International borders are often more political than cultural, as people and there customs usually seem to find a way across them, whether legally or illegally. Some of the borders in the world allow for an ease of access between proximate nations, while others are characterized by fences, patrols, and the threat of death or imprisonment for those who disobey their bounds. Below we have listed the countries in the world bordering the most others, each of which have at least 8 neighbors. For our purposes, we have listed Macau and Hong Kong as separate countries bordering China.
11. Zambia (8 neighbors)
Zambia is a small, land-locked country located in southern Africa. Covering a total area of around 752,615 square kilometers, the country is roughly equivalent to the size of the U.S. state of Texas. Zambia has a total of 5,664 kilometers of land boundaries, sharing its borders with 8 African nations. Namely, these are the Democratic Republic of the Congo for 1,930 kilometers, Angola for 1,110 kilometers, Malawi for 837 kilometers, Mozambique for 419 kilometers, Tanzania for 338 kilometers, Namibia for 233 kilometers, Zimbabwe for 797 kilometers, and Botswana for less than 1 kilometers (0.62 miles). Though the population of Zambia is comprised of 7 main and 75 minor tribes, there has also been a large influx of refugees from the neighboring countries of Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo in recent years.
10. Turkey (8 neighbors)
Turkey shares a unique location in the world map, having a land area of 756,816 square kilometers in Western Asia (Anatolia) and a land area of 23,764 square kilometers in Southeastern Europe (Thrace). The country shares its boundaries with a large number of European and Asian countries. It is bounded on the north by the Black Sea, northeast by Armenia and Georgia, on the east by Azerbaijan and Iran, west and southwest by the Mediterranean Sea, on the southeast by Iran and Syria, and northwest by Greece and Bulgaria. Throughout its history, the critical location of Turkey has acted as a bridge of exchange of thoughts and culture between the European World and the Asian civilizations, rendering the country a rich hub of culture and trade activities. Presently, however, Turkey is facing a tough situation offered by the influence of the ethnic and sectarian strife creating havoc in its neighboring countries of Iraq and Syria.
9. Tanzania (8 neighbors)
The East African country of Tanzania is bordered by 8 neighboring countries including Kenya and Uganda to the north, Mozambique to the south, Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo to the west. The Indian Ocean lies towards the south of this country and Mt. Kilimanjaro towards the northeast. The country maintains amicable and friendly relations with its neighbors and often helps them in settling disputes in a peaceful manner. In September of 1999, Tanzania signed the East African Cooperation Treaty with Uganda and Kenya to encourage economic and regional cooperation among the countries. Tanzania, in partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has also played an active role hosting refugees from its neighboring countries, particularly Burundi, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Mozambique.
8. Serbia (8 neighbors)
Serbia, a country on Southeastern Europe’s Balkan Peninsula, is a landlocked country bordered by 8 neighboring countries. It shares its borders to the north with Hungary, to the east with Bulgaria and Romania, to the south with Macedonia, and to the west with Montenegro, Croatia, Albania, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Serbia enjoys relatively good relations with its neighbors. However, border disputes concerning the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina along the Drina River continue to be an issue.
7. Austria (8 neighbors)
Austria is a small Alpine mountainous landlocked country located in south-central Europe. In the north, Austria shares its borders with the Czech Republic and in the north-east, it is bounded by Slovakia. The eastern boundaries of the Alpine nation is shared with Hungary. Austria also shares its borders with Slovenia in the south, Italy in the south-west, Switzerland and Liechtenstein in the west and Germany in the north-west. The geographical location of Austria places it in an extremely crucial center point in the European Union. It is the center of European traffic between the eastern and western countries as well as the northern and southern countries of Europe. As such, Austria’s neighbors, all members of the European Union, maintain healthy ties with the country, allowing free exchange of capital, goods and people between the neighbors.
6. Metropolitan France (8 neighbors)
France has a roughly hexagonal outline and lies towards the western end of the Eurasian landmass. The country is bordered on the northeast by Luxembourg and Belgium and on the east by Italy, Germany and Switzerland. The French boundary towards the south is shared with the countries of Spain and Andorra and to the north lies England. In Europe, France is a major country which has played a leading role in the European and world history since the Medieval times. The main allies of the country are Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom, who also happen to be among the neighbors of France. France and its neighbors, all being members of the European Union, maintain friendly relations with each other, allowing for the free exchange of goods, capital, and people.
5. Germany (9 neighbors)
Germany shares its borders with 9 neighboring countries. On the extreme north Germany is bounded by Denmark. To the west of Germany lies Netherlands, Luxembourg and Belgium and to the south-west lies France The entire southern boundary of Germany is shared with Austria and Switzerland. The south-east border of Germany is shared with the Czech Republic and the easternmost frontier adjoins Poland. Germany maintains amicable relations with its neighbors who are all members of the European Union and also developed nations themselves. Thus exchange of people, goods, services and capital between these countries is allowed freely, leading to the overall economic development of Germany and its neighbors.
4. DR Congo (9 neighbors)
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is the second largest country in Africa and is landlocked on all sides except for the 25 mile coastline shared with the Atlantic Ocean. To the north of this country lies the Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, and Sudan, to the east, DR Congo is bounded by Burundi, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda. Zambia lies to the southeast of the country and Angola to the south-west. DR Congo is currently in the grip of a civil war which has drawn military forces from its Ugandan, Rwandan, and Burundian neighbors who are helping fuel the rebel movement, thus spoiling the relations between DR Congo and these countries. Various insurgency groups are also taking advantage of the political imbalance in the country to infiltrate DR Congo and use it as a base to attack the neighboring countries.
3. Brazil (10 neighbors)
Brazil shares its borders with 10 other South American countries. Namely, these are Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Venezuela, Uruguay, French Guyana, Paraguay, Guyana, Peru, and Suriname. Among these countries, Brazil shares the strongest, most powerful, and yet complex, relationship with its neighbor Argentina. Even though there were initial periods of muted disputes between the two countries, the relationship was not completely adversarial at any point of time. A high volume of trade and population migration between these two countries has also generated closer ties between these two countries. Brazil also shares strong bonds with Paraguay and provides sea access to the landlocked nation via its own port.
2. Russia (14 neighbors)
With a series of borders running 20,241 kilometers in total, Russia has the second longest set of land borders among the world’s countries. The country shares its borders with 14 separate, neighboring, sovereign countries. To the south, Russia shares its borders with North Korea, Mongolia and China, Georgia, Kazakhstan, and Azerbaijan. Russian borders in the southwest and west are shared with the Ukraine, Estonia, Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Norway, and Finland. Russia has extremely complex relationships with its neighboring states. In 2014, Russia founded the Eurasian Economic Union with the neighboring states of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Belarus, and Armenia in order to encourage economic development within and between each of the participating countries. Russia’s attempt to restore influence in the former Soviet space and attempts to economically punish neighbors who are establishing ties with E.U., is exerting some strains on the country’s relations with her neighbors.
1. China (16 neighbors)
The second largest country in the world by land area, the People’s Republic of China shares its international borders with 14 sovereign states and 2 special territories. The country is bordered by North Korea and Russia in the northeast and Mongolia on the north. Bordering China to the south are countries of the Indian subcontinent, including India, Bhutan, and Nepal. Vietnam, Laos, and Myanmar lie to the southeast of China, and Pakistan to its southwest. The western borders of China are shared with the countries of Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. Besides these 14 countries, China also shares a 3-kilometer-long border with Macau, a Portuguese territory until 1999, as well as a 30-kilometer-long border with the former British territory of Hong Kong. Today, Hong Kong and Macau are autonomous, Special Administrative Regions of China. With land borders totaling 22,117 kilometers, the country has the longest system of land borders in the world.