What Europeans think of each other

TheCaptain

Regular Member
Messages
33
Reaction score
3
Points
0
Location
Copenhagen
Ethnic group
Scandinavian
I just came across this page, which explains many well-known stereotypes about European countries:

dailycandor.com/what-europeans-think-of-each-other/

----

This is a basic backgrounder for Americans, primarily, who might think Europeans do nothing all day but ***** 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 3 million) 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.

--------

Do you think there is a grain of truth in these stereotypical views? Personally, I think he is quite right about many things!
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Always fun to read about these kinds of stereotypes. There is usually a basis of truth, although it is exaggerated. The best book I have read about differences between Europeans and what they think of each others is We Europeans, by Richard Hill.

A few comments.

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).

There is a huge divide between northern and southern Italy that too many Europeans (or even more non-Europeans) are unaware of. Northern Italy is as much an economic powerhouse as Germany (much more than East Germany, that's for sure). The GDP per capita if most of the North is among the highest in Europe (have a look at this map in PDF). In fact, if northern Italy (as far south as Emilia-Romagna) was an independent country, it would be the richest in Europe after Luxembourg.

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.

Belgians often think of the French as idiots too, both for their ignorance and behaviour. It's amazing the number of French people who don't know that Belgium is not a monolingual French-speaking country. That's basically why they think that all Belgians speak French with a funny accent and make many mistakes, and are therefore stupid. But most of the Belgians they hear on TV (politicians probably) are in fact Flemish speakers trying to speak French for the French media. Just ask a French what is the "Belgian accent" for them and you will know that it's true.

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.

Well, I think that it tells us more about the Dutch than about the Germans. Whining about their bikes 60 years ago, when their country didn't even try to resist German invasion (the Nazi were practically "welcomed" to both the Netherlands and Denmark). Neither Denmark nor the Netherlands suffered much from the German occupation, as they were considered German provinces, not enemies. Germany itself, and the countries it was actively at war with, suffered much more from WWII in terms of casualties and destruction. Frankly, it is petty minded of either the Dutch or Danes to resent the Germans for WWII. They were the luckiest in all Europe. Even other countries have mostly turned the page now. That was 3 generations ago, let's not linger on it !

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.

That isn't true. Many Belgians have mixed or negative feelings towards the Spaniards. I am not sure if this is due to the 200 years of Spanish rule in Belgium during the Inquisition , or the image of the blood-thirsty conquistador reconverted in matador. Belgian TV also likes to remind people that Spain uses huge amounts of dangerous chemicals on its fruit and vegetable farms, which are sold in all Europe. Spaniards are seen by Belgians either as warm and friendly, or as haughty and harsh. It really depends who you meet, I guess.

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.

Well, that's ironic because Ukraine and Russia are as close to Poland genetically as it gets. A North and South German are certainly more different than a Pole and a Ukrainian. It could even be argued that speaking in local dialects a Saxon has less chance of understanding a Bavarian than a Pole and a Ukrainian speaking their own language to each others.

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.

This was just beautifully put. :D Fortunately it is only half true.
 
Last edited:
Sterotypes I have found:
I'll start with my own first, The English
Stuck up. Look down on all other Europeans as they are all foreign and not English or British. Consider themselves as completely seperate from Europe, especially France. Bad food, bad teeth and drink nothing but tea. Abroad are loud, obnoxious and just why can't all these foreigners speak english?

The Scots
Misers. Miserable and have never forgiven the English for the defeats they have inflicted on them in most of the battles. Strong willed and the Highland scots hate the lowland scots and visa versa. Alawys wear kilts and eat haggis.

The Irish
Not very bright. Jolly and drunk. Like fighting. All of Ireland is nothing but small villages like Ballykissangel. Land of potatoes and whiskey

The French
Arrogant. Hate anyone who isn't french, especially the english. Hate anyone who doesn't speak french, it is, after all, a langauge of culture. Lovers and have good food, as long as you like garlic. All men in France smoke bad cigarettes, wear striped t-shirts and ride old bicycles with oinions around ther necks. Hate Parisians, but then again the Parisians hate the rest of France. Eat frogs legs and drink huge amounts of wine. Have no idea what soap is.

The Italians
Better known than the french for surrendering at the slightest sound of a gun. Hot headed lovers and knife wielding maniacs all out for vengence if you insult them, their family, cousins, towns, neighbours goat. Drive like lunatics in old Fiat 500s. Also known for being stylish in the cities, but the people in villages all dress like they have dropped out of the 19th century. eat nothing put pasta and tomatoes.

The Spanish
Laid back and always asleep during the afternoon. Never rush at anything. Like nothing better than finding an innocent animal and finding a novel way of killing it do not know what a car is really for and which side of the road to drive on.

The Swiss
Chocolate, cuckoo clocks and most of the world money. Most boring country in Europe.

The Germans
Do not know what a sense of humour is, even the langauge sounds grumpy and unfunny. A habit of starting landwars in Europe. Like order and will not deviate from instructions. Tidy, neat, obsessive, in other words a country of anal retentives. Make good efficient cars with no soul. have no speed limit on the autobahns. Food is something to be desired consisting of nothing but sausages and pickled cabbage. Like beer, huge quanties of it.

The Dutch
Most relaxed country in Europe as they are all stoned. Known for sticking fingers in holes in dykes.

:D:D:D
 
This is a basic backgrounder for Americans, primarily, who might think Europeans do nothing all day but ***** about Americans. Don稚 get me wrong―they do love bitching about Americans.
One of my most favourite pass times! :smash:
 
Stereotypes can be funny I think they only becoming insulting when a country is so blasé that no stereotypes come to mind to describe them.

Take the Czech artist David Cerny and his Entropia, I searched for ages trying to find his interpretation of Ireland and for a while I thought he must have lumped us in with Britain and left us out altogether – how insulting.

Then I eventually found his offering a brown bog with Uilleann pipes sticking out. Now no one does self debasement like the Irish, it's a national past time but what the hell was that?

Did he run out of time? Did he run over budget or could he not even be bothered to Goggle Ireland for a bit of material, for Gods sake we said no to Lisbon and we get some airy fairy nonsense that pipes out music once in a while from this chicken farming hack, seriously I was insulted that he didn't bother his arse to try and insult us properly.

Ok so perhaps he never was a chicken farmer, well that's how much effort I'll be putting into researching him.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
i found it great to read and peoples perceptions matched perfectly. But if you ask people from inside there own country they would disagree as of expected. Like i disagree about the british being snobbish, although i see were other countries are coming from i beleive its a small minority that are in the public eye of other countries that are snobbish. From my view Britain is a pie eating, beer drinking, proud country but i suppose if i called a American stupid which i do beleive Americans are less intelligent than europeans in general they would have a lot to say about that as i have about Britains being snobbish. (I am not moaning or complaining just expressing my views on England and the UK).
 
....... I thought he must have lumped us in with Britain and left us out altogether ・how insulting.
A rather common oversight but not nearly the worst that it gets: Westerners will give you a detailed list of countries of the world but when it comes to our intercontinental neighbours to the south - well! "That guy's been to Germany, France, Italy, Russia, Turkey, India, Japan, and Africa!" :frown:
 
Stereotypes can be funny I think they only becoming insulting when a country is so blasé that no stereotypes come to mind to describe them.

Take the Czech artist David Cerny and his Entropia, I searched for ages trying to find his interpretation of Ireland and for a while I thought he must have lumped us in with Britain and left us out altogether – how insulting.

Then I eventually found his offering a brown bog with Uilleann pipes sticking out. Now no one does self debasement like the Irish, it’s a national past time but what the hell was that?

Did he run out of time? Did he run over budget or could he not even be bothered to Goggle Ireland for a bit of material, for Gods sake we said no to Lisbon and we get some airy fairy nonsense that pipes out music once in a while from this chicken farming hack, seriously I was insulted that he didn’t bother his arse to try and insult us properly.

Ok so perhaps he never was a chicken farmer, well that’s how much effort I’ll be putting into researching him.
People presume that as Ireland is so close to the uk that they arent always thought as an independent country but through my experiece Ireland and England for example have very little in common except big factors such as main language and the weather pattens.:souka:
 
Last edited:
The Simpson's are doing a new episode for St. Patrick's Day where they return to the old country to discover their routes or something, I think Homer ends up running a pub but with the smoking ban he goes bust.

Considering the last few times the Sims touched on the Irish (snake whacking day was invented to chase the Paddies out of town and they introduced prohibition when Bart got drunk at a St. Patrick's day parade) I can only imagine the slaging will be horrendous when they dedicate a whole show to Ireland.

The 17th March for any of you who don't know when to drown the shamrock, we have the dubious honour where by this new episode will be aired in Europe before being shown in the US, I cant wait I should just about have enough time to grow an extra layer of skin.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Quite funny, definitly on the mark for much of my fellow Brits. The middle aged part of our population loathe the word "Europe" for no real reason, the younger one of which I am a proud member of, can't get their heads around the idea of us not being European.

Thankfully it will be us running the show in a few years, which should make things more interesting in Brussels.
 
There are a few stereotypes in Greece about other EU countries

French: They are considered arrogant, they don't know how to speak English and even if they do they won't do it just to piss you off. They eat disgusting food like worms frogs etc and they talk like frogs. They don't wash and they use perfumes to cover the bad smells. They are considered fashionable and french clothing brands are the most popular here

Italians: The southern ones are considered all members of the mafia. Women are considered hot and sexy and the language erotic. They eat tons of pasta 10 times a day and also eat cats, horses and worms!!! Greeks like Italians in general and consider them "brothers" (una faccia una razza).

Germans: People here consider them cold and completely unsexy. They are bad in bed without imagination. German women are considered ugly cause of their height and wide shoulders (bone structure in general). There is still the stereotype from WWII that all German female athletes look like men due to too much steroids. They are organized and respect the laws

Dutch: They are constantly stoned and they only pay for sex.

Scandinavians: They are admired for their high standard of living but they are considered lousy in bed. Men here say that Swedish girls are good looking but in bed they are cold as ice. Scandinavian women in general are considered lesbians and feminists and men are considered unable to please their women turning them to lesbians...

Scotts: They are considered stingy and people call them "dagobert duck"

English: Their food is awfull. Men are considered gay and women bad in bed

Well in general all northern European women are considered bad/cold in bed by Greeks.

Spanish: Greeks like spanish people in general and the only stereotype that comes to my mind at the moment is that both men and women are considered very sexy and good in bed.

Eastern Europeans: Everybody is thought to be communist. They all have round faces and washed-out - "lifeless" hair colors. Russians are considered good with computers (hacking, cracking etc) and all russian sites will infect your computer with viruses/worms etc. :p
 
My husband has told me a few stereotypes.

German, Dutch, Austrians, Scandinavians are easy to woo, just 5 minutes.

By contrast, Italians, Spanish Greeks are boring, it takes forever, they talk too much.

For the French the British, Irish, Scottish and Welsh are all the same, don't know how to cook, and don't know how to dress.

Spanish are loud and vulgar.

Eastern Europeans for them are all the same, they are considered another "race", with a different culture.

Scandinavians are far, distance and remote.
 
There is very interesting book by Luigi Barzini, Jr., The Europeans. In that book he has described couple of European nations, and Americans, making some kind of popular psychological analisys of all these people. Now I don't have the book in my hands to quote something.
 
But we're eager if you take the lead! :)

I have this feeling Scandinavians and French don't really get along, I get contrasting views coming from both ends, one coming from my husband and his people's points of views, the other my N European friend's point of view. :unsure: Plus some other stuff I read online, or something my German friend is saying to me!

And I wonder is it me or every time if there is a Scandinavian in my class it is almost always a Swedish, there was Norwegian girl once that's about it!
 
I have this feeling Scandinavians and French don't really get along, I get contrasting views coming from both ends, one coming from my husband and his people's points of views, the other my N European friend's point of view. :unsure: Plus some other stuff I read online, or something my German friend is saying to me!

I don't quite have the same feeling, but there are certainly some cultural diffferences between Scandinavia and France.

Scandinavians are informal, while the French are more formal. Scandinavians are very egalitarian, whereas France is a more hierarchical society. Last but not least, Scandinavians like people who are "down to earth" and dislike arrogant people. (no offence intended!)
 
Generally southern people are much louder than northern. They express their feelings easily.
 
And I wonder is it me or every time if there is a Scandinavian in my class it is almost always a Swedish, there was Norwegian girl once that's about it!
We (in Sweden) have a cultural/blood-tie with France, well …. with the French. It’s a long story. Do want to hear the full version or the short one?

At the end of our war against Napoleon (the last time we fought ANY war) we ended up with a dead King and no crown prince to take his place. What to do!!! A French officer, in Napoleon’s Army, was never forgotten for his kindness and humanitarian character while he was commander of the forces holding Swedish captured officers during that war so it was suggested such a gentleman would be “the proper stuff” for the Swedish crown. And that is why our royal family is named Bernadotte ever since.

The older generation in Sweden think of themselves as Frenchman at heart (ha-ha!) and we hold a dear thought to France. As a matter of fact my oldest son is studying in Paris due to the Swedish/French exchange program........



I have this feeling Scandinavians and French don't really get along, I get contrasting views coming from both ends, one coming from my husband and his people's points of views, the other my N European friend's point of view. Plus some other stuff I read online, or something my German friend is saying to me!
........ on a more personal level I have had 2 relationships with French women ….. both were disasters! If I may be allowed to generalize (from my own experience) then I’d say that French women are so damned manipulative that I can’t imagine a Swedish man getting on well for any length of time with a French woman. That’s my opinion, anyway, so in the end I suppose that agree with you.
 
Generally southern people are much louder than northern. They express their feelings easily.

I agree to part of this. But I think northerners are LOUDER and abrupt whereas southerners just speak FASTER and they never stop!
 

This thread has been viewed 228691 times.

Back
Top