The richest billionaires in every European country -- and how they made their money

Europe’s wealthiest people are a bit of a mixture.

There are some that come from old money- centuries-old dynasties – as well as self-made billionaires from pretty much every business sector you can think of.

Different parts of the continent have different stories — from the old money of Western Europe to the plutocrats who’ve made their fortunes navigating the markets that opened up in the east as the Iron Curtain fell.

We’ve used the Forbes rich list the richest people in each European country — ranked from the least wealthy upwards.

Romania's richest man, Ioan Niculae, made his money from agriculture and fertiliser businesses in eastern Europe. He was sentenced to two years in prison for reportedly paying a bribe to a political official. NET WORTH: $1.15 billion (£760 million)

Lebanese-born art mogul David Nahmad is Monaco's richest man, and is part of a family of renowned art dealers. In 2013 the Nahmads sold Monet's 'Le Palais Contarini' for $30.8 million at Sotheby's. NET WORTH: $1.85 billion (£1.22 million)

Antti Herlin, Finland's richest man, made his money in an unlikely way -- the escalator and elevator business. He's the great-grandson of Harald Herlin, who purchased the KONE engineering company in the 1920s. $3.6 billion (£2.37 billion)

Polish plutocrat Jan Kulczyk made his money as the Soviet Union collapsed, having established the only wholesaler able to sell some German cars under the Communist regime. He has compounded his estate with investments in telecoms. NET WORTH: $4 billion (£2.63 billion)

Americo Amorim is Portugal's wealthiest man, and made his billions in Corticeira Amorim, the world's biggest cork company, which was set up by his grandfather. He's also got holdings in Angola, a former Portuguese colony, and across Europe. NET WORTH: $4.4 billion ($2.89 billion)

Belgium's richest man, Albert Frere, is an investor who got rich on steel in the 1970s, and has dipped into a range of other sectors. He's a baron, but it's a title that was given to him by the King. NET WORTH: $4.9 billion (£3.22 billion)

Odd Reitan of Norway made money in groceries and retail, setting up REMA 1000, which is the biggest supermarket chain in the country now. In 2012, he wrote a book imagining that he could be appointed ruler of Norway by the King. NET WORTH: $5.2 billion (£3.42 billion)

Switzerland-based Ernesto Bertarelli made a mint from the sale of Serono, the pharmaceuticals firm that was founded by his grandfather. His wealth and investments are now largely managed through Waypoint Capital. His wife, Kirsty Bertarelli, is the UK's richest woman. NET WORTH: $8.8 billion (£5.78 billion)

Denmark's richest man, Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, owes his fortune to Lego. He's the grandson of Ole Kirk Christiansen, who founded the toy company, and Kjeld was CEO for a quarter of a century, up to 2004. NET WORTH: $9.7 billion (£6.38 billion)

John Fredriksen would be Norway's richest man had he stayed in his nation of birth, but he's now a citizen of Cyprus, and one of the world's most important oil barons. He made a huge amount of money transporting oil during the Iran-Iraq War. NET WORTH: $10.5 billion (£6.90 billion)

Red Bull founder Dietrich Mateschitz is Austria's richest man, and still holds nearly half of the shares in the company. If you're struggling with education, don't worry too much -- it reportedly took Mateschitz 10 years to finish university. NET WORTH: $10.8 billion (£7.10 billion)

The Netherlands' richest person is Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken, heir to the Heineken brewing company. Her grandfather, Gerard Adriaan Heineken, set the company up in the late 19th century. She sits on the managing board of the firm. NET WORTH: $11.6 billion (£7.62 billion)

Gerald Cavendish Grosvenor, the Duke of Westminster, is the richest man in the UK. As his title suggests, he's not a self-made man, and his wealth is largely down to his family's land and property empire. NET WORTH: $12.6 billion (£8.28 billion)

Maria Franca Fissolo and Giovanni Ferrero (below) are Italy's richest pair. The wife and son of the late Michel Ferrero owe their fortunes to Ferrero SpA, the confectionery company that bears their name, and of which Giovanni is CEO. NET WORTH: $23.4 billion (£15.38 billion)

Sweden's Stefan Persson is the largest shareholder in H&M, the massive European fashion chain. The company was founded by Erling Persson, his father, and his son Karl-Johan Persson is currently the CEO. NET WORTH: $24.5 billion (£16.10 billion)

Germany's Georg Schaeffler owns 80% of Schaeffler Gruppe -- a business that dates back to 1883, when a method of mass-producing ball bearings was developed. His mother, Maria-Elisabeth Schaeffler (below), owns the other 20%. NET WORTH: $26.9 billion (£17.68 billion)

France's Liliane Bettencourt isn't just one of the few women that takes the top spot in her country -- she's the richest woman in Europe. She's the biggest individual shareholder of beauty giant L'Oréal, which was set up by her father. NET WORTH: $40.1 billion (£26.36 billion)

Spain's Amancio Ortega is Spain's richest person, and tops the list for Europe, with an absolutely colossal fortune. Unlike many, it's not inherited. He founded retail chain Inditex Zara in the 1970s, having started off as a shirtmaker. NET WORTH: $64.5 billion (£42.39 billion)

Now see:

Kirsty Bertarelli was named the richest woman in Britain again in 2015.

The almost unbelievably fabulous life of Kirsty Bertarelli, the richest woman in Britain »

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