Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Northern Europe is a name for the northern part of the European continent. At different times this region has been defined differently but today it is generally seen to include:
- the Nordic countries, i.e. Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland.
- the Baltic States, i.e. Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania
- the British Isles, which includes the United Kingdom and Ireland
- others, e.g. Northern Russia, Northern Germany, Northern Poland, and The Netherlands
Before 19th century, the term 'Nordic' or 'Northern' was commonly used to mean Northern Europe in a sense that included the Nordic countries, European Russia, the Baltic countries (at that time Livonia and Courland) and Greenland.
In earlier eras, when Europe was dominated by the Mediterranean region, everything not near this sea was termed Northern Europe, including Germany, much of France, the Low Countries, and Austria. This meaning is still used today in some contexts, such as in discussions of the Northern Renaissance.
- The Baltic sea countries, as a related term, also include Germany, Poland and Russia
- The Baltic States were during the Cold War and before that during the height of the Russian Empire typically considered to be part of Eastern Europe, although the peoples are not Slavonics. This is especially the case with Estonia that has stronger ties with Finland than with Continental Europe. Also, the Baltic States share much history and many common traits with Northern Europe.
- Scandinavia is a somewhat ambiguous concept covering some or all of the Nordic countries.
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