Interesting Facts About Europe And The European Union
Europe is the second smallest and the third most populous continent in the world. It extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Ural and Caucasus mountains in the east. In this section we look at some of the interesting facts about Europe.
Europe - On The Map
- Europe constitutes 2% of the earth’s surface area and 6.8% of the total land area.
- Europe is said to be named after ‘Europa’, a Phoenician Princess in Greek Mythology.
- Europe is divided into 50 countries and 6 disputed territories.
- Europe was designed for political reasons.
- There are 5 peninsulas in Europe namely the Iberian Peninsula (Spain, Portugal, Andorra and France), the Balkan Peninsula (Greece, Albania, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Macedonia), the Scandinavian Peninsula (Norway and Sweden), the Jutland Peninsula (Denmark and Germany) and the Italian Peninsula or Apennines Peninsula.
- Europe is separated from Asia by the Ural and Caucasus mountains.
- Russia is the largest country in Europe. It is also the largest country in the world.
- Russia constitutes 40% of Europe’s total land area.
- Vatican City is the smallest country (by area and by population) in the world.
- Greenland (Denmark) is the largest island in the world.
- The Dune du Pilat (France) is the tallest sand dune in Europe.
- Vatnajokull (Iceland) is the largest glacier (by volume) in Europe.
- Finland is the most forested country in Europe.
- Mt. Etna (3,329m) is the tallest active volcano in Europe. It is located in Sicily, Italy.
- River Volga is the longest river in Europe. It is also the largest river (in terms of discharge and watershed) in Europe.
- Europe’s largest predator is the brown bear.
- Polar bears can be found in the northern stretches of Europe (Greenland and Norway).
- Some of the important animals in Europe are tree frogs, wild boars, blue tit, hedgehog, roe deer.
- Russia is the most populous country in Europe.
- Germany is the most populous country in the European Union.
- Europe has one of the lowest fertility rates in the world. The birth rate is almost stagnant.
- The major religions of Europe are Christianity, Islam and Judaism.
- The earliest hominid to be discovered in Europe was in Dmanisi, Georgia.
- Piano was invented by Bartolomeo Cristofori in Padua, Italy.
- The earliest extant six-string guitar was built by Gaetano Vinaccia in Naples, Italy (in 1779).
- The design of the modern classical guitar was established by the Spanish luthier Antonio Torres Jurado.
- The violin was also invented first in Europe.
- Europe has 7 time zones (UTC+0hrs, UTC+1hrs, UTC+2hrs, UTC+3hrs, UTC+4hrs, UTC+5hrs, UTC+6hrs).
- Europe is the birthplace of Western Culture.
- The Industrial Revolution started in Great Britain during the eighteenth century.
- The Statue of Liberty (USA) was constructed in France.
- Both the World Wars (I and II) were principally focused in Europe.
- Adolf Hitler was Austrian.
- The tallest Ferris wheel (London Eye) in Europe is located in England.
- Cricket was invented in England.
- The Tomatina Festival of Spain is one of the most unusual festivals in Europe where people throw tomatoes at each other. It is held in the Valencian town of Bunol.
- The longest railway line in the world is the Trans-Siberian Railway line. It has connected St. Petersburg to Vladivostok since 1916.
The European Union
- The Institutions of the European Union are the European Commission, the Council of the European Union, the European Council, the Court of Justice of the European Union, the European Central Bank, the Council of Auditors and the European Parliament.
- The European Anthem is ‘Ode to Joy’ composed by Beethoven (ninth symphony) in 1823.
- Brussels (Belgium) is the capital of the European Union.
- The first direct, democratic election to the European Parliament was held in June 1979.
- Greece was the first country to become an associate member of the European Union (in 1981).
Pack Your Bags
Have you been to Europe?
- The European Union has 23 official languages.
- The European Parliament (and the European Commission) is the world’s largest employer of interpreters and translators.
- The meetings of the European Union are held every week.
- There are more than 6,000 employees in the European Union Parliament.
- Robert Schuman was the first President of the European Parliament.
- Jacques Delors presided over the European Commission from longest time (1985 to 1994).
- Herman Van Rompuy became Europe’s first president under the Treaty of Lisbon.
- The European Parliament elections are held every 5 years.
- Voting for the European Parliament elections is compulsory for the people in Belgium, Greece, Cyprus and Luxembourg.
- Paris and London are the largest urban agglomerations in the European Union.
- The Euro currency entered circulation on 1 January 2002.
- The Europe Day is celebrated on May 9.
- The European Union was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012.
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