I first saw this stereotype of Europeans in a postcard when I was still living in Brussels as a kid. At that point in time, I don’t think I knew what stereotypes even were so I believed what the postcard was telling me. Prior to seeing this, I didn’t have much of an opinion on how certain Europeans are perceived through the eyes of others. I would ask my parents why Europeans are seen the way they do, but they’d give me the stereotypical explanation (for instance with Germans being very serious hence not having any humor), which didn’t answer my question. The more I saw such stereotypes, the more I started believing that they’re true. I now giggle to myself when I hear or see such references.
I recently came across a series of maps depicting Europe according to the national stereotypes in the minds of other countries. What a great laugh! Let’s take Germany as an example to see how we are perceived by others.
- The French are “Best Friends” with Germany
- The British say Germany has “Dirty Porn” and are part of the big “Evil Federated Empire of Europe”
- Americans agree with the British and say Germany has “Dirty Porn”
- Italians views Germany as “Clock Addicts”
- Bulgarians names Germany as the “Bundesrepublik Volkswagen”
- Latin America views Germany as “All Work and No Dancing”
So if we were to take these statements and turn it into a sentence, Germans are known to “be hard working as they are addicted to their clocks producing Volkswagens with no time for dancing but still find the time of day to watch dirty porn, while maintaining a best friend status with France”. Sure, that seems about right! But hey, where’s the beer and sauerkraut!?
Take a moment and view your European nation (or whichever one that you find most appealing) and see how it’s stereotyped through other eyes. Do you agree?