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Us Europeans - 1989 testimonials

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Frankfurt Main, DE (View on map)
Posted 27 Jul 2008:

To whoever thought that all of Germany looks the same: it does not. Apart from the language and the car license plates, it may be hard to imagine that Munich, Hamburg and Berlin are all in one country. Germany is the one and only country that separates Switzerland from the North Sea, and Czech Republic from The Netherlands. Seen like this, there would not even be a possibility that Germany is less diverse than it is. That`s how I got to today`s question for people in the streets in Frankfurt: which place in Germany do you like most, and which one do you like least?... Read more

Regional variety

Esbjerg, DK (View on map)
Posted 21 Jul 2008:

Most countries that partly consist of islands will have most of their economic activity on the mainland, preferably in a capital which is centrally located. Denmark is a bit different from that. The Danish economy revolves around the islands Sealand and Fynn. The Danish `mainland` is called Jutland. It is the only part of Denmark that shares a land border with Germany. In history, however, Jutland used to be the poorest and least developed part of the country. Today`s article describes the differences between Denmark`s various regions.... Read more

Crossing over to Sweden

Malm?, SE (View on map)
Posted 12 Jul 2008:

Hello from the South of Sweden! I am back in country number 6 of my trip, just making a quick excursion from Copenhagen. My previous stay in Sweden only included the part North of Stockholm, while about half the Swedish population lives South of the country`s capital. I am happy to use that as an excuse to pay a second visit to my favourite country in Europe. Question of the day: how are Northern and Southern Sweden different from each other. Answer: quite.... Read more

Easy living

Nykobing, DK (View on map)
Posted 7 Jul 2008:

For those of you who manage to keep up reading along with my trip, welcome to country number 27: Denmark! I got here in the early afternoon, on the ferry from Rostock to Gedser. Denmark is the birth place of the Vikings, Lego, Queen Margarethe II, Bjarne Riis, the Laudrup brothers and a wealth of fairytales. In polls, Denmark consistently comes up as one of the happiest nation in the world. I wonder if two weeks will be enough to unravel the Danish secret recipe for happiness.... Read more

Polish world views

Szczecin, PL (View on map)
Posted 28 Jun 2008:

Poland shed a sigh of relief when Spain beat Russia in the Euro 2008 semifinals. A final of Germany against Russia would leave the Poles unable to decide which side to support, because neither country is particularly popular in Poland. Curious to find out how Poles think other countries, I am asking them today what they think of their many neighbours: Russians, Lithuanians, Belorussians, Ukranians, Slovaks, Czechs and Germans.... Read more

Poland, day 1

Rzesz?w, PL (View on map)
Posted 13 Jun 2008:

After thirteen pleasant days in Slovakia, I am equally happy to have reached country number 25 on my list: Poland. Below is the first article about the country whose citizens have spread all over Europe since Poland joined the European Union in 2004.... Read more

Favourite spots

Bratislava, SK (View on map)
Posted 7 Jun 2008:

Each and every country in Europe is extensively covered in guidebooks. Slovakia is no exception to that rule, but who can give better advice than the Slovaks themselves? Which places in their country do they like to visit, and which areas would they rather avoid?... Read more

SK = CS - CZ

Zilina, SK (View on map)
Posted 1 Jun 2008:

Before disintegrating into Czech Republic and Slovakia, the combined state of Czechoslovakia existed for almost one century. Born in 1918 at the end of World War I, it finally surrendered to separatist pressures in 1993, shortly after the fall of communism. Most young Czechs and Slovaks are at peace with the current situation of living in two separate states who maintain friendly relations between each other.... Read more

Ahoj from Budweis

Budejovice, CZ (View on map)
Posted 14 May 2008:

With only 15 years of age, the Czech Republic and neighbouring Slovakia are the two youngest countries in the European Union. Both came into existence after putting an end to their Czechoslovakian union, which had lasted for the 80 years following World War I. Capital of the Czech Republic is Prague, home to 1.5 million people out of the 10 million of Czechs who populate the entire country. The first report comes in from Ceske Budejovice:... Read more

Bavaria at a glance

Munich, DE (View on map)
Posted 6 May 2008:

One of the explanations for Tyrolians to feel like they are different from average Austrians is that the most convenient connections from Tyrol to lower Austria either run trough the north of Italy, or through the South of Germany. On my way from Innsbruck to Salzburg, I am making a small detour to include Munich in the list of cities visited only to jump back into Austria tomorrow.... Read more

Gr?ss Gott .AT

Innsbruck, AT (View on map)
Posted 4 May 2008:

More than nine months behind me and less than three more months to go. Austria is country number 22 and the magic number 27 is slowly getting in sight. So, what is there to know about Austria? First of all: it`s not a province of Germany and it has nothing to do with Australia. As the Austrians like to say: there are no kangaroos in Austria.... Read more

Nr. 21: Slovenia

Maribor, SI (View on map)
Posted 17 Apr 2008:

Slovenia is a small country squeezed in between the Balkan, the Mediterranean and the Alps. Its two million inhabitants became EU citizens on 1 May 2004 and the country has been steadily catching up with `older` EU members.... Read more

Making it to Slovenia

Maribor, SI (View on map)
Posted 16 Apr 2008:

Getting from Hungary to Slovenia requires careful targeting. Slovenia and Hungary only share a 100-km border, and the cross-border links are minimal to almost non-existent. Only two decent roads cross the border, added to a rail link between Budapest and Slovenia`s capital Ljubljana that is only serviced once a day. My mission for today is to take that one train and to find out how much Slovenians and Hungarian know about each other.... Read more

Inspired Hungarians

P?cs, HU (View on map)
Posted 11 Apr 2008:

Asking Hungarians about who or what inspires them is quite a challenging project. It may well be a question that is impossible for them to answer, especially for those Hungarians who have no connections with anybody outside Hungary, do not speak foreign languages, and live outside the major cities. They may simply be lacking a source of inspiration, or, more probably, they do not tend to think in terms like inspiration. A combination of `obligation` and `dedication` would seem more of an accurate description of their motives.... Read more

Red, white and green

Debrecen, HU (View on map)
Posted 2 Apr 2008:

I already got to meet some Hungarians in Romania, but since my arrival in Debrecen yesterday ? it`s now Hungary for real. A country of 10 million people that, just like its neighbours, has been overrun by foreign invaders several times during its history. Celts, Romans, Ottomans, Habsburgs, Austrians and most recently, Soviets. Here`s a brief description of current day Hungary, starting off by briefly comparing it to Romania.... Read more

Nothing but positive

Satu Mare, RO (View on map)
Posted 31 Mar 2008:

Most reactions to the Us European project are quite positive. Some are not. As it has been made clear to me, the tone I have so far used in describing Romania is degrading, too harsh and too Western. Since today is my last day in Romania, I will try to make up for any emotional damage that my writings may have caused to sensitive souls. I am asking people only to tell me positive things about Romania. Here`s the result:... Read more

Destination Romania

Sibiu, RO (View on map)
Posted 22 Mar 2008:

Tourism has not been a top priority in Romania during the last two decades. Fresh arrivals in the capital Bucharest cannot rely on any official tourist office, while simple souvenirs or postcards are almost impossible to find. The more provincial town of Sibiu, European Cultural Capital of 2007, shows that a few basic improvements can easily change the tide. Sibiu has positioned itself on the map of international tourism and their strategy is bearing fruit: the streets of Sibiu are full of tourists from Romania and all over Europe. Question of the day: what gave them the idea to come to Romania and how do they like it?...... Read more

Work in Progress

Constanta, RO (View on map)
Posted 15 Mar 2008:

I ended my Bulgarian adventures in Varna and will continue my European mission in another `fresh` EU member state. Romania lived through many ups and downs during the 20th century is currently undergoing massive changes by its attempts to lift its economy and political system to European standards.... Read more

Discovering Bulgaria

Sofia, BG (View on map)
Posted 4 Mar 2008:

After spending almost two weeks in Greece, it is now time to move on to country number 19 on the list: Bulgaria. More than just passing a national border, this change of country also feels like heading for an entire different part of Europe. From Mediterranean Europe into the former Eastern Bloc. When traveling from Thessaloniki to Sofia, the change in landscape and building styles leaves little of that difference to the imagination. Another challenge: people nod when they say `no` and shake their heads to express `yes`. Making any normal conversation just a little bit more complicated than usual.... Read more

The Greek islands

Egina, GR (View on map)
Posted 28 Feb 2008:

Hundreds of books have been written about the Greek islands, and about who should visit which one and why. I unfortunately do not have the time to visit many islands on this trip, but would still like to have a global understanding of how they relate to each other, and how they are different from mainland Greece.... Read more

Greek chaos

Patras, GR (View on map)
Posted 19 Feb 2008:

Sixteen countries off the list, eleven more to go. The order of countries prescribed that I visit Cyprus before Greece, which I think may be the reverse order. Anyway, Cyprus allowed me to get used to the Greek alphabet, to the Greek flag and the bilingual capacities that most Greeks and Cypriots share. Day one in Greece therefore starts off a lot easier than what I got used to in Italy. The following article is an overview of some things worth knowing about Greece before going into details.... Read more

Island rivalry

Victoria, MT (View on map)
Posted 12 Feb 2008:

The island of Malta measures less than 30 kilometres from one end to the other and the sea is never further than 7 kilometres away. If you think that is small, have a look at the map again. Malta`s neighbours Comino and Gozo, also part of the Republic of Malta are even smaller! Comino has has no permanent inhabitance, but Gozo does. 31,000 People, none of whom consider themselves Maltese. They are Gozitans, and proud of it.... Read more

Hello from Malta

Sliema, MT (View on map)
Posted 8 Feb 2008:

Welcome to Malta, country number 16 on my list. Malta is the smallest member of the European Union and only has 400,000 inhabitants. Seven islands, three of which are inhabited, together make up the country. Malta is located South West of Sicily and mainland Africa. Capital city is Valetta which is a part of the main agglomeration on the North Eastern side of the biggest island. Like I did in all of the countries I visited so far, I start off with a fairly simple question: What`s Malta about?... Read more

La Famiglia

Palermo, IT (View on map)
Posted 3 Feb 2008:

Thanks to the night ferry from Naples to Palermo, I arrived in Sicily this morning. I will spend four days on this island before making a short excursion to Malta, country number 16. Sicily in general, and Palermo in particular, are historically known as the birthplace of Mafia. This criminal organisation, originally a `family enterprise` is omnipresent in Sicilian society. Hence today`s question: who in Sicily is affected by the mafia and how do they deal with it?... Read more

Welcome to Italy

Rome, IT (View on map)
Posted 27 Jan 2008:

Airline Skyeurope helped me get from Cyprus to Vienna and from Bratislava to Rome in the last 48 hours. Italy is country number 15 on the list and since today is my first day, the usual introductory questions pop up: what`s going on in this country and what is on people`s minds?... Read more

Turkish North

Nicosia, CY (View on map)
Posted 22 Jan 2008:

After having a look at the Greek Cypriot side of the `Cyprus dispute`, the logical next step is to cross to the North side of the island to ask for some opinions there. So, off I go today, across the UN-patrolled Green Line that splits Nicosia and all of Cyprus in two. Welcome to the `Area under Turkish occupation since 1974` according to the Greek Cypriots ? or to the `Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus` (TRNC) as it is called on the other side of the dividing line.... Read more

Occupied territories

Nicosia, CY (View on map)
Posted 21 Jan 2008:

For the last few days, I have tried hard to avoid talking too much about the `Cypriot problem`. Today is my first day in Nicosia, the capital city of Cyprus. Proudly yet sadly, Nicosia calls itself the last remaining separated capital in Europe. The so-called Green Line, a buffer zone safeguarded by the United Nations, separates the Occupied Area in the North from its Greek Cypriot counterparts in the South. Today`s article aims to provide an insight into of Cyprus`s divided reality, seen from the Greek Cypriot side. The same story from the opposite perspective will follow tomorrow.... Read more

European Far East

Paphos, CY (View on map)
Posted 17 Jan 2008:

From one island to the next.. I took off from Britain yesterday to fly another one of the countries that joined the European Union on 1 May 2004: Cyprus. Situated closer to Lebanon, Israel and Egypt than to Greece, Cyprus is the easternmost country of the European Union. Question of the day: What`s worth knowing about this little island with not even a million inhabitants?... Read more

Simply happy in Wales

Cardiff, UK (View on map)
Posted 13 Jan 2008:

Day 166 and still going strong? I arrived in Cardiff earlier today, the capital of Wales. I will not have much time to discover the entire region, so bluntly stepped up to people today with the following question: What makes Wales different from England?... Read more

In The Netherlands

The Hague, NL (View on map)
Posted 23 Dec 2007:

Many of the people I met during the past few months said they would impatiently wait for the reports about my home country. Well, I am back in The Netherlands, trying to find out what is going on at the moment. ... Read more

Strength through unity II

Leuven, BE (View on map)
Posted 17 Dec 2007:

After having provided a certainly oversimplified draft of the issue between the Wallon and Flemish community, I will now describe the different opinions I have collected over the last day. For the sake of completeness, I have collected these opinions in French-speaking Louvain-la-Neuve, Dutch-speaking Leuven and bilingual Brussels.... Read more

Strength through unity I

Louvain-la-Neuve, BE (View on map)
Posted 16 Dec 2007:

After three days in Wallony (the French-speaking South), I am traveling to Flanders (the Dutch-speaking North) today. From Louvain-la-Neuve to Leuven, two university cities separated by 30 kilometres and 1 language barrier, anchored in the Belgian Constitution. may even transform into a national border if Flemish separatist movements manage to push their independence project through. Before proceeding to the opinions about what is keeping all of Belgian occupied these days, here`s a quick background explanation of the language trouble in Belgium.... Read more

Proud Belgians

Li?ge, BE (View on map)
Posted 13 Dec 2007:

I arrived in Belgium today and will start my trip in the French-speaking part (Wallony) of the country. Today in Li?ge, I will visit Namur and Louvain-la-Neuve before entering Dutch speaking territory (Flanders). Today, I am asking the Belgians in Li?ge about national pride. Most frequent answer.. a big sigh. Some even start by listing things they are not proud of.... Read more

Regional differences

Wiltz, LU (View on map)
Posted 12 Dec 2007:

Many of the big European countries have a wide variety of different people within their boarders. Firstly on the individual level, secondly in the groups they belong to. Beside human barriers ? language, religion, habits, wealth ? these differences are often caused by natural reasons. Landscape, climate and the presence or absence of natural resources exercise major influences on the way people in a certain area behave.... Read more

Thinking big

Luxembourg, LU (View on map)
Posted 9 Dec 2007:

I arrived in both the country and city of Luxembourg today and will use the following days to get a grasp of what Luxembourg is about. First of all, it`s a European crossroad, a place of compromises, diplomacy and silent capitalism. Below article is a quick introduction to the second-smallest, first richest, least populated and probably most European country of the EU:... Read more

La dynamique fran?aise

Bordeaux, FR (View on map)
Posted 25 Nov 2007:

Nine down, eighteen more to go! I exchanged Spain for France this morning and will spend the next 15 days or so in the country of frog legs and smelly cheeses. I am happy to arrive just after a wave of strikes paralysed the country. The railway strike came to an end last week, so I should not have any difficulties reaching Luxembourg before the end of the year. I am looking forward to hearing people from Angoul?me, Tours, Le Mans, Caen, Paris, Lyon, Belfort and Strasbourg tell me about local French life.... Read more

Welcome to Spain

Santiago, ES (View on map)
Posted 10 Nov 2007:

Another flag in the upper right corner of the website! I have arrived in Spain and will use the coming to weeks to report about what`s happening here. Starting with some statistics: Spain is the fourth largest EU country. It has roughly 40 million inhabitants and, in addition to that, a huge variable population of incoming tourists. During my travel through other European countries, I already learnt that Spain is a very popular holiday destination, especially in countries where sunshine is either liquid (Ireland in summer) or scarce for other reasons (Scandinavia in winter).... Read more

Portugal profile

Porto, PT (View on map)
Posted 26 Oct 2007:

Three countries ago, I was in Finland, at the extreme North East of Europe. I have now arrived at the complete other end: Portugal. Comparing Finland and Portugal is a worthwhile exercise. They are each other`s opposite in almost any way you can think of. Read below story, imagine the opposite and you will know all there is to know about both Finland and Portugal.... Read more

Meeting the Scots

Glasgow, UK (View on map)
Posted 16 Oct 2007:

Haggis, kilts, ginger people and whisky: I exchanged Sweden for Scotland last night and am now trying to get a quick impression of what Scottish life is like. People smile a lot here and they are more expressive than the Swedes. Beer and football seem to make the world go round - everything to have a good time together. What else is happening in Scotland?... Read more

IKEA mentality

Eskilstuna, SE (View on map)
Posted 13 Oct 2007:

IKEA is a big hit across Europe. Young and old people who are looking for good value-for-money know where to find the blue and yellow coloured IKEA outlets that are scattered over the continent. Also in Swedish households and even lots of commercial venues, the IKEA brand is everywhere. Today, I am trying to dig into the Swedish culture to find out how the IKEA concept fits in with the Swedish way of thinking, because it most obviously does!... Read more

08 Stockholm

Stockholm, SE (View on map)
Posted 9 Oct 2007:

My arrival in Sweden`s capital obliges me to write about the what Stockholm is like compared to the rest of the country. During previous interviews, people have been repeating that Stockholmers are considered a different kind of Swedes: more progressive and more open, but also arrogant and hasty. ... Read more

Swedish achievements

Ume?, SE (View on map)
Posted 2 Oct 2007:

I am taking the Finnish statement about Swedish arrogance for a promise, and hit the street with the objective to find out what the Swedes are proud about. That question seems a lot harder for most people than I expected, leading me to confirm what I had been told earlier: the mentality in the north of Sweden is very similar to the one in Finland.... Read more

Finns vs. Swedes

Ume?, SE (View on map)
Posted 30 Sep 2007:

After writing about Finland`s languages and finding out about the position of the Swedes there, I spend today trying to find out about the differences between the real Finns and the real Swedes. In the meantime, I am finding my way from Vaasa (Finland) to Ume? (Sweden) by ferry. Four and a half hours travelling time, moving one time zone west and, once more, a new flag in the upper right corner of the Us Europeans website.... Read more

Across the Finnish Gulf

Helsinki, FI (View on map)
Posted 15 Sep 2007:

As you can notice from the flag in the upper right corner of the website, I am done with Estonia and have moved on to country number 5. Lithuanians and Latvians told me that Estonia was much like Finland. The ferry trip from Tallinn to Helsinki is therefore a perfect setting for an investigation into the differences and similarities between the Finnish and the Estionian, and into what they think of each other.... Read more

Regional differences

Kuressaare, EE (View on map)
Posted 10 Sep 2007:

I arrived in Estonia about a week ago, and on every one of these days, somebody `had to go to Tallinn` or somebody had actually left for Tallinn. Everything big seems to happen in Tallinn, and people may complain about having to go there, they all seem to have to every now and then. I`m on the island of Saaremaa today, psychologically speaking almost the furthest one can get from Tallinn without leaving Estonia. I am trying to find out how the different regions in Estonia compare to each other.... Read more

A tale of two countries

Valga, EE (View on map)
Posted 4 Sep 2007:

I`m crossing the next border today, from Latvia to Estonia. I have been promised that these two countries are more different from each other than Latvia and Lithuania are. The village of Valka (Latvian) or Valga (Estonian) spreads out on both sides of the border. It `s a nice stopover on the way from Valmiera to Tartu and moreover, it seems like a perfect place to measure the Latvio-Estonian differences.... Read more

Baltic neighbours

Liepaja, LV (View on map)
Posted 26 Aug 2007:

During the previous days, I have been told how Lithuania and Latvia are very similar, while the third Baltic state Estonia is not. While crossing the Lithuanian-Latvian border in northerly direction, I am trying to find out how the southern Baltics compare to each other.... Read more

Discovering Lithuania

Klaipeda, LT (View on map)
Posted 22 Aug 2007:

With so many emigrants coming back to Lithuania after they earned some pocket money abroad, there must be something about Lithuania that makes it distinctively different from other countries. I have not come across a lot of nationalistic rituals, but there is definitely a feeling of national pride. Today`s question: why should people come to Lithuania and what should they go see and do?... Read more

Introduction to Lithuania

Kaunas, LT (View on map)
Posted 16 Aug 2007:

Ireland was a great place to start my big trip and travelling around the island was a very pleasant experience. But there`s an end to everything and I am excited to move on to the next country. I have been using most of today to get myself transported to the other side of Europe: Lithuania. I expected to collect my first pieces of information at Dublin airport, from some of the many Lithuanian people who accompanied me on the flight. Intially, I was faced with some plain `no`s` in reply to my question whether they could tell something about their country. Not very promising, but I still managed to speak to four people who provided me with a wealth of facts and figures about Lithuania.... Read more

Seen by others

Dublin, IE (View on map)
Posted 12 Aug 2007:

After a quick Ausflug to Northern Ireland, I am now back in the Republic. In Dublin to be more precise. It is the first capital city on my trip and the number of people in the streets amazes me. Contrary to the rest of Ireland, I see people from all over the world. I wonder if their experience with the Irish is in any way similar to mine, leading me to the question: how do people from outside Ireland feel and think about the Irish? ... Read more

Introduction to Ireland

Cork, IE (View on map)
Posted 1 Aug 2007:

The Us European project has taken off! I arrived in Ireland earlier today and am eager to find my first victims for an interview. Until today, I have known Ireland as the green and grey island of Guinness. Where the roads are narrow and the speed limits impossible to meet. I gratefully take the opportunity to add some more detail to my frame of knowledge with regards to Ireland and its culture.... Read more

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