What Europeans think of each other



This is a basic backgrounder for Americans, primarily, who might think Europeans do nothing all day but bitch about Americans. Don’t get me wrong—they do love bitching about Americans. But they also like bitching about each other, as well. Bordering countries, especially, have complex caricatures of each other, even when an outsider might think they’re more or less the same. The following is based on my numerous interactions with Europeans, having lived there for 4 years. Here’s a run down:

The French — Disliked by some Spanish (particularly the Catalonians), for being arrogant. One woman from Barcelona told me, “Come on, who really likes the French? Nobody!” The Swiss don’t like the fact that they have contempt for authority and are lazy. The Brits, of course, have the most mixed feelings about the French, though. One half the country hates them, the other half loves them. Those that hate the French tend to like the Americans, and vice versa. In the UK, they’re considered stinky, rude (they never line/queue up like decent people), and a bit yellow, based on their tendency to not fend off invaders like the Nazis.The French, in turn, dislike the British, look down on Belgians for being stupid, and don’t have much to say, in my experience, about Spaniards or Germans (oddly).

The Italians — Most of the stereotypes are positive, but mostly because of the food. Northern Europeans consider them lazy and flaky, and maybe incapable of managing anything right (mostly because of the 50+ governments they’ve had since WW2). One Dutch professor I had dismissed another Italian one, saying, “All the Italians care about are pasta and mamma.”Italians, in turn, don’t have strong feelings about other Europeans, but within Italy, the north-south divide is pretty strong. Northern Italians continuously complain that Southerners are lazy and unproductive, while Southerners complain that Northerners are devoid of culture or joie de vivre.

The Germans — Germans are considered industrious but uptight and humorless, by just about all the other Europeans. They know WW2 is a sore spot for them, so other Europeans will often mercilessly tease them about it. As much as Germany is considered an economic powerhouse, the vast majority of Europeans don’t really want to learn German or study there (or send their kids there to study). The food is considered uninspired, too, and only Berlin has some cachet among younger Europeans for its vibrant underground club scene. The most anti-German sentiments are among the Dutch and Danish, who just hate them from invading their countries too often. When German ask for directions in Holland, they’re usually given directions to the shortest way out of the country, or told “Give us back our bikes!”, a reference to the fact that Germans confiscated Dutch bicycles during WW2.Danes hate it when you pronounce their capital as “ko-pen-HAH-gen”, because this is the German pronunciation. Either pronounce it the English way (with “HAY” instead), or the Danish way, which is literally impossible to put down here.Germans tend to like their Western neighbors far more than they are liked by them, but they look down on their Eastern neighbors, particularly Poles. They, oddly, have some mixed respect for the Czechs, who have resisted German aggression.

The Scandinavians — Widely respected by most other Europeans, because of their high standard of living …and blond hair and blue eyes. However, within Scandinavia there are some persistent stereotypes. The Norwegians, Danes and Finns all think the Swedes are stupid and uptight. Norwegians are considered racist. Danes are considered more blunt than the others, maybe a bit more cranky, and the Finns are oddly introverted, even by Scandinavian standards. Except for the Danes really disliking Germans, and Finns really disliking Russians, they don’t really have anything against other Europeans.

The Belgians — Considered idiots by both the Dutch and the French. Belgians, in turn, consider the Dutch to be a bunch of cranky assholes, and French stuck-up.

The Dutch — The Dutch, like the Scandinavians, have an enviable economy and social order that’s admired by southern European countries. However, they do have a reputation of being self-righteous “know-it-alls” and very similar to their German cousins in terms of their rigidity. But they do not like any comparisons to Germans, and if you remind them that the Dutch national anthem makes a reference to the Dutch being “van Duitse bloed” (from German blood), you might quickly get the silent treatment. The Dutch are also disliked for being the biggest misers in Europe, and because of this they incur the wrath of the tourist industry wherever they travel. The Dutch have been known to stock up on water before they take their campers down to the south of France.The Dutch, in turn, kind of look down on just about everyone. Yes, there’s a bit of a reason for the “know-it-all” smart-ass reputation they have.

The Swiss — Considered extremely rigid, even by the Germans. Blunt to the point of being rude, the Swiss probably have the least likely reputation for being characterized as “friendly” or “warm”. Note that there is a big cultural divide between French-speaking Swiss, and the German-speaking Swiss. The former are almost exactly like the French, except having a blander cuisine and more respect for authority, the latter being more like the Germans except even more stiff, rigid and cranky. However, everyone knows Switzerland “works” so the fact that foreigners comprise 20% of the population (mostly from EU member states) should make this clear.Note that the German-speaking Swiss also speak their own variant of German, which sounds very strange if you’ve only been exposed to standard “hoch-Deutsch”.

The Spaniards — Honestly, very little antagonism against the Spanish or by the Spanish. No one really seems to dislike them, and they don’t seem to really dislike anyone else. (Yes, some Spaniards near the border to France don’t like the French very much) Not entirely sure why. However, God forbid you speak Spanish with a Latin American accent — there is still a lot of snobbery among Spaniards towards Latin Americans. Spaniards consider themselves white and European, and would be deeply insulted if you suggested they were Latin American of any kind.

The Greeks — Only nominally considered European by other Europeans, but the Greeks fiercely identify as European. Naturally, this is a huge irritant to Greeks.

The Poles — Not much seems to register about Poland and the Poles except that they’re quiet. They are a relatively big country (40 million people) so the supposed scare of being overrun by Eastern Europeans when a bunch of Eastern European countries joined the EU in 2005 focused in on the Poles. The Germans really don’t like Poles, and among Germany’s 9 neighbors, are disliked the most. Poland is considered a country of car thieves by the Germans. Really, the relationship between Germany and Poland is similar to that of the United States and Mexico, and often for many of the same reasons (differences in income, history of war, different languages, etc.).Poles really shore up their hatred for their eastern & southern neighbors, primarily Russia and Ukraine, although they don’t like Czechs, Slovaks or Lithuanians either. Oddly, they don’t really mind the Germans, and probably still fear them a bit — you never, ever hear jokes about Germans in Poland.

The Czechs — Considered a relatively bright spot of Eastern Europe by Western Europeans, but I think primarily because Prague is such a gorgeous city and a popular tourist destination. Czechs are a bit like Germans, though — a bit rude, blunt, and cold. Poles don’t have much good to say about them.

The Austrians — Considered a mix of the best & worst aspects of Germany and the Balkans, Austrians are considered laid-back but very nationalistic and racist. They’re said to be the birthplace of Hitler, but never came around to being fully apologetic about the Holocaust (unlike Germany). Neutral feelings from most ofWestern Europe, negative feelings from Germans (who consider them backwards, and not always the representing the best image of German-speaking people) and admired by Eastern Europeans (a throwback to the Hapsburgs).

The British – About half of the British would be really angry at being called European, so that should provide an apt starting point. The main beef with the Brits is that they’re considered the lapdog of the U.S., and are anti-European because the U.S. tells them to be so. They are considered polite, but maybe a bit two-faced (hence “Janus Britain”) and snobby. The Scots and Welsh are tolerated and liked, inasmuch as that no one really knows too much about them outside the UK, but the English are those that bear the brunt of negative sentiments among other Europeans. After all, London is in England.
The English also have a poor reputation in tourist traps, such as Amsterdam and Ibiza, for being loud-mouthed, obnoxious drunks.
The English, in turn, really seem to hate everyone. This is because it’s pretty hard to find an Englishman that has even, at best, neutral opinions about other Europeans (or Americans, or other nationalities). Europe is full of English expats, and the longer they live abroad, the more they seem to hate their host country. And yet they never seem to want to move home.

The Irish — A very small country, despite its exaggerated importance in Americans’ minds (just over 4.6 million in the Republic of Ireland) but considered polite and humble. They nominally dislike the English, but I have yet to meet an Irishman who really loathes the English. The sentiments towards the Irish and by the Irish seem to be positive, overall.
I personally don’t know much about how the Portuguese, Hungarians, Romanians, Bulgarians, and others are perceived, or how they perceive others, but if you have something to add, please do so in the comments below.

I’ll leave you with this poster I saw in an Italian office years ago, that helps sum it up in some ways:

In Heaven…

  • the mechanics are German
  • the chefs are French
  • the police are British
  • the lovers are Italian
  • and everything is organized by the Swiss.

In Hell…

  • the mechanics are French
  • the police are German
  • the chefs are British
  • the lovers are Swiss
  • and everything is organized by the Italians.

Update: Here’s my follow-up after this post got an avalanche of traffic and comments.

Another update: Here’s a related post on what Americans think about Europeans.

And another: 20 ways to slice up Europe.

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1,009 Comments »

  1. I’ve lived in Europe for a while, mainly in Spain and I can say for a matter of fact that mostly like Spaniards since they’re suppose to be the most open and happy European people but on the other hand they dislike Latin Americans and they don’t think very much about them also because of all the history there is between these two cultures.

    Comment by sal — February 20, 2008 @ 12:56 pm

  2. The German air controllers at Frankfurt Airport are renowned as a short-tempered lot. They not only expect one to know one’s gate parking
    location, but how to get there without any assistance from them. So it was with some amusement that we (a Pan Am 747) listened to the following
    exchange between Frankfurt ground control and a British Airways 747, call sign Speedbird 206″:

    Speedbird 206: “Frankfurt, Speedbird 206 clear of active runway.”

    Ground: “Speedbird 206. Taxi to gate Alpha One-Seven.”

    The BA 747 pulled onto the main taxiway and slowed to a stop.

    Ground: “Speedbird, do you not know where you are going?”

    Speedbird 206: “Stand by, Ground, I’m looking up our gate location now.”

    Ground (with quite arrogant impatience): “Speedbird 206, have you not been to Frankfurt before?”

    Speedbird 206 (coolly): “Yes, twice in 1944 — but I didn’t land.”

    Comment by Tapiwa — February 20, 2008 @ 1:26 pm

  3. I’m English, and I like Europe. I’m planning to expatriate to Italy with my girlfriend (who comes from Southern Italy, as she calls “the heel of the boot”) after we finish University (and I’m studying German and Russian, which probably says a lot). But yeah, the majority of English people are pretty anti-Europe, and complain endlessly about the EU. Not because of the Americans though, but because of our crappy media.

    Comment by James — February 20, 2008 @ 1:40 pm

  4. I read only the part about Poles and neighbours, because i come from this country and after reading I felt quite dissapointed. Most claims doesn’t exist even as a stereotypes about Poles. Ex. you say that there are no jokes about Germans. When i was young many jokes started with sth like: “There was Pole, German, Russian and devil”. I think you guess what was the ending of the jokes. The claim about southern neighbour is also false. We would joke about their languages, which are funny for us (just like in opposite direction). But we don’t feel any kind of hatred.
    However it is true that Poland is considered as a country of car thieves by Germans. But nowadays it’s rather strereotype than real truth.
    And last thing: the sentence “they, [Germans] have some mixed respect for the Czechs, who have resisted German aggression” is not historically correct.

    Comment by KM — February 20, 2008 @ 1:41 pm

  5. you are all a bunch of idiots

    Comment by MasterChief — February 20, 2008 @ 1:45 pm

  6. Very good article and also very true.
    I would like to say couple of things about Italians, though. Northern Italians, especially those from Milan, tend to behave like a mixture between the Brits, Swiss and the French. Blunt to the point of rudeness, rigid and uptight with no sense of humour, nacionalistic, arrogant, considering anything Italian – the best, and looking down on anybody from less developed countries. One characteristics that makes them similiar to the French is lack of knowledge of foreign languages, primary English. However, this is more likely due to the poor schooling system in Italy whereas the French are simply proud and consider their own language more important than any other.

    Comment by Expat in Italy — February 20, 2008 @ 1:46 pm

  7. I’d just like to say that this post is a useless pile of crap and I wish i hadn’t bothered skim reading it. The British are rude and obnoxious drunks. I totally agree. The British do no dislike being considered European since it is a matter of fact! I know that a scary percentage of the American population actually believes Europe to be a country. I expect you are in fact American and that why you think brits think like that. I’m Scottish and I’m euro peon because I live in Europe. I don’t personally hate any nation. I really dislike Dubai since they lock up young people from all over the world for having tiny dust particles of drugs on them. Dot ever go to their airport. Jet-lag pills can get you 4 years. As for Americans I worry about the percentage that take religion to seriously and the ones that are as thick as 2 planks. There are just too many of both. I love the Germans and I don’t mind the French. At least all these European countries have their own language unlike some of the younger nations in the world. ;0)

    Comment by Adam Kerr — February 20, 2008 @ 1:50 pm

  8. European stereotypes about other Europeans…

    By way of John Scalzi, a primer for Americans on how Europeans think about other Europeans: The Scandinavians ? Widely respected by most other Europeans, because of their high standard of living . . . and blond hair and blue……

    Trackback by Quotulatiousness — February 20, 2008 @ 2:21 pm

  9. Stereotypes in former Yugoslavia.

    Slovenians- The rest of former Yugoslavia considers them a nation of very feminine homosexuals. Most Slovenian’s think they are Italian and try their very hardest to act so. Slovenian’s look down on the rest of former Yugoslavia due to their economic superiority and because they’re very westernized, much more so than the rest of former Yugoslavia.

    croats- They are looked at as a nation of traitors and whores, who suck up to whoever seems strongest at the time, and whoever will give them the most personal gain. This is historically true as throughout history they have constantly jumped ship. Prior to WWI they were mates with the Austro-Hungarian empire. When they were defeated, they wanted in on Yugoslavia. In WWII they sided with the nazis, but after WWII wanted back in Yugoslavia to escape war crime convictions, and effectively masked their involvement in a mass genocide. croats consider themselves forward thinking and westernized, more advanced than the rest of Yugoslavia, while they may be more accepted by the West than Serbia and Bosnia, they are still very far behind Slovenia. Incredibly delusional.

    Bosnians- Everyone thinks they’re stupid, they think everyone’s stuck up.

    Serbs- Arrogant, uncompromising, strong willed, nationalistic. Serbs ran things in former Yugoslavia, so are greatly resented by all the other ex-Yu countries, especially the croatians who played second fiddle to the Serbs. Serbs have a siege mentality because throughout history they were always fighting with powers much stronger than themselves (Always resisted the ottoman empire, preventing their spread into Austria-Hungary, eventually helped force them back to turkey. The fiasco that sparked WWI. Fierce resistance against the German’s in WWII. Resisting the Western powers in the 90s’). The Serbs are very proud of themselves, and look down on the rest of former Yugoslavia because they were always the strongest of those nations, causing much resentment from the rest of ex-Yu. Serbs stand by their traditions, refuse to sell-out like the croats, this is often detrimental to themselves because Serbia is still very much Eastern European compared to croatia and slovenia. If Serbia was an English football club, they would be Millwall FC… ‘No one likes us, and we don’t care’.

    Comment by Serbo — February 20, 2008 @ 2:34 pm

  10. @isabella snow: Why is an enlish pilot sitting in a German airport tower? Please explain!

    Comment by schubi — February 20, 2008 @ 2:38 pm

  11. The English are loud-mouthed, obnoxious drunks while in tourist places? As an American that keeps a low-profile while in the UK (or at least tries to do so), that amuses me greatly.

    I’m about to move to Scotland to get married and live, and I really hope they can ignore the fact that I’m from the US given enough time. Probably not though. 😉

    Comment by Avi — February 20, 2008 @ 2:56 pm

  12. And the Portuguese? We are not Spaniards you know…

    Based on your post the way Europeans feel about Portuguese is just ignoring us. OK by me…

    Comment by cris — February 20, 2008 @ 2:57 pm

  13. Nice work!

    Its nice to read and most of this is true (in some way). I really love to live in europe because of this differences .. u have a lot to argue about 🙂

    Greetz Manuel (Europe, Germany, Berlin)

    Comment by Manuel — February 20, 2008 @ 3:02 pm

  14. But what do the Europeans think of Americans?

    Comment by Wok — February 20, 2008 @ 3:03 pm

  15. “Spaniards consider themselves white and European”???? Spaniards ARE WHITE and EUROPEAN you f…..g redneck .
    It is amazing how only in American protestant-derivative-of-British-arrogance collective mind a Spanish speaking person could be considered or implied to be non-white simply for – speaking Spanish. Contrary to what you might think, “Latin”, this American colloquialism (as usually deprived of every effort to study things into some detail), is not a racial attribute!!

    Yes, descendants of various Indian tribes in Americas who today speak Spanish (due to Spanish colonization) are obviously not white, but that doesn’t mean that all Spanish speaking people are not white.

    This stratification of the US society to white people and all the rest (which included white people who were not protestant and did not speak English) is simply a manifestation of some deeper pathologies stemming from arrogantly exclusive mindset of the society dating back to the time of Puritans. An average (white?) American is obviously hard-wired into such misconceptions.

    Do try to use whatever you may have between your ears from time to time. One’s racial attributes are not determined by the language one speaks …. or country of origin for that matter!

    Comment by T-B — February 20, 2008 @ 3:05 pm

  16. Yes, here in the UK we are the lapdog of the US and in England we seem to hate even those neighbors within our own borders (the Scotts, the Welsh).

    Tragic really.

    Comment by devolute — February 20, 2008 @ 3:08 pm

  17. You’re missing The Portuguese

    Comment by Conrad — February 20, 2008 @ 3:08 pm

  18. Irish generally dislike Romanians, BUY A ROSE, BUUY A HAAT!

    Comment by Roha — February 20, 2008 @ 3:19 pm

  19. In reference to the Scottish…they are tolerated because no-one knows much about them??

    WEll maybe the author doesnt but whenever I travel abroad and I say I am Scottish…the smiles come out, the drinks are bought and everyone says “thank god you’re not English”

    Have you seen the “Last King of Scotland” about Idi Amin who wanted to be Scottish?

    Comment by rozy — February 20, 2008 @ 3:48 pm

  20. “Spaniards consider themselves white and European, and would be deeply insulted if you suggested they were Latin American of any kind.”

    Um… they ARE white and European… as perfectly white and as perfectly European as anyone can possibly be… so…. um… how dumb would you have to be to think they were Latin American?

    Comment by Jordan Malone — February 20, 2008 @ 4:05 pm

  21. That collection of stereotypes does not qualify as information…

    Comment by Ikshaar — February 20, 2008 @ 4:27 pm

  22. JM this is excellent. I printed this out and hung it up over our bar. You’ll have to take my Word for it, it’s a place of honor. Many inspired conversations have been sparked.
    Best,
    Veronica

    Comment by Veronica — February 20, 2008 @ 4:48 pm

  23. Europe is full of English expats, and the longer they live abroad, the more they seem to hate their host country. And yet they never seem to want to move home.

    Amen!

    Comment by Fat Andy — February 20, 2008 @ 4:57 pm

  24. Having spent much of my life in heavily international schools, a lot of this rings very it’s-funny-cos-it’s-true. Piping up from the Irish perspective, for the elucidation of the internet at large: the only people the Irish hate are the people who insist on believing they’re Irish.

    (Also, I suspect your estimated population of Ireland might date from the 1996 census, or thereabouts; IIRC, we’re hovering around the 4 million mark now, give or take a few hundred thousand.)

    Comment by Sophie — February 20, 2008 @ 6:02 pm

  25. What about the Russians?or the Serbs?or the Bulgarians?
    How about the Hungarians?OR they aren’t even “nominally”
    Europeans?

    Comment by DrKoxx — February 20, 2008 @ 6:05 pm

  26. Nice writeup – waiting for your report on the rest of the world 🙂

    Comment by Binny V A — February 20, 2008 @ 6:09 pm

  27. You say you have not met an Irish person who really loathes the English. Clearly, we have not met. Nor do you know many of my Irish friends.

    Comment by mapoftehran — February 20, 2008 @ 6:19 pm

  28. […] What Europeans think of each other idioot eigenlijk en nogal stereotiep (tags: europe culture) […]

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  29. […] Avots+vair?k: http://dailycandor.com/what-europeans-think-of-each-other/ […]

    Pingback by URLK?VIS.COM » Ko eiropieši dom? viens par otru — February 20, 2008 @ 6:21 pm

  30. Not sure where you got the notion that there are absolutely no jokes about Germans in Poland… there are thousands of jokes that start with “Polak, Rusek i Niemiec”, meaning “A Pole, a Russian and a German”… with the German inevitably getting the shortest end of the stick…

    Comment by Marcin — February 20, 2008 @ 6:24 pm

  31. That was pretty enjoyable and seems fairly accurate, but there’s one perception that’s off I think. Far as I know, from German friends (and for the obvious reason), Poles loathe Germans and many young Germans in a Polish bar or club have frequently found himself at risk of a beating. But this was in the early and mid-90s not too long after the wall came down, maybe that has changed somewhat at this point.

    Best description of how Germans feel about Austrians is that they are perceived in the manner Americans view Canadians: as their less bright, less sophisticated and more happy-go- lucky dorky beer swilling cousins. (Obviously that stereotype is ridiculous. Except for the beer swilling part.)

    Comment by Peter — February 20, 2008 @ 6:34 pm

  32. Very nice article. You manage to keep it realistic and yet entertaining without casting the countries too much as stereotypes. Your observations suit my own very well, and I especially like your note about British people living abroad… soooo true. And I know, because I’m sharing a flat with one in Spain.

    Comment by Jonas — February 20, 2008 @ 7:05 pm

  33. From an American: Although I have a great respect for the German people, I found them very rude; also, very rude to the disabled. They are not only rude to Americans, they are rude to each other. I found southern Germany and Austria a very nice place with very nice people. If I were to ever live in Europe, it would either be Ireland, or Austria.

    Comment by Cealticson — February 20, 2008 @ 7:19 pm

  34. About the CZECHS you have maybe to live there for a while before souch a thinking (that they are bright spot of EastEurope probably because of Prague). The nicest thing about them (together with moravians) for me is that they are probably the most peaceful nation in area (also historicaly), maybe in EU.

    “Poles don’t have much good to say about them (czechs)”

    who are the polish, fleding their country in milions (and it`s not because they are the biggest country as they like to say. It`s apparetnly multiple number per capita than other nations in the eastern europe.
    They are not able to make conditions and atmosphere in Their Own country worth living there. Yet they feel no shame, having so often (in EU politics) the biggest mouth.

    Comment by Peter (SK/CZ) — February 20, 2008 @ 7:27 pm

  35. […] know about Europe ? Here is a funny summary of Europeans and what they think of each other. Not to be taken too […]

    Pingback by Wanna know about Europe ? « Blogs will be Blogs… — February 20, 2008 @ 8:09 pm

  36. – Naturally, this is a huge irritant to Greeks – It is ironic when you consider that even the word Europe originates from Greek history.

    Comment by Vassilis — February 20, 2008 @ 8:24 pm

  37. any true scot would have a heart attack by being included here as British. They hate the english. And it is a different country (like Ireland).

    Comment by LM — February 20, 2008 @ 8:30 pm

  38. One nice thing we noticed as we traveled throughout Europe last year for several months was that we experienced virtually no lack of warmth for americans. Now, if you were to express support for the Bush administration….well, good luck to you.

    Comment by JOHNB — February 20, 2008 @ 8:41 pm

  39. This is such an inadequate perception of Europeans, probably because its only from personal experience. The resentments between each country takes no actual seriousness in reality. look at the Union, though i know that all of these “attitude” stereotypes are real there is much more decency and respect within the European community. Complaints are complaints.

    Comment by Rob — February 20, 2008 @ 8:56 pm

  40. long time since i read such bullshit! It took over 100 years and a civil war before the U could be placed before SA. In Europe we’ll do it in 25-30 years in peace ;-)) BTW: I’m Dutch and love the Flamish but .. to be honest dislike the Walons a bit. It’s all culture and respect man

    Comment by Mark — February 20, 2008 @ 9:04 pm

  41. real recording from the early 1950’s
    english pilot flying into dreden has trouble with the landing .
    German tower: finnaly says in think german accent:
    what! Have you never flown to Dresden before?
    English Pilot:
    Yes…
    But we didn’t land…
    breif silence before
    tower carries on with landing instruction

    Comment by j. maison — February 20, 2008 @ 9:10 pm

  42. It deserves more than three diggs

    Comment by Dad — February 20, 2008 @ 9:51 pm

  43. Been globetrottin for at least 25 years.
    Agree with every word. Respect !!!
    (what’s amazing – an article doesn’t sound insulting to anyone. Double respect !)

    Comment by kesha — February 20, 2008 @ 10:35 pm

  44. It is amazing how you can write such a lengthy and supposedly authoritative post on what Europeans think of each other and then destroy all your hard work by lumping the Finns together with the Scandinavians, thereby showing your non-authoritativeness on European topics.

    Comment by ana — February 20, 2008 @ 10:50 pm

  45. Portugese vs. Spanish:

    The Portugese are considered to be poorer than the Spanish, but have more class.

    Comment by Dirk — February 20, 2008 @ 11:56 pm

  46. The only thing I disagreed with was that the French-speaking Swiss are almost exactly like the French. That is only true of those from the Canton of Geneva, who aspire to be French in all that they do. However, the rest of the French-speaking Swiss are much more laid-back, polite and unassuming. In fact, they are made fun of by the French for their slow speech and unhurried ways.

    Comment by CB — February 21, 2008 @ 12:03 am

  47. Just for the record, Finland is not, and have never been, in Scandinavia.

    This is very obvious for us living here, but it is a common mistake from people living far away from us to think that we have anything to do with Finland.

    Comment by Socraton — February 21, 2008 @ 12:14 am

  48. Having seen both German and American police in action, I think the police in hell are much, much more likely to be American. (I know it’s a post about Europe, but, humor me. ) The Germans of today are nothing at all like the stereotypes people want to believe. The police are respectful, even facing great disrespect. I even saw one policeman answer a physical assault with a smile. The situation ended peacefully. When was the last time that happened in the USA?

    Comment by jp — February 21, 2008 @ 12:17 am

  49. The scandinavian bit is wrong.

    The swedes view the other scandinavians are drugs. The Swedish stereotype of a Finn is a drunk with a knife. You don’t get in fights with Finn because everyone knows Finns carry a knife. The Finnish ferries are a great example of the Finn love of booze, once the VAT is off they will consume til near death.

    When I was in Belgium there was a great divide between the Dutch and French. The French were sensitive about their culture thus their TV stations would not subtitle movies, but dub them where as the Dutch channels would subtitle everything.

    Comment by Olli Pekka — February 21, 2008 @ 12:39 am

  50. Poles are vilified by even the Jewish community in Europe. The Germans have apologized and paid for their actions, the Jewish community understand this. But the Poles, they play the victim in World War II and refuse to say apologize for their behaviour under the occupation of Germany. The Poles outted their neighbors as Jews just to take their things. Sure many Poles died but many more Jews died at the hand or of the finger pointing of a Pole. The Poles refuse to apologize and continue to play the victim.

    There is a joke about this in my community: Why did the Pole say he was a victim was a Holocaust? Because he hurt his back loading his neighbors, the Jews, onto the train.

    For more reference:

    http://www.kimel.net/jewpol.html

    Comment by Northern Hebrew — February 21, 2008 @ 12:46 am

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