Interior European industrial regions

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Interior European industrial regions

Imperia; Belgian made car ca 1920

Britain, France and Germany are the major European industrial countries but most European countries have important manufacturing activities. These are:

In Belgium heavy industries, including iron and steel making and the manufacture of armaments, are found on the Sambre-Meuse coalfield, particularly at Liege. Charleroi makes cutlery, mining equipment, chemicals and electrical appliances . Mons has textiles and brewery industries while Namur is noted for agricultural engineering. The outskirts of Brussels, the capital of Belgium, has many industrial activities, including textiles, chemicals paper, food processing and metal goods. It is linked to its premier port Antwerp whose ancient specialization in diamond cutting has been completely overshadowed by rapidly growing port industries including shipbuilding, oil refining and petrochemicals, and mechanical engineering.

The Netherlands has 40 per cent of its population engaged in the industrial sector and many branches of modern industries are well represented. Marine engineering and shipbuilding are important in Rotterdam, Schledam and Dordrecht Engineering industries are well developed in Utrecht (light machinery), and Einthoven (electrical) engineering, home of the Philips Electrical Company). Chemical plants are found in Pernis and Europort near Rotterdam, and Maastricht. Groningen is the centre of industries based on the extraction of natural gas from the North Sea. Amsterdam has long been a centre for diamond cutting and Arnhem fort in smelting. Oil refineries are located in Rotterdam, Pernis and Europort. Dairying, brewing sugar refining, food processing and oil milling are also important industries in the larger towns in the agricultural hiderland. Industrial activity in the Netherlands is much more import as than many people realize, for the country is usually thought as an agricultural one.

Scandinavian countries:

  • (a) Sweden is the most industrialized. The main industrial region is in central Sweden, the so-called Lake Depression with its main centre at Stockholm. Sweden has the richest iron ore resources of Europe, has developed much hydroelectric power and has a long history of technological skills. Some of its internationally known exports include Volvo cars, Bofor guns, Aga beacons, Electrolux refrigerators and Laval cream separators. Ericsson teleprinters, Nobel dynamites and Johanson's instruments. The industrial towns are well linked by railways, roads and inland waterways. Stockholm's engineering production can be transported by the Gotta Canal to Goteborg, the premier port and leading shipbuilding centre of Sweden Eskilstuna is known as 'the Sheffield of Sweden' and produces excellent cutlery and ornamental goods.
  • (b) Norway's leading industries are marine engineering, shipbuilding and fish canning and the pulp and paper industries. There are aluminium-smelting plants at Odda and Ardal, and iron and steel is made at Mo-i-Rana. The capital Oslo located on Oslo fiord, and its surrounding region, has pulp mills, shipyards, chemical plants and fish-canning factories. The towns of Bergen, Trondheim, and Stavanger are noted for their fishing and shipping activities and Stavanger has become a major port servicing the North Sea oil and gas fields. Electrochemical industries are well developed in the Clommen valley and Telemark, where cheap hydroelectric power is available. Such plants manufacture fertilizers, plastics, explosives and smelt ferro-alloys.
  • (c) Denmark's industries are centralized at Copenhagen in Zealand. Dairying and agricultural industries are important but chemicals, textiles, fishing vessels, beer (Carlsberg), silverware, machinery and electrical equipments are also made. Copenhagen also specializes in diesel engines.
  • (d) Despite its mountainous nature, Switzerland is highly industrialized. Four main branches of industries are important, namely watch-making, engineering, chemicals and textiles. The engineering industry (machinery, tools, electrical, surgical and optical instruments) is located at Zurich, Basel and Baden.
  • (e) In Italy, industrial growth has concentrated in the north rather than the south but governmental influence is helping to develop the south. The Lombardy plain is the largest industrial region, and contains the major industrial cities of Milan, Turin, Genoa and Mestra (Venice). Hydroelectric power from the Italian Alps and natural gas exploitation in Emilia and the Po delta have contributed greatly to the industrial needs of the north. The biggest industrial zone is that formed by the three cities of Milan, Turin and Genoa within which are located a wide variety of manufactures including iron and steel, chemicals, textiles, automobiles (e.g. Fiat cars, Vespa and Lambretta scooters, machinery e.g. Olivetti typewriters and sewing machines), tyres e.g. Pirelli, electrical goods and agricultural machinery. Turin is noted for automobiles, rail coaches and aircraft and Milan for textiles (silk in particular) and engineering works. Genoa has shipbuilding and repairing industries.

    Elsewhere in Europe there are a few industrial regions but many other large towns with well-developed industries are Barcelona, Madrid, Bilbao, Lisbon, Athens, Budapest, Vienna and the capital cities of the other Central and East European countries.

    Next: Heavy Chemical industry

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