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In heaven, the cops are British, the lovers are French, the food is Italian, the cars are German, and the whole thing is run by the Swiss.

In hell, the cops are German, the lovers are Swiss, the food is British, the cars are French,and the whole thing is run by the Italians.
—Traditional joke.


The happiest man on earth lives in a British house, gets an American salary, has a Chinese wife, and eats Japanese food.

The saddest man on earth lives in a Japanese house, gets a Chinese salary, has an American wife, and eats British food.
—Another traditional joke.

Stereotypes having to do with people of specific nationalities. Some of them are a little bit Truth in Television (certain others more so), due to having some basis in reality. But remember, nations are not Planets Of Hats. And not all foreigners necessarily speak with a heavy accent, as many films and TV series seem to indicate.

For people who want to edit this trope. Remember the following:

1. We don't claim that all these types of behaviour are exclusively typical of these nationalities, only that they are very common false or exaggerated perceptions of certain countries. Most of the time these images were created by popular books, comic strips, animated cartoons, films or propaganda. We're listing stereotypes here, which means that we list all these recurring caricatural ideas about other nationalities that can be found regularly in any work of fiction.

2. So no racist or discriminatory quotes claiming: "Hey this stereotype is actually true" or aggressive, offended comments like "Hey, my country or people are nothing like that!" Most countries depict their neighbouring countries as if they are all either lazy, evil, dumb, primitive or arrogant. Nothing new there and it proves that these stereotypical impressions about other countries are universal, rather than tied to one specific country.

3. We can also miss proud, arrogant, patriotic boasting remarks like "Our country is uniquely very good at this or that", which is usually also very narrow-minded nationalism. Behaviour can not be restricted to an entire race, culture or country of people. Not all Americans are fond of owning guns, not all Britons like tea, not all Frenchmen are arrogant and not all Asians are martial arts experts. Each country has claims to have their own unique drinking culture (beer, wine, tea, coffee,...) and a reputation for being hospitable. See also Hollywood Atlas and Funny Foreigner.

Examples of this trope by region:


General Stereotypes

  • The continent itself calls images of Darkest Africa with jungles, savanna, diamond mines, undiscovered civilizations or creatures, elephants, lions, monkeys, gorillas, chimpanzees, baboons, pythons, hippopotamuses, rhinoceroses, leopards, hyenas, ostriches, crocodiles, antelopes, wildebeest, etc. Usually whenever people visit Africa they almost trip over all these omnipresent animals, which they invariably always encounter at a dangerous moment.
  • Africans are generally assumed to an entire continent full of black people. If there are whites they are always Great White Hunter or Mighty Whitey: there are no other options. Apparently all the Coloreds, Indians, Asians, and all the rest of them have vanished overnight.
  • Even long after the death of apartheid, white South Africans are still thought of as being dyed-in-the-bone racist and collectively lamenting the Good Old Days (cf the South African song out of Spitting Image). To those who know white South Arivcans, this is not necessarily true.
  • Most traditional images of Africa have their roots in colonial times (Ancient Africa). Black Africans are depicted as primitive, childlike, superstitious people who still worship idols, believe in witchcraft and voodoo and live in huts. They defend themselves with spears and shields. White colonists can easily trick them by selling them worthless junk in exchange for valuable items or scare them with modern technology.
    • Pygmy tribes are usually small, pathetic little dwarfs who are depicted as if they are actually children.
    • Black African tribes are often portrayed as if they are cannibals who put every stranger in a large black cauldron.
    • Other stereotypical images are the male black African dressed in lip plates or with a bone sticking through his nose.
    • Stereotypical female black African depictions include the bare-breasted woman with large hanging breasts and enormous buttocks (examples of this stereotype are the 19th century sideshow attraction Saartjie Baartman and Robert Crumb's comic strip character Angelfood Mcspade) or the woman who wears multiple rings around her giraffe-like neck. . Note this type of neck ornament is also common in Burma with women from the Kayan tribe, but is generally associated with Africa.
  • More modern stereotypical images of black Africans are the starving little child (very popular in advertising campaigns) and the Idi Amin-like dictator.
    • Also, a common image is the mother with multiple starving kids with flies swarming all over them, probably in some sort of refugee camp or hospital.
    • All Africans speak Pidgin English in popular fiction or talk in sentences like: "Me very afraid, bwana!"
    • All African countries are constantly torn apart by tribal warfare between ill-disciplined thugs wielding machetes and AK-47's and committing genocide.
  • Even other black Africans counsel you to have nothing to do with Nigerians as the country is viewed as irredeemably corrupt and criminal. This is probably an exaggeration, although it is true Nigeria is the point of origin of the vast majority of so-called Code 419 email scams (where you might receive, out of the blue, an email from a former finance officer who needs your help in getting several million out of Africa...)


  • Are known for the first to domesticate the camel, and spread it all round the Middle East and Africa, also being very tall, and very skinny, the Civil War, and the new Diaspora. Also having the most territory in East Africa (the states are kind of divided) Somalis are well known across East Africa, and all of Africa. With that being said, there are many stereotypes about Somalis: one even about them not being even African (Arab immigrants/biracial invaders) by other Africans and also not looking black enough. And be warned that calling any Somali mixed, ever, is a pretty big insult. Somalis are the same people living in the Horn of Africa for thousands of years. And are a pretty pure people surprisingly. Some commonly known stereotypes are:
  • Having lots of kids. Four children is a small family for a Somali.
  • And recently ... pirates. Who are sometimes more like coastguards (protecting the seas from Illegal fishing and waste dumping, when they're not kidnapping tourists for ransom). Also being known for their supermodels.
  • Somalis in general are infamous in Europe for being the most problematic immigrants. There are both perceived and real reasons for this.

South Africa

  • South African TV characters in non-South African programmes are disproportionately white. This has a partial justification because of apartheid — whites are more likely to able to afford to leave the country. Still, said justification is getting pretty dated by now, given the size of the non-white middle class these days (a recent news story claimed that more black than white folks were emigrating, make of that what you will). White South Africans will always be racist; also, stinking rich.
    • All white Africans are either Rooineks (British White South Africans), Afrikaners (die-hard Nationalists and Apartheid supporters to the last man), Brits (either liberal as all hell, or card-carrying members of the International Evil Britisher Society). No white person is of any other ethnicity. The Portuguese, to name one example, would like to have a word with you.
  • South Africa apparently has no middle class. Everyone either lives in a mansion or in a hovel. There are no functional cities, malls, highways, etc. (In truth, South Africa is the most middle-class African country).


  • Congo is a war-torn country where all sorts of atrocities happen everyday.
  • Sudan is only known in the West for genocide and arresting people who give teddy bears Muslim names.
  • Ethiopia's pretty much only known in the West now for its horrific famines, thanks to that particularly brutal one it suffered through in the 1970s and '80s that led to Live Aid, Band Aid, "Do They Know It's Christmas?", etc. Otherwise it's lumped in with the rest of sub-Saharan Africa in terms of being thought of as a heavily pagan, juju spirit-believing culture, although Orthodox Christianity was introduced in the 4th century, Judaism even earlier, and there is a decently large Muslim population.
  • Nigerians/West Africans in general, are known across Africa as Internet scammers, and also being involved in Black Magic or Voodoo., and are not to be messed with.

The Americas

The Arctic

  • Inuit or Eskimo people always wear parkas, carve trinkets, live in igloos, go fishing with a harpoon, travel by sled and huskies and eat cod-liver oil. They are often believed to have an unusually large number of words for snow. (See:Wikipedia: Eskimo words for snow). This is however an urban legend. Eskimoes are sometimes shown rubbing each other's noses together as some sort of greeting ritual (Eskimo kissing) They're also often depicted surrounded by polar bears, seals, walruses and inaccurately penguins. Penguins only live on the South Pole and not on the North Pole. Sometimes Eskimoes themselves are depicted living on the South Pole, which is again wrong for the same reason.
  • The men are usually called Nanook in reference to the famous documentary Nanook Of The North. The documentary was heavily fictionalized and the name an invention: the man was actually called Allakariallak.


  • See Canada, Eh? for the main page about stereotypical portrayals of Canada.
  • Canadians are often depicted as Mounties, hockey players or wildlife hunters. They ride to school or work on polar bears and live in igloos.
  • They are obsessed with maple leaves and maple syrup.
  • They are all exceptionally polite. The phrase "Welcome to Canada. It's nice up here, eh?" pretty much defines this stereotype.
    • In many countries frequented by American tourists, the advice "pretend you're Canadian" is often given.
    • Canadians also tend to be portrayed as a lot less jingoistic than Americans. Quebec separatism may be mentioned, but Western separatism might as well not exist.
  • Québécois, on the other hand, tend to be portrayed by English speakers as being a bunch of separatist French Jerks, and are portrayed in France as being backward colonialists that aren't True Frenchmen.
  • Almost inevitably the Canadian will be white, and if they aren't French will have English or Scottish family name.

The United States

See also Acceptable Political Targets, America Takes Over the World, Eagle Land, and Only in America.

American in General

  • To many people (and not only Americans themselves) the United States are seen as the most important place in the world. If you can become rich and famous in the U.S. then you have really made it.
    • This also explains why white Americans are often depicted as filthy rich cigar-smoking business men with too much money to spent. If you have to believe many foreign fiction all Americans business people work in skyscrapers!
  • Americans are generally painted as completely ignorant of the rest of the world. American tourists may visit other countries, but are more interested in shopping and souvenirs than authentic culture, and are always rude and condencending to "the natives".
  • Outside the U.S. a stereotypical image of the dumb, fat, lazy, ignorant, self-important, decadent, prudish, and clueless white American exists. Most of these images are based on American fast food culture which has spawned a lot of morbidly fat people. Of course, in foreign countries sitcom characters like Archie Bunker, Al Bundy and Homer Simpson are also often seen as representative of the typical American.
    • American eat nothing else besides hamburgers, snacks, hot dogs, red beans, turkeys, donuts, apple pie and drink Coca Cola or beer.
  • In (beat 'em up) videogames, American fighters (generally) come in one of two flavours, adhering to the distinct types presented by the Eagle Land trope: Type 1 examples will often positively portray the all-American hero, and include patriotic, military powerhouse Guile of Street Fighter Fame, who has the Stars & Stripes tattooed to both shoulders, as well as the hot blooded, cheerfully friendly Terry Bogard from The King of Fighters. Felicia from Darkstalkers also (arguably) represents Type 1, being a friendly, caring sort who wants nothing more than to make it big on Broadway.
    • Type 2 examples are more numerous, the most obvious being Rufus of Street Fighter fame, who is morbidly obese, arrogant, very dim, chats absolute crap and has moves with sci-fi names (Galactic Tornado, Space Opera Symphony). Poison, also of Street Fighter (originally Final Fight) fame is very much Type 2, and is presented as overtly sexual, sleazy, sassy, and obsessed with money. In Rival Schools, one of the teams is made up of three American exchange students who sum up Type 2 almost completely; There's Roy, an arrogant, xenophobic Jerkass, Tiffany an outrageously costumed, ditzy cheerleader complete with Valley Girl expressions and pneumatic boobs, and finally Boman - a preacher in training. A good Mixed Flavour Type example is Ken Masters of Street Fighter fame, who is definitely cocky and brash, but is also an honourable person and shown to deeply care about his friends and family.
    • Native American characters also show up a good deal in beat 'em ups, and are almost without exception presented as being nature-loving, spiritual, calm, and dressed in the archetypal attire. Examples include the towering Thunder Hawk of Street Fighter, Michelle and Julia from Tekken and Nightwolf from Mortal Kombat.
  • Americans are often seen as people who vocally try to defend their own rights, according to what they claim is in the constitution.
    • The Grim Reaper complains in Monty Python's The Meaning of Life: "Shut up! Shut up, you American. You always talk, you Americans, you talk and you talk and say 'Let me tell you something' and 'I just wanna say this'".
      • America is infamous for its many Frivolous Lawsuits. A common stereotype is that Americans will seize every opportunity to sue a company or other person for a ridiculous amount of money.
  • Thanks to the numerous Wild West legends and westerns the country is still seen as Americans Are Cowboys. If a character in foreign fiction is depicted as being American, he is either a cowboy or at least wearing a cowboy hat. Even though the U.S. isn't the only country where carrying firearms is legal, the image of the "gun-obsessed American" is more common than with other nationalities. This again may partly be attributed to Americans Are Cowboys and numerous violent Hollywood action movies.
  • Americans helped Europe win World War I and World War II, but people usually forget that the U.S collaborated with other countries to defeat the Axis. Many war movies and documentaries paint the wrong impression that America won these wars singlehandedly. After World War II the United States were generally seen as liberators by all the countries that had been suppressed by the Nazis or Japanese. This led to an internationally positive view of the U.S. where many people across the world gladly embraced American products like Coca Cola, chewing gum, large cars and Hollywood films. But during the 1960s at the height of the Vietnam War, America’s foreign policy was criticized by other countries and to this day a lot of people across the globe hate the U.S.A., solely based on the actions of their Administration and the power of their multinationals (See America Saves the Day, Yanks With Tanks and America Wins the War)
  • Thanks to Hollywood and American TV shows many people across the globe who never visited the U.S.A. in their entire life are familiar with many aspects of America's culture, including slang expressions like "yeah", "cool" or "...and I'm like..." The global dominance of the U.S.A's mass consumer imperialism is often criticized by other countries, because according to them American corporations destroy many of their own pittoresque and authentic national traditions. This is also the reason why snobbish people see the United States as a place where camp, kitsch and decadence are more prominent than actual art or sophistication. Disneyland, Hollywood, fast food, dumb TV shows, Las Vegas, their poor public school system and American's aggressive merchandising also contribute to this idea.
    • From The Simpsons episode "30 Minutes Over Tokyo", when the family visits an American themed restaurant in Japan

 Waiter:: Don't ask me; I don't know anything! I'm product of American education system. I also build poor-quality cars and inferior-style electronics.

Homer: [cackles] Oh, they got our number!

  • Outside the USA many people have the impression that all Americans are devoutly obsessed with God and Jesus and will do anything to force their conservative ideals on others. Many foreign news casts and documentaries often focus on the most extreme pious and God fearing fundamentalists.
    • And while we're on the topic: Americans often come across as being very prudent about sexual topics, especially when compared with European countries. Films, TV series or celebrities with explicit nude and/or sex scenes that cause a scandal in the United States hardly raise an eyebrow in Europe.
      • On the other hand, American movies (especially from the 80s) and videogames are seen as being extremely violent by European standards.
  • American women generally come in three flavors: A young, white or red-clad blond woman who's extremely slutty and bossy, a soccer mom, or a docile 50's Housewife.
  • When playing sport: all Americans will be playing baseball, American football or basketball, usually with some cheerleaders standing on the side.


  • Old stereotypes show them as slaves, working in cotton fields and singing bluesy songs. If they are a bit better off they are portrayed as servants, butlers, cooks or maids ("Mammy"s). They enjoy eating watermelons and/or chickens or playing dice games. Typical for those times they are depicted as being lazy, dumb, primitive or overly submissive ("Yes suh, no ma'm") to their white superiors and scared of ghosts. If a black character is joyful he is usually an Uncle Tom or Uncle Remus type of character. They are also portrayed as superstitious.
  • Modern stereotypes depict them as either being jazz musicians, gospel choir singers, baptists with loud and punctuated speech (see Preacherbot on Futurama), dancers, rappers, soul singers with large Afro-hair, gang members, pimps, prostitutes... They always talk in jive.

Native Americans

  • In the 19th century and thru most of the 20th century they were called "Indians" and seen as violent and primitive savages, usually attacking stagecoaches or fortresses in westerns. They will speak in a deep voice, saying "How" or "Ugh" and ululate while putting one hand in front of their mouth yelling "Oowoowoowoo" (something that Native American tribes never did, but was introduced by Buffalo Bill's Wild Wild West shows near the end of the 19th century and popularized by many western movies). Either they are peaceful and smoking the peace pipe or hunting buffaloes, but usually they are attacking cowboys or white settlers with the intent to scalp them and/or tie them to their totem pole. They communicate by sending smoke signals and always use bows and arrows to attack others. In westerns they usually die easily and fall from their horses or fortress walls in dramatic poses. Their skin is described as being "red" and before the age of political correctness even Caucasian white actors have portrayed Native Americans with red painted skin.
  • A more positive depiction of Native Americans shows them as a Noble Savage or Magical Native American, all of them badass. This is the image that has emerged since political correctness arrived. Native Americans are now shown as peaceful people who live in tune with nature and are the victims of the white man's greed and colonialism. See also: the Crying Indian.
  • Native Americans are usually seen in movies set in the Wild West, but almost never in the modern age. Exceptions to this rule show them as proprietors of Native American Casinos. Those who aren't are poor, live on the rez, and are either alcoholics, diabetics, or both.
  • All American Indians are based on plains Indians.

American West

  • Hawaii: pretty girls with long black hair and grass skirts who enjoy hula dancing and put flower garlands ("leis") over every tourist's shoulders. The island has a very relaxed atmosphere with parties ("luas") and people drinking soft drinks while wearing Hawaiian shirts. And of course, the word "Aloha" most be mentioned or sung at least once!
  • California: Best known for two cities, San Francisco and Los Angeles, one theme park (Disneyland), and its beaches. The world knows the state especially for Hollywood and its Silicon Valley, Hollywood Nerds, Corrupt Corporate Executive, actors and actresses (either famous or struggling) and the annual Academy Awards. Also known for San Francisco's attractiveness for homosexuals, potheads and hippies. People from the San Fernando Valley are all dumb blondes (Valley Girls) or equally brainless surfer dudes who all speak a specific slang made universally popular by MTV's Spring Breaks.
  • When the rest of the country remembers the Pacific Northwest, they they usually associate it with never-ending rainfall, hippies and environmentalism.
  • New Mexico is lucky to be considered part of the Union at all, mot of the time it's kind of off to the side and gets awkward looks from everyone else.
  • Arizona is the Wild Wild West. All rural and the population consists of outlaws, Cowboy Cops, and bartenders.
  • Utah, see Mormonism, because nobody knows or mentions anything else about this state besides it's Salt Lake or, for older people, The Osmonds.
  • Colorado has something of a duality. On the one hand, there's Colorado Springs, aka the Vatican City of fundamentalism where everyone owns a gun and lives in the mountains. On the other, there's Boulder and the ski towns, home of the Granola Girl, the New Age Retro Hippie and, for the latter, rich celebrities making a second home. And if you're from Denver, you're a Badass Longcoat who's thinking about shooting up his school.
  • Nevada: Best known for Las Vegas and all the degenerate and decadent stuff that can be found there: gamblers, hookers, mobsters, drug dealers, cheap and quick weddings, Elvis impersonators and washed up former stars who perform there for nostalgic audiences before they finally croak.
  • Everyone in Idaho lives in a potato field, Boise, or Deliverance country (where everyone is part of the Klan or the Aryan Nation).
  • Montana is generally portrayed as having nothing but survivalists, libertarian psychos, and national parks/forests. Within Montana, people from Missoula are pot smoking hippie pantheists, people from Bozeman just moved there from California/Colorado/Washington, and eastern Montana is a frozen wasteland full of Norwegian Lutherans (in other words, North Dakota).
  • There are, of course, no stereotypes of people from Wyoming since no one lives there. Well, maybe there are cowboys in the mountains but that's about it.

American Midwest

  • Apparently a lot of people think that North Dakota is a frozen wasteland with less than five people and not one of them has seen an ATM before. At least our banks aren't failing.
  • South Dakota is Mount Rushmore. Period. If anything remembers what state it's actually in. The rest of it is pine trees or wasteland. (In truth, eastern South Dakota has the overflow crowd of Norwegian Lutherans, for a lot of it.)
  • Kansas is apparently where rationality, science and fun all go to be burned alive for witchcraft. It used to be just that big flat area people hurried through to get to the Rockies.
  • Missouri... actually, no one cares about Missouri. Except for every few years in October. Or if you're a meth addict. Frowning is a state sport and no one ever wants to come back here. It's mostly remembered for Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer.
  • Minnesota are seen either as hicks with snow instead of rusted-out cars, or pleasant, blonde suburbanites. Either way, likely to be depicted as socially conservative but politically liberal, closer to earth Good Old Boy types, all of whom are Lutheran and Swedish. See Ole and Lena.
  • Iowans like corn! Because corn is nice.
  • Nebraskans still drive covered wagons, live on farms, and raise corn and cows.
  • Depending on what part of Michigan you're from, you're either a crazy black mugger (Detroit/Flint/Pontiac area), a tree hugger (Grand Rapids), a rich snobby Jew (West Bloomfield), a rich snobby WASP (the rest of Oakland County, save Pontiac, which see above) a rich snobby foodie tree hugger (Ann Arbor), or a hick who does nothing other than hunt (anywhere north of Saginaw). And don't forget da Yoopers: still a hunting hick, but with a cool accent and pasties, ya?
  • Illinois people are apparently either stuck-up, hypocritical, politically corrupt snobs with a Chicaaagaa drawl, or they're murderous gangsters ('20s or modern, take your pick).
  • "Hi, we're visiting Ohio!" "...Why?" This especially applies to Cleveland Rocks.
  • Let us not forget the Three Kinds of Indiana: hicks who could've been from Alabama if they weren't wearing snowboots and a winter coat; whitebread Everytown, America-ish suburbanites (particularly around Indianapolis and the Chicagoland region); and Inner City Indiana, for which the exemplar is Gary, Indiana, AKA the Armpit of America, where the chemical factories and steel mills release a putrid perfume for all to smell and where the cops will beat the crap out of you, cite you for marijuana possession... and proceed to smoke it right in your face. But to the rest of the world Indiana is associated with Indiana Jones' first name.
  • Des Moines, Iowa: the reason why Bill Bryson left town and came to England, makinhg a rep as a famous travel writer. Without actually saying so, he implies the cloying crushing boredom of his home town and native state was the biggest dsingle prompt to him to get up and go as far away as possible.

American South

  • Anyone from the South is an uneducated redneck/trailer trash, everyone has double names (Billy Bob, Mary Lou, etc.) or Biblical names (Jebediah, Ezekiel), everyone is super religious, inbreeding is rampant, people enjoy shooting at anything that moves, drinking alcohol from a jug while sitting in a rocking chair and the Civil Rights Movement never happened. Also see the 2000 movie O Brother, Where Art Thou?, where most of the ancient clichés are thrown together: black jazz and blues artists, country yokels, the Ku Klux Klan, cotton fields, chain gangs,...
  • Louisiana is a subset of the Georgia/Alabama/Mississippi Deliverance country, except everybody speaks French patois. And there's New Orleans. New Orleans is drunk and debauched (or was destroyed by hurricane Katrina) and will mostly be filled with jazz bands and sleazy people. Occasionally a traditional Mississippi river boat will pass by.
  • People from Tennessee are either hillbillies who play banjos and sleep with their cousins, typical fat Deep South rednecks, or murderous inner-city thugs who will beat you up, steal your wallet, and shank you with a knife if they think you might have more than $5 on you. The hillbillies are all on meth, the rednecks are all drunk, and the gangstas guzzle codeine cough syrup by the quart. Nashville is populated entirely with country musicians..
  • West Virginia is considered an acceptable target even by the most politically correct people out there. According to the rest of America, West Virginians are all uneducated, white trash, racist, dirt poor, toothless, shoeless, gun toting hillbillies who eat raccoons and have moonshine running through their veins. The state pastimes include hunting squirrels and having sex with their cousins.
  • Especially Texas. Howdy Y'all! Everyone in Texas is a gun toting, horse riding cowboy.
  • Everyone who lives in Oklahoma is either a proud Native American living in a teepee, or a dumb-as-rocks hillbilly living in a trailer wondering why the "ternaders" always blow his house away.
  • West Virginia has that whole Kissing Cousins thing and letting kids drive when they are 2.
  • Florida. 98% of Americans think Florida's history began with the invention of air conditioning, the Panhandle is the only part of the state that is possibly south of the Mason-Dixon line, Miami-Dade is part of Cuba, not the United States, and the state's population doubles the day the first snowflake falls north of the Mason-Dixon line. Also, ask more than 99% of Americans what the oldest continuously inhabited European settlement in North America is, and the answer will not be St. Augustine.
  • Virginia overall is seen (by those who are even aware that Virginia and West Virginia are separate states) as the reddest of the red states, inhabited solely by Pat Robertson, George Allen, Ken Cuccinelli, and Eugene Delgaudio. This also plays into the divide between Northern Virginia and the rest of the state.
  • (in monotone) "Hi. We're from... Delaware."
  • Depending on what show you're watching, Washington DC is populated entirely by either (i) high-ranking administration officials and corrupt national politicians or (ii) drug kingpins and corrupt municipal politicians. Either way, it is obligatory for depictions of local geography to be horribly wrong, and everything is the exact opposite of whatever the writer considers to be good and just. Also, version (i) of D.C. has absolutely no long-term residents.
  • Georgia will always be treated as a backwards hicktown that is extremely white and extremely intolerant (see the 30 Rock episode "Stone Mountain"). This is despite the fact that its capital, Atlanta, is 54% black and actually has the 3rd highest population of LGBT people in the U.S. (behind San Francisco and Seattle). But at least since Ray Charles it is "always on our mind".

American Northeast

  • New Jersey is full of corrupt politicians, organized crime
  • New Yorkers: Rude, loud, thieves, gangsters, snobbish, empty headed, any stereotype you can fit with Italians/Jews/* enter other classic New York immigrant here* , and at worst, liberal demons. And yes, this accounts for those who live in Upstate New York as well. Even the Amish.
    • In Hollywood films and TV series New York City is always the most prominent target for giant monster attacks, ghosts that need to be busted, turtles living in sewers, alien invasions, environmental disasters or science fiction wars. In fact: if a story has to take place in "anytown, U.S.A" it will always be New York City.
        • And o yes, the sewers in New York are filled with crocodiles, according to a popular urban legend.
          • Also expect The Statue of Liberty or the Empire State Building to be present somewhere in the background.
  • Massachusetts: Full of loud, obnoxious, drunken Irish-Americans or pretentious college kids...sometimes both. Have a bit of an inferiority complex with New York especially pertaining to sports teams. Dislikes EVERYBODY ELSE ON THE LIST. Oh, and everyone in Salem is a witch.
  • Rhode Island has the worst drivers in America, coffee addicts (Dunkin Donuts to be exact), cannot give directions, think a 45 minute drive is a daylong trip, and have the most corrupt government that you'd ever'd make Tony Soprano stand in awe. Despite all of this, nobody is quite sure if they exist or not.
  • Pennsylvania has three, and only three types of people. In Pittsburgh everyone is a dopey and unemployed Pole that worships the Steelers like a religion. In Philadelphia everyone is a perpetually-raging meathead who will kill Santa Claus just to make your child cry (and worships the Eagles like a religion). Everyone else lives in "Pennsyltucky", and worships Penn State like a religion. For their stereotypes, see Kentucky directly above.
  • Maine: We have lobsters, lighthouses, and beaches (And Stephen King!). For the most part, Maine exists as one big tourist attraction, and the idea that it still exists in the winter is an idea limited solely to skiers and natives.
  • Vermont: Either ice cream and maple syrup or the Oregon of the east. Take your pick.
  • Connecticut: Had you actually bothered to learn that Connecticut is a real place on the map, you would probably think of its people as rich, snobby liberals with an inferiority complex towards Massachusetts. Too bad Massachusetts already has its own inferiority complex for New York and hasn't really noticed.

The Caribbean

  • Calypso or rhumba music is constantly being played, there's free fruit everywhere, everyone is constantly drunk and/or high, and may have a pet parrot. Nobody does any work, they just sit on the beach sipping fruity little drinks with umbrellas out of coconuts. At night, the careless or unlucky might see a voodoo ceremony, especially if they are in Haiti (see Pat Robertson after the earthquake there). If it is a more serious work that takes place in Jamaica, expect there to be a lot of violence and other crimes. Expect everyone to have a Jamaican accent, regardless of where they are. Also, the only countries that seem to exist there are Cuba, Haiti and Jamaica (maybe the Bahamas).
  • Cubans are often depicted as heavy smokers of Havana cigars and opponents/supporters of Fidel Castro. Within Spanish-speaking countries there's the stereotype that Cubans end all their phrases with the word "Chico", and generally mangle Spanish grammar and/or pronunciation. There is a saying that "the Spanish language was born in Castille and died in Cuba".
  • Jamaicans are caricatured as marijuana-smoking black Rastafaris with dreadlocks, listening to reggae. They all speak in the local dialect ("patois").
    • People often think that marijuana is legal on Jamaica, while in reality it is not.
  • Other countries in the Caribbean are generally associated with pirates, slaves and popular musical genres like calypso, memento, reggae, soca and steelband.
  • The Guyanese are almost never mentioned. If Guyana is mentioned, people will often mistakenly assume it's Latin American just because it's on the Caribbean coast of South America. In fact, Guyana is the sole English-speaking country in South America, and its border with the Caribbean coast and shared culture with other former British colonies in the Caribbean Sea results in the nation having a Caribbean-based culture.

Latin America

  • Latin America as a whole is generally associated with short-term dictatorships, guerilleros, drug-trafficking, executions by fire squad, soccer players and sexy and catchy dances.
  • Mexicans are often depicted wearing sombreros and long black moustaches. If they are active they will be playing serenades under balconies, playing guitar or performing the Mexican hat dance or "La Cucaracha". They eat foods comprised of beans and hardened corn and peppers too spicy for foreigners to handle and drink tequila. But most of the time Mexicans are depicted as if they are lazy and prefer taking a siesta in hammocks or against a wall. And if they're in America, they're The Illegal. If they're male, there's a chance that they'll be Ben Davis-wearing gang members with huge tattoos. They will refer to you as either Señor, Amigo or Gringo. See also Zorro, Frito Bandito, Speedy Gonzales, Bumblebee Man in The Simpsons and many, many westerns.
  • Non-Mexican Latin Americans go through similar stereotypes as Mexicans do (Brazilians included), but get none of the individual recognition. If they come from Central America or some of the Andean countries, they're likely to be The Illegal, usually working as maids or in construction. If they're Colombian, they'll be drug dealers. If they're from the Caribbean, they're boisterous and they all know how to dance really well. They will all have comparatively dark skin, hair and eyes, usually being markedly mestizo or of indigenous or African origin, even if they come from countries with a Caucasian majority like Argentina or Chile.
  • See also: the Latin Lover and the Spicy Latina.
  • Native South Americans are always Amazonian Indians. Like all tribal societies in Western popular culture they are usually depicted as dumb and primitive. A popular image of these "Amazon Indians" shows them using blowguns with poisoned arrows or making shrunken heads out of their victims.
  • Brazilians : Urban residents are either poor people living in slums who aren't bothered by the violent ways used by whatever criminal faction to keep the "order", or smug Latinos always seeking ways to earn money by conning someone. Regardless, all of those fear the police, which more often than not is corrupt to the bone. They're also known as a bunch of wisecracking fast-talking always-cheerful guys. Every single Brazilian loves soccer and samba more than anything else.
    • Women all have perfect bodies with really nice hips/butts, no body hair, and go around scantily clad all the time.
    • If you're not from either Rio, São Paulo or Brazilia, you're from the jungle, are are likely a poison-dart using headhunter.
  • Argentineans are generally regarded as a more or less fortunate mix of Italian and Latin American, since a third of its population is of Italian ancestry. As such, a lot of Italian tropes are applicable: lots of Italian food (ravioli, gnocchi, fettucini, pizza and wine), machismo, lots of hand-waving while speaking, bravado, mafia, corruption, crazy driving and unending arguments about even the smallest issue. The siesta is the most notorious part of their Spanish heritage. It is also the "whitest" country in Latin America, for the same reasons, something that makes it somewhat less exotic for North Americans and Europeans, who feel more at home.
    • The Argentinian accent is very distinctive and different from the rest of Latin America, which is Played for Laughs some times.
    • Spicy women and brawling machos with moustaches dance the tango in some ill-lit bar, a legacy of the Golden Age of tango. Argentinean women will always be supermodels, while men will be seductive yet melancholic cynics.
    • In the countryside, all men are brave gauchos, generally noble, proud and stoic, who can even sew silk on horseback and tend to answer to the smallest provocation with a knife. The only dish available is red meat, in absurd quantities.
    • Everybody drinks mate, knows how to play guitar and excels at football. Also, they are well-read.
    • In Latin America, Argentineans are usually considered arrogant, self-centered, pessimistic, sarcastic sassy know-it-alls who talk way too much and think themselves of some kind of European exiles somehow stranded in Latin America, to the ridiculous extent they sometimes apply the term "latinos" (Latin) to people from everywhere in Latin America but Argentina.
    • Argentina is full of ex-Nazis on and their sympathizers.
  • Chile: A World of Snark full of classist, snobbish, Holier Than Thou and really whiny people who talk extremely fast, pepper their conversations with all the "F bombs" they can put in, and either are Tsundere for their neighbors or totally in hate with them.
  • Colombia is a druglord haven full of corrupt politicians, leftist guerrillas, and right-wing death squads.
  • Paraguay: Everyone is either from Asunción or from the jungle. They do nothing but smuggle goods and steal cars from neighbouring countries.
  • Uruguay tends to be considered just a very small and quiet Argentina, Luxembourg style. They are not thrilled with this. However, they are generally exempt from the negative Argentinean stereotyping, considered polite, open minded, friendly... and really obsessed with mate.
  • Venezuela is known for Chavez and his "socialism" (aka, dictatorial government) and its blind followers, the "chavistas". Also known for its nationalized oil industry, for having a whole industry dedicated to winning the Miss Universe pageant, and for looooong and melodramaaaaatic Soap Operas.


India and Pakistan

  • Indians are often confused with Native Americans as a pun.
  • Traditional images of Indians and Pakistanis depicted them as gurus, yogis, snake charmers, fakirs or sultans.(Sim Sim Salabim) They ride elephants to go out shooting tigers, worship holy cows, watch Bollywood Movies or eat hot spices and curry.
  • Fakirs are able to hypnotize everybody, fly on a carpet, climb on an erect rope (Indian rope trick), levitate, meditate or refuse to eat anything for months. They are able to stick knives in their body, walk barefoot on burning coals, remain underground with their head or body or sit or sleep on a bed of nails without ever being hurt.
  • Modern stereotypical images of Indians and Pakistani depict them as shopkeepers, taxi drivers or supermarket store clerks.
  • Another modern image is the Bollywood Nerd or Operator From India.
  • Indian or Pakistani women are all young, slim, black haired women with a gopi dot on the forehead and are always dressed in saris. Expect a big deal to be made of their innocent/virginity; if they have a romantic partner, chances are it will be forbidden. And if they marry they will be child brides.
  • All Indians are Hindu, all Pakistanis are Muslim. Sometimes Indian Muslims are acknowledged, but Sikhs rarely are, despite one of the most stereotypical depictions of Indians (guys with turbans and big beards) being very much based around Sikhs. Jains, Buddhists, and Christians are almost never mentioned (this despite there actually being more Indian Christians than Sikhs).
  • All Indians are extremely poor and live in slums or rural backwaters where they farm with oxen. They will all play cricket and travel by train since they can't afford any other way. Essentially, it's still The Raj but without so many upper-class British people.

East Asia

  • General tropes: People from this part of Asia often suffer from All Asians Are Alike in other parts of the world. Non-Asian people often refer to all people of South East Asian descent as "Chinese", even if they weren't born there. Often typically Chinese phenomena are confused with Japan and vice versa.
    • In the 19th and 20th century, East Asia was seen as the Yellow Peril and the Japanese involvement in World War II and China becoming Communist in 1949 hardly diminished this fear. Racist stereotypes associated with South East Asians poke fun at their typical eye shape, often ridiculed as "slant eyes", "slitty eyes" and often imitated by people of a different race by stretching their eyes with both index fingers.
  • From this stereotype another stereotype is derived: their supposed lack of peripheral vision (which attributes to yet another stereotype: their "bad driving").
    • Another racist image is the East Asian with buck teeth, wearing coke bottle glasses, grinning, having long fingernails and queues and wearing douli on their head. The "very bad teeth" thing is still very much in play. Not only has orthodontics only recently started to catch on, but females with crooked teeth are actually considered kawaii for supposedly having the crooked teeth of a grade school kid. Braces, as a result, are not nearly as prevalent as they are in North America.
    • They often speak Engrish, replacing the letters “l” and “r” with each other. Or gibberish with many words that rhyme on "-ng"-sounds.
    • Another stereotype is Everybody Was Kung-Fu Fighting, assuming that every East Asian is a martial arts expert.
    • They are often considered to be math or computer experts (see Asian and Nerdy) .
    • Asian Store Owner
    • Asian Baby Mama
    • Old Asian people are usually wise, bearded men who speak in aphorisms, teach martial arts and are forever trying to calm down their young, enthusiastic students. Meditation is also a popular staple in Asian popular culture.
      • If they are first-generation immigrants, they are also bound to be extremely demanding to their children and having absurdly high expectations, especially regarding education. Found, for example, in Wayne's World and made popular by this meme
    • Young East Asian women are usually portrayed as attractive, mysterious and exotic dancers, masseuses, manicurists, geishas or prostitutes of the Me Love You Long Time kind. (See also: Dragon Lady) . They are often depicted as being very submissive delicate flowers, most likely by people who have never seen Raise The Red Lantern or read any novel written by any female Chinese novelist in the past thirty years. Alternatively, they are experts in unusual or exotic forms of sexual activity, which they will use to exploit or manipulate men.
      • Submissive East Asian girls are not simply a Western stereotype. They can also be seen and heard in many East Asian films and animated cartoons, where these girls tend to talk and moan in a very high pitched squeaking voice, always accentuating their own weaknesses and reservations. Especially during erotic scenes.
    • Asian cuisine is often stereotyped for cooking and serving seafood, such as sushi, fish eggs and whales. Chinese delicacies like thousand-year-old egg and bird nest soup are well-known among Westerners, and Koreans are said to favour kimchi and dog meat. In general they are often depicted eating rice.
    • Dragons Up the Yin-Yang is often used to portray an Oriental atmosphere.
  • There's also a tendency of claiming that every cheap and dangerous product was made in Eastern Asia, usually by slave laborers, before being sent to the Western World. "Made in Korea", "Made in Hong Kong", "Made in Taiwan",...


  • Chinese people have been depicted as if the Middle Ages never ended: walking around with douli on their head, long queues and their hands hidden in long robes.
  • A popular stereotype is the insanely intelligent and evil Chinese villain with a beard or long Fu Manchu style moustache. He often practices Ancient Chinese torture methods like slow slicing and the Chinese water torture. (Examples: Fu Manchu, Li Shoon, Dr.No.) The female counterpart if the Dragon Lady.
  • A more gentle stereotype is the Chinese doctor or pharmacist who uses strange rituals, drinks and techniques to cure his patient. Often he is a practitioner of acupuncture.
  • In westerns and comic strips Chinese people were often depicted as proprietors of laundries or opium dens.
  • Other stereotypes are throwing babies in the river, women wearing tiny shoes (in reference to the outdated foot-binding tradition), lighting fireworks, Chinese dragons, playing ping-pong, go or mah-jong or keeping bonzai trees (which are Japanese)
  • In Red China, the Chinese were portrayed as sexless, androgynous, personality-free Mao freaks who dress in the same uniforms and whose lives are centered on The Little Red Book.
  • The Chinese also eat a lot more different animals than in other cultures. This has lead to the stereotype that the Chinese will eat anything.
  • When attempting to demonstrate Chinese might/threat, there is always this giant dragon with big, fat "CHINA" written on its body which design shows absolutely no attempt to note that Chinese dragons and Western ones are not the same at all. Then again, it's all propaganda...
  • In (beat 'em up) videogames, Chinese characters are unsurprisingly numerous. Both sexes are nearly always clad in period costume - Mao collars, Qipao (for the women) and Odango - double for females, single for males. Chinese female characters are nearly always portrayed as heroic, alluring, sexy and highly proficient at the more acrobatic, elegant forms of Kung Fu, a depiction no doubt inspired by the original, pioneering video games Action Girl, Chun Li. Other female examples include Xianghua and daughter Leixia from the Soul Series, qipao-clad Leifang from Dead or Alive, Li Xiangfei from The King of Fighters (who's a little "wackier" than previous examples but still fits), Litchi Fayeling from Blaz Blue and kung fu movie actress Pai Chan from Virtua Fighter.
  • More recent portrayals seem to indicate that the Chinese might be taking over the ruthless businessman role from the Japanese in Hollywood films. In fact, a growing number of modern works have the Corrupt Corporate Executive or the villain pulling the strings to be a gaunt, middle-aged Chinese man with high cheekbones who cares more about money than human life. This may be due to American fear and resentment over China's growing importance in the world and economic power, and all the debt the US owes them. "China still cool! You pay later!"
  • Between the Special Administration Zones and the Mainland China, Mainland China views the average SAZ citizen as impatient and brash while Mainlanders are seen as moody and spoiled due to several policies in China.
  • Chinese-American girls are Alpha Bitches or simpy bullies in cartoons, with examples being Trixie, Brittney from SVTFOE, and Penelope.


  • Japanese people are often represented as extremely polite (Japanese Politeness), intelligent, and obedient but dislike foreigners. They bow extensively and are ruthless, stoic business people wearing glasses and black suits. Their stock words are: "honourable", "regrettable" and "please" (usually spoken in an Engrish accent).
  • The cheerful Japanese Tourist who films and photographs everything in sight. This has waned since the Japanese economic bubble burst, but still visible in works from the 80s and early 90s.
  • The cute and sexy giggling girl in school uniform. (See Joshikousei)
  • Japanese also have a reputation for honorable suicides, ranging from hara-kiri, Seppuku to kamikaze pilots.
  • Japanese popular culture often baffles other countries:
    • Japanese comic strips (Manga), animated cartoons (Anime), computer games, horror and action films are often criticized for being disturbingly dark, complex, bizarre and violent.
    • Their gameshows are notoriously surreal and sadistic.
    • Their Anime is often ridiculed. Characters simply freeze in one position while a vague background goes by. You seldom see a realistic Asian in their cartoons: Caucasians with very wide eyes. Non-anime fans seem to think anime is still at the quality of Speed Racer.
    • The Kaiju films are ridiculed for their bad special effects: men wearing rubber monster suits. The plots are surreal and consist of nothing more than Godzilla fighting other monsters for no particular reason.
    • Their instruction videos and commercials are equally weird. Many famous Hollywood actors make TV commercials in Japan (Japandering) and these videos have become notorious because they often put celebrities in a weird context that doesn't have anything to do with their public image. For decades these commercials remained mostly unknown to Western audiences, but since the arrival of Internet their notability has increased, often to the shame of the actors themselves.
  • In (beat 'em up) video games, Japanese characters run the full gamut of character types (unsusprisingly, seeing as how most series have multiple Japanese characters), but the most popular depictions include the stoic, brooding hero type (often wrestling with some sort of inner turmoil) - as seen with Street Fighter's Ryu and Tekken's Jin, various boisterous bruisers (often Sumo wrestlers), as seen with Street Fighter's E.Honda, Tekken's Ganryu and Virtua Fighter's Taka-arashi, and the archetypal spirited, plucky school girl type, as seen with Sakura of Street Fighter fame, Hinata from Rival Schools, Asuka Kazama of Tekken fame and school-girl turned Magic Idol Singer Athena Asamiya from The King of Fighters.
  • Japanese people are engineering geniuses, but they use this to create giant robots.
  • Other popular Japanese stereotypes are the geisha, sumo wrestler, samurai and ninja.
  • A more negative stereotype is of the perverted Japanese man who is a Nightmare Fetishist and possible pedophile.
    • And also completely unwilling to reproduce or is sexually regressive.
  • Japanese people add "-u" to the end of every word. (This, of course, comes from katakana.)
  • Oddly, the Ainu get more press in America than in Japan.

South Korea

  • South Koreans are fanatical video game nerds who will kick your ass at any Blizzard game or Counter-Strike. kekekeke
  • Also, dry cleaning. More than a few Korean immigrants have had dry cleaning as their first job in the United States. Several catalogs even have a specialized Korean-language line to dial.
  • Koreans are not generally seen as distinct from Chinese or Japanese (see All Asians Are Alike); when they are, they get a similar treatment to the Japanese as stereotypical businessmen who are reserved and extremely polite. Korean women will probably be war brides or prostitutes. Most North Americans know of The Korean War from MASH and may forget that it ended over half a century ago; especially dumb Americans may confuse it with The Vietnam War and assume it happened in the 1970s or later. Despite its strong economic growth, there is no equivalent to Japan Takes Over the World although certain elements of Korean pop culture (music, soap operas etc.) have become popular overseas. There may be some reference to North Korean belligerence making everyone tense.
  • Koreans are the only East Asian ethnicity to generally be portrayed as Christian, although other Asian countries (the Philippines, East Timor, Georgia and Armenia) also have people of this religion. (Then again, South Korea is among the few countries in their geopolitical sphere to have a significant Christian minority.)
    • This perception is likely due to Sun Myung Moon's fame.
  • Korean food consists of rice, dog meat and kimchi. No exceptions.
  • It's a bit of a stereotype in the Asian-American community that Koreans, especially the women, are really into plastic surgery.

North Korea


  • The Taiwanese really only have two stereotypes; they are either rage-filled bad drivers who are obsessed with betel nuts or they are otakus who write way too many doujins.
  • Also, every Taiwanese person on the internet seems to know every other Taiwanese person.
  • Although most Taiwanese are of Han Chinese ethnicity, they are treated as essentially Japanese in culture (somewhat Truth in Television, as the island was occupied by Japan for several decades).
  • Taiwan may be confused with Hong Kong; there will be taxis, 24-hour laundries and teahouses where old men sit playing mah jong all day long. Traditional Chinese music will be heard.
  • And every cheap product is of course "made in Taiwan".
  • Many Americans don't differentiate Taiwanese people from the Chinese in terms of perception.

Hong Kong

  • A big, modernized city full of tourists.
  • Likely to be filled with masuesses who will step on your back and give "happy endings" if you pay them enough.
  • Lots of dead chickens hanging in the windows and lots of old ladies willing to behead any live chickens they get.
  • A hot-spot for wealthy business men (both Asian and White) to visit and "relax".
  • Extremely brash and impatient by Asian standards.
  • Cheap products will all be "Made in Hong Kong".

Southeast Asia

In popular culture, Southeast Asia is that place where the Vietnam War happened. It did not exist before then, nor did it have a culture except for mysterious statues of Buddhas and ruined temples half-hidden by jungle overgrowth. Everyone wears those conical hats and is a peasant, drug trafficker or ex-guerrilla. All Western tourists who go there will be caught up in some sort of scam or civil war or be imprisoned on trumped-up charges (usually drug trafficking). See: Holiday in Cambodia.



  • All of Thailand is Bangkok, which is universally portrayed as a Wretched Hive full of seedy bars and strip clubs. There will be some mention of kathoey ("ladyboys"), possibly leading to Viewer Gender Confusion. If some other part of Thailand is shown, it will probably be a rubber plantation with elephants and palm trees everywhere, or a beach where Westerners go to live in wooden houses on stilts and surf. There will still be drugs and prostitutes, though.
  • Expect Thai massage, Thai dancing and/or Thai boxing to be depicted as if they are general activities every Thai does.
  • If Thai characters do turn up in (beat 'em up) videogames, then they are almost universally portrayed as boastful, morally dubious (if not downright evil) Muay Thai boxers. Examples include Sagat and Adon, both Street Fighter veterans, Hwa Jai from Fatal Fury (complete with snake oil booze power-up moves) and Shura from World Heroes.


  • When it exists, is identical to Thailand despite being landlocked. The Souphanousinphones from King of the Hill are one of the few realistic portrayals of a Lao family that will be familiar to Western viewers.


  • Is the place where the Khmer Rouge took over. Virtually everything about Cambodia is known from the film The Killing Fields, which means it is a poor jungle country overrun by Communist guerillas and anti-Western fanatics who force their captives to do hard labour at gunpoint and starve. Phnom Penh is a fairly modern French-style city, but everything else is wilderness.


The Philippines

  • Filipinos tend to be characterized as being constantly confused for Hispanics, are seen as not Asian enough, and are violent knife/stick fighters. Filipino women tend to be seen as sluts or mail-order brides. Then there are all the jokes about Filipino foreign workers caricatured as being practically everywhere. A recent one is that Filipinos are overly and unhealthily obsessed with any local celebrity who has gained some sort of international acclaim — which is, unfortunately, Truth in Television to an embarrassing extent for even some of the locals.
  • Whenever American media shows a white gay male with a "foreign" lover, it's almost always a Filipino man. Also, like Thailand, many of the prostitutes are thought to be MtF transsexuals.


Western Europe

  • 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.
  • Austria
    • Foreigners often confuse them with Germans.
    • Just like Germans (but less often) Austrians are sometimes associated with Nazi Germany, due to the fact that Adolf Hitler was an Austrian, although the success of right-wing politician Jörg Haider (now deceased) also helped.
    • Austrians are often associated with mountaineering. See The Sound of Music, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Sissi, Vienna and the Waltz.
    • 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.
    • They also always wear Lederhosen (men), Dirndls (women) and yodel, when they're not wearing a Mozart costume or are psychoanalyzing you.
  • Belgium
    • 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 Dutch and there is even a small German speaking community. This also explains why foreigners often confuse Belgians with Frenchmen or Dutchmen.
      • No wonder this surreal country is the birth place of painter Rene Magritte !
    • Belgians have a reputation for being easily oppressed and taken advantage of. The country has been conquered several times in history, even receiving the nickname "Europe's battlefield." Even today many Belgians distrust politicians, the police and justice and have an inferiority complex about their status in the world. All these aspects and the small size of the country has caused other countries to not take them very seriously.
      • Especially in the Netherlands and France, the dumb Belgian is a common stereotype in jokes. In French these jokes even have a special name (les histoires Belges, "Belgian stories")
    • "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.
    • Belgians are often shown eating French fries ("French" doesn't refer to France, but the verb "to french").
      • In reference to the paintings of Pieter Bruegel the Elder some cultivated foreigners still have the impression that all Belgians are peasants who do nothing more than party, drink and eat. 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 the entire population celebrates along with them). And Belgian bars and cafés tend to close much, much later at night than other countries.
    • 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. (Brussels sprouts are usually not associated with tastiness).
    • British people often assume Belgium is boring.
    • During the late 1990s the huge scandal surrounding notorious Belgian criminal Marc Dutroux lead to the stereotypical idea that all Belgians are paedophiles.
      • --> What's Belgium famous for? Chocolates and child abuse, and they only invented the chocolates to get to the kids.

 --Ray, In Bruges

    • Cycling is the most romanticized sport in Belgium. Men cycling thru 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. One of the best cyclists ever was Belgian: Eddy Merckx.
  • France
    • Especially in the U.S.A. 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. This image only became commonly expressed in the United States after French and American clashes over foreign policy during the Cold War. Actually the French surrendered in order to prevent the destruction of Paris. This also completely ignores the work of the French resistance, who assassinated Nazi officers, attacked their supply lines and helped smuggle out POWs.
    • 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.
    • 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. “Being as dirty as a Frenchman” is actually an English proverb. French squat toilets also promote this image.
    • French are often called “rude or arrogant” to foreigners. They are not afraid of swearing and using bad language (See also: French Jerk). Especially when they are driving. 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.
    • 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 non-cooperative and independent view on world politics. During World War II de Gaulle refused to cooperate in the Allies plans to free France. He, unlike all the other leaders, in his public speech right after D-Day stated that this invasion was the real invasion, this had the potential to ruin the Allied deceptions that Normandy was just a feint, with Calais the real invasion point. That was just one of his many, many, many actions whereby it seemed he was more of a problem for his friends than enemies.
    • 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 English like Maurice Chevalier, 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," "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.
    • In (beat 'em up) videogames, French characters are often depicted as elegant 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, French Jerk Raphael and his ward Amy from the Soul Series. Other examples also follow the dour, angsty Frenchman type, and 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.
    • Whenever arthouse movies or independent movies are spoofed they are often French (spoofing Jean-Luc Godard, François Truffaut or any other "Nouvelle Vague" film). (See also: Le Film Artistique)
    • Frenchmen are often cast as cooks, onion sellers and people who enjoy eating baguettes, croissants, tarts and cheese and drink wine. See also French Cuisine Is Haughty. Examples of French cooks in fiction: Louis in The Little Mermaid and the cooks in Ratatouille.
    • And of course: if a scene takes place in France, the Eiffel Tower must be present in the background!
      • Stories set in France will either take place in Paris or the Provence. Nowhere else!
  • If the French play sport it will be pétanque/jeux de boules or cycling in the Tour de France, which is the most world famous European cycling contest despite other countries having equally famous ones as well.
    • Since the sport got popular in the 2000s, French characters in (American) action movies are often depicted as Parkour professionals.
  • Corsica
    • If Corsica is ever mentioned, expect it to be treated like Italy with more cheese. However “Asterix in Corsica” is full of stereotypical depictions of Corsicans, especially their supposed laziness, pride and hot temper.
    • Just like other Italian isles, Corsica has a bloody history with uncountable vendettas and feuds.
    • And watch out for the Corsican bushes ("maquis"), because robbers or terrorists might be hiding there. (Or you might get lost.)
    • Within France, Corsica used to be stereotyped with the word BOUM, on account of the separatist movement there that...liked blowing stuff up. This has died down, but the stereotype remained up until a few years ago.


  • Since World War II, Germany has suffered from All Germans Are Nazis. Yet, in comparison to other Axis Powers like Italy and Japan Germany is still solely typecast as a country that was wrong during 1933-1945. This despite the fact that other countries also collaborated with Germany. And that their were actually quite some notable Germans who opposed Nazi Germany!
    • 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 Bismarck and the Franco-German War, and all Germans became Prussians...
    • Thanks to numerous war movies, certain German military officers have become a popular stereotype themselves. 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.
  • In more recent times, especially British comedy, 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.
  • Germans have a reputation for being highly organized, ruthlessly efficient, bureaucratic and deadly serious to the point that they foreigners assume that they lack a sense of humor. (See Germanic Efficiency and Germanic Depressives). 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.
  • In (beat 'em up) videogames Germans are often depicted as stoic and serious, verging on melancholic - good examples from the Soul Series include Seigfried Schtauffen, who's back-story is angsty as it gets and Hildegard von Krone, who typifies the efficient, serious German type in a series where the other women are as fanservicey as it gets.
    • 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.
  • 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 seen eating schnitzel, sausages, sauerkraut and sauerbraten while dancing to oom-pah music. This folklore image isn’t entirely German, since it’s especially associated with Bavarian culture in southern Germany as well as Austria.
    • Tyrol (the place with the hats) is a part of Austria and has a long history of war with Bavaria. Doesn't help the trope.
  • The oldest, and most enduring, stereotype — it can be found in Tacitus' Germania, in Dante's Divine Comedy, in Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, etc., etc. — is that the Germans are heavy drinkers.
  • The operas of Richard Wagner have also created several stereotypes associated with Germany, like the large blonde Teutonic woman wearing a Viking helmet, spear and shield like Brynhildr in Der Ring Des Nibelungen.
  • Mad Scientists, psychologists, philosophers, composers, conductors and psychiatrists in popular culture often speak with thick German accents. This image is probably based on real-life examples like the German physicist Albert Einstein and the Austrian psychiatrist Sigmund Freud. Examples of these German scientists in fiction are Ludwig Von Drake, Dr. Strangelove, Victor Frankenstein (Who of course was Swiss, not German), Dr. Otto Scratchandsniff and... Josef Heiter.


  • The Irish are usually portrayed as heavy drinkers. Their alcoholism either leads to violence (see Fighting Irish) or being a self-pitying drunk.
  • A lot of stereotypical images about Irish people are based on 19th-century images, when many Irishmen migrated to the United States (The Irish Diaspora) because of hunger and poverty in Ireland as a result of bad potato harvests.
  • Irish people are often depicted as being devoutly Raised Catholic (even though a large part of the population is also Protestant).
  • Irishmen will always wear green clothes and a clover stitched on their chest.
  • Irish women will often be depicted as redheaded (especially Green Eyed Red Head). When men are, they will probably be feisty and easily angered.
  • To a lesser extent, the Irish have been seen as uneducated peasants who marry their cousins. This came from the U.S. when Irish immigrants came looking for work. The fact that the Irish are more tied with their families than Americans or British may have created this stereotype.
  • The other dominant Irish stereotypes involve cops, mobsters, terrorists, priests, leprechauns, dwarves, or simply anyone somehow associated with pub gastronomy.


  • Italians have a reputation for being stylish and sophisticated painters, sculptors, hair dressers, fashion and/or car designers. They are usually Roman Catholics.
  • Italian cooks are also popular stereotypes, usually busy cooking food with lots of pasta, tomatoes, spaghetti, lasagna, pizza, macaroni and ravioli. The homely mother or grandmother (the "nonna") who enjoys cooking for her family is often used in advertising.
    • Italian salesmen sell fruit gelato or ice cream in the street.
  • Street musicians with an organ and a little monkey performing tricks are always Italians with curly black moustaches.
  • The world of opera has led to Italy’s association with melodramatic behaviour. Italians are often depicted gesticulating and talking loudly, unable to control their behaviour. Italian men often crave for their “mamma”, are short-tempered and always start intense discussions about the most banal topics.
  • 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.
  • Just like France, some Italian stereotypes are associated with love and sex.
    • An Italian man will often be presented as an arrogant, virile, cool, thuggish, macho Italian stallion who walks around with their shirt open to show his pectoral muscles and chest hair. He is a smooth talker and 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.
    • 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".)
    • The female counterpart of this character is the Italian bombshell, exemplified by actresses as Sophia Loren, Gina Lollobrigida, Claudia Cardinale, Anita Ekberg,... Italian girls in modern works are always hot: in older American works, however, they're often stereotyped as hairy and nauseatingly unclean. See also: this Flash animation (made by an Italian).
  • 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 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.
  • A rather negative stereotype is Italy’s association with The Mafia, which ties into the stereotype of all Italians as Sicilians. Since 1945 Italian politics have been a disorganized cess pool of corruptness, Mafia intrigues and governments falling as a result of that. But the C.I.A. also helped things stay that way in their international fight against socialist/communist governments. (See Operation Gladio)
  • 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.
  • Italians are usually seen 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.
  • Italians do strongly believe that everybody envies their easy life, good weather, concrete or brick homes, low cost of living, sea and snowy mountains by the step, and for that reason when Italians fail internationally at something (sports or whatever else like 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". Italians should probably blame only themselves most of the time.
    • If Austria is said to have the second-most useless armed forces in European history, the Italians are (according to observed history) the worst. 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.
    • The mass surrenders are only true of the early part of WW 2; the history of the North African war indicates that the catastrophic defeats of early 1941 were a nadir. After this, the fighting performance of the Italian soldier actually improved, to a point where Rommel himself said the very best Italian units were the equal of the Germans. But the Italian Army was plagued by poor training, substandard equipment and bad leadership: the Russians exploited this to destroy the Italian army at Stalingrad as a precursor to defeating the Germans. Even so, the trope of the Italian army surrendering en masse is now so firmly engrained in the consciousness of her former foes that it is notoriously hard to shift.
    • Not always true, even as a stereotype. It's not uncommon for Italians to blame themselves (as a whole) for everything, even when it's a single individual fault. This occurs either by blaming some particular parts of the country (mostly by addressing the Southern Italians, "Terroni", or the Northen ones, "Polentoni", depending on which of the two factions is speaking) or the entire nation, always implying Italians are worse than other people because of a supposedly natural idiocy. It's somewhat a big issue, to someone.

The Vatican

  • Somewhat of a subtrope of Italy — there can be some substantial overlap, especially in historical works (even though the last two popes — and, of course, the first — were not Italian).
  • The Vatican holds much more power than you would expect from its size, as it is adept at operating behind the scenes. Its representatives influence political decisions in governments across the world. Its spy agency and diplomatic corps are some of the most effective out there. If an assassin is needed, it can hire the best. If a work is set before the 20th century, the Vatican is likely to hold significant political clout as well.
  • In general, the bureaucracy of the Vatican is portrayed as a Corrupt Church. Its members are more interested in temporal power and luxury than true spiritual well-being.
  • Despite the proclaimed chastity of its members, the Vatican is often shown as a hotbed of sexual deviancy. In historical depictions, this can take many forms — papal mistresses, closet homosexuals, orgies of priests and nuns, bastard children rising to high office. In more modern works, this 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. They are always in the minority and persecuted for their work, however. A hundred years after their death, they are named as saints.


  • 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.
  • Yet, just like the Swiss, Luxembourgers are known to be the bankers of Europe.


  • Since Monaco has a Prince and featured in many tabloid stories about the royals, 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.
  • Micro Monarchy: The ruling Grimaldi family in general are probably the 2nd best known royal family in the world, after the British Royal Family, at least to an American audience.
  • 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 fabulously wealthy by the far more numerous French and Italian residents.
  • Land of One City: Monaco is also probably the only country on the planet that is almost completely urbanized.
  • As a warm, sunny tax haven, it's frequently home to the Corrupt Corporate Executive, Rich Idiot With No Day Job and plenty of Rich Bitches.

The Netherlands

  • The Netherlands are 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.
  • 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. Huge dikes protect the Dutch from floods, as depicted in the popular story about Hans Brinker And The Silver Skates which is in fact an American story and not a real-life Dutch incident.
    • Water is perhaps the Netherlands' most prominent trademark. For centuries this completely flat country was 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). Since the Delta Works project the Netherlands managed to put a stop to most of these continuous floods.
      • 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 they have a tradition for being sailors and marineers. There have been many historically famous Dutch admirals, sea captains, discoverers, pirates and colonists.
  • A more modern view of the Netherlands depicts the people as drug addicts who smoke marijuana while the streets are full of brothels and prostitutes. This stereotype is based on their more liberal attitudes towards soft drugs, sexuality, gay-lesbian rights and prostitution, compared to other countries. (See also Freestate Amsterdam.)
    • 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 were called a "tolerant nation". Indeed, since the 17th century many foreign refugees have fled to the Netherlands, because in Dutch society 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 succesfully managed to restore its reputation and for decades it tolerated many things that are considered illegal or controversial in other countries. Still feeling ashamed abouth their huge contribution to 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 their policy towards tolerance, especially in the field of immigration. Since Fortuyns 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. In recent years the Dutch even started to question their stance for decriminilization of soft drugs.
  • In Europe, Dutch people are often depicted as being arrogant and bluntly direct know-it-alls.
  • Just like the Scottish they are known to be thrifty about money ("Hollandse zuinigheid" (translation: "Dutch frugality")).
    • In the English language "dutch treat" means splitting the bill-- as does "going dutch" on a date.
  • Dutchmen are also known for being ubiquitous tourists, and have a penchant for caravans.
  • They also enjoy to go somewhere by bike. Bicycle tourism is very common there, compared to other European countries where there's hardly enough place to go cycling.
  • 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.


  • Often confused with Spaniards.
  • Portuguese are generally known as discoverers, thanks to Vasco da Gama, Hendrik the Navigator, Bartolomeo Diaz, Pedro Alvares Cabral and Ferdinand Magellan.
  • 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 Salazar and 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 to 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 dumb.
  • More rarely, Portuguese people are considered more taciturn and fatalistic than other southern European populations, probably because of fado music (fado means "fate"), mentioned above.
  • 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.


  • Spaniards are often caricatured as being Hot-Blooded and proud to the point of being idle.
  • They are often seen cooking olives or paella or playing and dancing to flamenco music. Men will always be playing guitar and women are dancing in circles while hitting the ground with one foot.
  • The rest of the time Spaniards are having siestas, which lead to the impression that they are rather lazy.
  • Spaniards are all either bullfighters themselves or watch bullfights for their amusement. They will shout "Olé!" or "Ayayayayayay" in unison whenever the occasion is ripe.
    • 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.
  • In keeping with the Badass Spaniard archetype, those who are not matadors will likely be fencers or pirates, or swashbucklers of some kind.
  • Spaniards are Toros Y Flamenco. In England, the women are seen as fat and ugly.
  • Foreigners often confuse Spaniards with Latin-Americans (Spexico and even the Portuguese or Brazilians...
  • All Spaniards, of course, secretly (or not so secretly) long to bring back The Spanish Inquisition.


  • 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.
  • The Swiss are seen as very punctual and orderly, thanks to their stable government and reputation for quality watchmaking.
  • Thanks to their famously secretive banking system, the Swiss are also caricatured as filthy rich bankers who guard money from dubious origins.
  • 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 and cuckoo clocks.
  • Another image is the cleanliness of the average Swiss person, famously spoofed in “Asterix in Switzerland”.
  • The Swiss eat nothing but Swiss cheese, fondue, and chocolate, and all their dogs are Saint Bernards.
  • Another common image of Swiss people is that they are all mountaineers (like Austrians) who live in ski chalets and wear lederhosen and caps with feathers. Somebody may play an alpenhorn at some point.
  • Foreigners often confuse Swiss people with Frenchmen, Italians or Germans.
  • Expect a William Tell reference at some point.
  • They have excellent trademark mercenaries. The only guy they are willing to fight for without certain monetary expectations is the Pope.

United Kingdom

  • Britons have a reputation for being polite, proper, clean, sophisticated, and have 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, prudent, 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. British characters are usually cast as aviators, sailors, nannies, military commanders, colonials, gardeners, judges, butlers, servants or someone from the upper class.
    • Pink Floyd: "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 III.
    • 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 non-plussed ambivalent disregard for the inherent danger in volatile situations. 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 Khyber, 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 accents are often used to provide people with a witty, sophisticated outlook (see I Am Very British 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 Girl s). 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 Mean Brit or Evil Brit. Too often they are depicted as eloquent snobs who are in the end humiliated by someone who is more egalitarian.
  • In videogames, English female characters are often amongst the most fanservicey and portrayed as steely, no-nonsense femme fatales. This depiction undoubtedly derives from the various sexy Brit Bond Girl s, as well as pioneering 1960's British Spy Drama series The Avengers, which singlehandedly started the Spy Catsuit and TV Action Girl tropes. Examples include Cammy White from Street Fighter, Isabella "Ivy" Valentine from the Soul Series, Christie from Dead or Alive and of course, arguably the number one all-time videogame Ms. Fanservice, Lara Croft.
  • The Quintessential British Gentleman is dressed in a bowler hat and black suit, carries an umbrella and interrupts everything for the sake of having his tea (see Spot of Tea). In American movies he usually speaks Cockney slang like “'Ello, gov'na!” or other random Stock Phrases like “I say "what"?”, "Cheerio", "Right-ee-o", "Hello chaps", "I say!", "What's all this then?" or “Jolly good show!”. Foreign comedians also have a tendency to portray an Englishman by using the words "bastard" or "bollocks", which are both considered to be rude words in Great Britain and are always avoided in public, especially on radio or television.
    • Also notable from a Continental European perspective : when watching the BBC the channel often warns viewers before a TV show or film is broadcast that "there may be some strong language involved". (Yet then don't censor or bleep words like American TV shows tend to do.) Other European countries don't bother to warn their TV audience about this kind of language.
  • British Coppers
  • British Royal Guards
  • Stock British Characters
  • Boarding School: Independant, 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 or rugby to make absolutely clear that they are British. Soccer and tennis are popular as well, but generally not British enough in foreign fiction.
  • Despite being generally portrayed as polite and sophisticated Britons can sometimes be depicted as more degrading 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. Of course, they all shout in Cockney accents.
    • Another "non-posh" British sterotype is the debauched, highly-sexed British Rock Star, punk rocker in Beatle boots or Doc Martens shoes who speaks his local accent.
    • British Newspapers: 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.
  • Thanks to The British Empire and their naval traditions, the British have a reputation for being excellent marineers and sailors. "Rule Britannia, Britannia rule the waves", one of the most well known patriotic British songs, summarizes it best.
    • Speaking of "Rule Britannia": 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.
  • In many countries, especially on the European continent, they are seen as having awful food, something that has been spoofed in “Asterix in Britain”.
    • In fact the only food that the English seem to excel in are sweets and candy.
      • 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".
  • In the United States, English people are often depicted as having bad teeth (for instance in the The Simpsons episode “Last Exit to Springfield”, the Family Guy episode “One If by Clam, Two If by Sea” and the film “Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery”. "A staple of American humor about the UK is the population's bad teeth."
  • The English are often called "eccentric". This is partly caused by their pre-decimal currency system, driving on the left side of the road and the use of imperial measurements, which no other country in Europe (still) has. 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.
    • 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."
    • Many a Britcom and British 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. Which brings us to the world-famous British comedy: the British are not too afraid of laughing at themselves. Most British comedy pokes fun at the class system and the typical eccentric Englishman. 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 Goscinny and Uderzo the only people that never made any trouble about the way they were spoofed were the Britons.
  • By the way: it's always raining in the United Kingdom. Or when in London, expect some smog or fog to show up.
    • 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 a the space of an afternoon, and b) A cultural need to fill in conversational silences and awkwardness with universally acceptable chit-chat.
  • 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 - from films, TV series, table-top games and videogames. Characters in these works will of course have the applicable accents, albeit with varying degrees of quality, based on the actors involved. Probably because there aren't that many English speaking European countries with a medieval history.
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • American media tends to stereotype the British as unattractive, unless the work takes place in England. This is likely due to the stereotype that they have bad teeth and are very pale due to The weather.....though of course the accent is ubiquitously portrayed as very attractive

 OMG, I loooooove your accent! - very much Truth in Television.

  • Oddly, despite their stuffy stereotype, in Europe the English are sometimes thought of as sexually sadomasochistic, as demonstrated by the French idiom meaning 'to spank': 'Le Vice Anglais' - The English Vice.


  • All Scottish men wear kilts and tam o’shanters. They play bagpipes, golf and Highland Games and eat haggis and drink scotch whisky. Invariably their last names start with “Mac” and they use words like “aye”, “laddie”, “wee” with a strong emphasis on the letter “r”. Their hair will be red or yellow brown. Men wear sideburns or a beard.
  • Scots are often depicted as dour, grouchy and mean. Toughened by the harsh Scottish climate this has lead to the Violent Glaswegian stereotype. But yet they are so tough that they are usually cast as the Brave Scot.
  • The Scottish also have a reputation for being thrifty misers, which is a source for a lot of jokes (by foreigners, of course).
  • Scots deepfry everything.
    • From Doctor Who: "You're Scottish, fry something!".
    • Mock the Week, "Weird Things to See on a Road Sign": "You are entering Scotland. No salad for 200 miles."
  • "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."


  • Welsh people are often regarded as stoic, if somewhat dull people with rare talents when it comes to singing and an obsession with rugby unions.
  • The Welsh are often shown as being a nation of druids, Arthurian legends and coal miners - insular, and unwelcoming to the English but kindly to other nationalities. They are also known for their food and ability to hold their liquor.
  • In fiction, all Welsh people are stupid and backward, mainly because they all live on farms and know nothing of modern technology. They are often portrayed as being rather fond of sheep. Writers are also prone to forgetting that Real Life Wales is somewhat bigger than the small village they imagine it to be, and that people at opposite ends of the country often have completely different accents and sometimes different first languages.
  • The Welsh language is a frequent source of amusement to those unfamiliar with its conventions (such as the many double letters and strange diacritics not used in English).
  • Wales is often seen as resembling a Standard Fantasy Setting such as that of The Lord of the Rings, with its craggy mountains and rugged terrain. The national symbol being a dragon probably doesn't help this.
  • And, of course, their relationships with sheep.

Northern Europe

  • Cooler design and even more modern morals than Western Europe, but less industrial production. Their languages are universally considered funny-sounding. Also noted for being the ancestral home of the Horny Vikings. The Danish, Norse and Swedish are often seen as Vikings or portrayed wearing a horned helmet.


  • Danes are either hot blondes, or boring. They aren't called "The Canada of Europe" for nothing.
  • Also stereotyped as heavy drinkers and party animals. Club music is seen as popular.
  • And they might be Dutch, depending on who you ask.
  • Danes also have a reputation for being very open-minded about sex. In 1968 Denmark was the first country to legalize porn. During the late 1960s many pornographic movies seen in international cinemas were made in Denmark.
  • According to other Scandinavians, Danes don't speak; they merely mumble.
  • According to Scandinavia and The World (written by a Dane) Danish people are also known for being accidentally racist.
  • Most foreigners know of only three things about Denmark: It's the land of Vikings, Lego, and Hans Christian Andersen.
  • And all Danish films are, of course, Dogme95 films.


  • The Finnish are portrayed as drunken and aggressive (like the Scottish stereotype), and portray Swedes as gays (like the British stereotype).
  • They all have knives. Or so the Scandinavians say.
    • Also, quiet, brave, self-possessed, never foolish, prone to depression and suicide. And racing drivers and metalheads.
  • 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.
  • Were capable of giving the Russians an extremely nasty surprise in WW 2 - 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 WW 2 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.


  • Icelanders are often stereotyped by the other Nordic nations as being Closer to Earth, well-meaning but naive and generally more exotic. Also seen as a nation of Cloudcuckoolander s, which probably has something to do with Bjork.
  • 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. They may actually still be Vikings, although the Viking age ended at least eight centuries ago.


  • Norwegians are either portrayed as modern-day Horny Vikings or as leather and spikes-wearing, church-burning black metalers (which is kind of a modernization of the old Viking trope, thanks to Varg Vikernes). A reference may be made to paganism and its (mostly false) association with church-burning.
  • Norwegians all enjoy skiing and langlaufing, of course.
  • Generally no attempt will be made to distinguish Norway from Sweden. If there is, it is that Swedes like death metal while Norwegians like black metal. The country may be known among computer programmers for Linux, but little else among the general public.
  • No image of Norway is complete without a scene taking place nearby some fjords. Edvard Grieg's music for Peer Gynt is very popular as a soundtrack to these images.
  • 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.
  • Norway is supposed by foreigners to be an extremely liberal nation of atheists which is multiculturalist, soft on crime and drugs, and obsessed with tolerance and fairness. These same stereotypes may apply to other Scandinavian countries as well.


  • Of all Scandinavian or countries in Northern Europe, Sweden is the most prominent stereotyping target.
  • The Swedish singsong way speaking is often spoofed making use of phonetic accents, like for instance the Swedish Chef on The Muppets.
  • Swedish women are usually portrayed as blonde sex bombs, inspired by real-life blonde Swedes like Victoria Silvstedt, Ulrika Jonsson, Britt Ekland and Agnetha Fältskog from ABBA.
  • Another Swedish female stereotype is the icy, cool woman, inspired by Greta Garbo and Ingrid Bergman.
  • Swedish men are often shown to be blonde, dumb, well-built boytoys. Quite often they are ski instructors or handymen.
    • On the other side of the spectrum, sometimes Swedish men are often portrayed as the gay nerds of the North.
  • Swedish cultural fixtures figure into stereotypes such as IKEA, the cradle-to-grave socialist welfare state (and its attendant taxation), Volvos, 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. 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 movies is targeted it will always be referencing Ingmar Bergman.
  • To other Scandinavians, Swedish men are overly fashionable, probably homosexual, and wearers of tight trousers. Their women are regarded as hot, if perhaps fake.
  • Swedes may be mistaken for Swiss people and vice versa, although their countries are not even geographically close together.
  • This European postcard sarcastically depicts the Swedes as being inflexible.
  • Sweden also seems to be known for having little to no sexual or nudity taboos, as seen on The Simpsons.
  • 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 and A-Teens.

Central Europe

  • Very insistent that they are not Eastern European, preferring instead to link themselves to German Catholic culture (all countries in this region are majority-Catholic).

Czech Republic

  • Beer-drinkers even crazier than the Belgians. Czechs are seen as essentially identical to Germans and not Slavs, and rarely distinguished from Slovaks either. While cycling is popular and some mention of its Catholic heritage will be made, don't expect any mention of Jan Hus, or the fact that the country is now quite irreligious and has one of the world's highest proportions of atheists.
  • Czechs are also well known for their marionette theatres and puppet films.
  • Their northern neighbours perceive them as a nation of good-natured simpletons, perhaps due to the influence of The Good Soldier Svejk and their language (which sounds to Poles as if made of lisp and diminutives).



  • In America, there are a lot of jokes about the pigheaded stubbornness and stupidity of the Polish people. (Many Americans are of German descent, and once upon a time a lot of propaganda was spread in Germany about Polish stupidity. The German diaspora brought it with them and it took hold, especially because Polish immigrants and their descendants tended to be working-class. Few Americans, however, are aware of the origins of the stereotype.) Curiously, in Eastern Europe the Polish stereotype is the exact opposite - thought of as being soulful, a little mysterious, and highly educated. The Polish accent to a native Russian speaker sounds kind of like what a stiff, clipped British accent sounds like to a native speaker of American English, too.
    • Because of its unusual religious tolerance at certain points in history, Jews flocked to Poland and so Jews have made up a large portion of the Polish population for a long time. Poland had the largest Jewish population in the world until, well, those Nazis again. There was a massive post-war emigration and a lot of the Polish Jews ended up in America. Perhaps because of that, in America nearly every Polish person floating around in the cultural consciousness is of Jewish descent and identifies mostly with Jewish culture (Isaac Bashevis Singer, Jerzy Kosinski, etc.) so there tends to be some conflation between Jewish and Polish stereotypes in the American media.
  • Poles generally have names ending in Slavic inflections like -ski or -icz in foreign media. In reality, not all Polish names have endings like these.
  • Poles receive many of the same stereotypes as Russians, particularly for being huge drinkers. They are known for being devout Catholics and may be insistent everyone else be, too.
  • Poles eat kielbasa and sauerkraut constantly and are obsessed with bigos. No other dishes exist in Polish cuisine according to popular culture.
  • Poland has an undeserved reputation for losing wars which is probably due to its being the first country invaded in World War II. In reality, Poland has defeated Russia, Germany and other major powers several times in its military history. This likely relates to the stereotype of Poles as stupid and incompetent.


  • When it exists in popular culture, it's essentially "the Czech Republic but poorer". A passing reference may be made to mountains. Extra points for noting the capital is Bratislava and not something else. Notoriously typecast as a crime-ridden Den of Iniquity in the Eli Roth torture-porn flick Hostel. Many Slovaks were not exactly thrilled about this, to say the least.

The Balkans


  • Either referring to Ancient Greece or since Zorba the Greek men clothed in the national dress dancing the Sirtaki.
  • My Big Fat Greek Wedding is full of Greek stereotypes (everyone is Orthodox Christian, named Nick, and very proud of their Greek heritage).
  • Greeks are similar to Italians: loud, hairy, obsessed with large and ostentatious gold jewelery and probably in The Mafia. They are likely to be passionate arguers and may be prone to breaking into fist- or knife fights. If older, fathers will be extremely overprotective of their daughter's "virtue". Families will be large and women will spend a lot of time cooking.
  • This European post card sarcastically depicts the Greeks as being disorganized.
  • Everyone in Greece owns or is heir to a vast shipping empire. And in reference to Aristoteles Onassis they will also be called Aristoteles.
  • In reference to The Olympic Games the Greek will be throwing discuses, running marathons or particpating in any other kind of athletic championships.
  • And, perhaps the most modern of all its stereotypes (most popular in the rest of the EU); Greece, the monetary black hole, unable to cope with the 2008 stock market crash until this very day.

The former Yugoslavia

  • Slovenes are stuck up bureaucrats with no sense of humor and an impeccable sense of frugality.
  • Croatians are closet Nazis who really want nothing more than be German or Italian.
  • Bosnians manage to be both very cynical and utter simpletons who consider stubbornness the greatest virtue.
  • Serbs are murderous maniacs obsessed with and pissed off by things that happened centuries ago.
  • Montenegrins are allergic to work and you'll never see one stand up or, God forbid, walk somewhere.
  • Macedonians either don't exist or are a mish-mash of Bulgaria and Albania. If one Macedonian is mentioned it will be Alexander the Great.


  • Tribalistic in temperament, settle all their issues with violence, love tracksuits and are either owners of an eatery or work for the mob - Muslim Italians with a weird language nobody understands, apparently.
    • May still be Dirty Communists (this is at least partially based on fact since Albania remained communist longer than almost any other country in Europe, but is not true today).


  • Transylvania is the only place that exists. Its inhabitants are pitchfork wielding peasants who fear God and supernatural beings, especially vampires, werewolves and Frankenstein's monster.


  • See the entry below.

Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, and the rest of Eastern Europe

  • Most people are depicted as harsh, primitive peasants who are miserably poor. They’ll be cooking soup, stew, goulash or eating yoghurt, paprika or salami. If they are not working on the fields they are either spied upon by secret police or active in espionage. Most of these stereotypical images date back to the Cold War and Dracula movies, who are often set in Romania. A more modern stereotype depicts them as gangsters active in the Russian mafia. They love Chess, Ballet, playing violin or Russian Roulette, taking hot baths in icy temperatures and are quite likely to use some Russian Reversals ("In Soviet Russia, TV watches you!"). Russians will tend not to use articles (the words "the" and "a"), or to use the wrong ones, since the Russian Language does not have any equivalent to these words. They refer to anyone as 'Comrade'. Their speech often puts a strong emphasis on the letter "r" and "g"-sounds are put in front of words beginning with the letter "h". Other popular cliché expressions are "nyet" ("no") and "da!" ("yes").
  • The men always have heavy eyebrows, moustaches and/or beards and wear bearskin hats. They usually drink their misery away with vodka and after finishing a drink they throw their glass over their shoulder whereupon it crashes against the floor or a wall. They are either exuberantly joyful or coldly enraged, and can switch between the two at a moment’s notice. When they are excited they shout with a loud, booming voice. They are nostalgic for Soviet Russia (always referring to it as "The Motherland"), and love to do traditional dances like That Russian Squat Dance and trepaks while drunk. When they travel they go by troika.
  • The women wear something called a babushka, which inexplicably refers to a type of head dress instead of its actual meaning (grandmother). Sometimes they are depicted as being more masculine than feminine.
  • Apparently Russian women go from impossibly hot supermodels to shriveled-up crones over an absurdly short period of time. It is likely they will be tall, leggy blondes who are constantly depressed and mopey despite being incredibly beautiful.
  • Rich Russians will be seen eating caviar and drinking vodka in snowy landscapes.
  • Gypsies are also often associated with Eastern Europe. After 2006, they are even closer associated with Romania, where they make up large percent of the criminal class (although their absolute number in the general population is not very large).
  • Russian Humour casts Russians as fatalistic, cynical and sarcastic. Yet they will be moved by the sound of a weeping violin.
  • In Russian culture, Ukrainians are a common object of stereotyping as simple-minded rustic hillbillies. A "typical" Ukrainian wears national (=peasant) dress, eats salo (pork fat) in unbelievable amounts and drinks gorilka (Ukrainian answer to vodka), speaks in Funetik Aksent, and is dim-witted and sly at the same time. Despite being jovial Big Eaters, they are also prone to be stingy and mean ("what I can't eat, I shall bite!"). Ukrainian girls are uniformly dark-haired, pudgy, gentle and submissive but also slutty.

Middle East and North Africa


  • The oldest traditional stereotypes associated with the Arabic countries are derived from Arabian Nights and include flying carpets, dreamy palaces, people climbing on an erect rope and djinns.
  • A typical image is the fanatical bearded Arab who shouts gibberish with many “ch”-sounds (ironically, there is no "ch" sound in Arabic), drawing out a dagger or sabre and ululating before he attacks. He rides a camel or sits in a tent smoking a water pipe.
  • Since the 1970s and especially since 9/11, people from Middle Eastern countries are often stereotyped as fanatical Muslims out for blood, hijacking planes, making anti-Semitic comments, slaughtering sheep in the kitchen, making too many children, conducting suicide bombings or planning terrorist activities. Arabic immigrants are a frequent target in racist Western propaganda.
  • Women dress in tent-like burkas (which are Pakistani in origin, not from Afghanistan and certainly not Arab), bellydance or carry vases on their heads.
  • Just like Indian or Pakistani people, Arabic people are frequently depicted as being shopkeepers or supermarket managers. In certain parts of the United States, Arabic-speakers are specifically stereotyped as owners of gas stations, with the ethnicity varying based on location. In Michigan, they tend to be Lebanese or Iraqi; in New Jersey, they tend to be Egyptian Copts.
  • A more positive image is the rich Arab Oil Sheikh who wears sunglasses and a turban (often mocked by Western comedians as being a towel or a diaper).
  • In (beat 'em up) videogames, for whatever reason, there are a number of ambiguously Middle Eastern characters. That is, their design evokes the look of the region, and a few cultural clues may be mentioned, but mention of actual nationality is outright avoided. Examples include Zafina, from Tekken, who's background and cut-scenes hint at an Egyptian origin, but who has "unknown" listed against birthplace on her official bio. Word of God states that she is of "Middle Eastern" origin, but no more information has been provided. Algol from the Soul Series is another example - his name is clearly Arabic (literally "the ghoul"), as well as his move-list, and his story is an homage to the Sumerian (modern day Iraq) Gilgamesh epic, but his origin is never confirmed outright. Zasalamel, also from the Soul Series, is similarly ambiguous, with a look that references Egypt (his ibis-head scythe especially) and a movelist named after several Babylonian gods. The incongruently name Sinclair from Art of Fighting has an unmistakably Arabic look, complete with harem-pants, head scarf and a scimitar, although her country of origin remains unknown. Why the country of origin of these "Middle Eastern" characters remains unknown isn't clear, but it could be to avoid Unfortunate Implications in a sensitive global region, or simply to enhance the mystery of certain characters.
    • Pullum Purna of the Street Fighter series, who hails from Saudi Arabia, is one of the few Middle Eastern characters with an actual nationality, albeit with a look that is about a 1000 years out of date in a modern day Saudi setting....
  • If people remember that North Africa exists they will usually assume the entire area is one big empty desert.
  • Arabs have their own set of stereotypes about one another:
    • Bedouins have two stereotypes, one old, one new:
      • The old stereotype is of the Bedouins as noble desert nomads, living in tents and tending their goats/sheep/other livestock, proud and tough but honorable, and willing to help travelers who come their way and show them some kindness. They are also seen as the reserve of the ancient Arab culture; particular emphasis is given to the supposed closeness of their speech to the speech of the time of the Prophet Muhammad.
      • The new stereotype is of the Bedouins as marginal, uncivilized merchants in guns and drugs (particularly hashish and other forms of cannabis), who are all-too-fond of using their products (both kinds). They are sometimes also seen as traitors for working with Israel in one way or another (most often, dealing in Israeli weed).
    • Egyptians:
      • Are seen as laid-back and always joking about everything, typically in an overstated, Slapstick, and very often lowbrow kind of way; Pungeon Master also comes into play, as does Boisterous Bruiser (without the alcohol, most of the time). They are often considered Book Dumb, but also quick-witted when it comes to solving practical problems. Nevertheless proud--if sometimes vaguely--of Egypt's ancient heritage, as evidenced by the phrase Masr omm ad-dunya ("Egypt [is] the mother of the world"); this has occasionally given others in the Arab world indigestion. Historically also seen as kind of submissive; this was proven wrong in the most epic way imaginable.
      • Egyptian women have a reputation as Belly Dancers; Egyptians kind of brought this one on themselves, as Egyptian movies (the most popular ones in the Arab world) always have one.
      • If Egypt is shown in fiction, usually references are made to Ancient Egypt. piramids, mummies, sphinxes, ancient tombs and characters "walking like an Egyptian".
      • To give you an idea about how Egyptians view themselves and their pervasive film industry, these are some commercials from an Egyptian movie channel (based for whatever reason in Canada), featuring a wannabe auteur, a sex-obsessed and lowbrow film executive, and the scripts of several top-notch American films. Enjoy.
    • People from the Gulf States are seen as Arab Oil Sheikhs to a man, and this is not a good thing. They are typically portrayed as being filthy-rich lecherous drunks and drug addicts, who hide behind religion to justify their sinning. The guy from Saudi Arabia or the UAE or Kuwait who goes to Egypt or Morocco to marry another woman on the sly is practically a trope in itself.
    • The Lebanese are seen as being tough and resilient, loving life despite the crappy hand they've been dealt. Known as the leaders in the Arab world for good old-fashioned drunken debauchery (without the taint of hypocrisy that goes with Gulf revelers--Lebanon is 1/3-1/2 Christian and many self-identified Muslims are pretty much secular); despite this, also known for Hezbollah, (yes, Beirut is kind of a schizophrenic city)--whose members are reputed for also being able to have a good time without alcohol (although, as is common in the Arab world, that doesn't include hashish...). Also noted as shrewd traders and businessmen, with contacts everywhere (quite true; there are four times as many Lebanese outside Lebanon than in it). Lebanese women, according to stereotype, are good-looking, uncovered, and kind of loose.
    • The Syrians are seen as the more serious cousins of the Lebanese, sharing the same quasi-Camp accent that belies their inherent Badassery, but without the fondness for just having a good time. They are also known for being intensely proud. Syrian women, according to stereotype, are even better-looking than the Lebanese, but more conservative.
    • The Palestinians are seen...well..the poor buggers. Also known as being crazy-tough and very proud.[1] Also noted for being crazy-smart; Palestinians who were expelled from their land but managed to get out of the country tended to take advantage of educational opportunities to get ahead, leading to a disproportionate number of Palestinian doctors and teachers in much of the Arab world.
    • The Iraqis are seen...well...again...the poor buggers. Naturally, seen as badass, and a bit tribal, but that's about all that can be said about them. Their dialect is noted for being difficult to understand, but also very cool (kind of like a Scottish accent in English).
    • The people of the Maghreb (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya) tend to be lumped together by Eastern Arabs, which is kind of a shame. They are universally stereotyped as The Unintelligible, as their dialect is very hard to understand. They also get a fair amount of "Berber" stereotype mixed in, which is similar to that of Bedouin, only not Arab.


  • Iranians are seen by the West as religious fanatics.
  • Iranians are commonly mistaken for Arabs and receive the same treatment. When someone does bother to note the difference, Persians (the men, anyway) will be stereotyped similarly to the so-called Guidos. Think tacky "club" outfits with lots of gold chains, hair gel, cheap cologne, over-priced designer sunglasses, etc. South Park did a version of this in their 300 spoof. The track-suit "jock" variant of Guidos isn't usually associated with Persians quite as often, however. There's also the "over-zealous Shi'a Muslim guy in the street, whipping himself until he draws blood (although it's actually illegal in Iran)" stereotype, but that tends to overlap with Arab stereotypes.
  • Iran's western neighbors--particularly the Arabs--regard them as stuck-up know-it-alls who aren't willing to give credit where credit is due. The Iranians, for their part, tend to regard the Arabs and the Turkic peoples as somewhat barbaric fools, who were still nomadic nobodies at the time that Persia ruled everywhere.



  • The reputation of the Turks is kind of history-dependent.
    • They have been seen as very proud, although for different reasons than the Iranians. For much the same reason, they are hated by all their neighbors, except for Azerbaijan.
  • Since a "soft-Islamist" government took power in Turkey, the image in the Middle East has been influenced by their primary cultural export: Soap Operas featuring rich settings, convoluted family-related melodrama (just like they like it!), and fanservice and Estrogen Brigade Bait beyond imagining (the star of Gümüsh, Kivanc Tatliug is so hot several women in the Arab world were Driven to Suicide when they heard he was getting married). Turkey has since become a soft-power powerhouse in the Arab world.
    • Turkish woman tend to be depicted as bellydancers more often than not.
    • And since the film "Midnight Express" (1978) Turkish prisons do not have a very good reputation...


  • Australia and New Zealand claim the other country is having sex with sheep. All we know is that the sheep are sluts.
  • Australia and New Zealand may appear to argue a lot but mess with one, you've got two very PO'ed countries to deal with. The ANZA Cs - it's Australia and New Zealand Army Corps, not one or the other.


  • See Land Down Under for the primary page on stereotypes of Australia.
  • Australians are always stereotyped as white, six feet tall, rough, unsophisticated, wildlife experts, bushwackers and obsessive beer drinkers. They often carry boomerangs, large knives and either go surfing or wrestle with crocodiles. They always use expressions like "Crikey!", "G'day, mate" and "Put another shrimp on the barbie" (despite the term prawn is used for shrimp in Australia). These stereotypes are mostly based on images reflected in Crocodile Dundee, Steve Irwin, andG'day Bruce!
  • Aborigines are nomadic tribesman who live off the land.
  • Since Australia has very unique fauna: expect these animals to make a cameo appearance whenever the country is depicted. So, watch out for kangaroos, koalas, kookaburras, Tasmanian devils, emus, echidnas, dingoes, platypuses... Jokes about invasive species such as rabbits, cane toads and ostriches are also very popular.
  • Australians are all convicts, or have at least inherited the worst aspects of their convict ancestors.
  • New Zealanders seem to think of Australians as good-hearted but lazy. Public holidays are serious buisness.
  • In (beat em' up) videogames, Australians are mostly depicted as hulking bruisers, with examples including Graig Marduk from Tekken, Raiden/Big Bear from The King of Fighters (complete with Ayer's Rock/Uluru home-stage) and shark-wrestling fisherman Jeffry McWild from Virtua Fighter. Rocker zombie Lord Raptor, of Darkstalkers fame, provides a variation, and is perhaps inspired by home-grown supergroup ACDC.
  • Stereotypes within Australia: Northern Territorians are troppo, Tasmanians are inbred, Tasmania's not a part of Australia, Queenslanders are banana-benders, South Australians are all gay, Perth is 10 years and 3 hours behind Sydney, Sydney's the gay capital, Melbourne weather sucks, Melbourne/Sydney is the best city in Oz (depends on whether you're in Victoria or New South Wales), Adelaidians eat crows. And nobody outside of Australia is aware the capital city is Canberra. Nobody inside of Australia really cares.

New Zealand

  • New Zealanders are usually portrayed as being Maoris. Usually the Maori sticks out his tongue or makes ugly faces.
  • White New Zealanders are rural farmers, rugby players, horse racers or workmen who have a gift for solving every kind of problem. Supposedly a Kiwi man can do anything with Number 8 wire.
  • Characters who visit the country will always encounter New Zealand's national birds, the kiwis. The animal has become a national symbol in New Zealand and New Zealanders are often nicknamed "kiwis" as a result. This is despite the fact that many New Zealanders have never seen a kiwi, especially not in the wild--they are both very shy and very rare.
  • New Zealanders are often depicted (mostly in either New Zealand or other Commonwealth nations) as obsessive world travelers and backpackers, getting absolutely anywhere armed with backpack and travel guide. This comes from the New Zealandian trend of going abroad for a year or two after finishing university. They're also champion mountain climbers/trampers (aka hikers).
  • They are supposedly interested solely in the three Rs: Rugby, Racing, and beeR. Rugby and beer are still popular, but racing has declined in popularity.
  • New Zealandian women are depicted as being more independent and somewhat ugly (epitomized in former Prime Minister Helen Clark). New Zealand was the first nation to give women the vote, and at one point all high-level government positions were filled by women.
  • Very few people will recognise a New Zealander unless told; some jokes will probably be made about the bizarre-sounding (to foreigners) accent, and attempts at guessing their background will vary from British to Australian.
  • Invariably, a joke will be made about the number of sheep in the country being greater than the number of people.
  • Their alleged fondness for sheep tends to be the most common point of mockery.
  • More recently, New Zealand has become famous through its assocition with the Lord of the Rings movie, making people think of it as being one big film set.
  • Due to their performace in various 20th and 21st century wars (especially WW 1 and Vietnam), ANZA Cs (Australian and New Zealand forces) are typically depicted as badass soldiers.
  1. Are you noticing a theme? It's common to the Sham or Levant region--Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Palestine--which has plenty of reason to be tough.