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Critical Dictionary on Borders, Cross-Border Cooperation and European Integration


Edited By Birte Wassenberg and Bernard Reitel

This Critical Dictionary on Borders, Cross-Border Cooperation and European Integration is the first encyclopaedia which combines two so far not well interconnected interdisciplinary research fields, i.e. Border Studies and European Studies. Organised in an alphabetical order, it contains 207 articles written by 115 authors from different countries and scientific disciplines which are accompanied by 58 maps. The articles deal with theory, terminology, concepts, actors, themes and spaces of neighbourhood relations at European borders and in borderlands of and around the European Union (EU). Taking into account a multi-scale perspective from the local to the global, the Critical Dictionary follows a combined historical-geographical approach and is co-directed by Birte Wassenberg and Bernard Reitel, with a large contribution of Jean Peyrony and Jean Rubio from the Mission opérationnelle transfrontalère (MOT), especially for the cartography. The Dictionary is also part of four Jean Monnet activities supported by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union for the period 2016-2022: two Jean Monnet projects on EU border regions (University Strasbourg), one Jean Monnet network (Frontem) and the Franco-German Jean Monnet excellence Center in Strasbourg, as well as the Jean Monnet Chair of Bernard Reitel on borders and European integration. Rather than being designed as an objective compilation of facts and figures, it should serve as a critical tool for discussion between researchers, students and practitioners working in the field of borders, cross-border cooperation and European Integration.

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Germany is the most populous country in the EU with over 83 million inhabitants, but it’s territory is actually smaller than either France or Spain: it covers 357 340 km2 from the North Sea and the Baltic Sea in the north to the Alps in the south. Among its natural borders that are frontiers on part of their trajectory, four great rivers are worthy of mention: the Danube, the Elbe, the Oder and the Rhine, the last of which also forms a large part of Germany’s border with France. The country has land borders with nine neighbours: in the south with Austria (784km – the longest), in the north with Denmark (68 km – the shortest), in the west with the Netherlands (577 km), Belgium (167 km) ←500 | 501→Luxembourg (138 km), France (451 km) and Switzerland (334 km); and in the east with Poland (456 km) and the Czech Republic (646 km). Germany also shares maritime borders with five states: with the United Kingdom (18 km) and the Netherlands (336 km) in the North Sea, with Sweden (55 km) and Poland (456 km) in the Baltic Sea and with Denmark (706 km) in both.

The history of Germany’s borders is complicated due to the change of its territory through time. This is first linked to the fact that the unification of Germany took place gradually over the 19th century: it began in 1848, but was not actually accomplished until 1871, when Bismarck proclaimed the German...

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