Western Europe: Countries & Capitals

Western Europe: Countries & Capitals
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  • 0:03 Memorizing Capitals
  • 0:33 Countries of Western Europe
  • 1:21 Capitals of Western…
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Instructor: Nate Sullivan

Nate Sullivan holds a M.A. in History and a M.Ed. He is an adjunct history professor, middle school history teacher, and freelance writer.

In this lesson, you'll learn about the countries and capitals of Western Europe. We'll identify the nine countries making up Western Europe and their capital cities and highlight a few interesting facts along the way.

Memorizing Capitals

When you were in elementary school, or even middle school, you were probably required to memorize the states and capitals of the United States. Memorizing 50 capitals is no small feat. The good news about this lesson is that you will only have to memorize nine. We'll be examining the countries of Western Europe and their capitals. Some of them you may already know, but there are probably a few you may not. In any case, nine is a lot easier than 50, so let's get to it!

Countries of Western Europe

Western Europe is a geographical region in the western half of Europe. Here's the tricky part. Not everyone agrees on where to draw the divisions. You see, it's somewhat subjective. Over the years, various geoschemes have been developed to designate Western Europe from the rest of the continent. For the purposes of this lesson, we'll follow the United Nations Statistics Division geoscheme. According to the U.N., Western Europe consists of nine countries, including:

  1. Austria
  2. Belgium
  3. France
  4. Germany
  5. Liechtenstein
  6. Luxembourg
  7. Monaco
  8. The Netherlands
  9. Switzerland

Spain, Portugal, and Italy have traditionally been considered Western Europe, but according to the U.N. they belong to another region: Southern Europe.

Capitals of Western European Countries

Let's explore the Western European Countries and their capitals.

Austria is located south of Germany. It's one of the easternmost counties of Western Europe. Most Austrians speak German, and German culture is prevalent throughout this small country. During the 17th and 18th centuries, the Austrian Empire, under the rule of the Hapsburg Dynasty, was a major European power. The capital of Austria and its largest city is Vienna. Vienna is known for its promotion of the arts, especially music and art. As of 2016, it is home to 1.8 million people, making it one of the largest cities in Europe.

Belgium is a small country to the north of France; it shares a border with Germany. Belgium is known for its chocolate and beer. The people of Belgium speak mainly Dutch or French. Belgium was invaded by Germany in both world wars and suffered horribly. The capital of Belgium is Brussels. Brussels is small compared with other European capital cities: it is home to only 178,000 people as of 2016.

France has played an important role throughout European history. Just think about it: the Holy Roman Empire, the French Revolution, Napoleon, and D-Day. What would Europe be without France? France is known for its cheese, wine, and bread and its fashion and high culture, among many other things. It's a relatively large country situated northeast of Spain and southwest of Germany. Paris is the capital of France and its largest city. It's home to 2.2 million people as of 2014. It's also home to fantastic architectural achievements, including the Eiffel Tower and the Notre-Dame Cathedral.

Across the northeastern border of France lies another relatively large country: Germany. Germany too has played a vital role in European history, particularly modern European history. Germany was a major part of both world wars. Berlin is the capital of Germany. The metropolitan area is home to 5.8 million people as of 2015. Berlin's most famous landmarks include the Reichstag building where the German parliament meets and the Brandenburg Gate. During the Cold War, Berlin was divided into eastern and western sections by the Berlin wall.

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