The Indo-European peoples (Celtic, Romanian, Germanic, Baltic, Slavic, etc.) have had a dominant position on the south-cut peninsula that Europe comprises, from the Atlantic in the west to the Ural Mountains and the Eastern Caspian Sea. a. two other significant ethnic groups in the east and north, the Finno-Ugric (Sami, Finns, Karelians, Esther, Hungarians, etc.) and the Turkish-Tatar. The largest prevalence among the Indo-European peoples in Europe is the Germanic, Romanian and Slavic peoples. Important links from the heterogeneous European cultural area have been found to the east to Central Asia, the Balkan Peninsula to Asia Minor and the Pyrenees Peninsula to Africa.
Despite the diversity of ethnic groups with varying cultural patterns, one can point to background factors (such as the legacy of antiquity, Christianity) which brought about unifying features in the west and the east, also of importance for the development of traditional folk culture. Particularly within comparative cultural research, attempts have been made to clarify other connections, but also sought to demonstrate cultural boundaries, more rarely coinciding with linguistic or political boundaries.
The vast, urbanized Roman empire has provided lasting elements of Western European culture, through trade links even to Germanic territory north of its fortified border line Rhine-Danube, a cultural border that was also of later importance. Various cultural impulses (for example, within the legal system, construction, agriculture and crafts) were communicated even long after the fall of the empire along a route Italy-France-Germany, which from Germany went along the western shore of the Baltic to Scandinavia and Finland, and via Poland to Baltics. From Greece and Byzantine, an eastbound spread route to Slavic territory, across the Black Sea and Kiev to Novgorod, was a route that was cut off, however, by the incursions of the Mongols in the 13th century. Check Countryaah for Europe to see a list of EU countries.
Christianity, the Western Roman Catholic and the Eastern Greek Orthodox, has left its mark, not least in the popular festivals around this year’s mark days; Christian conceptions have been mixed in popular beliefs and Christian values have influenced the worldview and way of thinking of the people. After the Reformation, the Lutheran Church – as the third great Christian community – came not least through the efforts of popular education to influence popular culture in different ways. Differences between Catholic and Lutheran peoples can be observed, e.g. within the suit.
|Country||Imports of goods (million US dollars)||Exports of goods (million US dollars)|
|Albania||4,545 (2018)||1,164 (2018)|
|Armenia||4 420 (2018)||2,630 (2018)|
|Azerbaijan||10 952 (2018)||20 794 (2018)|
|Belgium||341 776 (2018)||342 516 (2018)|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||10 624 (2018)||6 083 (2018)|
|Bulgaria||34 935 (2018)||32 253 (2018)|
|Cyprus||9,272 (2018)||4 161 (2018)|
|Denmark||105 210 (2018)||121 800 (2018)|
|Estonia||16 184 (2018)||15 084 (2018)|
|Finland||73 457 (2018)||74 438 (2018)|
|France||669 747 (2018)||611 089 (2018)|
|Georgia||8 518 (2018)||4 407 (2018)|
|Greece||64 741 (2018)||38 208 (2018)|
|Ireland||121 717 (2018)||255 252 (2018)|
|Iceland||7 151 (2018)||5,676 (2018)|
|Italy||481 932 (2018)||537 532 (2018)|
|Kosovo||3 659 (2018)||443 (2018)|
|Croatia||25 404 (2018)||14 428 (2018)|
|Latvia||17,315 (2018)||14 310 (2018)|
|Lithuania||35 498 (2018)||32 373 (2018)|
|Luxembourg||25 402 (2018)||22 020 (2018)|
|Malta||5,477 (2018)||3,584 (2018)|
|Moldova||5,271 (2018)||1 962 (2018)|
|Montenegro||2,928 (2018)||514 (2018)|
|Netherlands||487 245 (2018)||574 585 (2018)|
|Norway||88 957 (2018)||121,931 (2018)|
|Poland||260 055 (2018)||253 946 (2018)|
|Portugal||84 625 (2018)||67 317 (2018)|
|Romania||90 506 (2018)||73 078 (2018)|
|Russia||248 701 (2018)||443 130 (2018)|
|Switzerland||274 126 (2018)||332 109 (2018)|
|Serbia||24 158 (2018)||17 986 (2018)|
|Slovakia||90 107 (2018)||90 198 (2018)|
|Slovenia||35 412 (2018)||36 759 (2018)|
|Spain||375 433 (2018)||338 531 (2018)|
|UK||652 144 (2018)||468 031 (2018)|
|Sweden||169 648 (2018)||178 313 (2018)|
|Czech Republic||151 723 (2018)||161 857 (2018)|
|Turkey||216 412 (2018)||174 599 (2018)|
|Germany||1,264,613 (2018)||1,527,055 (2018)|
|Ukraine||55 954 (2018)||43 345 (2018)|
|Hungary||106 914 (2018)||105 324 (2018)|
|Vatican City State||–||–|
|Belarus||35 901 (2018)||33 249 (2018)|
|Austria||173 901 (2018)||179 255 (2018)|
Of importance to the culture of the Nordic countries was that, after the fall of the Roman Empire, Europe’s center of power was moved northward, during the 12th and 13th centuries, especially to southern Germany, northern France and the Netherlands. During the Middle Ages and later, various cultural phenomena (eg the change of characters, the wheel plow, the attic and the windmill) spread from here to Scandinavia and the Baltics, east to Hungary and Romania and to the southeast via Austria to the Western Balkans. The noble knightly system of feudalism, with the woman-worshiping knightly poetry, gave impetus especially in the Nordic popular ballad poetry.
Alongside these medieval cultural currents lay the Mediterranean countries and the East Slavic areas, which helped to keep the culture of the people here for a long time to preserve age-old features. For other reasons, various peripheral regions in Western Europe also emerged as relict areas, e.g. islands within the western border region, such as the Hebrides, Orkney Islands, Shetland Islands, Faroe Islands and Iceland.
Among the Middle Ages German expansion were the trade associations of the northern German cities, Hansan, which through its shipping and trade, as far back as the 16th century, dominated economic life and also conveyed various cultural impulses to Scandinavia. In the 16th century, when Protestantism gained an ever stronger foothold in northern Germany, southern Germany lost its leading position. Trade relations were then concentrated to England and the Netherlands, which consolidated the western dominance of Central Europe.
After the break of the 16th century, the next major stage of popular culture followed the late 18th century, through the popular revival of the French Revolution and early industrialism in England and Scotland. During the period 1500–1800, Europe’s population more than doubled, from about 80 to nearly 190 million, which led to major changes, not least increasing urbanization. News from the cities spread news in various areas that affected rural folk culture. Through Northern Germany’s large estates, more rational methods of agriculture were conveyed to Scandinavia, which contributed to the mechanization process which, especially from the latter half of the 19th century, gradually transformed the Nordic farmers from traditional self-farmers to market-oriented agricultural producers.
The pre-industrial peasant culture is supported by farming groups with large social variations. In the Nordic countries, the farmer enjoyed freedom that was long lacking in the parts of Europe that were more strongly affected by the quality of life. Up until the beginning of industrialism, popular culture had largely a strong agrarian character – with a prevailing peasant culture – built on the interaction between agriculture and livestock management and of varying design under varying natural conditions. Significant former forest areas in Europe have been cultivated through burning. In the less developed Scandinavian countries, in Finland and Russia, the northern coniferous forests have recently been able to offer timber, among other things. as a traditional material in the building culture.
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The Germanic and Slavic folk culture is largely related to the vast plains of the river valleys and steppe areas stretching from the Atlantic and parts of the UK and Ireland to the Urals, with a north-south route in the west of Skåne and Denmark to the Alps, much more wide to the east. A livestock management based on a distinctive herding system has had special significance in i.e. Hungary and Ukraine. In the elongated mountain regions that separate the plains from the Mediterranean in the south (Pyrenees and Alps), as well as in the Carpathians, livestock management has played a central role, in part (Switzerland and Slovakia) conducted according to a livestock system similar to the Scandinavian. Unlike the villages of the plains, lonely farms have dominated here. Within the Atlantic coastal areas, from the Romanesque area in the south to Northern Norway, as well as in the Baltic coastal areas, the culture of the people has had a more maritime feel, especially through the important fishing. The favorable climate in the Mediterranean region has contributed to the fact that horticulture, mainly through fruit and wine cultivation, has acquired a special position here, in addition to goat and sheep farming. The Mediterranean cultural circle characterized by Romanesque folk culture also includes parts of the Turkish-influenced Balkan Peninsula (Greece and Albania).