Northwestern Europe

Northwestern Europe, or Northwest Europe, is a loosely defined subregion of Europe, overlapping Northern and Western Europe. The region can be defined both geographically and ethnographically.

Frequent minimum definition of Northwestern Europe, excluding certain nations often defined as Northwestern Europe, such as Austria, Switzerland, and Finland

Geographic definitions

Geographically, Northwestern Europe usually consists of the United Kingdom, Ireland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Northern France, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Iceland.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7] Switzerland, Finland, and Austria are also often considered part of Northwestern Europe.[5][6][8][9][10][11][12] Southern France is not regarded as northwestern, as it is usually geographically and culturally considered part of the Mediterranean region or Southern Europe.[13][14]

Ethnographic definitions

Germanic languages are widely spoken in most of Northwestern Europe, although other languages are also present, including Romance languages in Northern France, Southern Belgium, Luxembourg, and some parts of Switzerland; Celtic languages along the western fringes of the British Isles and in Brittany; and Uralic languages in parts of the Nordic countries. The region also has a strong history of Protestantism that differentiates it from its Catholic and Orthodox neighbors to the South and East.[15][16][17] The definition of Northwestern Europe as correlating with Protestant Germanic Europe mostly leads to the same definition as the geographical one above, but would tend to exclude northern France, Belgium, much of the southern Netherlands, much of Southern Germany, Luxembourg, Liechenstein, Austria, Finland, and Ireland. This, in part, is because northern France, despite its historical Protestant Huguenot populations (currently, however, only 2% of the French population),[18] is traditionally and demographically[19] considered a Catholic Romance language region, while Southern Germany, much of the southern Netherlands, Austria, Luxembourg, Liechenstein, and Ireland, though largely containing Germanic language speakers, are historically Roman Catholic; meanwhile, Finland, while overwhelmingly majority Protestant and containing a significant Germanic population, is largely a Uralic-speaking country. Belgium is unique in that it is a majority Catholic country, with both German-speaking and Romance-speaking regions. Consequently, although Northwestern Europe has a strong history of Protestantism and an overall majority Protestant and Germanic-speaking population, there are considerable Catholic and non-Germanic language populations, partially because of the majority Catholic populations indigenous to Southern Germany, Ireland, Austria, Luxembourg, Lichenstein, Belgium, and Northern France.[20]

A definition of Northwestern Europe as an inclusive term for those European countries not falling within Southern Europe or Eastern Europe was used by some late 19th to mid 20th century anthropologists, eugenicists, and Nordicists, who used Northwestern Europe as a shorthand term for the region of Europe in which members of the Nordic race were concentrated, in contrast to the Eastern and Southern regions of Europe that contained Mediterranean peoples, Slavs, Balts and other non-Nordic peoples.[21][22][23][24][25][26] Under this racialist view, all of the Germanic countries and areas such as northern France, which historically contains large numbers of people of Gaulish, Norman, and Germanic Frankish descent, would be included as Northwestern Europe, due in part to the predominance of phenotypically Nordic people within these areas.[17][27][28]

World War II Theatre

In military history, especially in Commonwealth countries, the battle honour North-West Europe has been used to refer to the two land campaigns in that approximate area during World War II. Two separate battle honours were awarded to regiments who took part in these campaigns. The North-West Europe Campaign of 1940 during the Battle of France, was restricted to Belgium and the French Channel ports. The North-West Europe Campaign of 1944–1945 started with the landings in Normandy and ended with Field Marshal Montgomery taking the German military surrender of all German forces in the Netherlands, north-west Germany and Denmark on Lüneburg Heath in north-west Germany. It was fought by the British 21st Army Group. In the First campaign the French Army was responsible for the rest of the Western Front from Luxembourg to Switzerland, as were the American 12th Army and 6th Army Groups during the second campaign.

Units of the First Canadian Army fought in five major campaigns in North-West Europe, including the Battle of Normandy, the battles for the Channel Ports, the Battle of the Scheldt, the Rhineland fighting in February and March 1945, and the final operations east of the River Rhine. A period of static warfare existed from 1 November 1944 to 8 February 1945 during which time the First Canadian Army manned positions in the Nijmegen Salient.[29]


There is very close genetic affinity among Northwest European populations.[30] This is largely due to these populations descending from closely related Corded Ware and Bell Beaker populations carrying large amounts of steppe ancestry. The Beaker people of the lower Rhine for example, overturned 90% of Great Britain and Ireland's gene pools, replacing the Basque-like neolithic populations present prior.[31][32]

See also


  1. Barnes, R. J.; Barnes, Richard S. K. (1994). The Brackish-Water Fauna of Northwestern Europe. Cambridge University. ISBN 9780521455565.
  2. Lachmann, Richard (2000). Capitalists in Spite of Themselves: Elite Conflict and European Transitions in Early Modern Europe. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195360509. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
  3. Blondel, Jean (2006). Political Cultures in Asia and Europe: Citizens, States and Societal Values. Routledge.
  4. Loveluck, Christopher (2013). Northwest Europe in the Early Middle Ages, c.AD 600–1150. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9781107037632.
  5. Boje, David M. (2015). Organizational Change and Global Standardization: Solutions to Standards and Norms Overwhelming Organizations. Routledge. ISBN 9781317633105.
  6. Blinkhorn, Martin (2014). Fascism and the Right in Europe 1919-1945. Routledge. ISBN 9781317898047. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
  7. The World and Its Peoples. Marshall Cavendish. 2014.
  8. Lachmann, Richard (2000). Capitalists in Spite of Themselves : Elite Conflict and European Transitions in Early Modern Europe. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195360509.
  9. Kono, Shigemi (2008). The Demographic Challenge: A Handbook about Japan. BRILL. ISBN 9789047428114. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  10. Ward, Deborah E. (2004). The White Welfare State: The Racialization of U.S. Welfare Policy. University of Michigan Press. ISBN 0472024884.
  11. American Academy of Political and Social Science (1936). The American people: studies in population. American Academy of Political and Social Science.
  12. Rutter, Frank Roy (1908). Cereal production of Europe. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Bureau of Statistics. p. 49. austria northwestern europe.
  13. Goyan Kittler, Pamela; Sucher, Kathryn (2007). Food and Culture. Cengage Learning. ISBN 9780495115410. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
  14. United States. Congress. House. Committee on the Judiciary (1955). Current antitrust problems: Hearings before Antitrust Subcommittee (Subcommittee No. 5). U.S. Govt Print Off.
  15. J. Richard, Carl (2006). The Battle for the American Mind: A Brief History of a Nation's Thought. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 9780742534360. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
  16. Berkhof, Hendrikus (2010). Christian Faith. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. ISBN 9780802805485.
  17. Ciment, James; Radzilowski, John (2015). American Immigration: An Encyclopedia of Political, Social, and Cultural Change. Routledge. ISBN 9781317477174.
  18. Special Eurobarometer 493, pages 229-230, European Commission. September, 2019.
  19. Populations legales de Mayotte en 2017 (France), (Germany) and Demographics of Germany
  20. Deutsche Bischofskonferenz. Needless to say, demographically, the Catholic and Protestant populations of this region are equal, certainly in Germany. And Catholics in Northern France, Austria, Ireland, Belgium, etc., exceed the combined contemporary Protestant populations of UK, Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. See "Five Centuries After Reformation, Catholic-Protestant Divide in Western Europe Has Faded," Pew Research Center,
  21. Hayes, Patrick J. (2012). The Making of Modern Immigration: An Encyclopedia of People and Ideas: An Encyclopedia of People and Ideas. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 9780313392030.
  22. Porterfield, Austin Larimore (1953). Wait the Withering Rain?. Leo Potishman Foundation. ISBN 9780912646374. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
  23. Hutton, Christopher (2005). Race and the Third Reich: Linguistics, Racial Anthropology and Genetics in the Dialectic of Volk. Polity. ISBN 9780745631776. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
  24. d'Alroy Jones, Peter (1975). Since Columbus: Poverty and Pluralism in the History of the Americas. Heinemann. ISBN 9780435315252. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
  25. Boettiger, Louis Angelo (1938). Fundamentals of Sociology. Ronald Press.
  26. Lynn, Richard (2001). Eugenics: A Reassessment. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 35–37. ISBN 9780275958220.
  27. Social Studies for Teachers and Administrators. McKinley Publishing Company. 1946. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
  28. Baradat, Leon P. (2015). Political Ideologies. Routledge. ISBN 9781317345558.
  29. "North-West Europe". Canadian Soldiers. Retrieved 9 August 2012.
  30. Novembre, John; Johnson, Toby; Bryc, Katarzyna; Kutalik, Zoltán; Boyko, Adam R.; Auton, Adam; Indap, Amit; King, Karen S.; Bergmann, Sven; Nelson, Matthew R.; Stephens, Matthew; Bustamante, Carlos D. (2008). "Genes mirror geography within Europe". Nature. 456 (7218): 98–101. Bibcode:2008Natur.456...98N. doi:10.1038/nature07331. PMC 2735096. PMID 18758442.
  31. Olalde, Iñigo; Brace, Selina; Allentoft, Morten E.; Armit, Ian; Kristiansen, Kristian; Booth, Thomas; Rohland, Nadin; Mallick, Swapan; Szécsényi-Nagy, Anna; Mittnik, Alissa; Altena, Eveline; Lipson, Mark; Lazaridis, Iosif; Harper, Thomas K.; Patterson, Nick; Broomandkhoshbacht, Nasreen; Diekmann, Yoan; Faltyskova, Zuzana; Fernandes, Daniel; Ferry, Matthew; Harney, Eadaoin; De Knijff, Peter; Michel, Megan; Oppenheimer, Jonas; Stewardson, Kristin; Barclay, Alistair; Alt, Kurt Werner; Liesau, Corina; Ríos, Patricia; et al. (2018). "The Beaker phenomenon and the genomic transformation of northwest Europe". Nature. 555 (7695): 190–196. Bibcode:2018Natur.555..190O. doi:10.1038/nature25738. PMC 5973796. PMID 29466337.
  32. "Dutch Beakers: Like no other Beakers". 19 January 2019.
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