Northwestern, or northwest Europe is the loosely defined northwestern region of the European continent. The phrase is defined both geographically and ethnographically.
Geographically, northwest Europe usually consists of Ireland, Great Britain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, northern Germany, Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Iceland, northern France, and southern Germany are also sometimes considered part of the grouping. Southern France and Finland are usually not regarded as northwestern, with southern France often considered part of the Mediterranean region or Southern Europe. Additionally, Ireland, Wales, England, Belgium, the Netherlands and northern Germany are not always considered part of the grouping. The term is helpful when discussing issues of climate or biology.
Historically and linguistically, in northwest Europe the remaining major groupings are Celtic Europe, Germanic Europe, and the Finns. However there is no longer a sharp distinction as Germanic languages or Romance Languages have at least co-official status in all of the traditionally Celtic polities and the region has a history of Protestantism that differentiates it from its Mediterranean Latin or eastern European Slavic neighbours. This leads to much the same definition as the geographical one above, but would tend to exclude France and Wallonia, and include areas which retained Celtic elements into the Middle Ages. Measured by this attribute it would therefore be closer to the area shown on the map as northern Europe plus the Low Countries and northern Germany.
World War II Theatre
In British and Canadian military history, North-West Europe has been used to refer to the two land campaigns in that approximate area during World War II. Two separate battle honours were awarded to regiments who took part in these campaigns. The North-West Europe Campaign of 1940, during the Battle of France, was restricted to Belgium and the French Channel ports. The North-West Europe Campaign of 1944-1945 started with the landings in Normandy and ended with Field Marshal Montgomery taking the German military surrender of all German forces in the Netherlands, north-west Germany and Denmark on Lüneburg Heath in north-west Germany was fought by the British 21st Army Group. In the First campaign the French Army was responsible for the rest of the Western Front from Luxembourg to Switzerland, as were the American 12th Army and 6th Army Groups during the second campaign.
Units of the First Canadian Army fought in five major campaigns in north-west Europe, including the Battle of Normandy, the battles for the Channel Ports, the Battle of the Scheldt, the Rhineland fighting in February and March 1945, and the final operations east of the River Rhine. A period of static warfare existed from 1 November 1944 to 8 February 1945 during which time the First Canadian Army manned positions in the Nijmegen Salient.
- "North-West Europe". Canadian Soldiers. Retrieved August 9, 2012.