European Trolling

“A war between Europeans is a civil war”

Victor Hugo, French novelist, 1849

Europeans tend to make love instead of war these days (as any Erasmus student can testify). But the belligerent spirit still flares from time to time. Next time one of those rare moments strikes, we suggest you keep your fists in your pockets and replace it with some good old-fashioned, time-tested verbal violence. It’s hardly the easy way out, though: what a Finn takes umbrage at might prove a delicious compliment in Spain. So if you want to get under somebody’s skin with the maximum efficiency, read this handy overview – how to  piss off each and every single one of your fellow Europeans as straightforwardly as you can. Avoid unproductive general insults, get straight to the heart of the matter, and find the perfect provocation for every occasion – saving valuable time which you can use to improve the economy or maybe clean the place up a bit.


“Oh salted sea, how much of your salt are Portuguese tears?”

– Fernando Pessoa, speaking of Portugal’s bright past/future

Piss off a Portuguese by asking when they gained independence from Spain. Alternatively, try to get a short Spanish lesson for your trip to Madrid and Barcelona – or, even better,  ask if they speak Brazilian.


“The French are wiser than they seem, and the Spaniards seem wiser than they are.”

– Francis Bacon, applying the scientific method

Ask the Spaniards if they are Latinos. Insist that the Spanish spoken in Latin America is much better. Cheer for the Barcelona football team when you’re in a bar in Madrid – and Real Madrid when in Barcelona. Ask them why they are such a lazy nation and generally downplay Spanish culture.


“Have the French for friends, but not for neighbours.”

– Emperor Nicephorus, 803 CE, before the discovery of perfume

Say that France is a beautiful country, insisting that your short trip to Paris is surely enough to give a decent general impression. Point out that the baguette is far too long to be practical, and that hopefully the EU will soon regulate the unruly specimen out of existence. Compliment any newfound friends for not being as smelly as most other French people.


“The thing about Iceland is that we are trapped there anyway, all of us. We have been trapped there for thousands of years.”

– Baltasar Kormákur

Start by saying they are the first Icelandic person you’ve ever met. Then ask if their wife/husband is a close relative or a distant one. Complain about the weather but rave about the landscape and the light. Conclude by asking how you pronounce the name of that volcano, again?


“Other people have a nationality. The Irish […] have a psychosis.”

– Brendan Behan

Ask them why the potato is their national dish and wonder why they don’t adopt the pound to get out of the economic doldrums. Point out that they live in the British Isles, or call their country Southern Ireland. Say that Clannad make shit music.

United Kingdom

“I know why the sun never sets on the British Empire, God would never trust an Englishman in the dark”

– Duncan Spaeth

Get into a heated debate about  Brexit, or call them America’s lap-dog anytime they say anything critical of the Continent. Tell them their accent is quaint, and is it from Australia? Insist that Scotland should/should not be independent. Anyone from Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales can be safely referred to as English. 


“Everything is fishy. You eat and drink fish and smell fish and breathe fish”

– Lilian Leland

Make clear that Sweden, Norway and Denmark are all the same place really. Then correct yourself by saying that Norwegians are actually the lucky ones for having the oil. Ask if they’ve seen polar bears in Oslo recently. Insist that Eurovision is crap and fail to acknowledge that Norway ever won the contest.


What is the difference between Swedes and Finns? The Swedes have nice neighbours!”

– Finnish joke

If you are talking to a woman, you are in luck: just insist that her place is in the kitchen and you are bound to get some gender equality outrage right there and then. Try to find out where they are from and then praise the other parts of the country very highly. Ask about the high suicide rates.


“The difference between a Finnish wedding and a Finnish funeral? At the funeral there’s one less drunk.”

– Swedish joke, but maybe also a sad truth

Be cheerful, physically invasive and extremely chatty about small inconsequential things with them when they are sober. When they are drunk bring up the whole Winter War stuff. Insist that excessive sauna use is probably why Finns are so depressed.


“Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.”

– Hamlet, probably talking about the fish sandwiches

Ask them if they have always been such a small nation. Excuse your ignorance, but did they get their independence from Sweden or Norway? If you live there and the government sends you a Danish flag for your birthday, refuse to fly it, or do it sloppily and upside down. Ask if they sold Greenland yet. 


“Apart from cheese and tulips, the main product of Holland is advocaat, a drink made from lawyers.”
– Alan Coren

Ask them if they can sell you some weed or mushrooms. Refer to their nation as Holland, and insist that you’ve seen all the fine sights that Amsterdam has to offer: the red light district and the coffee shops.


“Belgium is the best remedy against patriotism.”

– Geert van Istendael

Find out if the person is a French or Flemish speaker and then insist the other language is the country’s only proper one. Flat out refuse to accept the existence of the German-speaking minority. Ask them if they have a government. End your routine with the joke about chocolates and child abuse.


“We do not attract Russian money to Luxembourg with high interest rates…”

– Jean-Claude Juncker

Insist that they are not really a nation. Point out that Luxembourgish is not really a language, merely German with mistakes. Ask how many brass plates are nailed to their front door. Suggest they should stop profiting off banks and do some useful work instead.


“Thinking of Germany in the night robs me of my sleep.”

– Heinrich Heine, sharing the sentiments of most of Europe

Observe that nuclear energy is clean and green. Should they disagree, feel free to call them an eco-Nazi. Offer them still water to cool their temper off, instead of sparkling. Meander across the road when the light is red. Answer phone calls with “hello”, instead of saying your name.


“The Austrians have completed the feat of turning Beethoven into an Austrian, and Hitler into a German.”
– Billy Wilder

Ask them if they want to become a part of Germany again like they were before World War II. Insist that it will be better in the long run anyway. Talk to them about all the famous Austrians you know, like Mozart, Christoph Waltz and… you know where this is going, don’t you? Last, if you’re having a conversation with an aspiring volleyball player, tell them the only sports you thought Austrians were good at are winter sports.


“I’ve always wanted to go to Switzerland to see what the army does with those wee red knives.”
– Billy Connolly

Ask whether Switzerland is next to Norway, or is that Finland. Ask if they speak “Swiss”. When they explain they speak Swiss German, point out that it is just a dialect and not a real language. Ask whether everyone in the land of cheese and chocolate is fat. Point out that Belgium chocolate is better.


“Rome reminds me of a man who lives by exhibiting to travellers his grandmother’s corpse.”
– James Joyce

Ask why all Italian men live with their mothers until they’re 30. Wear your seatbelt  in the car as a way of impugning the driver’s skills. Tell them they look Albanian. If they invite you to a restaurant, complain about Italian cuisine; they make the pizzas much better at home. 


“What does a sloth do when the forest is on fire? He is on fire too.”

– Czechs have the unique trait of not needing anyone to make fun of them, their jokes do the job quite well

Say Budweiser is your favourite American beer. At dinner, serve only vegetarian meals, as Czechs’ normal diet is neither healthy nor conducive to good character. Call Czech an ugly language: Slovak is much nicer. 


“The Slovak language was created by someone drunkenly trying to translate Russian to Czech.”

– Linguistic research results as presented by Czechs

Note they are dreadful at hockey without any talented players and good playing style, unlike the Czechs. Tell them they have a delightful country, you love Prague, you’ve been so many times! Then call them Slovenia and say how much you admire Melania Trump.


“One Pole is a charmer; two Poles – a brawl; three Poles – well, this is the Polish Question.”
– Voltaire

Call Catholicism an outdated and boring religion. Ask to be taught some Russian. You prefer Russian vodka to Polish. Loudly admire that big Soviet palace thing, the finest building in Warsaw.

Lithuania – Latvia – Estonia

“Man is hungry. He steal bread to feed family. Get home, find all family have gone Siberia! ‘More bread for me,’ man think. But bread have worm.”

– A joke from the region, apparently

Grouping them like this is already insulting enough, but don’t forget to also ask them why they aren’t a part of Russia, since so many of them speak Russian anyway. Ask them if the countries have any real history given they are only 30 years old. Ask them why they don’t unite, since they are all the same anyway. The internet said not to make jokes about their culture, so obviously go right ahead. Tell them you went there once for a stag night and had a great laugh. 


“It’s better to be a dictator than gay.”

– Alexander Lukashenko, closeted Belarusian dictator

Start gently by asking if they miss being part of the Soviet Union. Then get stuck in with why their country is named ‘White Russia‘. Call them ‘the last dictatorship in Europe’ and innocently propose collective anger management therapy. End by mocking  traditional dances and music.


“You know your government has failed when your grandma starts to riot.”

– Ukrainian Internet meme

Observe how it’s always freezing in Ukraine. Which is obvious, we guess, what with Ukraine just being a region of Russia, where they basically speak the Russian language. Diligently check whether talking to them poses a radiation risk. Conclude that you couldn’t live there since you wouldn’t be able stomach borscht and salo for every meal.


“What’s big, black, noisy, makes a lot of smoke and cuts carrots in five? The Romanian machine for cutting carrots in four.”

– Moldovan joke

Express the greatest sympathy for the Roma people and your happiness that they have their finally founded their own country. Inquire if they have internet in their part of the Balkans. Do a bad Dracula impression. Ask them why they stole their flag from Chad.


“Is Moldova safe?”

– Most popular Google search when looking for Moldova

Casually call them Romanians or Russians and say you feel safer in their country than expected. Ask if they’re proud to top the ranking as Europe’s poorest country, and whether they think it’s more due to laziness or alcoholism. 


“We are no worse than any other nation in the world.”

– Miklós Zrínyi, expressing a strong patriotic spirit

Argue about Hungarian history, though stressing it’s your favourite Eastern European nation. Muddle the Italian and Hungarian flags, and repeatedly call their capital Bucharest. Before a meal, ask them if they are “hung-a-ry”, a  joke they will almost certainly never have heard before. 


The shortest joke in the world: “A couple is walking along the Slovenian coast…”

– Joke, like the Slovenian coast

Call them Slovakians – or, even better, Alpine Serbs. Ask why Slovenia has so few nice beaches compared to Croatia. Point out they’re only in the EU because Austria needed a parking spot. 


“Check before you bite if it is bread or a stone”

– Croatian proverb

Explain you can speak Serbian. Just like Nikola Tesla who was, as everyone knows, Serbian. Repeat as required; the fury won’t end. Then make peace by insisting that Croatia is a Balkan country anyway.


“Kosovo is Serbian, only if my mother is a virgin.”

– Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Get directly, irrevocably to the point by asking whether Kosovo is actually an independent country. Bring to the boil by asking about the Yugoslav wars. Serve with a garnish of comments about their driving skills or their mum’s cooking habits.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

“Not everyone in this country is a thief or corrupt. If I was, I would be a politician and be doing far better in life.”

– Dušan Šestić, composer of the national anthem

Ask why they gave their coastline up to Croatia. Isn’t it rather strange for such a small country to have such a long and complicated name – maybe they’re compensating for something? Rejoice that you’ve met one of the few of their countryman who isn’t a thief. 


“He who drinks on credit, gets drunk twice.”

– Proverb from Montenegro

Ask if they really are a country, as you’ve never heard of them despite all your trips to cities across Europe, which have been as varied as Paris, London and Berlin. Call them “Montevideo.” Point out that a country should be made up of more than a hill and a lake. 


“If you ever feel bad about your weight, just remember that ‘fat’ in Albanian means ‘luck’.”

– Straight from the dictionary

Even the most diligent of European trolls reaches their limit of countries they are willing to piss off – and this limit is called Albania. They have guns, they have a mafia, and they have the violence that goes with both. So don’t even try it, not even a bit. 


“Um… Bulgaria is an interesting country… There are potholes the size of small planets.”

– Rachel Nichols

Ask whether Bulgarians are still Macedonians and when their language became distinct from it. Claim Bulgarian yoghurt is not as good as the Danone you buy down the supermarket. If you meet them in Germany, ask if they plan to get a job or just stay on welfare. 

North Macedonia

“What do you call a Bulgarian trying to understand Macedonian history? A person without a chance.”

– A Bulgarian joke

Ask why everyone is interested in the stability of their country except their neighbours. Be confused about whether North Macedonia is the same thing as the Greek region of Macedonia. Ask why their country changed its name from FYROM. 


“The Greeks – dirty and impoverished descendants of a bunch of la-de-da fruit salads who invented democracy and then forgot how to use it while walking around dressed up like girls.”

– PJ O’Rourke

Tell them to be less profligate, and more like Germans. Observe that all Greek dishes are in fact Turkish. Then keep using the Turkish names to refer to them. Tell them that you want to visit North Macedonia to witness the legacy of Alexander the Great.


“Realising they will never be a world power, the Cypriots have decided to settle for being a world nuisance.”

– George Mikes

Ask if they really are in the EU. Say how you’re looking forward to visiting the island so much you’ve already started learning Turkish. Call Halloumi cheese Greek. 


“Coffee should be black as hell, strong as death and as sweet as love.”

– Turkish proverb

Ask them to translate an Arabic sentence for you, as they’re pretty much the same.  Inquire if Turkey is a desert. Compare Turkish food to Greek, Cypriot and Bulgarian, ideally unfavourably. Assert that the best kebabs on earth are from Berlin.

With many thanks to the original author of this article Milen Iliev and for granting reproduction rights. Additions and edits by europeisnotdead.

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