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 based on the many responses in the thread, I learned A LOT about European culture. Here are some of the responses.
1."Paying to go to use a public bathroom in certain European cities. It’s absolutely wild that you have to pay money to use the toilet."
2."In Germany, the idea is that you can rent an apartment and you have to BUY the kitchen separately. Otherwise, you get an apartment with no kitchen. Like, WTF. It's like selling a jacket but saying you gotta pay extra for the sleeves."
3."The UK has 30 accents per square mile."
4."Norwegians don't close their curtains when it gets dark."
5."How incredibly inconsequential it is to cross country borders. I cycled through France to Belgium to 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, 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 don't invade other people's personal space. It's seen as a sign of disrespect."
The CW / Via giphy.com
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."
10."France's border with the Netherlands is in the Caribbean."
11."It might be just a Germany thing but from what I’ve been told, [one of the reasons that] German Walmart failed is because 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)."
NBC / Via giphy.com
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 on my person. I bought my first coin pouch. The Czech Republic 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."
18."Having the light switch outside the bathroom."
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, the first time we asked why we have to pay more than the number on the price tag, they explained 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 country side. 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."
23."Europeans — I love you! But please give me some fucking ice in my drink."
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 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??"