Western Europe is the region of Europe consisting of Belgium, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Occasionally it also includes countries in Southern Europe such as Spain, Portugal and Italy, countries in Central Europe like Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary, or even countries in Northern Europe such as Norway, Sweden, and Denmark.
Western European (as well as Central European) culture can be traced back to that of Ancient Rome, and it is also the birthplace of both the Catholic Church and Protestantism - in addition to the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution. Colonists from Western Europe have settled the entire length and breadth of North America, South America, and Australia, taking their languages and culture with them.
Western Europe is confused with Western Bloc, a term referring to the part of Europe that mostly did not come under Communist rule at the end or after the Second World War (except for Portugal). Thanks to the financial help from the US (Marschall Plan), economic and political freedom, it became advanced, wealthy and stable that its counterpart, Eastern Bloc. In Western Europe, the European Union was created.
Western Europe is also the home of two of the world's most important currencies, the euro and the British pound. Some of the world's greatest cities - Amsterdam, Brussels (de facto European Union's capital), Paris, London are situated in Western Europe, and it is the home of the English language, the French language, and the Dutch language.
All Western European countries are listed by the Human Development Index as very highly developed countries.
Currently, as Europe is no longer divided into Western and Eastern Bloc, the use of the term Western, or Eastern Europe is seen as a faux past. It relates to the Cold War, which ended a generation ago.