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Old threads[edit]

  • Old threads from here and many other European pages were archived. -- JanSlupski 15:23, 5 Feb 2005 (EST)

Also it could be useful to archive lare parts of hierarchy discussion from Talk:Europe and top of this page to something like Talk:Europe/Hierarchy/Archive, and add there links to 1) Talk:Europe/Hierarchy#Proposed_solution, 2) Archive to make navigation easier. Currently it's very long, and distributed. -- Jan Słupski 17:30, 24 Jan 2005 (EST)

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

Proposed solution[edit]

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it's 2005 and wikitravel is supposed to be futureproof for the next several years and it's important not to use archaic/outdated systematisation.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)

nice Tobias Conradi 22:50, 3 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:

European regions
  • 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? 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. 18:40, 8 July 2008 (EDT)

European map colors[edit]

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?).

-- JanSlupski 10:10, 6 Feb 2005 (EST)

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)
Please see my try of coloring/list design of Mediterranean Europe at User:JanSlupski/Projects/Europe. -- JanSlupski 11:39, 6 Feb 2005 (EST)

Bulgaria and reorganization.[edit]

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 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 Serbia and 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:) 16:15, 27 February 2006 (EST)

Western Europe ?[edit]

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 (talkcontribs) 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.

Thank you for your comprehension, —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 9 October 2006

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: SEuropecolournew.png

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

Europe 3.jpg

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...
  1. Regions should contain 5-9 countries (see Wikitravel:Geographical hierarchy).
  2. 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.
  3. 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: Europe 4.jpg

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.

  • I'd say this is the best grouping anyone has suggested. France, Italy, Spain & Portugal are a logical grouping, with related languages, religion, culture. The only quibble I might have is whether the Baltic states go in Northern or Eastern Europe. Pashley 00:05, 6 January 2009 (EST)

Inaccurate groups[edit]

(moved from Talk:Europe by Jpatokal 07:18, 10 October 2006 (EDT))

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[edit]

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.

Andorran Pride![edit]

The great nation of Andorra must never be confused with the lesser cultures of the Mediterranean!!! --Peterfitzgerald Talk 20:52, 17 April 2007 (EDT)

Eastern Europe subdivisions[edit]

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.
  • Armenia and Azerbaijan are not on the Black Sea.
    • 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. --Peterfitzgerald Talk 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. --Peterfitzgerald Talk 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.
I like that suggestion. At the next level, Southeastern Europe then breaks down to Agean (Greece, Turkey, Cyprus) and Balkan. Pashley

Spain and Portugal ?[edit]

(copied from Talk:Western Europe)

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 (talkcontribs)

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! --Peter Talk 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[edit]

The present Europe map is very similar to the CIA map, and not to the more internationally accepted UN subregion map. 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.

Sertmann 09:34, 6 September 2008 (EDT)

Below moved from User talk:Wrh2

Location-Europe-UNsubregions, Kosovo as part of Serbia.png

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 (talkcontribs)

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. --Peter Talk 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) 07:37, 23 September 2008 (EDT)

Southeastern Europe[edit]

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)

I made an image to show what I'm talking about:
Globe-trotter 09:04, 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:

  1. 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.
  2. Mediterranean Europe now excludes countries for which Mediterranean resorts comprise nearly all tourism (like Croatia).
  3. 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.)
  4. Moldova is separated from Romania, but the countries are similar enough where some people would like to see them amalgamated.
  5. 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. --Peter Talk 14:01, 23 September 2008 (EDT)

2 proposals[edit]

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.

Proposal 1

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.

  • Western Europe
  • Central Europe
  • Southeastern Europe
  • Eastern Europe
  • Scandinavia

Proposal 2

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
  • Central Europe
  • Italy
  • 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 Caucasus
  • Scandinavia

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! --Peter Talk 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:

Western Balkans: Croatia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Serbia, Macedonia, Albania Southeastern Europe: Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, Romania, Bulgaria

But I think the "big" Southeastern Europe would already be a big improvement.
Globe-trotter 09:20, 30 September 2008 (EDT)
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. --Peter Talk 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)
I have thought for a second and I now realize that while the designation 'Southeastern Europe' works OK for Turkish Marmara Region or Greek Macedonia, it doesn't do that well in Crete, Mediterranean Turkey or Cyprus. Merging Moldova and Cyprus into one region is like, say merging Maine and Florida into one region.
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. --Peter Talk 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. --Peter Talk 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.

See also European Microstates.

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). --Peter Talk 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. --Peter Talk 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. --Peter Talk 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[edit]

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. --Peter Talk 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)

And also I'd like to see Monaco and San Marino as parts of European Microstates, not of France and Mediterranean Europe as how it is at the moment--Vidimian 07:47, 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!!!!! —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs)

While it's true the Greek isles don't fit well with the Balkan label. The rump of the Greek state absolutely does. From a tourist standpoint, I can see why you don't include Greece in the Balkans, because the overwhelming majority of places tourists will be aren't in the Greek hinterland. As an equivalent example: Russia lies predominately in Asia, but no one is arguing for it to be included as such. —The preceding comment was added by (talkcontribs)

More on European regions[edit]

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. --Peter Talk 23:11, 25 November 2008 (EST)
I don't see why Finland is shoudl not be there but maybe Iceland can be It's own region? edmontonenthusiast [ee] .T.A.L.K. 23:13, 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)
So if guidebooks and many people include Finland and Iceland in Scandinavia, wikitravel should use it as well? If something is wrong, it doesn't make it less wrong if many make the mistake. With such a point of view wikitravel should claim a brick to be round if just enough people claim a brick to be round, or maybe wikitravel should state that you can see the great wall of China from the moon, which indeed alot of people think... False facts doesn't make wikitravel useful to people. Scandinavia is Only Norway, Sweden and Denmark. Nordic countries are Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland (And Fareoe Islands, Åland and Greenland). Check [1], [2] for ref. -- 08:50, 22 March 2009 (EDT)
There is no straight answer to this, and claiming you have the absolute truth is a bit headstrong don't you think? to quote your own source:
"Worldwide, casual and unofficial use of the term "Scandinavia" is a common reference to Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, but also includes Finland, Iceland, and the Faroe Islands"
Or look up in any English language dictionary or encyclopædic source, and I'll bet you it will mention Iceland and Finland in there as well. Since we cater to English speakers here, I still find the common English International definition, to be the correct for a project like ours, exactly because we are not wikipedia, but a travel guide. --Stefan (sertmann) Talk 16:21, 22 March 2009 (EDT)
To me who lives in Norway. Scandinavia is Norway, Denmark and Sweden. The Nordic countries are Scandinavia, Finland, Iceland, Åland Islands, Faroe Islands. But what is important is what makes sense to the visitor. So if Scandinavia is all the five countries to the visitor, thats OK for me. Anyway we can't call the article The Nordic Coutries. The Nordic perhaps... ViMy 20:41, 22 March 2009 (EDT)
I'm refering to the Scandianvian and Nordic usage of the terms, which should be respected. If there is some common thought-messup with nordic-scandinavia that doesn't make it right to continiue placing false info on wikitravel, like i already pointed out. Loads of people think the great wall of china is visible from the moon, is that reason good enough to write it as a fact? Anyway if you want the "absolute truth" you have to refer to the usage of the terms in Scandinavia and in the Nordics. Just as a note, The Netherlands is extremely often incorrectly called Holland, but wikitravel uses Netherlands. It's also a matter of respect, i doubt that all finns or icelandics likes to be called scandinavians, just like sami's don't like the term lapp or inuits on Greenland don't like to be refered to as eskimos.-- 04:42, 23 March 2009 (EDT)
We're actually a fair amount of Scandinavian regular contributors to Wikitravel (I'm Danish - and fully aware of local definition), and no one has had any raving objections about this before. It's basically the same discussion as below, though, I still think you'll be hard pressed to find any Finns or Icelandics who would find a regional label as Scandinavia on collaborative travel guide hidden away on the internet, to be offensive. Anyway, the way this place works is by consensus, so if you find sufficient support for your view, we'll change it, but for now there is definitely no clear consensus on the change. --Stefan (sertmann) Talk 07:37, 23 March 2009 (EDT)
Right, this should make everybody shut up --Stefan (sertmann) Talk 21:40, 7 April 2009 (EDT)
While I don't think you needed to be quite so harsh, I agree that that website clears up any arguments pretty succinctly. Now if only we could get the Irish and British tourism boards to do the same thing... LtPowers 09:29, 8 April 2009 (EDT)

British Isles[edit]

British Isles should not be one of the sub-regions of Europe for the following reasons:

  • This is likely to cause offence to some with a different world view, particularly those from Ireland who may view the word association with Britain as inaccurate and offensive.
  • The term is archaic and not accurately defined by any modern worldwide standard.
  • There is specific benefit to the traveler of using this grouping, unlike some other contentious regions which reflect the reality of the situation to the traveler.
  • Wikitravel already has its work cut out defining regions and boundaries in those areas of the world where they are subject of wars, and centuries of bitter disputes. This is one that is just unncessary

Suggest replacing the term with just United Kingdom and Ireland

--Inas 22:56, 18 December 2008 (EST)

I disagree. British Isles is a common (over 30 million Google hits) geographical term and a valid region. In particular, the Isle of Man is technically not part of the UK, hence not of "United Kingdom and Ireland". Where would it fit in your scheme? Pashley 23:54, 18 December 2008 (EST)
Yeah, the only way I can see to resolve this would be to have a region: The [[British Islands]] and [[Ireland]]. But that seems a little silly. I really prefer not to cave in to cartographic politics when trying to write travel guides. --Peter Talk 00:06, 19 December 2008 (EST)
British Isles is a common term to define this region and easily recognizable for travellers. Even in Ireland people know immediately what you mean. If the Irish have a problem with this term, that's too bad because there is no appropriate alternative. British Isles is the only term in common usage. Globe-trotter 14:05, 21 December 2008 (EST)
The only alternative is Atlantic Archipelago. This is a politically correct term, used in some scientific documents and mostly in Ireland. But it's not a common term to travellers. Globe-trotter 06:27, 23 December 2008 (EST)
Though some dictionaries may define British Isles as including Ireland, in fact in the travel industry the phrase doesn't seem to be used that way. Almost all guides I've seen to the region use "Britain and Ireland" or some variant thereof: there's Let's Go the Budget Guide to Britain & Ireland, Charming Small Hotel Guides: Britain & Ireland, Michelin Red Guide 2008 Great Britain & Ireland, The Oxford Guide to Literary Britain and Ireland, and others. I've only rarely seen travel guides titled "British Isles," and the few that I have seen don't include Ireland. If we're going to appeal to common usage in standard travel guides, then we should use "Britain and Ireland" or "UK and Ireland" rather than "British Isles" for the region. Sailsetter 11:12, 23 December 2008 (EST)
I suggested British-Irish isles on the talk page, if British isles won't fly, that's the 2nd best option imho. --Stefan (sertmann) Talk 12:54, 23 December 2008 (EST)
Agreed. As far as I can tell, "British Isles" is pretty unambiguous as far as what territory it covers; the only possible objection is political rather than geographic or vernacular. With apologies to the Irish, the fact remains that Ireland and Britain are the two largest islands in the British Isles. Sertmann's suggestion seems the most reasonable compromise if the widely understood term is for some reason unacceptable. LtPowers 20:43, 5 January 2009 (EST)
No, there's another possible objection described two lines above by me: the de facto standard among professional travel publishers in both their books and on their related web sites is "Britain and Ireland," not "The British Isles." Sailsetter 19:05, 8 January 2009 (EST)
Admittedly, I discounted that term because it's exclusive of several territories we wish to include in our region. LtPowers 20:11, 8 January 2009 (EST)
Sailsetter is entirely correct: the term "British Isles" is rarely if ever used in travel guides covering Ireland (for the obvious reasons). Where the guide covers Ireland and Britain, then "Britain and Ireland" is by far the most common term. I have never seen the term "British Isles" used in an Irish travel guide, particularly one written by Irish writers. My Lonely Planet guide springs immediately to mind, but even British based tourist organisations such as this expressly use 'Britain and Ireland' rather than "British Isles". 22:18, 10 January 2009 (EST)
Again, "Britain and Ireland", however many other guides use it, is exclusive of islands that we wish to cover, islands which collectively are known, even in Ireland, as "British Isles". LtPowers 13:44, 19 January 2009 (EST)

I'm cutting the Gordian knot. The article has been moved to British and Irish Isles (after deleting the copy+paste that was already there). I'm leaving the redirect as an extremely likely search term. This should be a reasonable compromise. See Wikitravel:Votes for deletion/January 2009#British Isles for the deletion discussion. LtPowers 08:49, 26 January 2009 (EST)

"British and Irish Isles" is a ridiculous overtly political term, it is not a common term at all. "Britain and Ireland" would be way more logical. Just look here which definitions are used (from Wikipedia): [3]. :Globe-trotter 10:13, 26 February 2009 (EST)
Again, for the third time, "Britain and Ireland" does not include several islands which we want to include in the region. LtPowers 19:07, 26 February 2009 (EST)
I think you're being unnecessarily pedantic here -- from the traveler's point of view, the Channel Islands and Isle of Man are a part of Britain, and obviously part of any region that covers the UK and Ireland. I also think that "Britain and Ireland" is the most common, the most obvious and the clearest name for it, and that the consensus here is definitely leaning in that direction.
Let me reiterate, though, that I think a region article for the two is unnecessary. Just "Britain and Ireland" will do fine. Jpatokal 02:47, 27 February 2009 (EST)
And in what region would we place the Channel Islands, then? LtPowers 08:29, 27 February 2009 (EST)
Under United Kingdom, obviously. (Yes, I know they're Crown Dependencies and technically not a part of the UK, but who gives a shit?) Jpatokal 10:24, 27 February 2009 (EST)
I agree with Globetrotter. "British and Irish Isles" or "Atlantic Archipelago" are absurd. I do think we need a minimal region article here, just links to other pages, and I think it should be called "British Isles". That said, there's almost no need to link to it; most links can be to Britain and Ireland. Pashley 06:06, 27 February 2009 (EST)
I agree it should be "British Isles"; that's the accepted geographic term, at least to anyone who isn't Irish. But that created an awful lot of dissension as you can see above and in the AfD. So I included Irish Isles as a compromise. That's how we do things here. I had thought it had worked, too, but Globe-trotter has seen fit to reopen this can of worms. LtPowers 08:29, 27 February 2009 (EST)
I'm OK with having British Isles as a disambig page, but I don't see what value it adds to make it a full-fledged region level: virtually all the content would just duplicate the UK and Ireland articles. Jpatokal 10:24, 27 February 2009 (EST)
I'll just repost this from the talk page here: Yeah, and expanded section on Irish sea ferries, Ireland-Northern Ireland border practicalities, details on implications of the Common travel area for foreign visitors travelling between the two countries, are all subjects that I think could be covered in greater detail than in the country pages, with good results. --Stefan (sertmann) Talk 10:31, 27 February 2009 (EST)
Sigh, this issue had seemed at rest and peaceful. British & Irish Isles gets the point across, serves a purpose per User:Sertmann, includes all the little territories we want to include, should not offend anyone who lives anywhere within the realm of reasonableness. Fin. I hope. --Peter Talk 16:22, 27 February 2009 (EST)
Why all the focus on the fact that the Channel Islands are not part of "Britain and Ireland"? When most travelers hear "Britain and Ireland", they think of the Island of Man and the Channel Islands belong with that grouping. Finland (and geographically even Denmark) is not a part of Scandinavia. Yet, we include it in there. Moldova is not part of the Balkans, yet we include it in there. We do that there, because it's a logical grouping to the traveller. And there, barely any complaints are heard, while here it's suddenly a big issue. 12:38, 12 March 2009 (EDT)

I'm sorry my solution was not satisfactory to all. I would like to make another proposal: what about "Ireland and the British Isles"? That clearly separates Ireland from the dreaded "British" appellation, without inventing the term "Irish Isles". LtPowers 08:38, 13 March 2009 (EDT)

No! Our policy is to use "the most common English name". I think that is a good policy. It seems to me that we should follow it here, so "British Isles" is obviously the correct choice.
However, "Britain and Ireland" or "United Kingdom and Ireland" may be better choices to avoid offending people. They may not be the most common terms for the region, but they are combinations of standard terms and other guides use them. Those are worth discussing.
As for "Atlantic Archipelago", "British and Irish Isles", or ""Ireland and the British Isles", none of those are in common use and therefore I do not think any of them should even be considered as possible titles. Pashley 10:26, 13 March 2009 (EDT)
If I may, "Ireland and the British Isles" is also a combination of standard terms. I don't see how that's any different from "Britain and Ireland" in that respect. LtPowers 13:45, 13 March 2009 (EDT)
Ireland and the British Isles strikes me as incorrect, since Ireland is part of the British Isles. I prefer the British and Irish Isles fudge, as we have it now. Although it may not be in very popular use ([4]), even if it is not, it remains very much an accurate name.
A title like UK & Ireland, or Britain & Ireland obscures the purpose of the article, as it raises the question of why we don't just keep the articles separate entirely. The reason is that they are part of the same archipelago, which can support a useful article in terms of geography, cultural history, and transport. --Peter Talk 16:19, 13 March 2009 (EDT)

So, the geographically-correct term is not usable for political reasons. The remaining commonly-used terms are incomplete. And the remaining terms that actually describe the scope of the article are not commonly used. Rather sticky wicket here, eh wot? LtPowers 10:00, 14 March 2009 (EDT)

The geographically correct term is the commonest English name and should be used. See Evan's comments the first time this came up; I agree completely.
The main reason we now have a problem is that you chose to "cut the Gordian knot" instead of waiting for a consensus. You also invented, apparently out of thin air, a new term "British and Irish Isles" that had, as far as I can see, not even been mentioned in previous discussion. If I had not been on holiday and away from the computer at the time, I'd have immediately reverted that. I know your intentions were good, and trying for a compromise is basically a good idea, but you do need consensus before making obviously controversial changes.
I'd say the article should clearly be moved back to "British Isles". That's our policy; use the commonest English name. My idea of compromise would be agreeing to use "Britain and Ireland" instead, of course with "British Isles" as a redirect. Pashley 10:49, 22 March 2009 (EDT)
He didn't grab it out of thin air - I came up with that name, as an attempt to compromise, though I like British Isles way better, and it wouldn't make us look like complete idiots, as wikipedia, BBC, Encyclopædia Britanica Microsoft Encarta, Merriam Webster, Urban Dictionary,, Princeton University , Oxford University already uses the term, and Google gives 24 million hits for the term - although there is also a compressive article describing the dispute here - basically saying that on government level, Ireland discourages use of the term. --Stefan (sertmann) Talk 11:11, 22 March 2009 (EDT)
I interpreted the status quo as inherently unstable and therefore in need of some sort of change so that a consensus could be developed. I would love to have this article at the geographically correct term, but my understanding is that that is violently unacceptable to some users here. LtPowers 16:41, 22 March 2009 (EDT)
You are right that it's problematic, but only for political reasons. "British Isles" is the most common term, but unacceptable for political reasons. However, we cannot just make up terms that don't exist. That's why "British and Irish Isles" cannot be used, it simply doesn't exist. There are no "Irish Isles", there is only one Irish island called Ireland. So instead, I thought "Britain and Ireland" would be a good compromise, indicating the importance of these two big islands in the region. Sure, there are some other minor islands as well, but every traveller would almost instantly connect them with Britain and Ireland, as they are the largest and most dominant. Like the Isle of Man is laying in between them. And Jersey and Guernsey are British crown dependencies. 07:17, 13 April 2009 (EDT)

We are pretty much bound to the alternatives list given here [5], as those are recognizable terms for travelers. British and Irish Isles is not in that list, it's not recognizable, nor used anywhere, sounds way too overtly political correct and ridiculous, so it has to change. British Isles is unacceptable because of Irish objections. Britain and Ireland was not acceptable because of the Channel Islands and Isle of Man not being included (though I did not find this a problem, others did).

What about British Isles and Ireland? It is in the list of alternative terms, it fixes the whole Ireland-dispute-thing and still manages to be recognizable because of the sentence British Isles in it.

Globe-trotter 11:22, 3 August 2009 (EDT)

Fine with me. The redundancy doesn't bother me a whole lot, and it might keep the Irish happy. LtPowers 22:12, 3 August 2009 (EDT)
I dislike all the fudge options. For my money the two titles that work are Britain and Ireland and British Isles. Yes I know Britain and Ireland has technicalities re the IOM and CI but that's irrelevant from the traveller's perspective. I'd prefer British Isles as that's the correct term, but Britain and Ireland is an acceptable compromise. British and Irish Isles is not a tolerable compromise. :-) Now, I'm very aware of the need to try to form a consensus but I fear this knotty issue isn't going to get one. How about if we rename to Britain and Ireland for the time being and then I can sleep at nights without grinding my teeth knowing the Irish Isles are up there on the server, for all the world to see, making me ashamed to have my name as a contributor? ;-) Andyfarrell 15:27, 14 August 2009 (EDT)
It's starting to grow on me but for completeness I would much prefer any of the other options. LtPowers 21:39, 14 August 2009 (EDT)
I'm with Andy here. As I see it, "British Isles" is obviously correct. If we are going to bow to political correctness (we shouldn't), then "Britain and Ireland" is the way to do that. None of the "fudge options" are worth considering. Pashley 22:56, 14 August 2009 (EDT)
I've renamed the page to Britain and Ireland. My reasoning is that British and Irish Isles was a unilateral action which didn't fit the consensus or serve the traveller, while I accept that LtPowers did it with the best of intentions. Even if Britain and Ireland doesn't end up being the permanent name I feel certain it is closer to consensus than the former name. Andyfarrell 05:41, 15 August 2009 (EDT)

I see the isin's havn't successfully moved. Can anyone help me with that please? Andyfarrell 05:45, 15 August 2009 (EDT)

You need to go to every single article under Britain and Ireland and move them manually. Jpatokal 06:57, 15 August 2009 (EDT)
Ah. Hopefully caught them all now. Andyfarrell 08:52, 15 August 2009 (EDT)
I'll see what I can do. I support Britain and Ireland as well, as it's a neutral geographic term. Globe-trotter 06:54, 15 August 2009 (EDT)

I still think "Europe : Britain & Ireland : Ireland" looks silly, sigh --Stefan (sertmann) Talk 07:09, 15 August 2009 (EDT)

Yes, and it needlessly excludes several outlying islands. LtPowers 09:46, 15 August 2009 (EDT)

Aegean Archipelago[edit]

Would anyone have any raving objections to create this region for Greece, Turkey and Cyprus. I know Cyprus technically isn't within the Archipelago, but practically and culturally it certainly is. And not having a proper region messes up the hierarchy. --Stefan (sertmann) Talk 05:24, 30 January 2009 (EST)

I think it's fine as is. I don't see a need for a region to tie together the three, and agreeing on a name would be hard to impossible anyway. "Archipelago" is misleading, since the vast majority of Greece and Turkey are not islands. Jpatokal 05:48, 30 January 2009 (EST)
I also see serious objections to this. First, "Aegean Archipelago" isn't a term in general use among travel guides, or geographers, or the general public. If you said "Aegean Archipelago" to most people, their reaction would be "Huh?" I myself have traveled extensively in parts of the areas mentioned above, and if you asked me about the "Aegean Archipelago," I'd have no idea what you were talking about. Secondly, the countries in question do not in fact constitute an archipelago, either in the strict geographical terminology sense, or in the commonly used sense, of the word: an archipelago describes a concentrated group of many small islands, especially if they are in a chain: the places mentioned are only three, which is not "many," and only one of them is an island, and the one that is an island is a large, not small, island, and even if they were all three small islands, they would be too far separated from each other to be considered an archipelago. Sailsetter 10:41, 30 January 2009 (EST)
I've never heard about "Aegean Archipelago" and I don't think others have as well. Sounds like a constructed name instead of a popular one. Globe-trotter 10:09, 26 February 2009 (EST)
How about Northeastern Mediterranean? It’s mostly the Mediterranean which defines this group –and the travel scene of each individual country– after all, and they are –and no other country– located in its northeastern corner. -Vidimian 13:10, 21 March 2009 (EDT)
Sorry, but I don't think this term is recognizable enough. I wouldn't think of Greece and Turkey when I heard it. Globe-trotter 07:25, 13 April 2009 (EDT)

France grouped with "Latin Europe" instead of Benelux?[edit]

Hi all,

Sorry to open this controversial topic again. First, I would say that I appreciate all the time you spent discussing the Europe hierarchy which is definitely a can of worms and I am pretty happy with the final result map. Still... I find weird to group France with Benelux and leave Italy alone as a single region. I would suggest to leave Benelux alone and group France with Italy and Iberia in a region called Latin Europe (I think we should forget geographical names like Western, South-Western, Southern or Mediterranean, and rather choose a cultural name which "Latin" sums up very well to me).

The major drawback I can see is the unbalanced resulting regions. Yes, Benelux alone is very small but it's a very common grouping within the EU and we already have the Baltic States and Caucasus as small regions too so why not?

And yes, Latin Europe would be quite big but the four countries, Italy, Spain, Portugal and France, have much more in common (latin language, roman catholic religion, wine culture) than France with Netherlands. An alternative could be to leave France alone like Italy, but that may be too much splitting and I find nice to see each country as part of a bigger set to avoid jealousy :).

Now, if everybody is tired of those endless debates, I'll leave it like this (but probably change the French version though... :)

If there's no objection, I can modify the map and the page. Joelf 12:21, 19 December 2010 (EST)

France is so big and influential, I think it deserves a region of its own. It is the largest tourist destination in the world. As of current, there is no France and the Benelux page, so this in practice already is the case. If anything, we could give the Benelux and France a different color on the map and the problem is solved.
I also think France does not completely belong to "Latin Europe". Large parts of France are Celtic (northwest) or have a Germanic tradition (northeast). To me, Paris feels more like a Northern European city, but that could be subjective. You name some defining factors making France "Southern": but "Catholicism" as one of the dividing factors doesn't hold up, as France has more in common with the Benelux as both regions mainly consists of non-believers. And in the north of France, beer is a major competitor to wine. Of course the Côte d'Azur belongs to that region, but I think that just shows my point: France is so big, it's better off with it's own region (like California and Florida in the United States of America regional hierarchy). --globe-trotter 01:56, 24 December 2010 (EST)
I take your point: France is definitely not completely "Latin"; Brittany could be grouped with Ireland and Alsace with Germany to some extend but to me, it is still in majority Latin, like Belgium is in majority Flemish and Switzerland in majority Swiss-German. You're right to say that France consists now mostly of non-believers. I'm not sure young Spaniards today are any more believers. I thought more of a cultural state of mind: northern Europe is more "protestant non-believer", liberal, pragmatic, and southern Europe "catholic non-believer", social, ideological, state-driven. Funny though: I was convinced that Netherlands were a typical protestant country but according to Wikipedia, Roman Catholicism is still the largest religion (well: 26 %...). But does it really matter for a traveller? OK, I realize it's not so obvious after all so let's leave it like this for now. I may only change the map colour and split the two items if I have time. Thanks for your input! Joelf 15:53, 27 December 2010 (EST)
Benelux seems a bit on the small side; I'm fairly certain that's why they were grouped with France on the map. LtPowers 16:09, 28 December 2010 (EST)
Fair enough; let's leave them grouped together then. Joelf 23:52, 28 December 2010 (EST)
Being small is not a good reason for grouping them, the Baltic states are also small and separate. I think it's fair to have France and the Benelux separate as they in practice are already. About the Netherlands, of course it was mostly a protestant nation, but most protestants have turned into non-believers, while more Catholics in the South held on to their faith. I also understand your cultural north-south divide in Europe, everyone feels it exists, but I think it goes straight through France, which makes France a hard case to group with either Northern Europe (Germanic/Celtic) or Southern Europe (Latin). --globe-trotter 02:08, 29 December 2010 (EST)
An alternative, to avoid too many items, could be to leave Benelux alone and group "France and Italy" under the same colour but with different links (like "France and Benelux" currently). BTW, globe-trotter, thanks for all your maps; I will translate them little by little. Joelf 22:55, 30 December 2010 (EST)
I also think it would be fine to de-group France and the Benelux. I think the grouping was originally my idea, but it wasn't something I or anyone else had really given much thought to. --Peter Talk 13:51, 31 December 2010 (EST)
Benelux together is about the size of Lithuania alone, so I don't think the Baltic states are an apt comparison. But I don't really have strong feelings either way; I'm just worried that the Benelux area will be lost on the map when viewed at article size. LtPowers 11:47, 1 January 2011 (EST)
Ok, I've switched France to orange like Italy and Benelux is kept in yellow therefore not really lost on the map to me. If there is any problem, tell me. Happy New Year ! Joelf 23:57, 2 January 2011 (EST)
The grouping of France with Italy to me makes less sense than the grouping with Benelux. I'd be a lot more in favor of having Latin Europe as well. But overall, I think we should just give France a separate color on the map and add a new category. --globe-trotter 14:17, 3 January 2011 (EST)
Done. Yet another alternative, if we want to stick to the 7±2 rule, could be to group Benelux with Central Europe giving specific details about Benelux on that page, and have a dedicated Latin Europe page with specific details of Iberia, France, Italy. Joelf 17:49, 3 January 2011 (EST)
Central Europe is big enough, and Holland and Belgium are clearly Western and not Central anyway. =) I too would prefer fewer regions here on the Europe page, but sometimes we have to bend the rule of seven. LtPowers 20:59, 3 January 2011 (EST)

Grouping the Benelux with Central Europe wouldn't make sense, I've never heard of that before (and I'm Dutch). I am starting to feel more for a Latin Europe, though. It could be a good way to get less regions and I have to agree that they do make a logical grouping (as their language and culture derives from Latin culture). It would also solve the "European Microstates" problem, as all of them are either within Latin Europe or Central Europe. --globe-trotter 19:44, 8 June 2011 (EDT)


Swept in from the pub

I've been reverting a lot of political edits from this user [6]. However, I have to agree somewhat with his removal in Kosovo in the Europe regions list (in brackets at Balkans). Listing Kosovo is logical, as Kosovo de facto is an independent state, and travellers have to deal with Kosovar authorities in order to go there. However, if we list Kosovo in this list, we should also list Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh, Northern Cyprus, South Ossetia and Transnistria, as the situation in these de facto states are not really different from Kosovo. So should we either include all of these states or remove them all? --globe-trotter 21:33, 2 September 2011 (EDT)

We should only remove Kosovo if we're going to make it a region of Serbia. Otherwise, we list it because that's how we've defined it as a travel region. Politically, I note that none of the other regions you've mentioned have international recognition on the level of Kosovo, which has been recognized as independent by about 40% of the countries of the world. Of the regions you mentioned, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and Transnistria are treated as regions while Nagorno-Karabakh and Northern Cyprus use the country template. The latter two should be added if we are going to continue to treat them that way, even though they have virtually no international recognition. LtPowers 08:52, 3 September 2011 (EDT)
That would be pretty random. All these states have limited recognition and all are not recognized by the United Nations. South Ossetia, Abkhazia and Transnistra shouldn't be "regions" on Wikitravel, as they are de facto states with their own rules, immigration policy and currency. However, I'm a bit reluctant on adding them to the Europe page, as we'd have to add a lot of countries on there many people barely know. Also, these political edits are getting annoying, and we'd have less of them if we'd just follow the UN. --globe-trotter 11:32, 3 September 2011 (EDT)
It's not random, unless you assume the decision to go with a country template or region template for those articles is random. And Kosovo has far more international recognition as independent than the other regions you mention. LtPowers 11:58, 3 September 2011 (EDT)
Yes, calling some of those entities "regions" and others "countries" is random, as they are more or less similar. About Kosovo, is that relevant for the traveller that a few more states have recognized Kosovo than have Abkhazia? Both are de facto states that a traveller has to deal with and both are not recognized by the United Nations. If the "degree of recognition" would be of concern, we'd be opening an endless can of worms. How many states should recognize a de facto state before it gets a mention on the Europe page? --globe-trotter 12:12, 3 September 2011 (EDT)
If you consider 75 to be "a few", I suppose you'd have a point. Otherwise, I have to wonder why you're minimizing Kosovo's status. LtPowers 13:38, 3 September 2011 (EDT)
Kosovo is not recognized by the United Nations, just like many other de facto states. Like I said, the amount of other states recognizing a de facto state is not relevant to traveller, as the traveller has to deal with de facto states, whether they are recognized or not. Kosovo is recognized by 75 states, Taiwan by 23 states, Abkhazia by 4 states and Nagorno-Karabakh only by non-UN-states. Where do we draw the line? At recognition by 5 states? Just for the heck of it? The traveller has to get visas and follow the rules of all these de facto states. So we should treat them all equally and in the same manner. I am not "minimizing" Kosovo's status in anyway, I just think that if Kosovo is listed, all these de facto states should be listed. --globe-trotter 14:06, 3 September 2011 (EDT)
But as you said, that opens a big can of worms: "we'd have to add a lot of countries on there many people barely know". Not every breakaway region has to be treated the same. I'm not saying official recognition is the only metric we should use, but by the same token, neither should UN recognition (elsewise, bye-bye Taiwan). It's better to look at each of them on a case-by-case basis. For regions for which we use the country template, we treat them like other countries. For regions for which we use the region template, we treat them like other regions. I don't think there's any objective metric that fits every possible case. LtPowers 14:31, 3 September 2011 (EDT)
Well, there is an objective metric, that is listing all of them or listing none of them. That's why I think all de facto states ought to be included, not just a few we like to pick for no objective reason whatsoever. About those templates, they should all either have country templates or region templates, as they are all states with limited recognition. Calling some "regions" and other "countries" would be arbitrary, as all of them operate like states with their own visas, currency, national anthem, flags, etc. --globe-trotter 14:39, 3 September 2011 (EDT)