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Europe's landmass is a lot bigger than some people tend to think- it finishes where the Ural Mountains and the Caucasus Mountains are. The centre of Europe is located in Lithuania. Geographical parts of the continent will be named with a miniscule letter, for example northern Europe, central Europe or southern Europe.
Still, there are adjusted cultural boundaries, that we name with a capital letter - for example central Europe tends to be expanded as far as to Luxembourg and Switzerland culturally, but generally not include Belarus and Ukraine. This we call Central Europe. Similarly, northern Europe is geographically spanning from Russia to Iceland. Simple? Yes. Ignored? All the time!
There are a lot of misconceptions. Number one - people confuse the European Union with Europe which are not the same. The term western Europe (geographical term written with a miniscule) is confused with Western Bloc (USA and the countries allied with it during the Cold War) and Western Europe (relating to Western European Union, covering similar countries to the Western Bloc, a military alliance now defunct), or the Western World countries (from Western Eurasia, or simply Europe). Eastern Bloc (USSR and the countries allied with it during the Cold War) is being confused with eastern Europe; meanwhile, Eastern Europe, the cultural term, is confused with Eastern Bloc. This is a sore point in Central Europe, which suffered a lot from the USSR (located in eastern Europe) for 45 years. The term Eastern Europe was created to respond to the Western Europe, but the definition meant that Eastern Europe was about... 60% of the European continent? In fact, cultural eastern Europe is occupied by only one country-Russia, which territory in Europe (called European Russia) is already about 40% of all Europe and adding Belarus and Ukraine (geographically in the crossroads between central, southern and eastern Europe; they have Eastern European identity, but they become to discover their links to Central Europe). That bipolar East-West division leaves little room for other regions, like Southern Europe) and Northern Europe.
In addition, the terms Eastern Europe and Western Europe are quite controversial to use, since they relate to the Cold War, and are relegating. Above all, they are vague and geographically incorrect, so wherever it is possible, it is advised to change it to a geographical or cultural term; not only due to geographical and political correctness but because this geographical and/or cultural terminology is available and will not change rapidly with geographical terms are particularly objective. Europe can be very perplexing but it is nothing to be feared. It is to be understood. --Marina Moreau (talk) 09:32, January 13, 2013 (UTC)
The quote below was a comment, I added it to the text so it won't be lost when I delete comments after a few months.
I'm sorry but I found the "Europe cultural reagions map" to ber really weird...
I'm french, I'm surprised that France is within a "cultural" group made of Britain and Netherlands... two northern European countries siuated lot further north than most of France, without even common borders (well, the chunnel isn't really a border.
UK and NL are both countries of Germanic-speaking culture, predominantly Protestant cultural backgrounds. They belong naturally to the same cultural context as Northern Germany, denmark and even Norway "the north sea countries". France is a country with latin roots, romance speaking with overwhelmingly catholic cultural roots, wine-oriented culture (vs beer in UK/NL)... Who made this "cultural" grouping?
Western Europe is a geographic concept that include various cultures from Portugal to Scotalnd, but there isn't a "western European culture" that would be the association of France+NL+UK, since those haven't much in common.