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10 Maps – Europe Like You’ve Never Seen It Before

European map with pins and thread

Europe is a fascinating continent. Covering only 2% of the Earth’s surface area and housing just 11% of the world’s population, it has been the site of uncountable wars, warm and cold, and seen its fair share of historic scandals, intrigue, and conflict, which have had an irrefutable impact on the life of every single person on this lovely planet.

In the last few decades, things have calmed down, of course. Compared to the turmoil of two world wars and the persistent threat of a third (and all-ending) one during the 20th century, more recent events such as the financial collapse in Greece, the ubiquitous refugee crisis, or Ukraine winning the Eurovision Song Contest seem almost trivial (the last one definitely does).

This doesn’t mean that the Old World is boring now, though! Quite the opposite: The European Union with its political, financial, and economical implications is an unprecedented example of human cooperation and peacefulness. On the other side of the aisle, we have countries invading each other, nations fighting over names, and sooo many secessionists:

Active separatist movements in Europe

Map by Il Qatar via Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA

And this brings us right to the topic at hand. Here are 9 more maps that showcase the European continent in ways you’ve never seen before. Stay until the end and you will leave this site more knowledgeable, mystified, and hopefully with a smile on your face.

Let’s get right to it:

Most Googled Search Term in the Past 12 Months in Europe

Googling

Apparently, most of Europe visits Google just to look for Facebook… Which almost seems tech-savvy compared to Northern Europe, where people obviously don’t know what the heck they’re doing.

If you’re wondering why all the smaller countries search for themselves all the time, this has probably less to do with a collective and permanent identity crisis and more to do with tourists who aren’t sure what they’re supposed to visit in those places.


Map of European Country's Age in the Current Form

History

If you look very closely, the “Old” World is not so ancient after all. Although most countries have a much longer history, a lot of Europe is pretty new in its current form. San Marino’s Republican Constitution is the oldest of its kind, but Kosovo is young enough to not even be fully recognized yet. It’s an ever-changing place, this continent.


Map of Languages in Europe

Talking

While a map of the languages spoken in the U.S. would probably look pretty bland (except for a couple of dots for the Native Americans), Europe’s tongue locator boasts all the colors of the rainbow and then some. And just to be sure: this is only the simplified version, not counting dialects and lesser-used languages.


Map of Predominant Concept Mentioned in the First Verse of the National Anthem of European Countries

Singing

National anthems are a thing to behold. With all their talk of blood and war, they make Game of Thrones look like a children’s show. If you look at the opening line of each official song and pick out the most emphasized aspect, you get a wide variety of topics: From blessing the Queen in Great Britain to praising your own language in Moldova, Europe’s got the whole spectrum of vaunt and self-adulation.


Map of de facto currencies in Europe

Money

If you thought that the Euro was the only currency in circulation in Europe, think again. Believe it or not, there are 22 different forms of payment used there at this time and if everything goes to hell in the European Union, we’ll be back to a lot more than that. At least coin-collecting numismatists will be happy about all the fancy new money.


Map of Top Selling Car Brands by Country in Europe

Driving

Volkswagen is by far at the top of this list, but who knows – after the big diesel scandal, things might shift on the European car market. And this map is already pretty colorful. Notice how smaller countries like more expensive brands such as Audis in San Marino? I wonder how they can afford that…


Map of European Countries by Number of Available Videos in the Netflix Library

Chilling

I’ve said it before: The size of your Netflix library depends heavily on where you want to watch from. What’s even more interesting about this map, though, is the similarity to our next one:


Map of 2014 GDP per Capita in Europe

Wealth

This map highlights where all the wealth is kept in Europe. And it corresponds perfectly with the previous image… So Netflix is purposefully neglecting poorer countries!

Before you get out your pitchfork, look more closely at these two maps. See, I intentionally used the same five shades of green for five rather arbitrary categories to make them appear more similar, even though there’s only a small correlation. The fact that they look so much alike has more to do with how easy it is to use data visualization to one’s own advantage. It’s the oldest trick in the (statistics) book!


Europe at night, map, lights

Lights

And last but not least we have a portion of one of favorite images of all time: Earth at night. I think it’s mesmerizing how you can find capitals, trace highways, and estimate population densities just by looking at all the pretty lights. And you can also find the best place for starwatching; just go to the darkest spot on the map in your area and look up. And the way the Nile lights up in the bottom right corner – although not a part of Europe – is an added bonus.


What was your favorite map and what would like to see next time? I’m thinking about making this a monthly series, so please take part in this poll or leave a comment below!

Which map was your favorite?

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