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Quirky Neighbour Country

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Many countries, big and small, have a Quirky Neighbour Country.

It's that country on your border, usually smaller and/or less populous than your own country. They speak the same language as you (albeit in a funny accent), or something that sounds very much like it. They also share a lot of their history and culture with your country; in fact, their country is just like yours, except it's... quirky. You and your countrymen make jokes about them very often; their bizarre laws and practices never cease to amaze you. The citizens of the Quirky Neighbour Country will often take these jokes in good spirit and occasionally crack a few jokes back at your country, which they might view as a Quirky Neighbour Country.


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  • Discworld: Ankh-Morpork basically has the entire rest of the Sto Plains. Never mind that A-M, while the largest and richest city on the Disc, barely controls any territory beyond the city walls, whereas the Kingdom of Sto covers a large chunk of the continent and includes three seperate cities. None of those cities are Ankh-Morpork, so by definition they're strange, out-of-the-way backwaters.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Black Books references this a few times between Ireland and the UK, as does The IT Crowd. Both have Irish characters in the main cast who usually blend in but sometimes make jokes about their nationality. E.g. in an episode of the latter, Roy meets a guy who claims to "looove Irish people!" and is rather patronising about it.
    I'm told my father was particularly proud of the IT department, run by a dynamic go-getter, a genius, and a man from Ireland.
  • The New Zealand/Australia relationship is referenced on Flight of the Conchords. New Zealand is painted as a quirky and weird little country, but then again, perhaps that's because the only three New Zealanders shown are Brett, Jermaine and Murray.
  • In Gavin & Stacey the English Shipman family clearly feel this way about the Welsh West family.

  • Scandinavia and the World runs by this. Denmark, Norway and Sweden are this to the rest of the world. Finland and Iceland are this to them.
    • Denmark also has the Netherlands and Faroe Islands (which is actually a region of Denmark).
    • Norway has Svalbard, which is also a region of Norway.
    • Finland has Estonia, which has Latvia and Lithuania. Also Åland, which also is a region of Finland. Although Åland actually sees Finland as one more than Finland sees Åland.
    • Scotland, Wales and Ireland to England.
    • England also sees America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand as these, which is weird considering that they're portrayed as England's own children.
    • Also North Korea to South Korea, China and Japan.

    Real Life 
  • Belgium to The Netherlands and France. In France, "Belgian jokes" are essentially Dumb Blonde jokes, while Belgians make French Jerk jokes.
  • Canada to the United States. This even has its own subtrope. Not surprisingly, many Canadians also think of the US this way. Whilst many QNCs are smaller than their related country, Canada manages to invert this by being the second largest country by area. However, it is significantly less populated, and since most of the country is located in the frigid Arctic, most Canadians live in slightly less frigid territories fairly close to the American border.
  • Quebec, a Canadian province, is this to English-speaking Canada and the United States.
  • Los Estados Unidos Mexicanos (the United Mexican States) to The United States of America (Los Estados Unidos de America). Both countries have "United States/Estados Unidos" in their names, both are federal republics made up of states, both are governed by a president, both have a high obesity rate, both have a national identity that override racial and ethnic boundaries, both spell color, favor, and honor without a "u", both have eagles as their national animals, both have owning a gun as a right, and both use a rattlesnake for symbolism (Mexico has the rattlesnake on its national flag and the USA has the rattlesnake on the Gadsen "Don't Tread on me." flag).
    • This is especially true with Mexican-descended communities in America, especially those in the southwest (southern California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas). A lot of them speak Spanish, and they share a bunch of similarities with Mexicans south of the border (most from both sides can sit to chat, eat tacos, drink a few beers, and swear at each other). However, their accent and slang is very different (Mexican-Americans, predictably, use way more English loan words, and some of these people speak just basic Spanish, if any at all), their food is very different, and they are still American. As a result, they come across as weird cousins (sometimes literally; Mexicans have big, far-reaching families) to native Mexican residents.
  • Mexico also has all of Central America. They share a language (Belize is Anglophone though), and similar history (most Central American countries were actually part of Mexico at some point or another). However, each country is smaller than some Mexican states, and their combined population is not even half of that of their Northern neighbor. Mexicans often crack jokes at the expense of them, particularly Guatemala. Mainly, that they are just a bunch of Mexican states in denial, that they don't actually exist at all, or that they just plain suck (De Guatemal a Guatepeor, "from Guate-bad to Guate-worse" is a common pun). Central Americans are not always amused, shooting back that Mexicans are just smug North-America wannabes. It's all in good fun, and Mexico is more often than not in good terms with its neighbors. Just don't mention Chiapas to Guatemalans.
  • Cambodia to Vietnam. Both countries have similar customs and traditions, as well as similar histories involving military takeovers, civil wars, and other kinds of general tragedies during The '60s.
  • The Czech Republic to Poland. And, for that matter, Slovakia to the Czech Republic, since they used to be one country before splitting up after the fall of the Iron Curtain.
  • Denmark, Norway and Sweden to each other. Finland to all of them. And then there's Iceland...
    • Just across the Gulf, Estonia is this to Finland. Both speak languages that are closely related, both have been under periods of Swedish and Russian occupation, both have become sovereign nations after World War I, both are in The European Union and use the Euro, and travel between the countries is very common (to the point the capital cities have proposed an underground tunnel).
  • Korea to Japan, mainly the South due to proximity and the North still being relatively closed off (Japan and South Korea have a Teeth-Clenched Teamwork type of relationship with each other regarding the North). Indeed, comparing Japan and Korea's relationship to that of Britain and Ireland is not an uncommon draw.
  • Switzerland and Austria to Germany. All three are German-speaking countries (one of three official languages for Switzerland, that is).
  • Switzerland's French-speaking Cantons are neighbors to France. The difference in mentalities often gives rise to jokes.
  • Liechtenstein to Switzerland and to a lesser extent Austria. The last remaining monarchy among German-speaking countries.
  • Belarus and Ukraine to Russia. Has sadly turned into war for the latter two due to Russia's irredentism and expansionism.
  • Andorra to Spain and France - It's a tiny, mountainous region in the Pyrenees that sits on the border between France and Spain, yet serves as its own little country.
  • Uruguay, Paraguay and Bolivia for Argentina.
    • Argentina itself is this to Brazil, alongside the aforementioned three nations and Venezuela. One could also say Brazil is this to the rest of South America besides Chile and Ecuador, the only countries that don't border it.
  • Guyana and Suriname are this to South America as a whole, what with them being more culturally-similar to the Caribbean nations than Latin American ones.
  • Taiwan to China. Speak the same language, and Taiwan was a Chinese territory. It's reinforced by the fact that Taiwan is a little island not too far from the mainland.
  • Macau to Hong Kong. The former is often regarded by the latter as the place of egg tarts, gambling, and well-off, laid-back people who speak Cantonese slightly oddly.
  • Given its geographical size, the main regions of the US often come off this way to one another. For example, New England and the Deep South would be this to each other, and even then, it can be broken down further between the states themselves, such as New York to New Jersey and the whole Michigan/Ohio situation.
    • For certain parts of the country, this trope is "the quirky city right across the border" (as in, Canada or Mexico).
      • There's the two cities of Niagara Falls - one in Ontario, Canada, the other in New York - which both sit directly opposite each other. The Canadian city is far more successful at attracting tourists due to having a better view of the eponymous Falls and its close proximity to Toronto.
      • Vancouver and Seattle are this in the Pacific Northwest region.
      • On the southern side, there are two towns called Nogales - one in Arizona and the other in the Mexican state of Sonora. As detailed above with regards to the USA and Mexico's QNC perceptions of each other, the two towns' relationship to each other would be that of "those odd relatives living on the other side of the fence" (and in some cases, that's literal).
    • Others use state boundaries. Some are just quirky, but many times the "nasty" part of a city is in the next State.
      • Gary, Indiana is the "nasty" part of Chicago.
      • East St. Louis, Illinois, is the "nasty" counterpart to St. Louis, Missouri.
      • North Jersey is this (both "nasty" and otherwise—think of Hoboken! Think of Bergen County!) to New York.
      • South Jersey is broadly this to Philadelphia, with Camden serving as the "nasty" bit and the rest of South Jersey being merely quirky. (By the by, New Jersey is, as Benjamin Franklin said, "a barrel tapped at both ends"—you're either the quirky neighbor to New York or the quirky neighbor to Philadelphia. Although honestly, South Jerseyans are liable to consider Philadelphia to be the "quirky" neighbor: Philadelphia is something of a hipster mecca these days, while South Jersey is home to "average" All-American suburbia).
      • Baltimore is this to Washington, D.C. The two cities are 40 minutes by car ride from each other (on a good day) and yet the difference is comparable to Gotham City and Metropolis respectively. As much of the D.C. suburbs are in Maryland or Virginia, there's a very localized version of this trope in how all three view the other two as quirky. This is especially pronounced in the metro-area's very insane driving conditions, which is a product of having to navigate three different attitudes as to proper road etiquette.
      • Milwaukee is this to Chicago. Similar German/Irish heritage, love of meat, cheese, and beer, but Milwaukee has slightly more serial killers and a less cosmopolitan flavor.
    • Due to its large size, California can be divided culturally between its northern and southern halves, both of whom consider the other odd in some different ways. And the state itself can consider Arizona, Oregon, and Nevada to be quirky neighbors in their own ways.
    • The Mountain West states all have this view of their neighboring states. The negative stereotypes are: Colorado snobs and yuppies, New Mexico hippies, Arizona retirees and rednecks, Utah religious fanatics, Nevada mobsters and alcoholics, Idaho rubes, Montana weirdos, and Wyoming just being dull (except for Yellowstone and the Tetons). Obviously, you just ignore the part about your own state.
  • Tasmania and New Zealand are like this to the whole of Australia. And within Australia itself, being both a continent (albeit a small one, hence its nickname "The Island Continent") and a country, it has a similar situation as the USA:
    • Tweed Heads, New South Wales is the "nasty" part of Gold Coast, Queensland.
    • Wodonga, Victoria is the quirky neighbor of Albury, New South Wales.
    • Murray Downs, New South Wales is the quirky neighbor of Swan Hill, Victoria.
    • Queanbeyan, New South Wales is this to Canberra.
    • Sydney has Wollongong, Melbourne has Geelong, Brisbane has Gold Coast and Perth has Fremantle.
  • In Canada, the city of Gatineau, Quebec is the quirky, French-speaking neighbour to the national capital of Ottawa, Ontario. Many students studying in Ottawa are attracted to the town by the lower drinking age and more widely available booze.

Alternative Title(s): Quirky Neighbor Country