence. I believe that the whole grouping is wrong. There should be a seperate Groups for Balkans and probably Baltics too. Med and East Europe are too broad entities.
History, tradition and culture should play the major role in grouping the states. Grouping a southern country like Bulgaria with a nothern country like Estonia is deceiving: far away, nothing in common, diff climate, tradition and culture. Oh yea they share the same time zone...but so do Egypt and South Africa...lets put them in E Europe too!
Maybe thats why the balkan became such a mess; because it is part of everything and yet of nothing - there are hungarians in Hungary, in Serbiaand in Romania. Are you going to 'fix' this?. Boundary work is a sociological expertise, and I wish everyone with an opinion good luck (and good night:) 188.8.131.52 16:15, 27 February 2006 (EST)
Western Europe ?
France is not part of a so-called "western Europe" regions together with the UK and Netherlands.
See the definition of western Europe in Wikipedia, it includes all the countries of western Europe. France doesn't share much with the UK or Netherlands on geographical points, and even less on cultural, linguistic, political system, religion or climate. can look the discussion in wikipedia about southern Europe and Western Europe. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 184.108.40.206 (talk • contribs) 9 October 2006
Please understand that regions created for use in a travel guide are often much different than regions created for political purposes, since they each have very different goals; thus the discussion at Wikipedia may not be relevant. It could be argued that France straddles several European regions, but for the purposes of organization we need to choose one, and the current breakdown of European regions has been created based on the consensus reached through discussion (see above). Any changes should only be made if a new consensus is reached. -- Ryan 15:01, 9 October 2006 (EDT)
Agreed. The definitions of continental sections are arbitrary at best and of only very minor use to the traveler. --Evan 11:44, 10 October 2006 (EDT)
Ok, I may agree that it should be put arbitrary in one region. But I tend to think that linking France with UK+Netherlands is far to be the most appropriate grouping, especially when speaking about tourism. The "western Europe" group made of UK+France+Benelux is only an old-fashionned geo-political grouping, which has very few reason to be on a purely touristic point of view. Except for Paris, the majority of the tourism of France concerns the mediterranean regions, Côte d'Azur, Provence, Corsica, and also south-west, where millions of north-European come in summer for the beaches and the mediterranean way of live, as they would do in Spain or Italy.
I don't see any reason to exclude France from the mediterranean countries, while it is ones of the most touristic places of the mediterranean are precisely situated in France. On the other way, Serbia, which has no coast on the med, and which is not a touristic destination of southern Europe has absolutly nothing to do in that category.
We can keep France in the arbitrary of "western Europe", since it can be relevant for the celtic-influenced Atlantic region of Britanny. But to limit whole France in that category is just a deep misconception of what is mainly France in a touristic point of view. France canno't not being cited in the mediterranean countries.
I don't quite like the Mediterranean Europe division and pretty much agree with you about Serbia. I wouldn't say, however, that French tourism (business and leisure) concentrates mostly on its southern coast. Paris is the most visited city on earth, and I don't think people go there for the beaches. Anyway, I don't believe it's really a problem (except for breadcrumb navigation purposes, maybe) to have one country featured in two different regions. Turkey, for instance is on two continents, and nobody seems to be unhappy about that. --Ricardo (Rmx) 16:56, 9 October 2006 (EDT)
"I wouldn't say, however, that French tourism (business and leisure) concentrates mostly on its southern coast."... I personally live there, I can tell you that it is the case. In summer all the people I cross in my own city are north European tourists. A lot of the neighbouring houses are owned by Dutch, German or English people who come here for our climate. If France was in the same region of Europe than England and Netherlands, do you really think that so much people would move to a place that would be similar to their country? Of course not, for them, they were clearly looking for an "exotic" mediterranean place, very different from their own country, not even speaking of language, culture and mentalities.
Excepted Paris, the north of France is mush less turistic than the south. The south concentrate the first touristic historic beaches places of southern Europe (+the beaches of south-west), the oldest constructions of France and the Alps and pyrenees which are the biggest winter sport domain of Europe. Thousands of Dutch, English, Belgians and other north Europeans come to ski in the south of France.
Anyway, since nobody is supposed to be unhappy with integrating France in the mediterranean group, I'll add it once again and will hope it will not be removed once again. I'll open to discussion some modifications to the map:
Since this issue has already been hashed out at length among contributors, please ensure that you get some support and consensus for this change before making it. If you wish to upload sample maps to point at as part of the discussion process, by all means please do since it can only help clarify stuff. -- Colin 20:05, 9 October 2006 (EDT)
Labeling Serbia as part of 'Mediterranean' made more sense when it was together with Montenegro and still had a coastline. I'm tempted to suggest renaming "Mediterranean Europe" as "Southern Europe", but keeping this list of countries intact — which also means keeping France out of this grouping. Jpatokal 00:14, 10 October 2006 (EDT)
What is basically you problem with grouping France within this group ? Could you prouve us that the French riviera, Corsica, the pyrenees, languedoc-roussillon, Landes, aquitains, basque country, etc. are not major touristic regions of southern Europe ? and why not accepting that ? The "western Europe" group as used here is completly imaginary and doesn't represent any reality on geographic, cultural, linguistic, economic, climatic or touristic criteriums. In all those points france have more common points with Italy and Spain than with Netherlands !
That's not the question. The problem is, each country has to be in one (1) main region, so the question is, "Is France more Western than Southern Europe?" The answer is, fairly obviously if you ask me, "yes". Jpatokal 07:18, 10 October 2006 (EDT)
This is a personal opinion, could you provide arguments? what makes France more similar to UK and than to Italy ?
And what does it mean to be "western European". If it means being part a a region that would include only the UK and the Benelux it is obvious that France has nothing to see in that group; and it is clear that including France in that group would mean that this concept has absolutly no meaning and no unity. What is your definition of the conception of western Europe limited to UK+BENELUX+FRANCE ? I don't understand what it could mean ? How could you say that France is more "western" than "southern" since this concept of western has no criterium to define it ? What would define geographically, culturally, linguistically, touristically, economically or politically this restricted concept of "western Europe" ??
In this way of using "western Europe" what I don't understand is the opposition you make between "southern" and "western". Being western has never been a problem to be also southern or northern. UK for exemple is clearly at once part of northern Europe and western Europe.
Spain is obviously as much western as southern. etc. Another exemple: Boston is obviously part od eastern USA. It doesn't mans that it is not also obviously a city of northern United States. LA is at the same time a city of southern USA and part of
western United states in the same time...
Go look at Wikipedia. France (all of it) is definitely in Western Europe; but only southern France is commonly (not always) included in Southern Europe.
Only?! do you realise that you speak of the half of the country who count 60 million people! Do you think a guide can ignore the whole half of France as if France was not at all present in southern Europe ! What does it mean that France is culturally of western European culture ? and what makes Spain not of Western European culture to your eyes ?
I'm not going to oppose a pointer from "Southern Europe" (or Mediterranean Europe) to France (although given the mess to the east even this is opening a can of worms...), but for the isIn hierarchy and the map shading, France is west. Jpatokal 09:51, 10 October 2006 (EDT)
I completly agree that France is west, Of course, but west in the real meaning, the one that include also Spain and Portugal! By wikipedia, UK is considered north European, why does it not esclude it to western Europe ? This current classification is too much confusing and groups together countries taht are too much different to be included into the same label. After having read all the old discussions and unless there are some good reasons outside laziness to keep these classification I'll propose another grouping :
- Central Europe :
Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Hungary, Czeck Republic, Slovaquia, Poland, maybe Slovenia.
- Northern Europe (or Scandinavia+Finland) : Sweden, Norway, Finland, and also Denmark due to cultural closeness. Maybe also Iceland for cultural reasons.
- North Western Europe : UK, Benelux, Ireland, and maybe iceland for geographic reasons.
- South Western Europe : Italy, Spain, Portugal
(I would personally include France in that category, for clear cultural reasons, and because of the central position of this country in the middle of the mediterranean arch, but to avoid the allergic reaction of those who think that France is a copy and the UK and netherlands and can't stand the idea that France is a latin and mediterranean country I agree to create a own category for France. So I hope we could find a compromise: it would be not lump with the other latin countries of south Europe (Italy, Portugal and Spain), but also not with the northern countries of UK and Netherlands.
- Central Western Europe : France, Monaco, Andorre.
- Eastern Europe : Ukraine, Bielorussia, Russia
- South Eastern Europe (Balkans) : Greece, Ex-Yougoslavia, Bulgaria, Albania, Romania
This seems to be more realistic in terms of geographical closeness and cultural similarities. The former category of "southern Europe" that included countries such as Portugal and Albania, which don't share much together and are far away geographically is better under a division in south-west Europe (the unity with latin languages) and south-east (the region universally know as Balkans).
I think we could keep the "mediterranean group", and use it as a specific additional group (and why not a "baltic group" or Alpine"). It would be thematic. It is logical since it correspond to a specific kind of journeys (cruises around mediterranean from one point to another is a reality - and France is not excluded from these cruises!). The Alpine region may be logical for who is searching a winter sport activity: Italy, France, Switzerland, Austria, etc.
The Baltic is also relevant for cruises, the region could include Poland, Germany, The Baltic states, Finland, Sweden.
There are so many problems with this that I'm not sure where to start...
You're making up your own terms here. I'm a European and have lived and travelled in various parts of Europe for half my life, but I have no idea what "Central Western Europe" is supposed to be.
Are you seriously saying that Belgium has more cultural similarity to Ireland or Iceland than to France? (Tip: French is an official language there.)
Start with those. Jpatokal 11:07, 10 October 2006 (EDT)
I'll take your comments :
- Iceland. As I said I think it could be grouped with scandinavia, for obvious cultural similarities, even if Iceland could be geographically in North-western Europe. I clearly agree to include it in Northern Europe..
- Belgium, It is an ambigous country, with a double culture. Its francophone part has obviously strong links with France. But since it should be placed in one category, to be with Netherlands is a better choice, because it is usually refferd to be part of a same sub-regions call benelux. Added to this, Belgium is nowadays with a Flemish majority (60%), and its land have been under the sames influences than Netherlands for a long time. Not forget the geographical position; Belgium's center of gravity is clearly in the north of western Europe, closer to netherlands than to France, at close latitudes to the UK. The climatic similarities, traditions (beer), and architecture makes it more easily associate with Netherlands than France. Said that Belgium is clearly a discutable case.
Switzerland is aslo in an ambiguous situation. Its position in central Europe is not clear due to the French and Italian parts of it. But since the majority of the country is german speaking, as a whole it can be associated easily with Austria and Germany. Its geographical position is also logical for this grouping.
- Concerning the number of countries in each group; I personally would prefer to group France with Spain and Italy, because of the language, the mediterranean coast and the central position in the middle of the "latin arch". I just had so hard reactions when evoquing the idea of associating France with Italy or Spain (I still don't know why?), that I tried to find a compromise. For me there is no doubt that France is culturally a south western European country, even if it lies a bit more north than Italy (center of gravity at about 46°, while Italy is 43°, the difference is not so huge, especially when we compare it with the position of the UK or Benelux whose center of gravity lies clearly between 52 and 54°)
To me the best grouping would be this : But I'm sure some of you won't like to see France associated with Spain or Italy:
Those categories seems good to me, the association is made by area of cultural influence and also taking acount of geography. just Belgium and Switzerland are more ambigous because in area of double (or triple) influences.
- central Europe: German speaking countries+ the wisegrad group which have been historically in the German-speaking area of influence.
- Northern Europe: the area of Scandinavian cultural influence
- North-Western Europe: the area of English and Dutch influences.
- South-Western Europe: the area of Latin influence.
- South-Eastern Europe: the balkans, historically a melting pot and influences by Greek, Turk and slavic influences.
- Eastern Europe : The area under Russian influence.
The whole way the groups are made in this article is wrong. The first error is to use the old pre WW2 geopolitical concept of "western Europe" to group together countries such as UK and Netherlands with France, who don't share not much more than having being democraties in the first half of the 20th century. France obviously share much more culturally with the other south-western European countries such as Spain and Italy, especially for its southern half. Due to the latin language, catholic heritage and of course its coastline on the mediterranean. UK and Netherlands on their side have germanic languages, important protestant influences a geographical position in the northern half of Europe and coastlines on the north sea.
It is clear that netherlands are much more similar to Germany (with who they have their longest border), than with France !! (with who they don't even have a common border). The same way for UK, wich doesn't share any border with France.
From a French point of view, being grouped in this limited "western Europe" concept has no meaning and seems completly arbitrary, since it is not justificated by geography, by language, by climate, by political system, or any other criterium.
This definition is outdated and inacurate, it should be removed. the definition of western Europe of Wikipedia is more accurate, it includes all western Europe and does not prevent the belonging to other groups such as northern or southern.
I tend to think that there are in reality 4 cardinal groupings defined by geography but also culture: north-west (Scandinavia, UK, Germany, Netherlands), south-west (Italy, Spain, Portugal France(with reserves for its northern part on a pure geographical way)), north-east (Poland, Russia, Baltic states, etc), south-east (balkanic states).
and one overlaping region, central Europe, witch can include countries that can also be integrated in other groups (Germany, poland,Autria, Hungary, etc.)
I invite you to see the discussion in the article about southern Europe in wikipedia.
There already has been much discussion about this at Talk:Europe/Hierarchy. Have you seen it? Every division is arbitrary to some extent so the point here as I understand it is to provide one that is comprehensible for travellers previously unfamiliar with Europe. I'm afraid that allowing countries to appear in more than one group would only cause confusion. And if we allow only one group per country, I think France is classified properly here -- although the whole division could be improved (eg. Portugal is hardly Mediterranean).
"I think France is classified properly here"... Do you really think that Corsica, Provence, Côte d'Azur, Basque country, Aquitaine, Languedoc, etc. fit better with England, Scotland, Ireland and Netherlands better than with Spain or Italy ??!
I'm sorry, but for who is unfamiliar with Europe this kind of classification will give him a wrong image the reality of the country. If you are afraid to put France in more than one category, It would be possible to cancel the current "western Europe" category, and using instead a north-west Europe, and south-west Europe categories. Which would be much more in relation with the cultural and geographical realities than the current groups. (especially because being western is very much more inclusive and doesn't exclude to be northern or southern European. For instance Spain, Itamy and portugal are always considered to be paret of western Europe as much as France.)
Please ensure that you gain some consensus on this issue before making any changes since the current state of division is the result of a significant amount of discussion and should therefore not be altered by a single individual. For example, while I would concur that the current Med region sucks, I disagree with removing France from Western Europe. When I think France, I think Paris. -- Colin 20:01, 9 October 2006 (EDT)
" When I think France, I think Paris. "
I'm sorry to be so direct, but you have a very narrow-minded image of France-which leads you to misunderstand the reality of this country. This common stereotype of France limited to Paris is especially the reason why I think that France should be included in the mediterranean group. You canno't just ignore the main part of the country. 95% of french territory is situated south of Paris. 7 of the 10 biggest French cities are situated in the southern half, and 4 of them are directly on the mediterranean sea. One of them, Marseille, is the french second city and the biggest port of southern Europe. Another, Nice, is the center of the most well known touristic region of southern Europe; Corsica is one of the 5 great mediterranean islands, etc... It is just impossible to ignore this reality.
More than this, as a whole, French culture is latin-based, and have its roots in the mediterranean area, its oldest cities there, etc. Even if the north of France has more "celtic" and "germanic" influence, it is very inapropriate to group it with countries of northern European culture such as the Netherlands and UK.
Of course France is part of western Europe, but part of the large concept of western Europe, which includes of course also Italy, Spain or Germany, which are countries with France has more common points than UK and Netherlands. The concept of "western Europe" as it is used here is a old-fashionned concept from WWI/WWII times, used as a geopolitical (the democraties at that time) one which has lost its meaning nowadays: it is not a geographical region, has not a common climate, not the same linguistic group (romance/germanic), not the same religion (actholic/protestant), not the same kind of foods (wine/beer), etc.
I'll make a new map which would use the "western Europe" in its modern international understanding, to open it to discussion.
For the moment I think we can keep the current one, keeping France in the restricted "western Europe" group, but also including France in the list of the mediterranean countries in the same time canno't be avoided.
"For example, while I would concur that the current Med region sucks"
I don't agree. The mediterranean is a good way to speak of countries, especially when speaking of tourism. As the introduction says it the mediterranean countries share common characteristics such as kind of food, landscapes and way of life. That's what the English and Dutch people who take their retirement to France are looking for. Touristically, the mediterranean countries share being the playgrounds of all Europe in summertime : Balearic islands, Costa del sol, Cote d'Azur, Corsica, etc. and also famous for old cities's urban tourism. France share those touristic characteristics with Italy and Spain.
" I disagree with removing France from Western Europe. When I think France, I think Paris"
Yes, Paris is in western Europe, but Bordeaux is even more western. Not even speaking of Madrid, Sevilla or Lisbon... it is difficult to be more western...
"When I think France, I think Paris"
If we apply this kind of thinking to other countries you should change other categories; Ex: "If I think Germany, I think Berlin", in this case Germany should'nt be considered as central European, geographically Berlin is clearly not in the central European area (which is more around Autria), but is much more in the Baltic sea area.
Eastern Europe Map
The current map for the Eastern Europe page does not respect what these maps here say, except for one. The current map is this:
Eastern Europe region
I strongly suggest someone changes it to one of the maps here, I find the first one to be best honestly, but in any case I believe this definition of Eastern Europe is not accurate.
The great nation of Andorra must never be confused with the lesser cultures of the Mediterranean!!! --PeterfitzgeraldTalk 20:52, 17 April 2007 (EDT)
On a more serious note, If we are going to have sub regions for Eastern Europe (and we should according to the 7±2 rule), we would best come up with two coherent subregions spanning all the countries in the region. The current Baltic + "Russia and the Caucasus" schematic leaves out five countries and the second region is an awkward "this and that" type, which indicates that it's more of a Frankenstein than a coherent region. The best organizing scheme I have come up with is a Northeastern Europe region, comprised of Belarus, the Baltic States, and Russia, and a Black Sea region including Ukraine, the Caucasus, Romania, and Bulgaria. That would break this region into 5 and 7 respectively.
Pros: Both regions are very coherent culturally and geographically.
Northeastern Europe is straightforward.
The Black Sea as a culturally coherent region is gaining a lot of academic traction (see Charles King's book).
Moreover, Romanians and Bulgarians affronted by the "Eastern Europe" designation might find solace in their additional "Black Sea region" status.
Russia is technically in both regions
but Russia's center is around Moscow and St Petersburg, both lying in Northeastern Europe.
but Armenia is a culturally and historically Black Sea country, only deprived of its coastline in the past 100 years.
but while Azerbaijan does not lie on the Black Sea, the Caucasus most certainly does, and Azerbaijan will remain under that direct subregion (i.e., breadcrumb = Eastern Europe : Black Sea Region : Caucasus : Azerbaijan)
Turkey is a very important part of the Black Sea region
I would really like to hear thoughts on this, but if no one takes interest, I'll just assume that's license to Plunge ahead. --PeterfitzgeraldTalk 21:58, 17 April 2007 (EDT)
The Northeast/Black-Sea division seems like a reasonable one. I'd like to toss one other thought into the ring, however: Dividing up the U.S., there were a few states that were simply left out of any regions, because they were too large, diverse, or unique. Russia arguably fits that description, and could be treated as its own region of Europe. For example, would it make sense to have A) Russia, B) the Caucasus, and C) Eastern Europe (i.e. Estonia thru Bulgaria)? If not, and no other good solutions come of omitting Russia, let's go with the Northeast/Black-Sea split. - Todd VerBeek 00:20, 18 April 2007 (EDT)
I initially was going for just two regions becasuse of the 7±2 rule, but if that rule is at it seems relaxed at the macro level, I would prefer your schematic. Another possibility would be to group Russia with its very closely related neighbors Belarus and Ukraine (other travel guides have used this grouping). Then we would have nice coherent regions for the Baltic States and the Caucasus, with a sort of leftover category (Southeastern Europe?) for Romania and Bulgaria. The advantage of this schematic is that it would preserve the Baltic grouping, which I think is worthwhile. But I'm not sure yet which of these proposals I would prefer; I'd like to hear more thoughts. --PeterfitzgeraldTalk 17:30, 21 April 2007 (EDT)
What about making an Eastern Europe group with Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus and the Caucusus? The Baltic states could placed at Northern Europe and the Balkan states (Romania and Bulgaria) could be grouped in Southeastern Europe. For a traveller, it sounds more logical to get these western states out of the Russia group.
Spain and Portugal not included ??
Those countries are included among the mediterranean countries only. Portugal is not technically a mediterranean country, and Spain had as much coast on the Atlantic ocean than on the mediterranean.
If I look for informations about Porto, Santiago de compostella, , Santander or the Basque country, i find it strange to be obliged to look in the mediterranean sub-category. especially concerning Portugal.
Both countries are situated more western than France, (which in included in western Europe only).
I have difficulties to understand the logics of the classifications.
"western Europe" is understood by everybody as a much wider group, which includes countries from Portugal to Norway. the selection made seems really arbitrary. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 220.127.116.11 (talk • contribs)
Although yes this has already been discussed into the ground, I don't think we have come up with very good solutions to our Europe subdivisions because we have been approaching regions as a fairly arbitrary content organization tool. I think that the unsurprising result of not taking our regions seriously enough is that they look a bit sloppy and unprofessional. Someone who goes to a Western Europe article expects certain things because the term "Western Europe" means something (very amorphous and political) outside of this site. It is a loaded term and not a good title for this region, which would be better served by a move to "Northwestern Europe."
By the way, if you are reading this, I would really appreciate a comment above, on "Eastern Europe subdivisions." Thanks! --PeterTalk 15:40, 25 June 2007 (EDT)
I think "northwestern Europe" would be a good term for the region, at condition that, of course, France would be excluded from it.
England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg fit well in my opinion in that group.
concerning eastern Europe, I think it could include all Balkan region (including Romania) - maybe in a sub-group "southeastern Europe".
See also Talk:Mediterranean Europe; that region now has 20 countries, which is kind of ridiculous. I've proposed "Southeastern Europe" to handle everything east of Slovenia, but the problem is coming up with some sort of sensible name to handle Italy, Spain and France... Jpatokal 02:52, 20 February 2008 (EST)
The UK, Ireland and the Baltics to North Europe
The present Europe map is very similar to the CIA map, and not to the more internationally accepted UN subregion map. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Location-Europe-UNsubregions.png
From a geographical, political and economical point of view I believe therefore the UK, Ireland and the Baltics should be moved to North Europe. Poland should therefore also be moved to East Europe (as a Slavic country). Jakro64 16:22, 14 July 2008 (EDT)
I too would suggest moving the Baltic countries Estonia,Latvia and Lithuania into Northern Europe, while I understand this might be a bit controversial, today both politically, culturally and economically they are much closer linked with Scandinavia than the CIS countries. And due to the Visa restrictions of Russia - Sweden and Finland are much more common entry/exit points than Russia is. And my experience from traveling there, is that they tend to identify themselves as a Nordic country as well. Regarding UK and Ireland I have my doubts - for a travelers perspective i don't think they group together very well.
Hi, I see your Europe's hierarchy page, but to me, and most other geographers that seem really naive. Latvia is lawfully and officially a part of Northern Europe and is been so since her independence proclamation; saying otherwise means you don't know much about its history. I would love you to read these facts which show just a little bit of the history, but there, of course, is much more than that: Before the Soviet occupation, Latvia had no bounds with Russia or any other eastern european country, but as early as 5th century Latvia has strong bounds with Sweden (read Curonians), being an important part of the Viking era. Since that time and being under Swedish rule for more than hundred years, latvians, especially courlanders are significantly influenced by Swedes. The strong bounds between south-eastern part of Sweden and especially, Gotland, and denmark died out only after the russian occupation. Ruhnu is geographically a Latvian island, oficially- Estonian, this island has been for centuries populated by pure Swedes, in fact, they had to flee to Sweden when the Soviets came in in 1941 and later 1944. So, clear Swedish island, with a significant, unique Swedish culture for centuries now..a part of Eastern europe? How comes? This is not the only island, of course. The rights for the land have been granted back to Swedish families. 2. Latvia was a part of the Hanseatic League. It was a strong, significant alliance upon which most of Latvia's cities and culture are even built, it had absolutely nothing to do with any of the East as it was strongly and an alliance of only the Northern Europe. 3. Latvia's TRUE indigenous people- livonians are hundred percent, full blooded finno-ugric, having a finno-ugric language and sharing extreme cultural similarities with Finns. Eastern european you say? 4. Latvia and Estonia share significant cultural similiarities with the rest of the Northern countries. You simply have to visit one of those countries and I'm sure, you won't be willing to call it Eastern europe. 5. Anthropoligacally, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania have nothing to do, whatsoever, with none of the Eastern countries. You should read more on this matter. Latvians, Estonians and Finns have split from the same branch, with Latvians picking up different language branch but having strong bonds with Estonians still to this day.
I ask you to do something in this matter, even the big wikipedia have got things right, and so do most of other encyclopedias, it would be wrong to have some self-made (and wrong made!) "hierarchy" on quite an important page, when Baltic countries are officially (and I repeat this- officially) a lawful part of the Northern europe. I'd love to see the truth on this page, one day. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by RonDivine (talk • contribs)
Since this comment was originally addressed to me: I don't have any strong opinions on the matter, aside from making sure that any changes to the European regional hierarchy are discussed first and some consensus is reached to make changes. It took an extraordinarily long time to come up with a hierarchy on which people agreed (see discussions above and elsewhere), so it cannot be changed without similar agreement. -- Ryan • (talk) • 03:48, 7 September 2008 (EDT)
Note that User:RonDivine uploaded the region map (to the right) showing a proposed breakdown. -- Ryan • (talk) • 04:22, 7 September 2008 (EDT)
I'm not entirely opposed to changing this order, but it's a very controversial and weighty change. We should leave this discussion in place for a good month before moving forward. When/if we do, it will be necessary to change all relevant breadcrumbs. Also, I don't like the solid black lines dividing countries on that map — using the same border line for envisioned continental differences within countries as the border line for country borders looks wrong. Gradients would work, but we honestly don't need to show that level of detail, as the continental section maps are mostly just for illustrating our hierarchical navigation. I agree with the above opinion that including the UK/Ireland in Northern Europe with the Scandinavian and Baltic countries would not make sense; I think we should really ditch the Western Europe designation (since that's mostly a political distinction), and replace it with Northwestern Europe. Lastly, Ron, ditch the goofy pomposity — that's not a good way to build consensus. --PeterTalk 10:55, 7 September 2008 (EDT)
I agree that the Baltics sit better in Northern Europe, but I think that the UK & Ireland would be better sitting in the proposed North West Europe region. -- DanielC 15:39, 11 September 2008 (EDT)
I wouldn't mind adding the Baltics to Northern Europe, but I think UK/Ireland should definitely stay in the current Western Europe block — they have next to nothing in common with the Nordic countries. Poland should also stay in Central Europe. Jpatokal 00:10, 12 September 2008 (EDT)
Maybe we should add Estonia and Latvia (which are more northerly, mostly Protestant like Scandinavia + linguistic link to Finland etc) to Northern Europe, and Lithuania, which has more in common with Poland than, say Sweden, to Central Europe. The only disadvantage of such an arrangement, as far as I can think of, is that we will no longer be able to have a common Baltic states grouping. --Vidimian 23:21, 21 September 2008 (EDT)
You're right that Lithuania is culturally more aligned with Poland than with the other baltic states. However, I still see a disadvantage for travellers by splitting these countries up. I think many travellers would combine a trip through all of these Baltic countries. It's more logical to combine a trip to Latvia and Lithuania, than through Lithuania and Poland. (Most would just visit Poland alone). And it can also be argued that the baltic states do have a lot of features in common (language, history) 18.104.22.168 07:37, 23 September 2008 (EDT)
How come there is no group for the Balkans/Southeastern Europe? This would make more sense than making a random split-up of the former Yugoslavian countries through Eastern and Mediterranean Europe. I think Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, (Kosovo), Montenegro, Macedonia, Albania, Romania and Bulgaria could be added to this subgroup. Slovenia and Greece probably better fit in the groups where they're located now. Globe-trotter 07:43, 23 September 2008 (EDT)
Maps sure are useful. I don't know if we'll ever reach a new consensus to replace the old, since it's hard to agree on these things, but here's my take on your proposal:
Kaliningrad is in E Europe, but is west of the Baltics--that seems odd. I think the desire to remove the Baltics from Eastern Europe has much less to do with travel and a lot more to do with politics.
Mediterranean Europe now excludes countries for which Mediterranean resorts comprise nearly all tourism (like Croatia).
The French Riviera is excluded from Mediterranean Europe. (I realize it is in the current version too—I'm no fan of the hierarchy as we have it either.)
Moldova is separated from Romania, but the countries are similar enough where some people would like to see them amalgamated.
Southeastern Europe seems incompatible with a hierarchy including "Mediterranean Europe"—Turkey and Greece are very clearly in Southeastern Europe.
On a different note, we should probably not discuss individual aspects of proposals under different sections; we should have one section for each new complete proposal. Otherwise this discussion will probably go nowhere. I'll toss together another proposal myself. --PeterTalk 14:01, 23 September 2008 (EDT)
I think the reason this topic keeps getting new proposals is because the original hierarchy is bad. I realize it took a lot of effort to build a rough consensus for the original hierarchy, but I feel as though people got frustrated with how hard it was, and settled for something that doesn't really work. Mediterranean Europe excludes France. Western Europe excludes the westernmost countries of Europe. Eastern Europe includes Serbia, but not Bosnia (which is in the Mediterranean despite not having a coast!). I think we can do better.
In clearing my throat I'd also like to note that it is not hard to change this—it should take all of 1/2 hour total to fix the breadcrumbs. The hard part is simply agreeing on a new proposal.
Here is one proposal, which captures broad swathes of countries into a few fairly undisputable regions with directional names (the exception being Scandinavia, which has a universally accepted definition), and is pretty conventional by Wikitravel standards.
I like this second proposal better. It is more fine grained and moves distinctive regions to the top-level, as well as a few countries which simply do not fit into any good categories with other countries.
The British Isles
France and the Benelux
The Iberian Peninsula
Former Yugoslavia (this section of the world is notoriously difficult to sort out...)
Southeastern Europe (united pretty clearly by Greek and Ottoman history. Maybe Former Yugoslavia should be merged here?)
Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine (this is a standard grouping in travel guides)
The Baltic States
The second proposal more closely resembles what we did for another complex regional division, the USA, which I think we did quite well. It doesn't try to force countries into regions that don't fit, and keeps most all the most distinctive regions right at the top level. This should help eliminate wishy-washy region articles for places like "Western Europe," which has too many connotations of different country groupings to allow for a tight enjoyable (and writable) article like the British Isles or the Iberian Peninsula.
Thoughts? Suggestions? Hopefully no jaded cantankerous dead-ender comments about how we've already got a (shoddy) consensus and don't feel like changing it—no one's asking you to do the work! --PeterTalk 16:14, 23 September 2008 (EDT)
I really really like suggestion number 2, excellent work Peter! I'll support it avidly! and be glad to help sort out breadcrumbs etc. And if the US justifies 13 regions, Europe certainly merits 11, considering that unlike the case in the States, these regions have different languages, cultures, history and what not.
One thing of note (being Scandinavian myself) is that Scandinavia does not have an universally accepted definition, but two. The correct actually only encompasses Denmark, Norway and Sweden, while Iceland and Finland is included in the term 'The Nordic countries'. While I have no raving objections (I actually sort of prefer it) to calling it Scandinavia, i just thought I'd mention it.
/edit - oh and I'd support moving Fmr. Yugoslavia to Southeastern Europe Sertmann 16:37, 23 September 2008 (EDT)
I'd support proposal 2 ... but would suggest moving Slovenia to Central Europe, and the rest of former Yugoslavia to Southeastern Europe. Slovenia has much in common with its Alpine neighbour Austria and is already in the Eurozone.Jnich99 07:50, 24 September 2008 (EDT)
I guess that sort of makes since, as it's different from the rest since it's a EU member state, and more important for a travel site, it's a Schengen member. Sertmann 15:28, 24 September 2008 (EDT)
The second proposal is awesome work. It makes the regions smaller and therefore they make more sense. The only change I'd make is to switch Slovenia to Central Europe and place former-Yugoslavia in Southeastern Europe. And "Scandinavia" should be "Nordic countries", as Finland (and even Iceland) are not part of Scandinavia. Globe-trotter 22:42, 26 September 2008 (EDT)
The biggest problem is the Mediterranean: the region is by far too diverse and has 20 countries in it (way more than the maximum of nine). I think we should address this problem by separating the region in the three units mentioned before: Iberian Peninsula, Italy and Southeastern Europe. I think this is a great measure. However, according to textbook, Southeastern Europe would be too large. If we want to split it up, it could be done this way:
I'm not concerned about Southeastern Europe going over the 9 per list requirement. I can't actually find the original discussion where we talked about this, but for regions we treat the limit of 9 rule as more of a guideline than a rule. This makes sense because it can sometimes be impossible to follow. For New York (state), for example, we kept the organization of counties to 9 regions, but that in some cases leaves more than 9 counties per region—mathematically it's not feasible to get around that problem, unless we do something that screws up the otherwise solid travel hierarchy. The American South is another great example of a region of 11 subregions that really doesn't merit being broken up. And we're already over 9 on the top-level regions here anyway—if we broke up Southeastern Europe, that would bring us way over the limit on these divisions.
I agree with moving Slovenia to Central Europe, since the country/former region has always had little in common with the rest of former Yugoslavia, except for their shared history over part of the 20th century. I would rather not rename Scandinavia the Nordic Countries. There are variations in usage, but I'm confident that the most common English-language usage includes the rest of the Nordic Countries. We try to avoid splitting hairs to much in our travel guides, and to simply go for most common usage.
In any rate, I think we've come up with a good hierarchy here, which to my delight gets rid of the very problematic Mediterranean Europe division. Provided there are no arguments raised in objection over the next two weeks, I say we go forward and implement this new hierarchy. --PeterTalk 11:50, 30 September 2008 (EDT)
I too like proposal 2. But there is a small problem. Because ‘Italy’ is considered a region on its own, we will have to list San Marino and Vatican City under it, so the isin tags for both countries will show up like this: Europe : Italy : San Marino. Which is not very bad from travellers’ point of view, as next to no one visit San Marino or Vatican City alone. But in the name of political correctness, I think we should somehow distinguish these two sovereign entities from, for example Naples or Venice, which ‘really’ are in Italy. So the region ‘Italy’ should be renamed something else. Italian Peninsula? Apenninia? The Boot? I don’t know… And what is more, none of these solve the problem of Malta, which is usually a destination on its own (not visited together with Italy). Maybe we should name the region ‘Italy, San Marino, Vatican City, and Malta’, but that’s too long. ‘Italy and its vicinity’? But it’s vague and it kinda sounds like as it should also include Corsica or even Switzerland. Or maybe we should split proposed ‘France and the Benelux’ region into a Benelux on its own, and merge France, Iberia, and Italy (with Vatican City, San Marino, and Malta) into a ‘Western Mediterranean’ or whatever name it gets. I’m not personally against a ‘France and the Benelux’ region (although I don’t insist on this, I’d prefer to see ‘Benelux’ and ‘France’ as seperate regions on their own, however, but a region named ‘France’ would cause the same problem with ‘Italy’: what shall we do about Monaco?) or to see ‘Iberia’ as a region on its own, I’m just looking for a container with a meaningful name to include Italy, VA, SM, and Malta.
What about a pseudo-region called ‘European microstates’ by the way? --Vidimian 09:33, 3 October 2008 (EDT)
So I say, what do you think about splitting 'Southeastern Europe' into two: A)'Balkans' (Ex-Yugoslavia except Slovenia, Albania, Romania, Moldova, Bulgaria) and B)'Eastern Mediterranean' (Greece, Turkey, Cyprus). I know both names are a little problematic (for example, Moldova is hardly Balkanic, or Croatia is excluded from Eastern Mediterranean despite its long coastline) but I couldn't come up with better names. Maybe these two (Balkans and East Med) can be subregions of top level Southeastern Europe?--Vidimian 09:45, 3 October 2008 (EDT)
The more I think about it, the more sense it makes to me to have a Balkans region. It's very distinct, recognizable, and works well as a travel region. I also really like the idea of having a European Micro States region, especially as that solves the problem of Italy as a top-level region.
I agree that Moldova and Cyprus don't go well together, but Cyprus fits obviously with Greece and Turkey, and Romania fits well with Greece and Turkey, and it would be silly to group Moldova apart from Romania. I guess I don't see the problem of including Cyprus in "Southeastern Europe," since it is arguably the Southeasternmost part of Europe. Having an Eastern Mediterranean + Balkans grouping would by necessity leave out Romania, Bulgaria, and Moldova. So I see two options: 1) Balkans + Southeastern Europe, or 2) Southeastern Europe. Neither is perfect; we won't reach perfection. But these two option seem pretty good to me.
Lastly, the Southeastern Europe article is going to be the messiest article in the region. So I do think it would be nice to have good subregions for it, but lets keep that discussion to a future Talk:Southeastern Europe page. --PeterTalk 11:11, 3 October 2008 (EDT)
“Having an Eastern Mediterranean + Balkans grouping would by necessity leave out Romania, Bulgaria, and Moldova.” Why is that? Bulgaria is and has always been considered a Balkan country. In fact, the whole region gets its name from a long mountain range running right through the middle of Bulgaria (Balkan Mountains). Romania is also (quite arguably) another Balkan country, as far as I know it’s always represented in, for example, pan-Balkanic sports competitions. Thus, ‘Balkans’ can only leave out Moldova, but even in Moldova, there is a growing sense of Balkan identity (for example, Moldova is included in ‘Balkan Flexi-Pass’ train pass scheme). And even if the situation isn’t like that, I totally agree that seperating Moldova and Romania into two different regions doesn’t make sense. So by virtue of Romania being a Balkan country, we can simply add Moldova into that group too (like the ‘Black Sea Region’ proposed earlier: “but while Azerbaijan does not lie on the Black Sea, the Caucasus most certainly does, and Azerbaijan will remain under that direct subregion (i.e., breadcrumb = Eastern Europe : Black Sea Region : Caucasus : Azerbaijan)”. Why wouldn’t it be the same for Moldova? We wouldn’t even be speaking about these if those two countries (RO and MD) had been reunited in early 1990s, which was a highly expected thing those times.
oh, I should also note that ‘Ex-Yugoslavia except Slovenia + Albania’ is not Balkans, it’s just Western Balkans, but the uproar they create (and the following headlines) make people think that Balkans region is consisted of only them and nowhere else.--Vidimian 08:37, 5 October 2008 (EDT)
Credit my ignorance then ;) If Bulgaria/Romania/Moldova can fit under the Balkans, then it may well bee useful to create a Balkans region page. But I don't like "Eastern Mediterranean" because the name would indicate countries beyond Europe (e.g., Lebanon, Syria, Israel). The only leftovers would be Greece-Turkey-Cyprus right? They go together nicely as a travel region, but I can't think of a good name. "Agean" would leave out Cyprus, for example. --PeterTalk 01:24, 6 October 2008 (EDT)
I’d prefer a proper name but the best I’ve got is ‘Greece, Turkey, and Cyprus’. It shouldn’t be a big problem since we’ll have region names like ‘France and the Benelux’ or ‘Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine’.--Vidimian 09:36, 8 October 2008 (EDT)
Agreed. Here is an updated map and the regions scheme as we have it. If there are no more suggestions/criticisms, lets wait 3 weeks and then implement this new hierarchy.
Nice to see, too, that these region pages all already exist! My only lingering doubt is in applying the name Balkans to include Romania and Moldova—only the name, mind you—I do think the groupings are ideal. "Southeastern Europe" is the only other name I can think to apply to this region, but then you have the problem of explaining why Greece, Turkey, and Cyprus have been excluded from that region (the answer being, of course, that it makes sense from a travel perspective to make this division). --PeterTalk 14:08, 8 October 2008 (EDT)
Awesome work :) These regions make a lot more sense for the traveller. Instead of vague terms like 'Eastern Europe', these smaller subregions like Caucasus, Baltic States and Balkans are actually recognizable and logical regions to travel around in. Good work. Globe-trotter 08:40, 9 October 2008 (EDT)
BUMP* This proposal has been out there for a while and consensus seems to have been reached, so just bumping back onto the recent changes page to give anyone else who wants to contribute one more chance to do so. -- Ryan • (talk) • 12:11, 1 November 2008 (EDT)
Well, that was a big change! Anyway, the new hierarchy is implemented. May it long have acceptance with the Wikitravel community. --PeterTalk 13:38, 14 November 2008 (EST)
Nice! Could you have a look over at Montenegro, in the words of the current Californian Governor; "It's not werkeing, uu hav to slab it a lidle haarder!" --Stefan (sertmann)Talk 13:43, 14 November 2008 (EST)
There's something wrong with Montenegro—I can't get the crumbs to display. --PeterTalk 13:46, 14 November 2008 (EST)
Ah, always nice to know I'm not a complete idiot, tried purging the page, but that doesn't help either. The rest looks great though, the only thing we need is a better map (no offense) and some contributors to add some more content to some of the regions. Great work, and great proposal --Stefan (sertmann)Talk 13:53, 14 November 2008 (EST)
Greece in the new hierarchy
I wasn't aware of this discussion until just now after I saw the Balkan breadcrumb on the Greece page. I think there should have been pointers to it on the relevant country talk pages. I don't think it was at all reasonable to expect contributors like me, who like most contributors work with a small subset of countries, to have known about this discussion which affects the countries I'm interested in but is on a page that I never have any particular reason to check. Having seen the hierarchy change, I want to register my strong objection to including Greece in a Balkan hierarchy. The inclusion of Greece under the Mediterranean Europe area on this site is of long standing; the vast majority of travelers think of Greece as a Mediterranean country; and indeed in the minds of people in most English speaking countries Greece and Italy are the two Mediterranean countries par excellence -- "Greece and Italy" are practically synonymous with "Mediterranean." It should also be noted that changing the Greece page breadcrumb to Balkans means that the breadcrumbs on all Greece pages will lead back to Balkans -- for instance, Crete, Mykonos, and Rhodes would all have breadcrumbs leading back to Balkans, which is clearly misleading and inappropriate, (it's not particularly bad for parts of Northern Greece like Thessaly or Epiros to be "Mediterranean" since most of them have a Mediterranean coast and the few regions of Northern Greece that can really be considered inland are still close to the Mediterranean.) Listing Greece as a Balkan region also obscures the fact that the Greece has, especially from the viewpoint of travelers considering destinations, much more in common with Spain and Italy than it does with Serbia or Bulgaria or Montenegro. I changed the breadcrumb on the Greece page back to Mediterranean before I knew about the hierarchy change, which I wouldn't have done unilaterally if I'd known about the discussion, but I'll leave that change for now and I'll put a pointer from the Greece talk page to here. Sailsetter 18:38, 14 November 2008 (EST)
Could you propose a change that you would find acceptable? Should there be a separate region for Greece & Italy, and if so what should it be named? Do you have an alternative proposal? -- Ryan • (talk) • 18:48, 14 November 2008 (EST)
We are in the process of phasing out that Mediterranean Europe page altogether, for numerous reasons discussed throughout this talk page. We actually don't include Greece in the Balkans region, but I left the breadcrumb to Balkans there, since Greece is unambiguously part of the Balkan Peninsula. It's not appropriate to leave the breadcrumb pointing to Mediterranean Europe (since that article is defunct per the above discussion), but I'm fine with just pointing straight to Europe, as I did for Cyprus and Turkey. --PeterTalk 19:38, 14 November 2008 (EST)
Having looked through the discussion above I don't find the arguments for eliminating the Mediterranean Europe region persuasive, and I would have argued against the proposal to do so if I'd known about it. As it is, I won't complain about putting Greece under either Europe or Southern Europe. I'll remark in passing though that I don't agree that Greece is unambiguously part of the Balkan peninsula: the fact that half the country's area consists of islands and seas which few people would refer to as "Balkan" (Crete, Rhodes, Santorini, Lesbos, Chios, Mykonos, Kos, etc. etc.) seems to me to introduce some ambiguity. And from a traveler's viewpoint (which is supposed to be Wikitravel's viewpoint) consider which of these two statements a traveler is likely to make: 1) "I'm taking my vacation in Greece this year because I've always wanted to see the Mediterranean," or 2) "I'm taking my vacation in Greece this year because I've always wanted to see the Balkans." Sailsetter 11:59, 15 November 2008 (EST)
Well Sailsetter, as I understand the above suggestion, "...because I've always wanted to see the Balkans" is not a necessary argument, because it won't be a part of the Balkans - but a separate region with Turkey and Cyprus, which definitely makes sense for me as a travel region... Now if only we could find a good name. "Aegean countries" would work for me, but I guess someone passionate about Cyprus could object to that.
I think countries being top-level regions should be exceptions (as in the case of Italy), not the rule. At the moment, France, Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, Ukraine, and Russia are all shown as top-level regions at breadcumbs. So, if no one objects, I'll write some articles on Greece, Turkey, and Cyprus and Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus regions and change isIn tags towards them (rather than directly to Europe) soon.--Vidimian 07:44, 18 November 2008 (EST)
Do not change anything until there is clear consensus, please. Jpatokal 08:28, 18 November 2008 (EST)
There are already country pages on Greece, etc. Why should there also be region pages? That seems terribly redundant and confusing. Sailsetter 10:17, 18 November 2008 (EST)
What is the problem? Greece is not part of "Balkans", it's part of a group with Greece, Turkey and Cyprus (the eastern mediterannean). Globe-trotter 18:02, 19 November 2008 (EST)
IRELAND IS NOT THE"BRITISH ISLES" IT IS A COUNTRY ON IT'S OWN!!!!!
More on European regions
I don't know if this topic is still considered open for discussion, but since my opinion was asked above, here is what I think. To back up to basics, a region hierarchy should reflect what travelers are interested in. This means that regions should be geographically contiguous areas with things very generally in common. Since modern travel, especially in Europe, usually is done by airplane and high speed train, it makes sense for the regions to be fairly large. And since travelers don't care much about strictly following what geographers say, neither should the Wikitravel regions. In line with these principles, I think the best European region hierarchy would be a broad, simple one of Northern Europe, Southern Europe, and Eastern Europe. Northern Europe would include Ireland, Iceland, the UK, Scandinavia, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Luxembourg, Lichtenstein, and Switzerland, Southern Europe would include Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, and Greece, and Eastern Europe would include Russia, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovenia and all those other little countries around there, Romania, Bulgaria, and Poland. (If I've left any countries out, just put them in where they belong.) I'd leave the European bit of Turkey out, attaching it to the rest of Turkey. Personally, I'd put the former Soviet republics other than Russia in a separate region. It seems to me this hierarchy would best reflect the way travelers actually think about and plan their trips. Interesting to note in passing that these regions, generally and with exceptions, reflect an overall cultural contiguity based on the three great historic linguistic divisions of Europe: Germanic, Romance, and Slavic. (Sorry, Celts, you used to be the fourth, but eighteen centuries of getting invaded by everybody and their uncle ousted your languages from that position.) Sailsetter 10:40, 18 November 2008 (EST)
All very logical, but unfortunately that's going to fail when Poles, Slovenes etc start throwing hissy fits about being labeled "Eastern European". Plunking eg. Austria into "Northern Europe" is also a little contrived, to say the least... Jpatokal 11:01, 18 November 2008 (EST)
As for the first, I didn't realize Eastern Europe was a pejorative name; as for the second, whatever the compass says. Austria surely has a "look and feel" closer to its northern neighbors than its southern ones, and travelers are more likely to consider it part of a Northern Europe itinerary than a Southern Europe one. At any rate, names can be fiddled with to accommodate various hobby horses even if the regions remain the same. (Incidentally, Rick Steves, Lonely Planet, Berkeley Guides, National Geographic, Let's Go, Fodors, Rough Guides, and Frommers all have travel guides titled "Eastern Europe." The ones I've looked at include Poland and Slovenia, and probably all the rest do too.) Sailsetter 11:22, 18 November 2008 (EST)
I for one think the new heirachy is splendid because it fits with groups of countries travellers would visit together - while eastern europe, the balkans, and greece/turkey is almost impossible to construct in a way that satisfies everyone, i think this get's pretty damn close. Scandiavia, Baltics, British Isles, Benelux and the Iberian penisula - are all natural regions, that also get's grouped together in most guidebooks. Italy makes perfect sense as a region in it's own right - as it's north-south diversity makes it hard to group naturally with anything else. I also think Greece, Turkey & Cyprus fit well together. So I don't know, maybe it's the name that does it for you. But i would strongly oppose your suggestion - it doesn't make sense for me. --Stefan (sertmann)Talk 14:11, 18 November 2008 (EST)
Your grouping is very problematic. Where would Belgium go? Luxembourg? Switzerland? The UK and Ireland? The barrier would also be a highly politicized grouping, showing the former western and eastern blocs. It's not needed because a central european group makes perfect sense. I like the new proposal, because it shows a lot of logical groupings. Globe-trotter 18:06, 19 November 2008 (EST)
I note by the way that Wikitravel Shared in its photo hierarchy divides Europe into Central Europe, Eastern Europe, Mediterranean Europe, Northern Europe, and Western Europe -- the countries under each can easily be checked there. This seems to me an eminently sensible hierarchy which should just have been adopted by Wikitravel. Sailsetter 12:14, 1 December 2008 (EST)
Well, that's pretty much the old hierarchy, and I still find them arbitrary. Grouping Scandinavia and the British isles together in a region doesn't make sense for me, I've never met anyone who was going on a trip to the UK and Scandinavia, and in terms of organising content it doesn't make sense for me either. Except for some naming issues, which makes it look a bit odd, I find the new regions very logical. Only issue is I would like the map updated --Stefan (sertmann)Talk 18:59, 1 December 2008 (EST)
Whoah, I completely missed this earlier, but why was Northern Europe renamed as "Scandinavia"? Because, technically speaking, Iceland and Finland are not in Scandinavia. Jpatokal 22:58, 25 November 2008 (EST)
As I understand it definitions differ over whether Iceland and Finland are included under the name. And I believe the preference for the name derives from our general preference for names with historical/cultural significance, rather than bland directional names. --PeterTalk 23:11, 25 November 2008 (EST)
Because Finnish is not a Scandinavian language? Finland is not on the Scandinavian peninsular? The Finns are not a Scandinavian people? Finland is not a Monarchy? Because they drink more Vodka than the rest of Scandinavia combined - and hence group better with Russians? because of their liberal gun laws? because they've fought a century old struggle to rid themselves of Swedish influence? Oh the reasons are many....
Anyway I still find that it's mainly people of the Nordic countries who care about the correct usage of the term, whereas for the most part, the entire rest of the world (except perhaps people from the Baltics) are happy to slap the Scandinavia label to Finland and Iceland as well. I personally think it's just fine to call the region Scandinavia - "The Nordic countries" seems a bit arbitrary. Sertmann 00:21, 26 November 2008 (EST)
And let me just clarify that the vodka thing is an attempt at some humour, seems everything is misunderstood these days --Stefan (sertmann)Talk 00:30, 26 November 2008 (EST)
I, personally, don't really mind either, but there are quite a few people who do... Jpatokal 12:40, 26 November 2008 (EST)
It seems to me that arguments like the above are beside the point. Wikitravel is supposed to be traveler-centered, and from the viewpoint of most travelers, surely Scandinavia includes Finland. I believe every standard guidebook on Scandinavia (Frommers, Rough Guide, etc.) includes Finland, which I cite not to argue that Wikitravel should do it just because they do it, but as further evidence that in the opinion of almost all professional travel writers and guidebook publishers, who ought to know, travelers expect Scandinavia to include Finland, and that's why Wikitravel should too. Iceland is a little more ambiguous, but travelers are going to consider it part of Scandinavia if it's in any region. Sailsetter 13:52, 26 November 2008 (EST)
Exactly, I would have never grouped Finland w Russia but I always thought it of Scandinavia. It seems to have a smilar culture from my view. edmontonenthusiast [ee].T.A.L.K. 13:56, 26 November 2008 (EST).
Nobody is disputing that the Nordic countries belong together. The problem is the label "Scandinavia", which is, strictly speaking, inaccurate. Jpatokal 22:36, 1 December 2008 (EST)
The meaning of a word, any linguist or lexicographer will tell you, is determined by its usage. As I've pointed out, in the travel industry in the English speaking world, the word "Scandinavia" in actual usage includes Finland. Sailsetter 11:04, 2 December 2008 (EST)
Strictly speaking, all these regions are inaccurate. Central Europe is not the real center, the British Isles include Ireland and Moldova is not close to the Balkan Mountain Range. However, for the traveler and for most people, these regions are easily recognizable and make sense. Besides, not even Denmark belongs to the Scandinavian Peninsula, and it would be logical if it was included. Globe-trotter 09:41, 4 December 2008 (EST)