We have always been full of stereotypes – and it is fun to see how the world percept us. The French are said to be snobbish, the Brits well-mannered, and the Germans hard workers. These – often false – stereotypes don’t really tell us much about how our neighbors are, but they do tell us about how they are perceived. That existence of these stereotypes actually shows us how much Europeans need to understand their neighbors. The definition of stereotype is “a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing” – have that in mind. It’s important to be aware of stereotypes – if only to be able to avoid preconceptions. Here are the most common stereotypes for some European nationalities, but pay attention not to take them seriously…
Good lovers, best cuisine in the world, chaotic, irresponsible, introverted, selfish, cultured, social “players”, do not like to work – prefer to strike, always surrender in war, don’t speak English, rude to tourists, anti- American, ungrateful, live in a bureaucratic Socialist system, totally dependent on the state, don’t use soap, arrogant and conceited, distant and difficult to meet, don’t respect religious freedom, snobs.
Gigolos, live with their mamas, even more chaotic than the French, possessive, passionate, live for food–in particular pasta, talk with their hands, they are all about ‘La Famiglia’, smooth-talking, manipulative, dishonest, women have mustaches, fashion-addicted, Casanovas, mafia or gang members…
Live in the past, don’t care what people think, a different person when the sun’s out, not bothered about a bit of dust, never refuse a drink, don’t speak a foreign language, lost without their dogs, wouldn’t live anywhere else, drinkers, lousy food, stiff upper-lips, ultra-traditional, steady-on, old chaps, bulldog spirit, bad teeth and hygiene, rude, thin, smoke cigar or pipe, scruffy hair, “fitted” clothing, heavy binge drinkers, swear all day long, artistic, “fashionable”, deep thinkers, intelligent and articulate, boastful, anti-American, ride bikes, God save the Queen!
Punctual, individualists, cold, serious, obsessed cleaners, very rules oriented, private, rich, competent, introverted, modest, anxious, serious, multi-lingual, brand-affine, nit pickers, hard bargainers, watch makers, sit in the mountains, ‘yodel’ and milk their cows, play 12m long Alpine horns, ruddy cheeked, pretty smug because of the fresh mountain air, their trains always run on time, their diet is chocolate and holey-cheese, women are mostly blond, never grow old, like to help milking the cattle and are usually called Heidi, live in wooden huts on the mountainside, each room has at least one cuckoo clock, except people in Zurich: those are sharp-suited secretive bankers hoarding Nazi gold and helping out corrupt politicians and gangsters, obsessed with the environment, cleanliness and punctuality.
Fiesta, siesta, macho men, stunning women, loud and lazy, passionate characters, womanizers, food lovers, extroverted, untidy, conscientious, impulsive, megalomaniac, bull fighters, always late; “know how to live”, wine-drinking and ham-eating, temperamental, affectionate, emotional cry-babies, sophisticated, everybody smokes and talks all the time, proud and patriotic, fashionable, love to dance, relaxed, nationalists, cultured, respect their rights and duties, history and ancestry are important, leisure culture, open-minded and warm people.
Mechanical, organized, boring, no sense of humor, conscientious, drink beer all day – beer-bellied, always shake hands, born with a monkey wrench in their hands, eating vast quantities of sausage and sauerkraut, men have dodgy facial hair, women are icy Teutonic beauties with blond hair and blue eyes, legendary bureaucracy, both sexes loathe inefficiency, love the Fatherland, have never been late for anything in their lives, and would secretly like to invade Europe – even if they have to do it via the EU, eat about five huge meals a day, follow blindly rules and regulations like “don’t walk on public lawn” and “before crossing the road, wait for the little green man to show even if there is no car in sight”.
Is any of this true?