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 Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. 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. In a European Union context, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Germany and the Netherlands are often seen as belonging to the Northern group.
There are several smaller regions that are within Northern Europe:
- Scandinavia, i.e. Sweden, Norway, Denmark
- Nordic countries, i.e. Scandinavia plus Finland and Iceland.
- Baltic States, i.e. Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania
- British Isles, which includes United Kingdom and Ireland
- others, e.g. Northern parts of Germany, The Netherlands, partly Poland
- The Baltic sea countries, as a related term, also include Germany, Poland and Russia
- The Baltic States often are considered to be part of Eastern Europe, although they are separate peoples and not directly related by blood or language to, say, Russians. This is especially the case with Estonia, which has stronger ties with Finland than with Eastern Europe. Also, the Baltic States share many common traits with Northern Europe.
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