This article is a repository of all the etymology maps I’ve ever done. Most of these maps were made between 2014-2019 and have originally been posted to Reddit, often to the /r/etymologymaps subreddit.
A few word of warning:
The base map used to make these maps used to have errors. For example, the Russian-speaking areas of Latvia are wrongly to the north-east instead of south-east and way too big.
The main dividing line for these maps is linguistic (read: “mother tongue”), not administrative or political.
Minority languages are often given proeminence. It was important to show as many languages as I had data for.
I know German nouns are capitalized. I took a design decision to not capitalize them because I didn’t like having some nouns capitalized, and some in minuscules.
How do you show patterns across 28 countries without your mind immediately jumping to group the patterns into national areas? While working on mapping the 2014 and 2019 European Elections, I realized that even though I wanted to show a single European voting area, voting patterns are still very national, and thus patterns sometimes change abruptly at the national border.
The maps show the number of votes for each political group in the European Parliament as well as the votes for parties that didn’t make the electoral threshold (i.e. parties outside the European Parliament) . So bigger the bubble, the higher the number of votes that group received in that zone.
The only anomaly of the map is the fact that Ireland’s data is already aggregated on electoral constituency level, which are bigger than the grid I chose, thus the bubbles will always tend to be rather large and far apart (all the other nations have much more detailed, municipality-level data).
Unlike Maarten, who worked in R, my maps were made in QGIS (+a bit of Inkscape).
This is a long overdue blogpost with maps of the 2014 European Parliament Elections, which transcribes the info I had posted a few months ago on this Twitter thread.
For the 2019 Elections see this article in the German publications Die Zeit.
Center-right EPP group did best in Hungarian-minority areas ofRomania, Slovakia and German-speaking South Tyrol in Italy.
I does generally well in Hungary, Germany (especially Bavaria), Slovenia and Croatia, Latvia, Poland (especially Silesia) and northern Iberia.
Weak in France and Italy.
Center-left Socialists and Democrats group had a good score in Romania (especially the south and east of the country), in Sweden, Slovakia as well as Bulgaria & southern parts of the Iberian peninsula.
Industrial areas of the UK, western Germany, Wallonia (in Belgium) and Central Italy also high, as well as the Overseas voting areas.
It’s the only group present in all Member States.
The Conservative and Reformist group have a much smaller footprint among the Member states, but high numbers in the UK and Poland, as well as a good showing in Flanders 🇧🇪, Denmark and the Dutch Bible Belt.
Polish minority vote in Lithuania is also a member of the conservatives.
There are some notable areas with a Liberal presence, especially Estonia, Finland and the Benelux countries, and a pattern of regionalist (Spain, Croatia) and minority parties (Turks and Pomaks in Bulgaria, Swedish-speakers in Finland) in this group. But big states missing from ALDE.
The far left United European Left-Nordic Green Left is strong in rural Finland and Sweden, southern Portugal, the Basque country and the Greek-speaking member states. Good presence overseas as well. It is absent in the East due to toxic legacy, with very notable exception of East Germany and Czechia. This group also fares well oversees.
Within Greens-EFA group, the Regionalists are strong in Catalonia, Wales and Scotland. On the other hand, the Greens are strongest in lush French Guyana, some Polynesian islands, the cities of north-west Europe as well as regions with a history of environmental activism (like the Hanoverian Wendland). The group is notably absent in the southern and eastern parts of the union.
The backbone of the populist EFDD group is UKIP (strongest in England and Wales) and the 5 Star Movement in Italy. Further backing in Sweden and the Baltic-speaking states. Only present in 6 countries but highly concentrated in most of those.
The Non-Inscrits were made up of mostly far-right parties (Front National, Lega Nord, DUP, Golden Dawn, Jobbik) who went on to form a group in 2015. The Greek Communist Party, oddly enough, was also part of this non-group.
And finally a reminder that turnout varied a lot by Member State in 2014.
Maps made in QGIS + some Python work + post-production in Inkscape.
First thing’s first, what is a European Political Party (or a Europarty)? According to Wiki:
A European political party (formally, a political party at European level; informally a Europarty) is a type of political party organisation operating transnationally in Europe and in the institutions of the European Union. They are regulated and funded by the European Union and are usually made up of national parties, not individuals. Europarties […] express themselves within the European Parliament by their affiliated political groups and their MEPs.
Now they are important because they also field lead candidates (called “spitzencandidates”), who, according to a decision by the European Parliament and the precedent set in 2014, are the only ones who the EP will accept as a candidate for President of the European Commission.
This series of maps are born from the annoying habit of the mass media of treating the European Elections as national affairs, and only focusing either on patterns within nations, or on overall national results when looking at the entire European Union.
Following the variety of examples of “county level results” we see when the US holds elections, I decided to to create a similar map of Europe (and all its overseas territories where elections are held).
This being the EU, where “varietate” comes before “concordia”, there was an immense variety of problems when trying to have a uniform vision. Each country holds elections its own way (the whole restriction is that it has to be ‘proportional’), stores the data in its own way and is divided into administrative divisions differently. Not to mention the immense variety of national and regional parties, hence the need to group them by European-level affiliation.
So the baseline was trying to map the results by Europarties on the municipal level, which depending on the country are either LAU1 or LAU2 level divisions (see here), but in some countries that wasn’t possible. Ireland, Northern Ireland, Malta and Slovenia could only be mapped by electoral constituencies (which in the case of Malta is the whole country).
So without further ado, here are the maps, by European Political Parties:
Later Edit – Two more maps: the winning party and share won by the coalition backing the current European Commission
Maps made in QGIS, with lots of python and pandas in the data-wrangling phase, including xml parsing (bleah!). A good dose of post-processing in Inkscape.
On a personal note I’d love those meddling bureaucrats in Brussels to lay out a minimum standard of collecting, storing and making available election data on a local level, as I would love to see a bit more detail in Malta and the island of Ireland.
Also, Cyprus, answer your emails!
PS. Other articles will follow, cause I have lots of data 😀
Inspired by Lisa Charlotte Rost‘s article titled “Election reporting: Which color for which party?“, I decided to take a look at color assignments for ed to European Parliament Groups as they are featured in the press. While European elections get less coverage than the US elections or national-level elections in Europe, they increasing in importance from one election cycle to the other.
Before actually talking about how these groups are represented, it is good to understand how European elections work:
Every 5 years, the member states of the European Union hold elections to send a number of representatives to the European Parliament. Since these MEPs belong to different national political parties, they band together in groups that are similar ideologically, as doing so helps them to better coordinate politically, as well as it being useful in getting subsidies and places in various committees of the EP.
So we’re going to look at the groups as they existed right around the 2014 elections, since we can get a wide range of presentations from multiple European media sources at roughly the same time. In keeping with Lisa’s article, we can see below the color assignments of these Groups both by the media source (on the right side) and on a color wheel, clustered by group (on the left):
What we see first and foremost is that there is surprising coherence in the color choices, even though there the publications span multiple languages, and even includes an example from a site in far away Japan.
This coherence, I suspect, might be the result of two factors:
A convergence in time, as some earlier examples seem to suggest a lot less coherence in color choice (like the 1999 example from the Economist at the end).
A sort of normative power of official charts put out by the European Parliament website, for example the first two lines in the chart (a lot of online publications just chose to use those)
One interesting aspect is that sometimes color choices seem to be influenced by national conventions with regards to the parties that make up those groups. For example:
• SD is pink in some French sites, because PS, the French socialist party within the group, is often shown as pink on the national level
• EPP is black in one German example (CDU, the biggest EPP member from
Germany is traditionally shown as black, as is the Austrian ÖVP)
• EFDD is purple in 2 British examples, even though the group logo is turquoise. That’s because UKIP, the main party of the group is associated in the UK with the color purple
The fixed and the still evolving
When it comes to the groups themselves, we can see that some groups have clearly occupied certain colors. The liberal ALDE is always yellow (a color traditionally associated with liberalism) and the Greens-EFA group is, well, green.
The left is also pretty consistent in its use of red, as well as the distribution of light – for center-left SD – versus dark red – for the far-left GUE/NGL, thus marking ideological intensity.
The same cannot be said of the right side of the spectrum, where we sometimes have 3 groups using hues of blue, albeit the 3rd group, the EFDD, is shown pretty consistently in turquoise, and if not, some other, non-blue hue, like purple, orange (?) or brown. Thus we shall focus on the other two groups: the center-right EPP and the conservative ECR.
Here, the meaning of the intensity of the color is not yet settled, so we have two competing situations:
• EPP light blue / ECR dark : thus intensity showing degree of ideological intensity, similar to what we saw on the left side of the spectrum. Or…
• EPP dark blue / ECR light : the more frequent case, where intensity correlates with importance of the group, or to put it differently, with its electoral weight, the EPP being easily the larger of the two.
And last, but not least, the “Non-Inscrit” group (NI), which is just a fancy way of saying ‘the group of those outside groups’ are in shades of grey, a color often used in charts to mark the ‘Others’ category, although the occasional use of brown could be explained by the presence of many far-right parties in this group (hinting at “brown-shirts” I presume).
This article is part of a study for a later cartographic project.
Colorwheels done in python/matplotlib, the rest in Inkscape.
The chart above is born out of the feedback that an earlier chart received on-line. I had made a Functional Chart of the EU, in which I tried to “bring home” the political setup of the European Union, by showing where each institution gets its mandate from, and what each institution would be called if instead of being a supra-national entity it was a nation-state. To this end I emphasized that, for example, the Council of the EU (i.e. ‘of Ministers’) is actually the “Upper House” of the EU Legislature.
What sometimes happened was that the complexity of the system was highlighted as proof that the EU is “difficult to understand” for the average Joe, contrary to the straightforward way national political systems function. Another angle of criticism was using some features of national systems as a sine qua non of a democratic system. To put it differently, the argument went: “My nation does X, and is democratic. If the EU does not have X, it is therefore undemocratic”, where X is a feature that is not actually present in all European democracies.
These two lines of criticism seemed to suggest that people don’t always realize how complex national political systems are and how diverse European nations are when it comes how they have evolved as political systems. I myself have learned that Romania’s way of confirming a government by a vote of both houses of Parliament in joint session is not, in fact, that common in our Union.
But there are wonderful details that I found throughout the Single Market states:
there is no explicit vote of confidence for the Danish PM
the Swedish PM is nominated by the Speaker of the Parliament, not by the King
Switzerland has a Collective Presidency
Cyprus has no PM
Sometimes ministers are nominated by the Head of State after consultations with the PM
The bigger European states tend to be complicated
Upper Houses are often very… original beats
So while the EU does have its quirks, there is plenty of diversity on the national levels as well.
On a side note, as I made the Functional Chart of the EU, I quickly became fixated with a particular type of chart one often sees on Wikipedia articles, mapping the way the electorate and the 3 powers of the state – executive, legislative and judicial – interact with each other.
There little information on-line on these types of charts. On a summary look, It seems to me that they are, in essence, a type of flowcharts, but I would welcome any further reading on the history of these types of charts.
And I also welcome any feedback in case of any mistake I might have slipped in.
Two years ago Andy Woodruff wrote a fun blog entry about land area plotted by latitude and longitude, where he proceeded to squish the continents’ area along the X and Y axes (just like Bill Rankin did with Earth’s population earlier).
His post was the catalyst for me to try mapping the next step: squishing an area towards a point.
In fact, there was an a question floating around my brain earlier about the EU: “If I sit in Brussels, the de facto capital, how much union is there in each direction?”
It might feel like the answer is : “Look at a map!”, but due to history and geography, the EU’s territory snakes around the Baltic Sea, the Western Balkans candidate countries, not to mention that big hole called Switzerland. On the other hand you have detached areas, such as the UK and Ireland, or Cyprus.
So I plotted the EU onto a an Lambert azimuthal equal-area projection where I took Brussels as the center, thus lines spreading out radially from the center wouldn’t be distorted, while the areas of the countries stayed constant no matter how far from the center. To add a bit of color, without making one for each of the 28 member state, I colored them by the year they joined the EU.
I then wrote a python script that in essence iterated along each line starting in the chosen center and ending on an outer pixels, and moved the colored pixels as much as possible towards the center. For finding the relevant pixels I used this adaptation of Xiaolin Wu’s algorithm, and it took some fine tuning before I got a good result.
So here it is: Brussels sucking the EU towards it…
And in .gif version (click to enlarge):
As one can see, I only used the main European territories of the EU plus the Macaronesian Outermost Regions (Azores, Madeira, Canary Islands), due to their geographical proximity to Europe, but I ignored the other OMRs such as French Guyana, Reunion or the ones in the Antilles.
In the end, the resulting shape is somewhat Rorschach-ish, and to me it kinda looks like a bat, or a sad bumblebee. I wonder what others see?