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Europe culture


The Culture of Europe might better be described as a series of overlapping cultures of Europe. Whether it be a question of West as opposed to East; Catholicism and Protestantism as opposed to Eastern Orthodoxy; Christianity as opposed to Islam; many have claimed to identify cultural faultlines across the continent.

Europe has been a cradle for many cultural innovations and movements, such as Humanism, that have consequently been spread across the globe. The Renaissance of classical ideas influenced the development of art and literature far beyond the confines of the continent.



One of the major problems in defining the European culture, is where does Europe start and where does it end ? Most countries share common historical experiences, but several important faultlines appear. The first one is the dividing lands that were occupied at some point by the Roman Empire, thus dividing Europe along a line that goes through Hadrian's Wall in the British Isles, along the Rhine and finally along the Danube. Another faultline is the Catholic-Orthodox divide caused by the Great Schism, which isolates Russia, Belarus, half of Ukraine (whether Uniate Ukraine is considered Orthodox or Catholic is a matter of debate) and Serbia. Yet another faultline is the one that separates the lands once occupied by the Ottoman Empire and the ones that weren't, which created the current Christian-Islam faultline, that separates Albania, Bosnia and Turkey. Also notable is the faultline that separates the parts of Europe that went through industrialization in the 19th century, including Northern Italy and . And finally, the most recent faultline is the infamous Iron Curtain. These faultlines are key to understanding the cultural similarities and differences in Europe. They are also important for identifying what countries should be admitted into the European Union (such as in the case of Turkey or the 2004 separatist menace in Ukraine). Thus the question of "common culture" or "common values" is far more complex than it seems.


In recent decades the European Union has been seeking to identify and support common European values, however this has turned out to be a highly controversial issue. Some commentators wish to classify social cohesion and solidarity as European values and contrast them with more individualist values in the United States. The distinction is not a simple one, but is perhaps most fundamentally reflected in differing attitudes to government, notably in terms of trust in the government.


See European art history

Food and drink

See European cuisine


See European languages

Language is a very important part of culture, and Europe has a widespread variety of languages, with most countries having at least one official language. Russian is the largest language in Europe, followed by German. Many regional languages are also spoken, some enjoying a level of official status or recognition. Other minority languages are also spoken. The diversity on such a small territory is proverbial. The European Union alone uses 20 official languages, which all have the same status. The cost of translation is so high that the official language of the Union is an ongoing debate, since many MEPs are bilingual and most languages have a great level of prestige.


Besides football, the most popular spectator sport in Europe, other sports enjoy more localised followings, such as rugby union, rugby league, cricket, gaelic games, pelota, petanque and ice hockey.

Some sports hold European Championships.


See also

Sources: University World and Wikipedia