The Royal Lowlands

Few regions of Europe have been at the forefront of history as long as the French lowlands. Prosperity and conflict have left their mark in equal measures here, bequeathing us a land of dramatic contrast. The soaring cathedrals of the royalist cities of Amiens and St. Quentin and the ancient streets of the merchant cities of Ghent and Bruges tell a story of progress and hope. A walk through the sea of crosses and cratered landscapes of the First World War battlefields speaks of a tragedy on a scale that we can hardly imagine. The full breadth of European history is accessible here. Take a look at the map below to discover more.

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The Royal Lowlands refers to the low-lying basin along the European North Sea Coast south of where the Scheld River meets the ocean. The Treaty of Verdun in 843 handed these lands over to West Francia, which would later become the Kingdom of France. The region gave the Kings of France a bounty of wealth. The region was one of the high medieval economic powerhouses of Europe. The cloth trade, in particular, turned the region into Northern Europe’s wealthiest corner. The wealth and political autonomy of Flanders would drive the Renaissance across Europe.

Regions of the Royal Lowlands



Artois is a Medieval County based around Arras, a center of quality wool production dating back to Roman times and a center of coal mining in recent ones. The Medieval French Crown granted the wealthy city of Arras privileges to encourage its economic development, kickstarting the entire fabric industry throughout Flanders. Arras and Artois offer a spectacular, though incomplete, glimpse into the cityscapes of Renaissance Flanders.
Ghent Market


Flanders is the only part of the Lowlands to have never been part of the Holy Roman Empire. Indeed, today it is also the only part of West Francia to never have reunited with France. This independence allowed the region’s cities to experiment and develop without the constraints of feudalism. In the Middle Ages, the cities of Bruges and Ghent were global centers of trade, and today this legacy is evident in the spectacular cityscapes of the region.

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Historical Regions

Explore Europe from the perspective of ages past