People Are Sharing "Unwritten Rules" Of European Culture, And As An American, I'm Low-Key Shocked At Some Of These
"Germans stare a LOT. Like, they will just gaze at you unflinchingly. An American will wait until you can’t see them doing it."
Every country has its own handbook of "unspoken rules," and unless you're wholly familiar with a country's culture, you might be in for a surprise or two when visiting.
I stumbled upon this Reddit thread where redditor u/CoffeeBoy88 asked the question, "What is something weird about Europe that Europeans don’t realize is weird?" Let's just say that, based on the many responses in the thread, I learned A LOT about European culture. Here are some of the responses.
3. "The UK has 30 accents per square mile."
5. "How incredibly inconsequential it is to cross country borders. I cycled through France to Belgium and the Netherlands, and there is barely even a sign to let you know which country you're entering."
6. "You drive five hours in the US and you’re basically still in the same place. You drive five hours in Europe and everyone’s talking different, and even the cheese is different."
7. "The absolute lack of air-conditioning even at 40 degrees Celsius, or 104 degrees Fahrenheit. German transport gets sticky and stinky quite fast and nobody seems to care — many people even shut the windows to avoid the 'annoying breeze.'"
8. "Finnish people are silent — small talk doesn't exist. Don't speak unless spoken to, or invade other people's personal space. It's seen as a sign of disrespect."
9. "Girl from Spain here! The two kisses are something very common, especially when you've just met the person and you introduce yourself — it is the 'standard' greeting. When I traveled to Germany years ago for an exchange and met the family that would give me room and board for weeks, it was very uncomfortable for me to just shake hands from a meter away. It was a feeling of 'stay away from my personal space' that justifies the cold vision we have of the northern countries."
11. "It might be just a Germany thing, but from what I’ve been told, one reason German Walmart failed is that the North American style of customer service was very unliked, from the greeter at the door to clerks asking if you need help unprompted. German shoppers just want to shop and go home as undisturbed as possible."
12. "Italians will pay for garbage taxes, then throw the garbage on the streets, only to pay other taxes for garbage cleaning and collection. Then the collected garbage gets sold cost-free to Germans, who burn the garbage and turn it into electricity, which gets sold back to Italians (not for free)."
13. "Not Europe-specific, but European Union–specific. I find it baffling that most of my peers have never thought about how easy it is to just move to a completely different country (within the EU), with little to no knowledge of the language and culture, and still be welcomed. You're just allowed to move to another country, and they can't say no (for the most part). You can decide you want to study elsewhere. Personally, I find this phenomenal, given how the rest of the world works."
14. "Coins being a useful form of currency. I was walking around with a huge quantity of coins clinking about and had no idea how to organize and carry them. I bought my first coin pouch. Czechia and its hefty medieval coins was a wild learning curve."
15. "Australian here. Casually just visiting a whole different country with a different language and culture for the weekend is so unique."
16. "Almost everything in Europe is old, and nobody treats the old buildings as though they're anything special. You go to someone's house, and their house is 700 years old. And all the cottages in the village are that old. You see things like buildings that were ancient Roman colosseums that were turned into medieval palaces that were turned into modern shopping malls or office buildings. Around where I am, it's rare for a building to be more than 100 years old, and most of them are registered, protected historical sites that can't be altered without a permit."
17. "Germans stare a LOT. Like, they will just gaze at you unflinchingly. An American will wait until you can’t see them doing it."
19. I was in Japan in 2018 when I learned that taxes included in price tags is a European thing. We wanted to buy something, and the first time we asked why we have to pay more than the number on the price tag, they explained that taxes aren't included."
20. "Porn on public TV. Discovered this in a hotel in Athens at like 10 or 11 p.m. Just flipping channels and BOOM!"
21. "I'm an American doing my little European tour right now, currently in Paris. I've been staying in major cities with visits to the countryside. Your trees, especially in your cities, are fucking massive. It feels like I'm walking through an arboretum sometimes. The trees always get me."
22. "Whenever I visit Europe, one thing that stands out is the smoking. It’s wayyyy more popular and accepted there than in the US."
24. "Paying for water at a restaurant and honestly, just the limited amount of water people drink. I always feel so incredibly dehydrated when I come back from Europe."
25. "When you're moving apartments in Germany, it's completely normal to rip out the entire kitchen — cabinets, counters, everything — and bring it with you. Otherwise, you sell it to the person moving in after you. I don't get it; your countertops will not fit into your new apartment??"
26. "Eggs aren't put in the fridge here in Europe, but we still have the little egg-shaped fridge shelves."
Are there any other differences between Europe and America that aren't on this list? Tell me in the comments below!
Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.