What Americans think of Europeans

I wrote a hugely popular post on what Europeans think of each other, and we all know what Europeans think of Americans (that we’re fat and stupid – well, it’s a bit more complicated than that; I’ll delve into that in another post). In this post, I’ll write my experiences with my fellow Americans think about Europeans. Keep in mind, though, that the diversity of knowledge and opinion in the US is far greater than just about anywhere else in the world, so I’m not going to capture everyone’s sentiment.

At the outset, it’s important to understand this about Americans:

  • a lot of Americans live by the “if you can’t say anything nice about (something), then don’t say anything at all” adage. So most Americans, who generally have a vague positive feeling about Europe, will only say vaguely positive things about Europe, if anything at all. (“I hear it’s nice over there.”)
  • Most Americans are profoundly ignorant of geography and don’t give much thought beyond their immediate frame of reference. Before you think that means Americans are chauvinist, keep in mind they don’t give a shit about the next state over, or even next city, much less another country. Americans may be brilliant when it comes to technology, innovation and business, but they fail when it comes to geography. They are simply not interested. (This is why, I think, America assimilates foreigners better than Europe. They don’t know where other people come from, and soon forget; their foreignness ceases to be a liability, unlike Europeans who always remember that China had the Tiananmen Square massacre, a Serb killed Archduke Ferdinand and Serbia gave the world Slobodan Milosevic, etc.)
  • the last few years have seen politically-active Americans attuned to world affairs much more than they have traditionally been, because of the wars, antagonism towards US foreign policy, propaganda by the Bush administration, etc. Growing up, I can tell you that no one ever cared what was going on outside our borders, other than to think the Soviet Union was a miserable shithole, and everywhere else was OK (but not as great as the USA).

That said, let me get down to the specifics, country by country. Remember that I’ll only include those that the average American has heard of and actually knows is in Europe (you ask the average American where Albania is, and you might be surprised at the variety of answers; I expect fully a third would say “Antarctica”). I’m being a little harsh on my fellow Americans, but, as an American, this is something we tend to do:

  • UK – This is the only European country (and, like the Brits, Americans don’t always consider it part of Europe, even though it clearly is) that Americans tend to have largely uncritical views of, regardless of whether they’re at the political right or left (actually, let me add the neighboring Irish to that list). Brits are considered “polite”, “dignified” and “cultured” by virtue of their speech, which Americans, through decades of inculcation through movies and television, have come to ascribe values to. The only negative is of those with posh, elite accents to be thought of as devious or cunning; many Hollywood thrillers aimed at a middle-class audience have some greedy British villain who’s just too smart for his own good (stupidity is equated with a lack of guile, which middle-class Americans admire). I don’t think most Americans, until recently, have known that there is a substantial, vociferously anti-American contingent in the UK; many on the far left think it’s all directed at Bush and his policies (it isn’t nearly that temporal nor partisan), so they tend to think of the Brits as being “on our side”.
    There is a perception, poked fun of in popular media, that Brits have bad teeth, but it’s one of those stereotypes that is not really taken all that seriously, like that Poles are stupid or that Italians don’t bathe.
    Among younger people, the UK is synonymous with London, where it’s imagined everything is cool, edgy, rock. For many young women, having a English rocker boyfriend has substantial cachet.
    Other than that, I think most Americans are completely oblivious to the stereotypes that the English and Scots endure by Europeans (that they’re cheap, two-faced, etc.)
  • France – Mixed feelings, mixed feelings. Most Americans have known that the French enjoy criticizing the US and Americans; they know that Parisians are rude the minute you say something in English. But they still go there. Except for the minority of hard-core right-wing Americans who choose travel destinations on principle alone (they usually stay home), most Americans want to visit Paris.
    But, the average American is going to use the following word when describing the French: “snob.” And by most accounts it’s probably the most offensive word you can use in America, where “he’s a regular guy” is one of the highest compliments you can pay to someone.
    On the positive side, “cultured”, “sophisticated” and “thin” betray a certain jealousy that even the most hardened anti-French have towards this country, our oldest ally in the world.
  • Italy – American perceptions of Italians are shaped by Italian-Americans (who are mostly from Sicily, and are quite different from most contemporary Italians), the food, and, of course, Hollywood. Italians are considered laid-back, stylish, loud (in a good way; remember, we Americans are loud), and know good food. Think about it – if there ever were a universally-liked cuisine, it would be Italian. Italian women are considered very sexy – think Sophia Loren and Monica Bellucci. The men, too, are loved by American women (and gay men). The only negative stereotypes are that they’re mafiosos, and don’t bathe – very old stereotypes that made them the butt of jokes about 100 years ago. No one takes these sorts of jokes seriously anymore.
  • Germany – Unlike the Brits and other Europeans, Americans don’t have anything against the Germans. This is probably due to the fact that a plurality of white Americans have Deutsch blood coursing through their veins, and because Americans have fantastically short memories. Of course, if an American hates any particular German, he’s going to call him a Nazi, but Americans don’t think of them as the humorless, stiff, nazionalsocialistischer automatons that your average Brit, French or Czech does. Beyond that, the only perception of Germany is beer, sausage, sauerkraut and Oktoberfest. And maybe lederhosen.
  • Spain – I’m sorry to say this, considering Spaniards’ enormous sensitivity around it, but most Americans are going to conflate the Spanish with Mexicans. They’re going to assume Spain is poor, the people eat tacos and burritos, and they pay with worthless pesos. They’re going to assume Madrid is a suburb of Mexico City, and Barcelona is an island near Cancun. If they have fantastic memory, they might remember the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria, those famous Mexican ships sailed by that Mexican explorer, Hernan Cortes.
  • Scandinavia – I’m throwing the Netherlands in here, too, because for whatever reason, most Americans think “Dutch” applies to Denmark, and that they speak Danish in Holland. (I tell people although they’re all tall blondes that speak Germanic languages, Dutch bikes are routinely stolen while Danish ones aren’t.) Scandinavia is considered advanced technologically and blonde, blonde, blonde, but beyond that, there’s no reason to ever visit any of those countries. And most Americans might think Scandinavia is a country, and they speak a language called Slavic.
  • Ireland – Considering a happy, beautiful, green country full of shamrock-covered meadows and cheery little leprechauns. Maybe not too far from the truth, actually. The negative stereotype is that they’re drunks, but in America, that’s not really an insult anymore. Most Americans would be floored if they knew the per capita GDP of Ireland was higher than that of the US, and that Ireland has only 4.6 million people. Most Americans think it’s a huge, poor country.
  • Portugal – Part of Puerto Rico.
  • Greece – Based on the popularity of the 2002 film, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Greece is probably considered a quaint, colorful country full of charmingly nationalistic bumpkins. But the reality is that the country doesn’t cross the minds of most Americans whatsoever.
  • Countries completely ignored except by some ethnic descendants – Poland, Czechoslovakia (that’s right – it’s still one country), Yugoslavia (v.s.), Hungary (most Americans will think you’re joking if you tell them this is the name of a country; they might even believe you if you tell them it’s near Thirstary), and anything eastward, until you hit Russia.
  • Russia – Large, poor, cold, angry, gray. Again, not too far from the truth. Russia includes places like Moscow, Ukraine, all the -stans (sometimes even Paki- and Afghani-) and just about any other country with a majority white people that speak a language that’s not English that they’ve never heard of (Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, etc). Like the other former Iron Curtain countries, considered cold, depressing, nothing to see. They wouldn’t believe that St Petersburg is as beautiful as it is, as are Prague, Budapest, Krakow, etc.

These have been my perception of what the average insular white American knows and thinks. Here are some variants for different subgroups based on my conversations:

  • African-Americans (black) – Love France. Neutral on the rest of western Europe. Have absolutely no interest in, knowledge of, or desire to visit Eastern or Northern Europe.
  • Latinos – Love Spain. Positive on France and Italy. Have absolutely no interest in, knowledge of or desire to visit any other European country.
  • Asians – Indians adore Britain. The Vietnamese adore France. Filipinos adore Spain. (Are we beginning to see a pattern here?) Other Asians are not particularly interested in Europe (unless they’re very “Americanized”).
  • Gays – Europe is London, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin and Ibiza. The Mediterranean is hot. So is Eastern Europe, paradoxically (so much Eastern European gay porn comes Stateside). Very, very confused on which city goes where; a widespread perception that London, Paris, and Prague are an hour-long train ride from each other.
  • Lesbians – The only lesbians I know have gone to Amsterdam and loved it. Too small a sample size for me to form an impression.
  • Hipsters – Love London, Paris, and slightly more “edgy” capitals like Copenhagen, Prague, Helsinki and Barcelona. They tend to be relatively well-off and educated, so they might buck a lot of the stereotypes I’ve laid out here.

This will, no doubt, make more than a few Europeans fume in indignation, or nod smugly that Americans really are as ignorant as they’ve thought. Remember that there is a small but not insignificant (maybe 5-10%?) number of Americans who are widely travelled and know a ton about Europe and its geography, national temperaments and culture. They tend to live in the “urban archipelago”, esp in coastal cities like New York or San Francisco.

Update: If you want to see it quantified, here are Americans’ sentiments towards other countries (not just European). Unsurprisingly, the current bugaboos harped on about in the media are at the bottom of the list.

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  1. I’m a bitch. I sound like someone who’s never travelled and who’s getting her DL off of Hollywood.

    Comment by Marlowe — October 5, 2012 @ 3:45 am

  2. ” Indians adore Britain”…..thats …new
    Yes there was a point of common history and cultural exchange but definitely not to the point of adoration.
    It is treated like any other country albeit with more familiarity.

    Comment by dev — October 9, 2012 @ 2:17 pm

  3. I’m Chinese but I’ve been to America for several times and living there for a few months. I must say in general I think that Americans are very friendly people with a great sense of freedom and openness, they’re also quite a creative people with brilliant ideas, nationalistic and proud of being Americans. Some Americans are also tolerant and understanding, they are quite open and accepting “others” with joy and smile. They are also very individualistic, they like to appreciate other people’s uniqueness and quality which make them better in judging other people. Most Americans are also very optimistic about everything, they like to think for the better and simply never give up if they are failing.

    But on the bad side, Americans can be greedy and wasteful as they like to waste everything and never satisfied with everything they have, always want more. I also think that some Americans can be arrogant and self-centered because they like to think that they’re better than the others, and considered everything “un-American” is not good. The uneducated Americans are also tend to be racist and ignorant, they have heavy prejudice about others outside America and ignorant about other cultures. Some Americans can be hypocritical, they’re not very sincere/honest about admitting something they have in their minds. Though I actually have no thing against them, maybe a bit of mixed feelings or impression about them in general.

    The thing that I like about America is their pop-culture, I like their movies and musics they’re cool and always refreshing. I also like their technologies like weaponry, cyber, and IT which I simply envy because I wish that China one day can catch up too. American amusement parks like Disneyland, Universals, Warner Bros, etc. amuse me a lot, I like to visit them again if I have time to visit America again. Some American cities are nice too such as: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, New York, and Miami which offer all the great things. Those things simply left in my memories when I went back home to China, wish if I could go back and enjoy for once more.

    There are certain things that I don’t really like about America is their government policies. American government policies never think about other countries’ interest and always meddling with other countries business. They also like to commit wars everywhere which is simply wasting a lot of budgets and costing a lot lives. I just don’t really like how American government treat China and constantly pressuring China just to fulfill their interest. I also don’t like American medias like CNN, ABC news, Fox news, and CNBC that constantly make false report and prejudiced news about China. I just simply pissed of with that, can’t stand their media biases every time I read. And I don’t really like some Americans lifestyles like dependency on cars or SUVs, junk food consumption, and their consumerism. That’s why, a lot Americans have problems with obesity and money deficit.

    That’s all what I can say, if there’s something offending I’m sorry

    Comment by Zheng Youshan — November 4, 2012 @ 3:47 am

  4. Arrrrghhh!

    Well, I am american from the united snakes of america. I am not white though, I am brown man ya digg. I am a mixture of BlackAneese ( Black/Irish/Pinoy/Japanese).

    My views about europeans:
    Europeans are too serious. Relax, the Mayan calendar only ends in a few days, don’t worry now. Most europeans are very hatred against their neighboring countries (ie. dutch v.s. deutch & the french v.s. all european countires! lol) Most europeans are very nationalistic and hate their neighbors. I notice that many light-skinned european countries like france, germany, nords, swissmen, generally are very critical about things. They all talk about WWII flashbacks and about the Nazi and Stalin regimes, but you never hear young Americans talking about the Japanese (aka “Japs” during WWII). We don’t look at mexicans from mexico and say “look at that wetback!” Many western europeans hate eastern europeans and I think most all europeans are snobby and think they are king james ( with the exception of spanish and italian people, they are the nicest europeans in my opinion). Many countries around the black and adriatic seas are excluded from being part of “europe” such as romania, bulgaria, turkey, greece and so forth. To the french, dutch and german eyes, they are seen as alien beings and not true european people. Pretty much the drawing line of “europe” ends at the borders of poland, czech, and austria. Everything else east of them doesn’t exist. I think european people tend to build stereotypes about american people as being lazy, ignorant, dumb, and wasteful, and yes we may be all of these, but that’s what makes a nation #1 haven’t you learned yet in your complicated, big, football-sized head? If I ever catch a european trying to be snobby-greedy and racist in my hood rest assured you will get yo head stomped on and it just won’t be me doing the stomping, everyone gets their foot in yo face son.

    I feel like most northern europeans all look the same and all smell the same, like dog’s saliva. Europeans are very complicated people. They make everything very complicated, they are like a terrible taxi driver instead of taking the straight route, they make all these u-turns and circles to waste your money. lol. I heard french people don’t even bathe-Everything they do is complex, they think too complex, even the things they make such as vehicles and electronics are way to complicating for no apparent reason. Europeans overcharge on too many items which is why China is striving to soon take the #1 spotlight. Remember yo history only dates as far back as the nomads and ceasar, asian history such as ancient china dates back to more than 10,000 bce and theorist say the cradle of life began in Africa, not europe you fools. Europeans love to take advantage of people and this goes on and on historically from the times of the first roman ships. At least the arabs and muslims and jews fight and try to conquer amongst themselves, but france wants to take over nations like senegal and dakar in which my black folks there don’t even look a bit of shade of white color! The Spaniards and the Germans were the most greediest europeans at one point along with the french, trying to claim every nation abroad as theirs, much like how the koreans and china are trying to do in asia today. I guess this is why most americans and canadians look alike too, because the europeans came and conquered these land masses historically as well. In fact, they are all descents of european blood which is why they are all tall, slow, and stink like rotton cheese and elmer’s glue! At least we as americans try to use the excuse of providing “foreign aid” when really we’re after your oil and resources. I think europeans like to stick amongst themselves, they don’t like to inter-marry with other races especially with asians, but they love to travel.

    What I like about europeans:

    I like their food, they make one of the best cuisines globally besides the indians and the japanese. The only two european nations who knows how to cook good food are the french, and the italians, but really mostly italians. Europeans do make high quality things but it doesn’t mean I should have to give you half my paycheck for it you greedy european. I think greek people are the laziest europeans of all (what do they make that the world uses today?). I love european artwork, very artistic, very fashionable, everything has to be very complicating and detailed, remember, you are very complex people. I think many european women look way better than some american women, but they all seem too stuck up and very racially segregated amongst blacks, mexicans and asians. I like the creativity of the european mind. I love european music, classical music, french wine, german and swiss precision.

    No matter what european country you are from, we americans will call you a stinkin’ european, ok.

    Comment by NergoPinoy — December 18, 2012 @ 10:18 pm

  5. True, and funny! I really like the article…
    As an Italian thank you for pointing out that there is a difference between contemporary Italian and 50-years-ago-mostly-Sicilian-immigrant. Most of the people do not understand that there is a difference here :)))))))))))

    Comment by Elena — December 24, 2012 @ 5:41 am

  6. I had to agree with a lot of what was said. You just couldn’t stick to the topic without the “Bush bashing”????

    Comment by Jerri — January 6, 2013 @ 5:44 pm

  7. Actually,I know a lot of Americans that know where all of these places are. I’ve known where all of them were since I was at least 9. Before you make Americans seem that stupid get the facts.

    Comment by Attiy — January 20, 2013 @ 5:19 am

  8. Ok,so I live in the Netherlands and I’ve watched American movies and TV shows.Movies like ‘the terminator’ said (at the end):”we create our own destiny.” And I actually believed it. My family members said I shouldn’t believe ANY of those quotes in American movies.Also,I think that American people are just descendants from European people who immigrated to America between (I think) 1700-1800,but they look more perfect then we Europeans do and have a lot more interest in things such as dancing,singing or acting.I believe that ANYTHING is possible when you come to the U.S. and your dreams will come true.Just like what they say about New York; a country where dreams are made of.They also said on the TV that the U.S. was a free country (thus you can do anything you like without getting in trouble). I know an Asian person who thinks people from the U.S. are arrogant and stuff and they take everything seriously when it’s about a town in their own country like (an another example from an American movie) ‘Chicago the most favorite city in the world’. But it confuses me that a comment on YouTube from lights her cover of ‘we found love’ said the U.S.A. isn’t a good country anymore and that you shouldn’t come to the U.S. Otherwise I think that there are also much gangsters around in the U.S. Sorry if my grammar isn’t that good,I’m still in high school and under 16-20 years old :). I can tell that not all Americans are completely ignorant about Europe.For example Adam Young,the lead singer of owl city.He likes the U.S. but also thinks he could live in the Netherlands and wants to explore Europe. (he hasn’t seen the Anne Frank house yet) He even posted pictures of places in Europe on Instagram ! 😀 One more thing about him: he truly LOVED the whole Europe and U.K. Tour. I’ve been wondering about how Americans thought about Europeans and I’m very interested too. I would like to say that I feel quite miserable that the Netherlands doesn’t have many specialties as much as America does. By the way,the Dutch people do NOT only wear clogs,plant tulips,do drugs or ride a bike. Here are my stereotypes for some of the Europeans: Italians:All driving a boat,eating pasta,pizza,mozzarella and they are like very spontaneous. The French: They’re wearing a hat,some of them are mimes and they eat things like croissants,snails and crêpes. Germans. : They love schnitzel and are very jolly plus some of them are on Hitler’s side. Spanish. : They’ll pay any girl with blonde hair to cut a huge lock off so they can wear it themselves or sell it.They. Fight with bulls,ride on horses and beat mafias.I think they also dance the flamenco a lot. Scandinavia: They’re very tall people who speak in a funny accent with mostly the letter ø in it. It’s very cold there and if you’re driving near a forest,you might hit a deer xD (anyway,that’s what my cousin said about when they were on vacation in Denmark). Russia: Country full of communists. The British : People who are drinking tea every afternoon with cookies or scones. They have a very royal accent and they’re very neat.They have candystores with a huge variety of jellybean flavors and the entire U.K. is a magical place (because of books like Harry Potter,king Arthur and Molly Moon). The Irish: They eat potatoes and if you see a clover four a leprechaun will show up and gives you a rainbow including a pot of gold at the end. They love playing music and going to the pub. According to their history there was a conflict between the North and the south. One of these two parts was catholic and the other part was Protestant. People in Switzerland: They yodel,drink beer,eat bratwurst and are farmers with goats and cows. Yugoslavia: A classmate of mine came from this part of Europe and she had a funny accent.She was Muslim but had to move out of the country. I now know that several countries had people who had different beliefs/religions and that’s how this country/nation fell apart. That were all the stereotypes that I know,I do know that there is a country named Luxembourg though! Can anybody reply me and tell the TRUTH about Americans please? I find it very interesting that some people don’t know Europe,they should really visit sometime,Europe is great. (this is not meant arrogantly or proudly I love all countries) Should I believe all the media about what they say about America?

    Comment by Henriette — February 26, 2013 @ 3:19 pm

  9. Even though I am a French national naturalized American (citizen), I cannot understand the lefttist views of my own people the French. I cannot understand the hatred for President Bush. Have all these people who hate him so much ever go online and see the great impact he Had in Africa???? Over there he is adored because he did so much to fight AiDS. But he did nothing to let the media know or maybe the media did not want to know because they had a different agenda. I feel if anyone should be hated it should be the media.

    Right now in America Rush Limbaugh and other are constantly attacking the media because of their fabrications or lies. They support obama when he is trying to destroy them. Do tthe mass media know that they are losing money and what obama is doing will make them lose even more money. Maybe one day they will wake up and realize that instead of defending the left, they should defend the political party that is in favor of business.

    Comment by Bertrand Feuvray — March 19, 2013 @ 11:33 pm

  10. great article

    Comment by Freddy — September 29, 2013 @ 12:28 pm

  11. “And most Americans might think Scandinavia is a country, and they speak a language called Slavic.”

    Well, that’s not so far from the truth. Sweden, Denmark and Norway used to be a union until 1520, and Finland was a part of Swden until 1809. Since the middle ages danes and swedes have been fighting, sometimes at ethnic cleansing levels, over territory. Still, the culture is very much the same, maybe danes are a bit more liberal. Danish, swedish and norwegian is mutually intellegible (after a beer). Finnish is a completely different language though, it’s not even a european one.
    Since Finland was a part of sweden to 1809, and a part of Russia 1809-1918, the finnish language didn’t get official status until after WWI. Even during the russian period, swedish was the official language of Finland, along with russian.

    As a swede, I never use english or any other language as lingua franca when in Denmark or Norway. I speak swedish, they reply in danish/norwegian.

    Swedish, danish and norweigan (and icelandic) are germanic languages, which means they all are a kind of retarded german. 🙂 Which, just as a co-incidence, also applies to dutch and english, especially medieval english.

    Most bodyparts, household utensils, relatives, occupations, common verbs, numerals and adjectives have similaraties across all germanic languages. Pronounciation and/or spelling is pretty much the same.

    Comment by Magnus P — May 14, 2014 @ 9:07 am

  12. Thanks man, that was a really good read some subtle mistakes but who wants those pointed out ( except of course that Barcelona isn’t a capital, that would be Madrid, given the tone of the rest you can be forgiven after all we can all make mistakes ) not to ramble but I just wanted to say I,m an Englishman ( we never say British lol ) living in Spain and I,ve met some Americans here that we’re very friendly ( one was a little arrogant towards a brummy girl in the Spanish classes we were all taking at the time ) the funny thing was when I was chatting to one guy in Spanish and he realized I could speak English he indicated he would prefer to chat in english so naturally I jumped at the chance to have a good old chinwag well the instance we changed the language I noticed an increase in volume and pace of his banter, of course the guy was still sound ( good guy ) but the difference in his demeaner was quite funny
    Anyway thanks for the good read and take it easy ( the email takeiteasy was already taken, probably by some American lol )

    DailyCandor: You’re right – didn’t mean to imply that Barcelona was a country capital.

    Comment by Carl — June 17, 2014 @ 2:13 am

  13. I defiantly agree on a lot of these points. I am a Hungarian-American and I am often surprised how little Americans know about geography, especially European geography.

    Comment by Naytsel — June 29, 2014 @ 8:01 pm

  14. definitely*

    Comment by Naytsel — June 29, 2014 @ 8:05 pm

  15. Do you really think Yugoslavia is still a country?

    DailyCandor: Why, of course. It’s right in between Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union.

    Comment by kiki_991 — August 20, 2014 @ 4:55 pm

  16. Kids today are not taught enough geography….I don’t even think that’s a subject anymore. With the increase of global travel I find this amazing that most Americans are so ignorant of the rest of the world and their cultures …I suppose some Europeans are also ignorant but not nearly as many. Americans are very arrogant and self centered ,yes we have the best of everything but I’m not so sure that is always a good thing

    Comment by marlene carson — August 23, 2014 @ 8:12 am

  17. I enjoyed this article, even though I’m an idiot who used The National Enquirer fish-wrap as my underwear. Sorry I wasted that 5 minutes writing this inane comment.

    Comment by Mark Rodgers — August 29, 2014 @ 7:07 pm

  18. I don’t have much to add because I’m a huge backward bigot. Surprisingly to my own family more than anything else since they raised me better. I guess I should do the world a favor and shut up. Be sure to email me at zestacracker@yahoo.com (spammers welcome, too)

    Comment by JP — October 24, 2014 @ 8:24 pm

  19. You missed a big stereotype about France
    Most Americans will think that the French are pussies due to France losing most of their wars though ironically we wouldn’t have won the American revolution without them
    Also you over exaggerated on how dumb Americans are

    DailyCandor: Right on both counts. The number of ignorant Americans is not as high as Europeans, Australians and others think (and would like) it to be, but when you meet a really clueless one it’s kind of mind-blowing.

    Comment by Kyle — November 2, 2014 @ 7:02 pm

  20. Americans know nothing about the world, yet their armies can’t seem to stop invading the world? The Irony.

    DailyCandor: What’s ironic about it? Every country that attains primacy does the same, and its citizens tend to be just as self-absorbed.

    Comment by Lin — November 16, 2014 @ 7:19 am

  21. I’m back leaving yet another comment because, well, I live in my mother’s basement and what the hell else can I do all day but act like a tough guy on the Internet in a way I wouldn’t dare in real life? You might call me a loser…and you’d be right. 🙂 I’m off to comment well above my punching weight on more sites where the discussion level is several grades beyond my capacity for comprehension…toodles!

    Comment by JP — November 22, 2014 @ 8:06 pm

  22. My parents are from India and most of my relatives would not be able to name all fifty states in the U.S., or even know there were that many. They would also be clueless about European geography and even Southeast Asian countries, so don’t be so hypocritical. There are many Americans who know geography, so many of you posters who say that what the author says about Americans not knowing geography is true are the real stupid ones. There over 300 million people in the U.S., how can you attest to each one’s knowledge of geography?

    Comment by Vrinda — February 12, 2015 @ 4:18 pm

  23. Well, America is far away from Europe. Ask me about american geography or anyone in Europe about american geography, would they know it all ? Or the african map ? would they know ?

    It’s better to know, but if you’re living in America, and see the map of Europe, unless you have a real interest, it’s normal to get confused.

    THis post made me laugh though.

    The way I see the United states (as a French) :

    -They like to hug .
    – they use words like “quality time” (these words are hilarious)
    – They have fun when going to school
    -They are cheerful and try to be positive no matter what.
    – They don’t walk like us French. Their upper body is generally loose while French people stiffen their upper body .

    Comment by ceokophael — February 24, 2015 @ 4:11 pm

  24. Somewhere north of 90% of all those of Irish ancestry live somewhere other than Ireland. The place was eviscerated – demographically, economically, linguistically, socially and culturally – by England, between 1600 and 1900. Ethnic cleansing in slow motion, I suppose you could say. You could also say that that’s a very long time, and a long time ago; well it takes a long time to turn any country into a nation of beggars, dressed in rags, and living in filthy hovels; to do so much damage, when it’s done casually and sporadically, between major wars abroad and upheavals at home, and whenever a threat, military or economic, is perceived. And we live with the consequences still.
    They persuaded themselves, hypocritically and mendaciously, that the Irish were merely drunken, violent and ignorant savages and thoroughly deserved such treatment.. This message, a self-fulfilling prophecy by the way, was widely disseminated and accepted, at home and abroad. We Irish came to accept it ourselves eventually, in part at least. When I was a chap, in the 1950’s, it was widely believed in Ireland that nothing Irish was any good at all, and this was indeed partly true – and also self-fulfilling; the famous Irish national inferiority complex.
    You know of course that the English look down on all other nations, even the Scots a bit, and the Welsh quite a bit – but in quite a polite fashion. It would offend their sense of propriety and be in very poor taste to be open about this. I think they even sneer at Americans; not within American earshot, mind you, quite understandably. Britain is unpopular in many parts of the world because, in such places, they are the Unforgiven who enriched themselves by expropriation and/or exploitation.
    Oddly, the Irish don’t actually hate the English despite having ample reason to. Parts of Scottish and Northern Irish society are passively or actively – or sometimes violently – antipathetic to the Irish though. Their internalisation of 18th and 19th century English demonisation of the Irish still governs their thinking. The murderous conflict in Northern Ireland between 1969 and 1998 is totally the outcome of British policy and thus totally their fault. Northern Ireland was – maybe still is – an excruciating embarrassment to Britain; and as an Irishman, it pleases me no end that something in the history of their altogether nauseating and destructive involvement with Ireland embarrasses them yet.

    Comment by Tuskar Rock — April 29, 2015 @ 6:41 pm

  25. I haven’t met too many Americans in my life who bad mouth Europe or Europeans. It isn’t something we sit around the supper table and talk about. Many Americans I know would like the opportunity to travel to London, Paris or Rome if they had the time and money. It also seems like many Americans still have some sort of emotional investment in the countries of their ancestors, especially those with Irish or Italian roots. In my opinion the vast majority of white Americans have a more favorable view of Europe than they do of Asia, Africa or South America. Australia also seems to rate on higher scale. I do think that more and more Americans seem to be reacting to the negative views Europeans have of us by developing counter-negative views of the Europeans. I have stopped labeling myself as Irish-American because the Irish of Ireland increasingly have an utter contempt for us. We’ll go it alone and brush you off if you dislike us so much. I also think that sometimes the British can come across as hypocrites by condemning us for beating them at the global game of world domination. But, overall, Europeans rock!

    Comment by Steve Lonigan — June 1, 2015 @ 12:58 pm

  26. I disagree with this article. I’ve spoken with people throughout the world. Most people in every country are ignorant of geography and of most of the world. Americans do not have a greater amount of ignorance of the world/geography than any other nation, as a matter of fact, we have LESS because we have more diversity. As an American, I get ignorant comments all the time from people in other countries who believe Hollywood views of America or some ridiculous, laughable stereotype about the USA. A lot of Europeans are know-it-all idiots. Also, non-Americans bash the USA all the time, but can’t take anyone who has negative views of them, non-Americans need to stop being so overly sensitive. If you can dish it out to Americans, you need to take it.

    Comment by KJH — June 10, 2015 @ 6:07 pm

  27. I’ll tell you what Americans think. As for me, I think you’re cool. What the rest of the hillbilly population here thinks of at least the UK: “Ello Gov’na” is something you all say, tea and crumpets all around, bad teeth, pasty white complexions, scared of driving in the snow, would kill someone over a soccer/football match, makes more money and needs a car less, and thinks we couldn’t kick their ass in a war.

    As for the rest of Europe, this is what it seems to us: Ireland: Drunks and Redheads, Poland: Sausage and poverty, Netherlands: A really good place to get some marijuana, Denmark: isn’t that a part of the Netherlands?, Italy: the mob and pizza, France: Pussies that smoke too much, Spain: The Mexico of Europe, Greece: Buttsecks and Gyros, Czech: Hockey and see Poland, Germany: Beer and S&M, Switzerland: Where models and a cheese come from, Belgium: Waffles?, Sweden: Blond beautiful women, All the other unmentioned countries: Suckers who come here to drive cabs and roof houses.

    Just thought you should know.

    Comment by American_Idiot — August 18, 2015 @ 9:04 pm

  28. I want to be clear. Americans think that the French are a bunch of pussies, because they surrendered in World War 2.

    Comment by Erik — September 2, 2015 @ 11:54 pm

  29. Being French, (and this is mainly addressed to people like KJH and Erik), it always amazes me that despite claiming to be good hearted and caring people, Americans always manage to find great joy in our misery and suffering during WWII. As for being “pussies”, well that’s easy to say coming from a country that has the luxury of being surrounded by giant oceans. If the Americans have such disdain for us, then by all means, keep your asses home and don’t come to France to display your ignorance.

    Daily Candor: If you think their views are representative of a typical American’s views, then (specifically) you are more naive and stupid than your stereotypes make us (collectively) out to be.

    Comment by Francois — September 27, 2015 @ 10:10 am

  30. Why do people hold such deep rooted thoughts on people from other countries? All nations have had good moments and bad moments. America is a great country and have a reason to be introspective – they are fairly self contained. I felt sorry for the average American person who is educated and cultured when George Bush asked what American state Wales was in. How did he get to be President? He is dumb. As the World seems to becoming more and more violent and dangerous countries with similar ideals and customs need to stand side by side. I love Europe and its history and America.

    Message for 179: France was overrun in WW2 but were not pussies. France could not have stopped the Germans. They fought and resisted and English people know that. We would have been overrun too but for the Channel. Respect.

    Comment by Nick — October 24, 2015 @ 2:30 pm

  31. I’m an Irish-Hungarian born and raised in Hungary. The way I see it, these so-called cultural differences will become more and more marginal as time goes by, due to globalization. In 30-40 years, the majority of Europe will speak English as a second language. Many of those born after 1975 already speak the language fairly well. The Anglosphere has a vast influence on the world’s cultural landscape. From the films, the TV shows we’re watching, through the music we’re listening to, to the clothes we’re wearing…
    Although I grew up in Budapest, whenever I go to London, it feels like home. Same goes for any big German, French, Spanish, Italian city.
    They may speak a different language, but on both the most and least fundamental levels at which culture manifests itself, western culture is essentially the same wherever you go in the western world. The Anglosphere dominates it all.

    Comment by Pat — March 1, 2016 @ 5:40 pm

  32. The average american is too uninterested in other countries. Only the stars and stripes are important, the rest is…..the rest of the world.

    Comment by Jan — March 18, 2016 @ 2:27 pm

  33. “”””(This is why, I think, America assimilates foreigners better than Europe. They don’t know where other people come from, and soon forget; their foreignness ceases to be a liability, unlike Europeans who always remember that China had the Tiananmen Square massacre, a Serb killed Archduke Ferdinand and Serbia gave the world Slobodan Milosevic, etc.)”””

    Never seen such a wrong statement in my lifetime !!!



    Comment by Koch Claude — May 10, 2016 @ 10:35 am

  34. Wow. Serbia gave YOU Slobodan Milosevic? Like he did more damage to YOU then he did to Serbia?? What about Tesla? Michel Pupin? Jovan Cvijic? And many more. Saying such things about my country is very disrespectful and ignorant. Why didn’t you mention millions killed by European colonists? Brits? Germans? Dutch? You should be ashamed.

    DailyCandor: Serbia didn’t give us Tesla, Croatia did. And I don’t know who the hell the rest of those people are, and neither does anyone outside Serbia. Thanks for playing.

    Comment by dude — June 10, 2016 @ 2:36 am

  35. Tesla was born on 10 July [O.S. 28 June] 1856 into a Serb family in the village of Smiljan , Austrian Empire (modern-day Croatia[16]).[17] His father, Milutin Tesla, was an Orthodox priest. Tesla’s mother, ?uka Tesla (née Mandi?), whose father was also an Orthodox priest,[22] had a talent for making home craft tools, mechanical appliances, and the ability to memorize Serbian epic poems. ?uka had never received a formal education. Nikola credited his eidetic memory and creative abilities to his mother’s genetics and influence.Tesla’s progenitors were from western Serbia, near Montenegro.

    DailyCandor: Sure, no one is disputing that he was an ethnic Serb. He also grew up in Croatia.

    Comment by moe — June 16, 2016 @ 10:51 pm

  36. I have to admit, I used to admire Europeans. Part of me still does. But ever since I started seeing their views of Americans.. I had never in my almost two decades of existence, really formed a true opinion of them. But now, I feel that they are arrogant and conceited. I take pride in my country, my education, my family and friends. Childish as it may sound, I was wounded deeply knowing that no matter the choices I made, they people whom I had admired would think of me as a brainless idiot. If we suddenly declared war on NATO, I would gladly sharpen my bayonet and enlist.

    Comment by Jack Greenbrook — June 23, 2016 @ 3:51 pm

  37. […] What Americans think of Europeans :: Daily … – I wrote a hugely popular post on what Europeans think of each other, and we all know what Europeans think of Americans (that we’re fat and stupid – well, it’s a … […]

    Pingback by Americans Marry In Denmark – mikileak.info — August 28, 2016 @ 3:13 pm

  38. I think Americans are loud and obnoxious and in your face. They think they are the only people that matter in this world, because after all they are the number one at most things you can be number one at. They are ignorant because they don’t need to know about anyone else.

    But oddly enough Everything I just said was positive. There something larger than life about America that makes all those would be negative traits endearing.

    Comment by Juri — September 13, 2016 @ 6:45 am

  39. Well, guess I’m Scandinavian then. 😐
    Better take a cursus Danish.

    Comment by Nova — October 12, 2016 @ 12:47 pm

  40. Hey 27 “American Idiot” …you really are!! Have you ever been to.England?
    (1). Re our teeth…..the USA have quite a mouthful of those don’t they…that’s from your Irish ancestry. But over here never seen so many white shiny, Simon Cowell lookalike dentures recently…copying you lot!
    (2) And as to pasty skin…faked tans around everywhere here now but we do get the sun, just like other European countries…think you will find a lot of pasty skin in Eastern Europe countries, Russians, etc, but if you want to see really bad teeth go to Holland.
    (3) “Hello govnor”??? You’ve been watching too many black/white 1940s movies… maybe “Hello Mate” if you’re a cockney..but London has lost their Cockneys now to other cultures booming in….
    I lived in the States for 7 yrs. and would never knock the Americans…found them very friendly (except in NYC maybe, like most capital cities) but very naive when you travel to some States who don’t want to travel outside the big U.S. of A. because they say they have everything back home. But here’s a laugh, I was asked several times “how did I learn the language so fast” and I said well we did kind of invent it!!

    Comment by Sandra Johnstone — March 12, 2017 @ 4:11 am

  41. wow, i am a complete douchebag

    Comment by Greg — April 27, 2017 @ 3:39 am

  42. Me again…I’m a European… oh no, we’ve had Brexit, thank god, we have Viking blood.. we have an island mentality…. we don’t want to be ruled by a lot of overpaid, underworked, drunken and flirtatious diplomats… you see I worked at the UN… came out very despondent at their uselessness, (Now there’s a bunch of people in that building who hate the Americans but don’t mind living in NYC and enjoying all their freedoms and freebies)!!
    So I’m a Limey and to all you Yanks… what is all this that the Brits hate you?? Believe me I’ve been on this earth quite a long time and in all those years have never had one person say they hate you all…and we fought the war together.. even though you did come in a bit late!!
    My English pal married a Texan… she adores Bush, as Texans do, and when she met him and said she was from the UK he gave her a hug and said.., “oh you’re one of the good ones”!! Meaning immigrant wise.
    No 33 .. I must be ignorant too as I never had a history lesson on a Serb killing an Archduke!! Most of our history lessons took us to the English Civil War and that King Henry VIII who had all these wives and loved beheading them to move on to the next!!
    No 24 Tuskar Rock…I lived in London when the IRA were bombing everywhere, killing children and horses too, and because of Blair the leaders all got away with murder, literally!! Unfortunately there will never be real peace in that land. And when I lived in NYC I got fed up with Irish Americans being oblivious to that side…and watching the St. Patrick’s Day parade finished off with IRA men in black!!
    ….anyway as I always say, when you live in a country that’s when you see the nature of the people there so don’t generalise.. .peace and love and all that!! ?

    Comment by Sandra Johnstone — May 22, 2017 @ 1:23 am

  43. In Canada we have a popular television show called “Talking to Americans.” The Canadian host goes with a camera crew on to the streets of large American cities to find out what Americans know about Canada. It turns out Americans by-and-large know nothing about a neighbour they share a 5000 kilometre border with. This show has become one of the top Canadian comedies. Now the host does’nt just talk to dummies in the street but also talks to Ivy League Professors. According to many responses Americans are surprised that Canadians do not live in igloos, have paved highways, use computers, think Toronto is a small town( it has a larger population than Chicago)…. the list goes on long enough to prompt a series that has gone on numerous years.
    There is an old saying that the only way Americans learn about geography is through war. This is probably true. There are a couple of easy explanations. America is geographically isolated and has not been involved ( until about 1900) in European wars. This resulted in a cultural indifference to other people.
    Americans however need to get over themselves. Stop pointing that foamy number 1 finger while yelling how great you are at everything. Greatness is something which can be measured. Americans are far from number one in providing quality standard education, mortality rates,sexual equality, progressive social policies. America has more people in prison, more people die from guns, has the worst health care system, than any other industrialized country. Upward mobility (the “American Dream”) is not an American monopoly. America is the only country in the world where a bunch of guys from the east cost can play a game against a bunch of guys from the west cost and it’s called The “World Series.” Foreigners in America are called “aliens” and bad ideas or conduct are called “anti American” This helps to explain the willful ignorance exhibited by Americans against the rest of the world.

    Comment by Dieter Niebler — October 19, 2017 @ 8:08 pm

  44. Excuse me from which year is this article? Why author says Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia it’s still a country???????????? Or I missed some?!?! It’s in the part of „Countries completely ignored except by some ethnic descendants” he literally say “ that’s right it’s still one country” O MY GOD!! I mean this what’s I know Czechoslovakia separates two times and for good in 1992 and Yugoslavia this same year or 1991.. but Vikipedia, my dada, and my teachers from school might by wrong!? -_-
    I’m Polish btw I drive one hour from my city and I’m CZECH RUPUBLIC or I drive 3 h east and I’m in SLOVAKIA but what ever..

    Comment by Lena — December 6, 2017 @ 1:06 pm

  45. It’s so difficult?
    Mexico- tacos and mariachis
    Spain- jamon and wine

    Comment by Diego — December 28, 2017 @ 4:31 am

  46. No 45…. what are you talking about?!!

    Comment by Sandra Johnstone — December 28, 2017 @ 5:26 pm

  47. The growing perception in the US is that Americans don’t believe that Europe matters much anymore.
    Europeans seem to forget that the US isn’t only an Atlantic power, it is also a Pacific one as well. Perhaps even larger than it’s Atlantic status. This century may turn into the info the Pacific center of global attention. Someplace the Europeans aren’t invested in as or on par with the US.
    Will the US be able to count on Europe if something should happen there? Undoubtedly no, it’s a common perception of Americans these days. Does Europe really matter?
    It does with on certain areas that concern Europe.
    Europeans seem to forget that the US is also a Pacific power, more so than the Atlantic.
    Europeans will not come to the US’s aid if it will not affect
    them directly. North Korea is a good example. If it will not affect the Europeans directly why should they get involved? The Europeans will say that the US is warmongering. Of course.
    Many Americans have already counted out Europe. For more reasons than one. Americans have grown tired of European criticism of them and the US. More Americans are opting out of traveling to Europe these days.
    It will interesting to see how the next two years will turn out to be. Closer US-EU, or US-German relations? Highly doubtful. Israel and the US are much closer allies than European so-called European allies.

    Comment by Anthony Pilolli — May 27, 2018 @ 9:39 am

  48. The problem is not that Americans know shit about the rest of the world. The problem is that Americans act as if their ignorance is a virtue. I’m sure that the Romans at the zenith of their empire were similar until it was too late and the barbarians were at the gates

    Comment by Dieter — May 27, 2018 @ 8:00 pm

  49. Macron is sucking up to Trump, full of himself, and he is not very popular in his own country now.
    Mrs, May is sucking up to Trump because we need trade after Brexit and also the UK/USA have always been allies and saved Europe from Hitler…
    Obama was Mr. Cool, big ego. But what did he actually achieve as President?
    We all know Trump is not a politician, and is a womaniser – just like the Kennedys and Clinton, the latter who actually disgraced the White House office, and he and Hillary had a lot of fraud going on, she didn’t deserve to be President) but at least because of Trump, North and South Korea are talking, and hopefully soon he will be too with “the man in charge” who may start feeding his people instead of building nuclear weapons.
    As I said before, I lived in NYC for 7 yrs, when life was great and living conditions so much cheaper. Now like London these cities are unaffordable for the average worker.
    And us Brits don’t keep knocking the USA. We holiday constantly in NYC and the West Coast, Florida.

    Comment by Sandra Johnstone — May 28, 2018 @ 12:23 am

  50. I am American, one thing I have to say in our defense the United States can be different based on the region you live in. I am from Minnesota a state bordering Canada. and the temperment of people in the Midwest is largely laid back and very friendly and accepting. The States on the coast and in the South tend to be the ones where we get our Arrogant reputation. It’s a big country with different people and views.

    Comment by Andrew — June 30, 2018 @ 6:36 pm

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