What are the Different European Regions?
Europe is the second smallest continent based on land area but it is also one of the most powerful based on economic strength and political influence. It has been the home of two powerful empires: the Greek and Roman civilizations.
Today, the largest and most powerful cities in Europe include: Paris, France, London, United Kingdom, Rome, Italy, Berlin, Germany, Madrid and Barcelona Spain, Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia, and Istanbul, Turkey.
These cities are not just large based on their land area, they are also highly populated. Most tourists visit these cities especially during the peak seasons.
Europe’s population is above 700 million but it is slowly declining. That is the reason why some countries are welcoming more immigrants. Due to the rush of immigrants and Europe’s rich history, this continent’s culture is very diverse. Its inhabitants speak around 255 different languages.
This continent is comprised of several peninsulas and some islands. It has many coastal areas and is surrounded by different bodies of water which are the Atlantic Ocean to the west, Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Mediterranean, Black, and Caspian Seas to the south. The main land Europe is also bordered by Asia and some parts of Africa. Read through this article to know what are the different European regions based on different categories.
There are a number of Transcontinental countries which are in two continents at the same time. Georgia, Turkey, Russia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan are considered to be located in both Asia and Europe, so depending on who you ask you will get a different answer to whether they are a European country or not. If you include the transcontinental countries the number of countries in Europe would be 50 internationally recognized sovereign states with territory located in common definitions Europe and/or membership in international European organizations, of which 44 have their capital city within Europe. All except the Vatican City are members of the United Nations (UN), and all except Belarus, Kazakhstan and Vatican City are members of the Council of Europe.
There are also a number of micro-states in Europe. Due to their size they are most often closely linked with another larger state. The Vatican city is a perfect example of this, located in Rome, the capital city of Italy it is very closely linked with Italy. The Vatican City, Andorra, Monaco, Lietchenstein and San Marino are usually considered to be the micro-states of Europe.
There are a total of 50 countries and 6 dependent states in Europe which could be divided into different regions based on culture, politics, economics, religion, and geographical characteristics.
Culturally, Europe can be divided based on the tribal ancestors of the citizens of each country. For example, we can clearly see the distinct cultural characteristics of the Scandinavian Nations or the heritage of countries which found their roots from different Germanic tribes.
Politically, Europe is classified into European Union and non-European Union Countries. The European Union is considered as one of the strongest politico-economic organisations of the world. It is comprised of 28 European countries which support each other in making political and economic decisions.
There are also economic and political influencers in Europe that can be divided into four spheres or blocs. These are the German Sphere of Influence, The Nordic Regional Bloc, Visegrad-plus and the Mediterranean Europe. The German Sphere of Influence is comprised of economies which depend on German trade for economic benefits. They do not see Germany as a threat, but rather as an aid in their economic pursuits. The Nordic Regional bloc is composed of non-euro-zone countries which do not see Germany as a competitor or as a partner.
These countries do not favor Russia’s resurgence. Meanwhile, the Vise grad-plus bloc is a mix of countries from different spheres. They only support each other for security purposes. Lastly, the Mediterranean countries help each other in protecting their Middle Eastern and African borders. Most illegal immigrants come to this country via routes in Turkey and the seas. This year, some of these countries have received many war escapees from Libya. Most of them traveled by the sea and drowned but some still reached the European shores.
Based on religions, Europe can be divided into four groups: Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, and Muslim Countries. The headquarters of the Catholic Church is located at the Vatican City so many countries that are near it are Catholic majority. The Catholic majority countries are Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Croatia, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Poland, Portugal, San Marion, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain. On the other hand, Orthodox countries include Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Russia, Serbia, and Ukraine while Protestant countries include Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Norway, and Sweden.
Lastly, Muslim European countries include Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Turkey. The other European countries that are not mentioned in the lists above do not have specific religious orientations.
According to the United Nations Statistics Division Geoscheme, Europe can be geographically divided into four regions. These are Western, Eastern, Northern, and Southern Europe. This scheme has been used by the United Nations (UN) as an internal tool only for its statistics division, so it is not used by all divisions of UN. Some of these regions overlap, but it is still a useful guide in categorizing each division.
According to the UN statistical scheme this region includes nine countries: Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, and Switzerland. Some of these countries can also be found in other geographical divisions. During the cold war, Western Europe has been politically characterized by the influence of the United States of America in this region. Some of the historical events that occurred in Western Europe are the Renaissance period and the Reformation.
The topography of this region is characterized by western uplands which are mainly composed of hard, ancient rocks that were formed by glaciation. This is a process of lands being transformed by ice or glaciers. These countries mostly have lakes, marshlands, and fjords. One of the famous lakes found in this region are the blue lagoons of Iceland.
This region includes ten countries: Bulgaria, Belarus, Czech Republic, Moldova, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Russia, and Ukraine. Again, some of the countries on this list can also be found in other divisions. Most of the people in this region speak Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Hungarian, Polish, Romanian, Slovak, Slovenian, and Serbian. During the cold war, Eastern Europe has been politically characterized by the influence of Soviet Union and the prevalence of communism. Based on religious dominance, Western Europe is primarily Orthodox.
The topography of this region is characterized by the Caucasus Mountain, Ural Mountains, and Ural River. This region is quite close to Asia so some of the countries here have also been influenced by Asian culture, mostly Chinese.
This region is comprised of the Scandinavian Peninsula, the Jutland Peninsula, The Baltic States, the British Isles, the Low Countries, Iceland, and the islands that lay near the mainland northern Europe which includes Greenland and the Faroe Islands.
The Scandinavian Peninsula is the largest peninsula in Europe. Geographically, the Scandinavian Peninsula covers Sweden, Norway, and a large art of northern Finland. It is surrounded by different bodies of water including Baltic Sea to the east, North Sea and Norwegian Sea to the west, and Barents Sea to the North. Culturally, Scandinavia is the cultural region of Sweden, Denmark, and Norway. Most of the languages in this region have been derived from Old Norse. These languages, also known as North Germanic languages, are Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, and Faroese.
The Jutland or Cimbrian Peninsula covers the mainland part of Denmark and some parts of northern Germany. The name of the peninsula has been derived from the Germanic tribe called Jutes, which formerly invaded Denmark. This peninsula is characterized by wide plains, open lands, and peat bogs.
The Baltic States are Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia. These are the states that mostly border the Baltic Sea. On the other hand, the British Isles include two states: the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. The confederate nations of UK include England, Scotland and Wales. It also has dependent territorial islands such as the Isle of Man, the Bailiwick of Jersey, and the Bailiwick of Guernsey in the Channel Islands. Lastly, the Benelux or Low Countries include Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands.
Generally, the weather in this region is temperate and subarctic. This region is characterized by wide tundras, temperate coniferous forests, boreal forests, high mountains, broad leaf forests, and highlands. With the exception of the British Isles, northern Europe is known for its extremely cold climate and harsh winters.
This region is comprised of the Iberian Peninsula, Italian Peninsula, the Balkan Peninsula, and the island country of Cyprus. The Iberian Peninsula countries include Andorra, Gibraltar, Portugal, and Spain. Meanwhile, the Italian Peninsula is the home of Italy, Vatican City, Monaco, Malta, and San Marino. Lastly, the countries in the Balkan Peninsula are Albania, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Greece, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, and Slovenia.
Southern Europe’s topography is characterized by small plains, dry hills, blue Mediterranean seas, pine forests, and olive trees. The climate here is subtropical meaning the countries here have warmer summers than other parts of Europe. These countries also rarely see snowy winters.
The people living in this region generally use the Romance language family which includes Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Catalan. Some people in this region also speak Greek or Hellenic language, South Slavic language, and Basque language.
Europe’s southern region is predominantly Christian, with most countries being a Catholic majority. Christianity has been widely spread in southern Europe during the Roman civilization.
Specifying the exact midpoint of Europe is quite difficult. That is why some of the countries in these regional divisions overlap. Nonetheless, these regional separations can give you a good idea of how to distinguish the different European countries based on their geographical locations, topography, climate, political affiliation, economic strengths, languages, and culture.
How Many Countries In Europe?
Ask this question to 15 different people and you will get 15 different answers, while most continents in the world are very well defined, Europe is almost more like a concept. Exactly how many countries are in Europe is hard to define, since some countries are on two continents at the same time – Istanbul, a city in Turkey, is actually situated both in Asia and in Europe.
(photo credit: 1)