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what countries are in northwestern europe

what countries are in northwestern europe

what countries are in northwestern europe

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what countries are in northwestern europe
what countries are in northwestern europe


Low Countries, also called Benelux countries, coastal region of northwestern Europe, consisting of Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg. These are together known as the Benelux countries, from the initial letters of their names. The Low Countries are bordered by Germany to the east and France to the south. In 1947 the three nations formed the Benelux Customs Union, which broadened over the years into what a 1960 treaty confirmed as the Benelux Economic Union.

The Low Countries are so called because much of their land along the North Sea coast and for some distance inland is either below sea level or just slightly above it. More than a quarter of the total land area of the Netherlands is below sea level, for instance. Natural sand dunes and a system of man-made sea walls and dikes protect the polders (artificially drained flat country largely below sea level) from flooding. The Zuidplaspolder northeast of Rotterdam is the lowest point in the Low Countries and lies 22 feet (6.76 metres) below sea level. The principal rivers of the Low Countries include the Schelde, Meuse (Maas), and branches of the lower Rhine.

An extensive network of shipping canals and waterways links the major rivers. More than 3,000 square miles (8,000 square km) of fertile farmland have been reclaimed from the deltas of the Schelde, Meuse, and Rhine rivers and from the Zuiderzee, which was formerly a shallow arm of the North Sea cutting deep into the northwestern coast of the Netherlands.


The population density of the Low Countries is among the highest in Europe and in the world. All three countries are highly urbanized, and some nine-tenths of the region’s total population resides in cities or urbanized communities. Brussels and Antwerp (in Belgium) and Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and The Hague (in the Netherlands) are among Europe’s major cities.


what countries are in northwestern europe
what countries are in northwestern europe

The Low Countries are one of the world’s more highly industrialized regions and have market economies that are heavily dependent upon external trade. In order to help secure and protect their trade, they were early pioneers in economic integration, forming the Belgium-Luxembourg Economic Union (BLEU) in 1921, followed after World War II by Benelux.

That union allows for the free movement of people, goods, capital, and services between the three countries; coordinates their policy in economic, financial, and social fields; and pursues a common foreign-trade policy. In 1958 the three nations of the Low Countries were among the six founding members of the European Economic Community (EEC; now in the European Union).


North-West Europe

Region’s countries

Ireland, United Kingdom, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, and parts of France, Germany and the Netherlands.

what countries are in northwestern europe
what countries are in northwestern europe

Policy framework

1.    Transnational cooperation programme

The INTERREG V B North West Europe (NWE) Programme 2014-2020 aims to promote the economic, environmental, social and territorial future of the NWE region. In particular it aims to ensure that the NWE region is a key economic player in the world and provides an attractive place to work and live with high levels of innovation, sustainability and cohesion. For the period 2014-2020 the NWE programme focuses on three priorities:

  1. Regional innovation;
  2. Shift to low-carbon economy;
  3. Preservation and optimization of material and natural resources (re)use.

Responding to challenges faced in the NWE region linked to six areas (Boosting knowledge flows to stimulate innovation; Small and Medium sized Enterprises innovative capabilities; Resource and materials efficiency; Energy security and supply; Vulnerability to climate change events; Inclusion), the programme is expected to contribute towards:

  • Smart Growth;
  • Sustainable Growth;
  • Inclusive Growth;
  • A balanced territorial development.

For the period 2014-2020, the NWE Programme has identified addressing climate change vulnerability as one of the major challenges in the programme area, due to the high urban density and the exposure of urban areas to the risk of coastal and fluvial flooding. This challenge has not been translated into a thematic priority for the programme, but has been included among the investment priorities related to the transition to a low carbon society (priority 2, and mainly the investment priority 4e), stating that ‘mitigation/adaption actions are required’.


2.    International conventions and other cooperation initiatives

Together with other regions, North West Europe is covered by the OSPAR ‘Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic’. In particular the western parts of its coasts are covered by the OSPAR Celtic Seas sub region. Under this convention, climate change (and ocean acidification) is addressed as a cross-cutting issue in terms of knowledge generation, monitoring of impacts and design of management options aiming at increasing ecosystem resilience.

what countries are in northwestern europe
what countries are in northwestern europe

The Benelux States (The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxemburg), which are part of the area, are currently exploring the opportunities of a common vulnerability and risk assessment focusing on cascading effects and impacts of extreme events across the borders of the Benelux countries.


Examples of projects funded in the 2014–2020 period

North West Europe can rely on a wide experience of transnational cooperation projects dealing with knowledge creation and sharing on climate change adaptation funded in the previous INTERREG programming period 2007-2013, as for examples in the case of AMICEDROP and IMCORE projects. Moreover, the complete set of eight projects dealing with climate change adaptation funded in 2007-2014 were grouped in SIC-adapt!, a strategic cluster aimed at increasing the visibility and capitalization of projects’ outcomes. However, at June 2018, none of the projects approved under the current programming period seems to directly address adaptation-related challenges.

Random Posts


Northwest Europe

The Northwest Europe category is a very random grouping of mountains. It is a large area that includes everything north of the Alps and the Pyrenees: Great Britain, Ireland, the Low Countries, Denmark, and most of France and Germany. When it comes to mountain ranges, the main unifying terrain characteristic of this area is low, rolling hills with very few areas of real mountains. Elevations never rise above 2000 meters, and in most of the area hills above 1000 meters are rare.

The eastern border of this area is arbitrary, since the lowlands of Eastern Europe are very similar to the lowlands of Northwest Europe. Also, it is unusual to include large islands like Great Britian and Ireland with areas on the continent, but the terrain on both sides of the narrow English Channel shows topographic similarity.

Historically, culturally, politically, and economically, this small area has played a strikingly disproportionate role in world affairs. The low rolling hills and fertile countryside here sustained the cities of Paris, London, Amsterdam, and Berlin, all seats of empires that together emcompassed half the world. So these low peaks have seen an unusual amount of scrutiny over the years.



The Low Countries came under the rule of revolutionary France in 1795, and in 1814 they were reunited as the independent Kingdom of the Netherlands. But the mostly Catholic southern provinces, which had remained under Habsburg rule during the 17th and 18th centuries (to 1795), revolted against the north and formed the independent kingdom of Belgium in 1831. Luxembourg, for much of its history a principality of the Holy Roman Empire, was set up as a grand duchy in 1815 to be ruled as a separate state by the kings of the Netherlands. That union ended in 1890.

what countries are in northwestern europe
what countries are in northwestern europe

During World War I the Netherlands remained neutral, while Belgium and Luxembourg were occupied by German forces. All the Low Countries were overrun by the Germans in World War II. After the war, all three countries abandoned their policies of neutrality and became founding members of NATO, proceeding from there to the customs union that became the expanded Benelux Economic Union in 1960. The Low Countries are constitutional and hereditary monarchies with parliamentary forms of government.



Conquered by the Romans in the 1st century BCE, the Low Countries remained under Roman occupation until the early 5th century CE, when the area came under the control of the Franks. After the collapse of the Frankish Carolingian empire in the mid-9th century, a number of political units emerged in the area of the Low Countries, including the county of Flanders, the duchy of Brabant, the county of Holland, and the bishopric of Liège. The rule of the dukes of Burgundy and then of the house of Habsburg during the 15th and early 16th centuries brought a degree of unity and stability to the area.

A revolt began against the rule of Spanish Habsburgs in 1568, and the predominantly Protestant northern provinces formed a Dutch republic, the United Provinces, 12 years later. Spain formally recognized Dutch independence in 1648. Throughout the 17th century the United Provinces was one of the great commercial powers of Europe.

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