Northwestern, or northwest Europe is the loosely defined northwestern region of Europe. The phrase is defined both geographically and ethnographically.
Geographically, northwestern Europe usually consists of Ireland, Great Britain, Belgium, the Netherlands, northern Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Iceland. Luxembourg, northern France, and southern Germany are also usually considered part of the grouping. Southern France is not regarded as northwestern, and it is usually geographically and culturally considered part of the Mediterranean region or southern Europe. Due to its geographically northeastern position and unique status as a Finnic language country, Finland is geographically and culturally excluded from northwestern Europe. Similarly, the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, although considered part of northern Europe, are excluded due to their geographically northeastern positions and connections to Eastern Europe. The term is helpful when discussing issues of climate or biology.
Germanic languages are widely spoken in most of northwestern Europe, however other languages are also present including Romance languages in France, Belgium and Luxembourg, and Celtic languages along the western fringes of the British Isles. The region also has a history of Protestantism that differentiates it from its Mediterranean, Southern European, Latin, and eastern European Slavic neighbors. The definition of northwestern Europe as correlating with Protestant Germanic Europe leads to much the same definition as the geographical one above, but would tend to exclude France, Wallonia, Catholic Belgium, southern Germany, and Ireland. This is because France and Wallonia, despite their historical Huguenot populations, are considered Catholic Romance language countries, while Belgium, southern Germany, and Ireland, though largely containing Germanic language speakers, are historically Catholic. Measured by the attribute of Protestantism and Germanic culture, northwestern Europe would therefore be closer to the area shown on the map as northern Europe plus the Low Countries and northern Germany and minus the Baltic regions, Belgium, and Ireland.
A definition of "northwestern Europe" as an inclusive term for the European countries not falling within Southern or Eastern Europe was used by some late 19th to mid 20th century anthropologists, who used "northwestern Europe" as a shorthand term for the region of Europe in which members of the "Nordic race" were concentrated. Under this racialist view, all of the Germanic countries and areas such as northern France, which historically contains large numbers of people of Celtic and Germanic Frankish descent, would be included as "northwestern Europe," due in part to the predominance of phenotypically "Nordic" people within these areas.
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.
- Blinkhorn, Martin (2014). Fascism and the Right in Europe 1919-1945. Routledge. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
- The World and Its Peoples. Marshall Cavendish. 2014.
- S. K. Barnes, Richard (1994). The Brackish-Water Fauna of Northwestern Europe. Cambridge University.
- Lachmann, Richard (2000). Capitalists in Spite of Themselves : Elite Conflict and European Transitions in Early Modern Europe. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
- Blondel, Jean (2006). Political Cultures in Asia and Europe: Citizens, States and Societal Values. Routledge.
- Loveluck, Christopher (2013). Northwest Europe in the Early Middle Ages, c.AD 600–1150. Cambridge University Press.
- Lachmann, Richard (2000). Capitalists in Spite of Themselves : Elite Conflict and European Transitions in Early Modern Europe. Oxford University Press.
- Goyan Kittler, Pamela; Sucher, Kathryn (2007). Food and Culture. Cengage Learning. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
- J. Richard, Carl (2006). The Battle for the American Mind: A Brief History of a Nation's Thought. Rowman & Littlefield. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
- Porterfield, Austin Larimore (1953). Wait the Withering Rain?. Leo Potishman Foundation. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
- Hutton, Christopher (2005). Race and the Third Reich: Linguistics, Racial Anthropology and Genetics in the Dialectic of Volk. Polity. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
- d'Alroy Jones, Peter (1975). Since Columbus: Poverty and Pluralism in the History of the Americas. Heinemann. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
- Boettiger, Louis Angelo (1938). Fundamentals of Sociology. Ronald Press.
- Social Studies for Teachers and Administrators. McKinley Publishing Company. 1946. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
- "North-West Europe". Canadian Soldiers. Retrieved 9 August 2012.