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Northern Europe

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A composed satellite photograph of islands and continental areas in and surrounding the North Sea and Baltic Sea.

The northern region of Europe has several definitions. A restrictive definition may describe Northern Europe as being roughly north of the southern coast of the Baltic Sea, which is about 54°N, or may be based on other geographical factors such as climate and ecology.

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European climate. The Köppen climate classification map is presented by the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia and the Global Precipitation Climatology Center of the Deutscher Wetterdienst.

The climate is mainly Oceanic climate (Cfb), Humid continental climate (Dfb), Subarctic climate (Dfc and Dsc) and Tundra (ET).


Northern Europe might be defined roughly to include some or all of the following areas: British Isles, Fennoscandia, the peninsula of Jutland, the Baltic plain that lies to the east, and the many islands that lie offshore from mainland Northern Europe and the main European continent. In some cases, Greenland is also included, although it is only politically European, comprising part of the Kingdom of Denmark, and not considered to be geographically in Europe.

The area is partly mountainous, including the northern volcanic islands of Iceland and Jan Mayen, and the mountainous western seaboard, Scotland and Scandinavia, and also often includes part of the large plain east of the Baltic sea.

The entire region's climate is at least mildly affected by the Gulf Stream. From the west climates vary from maritime and maritime subarctic climates. In the north and central climates are generally subarctic or Arctic and to the east climates are mostly subarctic and temperate/continental.

Just as both climate and relief are variable across the region, so too is vegetation, with sparse tundra in the north and high mountains, boreal forest on the north-eastern and central regions temperate coniferous forests (formerly of which a majority was in the Scottish Highlands and south west Norway) and temperate broadleaf forests growing in the south, west and temperate east.


There are various definitions of Northern Europe which always include the Nordic countries, often the British Isles and Baltic states, and sometimes Greenland, northern Germany, northern Belarus and northwest Russia.

UN geoscheme classification

Subregions of Europe by United Nations geoscheme.
  Northern Europe

The United Nations geoscheme is a system devised by the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD) which divides the countries of the world into regional and subregional groups, based on the M49 coding classification. The partition is for statistical convenience and does not imply any assumption regarding political or other affiliation of countries or territories.[1]

In the UN geoscheme, the following countries are classified as Northern Europe:[1]

as well as the dependent areas:


European sub-regions according to EuroVoc:
  Northern Europe

EuroVoc is a multilingual thesaurus maintained by the Publications Office of the European Union, giving definitions of terms for official use. In the definition of "Northern Europe", the following countries are included:[2]

as well as the dependent area:

In this classification Jersey, Guernsey, the Isle of Man, the United Kingdom and Ireland are included in Western Europe.

CIA World Factbook

Regions of Europe based on CIA World Factbook:
  Northern Europe

In the CIA World Factbook, the description of each country includes information about "Location" under the heading "Geography", where the country is classified into a region. The following countries are included in their classification "Northern Europe":[3]

as well as the dependent areas:

In this classification Jersey, Guernsey, the Isle of Man, the United Kingdom and Ireland are included in Western Europe, while Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are included in Eastern Europe.

World Geographical Scheme for Recording Plant Distributions

Northern Europe, as defined by the World Geographical Scheme for Recording Plant Distributions

The World Geographical Scheme for Recording Plant Distributions is a biogeographical system developed by the international Biodiversity Information Standards (TDWG) organization, formerly the International Working Group on Taxonomic Databases. The WGSRPD standards, like other standards for data fields in botanical databases, were developed to promote "the wider and more effective dissemination of information about the world's heritage of biological organisms for the benefit of the world at large". The system provides clear definitions and codes for recording plant distributions at four scales or levels, from "botanical continents" down to parts of large countries. The following countries are included in their classification of "Northern Europe":[4]

as well as the dependent areas:


Map of Europe showing the largest religions by region. Islam is represented in green, Eastern Orthodox Christianity in blue, Roman Catholicism in purple, and the other colors represent branches of Protestantism.

Countries in Northern Europe generally have developed economies and some of the highest standards of living in the world. They often score highly on surveys measuring quality of life, such as the Human Development Index. Aside from the United Kingdom, they generally have a small population relative to their size, most of whom live in cities. The quality of education in much of Northern Europe is rated highly in international rankings, with Estonia and Finland topping the list among the OECD countries in Europe.[citation needed]


Germanic languages are widely spoken in Northern Europe with North Germanic languages being the most common first language in the Faroe Islands (Faroese),[5] Iceland (Icelandic),[6] Denmark (Danish),[7] Norway (Norwegian)[8] and Sweden (Swedish).[9] The West Germanic language English is the most common first language in Jersey, Guernsey, the Isle of Man, the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, however, the West Germanic language Scots is also spoken as a minority language in parts of Scotland and Ireland.[10][11][12][13] Beyond this, the Finnic languages of Finnish and Estonian are the most common first languages of Finland[14] and Estonia[15] respectively. The Baltic languages of Lithuanian and Latvian are the most common first languages of Lithuania[16] and Latvia[17] respectively. A number of Celtic languages are spoken in the British Isles including the Brythonic Welsh and the Goidelic Scots Gaelic and Irish. The Celtic languages Cornish and Manx have been revived since becoming classed as extinct, being now spoken to a limited extent in Cornwall and the Isle of Man respectively.[13] The Norman languages of Jèrriais and Guernésiais are spoken in Jersey and Guernsey, though are listed as endangered due to the increasing prominence of English in the islands.[18][19]

While not the most common first languages in any country, Sámi languages such as North Sámi, Lule Sámi and South Sámi are spoken in the transnational region of Sápmi and are listed as endangered.[13]


During the Early Middle Ages, the Roman Catholic Church expanded into Northern Europe and spread Christianity among the Germanic peoples.[20] Christianity reached the peoples of Scandinavia and the Baltic region in later centuries. The Latin alphabet along with the influence of Western Christianity spread northward from Rome, leading to written English, German, Dutch, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Icelandic, Latvian, Estonian, Finnish and Sami languages. The Sámi were the last peoples to be converted in the 18th century.[21]

Regional cooperation

The Hansa group in the European Union comprises most of the Northern European states, plus the Netherlands.

See also


  1. ^ a b "UNSD — Methodology". Archived from the original on 30 August 2017. Retrieved 17 June 2019.
  2. ^ Publications Office of the European Union. "EU Vocabularies 7206 Europe". EuroVoc. Archived from the original on 24 April 2019. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  3. ^ CIA. "The World Factbook". Archived from the original on 4 January 2021. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
  4. ^ Brummitt, R. K. (2001). World Geographical Scheme for Recording Plant Distributions (PDF) (2nd ed.). International Working Group on Taxonomic Databases For Plant Sciences (TDWG). Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 January 2016. Retrieved 27 July 2021.
  5. ^ "The Faroese Language". Archived from the original on 16 August 2021. Retrieved 27 June 2021.
  6. ^ "Act [No 61/2011] on the status of the Icelandic language and Icelandic sign language" (PDF). Ministry of Education, Science and Culture. p. 1. Archived (PDF) from the original on 11 October 2017. Retrieved 15 November 2013. Article 1; National language – official language; Icelandic is the national language of the Icelandic people and the official language in Iceland. Article 2; The Icelandic language — The national language is the common language of the Icelandic general public. Public authorities shall ensure that its use is possible in all areas of Icelandic society. All persons residing in Iceland must be given the opportunity to learn Icelandic and to use it for their general participation in Icelandic society, as further provided in leges speciales.
  7. ^ Lewis, M. Paul, ed. (2009). Ethnologue: Languages of the World (16th ed.). Dallas, Texas: SIL International. ISBN 978-1-55671-216-6. Archived from the original on 27 December 2007. Retrieved 27 August 2012.
  8. ^ Vikør, Lars. "Fakta om norsk språk". Archived from the original on 3 February 2014. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
  9. ^ Parkvall, Mikael (2009). "Sveriges språk. Vem talar vad och var?" (PDF). RAPPLING 1. Rapporter Från Institutionen för Lingvistik Vid Stockholms Universitet: 24. Archived (PDF) from the original on 20 September 2014. Retrieved 1 January 2023.
  10. ^ "Facts about Jersey". Government of Jersey. 30 November 2015. Archived from the original on 21 December 2019. Retrieved 4 January 2023.
  11. ^ "Languages – Languages". BBC. Archived from the original on 2 November 2020. Retrieved 1 January 2023.
  12. ^ Ranelagh, John (1994). A Short History of Ireland. Cambridge University Press. p. 118. ISBN 978-0-521-46944-9. Archived from the original on 18 September 2023. Retrieved 1 January 2023.
  13. ^ a b c "Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger". pp. 39–40, 164–165, 182–183. Archived from the original on 20 September 2022. Retrieved 31 December 2022.
  14. ^ "Språk i Finland" [Language in Finland]. Institute for the Languages of Finland (in Swedish). Archived from the original on 4 January 2023. Retrieved 4 January 2023.
  15. ^ "The Estonian Language". Archived from the original on 3 July 2020. Retrieved 15 October 2022.
  16. ^ Rodiklių duomenų bazė. "Oficialiosios statistikos portalas". (in Lithuanian). Archived from the original on 4 January 2023. Retrieved 4 January 2023.
  17. ^ "Dažādu tautu valodu prasme". (in Latvian). Archived from the original on 11 October 2017. Retrieved 4 January 2023.
  18. ^ "Endangered Languages Project – Jèrriais". Archived from the original on 11 December 2019. Retrieved 10 September 2019.
  19. ^ Sallabank, Julia (1 July 2013). "Can majority support save an endangered language? A case study of language attitudes in Guernsey". Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development. 34 (4): 332–347. doi:10.1080/01434632.2013.794808. ISSN 0143-4632. S2CID 144265439. Archived from the original on 18 September 2023. Retrieved 4 January 2023.
  20. ^ Tanner, Norman. New Short History of the Catholic Church. p. 41.
  21. ^ Kenneth Scott Latourette, A history of expansion of Christianity. Vol 2. The thousand years of uncertainty: AD 500–AD 1500 (1938) pp. 106–43.

External links

This page was last edited on 29 November 2023, at 16:27
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