“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.
– 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.
– 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.
– 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.
– 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?
– Brendan Behan
– 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.
– 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.
– Finnish joke
– Swedish joke, but maybe also a sad truth
– 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.
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.
– Geert van Istendael
– Jean-Claude Juncker
– Heinrich Heine, sharing the sentiments of most of Europe
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.
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.
– Czechs have the unique trait of not needing anyone to make fun of them, their jokes do the job quite well
“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.
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
– 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.
– Alexander Lukashenko, closeted Belarusian dictator
– 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.
– 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.
– 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.
– Miklós Zrínyi, expressing a strong patriotic spirit
– 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.
– 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.
– Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Bosnia and Herzegovina
– Dušan Šestić, composer of the national anthem
– 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.
– 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.
– 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.
– 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.
– PJ O’Rourke
– Turkish proverb
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