The Ardennes (/ɑːrˈdɛn/ ar-DEN; French: Ardenne [aʁdɛn] (listen); Dutch: Ardennen [ɑrˈdɛnə(n)] (listen); German: Ardennen; Walloon: Årdene [ɑːʀdɛn]; Luxembourgish: Ardennen [ɑʁˈdænən]), also known as the Ardennes Forest or Forest of Ardennes, is a region of extensive forests, rough terrain, rolling hills and ridges. Geologically, the range is a western extension of the Eifel, and both were raised during the Givetian age of the Devonian (382.7 to 387.7 million years ago), as were several other named ranges of the same greater range.[1]

Landscape of Frahan inside the bend of the Semois River
LocationWallonia, Belgium;
Oesling, Luxembourg;
Ardennes department and Grand Est region, France;
Eifel, Germany
Coordinates50°15′N 5°40′E
Area11,200 km2 (4,300 sq mi)
Governing bodyParc National de Champagne/Ardennes
Parc National de Furfooz
The hilly and forested regions of the Ardennes
The center of the transboundary highlands of the Ardennes and the Eifel
The Ardennes in Belgium

The Ardennes proper is primarily in Belgium and Luxembourg, but stretches well into Germany and France (lending its name to the Ardennes department and the former Champagne-Ardenne region) and geologically into the Eifel (the eastern extension of the Ardennes Forest into Bitburg-Prüm, Germany); most of it is in southeastern Wallonia, the southern and more rural part of the Belgium (away from the coastal plain but encompassing more than half of the country's total area). The eastern part of the Ardennes forms the northernmost third of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, also called "Oesling" (Luxembourgish: Éislek). On the southeast the Eifel region continues into the German state of the Rhineland-Palatinate.

The trees and rivers of the Ardennes provided the charcoal industry assets that enabled the great industrial period of Wallonia in the 18th and 19th centuries, when it was arguably the second great industrial region of the world. The greater region maintained an industrial eminence into the 20th century, after coal replaced charcoal in metallurgy.

Allied generals in World War II believed that the region was impenetrable to massed vehicular traffic and especially armor, so the area was effectively "all but undefended"[citation needed] during the war. The German Army twice used this region to invade northern France and southern Belgium, via Luxembourg in the Battle of France and the later Battle of the Bulge.

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