Historically, when Europe was dominated by the Mediterranean region (i.e. the Roman Empire), everything not near this sea was termed Northern Europe, including Germany, the Low Countries, and Austria. This meaning is still used today in some contexts, such as in discussions of the Northern Renaissance. In medieval times, the term (Ultima) Thule was used to mean a mythical place in the extreme northern reaches of the continent.
|Belgium (Western Europe)||30,528||10,754,528||352.2||Brussels|
|Faroe Islands (Denmark)||1,399||49,006||35.0||Tórshavn|
|Guernseyd[›]||78||61,811||792.4||St Peter Port|
|Isle of Mand[›]||572||80,000||139.8||Douglas|
|Luxembourg (Western Europe)||2,586||493,500||190.8||Luxembourg|
|Netherlands (Western Europe)||41,526||16,571,800||399.0||Amsterdam|
Svalbard and Jan
Mayen Islands (Norway)
Northern Europe consists of the Scandinavian peninsula, the peninsula of Jutland, the Baltic plain that lies to the east and the many islands that lie offshore from mainland northern Europe, Greenland and the main European continent. The area is defined by the volcanic islands of the far northwest, notably Iceland and Jan Mayen, the mountainous western seaboard, extending from the mountainous sections of Great Britain & Ireland to the Scandinavian mountains, the central north mountains and hills of Sweden (which are the foothills of the Scandinavian mountains) and the large eastern plain, which contains, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Finland.
The region has a south west extreme of just under 50 degrees north and a northern extreme of 81 degrees north. The entire region's climate is affected by the Gulf Stream which has a mild influence on the climate. From the west climates vary from maritime and maritime subarctic climates. In the north and central climates are generally subarctic or Arctic and to the east climates are mostly subarctic and temperate/continental. As the climate and relief varies vegetation is also extremely variable, with sparse tundra in the north and high mountains, boreal forest on the north-eastern and central regions temperate coniferous forests (formerly of which a majority was in the Scottish highlands and south west Norway) and temperate broadleaf forests growing in the south, west and temperate east.