Naughty children face the same threat across Europe: terrifying beings may come at night to scare, kidnap or even eat them if they misbehave. But in Spain, a hairy hand will grab their feet. In Luxembourg, a Kropemann will drown them in the bathroom...
Achoo! Atchoum! Atchim! Atsjú! Hatschi! Etcì! Europeans enjoy a rich vocabulary when it comes to sneezing... But why does the same body reaction produce different sounds all over Europe?
Snooty French, stiff Brits, shy Finns and humourless Germans: Europeans love their conceptions about their neighbours to be well-defined, if not necessarily true. Even if stereotypes don’t teach us much about who our European neighbours really are, they do teach us a lot about how they are perceived.
Imagine Switzerland's William Tell, riding the polish Dragon of Krakow through the French Broceliande Forest… Dream of the iIalian Befana joining the witch’s ride in Austria… Visualize the Flying Dutchman sailing along Scotland's Loch Ness, with the German temptress Lorelei...
Cheers, Santé, Prost, Saúde, Skål, Kippis, Na zdravje or Egészségedre – those little words hide the most interesting tales. And they might just be the first words a foreigner learns when arriving in another European country…
Tintin, Asterix or Spirou are without doubt comics with international fame, and not only in Europe. But did you notice that each European country has developped over decades its own national comics art?
No tradition is observed as consistently as the Christmas Carols – with each country having its own twist, of course. Have a look at the Ukrainian, Norwegian and Czech songs, they will lead you directly to Christmas fairy.
What makes Europeans laugh? Which comedy films do they watch? Southern European countries likes to have a good laugh at their own sexuality. In the North, you will be more likely to laugh about social and societal issues.
English is the language of Shakespeare; German, the language of Goethe; Italian the language of Dante or Dutch the language of Vondel. All these expressions refer to famous writers, who are not only important for their national audience, but also to Europe's fame in the world.
But who are we laughing at? Belgian jokes are very popular in France, Luxembourg and the Netherlands such as jokes about the Swedes are very common in Norway, Denmark and Finland. In the Baltic countries, people tend to laugh at the Estonians, whereas in Balkan countries, they do jokes about the Bosnians.