Wrong Map of Europe

June 11, 2024 — 10 minute read — geography

I recently came across this map of Europe in a Discord memes channel:

map of Europe with many strange problems

At first glance, it didn’t seem to be anything special, but why was it posted in a memes channel? I took a closer look. Even if you’re not super familiar with European geography, you’ll probably find something… off about it. Or many things.

After finding a lot of discrepancies from my own memory of European maps, I decided to try to catalog every single problem with the map and found way more issues than I expected. I think it’s very likely I missed some things as well, so please email me if you find more issues. I’ll update the list and give you credit (or keep it anonymous if you’d prefer).

To make it a little easier to see where each issue is, I’ve marked the map according to the grid made by the solid latitude and longitude lines:

map of Europe with many strange problems and annotations for sections made by latitude and longitude lines

(Pardon the low quality, the original I saw was already riddled with JPEG artifacts.)

The “solution”


  • Muktuk” is not a city in Greenland
  • Svalbard is a real place, but it’s directly north of Norway (and much farther north). The island marked as Svalbard is called Jan Mayen
  • Iceland is rotated 180 degrees
  • “Faroe Islands (ICELAND)” don’t exist
  • The arctic circle doesn’t pass through the mainland of Iceland1
  • Reykjavík is in the wrong place on the island anyway
  • The capital of the Faroe Islands is Tórshavn - it’s correct on the fake islands, but wrong on the real ones
  • Havntors isn’t a real place
  • The “Sheltie islands” are actually called Shetland or the Shetland islands


  • Glasgow, Edinburgh, Manchester, Liverpool, London, Belfast, and Oxford are all in the wrong place (Aberdeen and Mousehole are the only correctly placed and named cities in the UK)
  • Laphroaig is not a city in the UK (although it is correctly placed)
  • Leeds is misspelled as Leads (although it would be in the right place)
  • Gerrard, UK and Neville, UK, don’t exist. They are references to Steven Gerrard and Gary Neville, who played for Liverpool FC and Manchester United, respectively, though each “city” is located at the position of the one the other person played for.2
  • Bringmeham, UK doesn’t exist (probably an intentional misspelling of Birmingham)
  • Wales is a country in the UK, not a city (though it’s in roughly the right place)
  • The island marked “York (U.K.)” is actually called Guernsey
  • Belfast, UK is listed as “Belslow”
  • The island of Ireland is farther north than it should be3
  • The Hebrides islands should be off the coast of Scotland, not Ireland4
  • Ireland is called South Ireland instead of just Ireland (a reference to the country in the UK called “North Ireland”)
  • Dublin, Ireland is listed as “Belfast”
  • Duplo, Ireland doesn’t exist (and Dublin should be marked as the capital)
  • There’s no “Goscinny” in northwestern France
  • Nantes, France is called “Fernantes”
  • The Canary Islands are off the coast of Africa, not northwest of Spain
  • The capital of the Canary Islands is called “Santa Cruz de Tenerife”, and is abbreviated as “Santa Cruz”, not “Tenerife”
  • Catalonia is not an independent country. The part marked as Catalonia is roughly in the location of Basque Country, an autonomous region of Spain
  • Sevilla is in the wrong place


  • Lisbon should be where “Madrid” is marked in Portugal
  • Madrid should be in central Spain
  • Málaga is northwest of where it should be
  • Valencia is farther south than it should be (it should be roughly where “Lisbon” is marked)
  • Zaragoza is in northeast Spain, not on the southern coast
  • Melilla and Ceuta are swapped (and Ceuta might be misspelled as Ceula)
  • The sea between Spain and Morocco is called the Alboran Sea, not the Alderaan Sea
  • Rabat looks too far north (although that could be a projection problem)
  • Casablanca is part of Morocco, not France


  • The country marked as Finland is actually Norway
  • The country marked as Norway is actually Sweden
  • Stockholm is the capital of Sweden and should be where Oslo is marked (in B2), not in the north
  • Tromsø is a region of Norway, not a city5
  • Trondheim looks like it’s marked too far northeast
  • Vikingfjord” and “Smalahove” aren’t cities. “Smalahove” is placed at the location of Voss, Norway, which is known for the food Smalahove.6
  • Surströmming” is the name of a food, not a city in Sweden
  • Gävlebocken” placed where “Gävle” should be.


  • Bokmål” and “Nynorsk” aren’t cities
  • Oslo is in Norway, not Sweden. On this map, it should be placed where Bokmål is, and is placed where Stockholm, Sweden should be
  • Göteborg should be farther north on the coast
  • Malmö should be farther south on the coast
  • Gotland should be smaller
  • Sweden’s borders should extend to the end of the peninsula
  • North Jutlandic Island (the top part of Denmark) is missing7
  • Copenhagen should be on one of the islands of Denmark, not on the Swedish peninsula
  • Copenhagen should be marked as the capital of Denmark, not Legoland (which isn’t a city, obviously)
  • “Sübeckißa” doesn’t exist
  • Hamburg isn’t the capital of Germany
  • Berlin is the capital of Germany
  • Öde doesn’t exist
  • Essen is north of Bonn
  • Frankfurt is short for “Frankfurt am Main”, not “Frankfurt am Alt”
  • Swabia is a region of Germany, not a city
  • Strasbourg is in France; it should be just over the border of where it is on this map
  • Rotterdam and Amsterdam have their locations swapped
  • Luxembourg is much bigger than it should be
  • Rijsel is the Dutch name for Lille, France (not that this is “wrong”, it’s just not the primary name for the city)
  • Beaujolais is a region of France, not a city
  • Toulouse is listed as Tolose (possibly an alternate spelling, or another language’s name for the city)
  • Marsupial” isn’t a city
  • Gdańsk, Poland is listed under the Latin name (Oliva) for one of its districts, Oliwa8
  • Wrocław, Poland is listed under its German name, Breslau
  • Slovakia and Czechia have their shapes and locations swapped (this also changes the borders of the surrounding countries)
  • Bratislava and Prague (the capitals of Slovakia and Czechia) are in the right places within their borders, but are obviously in the wrong absolute locations
  • Žinčica” is not a city
  • “Mrs” is not a city
  • Slovenia doesn’t border Germany, Slovakia, Czechia, and Austria; it should be farther south, bordering Italy, Austria, Hungary, and Croatia
  • The capital of Slovenia is Ljubljana, but it obviously shouldn’t be where it is due to the switch listed above
  • Austria is listed as “Australia”
  • Zürich, Switzerland and Bern, Switzerland have their locations switched, roughly
  • Zürich isn’t the capital of Switzerland, Bern is…9
  • Geneva, Switzerland is switched with Genoa, Italy (which is an Italian city with which it shares etymology)
  • There’s a fictional country called “Molvania” where Slovenia should be
  • Florence, Italy is where Milan should be
  • Turin, Italy is listed as “Turambar
  • Florence, Italy is listed as “Alighieri
  • Rome (and Vatican City) is farther south on the coast than it should be, occupying roughly the spot of Naples
  • The names of the islands Corsica and Sardinia are swapped
  • Casu Marzu” isn’t a city
  • Andorra is much larger than it should be, cutting into Spain significantly
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina is listed as “Serbia and Montenegro” which are independent neighboring countries
  • Zagreb, Croatia is listed as Agranum (its Latin name)
  • Hrvatska is the name of Croatia in Croatian, not a city in Croatia
  • Montenegro is missing (see C2 for more)
  • Tirana, Albania is listed as “Ilirmeta
  • Shqip is the name of Albanian in Albanian, not a city in Albania
  • The Adriatic Sea is listed as the “Horadric Sea” (possibly a reference to Diablo)2
  • The Tyrrhenian Sea is listed as the “Tyrion Sea2
  • The Ionian Sea is listed as the “Ionic Sea”2
  • The Balearic Sea is listed as the “Baelish Sea10
  • The North Sea and the Barents Sea are swapped4


  • Cagliari and Palermo, Italy, are swapped
  • The Balearic Islands are listed as “Illes Allears” instead of “Illes Balears”
  • Cordily (an island in the Mediterranean) doesn’t exist
  • The second number in the scale is 100x what it should be (comparison)
  • The scale swaps miles and kilometers11
  • The numbers for the parallels are probably wrong too
  • I don’t think the projection is actually the Gall-Peters Orthographic Projection
  • Algeria isn’t as wide as it should be, bringing Tunisia farther west than it should be
  • The capital of Tunisia is marked as “Carthago”, when it should be Tunis
  • Malta is missing (see C3)


  • Volgograd should be west of Ukraine, outside the scope of this map (it possibly should be listed as Murmansk)
  • Oulu, Tampere, and Turku are listed by their Swedish names (Uleåborg, Tammerfors, and Åbo, respectively)
  • Tampere and Turku (Tammerfors and Åbo) have their locations swapped
  • Lulea and Umea, Sweden are switched
  • Koskenkorva” is not a city
  • Leningrad is the former name of St. Petersburg, not a city to its northwest


  • Viru Valge” is not a city
  • Lithuania is expanded to take over Latvia as well
  • Kaliningrad is listed as Latvia instead
  • Because of the above, Riga, Latvia is placed within Kaliningrad
  • Putingrad doesn’t exist
  • The Gray Sea doesn’t exist
  • Kaliningrad, Russia should be between Poland and Lithuania, not within Russia’s main borders (see above)
  • Most of Belarus is eaten by Russia
  • Smolensk, Belarus is farther south than it should be (it would be within Belarus’s borders on this map)
  • Vitebsk, Belarus is farther south than it should be, keeping it within Belarus
  • Hrodna, Belarus is listed under its Polish name, Grodno
  • Minsk, Belarus is farther southwest than it should be
  • Crimea is a peninsula on the south side of Ukraine (which has been occupied by Russian invaders since 2014), not a country to the north of Ukraine
  • Tatar is not a city in the fake Crimea on this map. The Tatars are a Turkic ethnic group of which a significant population lives in the real Crimea
  • Salo” is not a city
  • Rivne and Mykolaiv, Ukraine are listed under their former Russian names (Rovno and Nikolaev, respectively)
  • Kadstbei doesn’t exist
  • Moldova’s borders stretch to the Black Sea, cutting into Ukraine
  • Cluj-Napoca, Romania is listed under its Hungarian name (Kolozsvár)
  • Magyarország is the name of Hungary in Hungarian, not a city in Hungary
  • Serbia is listed as “Bosnia and Herzegovina” (see B2 for more)
  • Kosovo isn’t shown (perhaps due to its incomplete recognition by other countries)
  • Belgrade, Serbia is listed as “Belcurve
  • Bulgaria’s borders cut north along the Black Sea into Romania’s, making it landlocked
  • Varna, Bulgaria is listed as “Sofia” which is the capital–so Sofia should be marked as the capital, but not where it is
  • Sofia, Bulgaria is instead marked as “Serdica
  • Macedonia extends southeast, cutting into Greece significantly
  • Thessaloniki, Greece is listed under its nickname “Symprotévousa
  • Constantinople is a former Roman name for Istanbul, not a separate city on the other side of the Bosphorus


  • Athens, Greece is on the wrong peninsula
  • Sparta is not the capital of Greece (and is now romanized as Sparti)
  • Gülen” isn’t a city in Turkey
  • Atatürk” isn’t a city in Turkey
  • The island of Crete is listed as Malta
  • Rhodes, Greece is listed as an Italian territory
  • The Aegean sea is listed as “Aegon


  • The city listed as Murmansk is probably Dolgoschel’e (see C1)
  • Arkhangelsk is listed as “Mihail

P.S. I have no idea what the original source of this map is. If you happen to know, please tell me!

  1. Thanks to lastofthemojito on Hacker News for pointing out that the island of Grímsey is within the arctic circle. ↩︎

  2. Thanks to Greg for pointing these out. ↩︎

  3. Thanks to plyb on Discord for pointing this out. ↩︎

  4. Thanks to skrebbel on Hacker News for pointing these out. ↩︎

  5. Thanks to readthenotes1 on Hacker News for pointing out that this was wrong. ↩︎

  6. Thanks to peroo on Hacker News for pointing out that the island of Grímsey is within the arctic circle. ↩︎

  7. Thanks to mrweasel and ochrist on Hacker News for pointing this out. ↩︎

  8. Thanks to piotrke on Hacker News for telling me that Oliwa was a separate district until recently. ↩︎

  9. I initially wrote that Geneva is the capital of Switzerland, that’s incorrect. Thanks to Mark Dominus, David Schmidt, and sakex on Hacker News for pointing that out. ↩︎

  10. Thanks to awelxtr on Hacker News for pointing this out. ↩︎

  11. Thanks to alexisspacegirl on Discord for pointing this out. ↩︎