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Old threads

  • 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

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2005 and wikitravel is supposed to be futureproof for the next several years and it's important not to use archaic/outdated systematisation.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

European map colors

I really like design where not foucsed contries on the map are gray (like on Baltic states map).

Eventually it could be smart to show which country on the map is which. Maybe use different color for each country (like on Europe map)? I know it would be difficult for Mediterranean Europe, but should be possible for other European regions. What do you think?

Next, I would show where Europe ends (gray out Asiatic part of Russia and Turkey).

Also don't like yellow color on Europe map. It's to bright (may on LCD?).

-- 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.

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 ?

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.

Inaccurate groups

(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

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!

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

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)

Spain and Portugal ?

(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".