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Western Europe

  • Western Europe is, together with Northern Europe, seen as the home of advanced technology, sophisticated culture, and loose (or modern, depending on your perspective) morals. Within the region, there's a definite split between the northern part (Germany, Britain, the Netherlands, and northern France) and the southern part (Italy, Spain, Portugal, and southern France) about which part is emphasized, with the north being seen as more businesslike and the south as more laid-back. Germany straddles the line with Central Europe, with the old East Germany being in many ways similar to its eastern neighbors. The same is true of Austria.
  • United Europe: The European Union is a specific European phenomenon. Even since its creation in 1957 more countries have joined it and thus provided stable peace in most of Europe ever since the end of World War Two. It also provides economic collaboration and a unity needed to compete with The United States, Japan and China. However, the E.U. is also seen as a bureaucratic monster unable to give its member states one "European" identity, because every country desperately clings on to their own centuries old nationalistic traditions and identity. There are also fears that all the youngest member states (mostly former Eastern Bloc countries) will financially hurt the richer member states.
  • In the U.S., there are essentially two sets of stereotypes about Europe, which are utterly contradictory:
    • The older stereotypes are all about quaint old monarchies, castles, and sparkly princesses. See: Medieval European Fantasy. Americans see Europeans as decadent and a relic of a bygone age, and a Crapsack World which their forefathers had to escape from for a better life. Often showed up in Pre-Seventies as the setting of Ruritanian Romance (such as Roman Holiday) or the setting for comic book villains such as Doctor Doom (Dictator of Latveria, which is located somewhere in Central-Eastern Europe).
    • The newer stereotypes suggest that every European government is run by a bunch of leftists and socialists who hate war too much and are probably kinky atheists too.note  This adds up to the American right-wing viewing Europeans as degenerate, godless commiesnote . And that's only when Europe isn't seen by right-wing Americans as an assortment of medieval tyrannies and absolutist dictatorships who wouldn't even give their people the liberty to own guns, basically a much more negative version of the older stereotype, combining the worst parts of Tsarist Russia and the mid-20th century totalitarian regimes. The American left sometimes buys into these stereotypes too,note  but views them more positively and have developed their own stereotype of Europe as a political wonderland free from people resembling Republican Party politicians, as if conservatism itself has somehow vanished from Europe (hint: it hasn't; every position in the politican spectrum can be found all across Europe).
  • Europeans Are Kinky: Especially continental Europe and Scandinavia have a reputation for being far more liberated and open-minded about sex and nudity, compared to the United States of America and Asia. Many erotic exotic foreigner stereotypes are from European descent such as Scandinavia (Sexy Scandinavian), the Netherlands (Free State Amsterdam, thanks to legalized prostitution), France (Everyone Looks Sexier if French, Everything Sounds Sexier in French), Spain and Italy (Latin Lover, beach topless, intense night life), and Eastern Europe, the Baltic Countries and Russia (Sensual Slavs). There's some Truth in Television to this: a lot of works depicting sex and nudity causing excitement or controversy in other continents hardly bat an eye in Europe. But, of course, this doesn't mean all Europeans are like that. The United Kingdom and Ireland, two islands separate from Continental Europe, are far more prudish and, speaking of Ireland, many predominantly Catholic countries in Europe like Spain, Poland or Italy tend to be less easygoing on some aspects of the topic (although, ironically, they can also be it even more in other aspects — as we say, it is complicated). Also, even in other European countries you're liable to find people who are more reserved about the matter.
  • Europe has a strong association with royalty, mostly influenced by fairy tales, medieval poetry and romance stories set in palaces. The continent even harbors quite a few micro monarchies. Stories about European royalty still interest people all across the globe, as if these kings, queen, princes, princesses and their relatives are still as rich and powerful as they used to be. It goes without saying that this is a heavily outdated idea. Nowadays most European countries are republics and the few monarchies that have survived (United Kingdom, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Monaco, Andorra, Vatican City and Spain) are all basically ceremonial in function and lack the political power they had in previous centuries, save perhaps for the Vatican.
  • Europe is also world famous for its rich cultural past. Many of the most famous, popular and celebrated paintings, sculptures, buildings, novels, plays, poems, compositions... were created here, as were the most infuential art movements. They still attract a lot of tourism today.
  • In terms of music each European country has its own folk music traditions and local jazz and rock scene, but worldwide they are mostly associated with the genre that originated in this continent: Classical Music.
  • Evil Colonialist: In the non-Western world (i.e. majority of the Earth's surface), Europe is the continent that once invaded and exploited them from Antiquity up until the second half of the 20th century, painted their actions as justified on the basis of racist nationalism:
    • Particularly from the 15th century on various European countries started exploring the world and colonizing every country they set foot on. The most prominent European countries with colonies were Great Britain, Spain, Portugal, France, the Netherlands, Italy, Russia and to a lesser extent Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Belgium. The legacy of these times is still felt, mostly because the Europeans uprooted a lot of the civilization and culture that pre-existed their contact, and in many cases destroying much culture and leaving little possibility for reconstruction outside of their own extremely biased sourcesnote .
    • Some former colonies respect their former "mother land" for modernizing them and regard them as a political/economical/military ally. However, most of them, especially in the Third World, still hold a grudge. After all, European settlers enslaved them (or capitalized on their own native circuit o slavery), robbed them of their riches, degraded them to second rate citizenship and resisted their independence movement for a very long time. When the countries became independent several succumbed to civil war, poverty and/or dictatorships, often with knowledge and/or support from European powers.
    • Most post-colonial nations generally see Europeans as Karma Houdini, since after growing rich of colonial exploitation, they mostly succumbed to decolonization after much resistance but almost no reparations returned, with very little in the way of justice and most colonial officers who committed atrocities still having statues and memorials dedicated to them in the metropoles, and the nations they left behind were geographically weak (much of it done by Imperial subjects with no regard for the experiences of the subjects) and while the Europeans like to point out they did stuff for their subjects by building trains and ports, most of the infrastructure was built lopsidedly to benefit goods and troop movements and not for long-term urban and rural development, which makes it hard for post-colonial governments to effectively update and modernize their states. Compounding the issue of course is that several European countries like to point to other countries as if their colonial systems were necessarily worse than theirs, or insisting that since decolonization was so long in the past, they are no longer responsible.

  • Best known as mini state and tax haven. And they have good ski resorts.
    • In The New '20s, after the highly publicized case of several Spanish youtubers fleeing to Andorra for disagreements with the Spanish tax system, the country is popularly considered a refuge for naff social media moguls wanting to pay less taxes.

  • Yodel Land: Since Austria and Switzerland have a similar landscape the countries are both associated with mountaineering, alpine horns, yodeling... and, of course, often confused with each other.
  • Austrians are often confused with Germans and Swiss people.
  • Just like the Germans, people from the Austrian county Tyrol will be portrayed wearing Tyrolean hats and lederhosen and their women having dirndls. All Tyroleans will be drinking beer, eating sausages and playing tuba.
    • Tyroleans will also be seen performing the "Schuhplattler" (knee slapping) dance.
    • In the 1970s, a whole bunch of cheap sex comedies were made in Tyrol. The genre was even nicknamed "Tyrolian comedy", despite the fact that they were actually filmed in Bavaria, thus also coining the term "Bavarian porn" in other countries.
  • Historically the country brings up images of the once very powerful Austrian-Hungarian Empire. The most famous royal of this time period in popular culture is Empress Sissi, made famous by the film franchise with Romy Schneider. The annual New Year's Concerts in Vienna still bring the popular image of impeccably dressed noblemen and noble women dancing the Waltz in the Royal Vienna Palace to mind.
    • Musically the Waltz is Austria's most famous cultural contribution to the world, exemplified by the music of Johann Strauss Sr. and Jr.
    • The most famous Austrian composer is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who still brings a large part of tourism to Salzburg, including the Salzburger Festspiele: large classical music festival. For this reason Austrians will sometimes be depicted wearing an 18th century style costume complete with curly wig. He even appears on Mozartkugeln, a chocolate and marzipan confection bearing his picture. Never mind the fact that he didn't consider himself to be an Austrian at all, but saw himself as German. His fame still eclipses other well known Austrian composers such as Franz Schubert, Gustav Mahler and Arnold Schönberg.
      • Yet another musical association with the country is The Sound of Music, about the real life musical family von Trapp. Some tourists even believe that the song Edelweiss is the country's national anthem. In reality the movie isn't that popular in Austria, compared with other countries.
    • Since the end of the 19th century and start of the 20th Austria is also famous as the birth place of psychology and psychotherapy. Sigmund Freud, Viktor Frankl and Alfred Adler were all born here.
    • A far more negative association with Austria is Adolf Hitler, who was born there. Luckily for the Austrians most foreigners still think Hitler was a German, but apart from that Austria hasn't quite managed to shake off its far right reputation. The fame of other far-right politicians like Kurt Waldheim (former Nazi elected as president of Austria in 1986) and Jörg Haider (in 1999-2000 the first far right politician since the end of World War II to be elected into the government of a democratic European country) didn't help either. Nor did the fact that in 1938, 99% of Austrians voted for unity with Germany — ex. in that time and place and even allowing for that 99% probably being a Nazi exaggeration, the vast majority of Austrians WANTED to become German.
  • In the late 2000s Austria also became notorious for two horrible crimes where people were kept in captivity for many years without anybody noticing anything strange: the kidnapping of Natasha Kampusch case and the Jozef Fritzl scandal.
  • Early 20th century Austrian painters like Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt are also world renowned.
  • Thanks to the fame of the muscular movie stars Johnny Weissmuller note  and Arnold Schwarzenegger muscular foreigners will sometimes be born in Austria.
  • One tourist card sarcastically stereotypes Austrians as being an impatient or easily agitated people.
  • Historically, the Austrians had the reputation of being the second-worst army in Europe, somewhat alleviated by having Hungarian reserves available.
  • Some foreigners even have the impression this empire still exists, even though Austria has been a republic since 1918. Some of their neighbouring countries, however, like the Balkan countries don't have fine memories about the wars of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the past.
  • Vienna is the only location that exists in foreign eyes. The city is home to the Waltz, Viennese coffee and tea, Vienna sausages and the Wiener oboe. Apart from that Tyrol and the Vienna Woods (Wienerwald) are worth mentioning.

  • The bilingual communities and eternal troubles between Flemings and Walloons often mystify foreigners. The complexity of Belgium's government often leads to confused ideas about their political situation. In fiction, Belgium is sometimes portrayed as a French-speaking country, even though a majority in the country speaks Flemish, which is arguably a dialect of Dutch, and there is even a small German speaking community. This also explains why foreigners often confuse Belgians with Frenchmen, Dutchmen, or Germans. No wonder this surreal country is the birth place of painter René Magritte!
    • Foreigners who are aware of the Belgian bilingual troubles often assume the Flemings and Walloons live in a state of civil war. In reality these troubles have always remained on the level of a neighbourhood squabble, with hardly any fatalities. Belgians prefer complaining about it in a local café, rather than actually fight one another over it. Still, these conflicts have been serious enough to cause numerous political crises over the centuries, with governments even toppling over them and not being able to reach a consensus for years on end! In 2011 Belgium broke a world record when their new government took 541 days (!) to get organized. The surreal thing about it was that this had no major consequences for daily affairs. In fact, Belgians even took the time to sarcastically "celebrate" this record with beer and partying to mock their ineffective politicians! Despite all this — or perhaps because of this endless debating — Belgians are universally renowned for producing excellent diplomats, praised for their knowledge of many languages and ability to think up compromises.
  • Belgians have a reputation for being easily oppressed and taken advantage of. As a small country it is not surprising that it has been conquered a few times, and due to the many battles therenote  it received the nickname "the cockpit of Europe", sometimes even "the battlefield of Europe". History buffs may know it mostly for the battle of Waterloo, the Flanders Fields of World War I and the exhausting battle of the Ardennes near the end of World War II. Strange enough it's still the center of international politics today with Brussels being the de facto capital of the European Union and the location of the NATO and European Parliament.
    • Belgians are also quite passive when it comes to protesting against the people in power. In previous centuries they have occasionally rose up against their oppressors, but usually only achieved a pyrrhic victory before being brutally surpressed again soon afterwards. So usually they just let politicians bicker above their heads and go along with their own business as usual. Their “real” resistance is never taking anybody in power seriously. No politician ever manages to unite the people behind his policies. Instead, Belgians are united in their mockery of the government and all their organisations and parties. They always poke fun at politicians, tax inspectors, policemen, teachers, judges, lawyers and even the Royal Family at carnivals, parties, in comics or cartoons or by telling jokes about them. And if they see an opportunity to disobey certain laws they’ll take it, but always on the sly.
    • Even today, many Belgians distrust politicians, the police, and the judiciary, yet don't openly voice their opinions except when they are absolutely sure that the object of their criticism isn't around in the same room. They don't have a strong nationalistic identity (apart from Flemish nationalists) and thus suffer from an inferiority complex about their status in the world. Even when the country does something positive on an international scale, most Belgians still act cynical, dismissive or, at best, jokingly about it. Patriotic pride is almost nonexistent. All these aspects and the small size of the country has caused other countries to not take them very seriously. Something Belgians don't appreciate either. Especially in the Netherlands, United Kingdom, and France, the dumb, insignificant Belgian is a common stereotype in jokes. In French, these jokes even have a special name (les histoires Belges, "Belgian stories"), many of which use the same setup and punchline as a Dumb Blonde joke.
  • "Name ten famous Belgians" is a well-known question, assuming that there are no Belgian celebrities. Hilarity Ensues when a foreigner is only able to name two characters, both fictional: Tintin and Hercule Poirot. The facts are different, especially since the lack of being able to name ten Belgian celebrities says more about the summarizing person's own general knowledge.
    • Still, worldwide Tintin is arguably the most famous and recognizable Belgian character, even though not all people will identify him as such. In the United Kingdom Belgium's association with Hercule Poirot is stronger than in other countries, due to the fact that British author Agatha Christie made Poirot a Belgian. Interestingly enough: one of the best-selling detective novelists in the world was Belgian: Georges Simenon, author of Maigret, but he too is often thought to be French.
    • A world-famous Belgian often invoked when this game is mentioned is one who most Belgian people wish was fictional — infamous child-molester Marc Dutroux. During the late 1990s, the huge scandal surrounding Dutroux led to the stereotypical idea that all Belgians are paedophiles. (Dutroux himself ignited the scandal, by claiming repeatedly he was part of a network which included most major politicians, judges, and police chiefs of the country.)
    What's Belgium famous for? Chocolates and child abuse, and they only invented the chocolates to get to the kids.
    Ray, In Bruges
    • Another world famous Belgian is action movie superstar Jean-Claude Van Damme, who is probably the most recognizable Belgian in the USA. Being nicknamed "the muscles from Brussels" sure helps.
    • Belgium has produced many internationally famous painters, most notably in Flanders, like the Flemish Primitives (Jan van Eyck, Hans Memling, Rogier Van Der Weyden...), Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Peter Paul Rubens and James Ensor to name the most iconic. The most famous Walloon painter is René Magritte.
    • The country is also known for having a strong comic book tradition, exemplified by international successes like Tintin, Lucky Luke, The Smurfs, and Suske en Wiske. In fact: Hergé of Tintin fame is even the most influential and revered European comic book artist in the world.
    • Jazz fans will know two iconic Belgian musicians: the guitar virtuoso Django Reinhardt and mouth harmonica player Toots Thielemans.
    • In the field of sport cyclist Eddy Merckx is an international living legend. He won more tournaments than any other cyclist who ever existed.
    • And of course, King Leopold II (1865–1909) ruled the Congo Free State as a private enterprise from 1885 to 1908. His bloody reign there, which saw anywhere from 1.5 to 13 million deaths, shocked even other imperial powers of the era—which, given what they got up to in their colonies, is kind of saying something. One infamous image from this era was the amputation of hands from enslaved Congolese laborers on rubber plantations who didn't meet quotas. Even when the Belgian government took over administering the Congo (along with Rwanda and Burundi after World War I), Belgium was among the nastier colonial powers—and again, given the rest of Europe, that's a rather high bar.
  • In Japan and Korea Belgium is known for the classic children's novel A Dog of Flanders, which takes place in Antwerp. In fact, it's one of the main reasons why the city attracts so many Asian tourists. Yet the story was written by a British woman, Ouida, and is fairly obscure in Belgium. Only in the 1980s did the Belgian Board of Tourism finally erect a statue and a commemorative plaque to please East-Asian tourists, changed by a new monument in late 2016. Another unfortunate effect of the novel is that many East-Asian tourists have a stereotypical idea of Belgium based on the way it is portrayed in this 19th-century novel and the various anime adaptations since. Many are disappointed that Belgium is not one giant tullip field with people walking in clogs –- like the stereotypical image of the Netherlands –- and the only element of the novel which exists in real life is the Antwerp Cathedral where indeed Peter Paul Rubens' painting "The Descent of the Cross" can be seen.
  • Belgians are often shown eating French fries ("French" doesn't refer to France, but the verb "to french", and anyway, it's only what Americans call chips). This is more or less Truth in Television, fast-food joints selling French fries (and also other fried snacks as well as cooked mussels) abound in the entire country. And Belgians claim with a great degree of justification that French fries were invented in their country (the city of Liège, to be precise).
    • In reference to the paintings of Pieter Bruegel the Elder, some cultivated foreigners still have the impression that all Belgians are jolly and petulant peasants who do nothing more than party, drink, and eat. Belgian bars and cafés tend to close much, much later at night compared to other countries and Belgium also has a lot more national, local, official, and non-official holidays, carnivals, and parties in comparison to other countries (though it must be said that not all of them are automatically a day off for the entire working population).
    • Other national dishes like chocolate, beer, mussels, waterzooi and Belgian waffles contribute to the Belgians' reputation as "pleasure lovers" and jolly people who enjoy eating and drinking extremely tasty stuff. (although Brussels sprouts are usually not associated with tastiness).
    • Jacques Brel's universally translated songs also kept this image intact.
  • British people often assume Belgium is boring. This mostly stems from the country's notoriously bad bureaucratism, the dreary weather, and the ugly, monotonous urban landscape.
  • Cycling is the most romanticized sport in Belgium. Men cycling through mud, bad weather, and over steep hills and stony roads only to return home for a cool beer and some French fries is part of the national culture. Many of these toughened cyclists have the nickname "flandrien" in Belgium, even though this archetype died out after World War II. Still, the greatest cyclist champion in terms of winning tournaments ever was Belgian: Eddy Merckx.
  • Two essential monuments that always need to be in frame whenever Belgium is shown in popular culture are the Atomium and the statue of Manneken Pis, both located in Brussels.

  • Especially in the U.S.A and England, French people are often ridiculed for being cowards who surrender immediately when confronted with danger. This idea is based on their rather quick capitulation during the Nazi invasion of France during World War II and has led to the term Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys. An image that only became commonly expressed in the United States after French and American clashes over foreign policy during the Cold War, and then again after France refused to get involved in the Iraq War. In reality the French surrendered in order to prevent the destruction of Paris. This stereotype of cowardice also completely ignores the work of the French resistance, who assassinated Nazi officers, attacked their supply lines, and helped smuggle out POWs. The French have also fought bravely against many invaders throughout history and even helped the Americans during the US War of Independence in 1776. And how did the Americans repay them? By not going into battle during World War II until Pearl Harbor was attacked in 1941, literally two years after the war broke out. note 
    • A lot of the negative stereotypes in English-speaking countries about France are still heavily coloured by the old enmity between England and France which basically lasted from William The Conqueror to Queen Victoria, notable incidents including The Hundred Years War, which began over the English King claiming the French throne, and the French scrabbling to prevent this. It lasted for 116 years and very nearly led to England conquering France, and The Napoleonic Wars and can e. g. be seen in the works of William Shakespeare (attitudes in Scotland, which had 'the Auld Alliance' with France, and Ireland, most of which hates England on principle and still curses Oliver Cromwell, tend to be more relaxed for obvious reasons). Ironically, in some respects Englishmen and Frenchmen had a way of accusing each other of the same things, e. g. sexual immorality and rudeness: a "French letter" is called a "capote Anglaise" in French, "taking French leave" corresponds to "filer à l'Anglaise".
      • Since the late 1890s this has evolved into something of a love-hate relationship. The English sport rugby became very popular in France during the The Edwardian Era, while the English enjoyed French cuisine and wine. Both people enjoy visiting each others' countries and during both World Wars they formed an alliance to fight the German army. Their co-operation has continued throughout the Cold War and beyond. In 1994 they the centuries old dream of uniting both countries through a tunnel became a reality when the 'Chunnel' opened for business. Anglo-American culture is positively devoured by the French, to the point where radio stations have enforced minimum quotas on the amount of French music played, Shakespeare references are common and many French people, especially in the South, at least understand English, to the point where they'll kindly switch to English if an English person is stumbling too painfully through a conversation/request, appreciating the effort. However, if the person doesn't even bother to make that effort, they will, more often than not, pretend that they don't understand a word. Only when France and the U.K. play a sports match against one another or bicker about which one of them should dictate the agenda during European and economical matters due the old animosity between the "frogs" and "rosbifs" come into play again.
    • Thanks to The French Revolution of 1789 and all the revolutions and uprisings that followed ever since (from the 1830 Revolution to the May 1968 student demonstrations), the French also have a reputation for being revolutionaries, active in La Résistance, spilling their blood on the barricades. Of course, in fiction they will still put everyone on the guillotine, even though in reality this was abolished by law in 1981.
    • Related to the above, and popular among other Europeans (while slowly gaining traction within the USA) is the stereotype of Frenchmen, especially Parisians, of grabbing the Torches and Pitchforks and trashing everything in sight at the drop of a politician's hat. The Yellow Vests Protests gave it plenty of traction and it has only grown since then. The current (as of this writing) protests in France against changing retirement ages from 62 to 64 have further spread the stereotype in the USA, where molotovs and barricades are rare, and outright unthinkable for something that "minor" in their eyes.
  • Everyone Looks Sexier if French, Everything Sounds Sexier in French and Gay Paree: France also has an association with love, romance, and sex. Candlelit dinners by moonlight in Paris with the Eiffel Tower in the background are not uncommon in romantic films. French men and women are often portrayed as sexy or even oversexed. There are a lot of erotic terms associated with France, among others: a "ménage à trois", "soixante neuf", lingerie, liasons, Femme Fatale, voyeurism, French kissing, a French tickler...
  • The archetypal Frenchmen is usually caricatured as a dirty, lazy, unshaven, curly moustached man wearing a beret, striped sweaters, smoking a cigarette, and carrying a baguette under the arm.
  • Much like the British the French have two contradictive stereotypes attached to them:
    • On one hand they are often caricatured as filthy, unshaven, rude, foul-mouthed, arrogant, lazy and lewd, in short a French Jerk. Many foreigners see Frenchmen as impolite assholes who swear openly, especially when driving. They won't care to help tourists and look down upon them. Parisians in particular are considered to be very rude to tourists and foreigners (although not as much the latter as the former). It is not uncommon for travel guides to tell tourists not to look at people in the Metro in the eye, since they will think you have a problem with them. It should be noted, though, that most of France hates Paris, much like the way most of Britain hates London.
      • The filthiness of France also stems from its outdated association with brothels (which are illegal since the end of World War 2) and the infamous squat toilets (which are now fairly rare and remain mostly in outdated buildings). Being as dirty as a Frenchman is actually an English proverb. And this is the country that gave birth to Marquis de Sade after all...
      • French heads of state also have a reputation for being full of "grandeur". From the French royals, over Napoleon to the presidents.
      • The "arrogant Frenchman" stereotype was also fed by Charles de Gaulle, who both during World War II and later as President (1958-1969) expressed a very independent view on world politics. His refusal to be as subservient as they wanted him to be during World War II led to frictions and in 1942 Roosevelt and Churchill attempted to oust him as head of the Free French and replace him with a more pliable Vichy commander. De Gaulle also was unhappy with the Allies' plans to free France, not least because they planned to put France under Anglo-American military administration rather than re-establishing French authority in the liberated territories. He, unlike all the other leaders, in his public speech right after D-Day stated that this invasion was the real invasion, which his detractors claim had the potential to ruin the Allied deception that Normandy was just a feint, with Calais the real invasion point.note  The Americans and British thus found the Free French difficult allies because they pursued French national interests and not British or American ones. De Gaulle later did not endear himself to post-war British and American governments by establishing France as the fourth nuclear power and trying to play a more independent part in world politics, and by becoming one of the fathers of the close relationship between France and (West) Germany that played such an important part the European Community from then on.
    • On the other hand Frenchmen are ironically also seen as "très chic" and sophisticated. Whoever speaks French must be cultivated, so Gratuitous French is often spoken by aristocratic, posh, snobbish, or very dignified people. This stems from the Middle Ages when most European nobles and royals (even in England) spoke French. Later, during the Versailles era of Louis XIV and later Napoléon Bonaparte, a lot of French sophistication clichés began to blossom, including haute couture, parfum, eau de cologne, a monocle, corsettes, small handkerchiefs, a pince-nez, and a lorgnette. Countless French words are used as elegant loanwords in other languages to describe people ("enfant terrible", "bourgeoisie", "monsieur", "madame", "mademoiselle"), objects ("toilette", "peignoir", "boudoir") or concepts ( "À la carte", "entr'acte", "cause célèbre").
    • The English expression "Pardon my French" is now sometimes misattributed to the stereotype that the French language is full of insults and/or swearing, but in fact it originally was used as a polite excuse when using a French term in conversation with English-speakers not proficient in French (or any foreign language). When the term originated, French was still very much the language of diplomacy.
    • Pepé Le Pew is an almost perfect parody of a Frenchman, and amalgamates ALL of the above stereotypes — he's romantic, lecherous, and sophisticated, but is also repellently stinky and an Abhorrent Admirer in his capacity as a skunk.
    • The cultivated reputation of France is also cemented by its centuries old contributions to the world of art. Paris in particular is still seen as a cultural capital of the world: a place where, over the centuries, many artists flocked together to create their masterpieces. Even from other countries! An enduring idea about France is that artists who are misunderstood, ignored or disliked in their own country will go to Paris in hope of receiving the proper serious attention, apprecation and respect. There are several historic examples of this trope too: the American dancer Josephine Baker, the Spaniard Pablo Picasso, the American comedians Jerry Lewis and Woody Allen... all got celebrated first and foremost in Paris.
  • French accents are also enormously popular in comedies, Western Animation, and even dramatic films and TV series, often to the point of overkill. French people will always speak with a Maurice Chevalier Accent, usually complete with a “hon hon hon” laugh. All these French characters talk in the same way: "the" and "this" are pronounced "zee" and "zis", the words "mais oui", "sacrebleu", "au revoir", "zut alors", "mon ami", or "mon chéri" are used non-stop and the "w" is pronounced "ooweee". Famous examples are Inspector Clouseau in The Pink Panther, Lumière in Beauty and the Beast, all the French characters in 'Allo 'Allo!, and Pepe Le Pew. Sometimes, like in the movie Shrek (where the British character Robin Hood inexplicably speaks English with a French accent), people are depicted as being French for no apparent reason other than evoking laughs while using the accent. In reality, as with any language, how heavy a native accent is while speaking a foreign language usually has more to do with 1) when in their lives they learned the foreign language, 2) how long they've been speaking it and to whom, and 3) how good they are at imitating accents. It's common for a French student of English living in France to talk this way, for example, but it would be very rare for a Frenchman who's lived for many years in, say, Midwestern America, to not say 'the' more or less like a Midwestern American.
    • Non-French speakers also assume that you can just put "le" in front of every subject and it's grammatically correct French! The articles "la", "un", "une", or "l'" don't seem to exist.
  • In (beat 'em up) videogames, French characters are often depicted as elegant, fatalistic, and angsty, with a penchant for fencing. Examples include Charlotte from Samurai Shodown, Ky Kiske from Guilty Gear, Elisabeth Blanctorche (who uses a riding crop) from The King of Fighters, and French Jerk Raphael and his ward Amy from the Soul Series. Other examples also filled with Gallic ennui include Remy from Street Fighter, who fits the cynical, Nietzsche Wannabe type perfectly and Abel, also from Street Fighter, with his brooding, emo-ish personality (although he is atypical in that he exhibits none of the usual associated elegance, and is a hulking, rugby player type). All of the examples mentioned probably derive from the deep, sullen French philosopher archetype, inspired perhaps by the likes of Jean-Paul Sartre and Jacques Derrida.
  • Frenchmen are often cast as cooks, onion sellers, proprietors of restaurants and/or cafés. This association stems from the globally excellent reputation of French cuisine. If you are a cook, there is no better way of showing off the quality of your food by using French terms on the menu card or wish your guests a “bon appétit”note . Frenchmen will enjoy eating baguettes, croissants, tarts, cheese, and drink wine. Sometimes they are also depicted as having an eccentric taste: eating snails (escargots) and frog legs. This is also why the French are often nicknamed "frogs" in the English language. See also French Cuisine Is Haughty. Examples of French cooks in fiction: Louis in The Little Mermaid (1989) and the cooks in Ratatouille.
  • Gay Paree: Paris equals France in popular culture, no other locations. On the same token the Eiffel Tower ''must'' be present in the background, even if the action takes place in just a random French town. The monument will also be used for the big climax of the story. Another stock location in Paris is the Louvre, so that the characters can go and watch the Mona Lisa. You might get a reference to the Moulin Rouge, Sacré-Coeur, Montmartre, Champs Elysées, Arc de Triomphe, Pont Neuf, the Sorbonne, Place de la Concorde, Versailles, Place Vendôme, Père Lachaise, the Stade Roland Garros (for the tennis tournament), and the Notre Dame in there too. Paris in general is a popular choice for travel stories set in Europe (which usually equals Paris in American and English popular culture) and romantic tales. If not one of those the city will be used for a historical story about The French Revolution, late-19th-century Gay Paree (expect cameos of impressionist painters and the Moulin Rouge here) and/or during the Nazi occupation in World War II.
    • The rest of France will usually be the Provence or maybe the Languedoc-Rousillon, though Bretagne (to show some cliffs), Reims (for the cathedral), Bordeaux (for the wine), Normandy (The Bayeux Tapestry, the Mont Saint Michel, Rouen (made famous by Joan of Arc and the 1944 battlefields), Arles (because of Vincent van Gogh), Dijon (for the mustard), Cannes (for the Film Festival), Avignon (because of the song Sur Le Pont d' Avignon), Lourdes (for the Marian shrine, said to be the largest one in the world), Carcassone (for the fortified city and the Cathars), Marseille and Nice could get a small reference if you're lucky.
  • Another typical French location is a brasserie or a restaurant with a sidewalk cafe outside. There will always be a bottle of wine and a baguette on the table. At night it will be a candlelight dinner. The waiter always sports a curly moustache and is rude and arrogant.
  • If the French play sport, it will be pétanque/jeux de boules. This sport is almost a philosophy for certain Frenchmen,though mostly asociated with the South. Another classic sport associated with France is fencing, typically done by two men with — yet again — curly moustaches. And since the biggest cycling event in the world is the Tour de France this sport is also commonly associated with the country.
    • Since the sport got popular in the 2000s, French characters in (American) action movies are often depicted as Parkour professionals.
  • The most French animal in the world is the poodle. In cartoons it will often talk with a French accent.
  • Within France several stereotypes exist about the individual regions and cities, some famously spoofed in Asterix and the Banquet.
    • Alsace: Has been conquered, lost and reconquered so often by Germans in the past that the population is often ridiculed for being Germans by default.
    • Auvergne: A people of cheapskate peasants lost in the least populated area of France.
    • Bretagne: The Bretons are simple-minded peasants who eat a lot of salty butternote  and crêpes. Comic book character Bécassine is the archetypical Breton and encompasses all these clichés. The region is nothing but cliffs, cows and some menhirs in Carnac. It always rains in Brittany.
    • Hauts-de-France: The northernmost French region with people who are descendants of Flemish people from Belgium and thus speak a language that has echoes of Dutch. Usually depicted as poor, uncultured, inbred working class people. The popular French comedy Bienvenue Chez Les Chtis mocked people from this region mercilessly. And it's always raining.
    • Marseille: Marseillians are hot-blooded and exaggerate enormously. Young and less young women tend to be loud and tacky (the "cagoles"), this may expand to young men as well. They also all think that the North Pole begins in Lyon. A colorful accent is expected.
    • Normandy: All Normandians are descendants of Vikings. They smother their food in creamy sauce and are unable to give a direct answer. In fact in French an indefinitive answer is even called a "Norman's answer". It always rains in Normandy, by the way.
    • Paris: The city is full of rude, arrogant people caught in traffic jams. They think that French civilisation stops at the "Périphérique" (circle road around Paris) and that the rest of France ("La Province") consists of their secondary residences and some barely educated monkeys.
  • French politics are stereotyped as either right-wing Catholic extremists who want nothing more than to return to the days of absolute monarchy, or left-wing Communist sympathizers who hate all of Western society (especially their own country and Americans), consider everything the West does to be neocolonialism, and outright deny the existence of any objective reality.


  • Most people across the world know Corsica solely for being an island which is part of France and the birthplace of Napoléon Bonaparte.
  • Lazy Bum: In the French speaking world Corsicans are stereotyped as lazy people, an image that, just like other South European isles, stems from the siestas people take because of the hot climate.
  • Fans of Asterix will be able to name more stereotypes, thanks to the album Asterix in Corsica:
    • The island is famous for chestnuts, very smelly cheese, unpenetrable maquis bushes and forests, wild pigs and old men sitting on benches. Everyone wears a black bandana or headscarf, in reference to their flag [1]
      • Apparently all Corsicans are proud, Hot-Blooded and anger will be the only emotion they ever show. They will demand respect from everybody and put on a Death Glare when they have the impression someone offended them. The men will pull out a knife anywhere, anytime and no particular reason at all. There is also some Truth in Television to this violent image. Just like other Mediterranean isles, Corsica has a centuries old bloody history of countless vendettas and family feuds. In the 17th and 18th century the island was notorious for highwaymen and robbers attacking stage coaches who hid in the thick and unpenetrable Corsican forests and bushes ("maquis"). From the 20th century on Corsican separatists bombing civilians and homes made sure the island's reputation for bloodshed wasn't going away soon. Many Corsicans still carry folding-blade knives, but these days they are more likely to use them for eating or whittling than fighting.
  • Older Frenchmen also associate Corsica with singer Tino Rossi. note 

  • All Germans Are Nazis: Thanks to both the Prussian Army of Otto von Bismarck, the Franco German War, and the First World War and Second World War, Germans are often cast as villains or strict militaristic people, wearing pickelhaube, goosestepping from one place to another, and obeying orders at all cost. The German reputation for belligerence has fluctuated a great deal through the ages. The ancient Germani were considered very war-like by the Romans, but by the Victorian period, the typical German was considered to be sentimental and romantic and musical —Gemütlichkeit and Träumerei were the clichés. Then along came Otto von Bismarck and the Franco-German War, and all Germans became Prussians... During the First World War, British propaganda even compared the Germans to the Huns. Especially World War II did a lot of damage to Germany's public image. The strange thing is that other Axis Powers, like Italy and Japan, managed to escape the assocation with Nazism and Fascism, while Germany is still solely typecast as a country that was morally wrong during those years. For many people, Germans are seen as people who are evil by nature, ignoring the fact that there were quite some notable Germans who opposed their military leaders. There was even a large German resistance movement. Also, ever since 1945, many German politicians and activists have held a pacifist stance.
    • Thanks to numerous war movies, certain German military officers have become a popular stereotype themselves. They will preferably wear an Erich von Stroheim type monocle, a pickelhaube helmet, and goosestep around the place. All while remaining deadly serious and expressionless.
    • German women are depicted as strict, dominant, bitchy females with their hair in a tight bun hairstyle. They tend to shout orders in a shrill, abrasive tone, like for instance Dr. Elsa Schneider from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Frau Farbissina from Austin Powers, Private Helga Geerhart from 'Allo 'Allo!, and Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS.
    • There are a lot of German inventions still associated with warfare like zeppelins, Panzer tanks, and U-boats. Not to mention their Messerschmitt airplanes.
  • The conscientious post-World War II German has become a popular character. He is incredibly polite and respectful, and grows nervous whenever the war is mentioned ("Don’t mention the War!") or very pissed off, if he is called a Nazi.
  • Germanic Efficiency and Germanic Depressives: Germans have a reputation for being highly organized, ruthlessly efficient, bureaucratic, and deadly serious to the point that foreigners assume they lack a sense of humor. The image of the strict, efficient, and hard-working German is based on the Wirtschaftswunder after World War II, when Germany quickly revived economically. The joyless German stereotype may be derived from their depiction as brutal enemy or seriously devoted bureaucratic worker.
  • Germany is the birth place of revolutionary, widely influential but also sometimes controversial ideologies, such as Protestantism (Lutheranism), Communism and, very unfortunately, Nazism.
    • 18th- and 19th-century-style German romanticism also did a lot to associate Germans with seriousness. Poets, painters, and composers wandering in forests or not far from lakes, especially during the fall, committing suicide over tragic relationships or utter despair about life. May be reflected in "Trauermusik", "Träumerei", "schlager music", or "Sturm und Drang".
    • The archetypical German philosopher will always be based on Friedrich Nietzsche. Probably because he literally went mad later in life. Or because the Nazis used his ideas for their own propaganda purposes. Still, Germany has a rich philosophical tradition thanks to names like Immanuel Kant, Martin Heidegger, Arthur Schopenhauer, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Friedrich von Schlegel, Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Theodor Adorno, Herbert Marcuse, ...
  • German Expressionism, paintings, and films with a lot of shadows and distorted backgrounds, has also become infamous. And, you guessed it, most of these works are extremely bleak, serious and depressing. The majority either have dark, blue or grey colors or are entirely in black-and-white. All of them are dramas or horror stories with a Downer Ending.
    • Even their gothic architecture has something static and deadly serious about it.
  • German novels, plays, theatre and cinema in general are internationally respected, but mostly associated with depressing tales (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Friedrich Von Schiller, Hermann Hesse, Bertolt Brecht), arthouse movies (Werner Herzog, Wim Wenders, Rainer Werner Fassbinder), bombastic operas which last way too long (Richard Wagner, Kurt Weill) or stories set during the Prussian era, World War One, the Weimar Republic, World War II or the Cold War.
  • If Germans are depicted having fun, they are usually wearing Tyrolean hats, lederhosen, drinking beer, playing the tuba, and celebrating Oktoberfest. The women are robust, large-breasted characters with blonde hair in pigtails or braids, wearing dirndls and carrying dozens of steins of beer at once. These partying Germans are often drinking beer and/or schnapps and eating schnitzel, "bratwurst" sausages "mit kartoffeln" note , sauerkraut, and sauerbraten while dancing to oom-pah music or performing the "Schuhplattler" (knee slapping) dance. This folklore image isn’t entirely German, since it’s especially associated with Bavarian culture in southern Germany as well as Austria.
    • IF Germans are depicted as being humorous, the comedy is often based on making others suffer. Bringen sie mir Fegelein! FEGELEIN! Fegelein! Fegelein!
    • Another "joyful German stereotype" is the female Berlin cabaret singer performing in male costume, usually referencing Marlene Dietrich or the film Cabaret.
    • Beer drinking is also the oldest and most enduring German stereotype — it can be found in Tacitus' Germania, in Dante's The Divine Comedy, in Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, etc., etc.
    • Sausages may be considered the German national dish, exemplified by Frankfurt sausages (frankfurters) and other meat products like the hamburger, which is named after Hamburg.
  • All this eating and drinking also created another stereotype: that all Germans are obese.
  • Together with English tourists, Germans are the most well-known source of irritation when travelling through Europe (especially Southern Europe). The stereotypical impression of German tourists is that they are all fat, always complain how the food and service in their country is so much betternote , get completely burnt by the much sunnier weather of Southern Europe, wake up very early in the morning to claim deckchairs on the beach with a towel and are walking Fashion Faux Pas (notably through the infamous socks in sandals trend).
  • Germany, just like Russia, is a popular setting for fairy tales. This mostly stems from The Pied Piper of Hamelin and the collected folk tales from The Brothers Grimm, with Rumpelstiltskin, The Bremen Town Musicians, Rapunzel, and Hansel and Gretel as the most German examples. A trademark of many of these fairy tales is that they are very dark, bloody, and filled with nightmare fuel. Of course, many foreigners immediately make the narrow-minded connection that this has something to do with Germany's reputation for evilness and/or depressing stories. This is also exemplified by the 19th-century Scare 'Em Straight children's classic Der Struwwelpeter.
  • German music comes in several variations: deeply serious and sentimental romantic classical music (Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert, Robert Schumann, Felix Mendelssohn...), obnoxiously loud and pompous Teutonic noise (Richard Wagner), experimental and unenjoyable classical music (Karlheinz Stockhausen, Kurt Weill...), Krautrock (Kraftwerk, Can, Neu!, Amon Düül II...), militaristic rock (Rammstein), jolly oom-pah music, or sappy schlager tunes.
  • Gratuitous German will be used to describe abstract concepts like "Weltschmerz", "Schadenfreude", "Wanderlust", "Zeitgeist", or "Gemütlichkeit". In print it will be typed in gothic lettertype. Non-German speakers often add "Das", "Die", and "Der" randomly in front of every single German word. Or add unnecessary umlauts or capital letters.
    • Another stereotype about the German language is that it only sounds impressive when it's shouted, not spoken or sang.
    • All Germans in popular culture will randomly shout phrases like "Donnerwetter!", "Ach du Lieber!", "Gutentag", "Auf Wiedersehn", "Ja, das ist Gutt.", "Dummkopf!", "Schweinhund!", "Befehl ist Befehl", "Raus!", "Schnell!", "Alarm!", "Mein Himmel!", "Mein Gott!", "Nein!", "Wunderbar!" and "Gesundheit!" Also note that a lot of these are stock phrases everybody knows from watching war movies.
  • All German men are named Fritz, Franz, Otto, Gunther, Hermann, Adolf, Wilhelm, Ernst, Johann, Rutger or Hans. They will be addressed as "Herr". Women are named Helga, Olga, Gretel, Brunhilda, Klara or Nina. They will be addressed as "Frau" or "Fraulein". Needless to say, many of these names are not that popular in Germany nowadays. Their surnames will often have a "von" or a suffix starting with the letters "Sch-".
  • Germany is also the birthplace of cars. Since their invention the country has become closely associated with highly polished but efficient cars driving over the "Autobahn". Several famous international car brands are German: Audi, BMW, Mercedes Benz, Opel, Porsche, Volkswagen...
  • In (beat 'em up) videogames, Germans are often depicted as stoic and serious, verging on melancholic — good examples from the Soul Series include Siegfried Schtauffen, whose back-story is angsty in the extreme and Hildegard von Krone, who typifies the efficient, serious German.
    • Some beat 'em up characters are also ambiguously German — that is, they have German-sounding names, but it is never specified they are German natives. Examples are to be found in The King of Fighters, with Heidern and Rugal Bernstein (and his children, Adelheid and Rose). In Heidern's case, this is perhaps because his design inescapably evokes a Nazi officer and so his nationality was hand-waved as "unknown". M. Bison of Street Fighter fame also evokes this look, and has a similarly "unknown" background. Brocken, (specified as German) from World Heroes shows no such compunction, and is blatantly presented as a "Nazi super-cyborg". Von Kaiser of Punch-Out!! fame is similarly blatant, and even quips "Surrender! Or I will conquer you!", taking the All Germans Are Nazis trope to the limit.
  • Germans also have an unfortunate reputation for producing the most eye-wateringly depraved pornography, catering to the most deviant (or just plain weird) fetishes.
    • Spoof travelogue show Eurotrash — made in Britain and presented by Frenchmen — played heavily for laughs on German sexuality, partly its porn, and mainly the observed fact that large, beefy, unattractive Germans of both genders tend to insist on their absolute right to go naked at every conceivable opportunity. If the Germans were not overweight and bovine, they were skinny and scrawny — a regular feature involved a German cleaning company, whose selling point was that two unpreposessingly thin guys would clean your house while naked. Eurotrash ran on national stereotypes Europeans had about each other. (The French were God's anointed, Germans were fat, hearty, and earthy, Swedes sexy, Belgians boring, the British emotionally repressed, Italians sexy and temperamental, and so on.)
    • Especially common, at least in the US, is the persistent belief in "German Scheiße films" as a common kink, a common stereotype even before South Park played on it in the full-length film.
  • Germany consists of Berlin, which is only famous as a grey and depressing location in spy thrillers and because of a wall that is no longer there. The only other memorable locations are the Brandenburger Tor, the Reichstag (especially to Russians) and the television tower. Other German cities that foreigners might remember are Munich (mostly during Oktoberfest; it may ring a bell to sport fans, because during the 1972 Olympic Games, most of the Israeli team was abducted and murdered), Hamburg (site of the The Beatles' first gigs), Frankfurt (Frankfurter sausages), Cologne (for its perfume, cathedral and Karneval), Bremen (The Bremen Town Musicians) and Nuremberg (Those infamous rallies from Triumph of the Will and later the War Crimes Trials).

  • Gibraltar is known primarily for its monkeys, the Barbary macaques/apes, which are the only monkeys found naturally in Europe.note 
  • As a tiny British Overseas Territory with an acrimonious relationship with bordering Spain, Gibraltar is often seen as an impregnable fortress, with other prominent fortresses and military bases around the world being nicknamed "the Gibraltar of X".

  • ScotIreland: Irishmen are often mistaken by foreigners for being English, Scottish, or Welsh. The confusion is understandable, seeing that the accents can be difficult to differentiate for people unfamiliar with them. Also, the Fighting Irish and Violent Glaswegian are basically the same stereotype with the same unintelligible accent. What further adds to the confusion is that many Irishmen emigrated to Great Britain (many Violent Glaswegians are descended from Irish immigrants) and that several celebrities and historical characters who are usually called "British" were in fact born in Ireland: The Duke of Wellington, Bram Stoker, Oscar Wilde, soccer player George Best note ... And of course, the primary language spoken in both Scotland and Ireland is English, so it's no surprise that foreigners would mix up two groups who speak the same language with superficially similar Celtic accents.
    • The Ulster Scots ethnic group started out as Scots who immigrated to Ireland when James I implemented the Plantation of Ulster, which involved the British colonization of the Emerald Isle, especially Northern Ireland. This displaced a number of native Irish, as the Ulster Plantation was intended to make the Ulster province more gentrified and civilized like the English colonizers, with the colonists, or British tenants, required to forgo their native tongue and learn to speak the King's/Queen's English, (depending on the ruling monarch), convert to Protestantism, and be loyal to the king. Today, their American descendants are known as Scots-Irish.
  • The Alcoholic: The Irish are usually portrayed as heavy drinkers, usually whiskey. Their alcoholism either leads to violence (see Fighting Irish) or being a self-pitying drunk.
    • Irishmen beating their wives is a popular American stereotype.
    • Since St. Patrick's Day is a good occasion to drink and celebrate, the drunk Irishman stereotype will often be brought in association with this holiday. This also brings up the Irish association with the color green. In the U.S., a particular bright grassy shade is called "Kelly green" just because of the association.
  • Oireland: (Whether or not because they are drunk) the sentimental Irishman is also a popular stereotype. They are generally presented as a canny and friendly folk (the word "quaint" tends to pop up a lot) with a cheerful song in their hearts and a mischievous twinkle in their eyes, expressing their simple-yet-wise philosophy that's as old as the hills and informed with the magic and mystery of the ages and the Fair Folk, just waiting for some poor outsider who's lost sight of the really important things in life that they can educate, and other such horribly trite cliches.
    • In popular culture, Irishmen will often wear green clothes and have a clover stitched on their chest. Men will have a red beard, sideburns, and are a Fiery Redhead. They'll smoke a pipe and consume a lot of alcohol. Their name will always be of the "O'" variety: O' Brien, O' Ginney, O' Hara, O' Flaherty, O' Donnell... and have given names like Patrick, Sean, or Kelly. Expect stock expressions to be used like "Ayyy, 't is true...", "Ah to be shoor, to be shoor and begoraah", and "Top o' the moornin' to ye." and semi-medieval words like "ye". Instead of saying "my", they will use "me", for instance: "This is me house."
    • Irish women will evoke the classic "Colleen"note  — that is, they'll have tumbling locks of red or auburn hair pinned up quite high on the crown of their heads so the ringlets cascade down their shoulders. They will be very fair-skinned, possibly freckled, and in flattering depictions, pretty hot in an ethereal sort of way. Bonus points if they also wear an ornately embroidered céilí dress.
  • The most ancient stereotypes about Ireland show a country stuck in Celtic tradition. There are no major cities, only small farms and villages in green landscapes with lots of hills. All walls are made from stones simply stacked upon each other. Celtic crosses will be seen everywhere. A horse-drawn caravan or covered wagon will be the only means of travel.
  • The 19th century also brought several enduring stereotypes about Irishmen. They are all poor farmers with lots of sheep. Bad potato harvests made many of them migrate to the U.S.A. during The Irish Diaspora (this is why potatoes are often associated with Ireland as well). In the U.S.A., Irish immigrants were stereotyped as uneducated peasants who marry their cousins. The fact that the Irish are more tied with their families than Americans or British may have created this stereotype.
  • Irish cuisine will consist of nothing but bacon, corned beef with cabbage, and potatoes. Corned beef and cabbage in particular is a cultural trait of Irish-Americans, learned from their Ashkenazi Jewish neighbors.
  • Irish Priest: Irish people are often depicted as being devoutly Catholic (even though a large part of the population is also Protestant). Priests in popular culture may speak with an Irish accent as a result.
    • The Troubles between Catholics, Protestants, and their respective terrorist organisations I.R.A./I.N.L.A. and the U.D.A./U.F.F. are perhaps the most negative image Ireland has cast upon the world. This was especially true in the late half of the 20th century. Images of bomb attacks, protesters, and British soldiers patrolling through the streets were not uncommon.
    • The Irish Question: Some foreigners have trouble understanding that Northern Ireland is actually not part of Ireland but of the United Kingdom. The eternal battle for independence has led to a lot of violence and bloodshed in the country over the years and the image that all Irish and Northern Irish hate the English.
  • The Fair Folk: Ireland has a strong association with mythological folklore characters: leprechauns, dwarves, elves, pixies, fairies, goblins, and gnomes will often have an Irish accent. When characters visit Ireland, these little fairy tale characters will usually make a cameo appearance, despite disbelief from the people who see them. Leprechauns in particular will hide a pot of gold near the end of a rainbow.
    • This also tends to be represented when it comes to Irish (and Irish American) superheroes and supervillains; either their power will be explicitly magical in nature or if a mutation will still have a supernatural theme e.g. Sean Cassidy a.k.a. Banshee.
  • Irish folk music is world famous as well. Expect people playing the fiddle, dancing Riverdance or Lord of the Dance moves, and singing "Danny Boy", "The Old Irish Washer Woman's Song", "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling", or "It's A Long Way To Tipperary".
  • Irish literature is also internationally renowned. Expect a reference to Jonathan Swift, Oscar Wilde, James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, George Bernard Shaw, or W. B. Yeats to be made.
  • Ireland is also the ideal location to make a limerick (in Limerick, of course) or to notice "It's a Long Way To Tipperary".
  • Other dominant Irish stereotypes involve cops and mobsters
  • In America, Irish immigrants can be stereotyped as menial laborers
  • Another expression associated with Ireland is the idiom "luck of the Irish", which may sound cheerful, but it usually refers to "dumb luck" or even actual unluckiness. As you might expect the term wasn't thought up by the Irish themselves, but originated in 19th-century California. American miners noticed that several Irish immigrants managed to find more gold than they did, hence the term "luck of the Irish", which was another way of saying: "They couldn't have been clever enough to find gold in any other way than just stumble upon it accidentally". John Lennon's protest song "The Luck of the Irish" (1972) criticizes the way England has treated the Irish over the centuries and concludes bitterly "If you had the luck of the Irish/ you'd wish you were English instead".

  • A longstanding stereotype circulating among the Italians themselves stems from the longstanding rivalry between the Northern Italians and Southern Italians. They're still used to call each other names like Polentoni ("Polenta-bellies") and Terroni ("Earth-grubbers"). This particular mindset doesn't seem to be going away anytime soon.
  • Italy is synonymous with style and for having beautiful countryside filled with picturesque villages, ancient Roman ruins, and olive groves. The same goes for their equally stylish paintings, sculptures, architecture, poetry, novels, music, fashion, hair dressing, violins (Stradivari), motors (Vespa), and cars (Ferrari, Lamborghini, Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Lancia...). Two of the most refined and admired Golden Ages of Culture took place in Italy: The Roman Empire and The Renaissance.
    • Hairdressers will often be Italians. Bonus points if they are effeminate and sing the "Figaro" chorus from The Barber of Seville while working.
    • Italy is one of the leading countries in fashion: "Armani", "Versace", "Benetton", "Gucci", "Dolce & Gabbana", "Prada"... It's awful to say but even mafiosi dress well in Italy.
    • Italian cuisine is also renowned. Whenever a cook is depicted in popular culture, he's usually French or Italian. Italian cooks will usually be making food with lots of olives, tomatoes and pasta (spaghetti, vermicelli, gnocchi, fettucine, linguine, macaroni, ravioli, tortellini, lasagna), salami, scampi, cannelloni, pesto, carbonara, pizzanote , tiramisu, chipolata, marzipan, pepperoni, panini, muscat, pistachio, tagliatelle, cannoli, risotto, minestrone, carpaccio, gelatine... one of their famous cheeses (gorgonzola, mozzarella, mascarpone, ricotta, parmigiano...) will be thrown in the mix as well. Of course, every meal will be served with wine (chianti), grappa, martini, amaretto or some coffee (capuccino, espresso...).
      • The homely mother or grandmother (the "nonna") who enjoys cooking for her family is often used in advertising.
      • Italian ice cream vendors are also a popular image. They will be selling fruity ice cream ("gelato", "tartufo", "tutti frutti") in the street.
    • Latin Lover: Just like France, the country is often associated with love and sex.
      • The Casanova: An Italian man will often be presented as an arrogant, virile, cool, thuggish, macho Italian stallion who walks around with his shirt open to show his pectoral muscles and chest hair. He is a smooth talker, open to flirtation, and an excellent lover, but generally unfaithful or uninterested in the needs of his female partner. These types of Italian men often drive around in large and beautiful cars. This is an especially popular stock character in romantic stories targeted at women. Not surprisingly: Giacomo Casanova was Italian.
    • The female counterpart of this character is the Italian bombshell, exemplified by actresses as Sophia Loren, Gina Lollobrigida, Claudia Cardinale, Anna Magnani, Monica Bellucci, Isabelle Rossellini... Italian women in modern works are always hot.
      • Note that this stereotype comes from The '60s, when the aforementioned actresses started taking roles in movies that made it to America and everything Italian was fashionable (it was in the 60s that Italian film and Italian haute couture caught up with France). In older American works, Italian women are often stereotyped as hairy and nauseatingly unclean.
      • See also: this Flash animation (made by an Italian).
    • The Italian language lends itself perfectly for singing. Countless musical terms are of Italian origin.
      • Opera: Since Italy is the birthplace of opera: expect Italian characters either going to an opera, star in one or just sing some famous opera arias. It gets to the point that every scene taking place in Italy or with Italians will have opera arias as background music, usually by Giuseppe Verdi (Il trovatore, La Traviata...), Gioachino Rossini (The Barber of Seville, "William Tell"), Giacomo Puccini (Turandot, Madame Butterfly, Tosca) or Ruggero Leoncavallo (Pagliacci). If not opera, it will be traditional Napolitan songs like Funiculì, Funiculà, O Sole Mio and Santa Lucia. At worst, the background music will consist of mandolin sonatas... during scenes set in Northern or Central Italy (to give you an idea, this is as incongruous as lions living in Antarctica).
      • Street musicians with an organ and a little monkey performing tricks are always Italians with curly black moustaches.
    • Italian theatre is best known for the Commedia dell'Arte and all the clown archetypes thereof. Italy's reputation for clowns and the circus is not so strange since both words are Italian in origin. Other Italian festivity images are the carnival (for instance, the famous one in Venice), confetti and masquerades.
  • In huge contrast with its reputation for beauty and sophistication Italy also has its fair share of negative stereotypes.
    • Despite its status as a fashion mecca, Italian style is often spoofed amongst other Europeans as being quite gaudy and even tastelessly flashy at times. Males will often be presented as the cheesy Latin Lover, wearing a brightly colored shirt unbuttoned to the navel (exposing a chest-rug you could lose a Fiat in, clanking with medallions), and spray-on ice-white jeans, whilst females will be overly made-up, with big Power Hair and dripping with large, gold jewellery. This stereotype is equally prevalent in the US, thanks to their American descendants, and is summed up perfectly by (some of) the cast of Jersey Shore.
    • Italians Talk with Hands: The world of Opera has led to Italy's association with melodramatic behaviour. They will usually talk loud, very fast, gesticulate a lot and start intense discussions about the most trivial topics. They will either cry and crave for their "mamma" or lose their temper and start a fight. Their fanaticism is so proverbial that Italian hooligans even have a special name: "tifosi".
      • A common trait in media is that Italians just don't shut the hell up. For example, in the "Family Guy episode "Spies Reminiscent Of Us", the Trigger Phrase for a KGB sleeper agent is one nobody would say in a regular conversation: "Gosh, that Italian family across the table sure is quiet."
    • Italians are often stereotyped as foolish and scary drivers. Advice given during WWII to Allied soldiers occupying Italy said at certain point: "Never race an Italian by any means and with any kind of motor vehicle". Probably false, but the stereotype endures, and, as Italian Tropers will confirm, true.
    • Italians have the stereotype that any nation not having a bidet in every bathroom is horribly unclean. But for instance, no Italian restaurants (except some luxury ones) have the bidet in their facilities, and many Italian males simply never use theirs but pretend that's impossible to live without.
    • Italy still has a reputation for being chaotic and disorganized. It took until the 19th century before Giuseppe Garibaldi and Camillo Benso di Cavour finally united all the different regions and city-states into one nation. Ironically enough The Mafia seems to be the only well-organized thing in Italy.
    • Italy also has a centuries old reputation for bloodshed, corruption, political intrigues and decadence.
      • Feuding Families: Numerous families have murdered people for some Honor-Related Abuse in an endless Cycle of Revenge for stuff that happened centuries ago. Especially Sicily is notorious for this. Unsurprisingly, the most famous Feuding Families story of all time, Romeo and Juliet, is set in Verona, Italy.
      • Bread and Circuses and Gladiator Games: In the Roman Empire, gladiators fought and killed each other in arenas for amusement of the common people. Prisoners would be thrown for the lions, too, and it was also common for large, aggressive animals like lions, bulls and bears to be pitted against each other.
      • Political intrigues have been a staple of Italian politics since the Roman Empire. Ax-Crazy, power hungry and decadent emperors massacred and tortured their opponents by the score, before being murdered themselves. During The City State Era powerful families like the Medicis and The Borgias also liquidated everyone who stood in their way. No wonder that the most famous book about political scheming, The Prince, was written by an Italian: Niccolò Machiavelli. Since 1945 Italian politics have been a disorganized cess pool of corruptness, conspiracies, unsolved murders, Mafia intrigues, sex scandals, secret organizations, schemes and governments falling as a result of that. But the CIA also helped things stay that way in their international fight against socialist/communist governments. (See Operation Gladio)
      • Fascist Italy: Contrary to Germany, Italy managed to avoid being forever associated with World War II, but its association with fascism endures. Benito Mussolini is also yet another example of an almost cartoony Italian despot.
      • The Mafia: The most infamous negative association Italy has to offer. Criminal gangs existed for centuries, but really started to blossom and evolve in the organized crime networks we know today during the 19th and 20th century. The Mafia is so engrained in Italian society, especially in Sicily, that it's difficult to entangle and destroy them without making some powerful enemies. In popular culture Italians will often be stereotyped as mafiosi. For many Italians the mafia is something everyone hates, but many have remained silent about it ("omérta") out of fear of being robbed out. It's a topic most people don't want to talk about, but at the same time it really wrecks their country, the old pittoresque villages in ruinous state being just one example of how the maffia makes sure that proper restoration of those buildings is never carried out.
      • Vigilante Man: it is part of the Italian mentality to take justice in one's own hands and avenge torts (true or perceived doesn't matter). In fact, the Italian language even has a special word for it, giustiziere, that derives from the Italian word for justice.
      • Ironically, despite their bloody history, Italians have a reputation for sucking at warfare, or at least being very cowardly. Italian tanks are popularly supposed to have three forward gears and seventeen reverse gears; the slimmest book in the world is apparently 'The Italian book of War Heroes; and British people in particular will point to newsreel film of Italian soldiers surrendering by the tens of thousand as proof that whatever they're good at, it's not fighting. This stereotype is most mercilessly realized in the manga Hetalia: Axis Powers with the Anthropomorphic Personification of Italy, who is portrayed as utterly useless to his fellow Axis members, Germany and Japan — the very word "Hetalia" being a contraction for "Useless Italy". note 
  • Italians are often depicted speaking with a heavy accent in which the schwa is inserted after consonant-final words into their speech, leading to sentences like "I ain't-a gonna make-a pasta no more!" while illustrating his speech with exaggerated gesticulations. Examples are the Mario Bros., Luigi in The Simpsons, Tony & Joe in Lady and the Tramp and the character portrayed by Chico Marx. Also add some stock phrases like "Mamma mia", "Vaffanculo!"note , "Arrivederci", "Ciao!", "Fantastico", "Bellissima", "Niente"...
  • When Italian men aren't depicted as young sex symbols they will be middle aged men with curly black hair and equally curly moustaches. In American media, all Italians are Sicilians, and all Sicilians have black hair, brown eyes, and olive skin. Very much not Truth in Television, at least when it comes to the real Sicily (or Italy, for that matter). This trope is so pervasive that when Turner Media colorized a bunch of old black-and-white movies featuring Frank Sinatra, they gave him brown eyes. (For those wondering, Sinatra's best-known nickname was "Ol' Blue Eyes".)
  • If a scene takes place in Italy, it will be either Rome (to visit the Colosseum or the Trevi fountain), Venice (so that characters can take a boat ride or join the Carnival), Pompeii (for the Roman ruins) or Pisa (just to see the Leaning Tower) or a small pictoresque Italian village (usually in Tuscany) complete with olive gardens and vineyards. When a scene takes place in Sicily some mafia members will turn up.
    • A balcony with a veranda in a villa, near a piazza with some frescoes will also provide an Italian atmosphere.
  • In (beat 'em up) videogames, Italians are mostly depicted as sexy and suave, with examples including Robert Garcia from Art of Fighting, Rose from Street Fighter, Claudio Serafino from Tekken, and Brad Burns from Virtua Fighter. The exception is definitely the brilliantly freaky bondage-fiend Voldo from the Soul Series, a native of Palermo, who provides a rather excellent subversion.
  • Italians do strongly believe that everybody envies their easy life, good weather, low cost of living, sea and snowy mountains by the step. So when Italians fail at something on a international scale (sports, war...), all foreigners are blamed for "conspiring together against poor Italy, which never is given the time to rise on its feet before some other big country bashes it down again".
  • Italian cinema has four variations: neo-realistic dramas (Vittorio de Sica, Roberto Rossellini, Luchino Visconti, Pier Paolo Pasolini), spaghetti westerns (Sergio Leone, Sergio Corbucci), blood splattering giallo horror films (Dario Argento, Lucio Fulci, Mario Bava, Ruggero Deodato) and an eccentric, decadent bizarre Grotesque Gallery (Federico Fellini).
  • Chekhov's Volcano: Much like Iceland, Italy is also known for its volcanoes, with Vesuvius, notable for the Pompeï disaster, and Etna as the most famous examples.
  • Italians also have stereotypes for each other, with northern Italians seeing southern Italians as deadbeat parasites and criminals, and the southern Italians regarding northern Italians as moronic, Fascist rednecks.
    • Italians from the Emilia Romagna region are historically stereotyped as godless Dirty Communists. Ironically, Benito Mussolini was from there (even though he DID start out as a socialist before well, inventing Fascism).


  • Back when the island was called Ichnùsa (from the ancient Greek Υκνούσσα), it was mostly known for the so called Sardonic grin, resulting from the ingestion of a local herb. Indeed, that's where the word "sardonic" actually comes from.
  • To the average Italian, Sardinia is generally viewed either as a nice place to go on vacation where there are beautiful beaches, or as a frightening, faraway, place where people are sent when they are no longer useful or did something very wrong. Worth noting that the same Italian doesn't mind about how the island is treated, anyway, since he regards it (not without reason) to be a place that is not quite Italian, but close enough.
    • Reassigned to Antarctica: Back in the '60s, there was even a common saying for people that really screwed up on their job: ti sbatto in Sardegna! (lit. "I'll throw you in Sardinia!"). Out of sight, out of mind. Even now Sardinia, to the great displeasure of the islanders, is treated like a colony with the highest number of jailhouses, where the mafiosi coming from all of the Italian mainland are usually sent to, not to mention that 60% of all the Italian and NATO military installations are on the island.
    • Older Than They Think: native Sardinians used to call their island either Sardigna or Sardínnia; however, the term Sardigna in Tuscan (the basis for modern Italian) means "place to dump the remains of dead animals". Due to the strong connotation of the word, the Italians decided to pick another one, Sardegna (from the Catalan Sardenya), when they were eventually given the island.
  • Strange-Syntax Speaker: even when speaking Italian, Sardinians may put the verbs at the end of the sentence due to the structure of their original language, which makes large use of SOV syntax.
  • To Italians, Sardinians are generally heavy drinkers note , knife-wielders, badass herdsmen (even better if engaged in some kind of romanticized banditry against the Italian authorities: this cliché is gradually fading away, though), who lead a solitary life and are impossible to get along with. Other common stereotypes involve Sardinians being extremely loyal to their own island, introverted, melancholic, touchy, cold and leery of any strangers in the area. All these stereotypes are somewhat Truth in Television:
    • Sardinia has long been an agricultural and pastoral society, that used to stay away from the coastal areas (almost always under foreign rule). This has given rise to one of the most famous Sardinian proverbs: "Furat chie benit dae su mare" (“Whoever comes across the sea, comes to steal.”). Thus, it is common knowledge that in order to peer into the "true" Sardinian essence, one should visit the sparsely populated villages located in the inner land (especially the Barbagia region), not taking into consideration the far more italianized and populated coastal towns (where the people have a number of different backgrounds and ancestries, mostly Spanish and Italian). Much like the relationship between Scotland and its Highlands.
    • With the exception of the Nuragic era, Sardinia has been one of the most isolated bodies of land in Europe.
    • Sardinians usually call people from the Italian mainland "Continentals", like the Brits do when referring to mainland Europe.
    • Sardinians are generally known for their hospitality, in spite of the fact that this was used as a means to keep a close eye on outsiders, regarded as potential enemies.
    • During World War I, the Sassari brigade (raised completely in Sardinia) was nicknamed "devils" by the enemy. They took it in stride, with their anthem Dimonios (meaning "Devils" in Sardinian) being a long Badass Boast.
    • The Sardinian language (Sardu) is not a dialect of Italian but a totally separate language, and during World War I the Italians used Sardinian radio operators speaking in their first language because few other people on their own side and nobody on the other side could understand them, so having the enemy listening on the radio didn't matter. Nowadays, because of the assimilation policies Sardinian is a critically endangered language: therefore, nowadays many Sardinians don't even understand their own language!
  • Sardinia had an infamous reputation for its local banditry (called by journalists anonima sarda or anonima sequestri), which ended only in the 1990s: rich Italian businessmen were often kidnapped, never to be found again. However, contrary to popular belief, the crime rate in Sardinia is surprisingly low now that there are no more bandits left.
  • A negative stereotype associated with Sardinians is their relative weakness against the invaders due to a lack of organization and unity among themselves: this conception was first spread by a Spanish viceroy, describing the islanders as "few, mad and badly united" (pocos, locos y mal unidos). Proved false when the French tried to invade and were summarily beaten back.
  • Bestiality Is Depraved: another longstanding stereotype circulating among Italians is Sardinians' strange fondness for sheep. In Sardinia, there are approximately three times more sheep than there are human beings!


  • The most famous — or infamous — Italian island, mostly notorious for the dominating presence of The Mafia. Apart from the capital Palermo everyone who read or saw The Godfather knows that Don Corleone was born in the Sicilian village Corleone.
    • The island is also well known for its volcanoes with Mount Etna and Mount Stromboli as the most recognizable ones.
    • The beaches of Palermo, Catania, Syracuse and Ragusa are favourite tourist destinations.
    • Historically it's also known for the Sicilian Vespers (1282), a revolt against the French occupation.

Vatican City

  • Somewhat of a subtrope of Italy — there can be some substantial overlap, especially in historical works (even though the last three popes — and, of course, the first — were not Italian).
  • Internationally, the Vatican is known for only two things: The Pope and the Sistine Chapel, where the ceiling was painted by Michelangelo Buonarroti.
  • Corrupt Church: In popular culture, the Vatican will be depicted as a Wretched Hive of political and criminal intrigues. For being the smallest state in the world, it holds more power than one would expect. It is adept at operating behind the scenes by providing spies, assassins, and Mafia accomplices and diplomats that will manipulate governments across the entire globe. Its members will be more interested in temporal power and luxury than true spiritual well-being. Also huge supporters of Nazi and Fascist dictatorships. They also hide ancient manuscripts full of secrets that could harm their reputation.
  • Hiding Behind Religion: Since the Vatican is notoriously secretive about their bureaucracy, treasury, and especially their archives, this has led to many fantastical speculations about what actually isn't permitted to see daylight? In popular culture, the palace will be shown as a hotbed of sexual deviancy. Despite the proclaimed chastity of its members, there will be papal mistresses, closet homosexuals, orgies of priests and nuns, bastard children rising to high office. Especially in works set before the 20th century, this is a popular trope. In more modern works, the deviancy tends to be restricted to pedophilia.
  • There are generally a few truly noble priests who take their spiritual responsibilities seriously and work to fight the overall atmosphere of corruption. They can be lowly functionaries, or they can be as high up as the Pope, but they are always in the minority. In the end they will usually be persecuted or poisoned. A hundred years after their death, they are named saints.

  • A mini state mostly known as tax haven and for the export of false teeth.

  • The most common stereotype associated with this country is that it's almost never stereotyped, due to the fact that is so small and easily overlooked or forgotten. If it is shown, it will presented as nothing more than a boring village full of bored-looking people surrounded by empty fields.
  • Especially in its neighboring countries Luxemburg is known as a place to get cheap gas and cigarettes, which has caused the cliché that Luxemburg is only known for its gas stations across the motorway.
  • The unique fact that it's a Grand Duchy is the only thing it's internationally famous for.
  • Yet, just like the Swiss, Luxembourgers are known to be the bankers of Europe. They have similar banking secrecy laws too, giving it both a reputation as a tax haven and a place for white washing illegal money.
  • Luxembourgers speak French, German and the dialect variation Luxembourgish, making it somewhat of a mini-version of its already small neighbour, Belgium. As a result many foreigners confuse Luxembourgers with Frenchmen, Germans and/or Belgians. The fact that one of Belgium’s provinces is actually called ‘Luxembourg’ adds to the confusion. Just like foreigners often ask to name “ten famous Belgians” the same question is often asked about Luxembourgers, which usually leaves people completely unable to even think of one example, other than the Grand Duke and perhaps Robert Schuman, one of the founders of the European Union.
  • Another thing Luxembourg is famous for is the fact that they are part of the Benelux, together with Belgium and the Netherlands. Their capital, Luxembourg, harbors the European Court of Auditors, the Eurostat headquarters, the Secretariat of the European Parliament and the European Court of Justice.
  • During the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s European radio listeners knew it for Radio Luxembourg, one of the few radio stations that played rock music in a time none of the other European stations did. Its signal was so strong that it reached many other European countries, including the United Kingdom.


  • Since Monaco is a Principality, and its famous royal family features in many tabloid stories, people seem to assume that it's a glamorous place, which it can be, but generally only for the supremely rich. It's actually incredibly built-up and crowded, and doing Monaco on the cheap is simply not possible.
  • Micro Monarchy: The ruling Grimaldi family in general are probably the 2nd best known royal family in the world after the British Royal Family, due to cinema icon Grace Kelly marrying Prince Rainier III in 1956.
    • The native Monégasque adore Rainier's son Prince Albert (in much the same way the UK's Queen Elizabeth was almost universally beloved) — most likely because he acts as the official protectorate for the 8,000 or so indigenous inhabitants, providing them with rent-controlled, allocated housing that most visitors couldn't even dream of affording. Amongst the (very) nearby French, this indulgence lends the Monégasques a slightly child-like, blasé, happy, but often superior vibe.
  • Sports fans know Monaco for the annual Grand Prix tournament, and if Monaco is depicted in popular culture, characters are always in a casino, on a yacht, or on the racetrack.
  • The native Monégasque make up just over 20% of the 30,000 inhabitants of the tiny principality and are stereotyped as keeping themselves to themselves and being fortuitously cosseted by their Prince by the far more numerous French, Italian and other international residents.
  • As a warm, sunny tax haven, it's frequently home to the Corrupt Corporate Executive, Upper-Class Twit, and plenty of Rich Bitches.

    The Netherlands 
The Netherlands
  • The Netherlands is often referred to as "Holland", while this is actually only two of the country's twelve provinces. Note that even some Dutch people will refer to it this way in English, mostly because it's easier to say and more recognizable.
  • The country has a strong association with the color orange. This is based on the last name of their nation's founder William the Silent, aka William of Orange. During national festivities Dutch streets will literally look orange as a result. Even the Dutch soccer team plays in orange shirts.
  • Land of Tulips and Windmills: Dutchmen and women are often depicted wearing clogs, carrying cheese and walking around in tulip fields with many wind mills, "grachten", and cows in the background. All women are blond milk maids with pigtails. Huge dikes protect the Dutch from floods, as depicted in the popular story about Hans Brinker, or The Silver Skates which is in fact an American story and not a real-life Dutch incident. It goes without saying that all these images are extremely out-dated today. If you see Dutchmen and women dressed in these farmer outfits today it's only as part of a tourist attraction.
    • All Dutch people eat nothing but ham, cheese or chocolate spread sandwiches, and drink nothing but milk or fruit juice. They will also consume soused herring by tilting their head backwards and slowly lowering the fish into their mouths.
    • Water is perhaps the Netherlands' most prominent trademark. For centuries this completely flat country is in many places lower than the sea level, thus causing major flood disasters up until 1953. It also explains its name ("Nederland": "neder" is an archaic word for something that's low or down to the ground. cognate with English nether.). After the major flood of 1953, where many people drowned, the Dutch government created an ambitious and unique project called The Delta Works, where dams, sluices, locks, dykes, levees and storm slurge barriers were built to succesfully put a stop to these continuous floods. It's one of the most amazing engineering projects ever created.
    • Water is so much a part of the landscape in the Netherlands that even tourists notice it. Rivers, brooks, "grachten" and the sea itself made it necessary for Dutchmen to make boats. Just like the English there is a tradition of being sailors and mariners. There have been many historically famous Dutch admirals, sea captains, pirates, colonials and explorers. 16th and 17th century admirals Michiel de Ruyter, Maarten Tromp and Piet Hein are still national heroes. In the field of exploration Jacob Roggeveen discovered Easter Island, Willem Barentsz navigated in the polar area and Abel Tasman discovered Tasmania and New Zealand. Until late in the 20th century Rotterdam was one of the largest ports in the world and today it still is the largest in Europe.
  • Free State Amsterdam: A more modern view of the Netherlands depicts the people as drug addicts who smoke marijuana while the streets are full of brothels, cannabis coffee shops and prostitutes. This stereotype is based on the more liberal attitudes towards soft drugs, sexuality, LGBTQ rights and prostitution, compared with other countries. All this created a common misconception among foreigners that presumably “anything goes” in the Netherlands. In reality most cannabis coffee shops and prostitution are found in Amsterdam. In other parts of the country they exist too, but mostly in big cities and border towns. It must also be said that while marijuana note  and prostitution are legal in the Netherlands they still have to follow strict laws and regulations. Illegal drug and human trafficking are punishable offences, especially regarding minors.
  • Dutch TV shows, films, advertisements and culture in general also have a reputation for being sometimes borderline obscene, vulgar, scatological and risqué. Even kids' shows!
  • For centuries, the Netherlands was called a "tolerant nation". Indeed, since the 17th century, many foreign refugees have fled to the Netherlands, because there people didn't mind about other people's beliefs. However, during World War II, more people were persecuted in the Netherlands than in any other Nazi occupied country. After the war, the country successfully managed to restore its reputation and for decades it tolerated many things that are considered illegal or controversial in other countries. In 1811 they became the second country in the world to decriminalize homosexuality (after France in 1791). In 1967 Dutch television were the first to show a nude woman on live TV, twice in a row even. In 1972 they decriminalized marijuana for personal consumption and allowed it to be sold and enjoyed at home and in special bars called “coffee shops”. In 1979 they became the first country to allow same-sex couples to apply for unregistered cohabitation, expanded to a registered partnership bill in 1994 and legalizing same-sex marriage in 2000. In 2000 they became the first country to legalize prostitution and in 2002 euthanasia. Still feeling ashamed about the Netherlands' huge contribution to the The Holocaust, it made talking about problems with immigrants a taboo subject. This changed in 2002, when far-right politician Pim Fortuyn was assassinated because of his controversial ideas for a stricter immigration policy. The first political murder in the Netherlands since the 17th century came as a huge shock to the Dutch people and caused them to re-evaluate the policy towards tolerance, especially in the field of immigration. Since Fortuyn's murder and the murder of controversial film director Theo van Gogh in 2004 by a muslim extremist, more radical (and sometimes racist) opinions about immigration, prohibition, and the freedom of speech have become more outspoken in the Netherlands. The Dutch even started to question their stance for decriminalization of soft drugs.
  • In Europe, Dutch people are often depicted as being arrogant and bluntly direct know-it-alls. They talk loud and are very opinionated about every topic. A Dutchman/woman always knows what others do wrong and how they should correct their behaviour. Instead of remaining discreet about it, to spare other people's feelings, or at least discuss it in a polite, tactful manner, they simply shout out what's on their mind, insulting everybody. Their preachiness is usually attributed to their mostly Protestant/Calvinist heritage. So it comes to no surprise that the International Court of Justice is located in The Hague. To a Dutchman/woman, dancing around an issue with euphemisms instead of engaging in Brutal Honesty is considered insincere or even immoral.
  • Just like the Scottish, they are known to be thrifty about money ("Hollandse zuinigheid", meaning "Dutch frugality"). All Belgian jokes about Dutchmen target their thriftiness.
    • In the English language "dutch treat" means splitting the bill—as does "going dutch" on a date.
    • However, the term "dutch treat", as well as many other terms, were invented by the English during the Anglo-Dutch Wars of the 17th century. The term "dutch treat" owes less to "Dutch people are thrifty" and more to "Dutch people are scum." This is clearer in certain other expressions, like "dutch courage" (liquor).
    • Ironically enough, for being so infamously thrifty, Dutchmen do know how to conduct business. For centuries, Dutch merchants were among the shrewdest and richest businessmen in the world. During the 17th century (nicknamed "De Gouden Eeuw" ("The Golden Age") in the Netherlands), they were the only country in the world where most of the population led a wealthy, prosperous, and peaceful life, without being occupied by other countries. Historians even see it as the first modern capitalist state. Even in later centuries, Dutch people remained well-known for being merciless and tough marketing geniuses, able to exploit anything for a huge price. Colonel Parker, manager of Elvis Presley, was Dutch and literally embodies this stereotype!
  • Dutch art is world famous and has produced some iconic and instantly recognizable artists. Painters like Hieronymus Bosch, M.C. Escher and Piet Mondriaan, for instance. However, the Dutch painters of the 17th century like Rembrandt van Rijn, Johannes Vermeer and Frans Hals note  are far more admired because of their amazingly realistic depictions of people, still lives and landscapes. Especially the way they portrayed light, nicknamed Hollands licht (Dutch light), has been analyzed countless times. The only other equally iconic Dutch painter is Vincent van Gogh: the archetypical unappreciated suffering artist. Dutch architecture and typography has also been influential, especially the 20th century movements De Stijl and De Nieuwe Zakelijkheid.
  • The Netherlands also have a strong cabaret tradition. Comedians telling jokes and singing songs in theatres are still popular to this day. In other parts of Europe cabaret is near-dead in comparison. Many Dutch cabaretiers have become iconic even in Flanders, Belgium.
  • Dutchmen are also known for being ubiquitous tourists, and have a penchant for caravans.
  • The country is also associated with biking and bicycle tourism. While not uncommon in other nations too, the Dutch use this vehicle far more often than other European countries. A lot of the infrastructure, especially in urban areas, has been adapted for bicycle users, and laws were adopted to protect bikers from reckless car users. Even Dutch Prime Ministers and former Queen Beatrix have been seen biking to their office in broad daylight.
  • Another sport closely associated with the Netherlands is ice skating. Dutchmen have won countless gold medals in this discipline. The province Friesland holds a yearly distance ice skating competition ("Elfstedentocht"), although warmer temperatures have caused the event to be called off multiple times.
  • The Belgian singer Jacques Brel once said that: "Dutch isn't a language, it's a throat disease". Dutch does indeed involve a lot of noises from the back of the throat, therefore a popular stereotype is that Dutch consists of nothing but these sounds. The word "ja, ja, ja" ("yes, yes, yes") will be uttered non-stop as well.
  • The Dutch are stereotypically tall. Throughout the 20th century in most so-called advanced countries, due to better nutrition and medical care, the average height increased; about in the 1970s, in most of these countries people stopped getting taller and started to get wider, to the extent that most of these countries have serious obesity problems; the Dutch, however, keep getting taller.

  • Often confused with Spaniards and thus a lot of the Spanish stereotypes will also be applied to them. Which is something they don't like.
  • Portuguese are generally known as explorers, thanks to Vasco da Gama — the first to travel around Africa and actually reach India- Henry the Navigator — who financed many Portuguese martitime expeditions — Bartolomeo Dias — the first to sail around the southern tip of Africa and reach the Indian Ocean from the Atlantic — Pedro Alvares Cabral — who discovered Brazil — and Ferdinand Magellan — who was the first to circumnavigate across the entire globe.
  • References to their wine ("porto"), Fado music, or sardines are also typical, as are their beaches.
  • Portugal suffered under a dictatorship from 1932 to 1974. The conservative regime of Presidents António de Oliveira Salazar and Marcelo Caetano held back many technical and modern innovations that other European countries did adapt. By the time the country became a democracy again, it had so many technical stuff to catch up with that for a long time it caused the Portuguese to be viewed as primitive and hopelessly stuck in dated traditions.
  • Brazilian people seem to think that the Portuguese are either dumb or close-minded.
  • More rarely, Portuguese people are considered more taciturn and fatalistic than other southern European populations, in part because of Fado music (fado means "fate"), mentioned above, and because of their Vestigial Empire status.
  • In terms of regions:
    • People from Lisbon usually think of themselves as being cosmopolitan. They'll also constantly praise their city, even if the transportation companies are on strike or some buildings are in decay.
    • People from Alentejo (one of the most rural and underdeveloped regions in the country) live life at a snail's pace, are lazy, and mostly old. They're probably communists, too.
  • A common Portuguese stereotype in Spain is that Portuguese women are ugly, unattractive and never shave, and often even sport Manly Facial Hair. Similarly, Brazil commonly jokes that Portuguese women are Girls with Moustaches.
  • A Venezuelan stereotypical depiction of Portuguese people is that they are all industrious people who run small businesses, usually Mom & Pop stores and bakeries, and every food store in the country is managed by them (in real life, most of the food distribution chain is indeed managed by people of Portuguese descent).
    • "El portu del abasto" is an stereotype by itself in pretty much all of South America, a middle-aged mustached man in white butcher clothes. The Portuguese always have a unibrow, even the women.

    San Marino 
San Marino
  • Best known as mini state and tax haven.
  • Footy fans will know of San Marino as a sort of beloved Butt-Monkey of the game: the plucky team which never gets far in championships (because, frankly, they're part-time amateurs who play for fun, not well-paid professionals like the rest of them) and therefore a source of easy points for any team to face them, but all the more a good sport. To draw, let alone lose, against San Marino is likely to be hailed as the "they're not even trying" moment by disgruntled fans of any professional team.

  • Foreigners often confuse Spaniards with Latin-Americans (Spexico and even the Portuguese or Brazilians...)
  • Spaniards are often caricatured as being Hot-Blooded and proud to the point of being idle.
  • The most enduring image about Spain is the bull. According to many stereotypes, Spaniards are all bullfighters and/or love to watch these fights in a huge arena. They may also participate in the encierro (Running of the Bulls) in Pamplona, often getting get horribly maimed in the process. This stereotype has become a bit outdated since the second half of the 20th century, as nowadays not many Spaniards are that fond anymore of massacring innocent animals in front of hundreds of spectators. On the Canary Islands and in Catalonia the sport is even forbidden.
    • Dashing Hispanic and Toros y Flamenco: bullfighting is one of the things that lead to the idea that all Spaniards are prideful, flashy, and dashing matadors, fencers, conquistadores, knights, swashbucklers, masked outlaws... who elegantly swish their swords, rapiers, knives, or banderillas at their opponents. The men all have black moustaches and wear a bandana or another type of headscarf.
      • In (beat 'em up) videogames, Spanish males are almost universally depicted as prideful, flashy matadors of some sort, with examples including Vega from Street Fighter, Laurence Blood from Fatal Fury, and Miguel Caballero Rojo from the Tekken series.
    • If Spaniards are not dancing and prancing around with weapons, they are doing the same activities while singing and playing flamenco music. The man will play acoustic guitar and sing serenades under balconies, while tapping one foot on the ground to the beat of the music. He is usually accompanied by a beautiful black-haired young woman who carries a rose between her teeth, hides her face with a fan, or uses castagnettes or a tambourine to keep rhythm. The songs are usually catchy songs about sad topics while the singer wails "ay ay ay". Or just music from Carmen.
      • Just like the French and Italians Spaniards are frequently typecast as a Latin Lover or a Spicy Latina.
      • Spaniards are often depicted as being all dark-haired people with a suntanned skin, often conflated with Latino Is Brown.
    • There are shops in Barcelona seemingly devoted to sell souvenirs that only the most clueless foreign tourists would want to buy, like figurines depicting Andalusian dancers, bullfighting and Mexican sombreros.
  • The Spanish language has also lead to some stereotypes. Whenever a Spaniard speaks it will be so rapid that non-Spanish speakers will be unable to make sense out of it. Every Spaniard will shout ''"Olé!", "Arriba!", "Caramba!"'' or ''"Ayayayayayay"'' in unison whenever the occasion is ripe. When a question mark is used be sure to write it upside down, because this is common in their language.
  • Spain is also often stereotyped as being a strongly Catholic nation, even although for most of the Middle Ages the Iberian Peninsula was mostly Muslim (See Moorish Spain) and currently most of its population has various levels of anti-religion sentiment due to their historically convoluted relationship with the Church, going from mildly skeptic to downright savage by American standards (Spaniards do love religious tradition, though, with Antonio Banderas being far from the only non-believer who still performs at Holy Week).
  • Many stereotypes about Spain date back to the 16th and 17th century when the Spanish Empire was the most powerful country in the world. Expect references to the Spanish Armada, The Spanish Inquisition, and their famous explorers and conquistadores like Hernán Cortés — who conquered Mexico — Francisco Pizarro — who conquered Peru —, Vasco Núñez de Balboa — who discovered the Pacific Ocean — Juan Ponce de Leon — who discovered Florida — and Christopher Columbus — who was the first European to reach America (after Leif Ericson preceeded him four centuries earlier). Columbus also discovered present-day San Salvador, Cuba, Jamaica, The Bahamas, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama and Granada.note . Oddly, Amerigo Vespucci is not associated to Spain as often, even although he also worked for them.
    • Spaniards can be portrayed as secretly (or not so secretly) longing to bring back the Spanish Empire, sometimes including the Spanish Inquisition if religious and/or traditional enough.
    • Or suffer from a Don Quixote complex...
  • Modern stereotypes about Spain depict the country as a sunny beach holiday destination, where people have fiestas and siestas all day and night long.
    • Spanish people, especially those from the southern regions, are also frequently stereotyped as being lazy, an impression derived from their daily siestas.
    • Spain also brings up images of hot desert lands with bad roads.
    • Sex. Not quite to Scandinavian levels, but apparently most festivals are just an excuse to go out and make love in a field somewhere.
  • Another negative stereotype are the terrorist attacks by the Basque separatist movement ETA.
  • Whenever Spanish people are cooking or eating, it will be one of the following dishes: olives, oranges, tortillas, sangría, ham, tapas, or paella.
  • The old Latin-American stereotype for Spaniards, at least in comedy, tends to be "El Gallego" (the Galician guy), a middle-aged man of thick accent and little intelligence, always dressed with a white shirt, a vest, and a black beret, who peppers his conversation with "¡Jolines!".
  • Also, they really, really don't like South Americans (or "Sudacas", an old-school racial slur). Sarcastically pointed out in this song (by a Chilean group).
  • Spanish painting has also produced some iconic artists, like Diego Velazquez, Francisco de Goya, Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró and Salvador Dalí. Spanish architecture is well represented by Antonio Gaudí.
  • In the Netherlands and Belgium, Spain is traditionally seen as the home of Sinterklaas.
  • Within Spain, there are several stereotypes based on territory:
    • Catalans tend to be considered Spain's scrooges, and very obsessed with their cultural differences with the rest of Spain. Jokes abound about Catalans fighting between both ideas: one example is a madrileño (someone from Madrid) who goes to a bar, asks for a beer, and when the Catalan waiter states the cost, pays most of it (say, 90 cents out of 95) and ignores the waiter until he demands the rest of the money in Spanish.
    • Basques are popularly depicted as boastful, larger-than-life bruisers, sometimes to the point of Dumb Muscle, especially due to the presence of folk sports of strength like harri-jasotze and Basque pelota. They will gather in taverns to drink and banter loudly, often in gangs known as cuadrillas. Basque women will often be witches too, due to folklore and the influence of the Zugarramurdi Witch Trials. And of course, Basque terrorism is never out of the question.
      • The stereotype includes that Basques love specifically the profane idiom "¡ahí va la hostia" (loosely, "there it goes the holy shit!").
    • Navarres share a lot of the Basque character, but they are more often portrayed as loving a bit too much their famed wines.
    • Andalusians in general are universally considered lazy, uncultured and indulging in multiple hour-long siestas, as well as being funny and fast-talking yet having an unintelligibly heavy accent (and more often than not, they will be skilled cantaores de flamenco). Often, they are petty, jackknife-wielding criminals too. Many a Lower-Class Lout stereotype in Spain comes from this.
      • People from Lepe (a town in Huelva, well known for its strawberries) are the butt of many jokes about them being stupid and slow-minded.
    • Extremadurans have two different but related stereotypes: hillbillies (because it used to be an underdeveloped, backwards land, and still is compared to others) and adventurers (because poverty moved many 16th century Extremadurans to try luck in the unexplored Indies, with the result that almost all the major conquistadors, like Cortés, Pizarro, Alvarado, Balboa and Orellana, hailed from there).
      • In particular, Extremadura's most northern parts, Las Hurdes, used to be stereotyped as a mine of Hillbilly Horrors, with plenty of inbreeding, disease, insane people and a weird folklore full of monsters.
    • Galicians are depicted as being obssessed with their Celtic origins, indulging in pseudo-pagan customs like the queimada (popularly believed to be ancient, but actually medieval at most) and being superstitious about it. Also, as among the Basques, lots of witch culture, although with a stronger presence of Good Witches (they even have a Saint witch of all things, St. Columba of Sens).
    • Asturians, by comparison, are depicted as fist-pumping patriots who love their historical role in the Spanish Reconquista.
    • Aragonese are popularly believed to be loud, temperamental people with a funny accent.
    • Valencians love to party hard, with marathonian party routes full of drug usage like the infamous Ruta del Bakalao from The '90s.
    • The Canarian Islands have the stereotype of being underdeveloped, sometimes exaggerated to Third World levels, due to their remoteness and closeness to Africa. They are also popularly depicted as in love with their ancient ethnic practices, like the salto del pastor, silbo gomero and lucha canaria.
    • The Balearic Islands, in particular Ibiza, have gotten a stereotype of being a hub for young Europeans to party and do drugs.
      • On a more positive note, Balearic Islanders, in particular Mallorca are renowned for their skill with the sling. Even to this day, they have slinging competitions.

  • Team Switzerland: The Swiss have been a neutral country since 1850 and this resulted in the idea that the people themselves always refuse to take sides, even in emergency situations or if one of the two options is obviously wrong or evil. This image is also influenced by The Red Cross, an organization founded by a Swiss, Henri Dunant.
  • The Swiss are seen as very punctual and orderly, thanks to their stable government, ability to maintain neutrality during foreign conflicts, and reputation for quality watchmaking and cuckoo clocks. note . The famous Swiss pocket knives are also an example of Swiss precision and punctuality.
  • Thanks to their famously secretive banking system, the Swiss are also caricatured as filthy rich bankers who guard money from dubious origins. Many millionaires or rich people live in Switzerland.
  • In Europe, the Swiss are thought to be dim-witted, slow people who really like to take their time. This is in great contrast with the precision of their famous watches, their reputation for punctuality, and the firearms produced by the likes of SIG-Sauer and Brügger + Thomet.
  • Neat Freak: Another image is the cleanliness of the average Swiss person, famously spoofed in Asterix in Switzerland. A bit Truth in Television since many Swiss cities have relatively clean streets and crystal clear lakes you can swim in.
  • The Swiss eat nothing but Swiss cheese, fondue, and chocolate, and all their dogs are Saint Bernards.
    • Another stereotype: they only export said cheese and chocolate. In reality, their main export product are machines that make molds.
  • Yodel Land: Since Switzerland's borders are close to another snowy, mountain-filled country, Austria, both countries share the same Alpine clichés: mountaineering, skiing, chalets, yodeling, alpenhorns, Saint Bernards... Its inhabitants will be depicted wearing lederhosen and caps with feathers. And, of course, foreigners will frequently confuse both countries with each other.
    • Switzerland is a multilingual community with four official languages (French, German, Italian, and Romansh — a descendant of Latin). As a result, the Swiss are often mistaken by foreigners for being either Frenchmen, Germans, or Italians. Some very ignorant people sometimes confuse The Swiss with Swedish people and vice versa, although their countries are not even geographically close together.
  • The only Swiss cities that exist in the public consciousness are Zürich and Geneva. Zürich is known for being the birth place of Reformation icon Huldrych Zwingli, the art movement Dada and the annual techno dance festival Street Parade. The latter city is famous for being the birthplace of Calvinism and the center of the World Health Organization and World Council of Churches, among other institutions. The Geneva Conventions were also signed here, concerning the treatment of wartime non-combatants and prisoners of war. Usually one of these two cities is thought to be the capital, instead of Bern.
  • William Telling: Expect a William Tell reference at some point.
  • The Swiss have excellent trademark mercenaries. The only guy they are willing to fight for without certain monetary expectations is the Pope.
    • The situation differs today. Basically, Swiss citizens cannot be mercenaries anymore but when the treaty was written, the country was still largely Catholic and the Papal Guard was — and still is — allowed.

    United Kingdom 
United Kingdom
  • A particular confusing country for foreigners, because they are never quite sure which countries/regions belong to it and under which of the many names it should be addressed? Usually, England and the English are the point of reference and Scotland and Wales are seen as separate countries, which will be addressed as individual nations when necessary, despite the fact that none of them are officially independent from England. To set things straight: the United Kingdom as a whole is England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. When referring to Great Britain, it's just England, Wales, and Scotland.
  • Britons have a reputation for being polite, proper, sophisticated, decent, clean, stately, reticent, dignified, and for having a talent for standing patiently in queues, as well as a genuine sense of fair-play. The negative end of this stereotype portrays them as being stiff, stuck up, snobbish, prudish, easily embarrassed, pompous, unemotional, bombastic, imperialistic, self-important, phlegmatic, and obsessed with class and social status. Partly true, in the sense that they may not be as instantly outgoing or comfortable with expressing emotion as some other nationalities.
    • Pink Floyd 's song "Time": "Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way."
    • In League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Vol. II, Alan Quartermain tells Nemo that "pretending everything is tickety-boo is the English national pastime."
    • From Doctor Who: "Well, she's British and moneyed. That's what they do. They carry on."
    • "The British spirit is an indomitable spirit!" — Dudley, Street Fighter.
    • The Grim Reaper in Monty Python's The Meaning of Life complains: "Be quiet! You Englishmen... You're all so fucking pompous and none of you have got any balls."
    • "I'm British; I know how to queue." — Douglas Adams makes several references to no one being better at queuing than the British.
  • Keep Calm and Carry On...The British are known for their equanimity, and many works reference the British Stiff Upper Lip, a national character trait that ranges from a general "mustn't grumble" attitude in mild examples, to an extreme level of ambivalent disregard for the inherent danger in volatile situations. The stiff upper lip is underpinned by understatement, a very British way of speaking, which resolutely refuses to succumb to drama, excitement, or high emotion. Examples generally either play this straight or employ the trope for comedic effect.
    • Straight examples are to be found in films like Master and Commander, which cranks this up to eleven throughout, The Bridge on the River Kwai and perhaps most famously in Zulu, which depicts the victorious Last Stand battle of 139 British soldiers against 5000 Zulu warriors.
    • Comedic examples are equally prevalent, most famously seen in Carry On Up the Khybernote  where the British rulers in India discover that bloodthirsty Afghan hordes are approaching fast, intending to slaughter them all, but proceed to have a dinner-party under heavy fire (the dining room eventually loses a wall, all the windows, and most of the ceiling) — no one bats an eye-lid throughout.
  • British characters are usually cast as aviators, sailors, nannies, military commanders, colonials, gardeners, judges, headmasters, butlers, servants, or someone from the upper class.. They will always be dignified, dutiful, snobbish and look back nostalgically at the "good old days, when discipline was a thing that built character."
    • Thanks to The British Empire and their naval traditions, the British have a reputation for being excellent marineers and sailors. During the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century, the British Empire had more colonies overseas than any other nation, covering a quarter of the global landmass. "Rule Britannia, Britannia rule the waves", one of the most well known patriotic British songs, sums it up best. By the way, whenever a scene cuts to an English location, the soundtrack must quote the refrain from this song for a few notes. Especially in comedy and animation, this is almost a golden rule.
    • Also, thanks to The British Empire, the English have a reputation for being racist and Mighty Whitey Evil Colonialist hypocrites who talk of free trade while plundering the world. Anglophobia is common enough in the Middle East, Iran (the UK has sometimes been called "the Little Satan" to America's "Great Satan", and one adviser called the English "Worse than America" — which a proper Empire nostalgist might take as a compliment. This is probably because the British government was heavily involved in manipulating Iranian politics to its own benefit between the mid 19th and mid 20th century, manufacturing the 1953 coup), Asia, Africa and India, that the Evil Brit is still the common stereotype in these films. The likable Englishman here is a Colonel Blimp-esque self-deluding fool who, as in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart, see other lands with blinkered Small Reference Pools and never takes responsibility for the violence inflicted by imperialism, and refuse to fess up to the art theft of the Elgin Marbles, treasures in Beijing, Tipu's Tiger and the Koh-I-Noor diamond (while even the Indian government admitted that the Koh-I-Noor was legally acquired in 2016, it still stirs emotions — and as the Indians can reasonably point out, the British nicked practically everything else).
  • While we're on the topic of racism, all British people are presumed to hate the French, although it's not treated seriously anymore.
  • The Stiff Upper Lip stereotype is turned on its head in Australia, where "Whinging Poms" describes a stereotype that British people, particularly the English, are hopelessly stuck-up complainers. The typical British response can generally be summed up as "well you're all a bunch of convicts", and the two nations have a fierce sporting rivalry — the English beat Australia with literally seconds to go in the Rugby World Cup of 2003, which was hosted by Australia. They haven't stopped gloating since.
  • British Accents are used to provide the speaker with a witty, sophisticated outlook (see I Am Very British, Smart People Speak the Queen's English and Deadpan Snarkers) This can be the charming, witty, intellectual male Brit (James Bond, John Steed, Sherlock Holmes) or the young and sexy English Rose type woman (Emma Peel and various Bond Girls). Characters in historical costume dramas often have British accents, even if the setting has nothing to do with England. Upper-class characters and movie villains are usually represented as the Evil Brit. Too often they are depicted as eloquent snobs who are in the end humiliated by someone who is more egalitarian.
    • There are several UK actresses who carved out successful careers (mainly in The '80s) portraying the sexy, RP-accented, haughty, Brit villainess character, especially in American works. Examples include Joan Collins (as infamous mega-bitch Alexis Carrington of Dynasty (1981) fame), both Stephanie Beacham and Emma Samms (also Dynasty), Sarah Douglas (who played Ursa in Superman: The Movie and Superman II and Queen Taramis in Conan the Destroyer), Kate O'Mara (Doctor Who and yet also Dynasty) and Siân Phillips.
    • In foreign media all British people will speak in a classy, refined, intelligent manner, using the RP accent. This leads to Stock British Phrases such as: "Cheerio", "Right-ee-o", "Hello chaps", "I say!", "I say "what"?", "Hear Hear", "Pip pip!", "Bloody...", "Tally-ho!", "Bob's your uncle", "It's a fair cop", "Shocking", "Yes. Quite!", "... and all that", "What's all this then?", "What the devil?" or "Jolly good show!".
      • If a less dignified, ignoble British accent is required, it will always be Cockney note  with phrases like: "Cor blimey!" and "'Ello, gov'na!".
    • Foreign comedians also have a tendency to portray an Englishman by using the words "bastard", "wanker", "tosser" or "bollocks", which are all considered to be rude words in Great Britain and are always avoided in public, especially on radio or television. These are all technically speaking rude words, but of the very mildest kind.
    • Outside of the UK, the perceived "posh" accents of the Anglophonic nations (Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the USA) tend to sound more "English" the more upper-class a character is — that is, their accent is close to English RP (e.g less rhotic, pronunciations are more precise, long "a" sounds — "plahnt", not "plant" etc). Think Frasier and Niles from Frasier, who are often mistakenly thought to have "British" accents, Stewie Griffin (who is actually supposedly meant to have a Boston Brahmin accent) and Helen Daniels and Harold Bishop (especially) from Neighbours for an Oceania example. Essentially, the posher the character, the more "English" they sound.
      • In the USA, people are intrigued by British Accents and especially what they perceive as "typical British politeness." The standard American response upon hearing even a whiff of an English accent is typically "Oh my God, I LOVE your accent!"
  • A Touch of Class, Ethnicity and Religion: Compared to other European countries, the class system has remained far more prominent and dominant in the United Kingdom than elsewhere. Despite not mattering as much as it did before the 1960s (and how much it still matters is up for debate), it can still inspire a lot of venom, depending on which class you're from. Generally, the Upper-Class Twit has become a common Butt-Monkey in many British comedies, with their servants often depicted as being a lot smarter and sympathetic than they are (see The Jeeves). People from the middle classes trying to intermingle with the upper class and making a fool of themselves in the process (the novels of P. G. Wodehouse, Fawlty Towers, Keeping Up Appearances...) have also been a staple in British comedy for decades. However, there is still a good deal of fascination with the intricacies of the class system, as evidenced by the huge popularity of British period dramas, both at home and abroad — Downton Abbey, Parade's End, and Upstairs Downstairs offer a guilty pleasure; a compelling glimpse into the regimented lives of both master and servant. In some instances though, a privileged background can be a hindrance; for instance, a British rock band is only "authentic" when they are working-class.
  • In videogames, English female characters are often amongst the most fanservicey and portrayed as steely, no-nonsense femme fatales sporting form-fitting outfits and cut-glass RP accents. Examples include Cammy White from Street Fighter, Isabella "Ivy" Valentine from the Soul Series, Christie from Dead or Alive, Lien Neville from The King of Fighters and of course, arguably the number one all-time videogame Ms. Fanservice, Lara Croft. Also often grouped in with these characters are the Irish Williams sisters, Nina and Anna, from Tekken. This depiction undoubtedly derives from the various sexy Brit Bond Girls, as well as pioneering 1960's British Spy Drama series The Avengers (1960s), which singlehandedly started the Spy Catsuit and TV Action Girl tropes.
    • English male video game characters however come in one of two distinct flavours. There's the classically sophisticated Quintessential British Gentleman type, as seen with both Dudley and Eagle of Street Fighter fame, who sport a bowtie and cravat respectively, braces and formal trousers — and of course, both prioritize good manners and taking time to enjoy a cup of tea. The other type is the UK's exact cultural opposite and derived from the nation's Punk counter-culture, as seen with various rock and roll, British Rock Star-inspired examples, including Axl from Guilty Gear, Matlock from Fighter's History, Birdie from Street Fighter, Steve Fox from Tekken, and Billy Kane of The King of Fighters fame.
    • Noble Male, Roguish Male: The above characters provide a great example of the polarized way in which British males are often presented in culture generally —that is, they are designed and depicted as being from either the very top (upper class gentleman, the epitome of Western sophistication) OR very bottom (rough and ready, punkish Cockney rogues) of the British social-class scale — all else in between is far less often depicted.
  • Stock British Characters:
    • The Quintessential British Gentleman has blonde, mousey or shiny black hair, a bushy moustache, is dressed in a bowler hat and black suit, carries an umbrella and interrupts everything for the sake of having his tea (see Brits Love Tea). He is always impeccably polite, sophisticated and proper. Actors like George Arliss, Terry-Thomas, David Tomlinson note , Patrick Macnee note  and John Cleese have all portrayed/embodied this stereotype, mostly for comedic effect. Hugh Grant, Colin "Mr Darcy" Firth, Ralph Fiennes, Tom Hiddleston, and Henry Cavill are more modern examples, and tend to play characters who embody the smouldering, sexier side of this trope.
    • Stock British Characters, especially in American media (if they are at the higher end of the social-class spectrum), will of course have one of the quintessentially British stock names — "Nigel", "Rupert", or "Charles" are all popular choices, usually complemented with surnames such as "Belvedere", "Kensington", or "Buckingham", which reference affluent UK locations. Upper-class British characters will also have (often for comedic effect) highly elaborate double, or even triple-barrelled surnames — "Sir Nigel Featherstonehaugh-Smythe" (incidently, to muddle les autrés, the first part of this surname is pronounced Fan-shaw). There's definitely some Truth in Television to this stereotype, as certain names (like Nigel) are far more common in the UK than in the US, and there are Brits (mainly aristocrats) with extraordinarily rambling names — Jacobi Richard Penn Anstruther-Gough-Calthorpe provides a rather lovely real life example.
    • The British Rock Star provides an interesting cultural contrast to the gentleman archetype above, and the UK is equally famous for its Rock, Heavy Metal and Punk heritage, having arguably produced the most famous, recognizable and iconic bands on the planet; The Beatles, Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Iron Maiden, Led Zeppelin, Queen, Sex Pistols (and more). This aspect of British culture is most famously (and lovingly) parodied in the film This is Spın̈al Tap, a mockumentary about a hapless, fictional English Heavy Metal band struggling to remain credible in the early 80's. This impressive musical heritage is apparently a lot to live up to, and the British music press is seemingly on a constant mission to find the "new Beatles."
    • The English Rose is a uniquely English type of female beauty, and most often appears in period settings, though examples from modern works are also possible. Her beauty will be natural and classic; tumbling locks of auburn or light brown hair, porcelain-white skin and bee-stung lips are usual visual cues. Impeccable manners and good breeding are essential characteristics. She will be demure, and whilst generally being above offering any kind of gratuitous Fanservice, she will always be alluringly beautiful in an ethereal sort of way. English actresses like Julie Andrews, Vivien Leigh, Kate Winslet, Rachel Weisz and Jessica Brown Findlay have the appropriate looks, and are often accorded this accolade.
  • The British Royal Family is easily the world's most famous monarchy, so expect the various members to turn up, usually for comedic or dramatic effect, in a variety of works — from TV to films, books, and even videogames. Since Queen Elizabeth II was easily the best-known monarch in the world, she turned up quite a lot in fiction, usually as an Anonymous Ringer or Invisible President, in part due to her function as a constitutional monarch. She would usually be knighting somebody or be surrounded by her corgi dogs. Another pop culture mainstay is King Charles, and Princess Diana who, before her untimely death, was dubbed "the most famous woman in the world". Whilst other European nations still retain a monarchy (Norway, Sweden, Denmark etc), they tend to be far more low-key, and lack the global hype and interest.
  • Boarding School: Independent, prestigious educational institutions and the associated uniforms worn therein are most commonly associated with Great Britain, and a huge amount of home-grown and international works are dedicated to this setting. The tone of these works generally comes in one of two flavours, although there is a good deal of overlap:
  • When Britons are playing sport they will be playing Cricket, Rugby, or Darts to make absolutely clear that they are British. Soccer and tennis are popular as well, but generally not British enough in foreign fiction; unless the tennis is at Wimbledon or it's the English national team playing, of course.
    • English club sports teams, by contrast, tend to be much more successful, with England's Premier League, having mostly shaken off the hooligan reputation, being beaten only by the NFL and MLB in terms of the richest sports leagues, and after a £5.14 billion ($7.89 billion) tv rights deal, it's only going to get richer. The very richest teams (Manchester City in particular, though Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool also qualify) can afford to dish out salaries that dwarf even those in NFL, with six figure sums being an expected weekly wage at one of these clubs, even before bonuses, sponsorship and advertising deals and other income. They're also among the most successful teams in the UEFA Champions League, with Liverpool having won the trophy 6 times, Manchester United 3 times and Chelsea twice, and English teams frequently featuring in the semi finals and final.
  • The British are also well known for founding clubs, specifically gentlemen's clubs. They will frequently come together and have dignified, sometimes elitarian meetings, followed by group activities in which they share their common interests (sports, hunting, playing cards, reading...). Expect members to smoke a pipe and wear tweed jackets. There's a joke about this, blending in some other stereotypes from the British Isles: "get three Englishmen together and they'll start a club. Get three Welshmen together and they'll start a choir. Get three Scotsmen together and they'll start a fight."
  • Despite being generally portrayed as polite and sophisticated, Britons can sometimes be depicted as more negative, even degrading or less classy characters:
    • Rude, violent, and drunken soccer hooligans can be found in other countries as well, but England is tarnished more with this reputation than others, largely thanks to the Heysel disaster of 1985, which got 39 people killed and English clubs banned from Europe for 5 years, as well as Millwall FC's fans, universally considered to be the archetypal hooligans (leading to the chant 'no one likes us, we don't care'). Of course, they all shout in Cockney accents. The Premier League, however, is helping to shake off this reputation — though that comes with the new stereotype of the spoiled young footballer, often from a deprived household and a multi-millionaire before they're 21, going completely off the rails in new and interesting ways.
      • However, in the late New 10s and early 2020s, yet another set of stereotypes is emerging. The negative one is of the social media obsessed footballer/young celebrity, who cares far more about their image and followers than their actual job. The positive one is the articulate and socially conscious footballer, who's heavily engaged in charity, leveraging their wealth and social influence to protect the usually far more deprived communities that they came from. Examples of this are Marcus Rashford (Manchester United and England forward) noted for his campaigning on child food poverty which managed to embarrass the Conservative government into a U-Turn on free school meals, Raheem Sterling (Chelsea and England wing-forward) known for his anti-racism campaigning, and Jordan Henderson (Liverpool and England midfielder), organiser of his fellow Premier League captains in a joint effort to support NHS workers during the Covid-19 pandemic, against the highly controversial 'European Super League', and coordinating responses to BLM (after consulting with black fellow and former players), as well as leading a campaign against bullying on social media (testifying before a government panel on online safety and surrendering control of his social media to an awareness group), all of which led to him being dubbed 'The Captain of Everything' by the New York Times.
    • British News Papers: Despite the fact that many countries have tabloid magazines and sensational journalists, these trashy, sleazy, and unconscionable newspapers are generally associated with the "Red Tops" of Great Britain.
    • Caustic Critic: The Britons also have a reputation for producing arrogantly opinionated know-it-alls who will cause commotion in countries where expressing your thoughts that bluntly is considered not done. Examples are Christopher Hitchens, John Lydon, Margaret Thatcher, Jeremy Clarkson, Nigel Farage, Anna Wintour, Anne Robinson, Simon Cowell, Gordon Ramsay, ... Some of them can be considered being a charming Magnificent Bastard too though, especially in countries (like the USA) where their blunt, honest attitude helps to cut through a saccharine quagmire of "good-for-you!" schmaltz.
    • In the U.S.A., the English and their bad teeth have been a staple of comedy for centuries. (for instance in The Simpsons episode "Last Exit to Springfield", the Family Guy episode "One If by Clam, Two If by Sea" and the Austin Powers series. With real life examples like Johnny Rotten, Susan Boyle, Margaret Thatcher, Amy Winehouse, Elton John, Thom Yorke... it's not hard to understand where this image came from.) "A staple of American humor about the UK is the population's bad teeth.".
      • Ironically, a recent survey found that the British have by far the healthiest teeth in the OECD. The distinction probably lies in the fact that most Brits don't care for bleached and artificially straightened teeth, and mock them with varying degrees of affection. In the case of beloved football players like Brazilian forward Roberto Firmino, it's gentle mockery. In the case of Americans as a whole, it tends to be treated as a weird Hollywood export — and one that's increasingly popular in Britain itself.
  • In many countries, especially on the European continent, the British cuisine is seen as particularly awful, tasteless, and sometimes downright disgusting, something that has been spoofed in Asterix in Britain. The 1990s, mad cow disease harmed this reputation even more. Expect the following British dishes to make a cameo whenever foreign characters in fiction visit the United Kingdom: buttered scones, Worcester sauce, plum pudding, fish 'n' chips, spotted dick (for Double Entendre purposes), Yorkshire pudding, peas, shepherd's pie, English breakfast...
    • In fact, the only foods that the English seem to excel in are sweets, candy, and breakfast.
      • Roald Dahl praises his country's sweets in his autobiographical novel Boy.
      • Bart and Lisa become addicted to English sweets in the Simpsons travel episode "The Regina Monologues".
      • As for breakfast, "To eat well in England you should have breakfast three times a day," said the writer William Somerset Maugham, who spent a large part of his life living in France. While he was jibing at his native country, not for nothing is the classic fried breakfast called a 'Full English', with fried eggs, bacon, sausages, and a varied combination of beans, toast/fried bread, mushrooms, and black pudding. There are plenty of regional variations, some turning the eggs into scrambled eggs and swapping bacon for smoked salmon, or even haddock.
    • Another culinary area in which the British excel is the art of taking tea, and having a cup of tea is a quintessential element of British cuisine. In Britain, tea is seen as a universal panacea for all ills, and the British love nothing better than 'putting their feet up' and enjoying a "cuppa". The quiet gentility of the English tea ceremony is seen as a reflection of the reserved national character. In popular culture, they will usually drop everything they were doing at four o' clock in the afternoon because it's "tea time".
  • The English are often called "eccentric". This is partly caused by their driving on the left side of the road and the use of imperial measurements, which no other country in Europe (still) has. They are also the only European country to have a unique version of Christianity as the official state religion: Anglicanism. The usual explanation for the "British eccentric behaviour" is that they have lived for centuries on an isolated island, separated from the rest of the European continent, which caused them to act different from other Europeans. They haven't been invaded since 1066, which might also explain why so many historic traditions have remained intact and unchanged. For instance, judges and lawyers are still required to wear wigs in court, which stems from the 17th century. (See also British Courts).
    • With Europe, but Not of It: Their stubbornness to join or support initiatives of the European Union has also been associated with their eccentricity or desire to be "different from the others for the sake of being different."
      • To the above point, the UK government is often criticised by the rest of Europe for siding with and supporting its former territory, the USA, over its European brethren. They have been political, economical and military partners ever since the two world wars and the UK is still America's closest ally. It has often been said that, apart from their historical friendship, the USA trusts the UK more than other European governments, first and foremost because they share a common language. Apart from that other European countries have in the past dared to oppose America's military plans. The UK government is usually more loyal and/or obedient, with Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair as famous examples. Naturally not all British citizens are supporters of the UK's loyal relationship with the USA, but nevertheless the UK's nickname America's 51st State has stuck to this day.
      • The British are generally known for looking down on their fellow Europeans, dismissively referring to Europe as 'the Continent', Europeans as 'Continentals' and considering pretty much everyone south of The Channel to be a lazy, shiftless bastard. Or, if they're German, potentially a Nazi. The rest of Europe is generally irritated by the UK's constant efforts to remain somewhat independent from the European Union, and have the impression this is more because they want to be the ones to dictate the European political agenda. This impression became even more outspoken when a narrow majority voted to leave the E.U. in 2016. On the other hand, it also threw the Europhiles into sharper relief, in both their love of Europe and their deep, deep resentment of being dragged out of it by — in their view — ill-educated, inbred xenophobic bigots (who in turn resent the smug, stuck-up and usually urban cosmopolitan bastards), and it has comprehensively redrawn the political map of Britain.
      • Apart from the Germans, English tourists are viewed as the most irritating by their fellow Europeans during visits to the Continent. The stereotypical English tourist basically looks down on all other Europeans and provokes their ire by not bothering to learn other languages, since "the entire world speaks English, so why bother?"
    • English aristocrats in particular have a centuries old reputation for eccentricity. You can seriously fill a book with all the mad royals, lords, dukes, earls, and barons that seem(ed) to flourish in the English countryside and their colonies.
  • British Stuffiness: A common stereotype about the British is that they are so stuffy, prissy, uptight and prudish that they are easily embarrassed by foul language, nudity or sexual innuendo. It has gotten to the point that foreigners assume Englishmen would rather avoid these topics and English women will just Lie Back and Think of England during sex to get it over with. This image goes back to the days of Victorian Britain, when many upper and middle class people expressed prudish behaviour. Since the British Empire was so huge many locals across the world witnessed this British prudishness and the stereotype stuck. Even as far back in the 1960s the The Beatles' song "I Am The Walrus" (1967) didn't receive airplay on the BBC merely because the word "knickers" was mentioned. Censor crazy activists like Mary Whitehouse have also fed this stereotype. Compared to some other countries some Britons today can still come across as being uncomfortable regarding nudity or sex, but a lot has changed since the 1960s. It must also be pointed out that many British comedians have poked fun at this stereotype too, with Carry On, The Benny Hill Show, Captain Peacock in Are You Being Served?, the saucy greeting cards of Donald McGill, and the Awful British Sex Comedy craze of the 1970s as prime examples. Alistair Foot and Anthony Marriott's farce play "No Sex Please, We're British" sums it up best. Many British sitcoms also have the Stock Character of The Vicar, who always enters someone's home whenever people are nude or involved in Not What It Looks Like situations. While this is not quite a Dead Horse Trope, British comedy is much more gleefully rude and loose than it used to be, striking a contrast with the US — Americans, who laugh at this stereotype a lot, are often regarded as panicky about sex and nudity themselves by foreigners, especially Brits.
    • Oddly enough, Europeans also have the impression that the English often are far more lewd in their private life. The French idiom "to spank", for instance, is literally called "Le Vice Anglais" (translation: "The English Vice"). Many Britons with a dignified, stuffy, chaste, conservative public image are often caught in surprisingly saucy sex scandals. Historical examples are John Profumo note , Stephen Milligan note  and John Major note  Then along came the famously libidinous Boris Johnson, known for multiple marriages and a certain vagueness on exactly how many children he had. While British tabloids exploit these stories to death the foreign press is especially interested in them. Not because they are above this sort of thing, but "because it's those "stuffy Britons" we're talking about."
  • Which brings us to the world-famous British comedy: the British are not afraid of laughing at themselves, and a good deal of British comedy pokes fun at the class system and the typical eccentric Englishman. Many British sitcoms and sketch shows have strange, daft characters whose behaviour is very unusual. Other, more "normal" characters will react with calm, dry humor and/or witty remarks about their behaviour. René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo claimed that when they satirized other nationalities in Asterix, each country would always complain about the way they were portrayed in the comic strip, usually because they didn't understand their depictions. According to them, the only people that never made any trouble about the way they were spoofed were the Britons.
    • Another stereotype among foreigners about the United Kingdom is that many assume that all British comedy is more high-brow than comedy from other countries. Usually, such people are referring to intellectual, satirical stuff like The Goon Show, Monty Python, Blackadder, and The Office (UK). They don't realise that the country also makes more low-brow and/or conventional comedy series. The British themselves alternately poke fun at this assumption, or embrace it and look down on other nations and what they perceive to be less subtle humour, with America being a particular target.
    • British Brevity: Particularly in the US a lot of viewers seem perplexed that so many British comedies and sitcoms only have about one or two seasons of episodes to watch. One season even typically consists of just six episodes. Coming from a country where comedy shows are usually milked for what its worth, long after they have reached Seasonal Rot, this is understandable.
    • Within British comedy The Vicar is a popular stock character. Often being a gentle and docile elder man who has a tendency to get involved in embarrassing sexual innuendo situations. This is especially true in the more old-fashioned sitcoms.
  • Culturally, Britain is world famous for producing literary classics in the fields of novels, poetry, and plays. London's West End is viewed as a revered theatrical Mecca, and Hollywood actors will often appear on the London stage (with much fanfare) to increase their credibility. William Shakespeare is still a national institution and usually the foremost British author referenced in popular culture. Other notables are Charles Dickens and his huge volume of Victorian Britain works, Jane Austen and her pioneering depictions of female heroines during the Regency, the vast fantasy works of J. R. R. Tolkien, and Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes series to name the most iconic.
  • The British film industry also seems to consist of seven types of movies, practically their own genre: 1) costume dramas set in previous centuries, usually about the differences between the higher and lower classes 2) socially conscious tragicomedies set in Thatcherite Britain, often in a working-class environment 3) detective films 4) Shakespearean adaptations 5) films set in World War Two glorifying Winston Churchill and the British Army 6) films nostalgically looking back on the marvels of The British Empire, particularly the Napoleonic Wars, and finally 7) James Bond. Between the 1940s and 1980s the country was also known for stylish gothic horror movies like Hammer Horror, quirky comedies in the style of the Ealing Studios, spy comedies like The Pink Panther and sex comedies like the latter years of Carry On.
  • If British car brands appear in fiction, they will either represent the most prestigious, luxurious marques on the planet (Rolls Royce, Bentley, Aston Martin, Jaguar, Daimler etc) and will be used to denote extreme wealth and sophistication OR they will be ridiculously small compacts used for comedic effect, with characters cramming themselves behind the wheel in an undignified manner (Mini Cooper, Reliant Robin etc). If not one of these then people will drive around in a London taxi cab or a double decker bus.
  • Medieval Britain, with its associated imagery of castles, princesses and chivalrous knights, is frequently used as a template to provide the Standard Fantasy Setting in a huge variety of works. This is a very old association, stemming from medieval tales, poems and legends like Beowulf, Arthurian Legend, The Canterbury Tales, Robin Hood, Jack the Giant Killer, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and Shakespeare's royal plays. 19th, 20th and 21st century romantic sword and sorcery tales are therefore often set in medieval England (or an approximation thereof) such as Ivanhoe, Prince Valiant, A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones, Dungeons & Dragons, Dragon Age... characters in these works will of course have the applicable accents, albeit with varying degrees of quality, based on the actors involved. The association is understandable, particularly as Britain is the pre-colonial cultural origin for many who live in the modern Anglosphere. In fact, there have been instances where fantasy universes that weren't inexplicably Celtic or Anglo-Saxon, were viewed with hostility — they just weren't right.
    • Haunted Castle: All British castles and manors are either haunted or a location for murder mysteries.
  • Which leads us to the country's century old association with Detective Fiction. Even though other countries have also produced equally iconic and smart Great Detective characters the UK seems to be most full with these archetypes: Sherlock Holmes, Miss Marple, The Saint, The Famous Five, Inspector Morse, Dalziel and Pascoe, Midsomer Murders, Jonathan Creek...
  • If there's one thing the British excel at above all other nations, it's pomp and ceremony. This is most evident every year during the Last Night of the Proms concert in the Royal Albert Hall, where the most famous patriotic classical chant is even called "Pomp & Circumstance"! It's also visible in many other traditional ceremonies, such as the Changing of the Guards and the Royal Weddings, the latter including all the pageantry and fanfare of a classic fairy-tale wedding. Even though other European royal houses also conduct similar ceremonies, these tend to be far more low-key and lack the international press interest.
  • In some fiction like The Simpsons episode "The Regina Monologues", Great Britain is depicted as if it still has the death penalty, which is of course carried out in medieval style by beheading someone in the Tower of London. The irony of it all is that Great Britain has abolished the death penalty while the United States still has it!
  • Britain Is Only London: Only one British location exists in foreign (and sometimes domestic) fiction: London. And usually only the central bits, at that. Whenever the city is depicted in popular culture expect Big Ben and Tower Bridge to appear in view. The Westminster Chimes will resonate throughout the city. The Tower, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, Madame Tussauds, the London Underground, Royal Albert Hall, Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, Harrod's, Hyde Park, ... may come in view too.
    • When Buckingham Palace is depicted in popular culture, it's usually to have a scene with British Royal Guards being tricked into laughing and/or dropping their granite-like facade. Never mind the fact that since the late 1950s those guards haven't been posted outside the Palace's Gate, precisely because of the annoying tourists. Plus: in real life distracting them will likely get you in trouble.
    • British streets are full of double decker buses, red telephone booths, bumbling bobbies, black London cabs, pubs, inns, pubs...
    • One of the more typically British locations is the pub. It can look many ways, but in popular culture it ought to have two essential characteristics. There ought to be a sign outside with a picture which illustrates the name of the pub (for instance: "the Red Griffin"). Inside the pub there are always some people playing darts or snooker, because that's the most "English" sport one can play inside a pub.
    • A common mistake found in a lot of foreign media is that the Tower Bridge [2] is confused with the London Bridge [3].
    • The only non-London British location interesting enough in popular culture is Stonehenge.
  • The Union Flag (Union Jack) itself is something of a fashion icon, and due to its highly recognisable star-burst pattern, the flag is frequently used to brand the clothing, accessories, and home décor of British characters in popular culture.
  • British Weather and A Foggy Day in London Town: In popular culture it's always raining in the United Kingdom. Or when in London, expect some smog, Ominous Fog or Mysterious Mist to show up. British fog used to be Truth in Television from the late 19th century until the 1950s, when the government finally took measures to clean up the toxicity of the smog in the city era after it started killing people by the thousands. Since then it's a Dead Horse Trope, though in works depicting Victorian London it's still in play.
    • It's VERY much Truth in Television that Brits are obsessed with talking about the weather, probably stemming from — a) Having a highly erratic climate that goes from blazing sunshine to torrential downpours in the space of an afternoon, and b) a cultural need to fill in conversational silences and awkwardness with universally acceptable chit-chat — as anthropologists have observed, the English are socially very shy (when sober), and the weather is not only a universally acceptable but (thanks to the ever changing nature of the weather) uncontroversial icebreaker.
  • If an animal is depicted as being British, it will be an English bulldog or a Scottish terrier.
  • Stereotypes within England:
    • Londoners/South Easterners are stuck up, always in a rush, and see themselves as living in the only important part of the nation. Usually sub-divided into the wealthy, glamorous, champagne-swilling elite or rough and ready, possibly criminal cockney working-classes. Southerners view Northerners as backward and stupid — "Northern Monkeys" sums up the Southerner view of anyone living north of the Watford Gap. As for any place north of the Watford Gap, the rough opinion (significantly exacerbated following Brexit thanks to London's dramatic pro-Remain vote) is "Mordor."
    • The Home Counties (Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Surrey etc) — wealthy, expensive, and very upper-middle class. Filled with men called Nigel who work in The City and attractive yummy mummies taking children called Crispin and Henrietta to private schools in enormous, unnecessary 4x4s.
    • Essex — the UK equivalent of Joisey or The Valley. A county of perma-tanned, slutty dolly-birds and aggressive, vain, flashy geezer-blokes driving around in ghastly, souped-up Escort XR 3is.
    • West Country dwellers are completely backwards, rustic (in a charming way), and rural — everyone talks like a pirate and are prone to drinking lots and lots of homemade cider. East Anglians, despite living on the opposite side of the country, receive the same treatment. The UK equivalent of Sweet Home Alabama, or The Deep South in unflattering examples.
    • The Midlands/The West Midlands — the UK equivalent of Flyover Country. Often depicted as a grim industrial hell-hole in parts. Partly for this reason, Londoners frequently forget that it exists. The Birmingham accent is particularly vilified for sounding whiny and slightly stupid.
    • Yorkshiremen and Lancastrians are doughty, thrifty, plain-speaking, and no-nonsense. The men work down mines, wear flat-caps, and race whippets, whilst the women are all Apron Matrons. Often seen as a nostalgic, "trust-worthy" folk. Yorkshiremen (and all other Northerners) view Southerners as "ponces" (or occasionally something slightly less savoury). The South is also seen as being where all the money, jobs and passable weather is in the country, while the North (according to Northerners) has all the down-to-earth honest toil where they just make do with whatever circumstances they land in, however bad they may be.
      • The huge success of long-running British soap Coronation Street compounds the effect, being set in a fictional Lancashire town populated by a huge variety of Oop North clichés.
    • Liverpudlians are vilified as loud, abrasive, work-shy, and chavvy (not helped by the accent), with a passion for permed-hair and shell-suits. They are often presented as criminally inclined, but very family-orientated. The Beatles, the most successful rock band in history, put the city on the map internationally, and such, all Liverpudlians are expected to be huge, nostalgic fans. They also tend to be massive fans of one of the city's two football teams, Liverpool and Everton.
    • Geordies are good-humoured, tough and likely to work in fishing or down the dockyards. They possess an unintelligible accent. Almost all of them support the local football team, Newcastle FC.
    • Manchester — the epicentre of Brit Pop in the mid 1990s. Full of young males in their early 20's getting "mad for it". Seen as quite a "cool" city (2nd to London nationally), and viewed as the style, fashion, and cultural capital of The North.
    • All of the above is perfectly summed up here.


  • England's oldest rival, matched only by France — with which it traditionally enjoyed "the Auld Alliance" — generally referring to its southern neighbour as "the Auld Enemy". The two lands have been squabbling since Roman times, i.e. for about two thousand years,note  despite (or in some cases, because of) the unification of the crowns in 1603 when James VI/I took the English throne and political union since 1707, and as continued fierce sporting, political and occasionally religious rivalries show, it's not going to settle down any time soon.
    • Americans are so used to the England-Scotland rivalry that they sometimes forget that the Scots are just as British as the English are. When they say "a British accent", they tend to mean an English one (and specifically an RP or Cockney one).
  • ScotIreland: Foreigners outside the UK frequently mix and confuse Irish and Scottish stereotypes with each other. Many Scottish celebrities are frequently thought to be either Irish or English. The only one nobody mistakes for being anything other than Scottish is Sean Connery.
  • Man in a Kilt: All Scottish men walk around in traditional Scottish clothing, which includes the tam o' shanter (a hat), the sporran (a pouch worn on a loose belt), a Sgian Dubh (ceremonial knife), but especially the kilt. Expect jokes to be based on the idea that it is actually a skirt and/or that he doesn't wear undergarments beneath it. Never mind the fact that nobody in Scotland wears this outfit, except perhaps during national or local festivities or sports competitions.
    • The English language has a phrase, "going Scottish", which means walking around with nothing below your skirt or dress.
  • The Clan: All Scots are part of a clan and take pride in being a part of that family.
  • Scottish independence: Before the 2014 independence referendum, many people, including a sizable number of Scots themselves, believed that all Scots longed for independence from the UK and would do whether it takes to get it. However, the 2014 independence referendum (which did not result in independence) created some new stereotypes:
    • The super-patriotic, overconfident Yes voters that hold big "Yes" signs and wear "Yes" T-shirts, wave huge Scottish flags, wear kilts, have Scottish flags painted on their cheeks and sing Scottish anthems all day. Even after the Yes camp lost the referendum, they still march around holding these signs (as well as new "45" signs, as just under 45% voted for independence) and get angry at the No voters for ruining their chance at freedom.
    • The UK-loving No voters that hold big "No" and "Better Together" signs, wave both Scottish and UK flags, make jokes about Alex Salmond and are generally depicted as calmer and gentler than the huge, roaring crowds of Braveheart-inspired Yes voters. The Yes camp often stereotyped the No camp as brainwashed cowards believing in the "scare stories" or "scaremongering" of the UK and Scottish governments.
    • The disgruntled neutral Scots who couldn't decide what side they were on and just wanted all the fuss to be over as soon as possible (most of whom finally decided on No at the last minute on polling day).
    • The English, meanwhile, tend to regard "Yes" voters as ungrateful shiftless layabouts living off English charity, mindless Braveheart extras, ridiculously impractical daydreamers with no grasp on political reality or, simply, traitors.
  • Brave Scot and Violent Glaswegian: A positive stereotype about Scots is that they are supposedly all brave and fierce "real" men, toughened by the harsh climate. They don't mind cold, rain, wind, or fog and will fight their clan or country's honour at all cost. The negative end of this stereotype depicts them as dour, grouchy, and mean sourpusses with a trigger temper. They will criticize any Scot who doesn't share their tough ways of living for being No True Scotsman. Sometimes they are even depicted as being ugly, usually in combination with what can be seen beneath their kilts.
    • "Get three Englishmen together and they'll start a club. Get three Welshmen together and they'll start a choir. Get three Scotsmen together and they'll start a fight."
    • In combination with the Brave Scot archetype, the strong men will be participating in the Highland Games, where they throw long poles, stones, weights, and hammers as far away as possible. Another contest is tug o' war (two teams pulling a rope).
    • The only other famous Scottish sport all foreigners know is golf, which isn't part of the Highland Games at all.
    • As stated on a Monty Python's Flying Circus sketch: "Scots folk don't know how to play tennis to save their lives." (Since the men's singles victories of Glasgow native Andy Murray in the Olympics and US Open in 2012 and Wimbledon in 2013, this stereotype has become less prominent.)
  • Thrifty Scot: One of the most enduring stereotypes is that all Scots are thrifty and stingy misers who can't bear the thought of spending a simple penny. Foreigners have created a lot of jokes around this idea.
    BRIAN BLESSED, Have I Got News for You: You know, there really is a petrol crisis when motorists in Scotland start panic-buying, with some putting in as much as five pounds' worth at a time.
    • The German word "Schottenpreise" ("Scotsmen price") actually means a "cheap, low price".
  • Everything's Louder with Bagpipes: If you're Scottish, you're able to play the bagpipes, specifically the tunes "Amazing Grace", "Auld Lang Syne", or "Scotland the Brave". In popular culture, non-Scottish people, particularly patriotic stuck-up English people, will dismiss these musical sounds as being horrible noise.
  • All Scots have red or yellow brown hair. Men wear sideburns and/or a beard.
  • Every Scot has a last name starting with the word "Mac" or "Mc". Typical first names are Gordon, Donald, Duncan, Hamish, or Angus.
  • Much like the English, Scottish cuisine is not held in high regard in other countries. In fact: even the English seem disgusted about some of the Scottish national dishes, most notably haggis.
  • Scottish liquor on the other hand is universally popular. Whisky (spelled as "whiskey" in Ireland, making the distinction) and especially "scotch" are their most universal export product.
  • Whenever you're in Scotland, expect to see some thistles (their national flower), green grassy hills, huge lakes, a variety of sheep, castles, and walls made out of stone cobbles. Only two cities will be mentioned in popular culture: Glasgow and Edinburgh. The only other location worth mentioning is Loch Ness, so that the Monster Of Loch Ness can have a cameo.
  • The Scottish legal system has also gained some notoriety, with a third verdict apart from "Guilty or "Innocent", named "Not Proven".
  • The Scottish accent is also distinctive and has been imitated — poorly— by many foreigners. Typical Stock Phrases are "aye", "laddie", "bonnie", "wee", "shite", and "mate", always spoken with a strong emphasis on the letter "r". Certain syllables will be swallowed, such as "call" which becomes "ca'" and "never" which becomes "ne'er".
  • Scots are frequently typecast as poets. This may stem from historical examples such as Robert Burns (a national icon), Walter Scott and William Topaz Mcgonagall (considered to be the worst-ever poet in the English language).
  • In Great Britain, Scotland is also frequently associated with The Scottish Play.
  • Scots are also dismissed as being nothing else but a bunch of drunk and violent savages living close to nature. In reality, Scotland has produced quite some notable scientists and inventors who had a positive effect on human history, including Alexander Graham Bell (inventor of the telephone), Kirkpatrick MacMillan (inventor of the bicycle), James Clerk Maxwell (discoverer of electromagnetic radiation), Joseph Lister (introduced antiseptic surgery), Alexander Fleming (discoverer of penicilline), James Watt (inventor of the steam engine), and John Logie Baird (inventor of tv). Some of the world's most famous British authors were Scottish: Walter Scott, Arthur Conan Doyle, Robert Louis Stevenson, J.M. Barrie...
    • To which the English usually respond by claiming that it's not like there's anything better to do and/or blame the Scots for inventing Golf.
    • Also, historically England has been ruled by monarchs or Prime Ministers born in Scotland a couple of times, including James I, Tony Blair (though no one, not even him, has claimed that he's Scottish), and Gordon Brown.


  • Welsh people are often regarded as stoic, somewhat dull people. In fiction, they will even be stereotyped as being stupid and backward, mainly because they all live on farms and supposedly know nothing about modern technology. Foreign writers are prone to forget that in Real Life Wales is more than just a small village. (A small village just outside Rotherham, to be exact...)
    • In fact, Wales' image as a primitive nation also stems from the fact that it is frequently used as a Standard Fantasy Setting in medieval sword and sorcery stories. Its craggy mountains and rugged terrain make it excellent for tales where King Arthur, knights, druids, castles... are needed. The fact that Wales' national symbol is a dragon doesn't help matters much.
    • The Welsh language is also one of the most ancient in Europe and still spoken today by about a fifth of the population, which may again explain why so many English people have the feeling history stood still in Wales. Welsh is unlike other languages and has odd conventions (many double letters, strange diacritics...) that are a frequent source of amusement for those unfamiliar with them. Like Dutch, jokes are frequently made about it not being a language, but a throat disease. Others suspect it was simply invented to screw with everyone else, especially the English. Yet again, not all Welsh people are that familiar with this ancient Celtic language.
    • All Welsh villages have long and unpronounceable names.
  • While less prone to dreams of political independence than the Scottish, they are very culturally independent, and one of their national heroes is Owain Glwyndwr, the last native-born Welshman to be crowned Prince of Wales who claimed the throne and succeeded in retaking most of Wales from the English crown in the early 15th century, before being defeated and driven into hiding. He was never caught and to this day, no one's entirely sure where he's buried, while some say that he will return someday a la King Arthur.
    • They haven't forgotten that they used to rule pretty much all Britain south of the Scottish Highlands, either — something reflected by the fact that the Welsh name for England translates roughly as 'Lost Lands'. Wales, meanwhile, translates from Old Saxon as 'foreigners'. Make of this what you will.
  • Welshmen are often typecast as being unusually talented at singing.
    • "Get three Englishmen together and they'll start a club. Get three Welshmen together and they'll start a choir. Get three Scotsmen together and they'll start a fight."
  • They are also depicted as being obsessed with, and very good at, rugby, to the point where it's practically the national religion. This has a considerable basis in reality, as Wales, despite only having a population of 4 million, is always a title contender for the Six Nations, an annual tournament composed of the six best teams in Europe; England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, France and Italy, with either Scotland or Italy usually being assigned Butt-Monkey status, and has won the Grand Slam, won by defeating all five other teams, three times in the last ten years. They're rarely outside of the top five teams worldwide, and in October 2015, they peaked at #2 in the world, behind the invincible All Blacks of New Zealand, another tiny nation obsessed with and amazing at rugby, which particularly enjoys beating up its much larger and more populous neighbour.
    • As a result of this, they're also stereotyped as being only vaguely familiar with football. Then the 2016 European Championships happened, when an unfancied but highly disciplined Wales team sprinkled with a little stardust became the beloved underdogs and/or caused the utter disbelief of an entire continent when they promptly emerged top of their group (ahead of England), eviscerating Russia in the process, beating Northern Ireland and swatting aside Belgium's golden generation, before finally running out of steam against eventual champions Portugal in the semi-finals. England, by contrast, came second behind Wales in their group, then immediately lost to Iceland.
  • And, of course, own so many sheep that some foreigners have very naughty ideas about what the Welsh do with these animals in their spare time.
  • A more modern image about Wales is that the country has a lot of coal mines.
  • The UK is considered to be incredibly rainy by the standards of the rest of the world, something that most would concur with. Wales, however, is considered to be rainy even by the standards of the UK and is often stereotyped as a land of perpetual damp.

Northern Ireland

  • The Northern Irish, aside from being terrorists, are chain-smokers and The Unintelligible. Nobody likes their accents (on men, at least).
    • The accent is particularly rhotic and quite harsh-sounding, at least compared to the lilting Southern Irish accents — a classic shibboleth is "an hour in the power-shower", which comes out as "an arr in the par shar", when said by a native Northern Irishman.
  • Before the sectarian conflicts broke the economy, Northern Ireland was known for being very industrialized compared to the rest of the island.
  • Since the second half of the 20th century, it's mostly known for The Troubles between Catholics, Protestants, and their respective terrorist organisations I.R.A./I.N.L.A. and the U.D.A./U.F.F. Common images are British soldiers patrolling the streets, bomb attacks and people crowding together to either protest against or indulge in violence.
  • On a more positive note, a trip to Northern Ireland in fiction is not complete without a visit to the amazing Giant's Causeway, or the Bushmills whiskey distillery.

Northern Europe

  • Northern Europe is considered to have more modern morals than the rest of the continent, but has less industrial production.
  • Horny Vikings: The oldest and most enduring stereotype about Northern Europe goes back to the Viking Age. All Danes, Norwegians, and Swedish are depicted as Vikings or at least wear a stereotypical horned helmet. Another stereotype associated with Scandinavians is that all Vikings were basically invaders and plunderers. In reality some were traders as well, and others explorers. "Viking" was a profession, and not a full-time one. Most Vikings had additional, less violent jobs they did between raids, and those could just as important to them as the invading and plundering. Their most famous discoverers were Erik the Red, who discovered Greenland, and his son Leif Ericson, who even discovered America four centuries before Christopher Columbus did! Also, many Norse people even at the height of the Viking Age were not Vikings at all. As said above, it was a job, not the entire society.
  • Norse by Norsewest encompass most stereotypes of the Nordic countries. Nordic Noir is a genre that deconstructs this trope.
  • Their languages sound very funny in foreigners' ears. They also have some letters different from the usual Western alphabet. Whenever mock Scandinavian is written the letter "o" will always be an "ø" and the "a" an "å", even though "o" denotes a completely different sound than "ø", as do "a" and "å".
  • A typical phenomenon is the weather. Most of the year the days will be short and the nights long. The "aurora borealis" (northern lights) will appear in the sky at night. The midnight sun will rise, too. Foreigners assume it's always snowing in Northern Europe, though sunny weather is not uncommon, too.
  • Up in the northern regions of Norway, Sweden, and Finland live the Sami people. The archaic term Lapp is today considered a derogatory, but still used by the Sami themselves; see N-Word Privileges. They are seen as the European equivalent of Eskimos and have similar stereotypes, and will always be seen in the company of reindeers.
  • Sexy Scandinavian: Another stereotype is the very attractive blond Scandinavian white man or woman, usually hailing from Sweden. As a matter of Fanservice they will go to a sauna or skinny dipping in an ice cold lake. Scandinavia is also famous for being very open-minded regarding nudity and sex, particularly in Denmark and Sweden.
  • Much like Germany, Scandinavia is also known for its often depressing works of art. It often seems as if all their stories deal with traumas, a family drama or people feeling suicidal. This stereotype stems from the paintings of Norwegian artist Edvard Munch, the works of playwrights like the Norwegian Henrik Ibsen and Swede August Strindberg and films by directors like the Swede Ingmar Bergman and Dane Lars von Trier.
  • And, you guessed it: Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Finland will always be confused with each other. Usually, all countries in Northern Europe are called "Scandinavia", while technically only Denmark, Sweden, and Norway are part of it. The correct term to refer to the culturally and socially linked area of the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland is "the Nordic countries".

  • Danes are either hot blondes, or boring. They aren't called "The Canada of Europe" for nothing.
  • Danes have a long standing stereotype throughout history, especially amongst the English, about being heavy drinkers. In modern times, this has manifested as a stereotype about Danes being party animals who love to go to clubs.
    • The Scandinavian neighbors of the Danes also tend to view them as booze-hounds, which is probably explained by the facts that alcohol is considerably cheaper and more widely available in Denmark (in both Norway and Sweden selling booze, hard liquor, and stronger types of beer is a privilege only granted to special stores operating under strict government oversight, while in Denmark every supermarket is allowed to sell it) and Danish bars have much more lax serving rules than their Norwegian and and Swedish counterparts. The price difference has led to a reverse stereotype amongst Danes about Swedes being heavy drinkers, as they tend exploit the less costly and restricted bars when visiting Denmark to become inebriated on the quick and cheap.
  • Danes might be Dutch, depending on who you ask.
  • Danes also have a reputation for being very open-minded about sex and nudity. In 1968, Denmark was the first country to legalize porn. During the late 1960s, many pornographic and/or sex education movies seen in international cinemas were made in Denmark. In 1989 Denmark became the first country in the world to enact registered partnership laws for same-sex couples.
  • According to other Scandinavians, Danes don't speak; they merely mumble.
  • Other Scandinavians, especially Swedes, tend to view Danish humor and manners as quite crass and a bit racist.
  • Most foreigners know of only three things about Denmark: It's the land of Vikings, LEGO, and Hans Christian Andersen.
    • In the English speaking world, Denmark's association with Hamlet is very strong, since the play takes place there. Every time something bad happens in Denmark there will be a British newspaper or comedian quipping:
      There's something rotten in the state of Denmark.
    • Following the highly successful importation of serials Borgen and Forbrydelsen to the UK/US, the Danish are becoming known for their incredibly bleak, gritty (but dangerously gripping) drama serials, populated by icy female leads and dour (but hot) male side-kicks.
  • Denmark also has a reputation for making small snacks, like the "Danish" butter cookies and smørrebrød.
    • In Great Britain, they are known for exporting bacon and cheese.
  • Only one Danish location exists in popular culture: Copenhagen, where the statue of The Little Mermaid based on the famous fairy tale of Hans Christian Andersen must come in view.
  • And, of course, every Dane has a Danish dog for a pet.

  • The Finnish are portrayed as drunken and aggressive (like the Scottish stereotype), and portray Swedes as gays (like the British stereotype).
  • All Finns go to the sauna and roll around in snow afterwards. Or they just take a nude swim in a lake.
  • They all have knives. Or so the Scandinavians say.
  • In Russia, they are seen as slow-witted and slow-talking, emotionless, and unable to hold their alcohol. Very frequently lumped together with their kindred Estonians.
    • The drunk Finn on a bicycle is a common stereotype in Sweden.
  • Scandinavians in general tends to view Finns as quiet, brooding, and not very fond of small talk (and Scandinavians themselves are not known for being talkative either, mind you). This might even be a bit of Truth in Television, as the Finnish language does indeed have a local expression for "small talk", which in English roughly translates to "grinding crap", the implication being that your mouth might be moving but you are not doing anything useful with it.
  • Were capable of giving the Russians an extremely nasty surprise in WWII — in the Winter War of 1939-40 and what is known as the Continuation War of 1941-44. Practically the only nation defeated by Stalin in WWII not to be turned into a communist puppet state — the Russians knew trying to hold this crazy country down would be more trouble than it was worth. Finland was allowed genuine independence provided it remained strictly neutral. In fact, it even became a word: "finlandisation".
  • Finns are often depicted as culturally identical to the other Nordic countries, although the Finnish language is unrelated to theirs and Finland technically isn't even part of Scandinavia.
    • The Finnish language (Suomi) actually belongs to the Finnic branch of the Uralic language family, and not the Nordic/Scandinavian family, even though there some people in Sweden speak Finnish as a minority language, and some Finlanders speak Swedish, in addition to the Kven dialect being spoken in Norway.
  • Like the British, Finland has a reputation for terrible food. Reindeer meat is seen as something of a joke in other countries that don't eat it.
    • Then there is salmiakki, sometimes called "salty liquorice". A popular candy in Finland, a terror to anyone not from Northern Europe. It's an acquired taste.
  • On a lighter note, Finland is also home to The Moomins.
  • Some Finns can also be die-hard metalheads since Finland is home to many famous heavy-metal bands. Metal also tends to rank high on pop charts even today.
  • Finland is also notable for producing a disproportionately high number of racecar and rally drivers. Ask most Europeans to name a famous Finn, and there's a good chance they will say Mika Häkkinen or Kimi Räikkönen.
  • Also known for producing mobile phones ("Nokia" is Finnish). Many IT innovations — social media, MySQL, mobile technology — originate in Finland.
  • Fiskars brand scissors are also produced in Finland.
  • Finland is also home to Rovio Entertainment that brought us Angry Birds and its family of games, as well as The Angry Birds Movie, Angry Birds Toons and Piggy Tales.

  • Icelanders are often stereotyped by the other Nordic nations as being Closer to Earth, well-meaning but naïve, and generally more exotic. Also seen as a nation of Cloudcuckoolanders, which probably has something to do with Björk.
  • Frequent jokes are made about how, due to Iceland's limited population and limited migration for centuries, all Icelanders are likely related in one way or another.
  • Norwegian, Swedish and Danish is mutually intelligible (if you speak a little slower) but Icelandic is far more like Old Norse, and the language is therefore viewed as archaic and impenetrable by fellow Nordics (it'd be like a modern Englishman trying to communicate with a 13th Century equivalent; a few recognisable words, but that's about it).
  • Apparently, they are also very pretty, and they like extreme sports.
  • Reykjavik is seen as a party city by some, although it's extremely small by the standards of other European capitals.
  • Icelanders all like fishing, eat shark routinely, and like to visit hot springs and volcanoes. They are friendly and all know each other because the island has such a small population — and famously, supposedly has an app to double-check you're not actually dating a cousin. They may actually still be Vikings, although the Viking age ended at least eight centuries ago.
  • Their foul tasting and even dangerous traditional cuisine, which horrifies pretty much everyone else. It includes rotted shark.
  • Some mention will invariably be made about Iceland being "beyond the tree-line", in reference to its polar location.

  • Arguably the "über Nordic" nation in terms of stereotypes, as Norway contains many (if not all, bar sexual liberation) of the main Nordic clichés — Horny Vikings, beautiful fjords, dramatic snow-capped mountains for skiing, troll-filled forests, an outdoorsy, slightly dour, closer-to-nature populace, and a tolerant, liberal social structure.
  • Another stereotype is that all Norwegians are leather and spikes-wearing Black Metal fans. They will be seen as pagans with a disturbing interest in Viking mythology and a penchant for church-burning.
    • Foreigners assume the country to be extremely liberal, multicultural, soft on crime and drugs, and obsessed with tolerance and fairness. These same stereotypes may apply to other Scandinavian countries as well. Ironically, the atheist and church-going population are both equally large in Norway.
  • No image of Norway is complete without a scene taking place nearby some fjords. Edvard Grieg's music for Henrik Ibsen's Peer Gynt is the Standard Snippet to play.
  • Norway is known for its fishing industry and particularly its violent maelstroms. It is very likely that a ship will pass through one off the Norwegian coast and the crew will end up in a hut in a small fishing village, tended to by friendly locals. Today, this stereotype is extremely outdated since most of Norway's income comes from oil and natural gas, but at one time it was popular.
  • Because of their huge fishing and petroleum industry, Norway is supposed to be a very rich country, but everything is super-expensive. Especially alcohol.
    • Since the Nordic countries have a free trade agreement in place, seeing families from Oslo filling their cars to the brim with groceries in Strömstad (just on the Swedish side of the border) is very common. In fact, Strömstad hosts several of the largest supermarkets in Scandinavia just to keep up with the border trade. The shopping-crazy Norwegian isn't quite ingrained as a stereotype in Sweden yet (the phenomenon is only really seen near the border), but it's getting there.
    • Other Scandinavians consider the Norwegians to be Nouveau Riche, viewing them as Arab Oil Sheikhs of the North at best and rich Rednecks at worst.
    • Despite being known for their export of petroleum the Norwegians are ironically more keen on using electric cars themselves.
  • Traditionally, Norway has been the Scandinavian country with the strictest morality codes, because of a strong layman-movement. Expect this to be shown in some productions, or at least spoofed.
    • The most striking example of this coming to the fore was the fact that Monty Python's Life of Brian received no theatrical release in Norway. Marketers in the rest of Scandinavia milked this for all it was worth.
  • Norwegians all enjoy skiing and langlaufing, of course.
  • A general stereotype associated with Norwegians is that they are very moody, inward-looking, and quiet. This may have something to do with the weather. It may come as no surprise that painter Edvard Munch, famous for The Scream, was born there.
    • Norwegians also prefer to stay neutral and prefer to mind their own business. Since the 19th century, they were only invaded once, during the Second World War, despite not wanting anything to do with the war. They are not part of the European Union and together with Japan are one of the very few countries in the world that still practice whaling.
    • In the rest of Scandinavia, the typical Norwegian is seen as a barbaric Noble Savage who prefers to live alone in the forests and who will defend his house, family, and farm from all authority.
  • The country is also known for awarding the annual Nobel Peace Prizes in Oslo, which is the only Nobel Prize not handed out by the king of Sweden. (The reason is thought to be that Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel felt that Norway was less militaristic than his homeland.)
  • And the woods are full of trolls, according to folklore.
  • A fairly recent stereotype is that they have prisons that are better living spaces than standard American homes.

  • Having both the greatest landmass and is the largest populous amongst the Nordic nations, Sweden is understandably the most prominent stereotyping target amongst them.
    • Swedes may be mistaken for Swiss people and vice versa, although their countries are not even geographically close together.
  • The Swedish singsong way speaking is often spoofed making use of phonetic accents, like for instance the Swedish Chef from The Muppets.
    • Similar to Canada, Eh? the verbal tic "Ja" ("Yes") is used to drive the point home that a character in popular culture is Swedish. This has no basis whatsoever in reality. Swedish has a rich variety of verbal tics, but "Ja" is never used that way in Swedish. German is a different matter, but that opens up another can of worms....
    • The accent aside, almost all Swedes speak fluent English.
  • Swedish men are often depicted as blonde, dumb, well-built boytoys. Usually they are ski instructors or handymen. They will always be named Sven or Lars.
    • Except in other Scandinavian countries, where the Swedish man will be Ambiguously Gay, fond of fashion in general and tight trousers in particular and tech-savvy to the point of nerdiness.
  • Sexy Scandinavian: Swedish women are usually portrayed as tall, slender, blonde and blue-eyed sex bombs, inspired by real-life blonde Swedes like Victoria Silvstedt, Ulrika Jonsson, Britt Ekland and Agnetha Fältskog from ABBA.
  • Sweden also seems to be known for having little to no sexual or nudity taboos, as seen on The Simpsons. Swedes in general tend to be more comfortable and open about sex and nudity than Americans, but some of the stereotype stems from the fact that the Swedish words for "sex" and "six" are homonyms. In short, if Europeans Are Kinky, then the Swedes are the Norse gods of kink.
    • Ironically, Danes tends to stereotype Swedes as having a prudish streak.
    • In Russia, there is a stereotype of a Swedish family — that is, a threesome (at least) of adult lovers of both sexes who live together and engage in steamy sex all day long.
    • This used to be Truth in Television to some degree: the sexual revolution of the sixties was adopted early in Sweden, leading to quite liberal censorship and morality laws for the time. However, other parts of the world soon caught up.
    • Today, due to the emphasis on women's rights and an opposition against gender discrimination, many instances of using nudity in advertising that are considered OK in other countries are frowned upon, or even outlawed, in Sweden.
  • Swedish cultural fixtures figure into stereotypes such as IKEA, the cradle-to-grave socialist welfare state (and its attendant taxation), Volvo, etc. They are also commonly portrayed in propaganda works as a utopian society as a result of whatever the propaganda authors are advocating, as an example of the virtues of socialism (deconstructed here), atheism (played straight here), etc. Leo Tolstoy did this with alcohol suppression way back in 1894 in The Young Tzar, making this one Older Than Radio.
    • Whenever arthouse cinema is parodied the movies will always be in black or white, surrealistic, too intellectual, and made in either France or Sweden. If a Swedish arthouse movie is targeted, it will always be referencing Ingmar Bergman.
    • There's only two genres of music: The grimiest of metal and annoyingly upbeat bubblegum pop. The metal stereotype is applied to pretty much all Nordic countries (except Iceland), while the reputation of Sweden having overly cutesy pop music probably came from ABBA, Roxette, and Ace of Base.
    • Due to the huge popularity of books by Astrid Lindgren in the USSR, many Russians associate Sweden with quirky characters such as Karlsson on the Roof and Pippi Longstocking. The country has an excellent reputation for great children's novels and equally fantastic youth films.
    • Swedish literature and TV have gained a reputation for Nordic Noir; dark thrillers like Wallander, Van Veeteren, and the The Millennium Trilogy, where uncomfortably raw and brutal rape and torture scenes are frequent.
  • This European postcard sarcastically depicts the Swedes as being inflexible.
  • Apart from humans, Sweden is home to thousands of moose.
  • Norwegians will semi-jokingly refer to Sweden as "Norway's Mexico", i.e. the place you go for cheap liquor, cheap labor and cheap one-night-stands. Swedes have a reputation as being hard workers, but also rowdy, loud, boisterous, violent and overly fond of alcohol. Since most Swedes in Norway are young, probably just moved away from home and are there to earn as much money as they can as quickly as possible (both wages and living expenses are much higher in Norway than Sweden, so this is a common way for young Swedes to build a nest egg), this stereotype has a pretty solid foundation in reality.
  • Danes tends to see Swedes as being overly politically correct in their manners, and also being quite pomperous about showing off said political correctness.
  • Sweden also shares the dubious distinction of inspiring expressions in other languages:
    • The Spanish word "Hacerse el sueco" (Literally "Playing Swede", meaning "intentionally playing dumb").
    • The German word "Schwedentrunk" (literally "Swedish drink") is a torture method where the victim is forced to drink foul manure water.
      • Then again, the German term "Schwedenstahl" ("Swedish steel") is occasionally used to designate high-quality Swedish metals. The same happens in Mexico, thanks to a famous brand of Swedish steel named Palme, even through the company was founded in Mexico by Mexicans of Swedish ancestry.
    • Stockholm Syndrome is a syndrome where kidnapping victims start to feel sympathy towards their kidnappers.
    • Since the film Be Kind Rewind, acting out scenes from actual big budget films on a low budget level is nicknamed "sweding", because the characters act to the customers as if their amateur versions are in fact Swedish versions.
  • Since the Syrian Civil War and ensuing refugee crisis, Sweden has been stereotyped as a crime-ridden hellhole and the rape capital of Europenote  due to the large number of refugees that have moved there.
  • Sweden is also known for its Indie video games, with games like Minecraft, Hotline Miami, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, SOMA, Iji, Noitu Love and Little Nightmares, among many others, originating from Sweden, with there even being an annual indie game development convention there.