European culture is rooted in the Western civilisation, which traces its lineage back to ancient Greece and Rome. Europe's history is marked by frequent changes and a reckless urge to explore, which, for better or worse, has left its mark on the rest of the world.

Contrary to the gut feeling of most Europeans, there is disagreement among experts as to whether Europe can be called a continent at all. Strictly speaking, Europe is just a peninsula to Asia, and the perception of Europe as an independent continent depends more on culture and tradition than on strict geological principles. For the same reason, there is also no fixed, logical border between Europe and Asia, but most draw it by the Ural Mountains and down through the Bosphorus, so that only a small part of Turkey belongs to Europe. Similar confusion applies to Greenland, which is politically European, but geographically belongs to North America.