European Warfarewell

from a "continent of war" to a "continent of peace".

Inspired by the controversy that surrounded the European Union winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012, European Warfarewell is a visualization about the wars fought on the European continent during the past two centuries.

The visualization consists of the map of Europe, surrounded by a circle of country shapes. These country shapes can be clicked to explore what wars a country was involved in, and to find out which countries have been its allies and which its enemies.

Around the country shapes is a timeline with the wars fought on the European continent since 1820. The wars in the timeline can be clicked to learn more about the details of the war.


Start exploring the visualization:

Click on a country

Click on a war

Click on a war!


Side 1
Side 2




This page provides general information about European Warfarewell.

European Warfarewell is an interactive data visualization. It has been created during February and March of 2013 as a final group project for "Show Me The Data", a multidisciplinary course on data visualization that brings together students from the University of Amsterdam's Master programs in Artificial Intelligence and New Media and Digital Culture and the Utrecht Graduate School of Visual Art and Design (maHKU).

The project is inspired by the controversy that occurred when the European Union was awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012 in recognition of its contribution to the transformation of Europe from a "continent of war" into a "continent of peace". It visualizes the history of European warfare for the past two centuries (from 1816 to 2007). The visualization is based on data provided by the Correlates of War Project. It allows the user to find out what countries were allies and what countries were enemies, and whether this changed over time, and provides answers to the questions such as: what country initiated a war, what side won, and how much blood was spilled on either side?

Designed and created by:
Alain Otjens
Catarina Rodrigues
Fernando Flores
Jaimy Quadekker
Johan Sundin
Lucas Reehorst


This page provides information on the data underlying the European Warfarewell visualization.

The European Warfarewell visualization is based on the "COW Inter-State War Data (v. 4.0), 1816-2007" dataset, developed by the Correlates of War Project.

This dataset contains information on all military conflicts that were fought between sovereign nation states since the Napoleonic Wars, in which at least a 1.000 battle deaths were suffered within a period of one year. Smaller conflicts, including some that are sometimes referred to as wars, have been excluded from the dataset (Sarkees 2010: 13-5). For example all three of the Icelandic Cod Wars, which were fought between Iceland and the United Kingdom in 1958, 1972-3, and 1975-6 respectively and resulted in two deaths in total, have been excluded from the dataset and are not part of our visualization. Furthermore our visualization includes only wars that were fought either entirely or partially on the European continent.

The number of battle deaths (listed as "casualties" in the info panel in our visualization) includes not only the soldiers who died during combat but also those who died afterwards from wounds or diseases, but it excludes all civilian deaths. It should be noted that offering reliable fatality figures is a notoriously difficult task and that, in spite of numerous cross-checks they should be seen as approximations (Sarkees 2010: 15-17).

For more information about the data set you can read the paper "The COW Typology of War: Defining and Categorizing Wars (Version 4 of the Data) " by Meredith Reid Sarkees or "The Inter-state Wars Codebook" also by Meredith Reid Sarkees.



Sarkees, Meredith Reid (2010). "The COW typology of war. Defining and categorizing wars. (Version 4 of the data)."
-- (2010) Inter-state Wars (Version 4.0). Definitions and Variables.
Sarkees, Meredith Reid and Frank Wayman (2010). Resort to War: 1816 - 2007. CQ Press. COW Wars v. 4.0, 1816-2007


In order to dive into our visualization, you have two options:

Click a country from the circle of shapes

If you decide to start by clicking a country, the map of Europe will become colored: the country you selected becomes white, and the countries involved with it in a war during the given period (1820 - 2007) will acquire shades of yellow, orange or red - if a country becomes yellow, it means that it was always allied with the first coutry you selected; if it becomes orange it means that they have been both allies and enemies; and if a country becomes red, it means that they were always enemies in the wars they were involved in. All the countries that remain gray were never involved in a war with your selected country.

When clicking a second country, the wars in which both countries were involved become yellow in the timeline.

Click a war in the timeline

If you click a war, countries that fought on the 'winning' side become yellow, and the 'losing' countries become blue (the countries you have selected will be colored in a brighter shade).

In addition, the information panel at the right side of the screen is activated. Here you can find more details about the selected war: a more precise duration of the war, the initiating country, and the number of casualties on both sides.

For even more detailed information about the conflict, we have provided a link to Wikipedia. You can find it in "MORE INFO ON THIS WAR", which allows you to navigate through Wikipedia without leaving our application.