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Pictorial Map of Europe


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Pictorial Map of Europe

This idea was inspired by maps of various parts of the world that I have seen printed on posters, in travel brochures, on placemats, in children's books, and in numerous other places.  These colorfully illustrated pictorial maps are typically filled with cartoonish icons that indicate details such as historical landmarks, economic/industrial sectors, items of cultural significance, and important natural features.  By presenting information in an easily consumed manner, these maps make learning about the various regions fun and exciting.

I realized that if these maps were good in two dimensions, they would be even better in three dimensions, so I decided to create a pictorial 3D map of Europe (or at least most of Europe).  The 2D icons have been replaced by mini 3D symbols, most of which fit on a 6x6 stud footprint or smaller.

Before I list the icons that have been included on this map, I'll state that I am quite certain that many will disagree with what I have chosen to represent.  In many cases, I was limited by what could reasonably be built at a micro scale.  But the fact that everyone has his/her own idea about what should go on the map actually helps to underscore one of the great features of this idea -- it is infinitely customizable.  Once the underlying map is complete, the builder can add whatever details he/she feels are most appropriate.  One could even imagine LEGO releasing follow-on polybag sets with individual icons, or perhaps even an Advent Calendar full of them.

So, without further ado, here is the list of features that are included on this map.  I plan to provide periodic updates with background information on each individual icon, and perhaps include some potential alternate icons as well.  You might recognize that several of these icons have been the subject of existing or proposed LEGO Architecture sets.

  • Newgrange Mound  (County Meath, Ireland)
  • Hook Head Lighthouse  (County Wexford, Ireland)
  • Big Ben  (London, England)
  • Stonehenge  (Wiltshire, England)
  • Firth of Forth Railway Bridge  (Scotland)
  • Sheep  (Scotland)
  • Eiffel Tower  (Paris, France)
  • Arc de Triomphe  (Paris, France)
  • TGV  (France)
  • Country Chateau and Vineyard  (France)
  • Bull  (Pamplona, Spain)
  • Alhambra  (Granada, Spain)
  • Rua Augusta Arch  (Lisbon, Portugal)
  • Harbor Crane (Antwerp, Belgium and Rotterdam, Netherlands)
  • Container Ship  (North Sea)
  • Cut Diamond  (Antwerp, Belgium)
  • Windmill  (Netherlands)
  • Flowers  (Netherlands)
  • Brandenburg Gate  (Berlin, Germany)
  • Schwarzwald  (Germany)
  • Automobile and Manufacturing Robot (Bavaria, Germany)
  • Factory (Ruhr, Germany)
  • LEGO Headquarters  (Billund, Denmark)
  • Offshore Gas Rig  (North Sea)
  • LNG Tanker  (North Sea)
  • Holmenkollen Ski Jump and Museum  (Oslo, Norway)
  • Viking ship  (Norway)
  • Vadstena Castle  (Vadstena, Sweden)
  • Sod Roof House  (Sweden)
  • Colosseum  (Rome, Italy)
  • Leaning Tower of Pisa  (Pisa, Italy)
  • Mt. Etna  (Sicily)
  • Parthenon  (Greece)
  • Mozart with His Piano  (Vienna, Austria)
  • Parliament House  (Budapest, Hungary)
  • Keg and Pilsner Glass (Pilsen, Czech Republic)  [Note: The craft of brewing goes back almost a millennium in the Czech lands, and the invention of Pilsner, for which the region is most famous, dates back to the mid-1800s.  Given that, there should not be a content issue here].
  • Medieval Port Crane  (Gdansk, Poland)
  • Palace of Culture and Science  (Warsaw, Poland)
  • King Sigismund's Column  (Warsaw, Poland)
  • Basketball Court (Lithuania/Latvia/Estonia)
  • Rodina Mat Statue (Ukraine)
  • Vampire Bats Perched atop a Turret (Transylvania, Romania)
  • Mostar Bridge  (Mostar, Bosnia)
  • Fishing Trawler  (Atlantic Ocean)
  • Luxury Yacht  (Mediterranean Sea)
  • Pyrenees Mountain Range
  • Alps Mountain Range
  • Carpathian Mountain Range

Noticeably absent from this list are any cathedrals, monasteries, mosques, or temples.  I would have loved to include architectural icons such as the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Chartes Cathderal, Mont St. Michel, the Kaiser Wilhelm Gedächtniskirche, the Sagrada Familia, St. Peter's Basilica, the Hagia Sophia, or a stave church.  These buildings are some of the finest examples of the various architectural styles that have evolved over the years, but unfortunately they are prohibited by LEGO Ideas project guidelines.  The individual builder would certainly be free to add such details on his/her own.

With the acceptable content restrictions in mind, I'll gladly take suggestions for additional icons that could included.  Some of the icons that I considered, but rejected for one reason or another (usually lack of space) were:  Neuschwanstein Castle, Poznan Market Square, the Royal Palace in Madrid, the fictional Villa Villekula, the Ponte Vecchio, Roman or Spanish aqueducts, Blarney Castle, and the Chunnel.

If you like this idea, you might also like some of my other ideas, including:

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