You know at E&M we want Europe to be a happy, love-filled place. But hey, if you have to tick someone off, we at least want you to do it in style. So, don’t bother with just any insult: find out what annoying sterotypes will really drive your beloved neighbours nuts.

Even though Europeans tend to make love instead of war these days (as any Erasmus student can testify), the spirit of Ares still flares occasionally. For those rare moments, I suggest that you keep your fists in your pockets and try some time-tested verbal violence instead. Now, here’s where it gets tricky: what a Finn takes as an insult might be a lovely compliment to a Spaniard. This article aims to provide you with a quick overview of how to best insult all your fellow EU citizens. It will teach you how to avoid inefficient general insults and instead go straight to the heart of the matter, thus saving time, which can be invest in improving the economy or maybe cleaning up the place a bit.

The (never published) book every European needs. | Photo: Inga Gottfrau / Liz Lawley (flickr), CC BY-SA 2.0

Austria
“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.

Belgium
“Belgium is the best remedy against patriotism.”
– Geert van Istendael
Try to find out if the person is either French- or Flemish-speaking and then insist that the other language should be Belgium’s only official one. Make that joke about the chocolates and child abuse.

Bulgaria
“Um… Bulgaria is an interesting country… There are potholes the size of small planets.”
– Rachel Nichols
Ask whether Bulgarians were Macedonian earlier in their history and when the Bulgarian language split off from the original Macedonian. Claim that Bulgarian yoghurt is not as good as the Danone you buy at the supermarket. If you meet them in Germany, ask if they plan to get a job or just stay on social support.

Croatia
“The necktie was invented in Croatia and is locally known as the cravat.”
– This is about the most interesting/funny thing the author could find on the Internet about Croatia.
Enthusiastically say that you speak Serbian, and when they say that in Croatia they speak Croatian get into a convoluted argument, during which you argue that the two languages are the same. Insist that Croatia is a Balkan country.

Estonia/Latvia/Lithuania
“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 such a large part of their population speaks Russian anyway. Ask them if they have any history, since they are only 20 years old as countries, and enquire why they don’t want to unite, since they are all the same anyway. The internet said not to make jokes about their culture. So you should obviously learn some and go for it.

Greece
“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 that they are too wasteful and should be more like Germany. Insist 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 Macedonia to witness the legacy of Alexander the Great.

Photo: Nicholas Noyes (flickr), CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Romania
“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
Insist that you have the greatest sympathy for the Roma people and that you are happy that they have their own country, where they can build a better future for themselves. Inquire if they have the internet in Romania. Insist that Romania is a Balkan country. Ask them why they stole Chad’s national flag.

Poland
“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 them if they can teach you some Russian. Claim that Russian vodka is much better than anything Polish. Say that the best building in Warsaw is that big Soviet palace thing.

Finland
“The difference between a Finnish wedding and a Finnish funeral is that at a funeral there’s one person not having vodka.”
– 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.

Sweden
“What is the difference between Swedes and Finns? The Swedes have nice neighbours!”
– Finnish joke
If the person you are talking to is female, you are in luck: just insist that a woman’s 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.

Slovenia
The shortest joke in the world: “A couple is walking along the Slovenian coast…”
– Joke, like the Slovenian coast
Keep mixing them up with Slovakia. Ask them why Croatia has so many beautiful seaside locations and why Slovenia doesn’t.

Slovakia
“The Slovak language has been invented by Stur has he was drunk and tried to translate Russian to Czech.”
– Linguistic research results as presented by Czechs
Claim that Slovakia is pretty bad at hockey, because they have never had any talented players and good playing style, unlike the Czechs.

Czech Republic
“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 that Budweiser is your favourite American beer. Invite them to dinner and serve only vegetarian meals, claiming that what Czechs normally eat is not healthy or conducive to good character. Say that Czech is an ugly language.

Italy
“Rome reminds me of a man who lives by exhibiting to travellers his grandmother’s corpse.”
– James Joyce
Ask why all Italian men still live with their mothers by the age of 30. Wear your seatbelt when in the car and imply that you don’t trust the driver’s skills. Tell them they look Albanian. If they invite you to a restaurant, complain about Italian cuisine.

Photo: Klearchos Kapoutsis (flickr), CC BY 2.0

Malta
“Apart from donkeys, mules and horses, which we continue to eat as before, we have now also eaten most of the dogs and cats as well as a good number of large rats.”
– Bosredon Ransijat , describing the finer features of Maltese cuisine
Just start a debate on abortion and atheism. Be smug about it and call them backwards for still believing in a higher power. Ask them if the Maltese Italian is different from the one spoken on the mainland.

Hungary
“We are no worse than any other nation in the world.”
– Miklós Zrínyi, expressing a strong patriotic spirit
Get into an argument about Hungarian history and keep mentioning that it is an Eastern European nation. Keep mixing up Budapest and Bucharest and when corrected, insist that both cities are the same anyway.

Germany
“Thinking of Germany in the night robs me of my sleep.”
– Heinrich Heine, sharing the sentiments of most of Europe
Insist that nuclear energy is clean and environmentally friendly. When they disagree with you, call them an eco-Nazi. Offer them still water to cool their temper off, instead of sparkling. If you get a call, answer with “hello”, instead of saying your name.

Denmark
“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 yourself for your ignorance and ask them if they got 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.

France
“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, then clarify that you have only been to Paris but that should be enough to form an impression. Insist that the baguette is far too long to be practical and express hope that the EU will make a regulation to shorten it. Compliment your conversation partner for not being as smelly as most other French people.

Netherlands
“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 sights that Amsterdam has to offer: the red light district and the coffee shops.

Luxembourg
“Wéivill kascht dat?” (How much does it cost?)
– First line of Luxemourg’s national anthem
Insist that they are not really a nation, when you really get down to the idea of what a nation is. Ask them to explain why Luxembourgish is a language and say that is sounds suspiciously similar to German. Suggest they should stop profiting off banks and do some useful work instead.

Photo: Pedro Ribeiro Simoes (flickr), CC BY 2.0

Spain
“The French are wiser than they seem, and the Spaniards seem wiser than they are.”
– Francis Bacon, applying the scientific method
Insist that the Spanish spoken in Latin America is much better. Ask them why they are such a lazy nation.

Great Britain
“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 the EU, insist that they adopt the Euro and call them America’s lap-dog anytime they say anything critical of the Continent. Insist that Scotland should/should not be independent. If you know that your conversation partner is from Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, keep using England to refer to Great Britain.

Ireland
“Other people have a nationality. The Irish […] have a psychosis.”
– Brendan Behan
Ask them why the potato is their national dish and suggest they join Great Britain and adopt the pound to get out of the crisis. Say that Clannad make shit music.

Cyprus
“Realising they will never be a world power, the Cypriots have decided to settle for being a world nuisance.”
– George Mikes
Ask them if they really are in the EU. Express the desire to visit the island and claim that you are learning Turkish expressly for that purpose.

Portugal
“Oh salted sea, how much of your salt are Portuguese tears?”
– Fernando Pessoa, speaking of Portugal’s bright past/future
Ask them when they gained independence from Spain. Request a short Spanish lesson, since you want to travel to Madrid and Barcelona and may need it.

So that’s it. No matter how messed up your nation is, your neighbours are not much better. Here’s to a bright future, with lots of group therapy sessions on the floor of the European Parliament. Stay safe and love your dysfunctional neighbours, dear Europeans.

Thank you to the websites that helped me in my research:
www.europeisnotdead.com
www.ediplomat.com
www.insults.net

 

Cover photo: Inga Gottfrau / Liz Lawley (flickr), CC BY-SA 2.0

  • mm

    When not writing insulting articles, Milen Iliev works as a geophysicist and reads and writes science fiction by the kilogram. Born in Sofia, grew up in Sofia and then did some more growing up in Bremen, where he now lives, he is a passionate Eurofederalist, even when the EU tries to regulate the curvature of his bananas. Active in politics on the national and European level, passionate about climate change, human rights and the Internet. Twitter: @miln40

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  • Ise

    I’m insulted that you combined Estonia/Latvia/Lithuania together. They are not the same, grrr.

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