Differences between European Flats and American Apartments

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Flats versus Apartments

There's an American dream and a European one. Although they do seem to be growing more and more alike, they will always remain distinctly different in certain respects. While I've always lived in an American bubble, I've always been captivated by the European realm.

The American/European debate is a big one. I'm still contemplating the pros and cons of each aesthetic. For this article, I'm talking about the physical differences between European flats for rent and American rental apartments.

For those that don't know, a British/Euro "flat" is synonymous with the word "apartment" as we use it in the US. If I say I'm looking for a flat in the States, people think I'm trying to be too Euro and sound snotty. If I say "apartment" in England, people immediately know I'm American and think I'm an idiot. You need always to be on your A game and know where you are and to whom you're speaking.

Ten Differences between a Flat and an Apartment

1. Space

In general, you can get a much bigger apartment in the States than anywhere in Europe. (I'm speaking in general terms. Yes, technically, you could probably get a huge flat on some farm in Romania.) Generally though, there is more space in America and much larger living areas are built for cheaper.

2. Europe Has No Word for "Closet"

Europe has no closets. They seriously do not have closets. What do they use to store (ahem, cram) their belongings and clothes in? IKEA is their God. They've invented every kind of wardrobe in the world: one for shoes, one for pants, another for special socks and underwear (not to mention hats, suits, pullovers, etc.). When you buy an apartment in the States, a closet is always part of the deal. Why? Because it makes sense to create a special place for one's clothes.

In Germany, my parents had their clothes hanging on racks (the ones Americans often use for old clothes in their attics or basements). However, my parents had the racks in their bedrooms, practically on top of one another. It looked awful, and think about the amount of dust, lint, and crap floating around in the air landing on your squished clothing.

IKEA is the only place you'll find a closet in Europe.
IKEA is the only place you'll find a closet in Europe. | Source

3. A Bathroom Cabinet is an American Thing

In my experience, having lived in numerous different European countries, there were no cabinets. You know, like the ones you have under your bathroom sink. Everyone's toiletry kit is either on top of the toilet seat, on some random ledge, or stuffed under their right armpit while they attempt to brush their teeth. In America, bathroom cabinets are a given. Why? Because, again, it just makes sense.

4. In Germany, Nothing is Included

Yeah, I don't get it. When looking for a flat in Germany, many times you'll walk inside an apartment and there is nothing there. Nothing. The people who lived there before took the kitchen cabinets, sinks, toilets, bathtub, curtains, curtain rods, mirrors, and even the freakin' light bulbs! I'm not exaggerating. I know many families, including my own, that would find completely stripped rooms when they looked for apartments. When we asked what happened to the kitchen sink, the response would be, "What do you mean? The previous occupants took it. Just like they took their TV and couch." Yeah.... It's a little different in the US. We don't walk out with the A/C unit or countertops on our back. Then again, it's true we do take the washer/dryer and refrigerators. I guess Europeans take that idea to a whole new level.

5. No Garbage Disposal in the Sink

Most Americans are accustomed to using that most excellent invention called the garbage disposal (or "garborator," as I call it). In Europe? No way. Gutting a chicken? Well, be prepared to take out all of those guts and place them into the trashcan by hand. In Europe, it's magical thinking to assume you'll press a button and grind everything inside the sink and into the sewage drains. Imagine washing dirty dishes every night.

In Europe, you don't dry your clothes in a dryer, you hang them on a clothesline.
In Europe, you don't dry your clothes in a dryer, you hang them on a clothesline. | Source

6. Dryers? Are You Kidding Me?

This one absolutely amazes me. Ready? There are no clothes dryers in Europe! Have you been to England? Do you know what the weather is like in London, Paris, Milan, Tirane, Prague, and almost every other European capital? Cold, dark, and rainy. Not every day of the year, but generally, the weather is pretty crappy. Still, you won't find a clothes dryer. Now, the Europeans do this for many reasons. One: The cost of the amount of energy used by a dryer. Two: A dryer is not very environmentally friendly. Three: There's no space to put a dryer, anyway.

So, you may wonder, what do people do in order to dry their clothes? Well, you can try getting the washer/dryer-in-one that is by no means a dryer. It's simply a device that spins the hell out of your clothes, ultimately draining it of water. The main way people dry their clothes is the old-fashioned way: on a clothesline. Now, that makes sense, right? Think again. How will you dry your clothes on a clothesline in a climate that is cold, dark, and rainy? You don't. Instead, you hang these crazy indoor clotheslines in your very small flat with no air circulation and attempt to rotate the clothing every ten hours in order to help the water evaporate. By the end of this one- to three-day process, you'll never want to wash your clothes again. You'll wear your uncomfortable, cardboard jeans and your stretched-out, wrinkly shirt for months until the dirt and smell is so bad that you must attempt this ridiculous process all over again.

7. Carpet? No. But Rugs Everywhere

No carpets in Europe. Yeah, you could special order a company to come in and add some carpet, but generally, no one has it. You buy rugs and live on that smelly, disgusting thing for years. Then, if you're like some Eastern European folk, you beat the hell out of that rug outside on some metal fence next to the bored-looking adolescent kids smoking on the stoop.

I don't care what they say, that American feeling of toeing a fluffy, white carpet after a long day of sweaty work is one of the best feelings on earth. Haven't you seen Die Hard 1 when Bruce Willis toes the carpet in his hotel room? I mean, "Yippee ki-yay mother fu..."! As a kid, I did school projects on the carpet, wrestled with my puppy in a sun-soaked spot on the carpet, and even lay reading the Sunday paper on the carpet. Geez. I might have a carpet fetish.

8. Refrigerator Size = No Comparison

This one is easy. Refrigerators in Europe are similar, if not identical, to the ones Americans had in their college dorms. In Europe, almost every fridge I had (if I even had a fridge) sucked. Small, smelly, and no auto-defrost. Europeans argue it's because they buy food every day at the local market and eat it fresh. Americans buy everything in bulk, buy it big, and, therefore, need space to hold everything. (Note: Can you buy an American-sized fridge in Europe? Of course, but again, most people don't have one.)

9. A/C Units? Ice Machines?

No and no. In Europe, use a fan. Aside from flats, even most places of business don't have air conditioning in their offices. It's bizarre. Sure, the weather is frigid most of the time, but summer can also be pretty damn hot. You can't walk into your flat and cool off. Buy a soda and, for the most part, it will be warm to cool, never American-style ice cold. Even some automobiles don't have air conditioning, but that's a separate issue.

Because the houses are so old, you'll find a surprisingly vast and unique array of architectural details.
Because the houses are so old, you'll find a surprisingly vast and unique array of architectural details. | Source

10. Funny Windows with No Screens

Ok, Europeans want to have funny windows that open in many different directions. No problem. That's cool. I can dig that. In Germany, I used to be able to flip my window almost 360 degrees. Only one part of the window was locked, and the rest was completely movable.

Now, what about screens? It's a very simple invention, but a genius one. In the US, if you want some cool air, then open the window. No bugs or mosquitoes will get in because of the lovely screen. I used to play evil tricks on my dog and run inside my house and close the screen fast and watch my dog crash into it. No no, he didn't get hurt. In Europe if you leave a window open, insects and other animals will come in.

Is Europe Worth It?

Again, there are always outliers that don't fit generalizations like this, but I do believe for the most part that these distinctions hold true.

Now, should my list stop you from living in Europe? No way. Living in a coffin next to your IKEA dresser; wearing cardboard jeans and holding a toiletry bag under your armpit; sweating from the heat and fighting off mosquitoes as you stand in front of your college-sized fridge: It's all worth it.

Comments 143 comments

ch 7 hours ago

US: cheaply built cardboard houses that are constructed to hold only 50 years (wtf), no storage room in a basement or so (because … there is no basement), cheap carpets everywhere, some cheap fake-wood floor in kitchens/bathrooms, windows, that are not closing well or isolating at all, near cities quite pricy aparments that in Switzerland only unemployed, poor people on social security would live in (like, the people that are homeless in the states, because there is not really a thing like "social security" that prevents people from ending up homeless on the street).

I was shocked how low the standards are in the states. Houses that were built 100 years ago in Europe are more energy efficent and practical than newer homes in the US.


Gary 2 weeks ago

Here in Scotland (and the same for the rest of the UK). We have...

Carpets

Bathroom Cabinets

Closets

Dryers

Our fridges have anti frost and everything

Don't need screens on the windows because of climate. Don't need A/C in the house because of climate. Food disposals happen in a lot of new houses that have the right sewage drains to accommodate them.

Don't bundle the whole continent into the one bubble or you'll just sound like a fucking retard. Every country is as different from the next. Eastern European slavic countries are completely different from the likes of Spain or Portugal. Italy is different from Norway.


ELEN 5 weeks ago

Lol, I have never seen an office or a shop without A/C. Every house has A/C. Try to live in Italy without it.

We do not use rugs or carpets.

The majority of houses have screens. Summers are the kingdom of mosquitos.


Valentia Sedano profile image

Valentia Sedano 3 months ago

Why does everyone assume he means a Walk-In Closet when he says Closet? Walk-In Closets are rare, even in the U.S. When he says Closet, he means a small area hidden behind a wall with a door - when you open the door you are presented with a space that's probably about 3 feet deep and 6 feet wide. This is similar to the size of a Wardrobe, except it goes ALL THE WAY to the ceiling and down the floor.

Imagine putting all your stuff in one place... how convenient would that be?? I can't tell you how nice it is to put your freshly-dried clothes on hangers and place them in the closet. I even put a dresser inside my closet once... Alas, I no longer have a closet - instead I have those bullsh*t wrap-around wardrobes that flank the sides and top of my bed :(

We are buying a dryer this week, though :)


Olga 5 months ago

Love this article! Especially I like the american spirit of the author ,its funny. I am Russian and have been living in the US and in Spain. So,I can not say about the whole Europe. I would add here that buildings in US are made from very cheap material which is dangerous. I was shoked when I was in New Orleans- no property survived after the storm. I am pretty sure that this would not happen in Europe . Its not safe. What could happen in a case of war or terrorist attacks ? Hopefully ,the weather will be always good and life will be safe. Then, I was surprised that in NY people do loundry outside of their homes. In Spain old buildings have vey small kitchen , new ones are more confortable. To conclude with:the best homes are in Russia. ahha


cvbvc 6 months ago

This is probabaly biggest bullsh*t artile


Sjaak 7 months ago

1) Not true for Manhattan and other very commercial areas, compared to the average European city. Depends on where you live. Hicksville, KY probaby wins in terms of size from London or even Berlin. But you know: Size isn't everything. It's what you do with it :)

2) Utter bullshit. The average 1910's Amsterdam house comes with built in closet space, but it depends on the construction company that built it whether they included it. Of course built in storage space is handy, but it's not a must if you can add some designer wardrobe closet to your bedroom.

3) It's not. Everyone I know in the Netherlands has closet space in the bathroom. It's quite common here. And I've seen the same in the UK.

5) We don't really care about garbage disposal. At least our kitchens don't look like they originate from the Victorian era. Ever heard of modern kitchen design? American kitchens are usually the ugliest I can imagine. Can anyone explain me why???

6) Uhm.... The average Dutchman definitely has a dryer. Maybe not the Germans, but we do. And they're pretty good. Mine is included in the same machine as the washer.

7) I have a few carpets, and I know plenty of people here who do.

8) I guess American fridge size explains why you're all so fat? In my neighborhood in Amsterdam I have 20 stores in 5 minutes of walking distance. I don't need to get into my hummer and fuck up the environment to pick up some bread or veggies. The fact that you guys love buying in bulk means that your foods are stuffed with preservatives, which shouldn't be so healthy AFAIK.

9) We just open windows, smartypants.

10) I have a ventilation screen that I can open, and almost everyone else I know in Amsterdam does.

In overall, I think you're full of shit. And I felt I had to type all of the above to tell you why.


Alba 9 months ago

You forgot to talk about the bathroom...how the toilet is often separated from the sink/sower!

And okay, while a lot of these are true (though modern European flats are changing...), there are things that you get in Europe and don't in the US. History, for example, and charm. I used to live in a flat that was part of a castle built when America was still wearing diapers! My Polish flat had an un-explainable mural that no one knew where it came from (probably dates to Communist era). My French flat looks like it came out of 'Amelie.' My Spanish flat had some cooky wallpaper--and a spiral staircase! My English flat had a hobbit-sized door upstairs that used to connect two houses and now leads to the upstairs bedroom.

Another thing: Access to local everything just downstairs is another cool part of a European flat. Markets in the mornings, bakeries on every corner, local cheese shops, bars serving their own brew using recipes before America existed...etc.

Uniqueness. Gosh, flats in America look ALL THE SAME. Created off a mold or whatever. Because European flats are older, made throughout different centuries/styles, and with very different architects and different cultures, you get a certain uniqueness we don't have in the States.

Proximity. Of course, you could be living in a London or Parisian suburb and need to take a 45 minute train to get downtown, but in general, European cities are smaller and much more compact. They manage space better. Therefore, your flat will most likely be in a much better location, ie closer to the city centre, near businesses and transport, and STILL next to a little park, than its American counterpart!

Price. This is an easy one. Flat prices in Europe vary from country to country, but in my experience, I paid 325€ in Spain for a 2-bedroom (in a small city), €550 in France for a 1 bedroom (in a big city), €300 for a 1-bedroom central flat in Warsaw (Poland). Good luck finding that in American cities...

Greenness (in environmental context). Plugs have off switches, hallway lights have motion sensors, toilets have 2 flushes (full & half, to waste less water), and like said above, we don't waste excessive energy on ACs or other extremely wasteful appliances. Sorry but the US is an enormous polluter; Europe, less so. Maybe we sacrifice a few creature comforts, but it's better for all if us in the long run!

There is a lot of truth to this article, but I would still choose Europe every time...for me, the benefits outweigh the cons! (PS, I'm an American from the DC area who is living in France, and has spent time living in England, Spain and Poland, plus has visited 25 other European countries...)


William 11 months ago

We have 2,3,4,6 and 7 in England. Refrigerators are getting bigger. You go into shops and all it is now is American style ones. Don't need a/c or ice machines because it's cold. Or if it's hot you buy ice from shops and put it in the freezer. And we don't have screens on our windows because it's cold. You only need them when it's hot to stop bugs coming in. So they would be more annoying then any use.


SortingHat 12 months ago

I'm breaking my comment up into three parts to make it easier on the eyes since a lot of people now use cell phones unfortunately now which makes it hard to read long essay style texts.

If you leave AC on between 71 and 72F and leave all the interior doors open with exterior windows closed it will eventually cool the rest of the house down to a reasonable level without any discomfort and not run a high energy bill either.

A lot of people panic and crank down the AC to 69F which that is WAY to cold!!!! Brrrrrrrrrrr! And makes it work way too hard shortening the life span of their AC unit by several years.

The AC has to struggle to cool the rest of the house down to 69F especially if doors are closed preventing some rooms from recieving the colder air making the AC struggle and struggle.


SortingHat 12 months ago

Continued:

Here in America for example the closer you are to a Hydro source of power the cheaper electricity is which you will find a lot of electric heat in the Pacific North West which don't keep up in the winter when it does get much below freezing.

Interesting true story:

Before I was born when Dad lived in Redding, California in an apartment in Enterprise area due to the city owning Shasta Dam electricity was almost free in the late 70s and Dad was fresh out of medical school looking for work and was poor without a family to support yet had no trouble paying the electricity despite having swamp coolers galore.

In the 1970s portal AC's were called *swamp coolers* which would only be good to about 95F then they just make the apartment more humid.

Don't know if the city still owns the dam but while electricity costs were rising everywhere else it was dirt cheap in Redding despite being one of the hottest cities in California.

Another big part is a lot of people use gas or gas with an electric fan for heating which the costs of heating go way down even if you run it constantly so are able to afford AC much more.


SortingHat 12 months ago

This article is false in a way but also true.

The real reason why Europeans don't use electricity for AC is they don't have a free market that allows electricity to be cheaper.

The USA electric grid was built upon that principal so people were not afraid to invest in new power plants or replace old age ones before they break down.

Now the US Government and Congress don't give a damn on providing the funding needed so it's up to individual states to come up with the money.

Texas has *mini* power plants recently installed which are off line until needed.


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Valentia Sedano 12 months ago

I am an American - from a city, not a suburb - who currently lives in Oslo, Norway. May I just say EVERY SINGLE THING stated in this article is true - at least from my experience in Europe (UK, Germany, Norway).

This article is not meant to be offensive, and no one should take offense. The standard of living is simply very different between Europe and America. In America we value home comforts over ALL things, and have multiple sayings that start with "A happy home...". We love the idea of the family gathering together in central locations such as the living and kitchen, and therefore we expect these spaces to be larger than their European counterparts.

Meanwhile, the biggest problem I've found in European flats (and even houses), is the lack of closets. Instead of having an unseen space that fits your belongings, people choose to put MASSIVE wardrobes in small, European bedrooms - these wardrobes are often ugly, covered in mirrors, and sometimes block the doorway. Imagine having a piece of furniture that's 5' wide x 7' tall x 2' deep just sitting in your well-decorated room - it looks horrible. And these are not beautiful, antique armoires, these are huge IKEA monstrosities with no character.

I was also very sad to find there are no dryers. Instead we have what they call a "drying rack" - you have to carefully drape your clothes over each wire, and it takes approximately 2-3 days to dry a sweater (which is obviously mandatory in Norway). Meanwhile, I know dryers wear out clothes quicker, but I REALLY miss having soft towels - crispy towels are simply subpar.

Additionally, the bathrooms here have tile from floor to ceiling, making it impossible to decorate with paint or pictures (and also, nigh on impossible to CHANGE the ugly tiles). And yes, the kitchens are VERY small - most are galley kitchens with 3' of walk space.

I think living in Norway is even more extreme than the rest of Europe, since the people here are very cold and standoffish, and their food is VERY bland - imagine walking into a grocery store and having 30 types of Jarlsberg to choose from, but no cheddar. However, the people are very warm once you get to know them, and welcome your into their homes more graciously than many people across the pond (in the U.S.)

Meanwhile, I moved here to escape the ignorance and politics of the U.S., and plan on staying in Europe for the rest of my life. My solution? Buy a place and add closets and a dryer. :)


Lynn 13 months ago

My cousin was just in England and said there are no bugs there.


Beelzebub 14 months ago

Okay.


Amaryllis 14 months ago

lol, what is with all the snotty and butthurt euros getting angry about this? It's one thing to say 'things are just different, good luck adjusting,' or even to say 'we LIKE how it is here even if an American doesn't understand it' (such as the whole 'refrigerators not actually being cold' thing), but turning it into a bunch of fat comments (having no idea what the OP looks like), talking about bad habits Americans have (you don't know if the OP has them), or saying things like 'lemme guess, you came here in the 80s and went to one city and now you're an expert?!' just makes you look insecure and whiny, and probably reinforces more stereotypes on your end than any of your bellowing about Americans. Let me tell you, I'm in Zagreb in July 2015 and every thing on this list except for the apartment being stripped is true of the place I'm staying. This doesn't automatically mean that every single dwelling at every income level in every city across all 50-odd countries is exactly the same, but it's all worthwhile stuff to mention, because it's all stuff that can catch you off guard. Even plenty of other more level-headed Europeans are admitting experience with a lot of this stuff, so it's not like it's only the place the OP stayed at and literally nowhere else. Go open a window and get some air, people.


Emma 16 months ago

As a Brit currently residing in Germany for work, I find a lot of this rings true, but not so much for English flats. In Germany, I've noticed the lack of carpets and the reliance on Ikea especially - it's not like that at home!

We also wouldn't take fixtures and fittings with us, and I certainly can't imagine taking the light bulbs. As far as clothes washing goes, you might be right about the dryer situation, but fabric conditioner prevents 'cardboardiness'. I have also been somewhat irritated by the lack of storage space over here but, then again, I find the willingness to leave everything on display in the bathroom, including sanitary ware and cleaning fluids, quite typically German. They're not shy about anything, whereas, at home, I tend to like everything tucked away. Come to think of it, my bedroom in Germany also has a free standing set of shelves, which is very open and seems a bit rickety. It's probably not something I would have chosen myself.

The issue of 'garbage disposal' is an interesting one, I've never seen one in the UK or Germany, but I think they sound like a good idea. What I do find strange here in Germany, though, is that they put everything in the dishwasher without rinsing it, or even scraping the remains into the bin, and they don't wash anything by hand, even glasses. This results in 'washed' items being returned to the cupboards with debris still on them, and the glasses and cloudy and scratched. Additionally, the dishwasher tends to smell a little.

On the other hand, I think this is born of German efficiency. If something's not absolutely necessary, they don't tend to do it. My German friends don't use fabric conditioner, or even sort their laundry into delicates etc.. (or even properly straighten out their clothes before hanging them up, so they dry crispy and misshapen. They don't even ball socks properly).Carpets would have to be cleaned more regularly and items stored behind a closed cupboard door would require you to open the cupboard before accessing them. It seems that this is all too much for the practical, sensible German; hence the minimalist style that they generally favour. It's fine once you get used to it. However, when it comes to proper houses, as opposed to flats - I'm not sure I'll ever warm to the open-plan, wood/laminate floored living room arrangement. It's as if they're determined to avoid cosiness at all costs.

P.S. 'Flat' is the British word, but I'm sure some Europeans learn American English. German students tend to aim for Queen's English, but apartment is probably the correct word to use if you're outside of the UK. Up to you though, if you feel the word flat has certain connotations.


Cristian 2 years ago

Dude,

4) Cheap bastards. Here in Romania people always sell their appartments with sanitation things like sinks, toilets, bathtubs. (yes, we also call them appartments, not flats)

Many times we leave the old refrigerators, ovens and other stuff included in the appartment's price because we intend to buy new ones at our new appartment.

5) Garbage disposal included in the sink? What are you, lazy? C'mon, you leave your dishes with food on them in the kitchen sink?!? Your mamma hasn't tought you right! That's just bad education. You never leave dishes with food still in them after you finish eating, you always throw what's left in the trash can.

7) Romanians did actually have a tradition (from communism) to have rugs that stretched across the room entirely, but of much better quality than carpets. The trend is to have medium-sized rugs with warm parquet (wood floor). Trust me, having carpets is bad for your health. You can get allergies because of all the dust and things those carpets will retain ... and in time it'll smell so baaaad, like no matter how much you vent the room, the air in the room will still smell heavy ... thick.

Be prepared to completely change the carpets every few years if you don't want any health problems and vacuum them weekly.

9) No A/C units? Are you kidding me? The westerners you've met must have been really cheap ... because even average income romanians do their best to acquire an A/C. It gets really hot here in the summer, much hotter than in many Californian places, up to 107 - 112.

10) Again, no screens? I couldn't stand having no screens ... but I guess it's a matter of how ignorant you are towards the annoying insects around you and how you were raised, in what environment. Many people that respect themselves have screens at their windows, but not most.


La Gallica Belgica 2 years ago

Omg seriously, you must have travelled back in time to europe, that, or you stayed in some really cheap and crappy places. We europeans live in all sort of homes, we just aren't so selfish as to build big and grand as people in America. From the way you describe these european homes, it sounds like the middle ages. We've got icemachines and big refrigerators and window screens, you just gotta buy them if you come live here. They don't come in as a standard here. And certaintly not in rental places.

Try to go to any country in america, in some random persons home, they'll have adapted their homes to their needs and budget and personality.


KNK 2 years ago

You americans are really ignorant people.

And it is not your fault. Your state controls your mind.


Robert 2 years ago

This is all true. I'm Venezuelan and moved to Germany expecting much more, but damn I was disappointed to see Europeans make more money to live like poor people. A lot of things back home in Venezuela I took for granted, like bigger homes, closets, driers, sinks, etc. Only good thing in Europe is it's safer and you can hop from one country to another more easily, but people live very restricted lives in tiny homes with tiny kitchens, tiny cars and tiny everything. I'm used to having a decent sized fridge, decent sized house (with toilets, sinks and closets even if unfurnished), decent sized car, and unlike the US, in Venezuela we have fresh produce and not genetically modified crap. Only bad thing in Venezuela is the crime rates and the corrupt government, which is why I left in the first place. But damn, I'd go back in a heart beat if a decent government takes place. Having said that, Europe has a lot of beautiful things to see that makes it worth living, at least for a while.


Lisa 2 years ago

While much of this is true (I live in Europe, and I've never seen a dryer here), the author is writing from the perspective of an American from a smaller town or suburb. Much of this isn't so much a difference between American and Europe as it is suburban areas and urban ones. Ask someone in New York if they have a garbage disposal or an ice machine, and they probably don't even know what it is. I assure you they'd love to have a closet or an apartment as big as any in Berlin. Good luck finding an apartment in Chicago or San Francisco with carpet, either. Urban rental homes do not have unnecessary appliances like garbage disposals due to expense, and things like carpet must be replaced often (and most renters don't want it--it's quite dated).

tl;dr: You sound like a country bumpkin. Try traveling a little more before writing blog posts comparing two continents that you've only seen a small portion of.


Sarah 2 years ago

I've lived in the states my whole life, and while I love my closets, screens and bathroom cabinets I hate garbage disposals and carpet. I hate reaching down the dark hole to fish out silverware before running the disposal, if you don't use the disposal often it rusts and sticks. Carpet is a real pain. It will never be really clean and someone always spills something on it as soon as you've paid for a cleaning. I like my little rugs. If something gets on it I can toss it in the wash and my lovely wood floors wipe clean with Murphy's oil soap.


TD 2 years ago

A ton of Europeans commenting here that are extremely poor sports. The author's opinion is their opinion. Just because you all have a problem laughing at yourselves doesn't mean their opinion changes. Lighten up, guys. I love Europe, despite all of it's issues. Just like I love my country despite all of our issues.


Mat 2 years ago

Swede here, with experience of both Europe and the US.

In general I'd say what the author writes is true. Actually a bit of a check-list not what I'm about to renovate my house. - thanx!

Embarassing how some get angry or offended from this post.

Thanx.


Sarah 2 years ago

Hahaha, when did you go to Europe? No dryers? I am German and every single household has one... ;)


capt.america 2 years ago

Whining, defencive euros. Its an opinion deal with it


Bibo 2 years ago

1- If you gonna miss all your american stuff PLEASE don't move from home. Because, usually american young people are super annoying. They get really drunk (as they've never seen alcholics before) and then SCREAM!!!

It doesn't matter you're in Germany, Italy or everywhere else we all understand what you're saying and WE DON'T WANT TO HEAR THAT, because we don't care about your speech, really keep it silent.

2 - Land is cheap where no one wants to live.. Better a small flat in London (you can rent it for 100 poud at night) instead of a 300 mq hause in nowhere-land. We have smaller hause because everyone want to be in here, so evething worth more.

3 - We don't have all that elettronical stuff first cause we don't NEED that. Then personally because i care a "bit" about the envroiment. Am I wrong or 1 american out 3 is fat? Maybe if you have smaller fridges and more move you'd be a size 0 as i am.

4 - we like to decorate, better empty than with ugly forniture.

5 - You need screens when you have a warm climate/mosquitos, in italy or spain you have screens in germany or sweden you don't..wanna know the reason? Mosquitos die if it is -1 degrees most of the time!

5 - Carpets are terribly dirty smelly and CHEAP, anyone who has a little taste and is not terribly poor can buy a parquet or marble.

6 - I guess when you came in Europe you had a no money because Europe is famous for luxury, art, interior design etc. not smelly fridges...

7 - Least but not less important, i live in a 1450 house how could i possibly have a fucking closet??!?!!???

I have big wardarobe really tidy and i probably have more clothes and shoes than you...

Unfortunally Medici family in 1450 they didn't have closets... and because the hause is so old is not aloud to change room's composition.

I wish i had a huge closet but i should move to a 1920s... Better Medici than closet

Finnally if you buy a new house in Eu im sure you can put in it all you American (fat friendly) stuff in it!

Ps: For which damn reason are you going around with flip flops or trainers? They are not even propper shoes... And why are your hauses are moslty made of wood instead of bricks? They are not even real hauses!


Andy Domonkos profile image

Andy Domonkos 2 years ago

Intresting Hub, and I thought I would throw my 2 cents in here.

I've been planning a move to the U.K for some time now, much to the confusion of everyone I know. The general reaction is "why?" or a cynical grin that simply says "yeah good luck with that pipe-dream."

The English are no better. Their reaction is a mix of "we wont let you in" and "bah, we don't like yanks." (Only on the internet, the English people I've met here are exceptionally friendly and funny and all tell me I would most likely have a blast. )

But for all the reasons they list for me not to go, such as the ones above, I find it all very trite. The trade-off is your living in a completely new place with people you have not become painfully accustomed to. It's not like moving to Somalia. I've lived in southern Florida without AC. I'm pretty sure a hot day in most of Europe wouldn't be that intolerable.

Is your flooring and cabinets really all that important? Couldn't we all stand to have a smaller fridge considering the dinosaur proportions the average american consumes? We got enough XXL people waddling around here.

I, personally, can't wait to get over there, ac or not. I'll get a fan.


Jess 2 years ago

I don't know, America sounds bloody weird! You seem to have an unnecessary number of cupboards...

Also a lot of these things (like no dryer, no screens etc) seem quite specific. If you go to Southern France, for example, screens are fairly common. In regards to AC, in hot countries in Europe houses were traditionally built with thick walls, high windows and so on and didn't need it.

I think finally, these cost money. In America, they seem to just be cheaper but in Europe things (esp in cities) tend to be much more expensive! Flats would cost far too much.

But I see your point, it would be weird to move to USA for me (from the UK!)


A.B Normal 2 years ago

And sad thing is the Communist have slowly taken over both Europe and America and want us to all live like them in China cramped and told what to do and where to go 24/7 as we keep allowing bozos to steal our privacy away.

Guess as the old saying goes if you make your bed you sleep in it and we clearly made ours.


Frustrated in Germany 2 years ago

Oh-my-Gosh. I am living in Germany now after having moved here from FL (and originally from Jamaica). This is SPOT on... more emphasis needed on the 'kitchen debacle' however...like I never knew I had to ask 'is the kitchen staying'? Then also the ridiculous rents, fact that you have to pay commission to some slick realtor who didn't do squat and come up with up to 3 months' deposit all to move into an apartment..with no fixtures and no kitchen (unless of course you want to 'buy' the kitchen from the previous renter). The entire thing is BIZARRE! No wonder they need 30 days holiday.. to spend some of that time going to IKEA to buy all the fixtures for a place that you don't even own.


Kris 2 years ago

This applies to Germany and the Netherlands... I see a lot of Brits on here getting upset but England is quite different. I love Europe, but the wet clothes and toilet that is literally in a closet big enough to put my nose on while sitting down is just too much sometimes!


Really 2 years ago

Sounds like you're one of those typical "I visited Europe in my youth back in the 70s 0r 80s and now I'm an expert" types. I live in Europe and I can tell you that you're full of it.


peterpeter 2 years ago

People like you are the reason Europeans hate Americans.

PS. Close line? Frigerator?


Sherry 2 years ago

and by the way... I do live in the southeastern area of the USA and the climate is very different here than it is in the Northern states. AC and ice are very necessary here as someone above also mentioned.


Sherry 2 years ago

I know there are always exceptions but I spent the summer in England in 2010 and EVERYTHING you mentioned in your article was my experience as well. Our vacation in England was somewhat enjoyable but when we returned home to the states, I had a new appreciation for all the comforts and luxuries that I had taken for granted my whole life. If folks in the UK are offended... so what? The truth is the truth. By the way, it is also unfair for people to weigh in on the subject unless they have spent time in both environments.


Mark 2 years ago

I realise your comments are designed purely for satire but I couldn't help but feel appauled by your sheer inaccuracy and uneducated take on European living standards. It appears as though you take a dim view of our cultural conditioning and what seperates us domestically from our North American counterparts. I have visited Canada/USA on several occasions and marvel at not only the differences but the similarities we all share on every aspect of our social and domestic lifestyles. Your tirade lambaste us Europeans as being an inept and technologically inferior civilisation.

It wouldn't hurt to spend more time over here and revise your opinions, because quite frankly that's what they are, and then perhaps your tongue in cheek look at the world would be greeted with laughter from both sides of the Atlantic.


vlm3289 2 years ago

In some ways, I've appreciated my move from the US to the UK. I'll create a list like so many above have done:

1) I don't like the mod look, but this seems to be the general design look for affordable furniture. I wanted a beautiful wingback chair with a funky print, which would probably cost me £500 new. Instead, I found a wingback chair for free off of gum tree and bought fabric from the US. I'm in the process of reupholstering the chair myself.

2) For the life of me, I hate clothes horses, I hate air drying, I hate the horrible smell that welcomes me in the winter when I come back from work. It's disgusting. Because of this, when I visit home I could kiss my parents all American dryer. I've discovered that I love dryers in a way that's probably not healthy.

3) Carpeting, you want it? It's all over my flat. I find wood flooring beautiful. Again, I miss this in my American family home. But if I live here long term, I WILL have wood flooring!

4) The bathrooms, yeah they're a little weird for their lack of cabinetry. But, again, if I have a permanent home either I will find a way of custom designing the cabinetry myself or I'll hire a carpenter to figure it out for me.

I identify with what you're saying, and it makes me laugh. I thought exactly like you did when I came over here from big bad US of A. But now I appreciate the expiration dates on EVERYTHING (they don't do this in the US for raw vegetables) and I've gained a taste for Indian food. I like how accessible the rest of Europe is, and even though my little job has ill-afforded me the opportunity to see it all, I hope to do so next year.

One more thing, I love all the of the flowers. The Americans just don't seem to take gardening to passion as much as the Brits do, and I've learned a considerable amount on houseplants and plants that do well on dinky, less-than-a-foot-wide balconies. Spring is gorgeous here, with all of the Japanese cherry trees going into blossom.

Fashion here is fun and adventurous, and nobody cares if you are dolled up to the nines or dressed down to walk in the park. I found it really annoying in the States when I felt like dressing nice or with a weird dress and people had to be informed as to why I was dressed like this or that, it just got really agitating.

Anyway, every country is different. I've lived in South America (where they do have dryers, but they're really weird about drying clothing at certain times of the day) , and all along the East coast of the US. Home is always the US, and I think it's only normal to compare what you've grown up with to this new environment.


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rentalmilan 2 years ago from Magnago

I have some funny and less funny apartments in Milan on rent. Some are new and moderns also. If you are interested, just contact me to find out more. Thanks, Ottavia!


Demi 2 years ago

I think the authors definition of europe is only the most backwater part of Germany. I've lived in England my whole life and we have flats AND apartments. Flats are usually owned by the government and are thus badly kempt, cramped and never upgraded.

I've never lived in a house without a washer-(And/or)dryer. Our fridges are on average 6 by two feet. No, we don't use garbage disposers in our sinks as it would increase the cost of water treatment. about 90% of peoples houses I've been in are carpeted.

The author however is right about walk-in closets, AC and a lack of bathroom storage space and here's why:

Walk-in closets are seen as an extremely extravagant investment, telling people you have one will quickly mark you as "more money than sense. This automatically singles you out in a country where the majority of people live paycheck to paycheck. That and why would you need a room for clothes, they're things- they don't need a room of their own. That's wasteful.

AC is a bad idea in England especially due to our schitsophrenic weather system caused by the UK's place on the map- we get the backlash from the tropics, the Arctic and eastern europe. Our weather can change so quickly and dramatically that it's safer not to control the home environment artificially, lest you tempt fate.

As for bathroom storage I'll admit- we don't really have it. Walking into a British bathroom you'd be forgiven for thinking you'd just fallen through a portal into Snape's potion storage room. I think it also doubles as an intimidation tactic: "Look at all my bottles of crap, you don't know what they are or what I use them for, so one wrong move and I'll let you use hair remover instead of mouse!"

In summery, please don't insult my country and my continent by judging our sound decoration decisions and don't insult my continent and it's cultures, as your's is still relatively new. And no, I'm not going to insult America to 'get back' at you. America is still a child, and like a child we shouldn't start slagging you guys off- we should be pointing out what you might misunderstand and hope you notice that our countries aren't in bad shape, their just very very very old and like all old things we need time to adjust to new information and technology.

Author- Please try to learn to love the differences of other countries, not obsess over their faults.


Jordan 2 years ago

I find the article and the comments interesting. I'm an American, but I thought I would post some comments myself. There are a lot of generalizations about Europeans, but also about the American way of life.

Closets: Honestly, most of the closets I've had are small and dinky. I end up having to use dressers anyway. I think having furniture to put my clothes in makes me neater too.

Bathroom Cabinets: Lacking them would be an annoyance. I like putting the bathroom cleaning supplies under there so they are close if you need them. For everything else, I use a hall closet.

Garbage Disposal: I know people either seem to love or hate them. At home, I don't have it and scraps have to go in the trashcan. Unfortunately, when we take the trash bags to the dump we have to pay by the weight. It definitely gets expensive when we have the entire extended family over for the holidays. About the smell, I've always been taught that if it starts to smell grind some orange and lemon peels.

Dryers: At home, we often air dry clothes because it's cheaper and easier if it's a nice day. I LOVE LOVE LOVE sheets that have been air dryed because they smell so good! The only things I won't air dry are jeans. I hate how stiff they become, but everything else is fine. I've even air dryed inside my apartment.

Carpet: Yuck. I much prefer wood flooring, especially if you have pets. Getting animal vomit out of a carpet isn't fun. Wood flooring is also easier to clean, in my opinion.

Refrigerator: I do like our refrigerators, and I grew up having two of them. My mom is a huge baker and usually makes homemade meals for dinner. This means that she stocks up on food. Also, don't forget holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. My mom will have multiple meats available for each holiday and that requires storage. With 4 people in the house, we go through a gallon of milk in about 2 days. You also need food that everyone eats, which is why our refrigerator is always packed.

A/C Units: If I lived in Florida, it would be necessary. I do love AC, but I can definitely live without it. My grandmother doesn't have AC and if you keep the blinds down and the fans up, it isn't so bad. When it gets really hot, then we pull out the window units.

Ice: I don't use much, as long as the refrigerator is cool enough. I usually only put ice in water, but sometimes my mom wants to make something with the blender, so it's useful. My mom also uses it if she has soda because we only keep a couple in the refrigerator for pizza.

Yes, the "European" way may be different. That's all it is. We all tend to love what we grow up with, and there's no right or wrong.


Iris 2 years ago

I've spent some time in Europe. I've spent time in America. I live in America. There are good and bad points about both, and it such a pity that there can't be a decent marriage of details from many of the different countries.

1) Space: Of course there is more "space" in America. It is a bigger country. There is more "space" to be had. I like the airiness of American-style apartments. But, not all of them are like that. There are some very small ones in America. Or bigger ones that don't adequately utilize the space available.

2) I do prefer American closets to European wardrobe-style storage. I like the separation, and option to have things stored lower. But, I'm short, so high shelves are an issue everywhere I go. I can't ever figure out how to store my two long dresses in the few particular wardrobes that were available to me in Europe because of the double bar, which the second level was totally unusable to me--but that is neither here nor there. However, I love the beauty of old-fashioned antique furniture. It is a pity that I didn't see any of those in the places I stayed while in Europe, except in the second hand and antique stores. I wish I could have shipped some of those with me when I went back to America, but couldn't afford the shipping.

(In response to another previous commenter, there are beautiful furniture and decorating designs in America. There are a lot of very, very different styles, and it varies what you will find from place to place. I don't really like a lot of modern and contemporary decorating styles. They have little visual interest to me and seem uninviting, I don't like all the flat lines. I like things with a few carved designs in them.)

3) Bathroom cabinets: I'm not a big fan of pedestal style sinks, because I can't sit on them. Usually, I have to half sit on the cabinet counter-top to use the bathroom mirror to see well enough to put on my make up and things. I guess that's kind of a vain reason, the bathroom in my flat has the best light to see to put on my make up. Sitting down at a dressing table has never worked for me, but, again, this is a personal thing. I cannot speak for anyone else at all on this point. It is a matter of preference, and I can see the advantages of both. I have found that American landlords like to do things cheaply and won't splurge on cabinets.

4.) I have seen evidence of what the writer was talking about with Germans taking much of the furnishings and flat fixtures with them. But, that's neither here nor there to me; it is a cultural thing. THEY designed the things to suit their taste; they bought them; I suppose they have every right to take them when they go. I have actually looked at a place I wanted in America where they previous inhabitants took the kitchen storage. I was shocked.

5) Garbage Disposals? I have never understood, and have always lived in fear of, garbage disposals. I have family who look at me like I've grown another head for commenting upon it. I hate them, hate them, hate them! They don't serve any good use, besides smelling up the house and forcing people to be extra cautious about what they put in the sink. If I am ever afraid anything I put in my kitchen bin will possibly create any kind of smell, I wrap it up first in old newspaper or the old wrappings from something else I've already used, and then throw it away. Wow, that's revolutionary, right?

6) Dryers: I have come to enjoy the convenience of dryers, but half of my clothes (especially tops) specify lay flat or line dry only. I only half dry my jeans and work trousers. They do make my clothes softer--the ones I am able to put in the dryer. I am unable to use most decent American fabric softeners, because their scent is too intense for my sinuses to handle. I do what I have to.

7) Carpet... I do have a fondness for carpet despite my sinus condition. There is just something I find so enjoyable about walking barefoot on carpet. I never wear shoes in my home. And, always ask people to remove their shoes. I don't understand why that bothers people, though. I can get by with wood flooring, when I have to. And, I was once bothered by the echo of one place where I lived that had all wood flooring and inadequate sound dampening. It was good when I wanted to do vocal exercises, but bad for headaches. Oh, and I would never ever walk barefoot in any hotel no matter what kind of flooring it had, ew.

8) Refrigerators: Many American cities are at somewhat of a disadvantage...there is this great distance between American homes and their grocery stores. And, many people must commute great distances between work and home and the grocery store. Right now, I have an hour drive, until I can move into my new flat next month. Many other Americans live in the suburbs or country and work in cities. It is more efficient to buy for the week while you're in town, than for just a one or a few days, because it's so far from the store. In Europe, something I wish America had, is more green markets where you can get fresh produce. I am always amazed by the corner stores and street markets in Europe. They are rarer in America. So, Americans have to store more at a time. Little to nothing goes to waste in my refrigerator. I am not obese, I am rather thin so people say (so, don't call all Americans obese, because they aren't), but I like to have certain ingredients on hand.

9) A/C units and Ice: In the Southern USA, where it gets very hot and humid for most of the summer (5-6 months of the year in Florida, with possible 37/100+ temperatures with 90+% humidity), it is hard to imagine it without air conditioning. I attempted to try just that mid-July, once--nothing helps. Ice barely even helps. And, I'm not a fan of ice in my drinks. I usually only ever take them that way eating out in American restaurants when I forget to ask for no ice. But, I don't see anything wrong with other American's preferences on how they take their drinks. I'm personally fine with ice trays, but I'm not going to take the effort to put down anyone for liking ice in their drinks; that's just silly and people should be just as ashamed of themselves as the writer of the hub article. Though, I do not take offence, I'm past being bothered by that at this point. Ice cold is just too cold for me.

10) Window screens? Again, I think this is a cultural preference. During my time in France, Germany and Italy, comparatively speaking, I saw fewer insects than I have seen in the Southern USA. It is a matter of health to have permanent/semi-permanent window screens. (No, to shed light on another commenter's opinion it does not block light in the slightest...in Florida). It just isn't practical at all. The mosquitoes would eat you alive in Florida during any time of the year, except the "colder" parts of the winter, which is two months. During the nights in Germany and Italy, it was nice to sleep with the windows open in the summer months.

Really, each region in each country of Europe and the USA have their differences. You will find different preferences between the UK, Germany, Italy, just as you will between Liverpool and Surry or Berlin and Munchen or Rome and Venice. And, you are going to find vast differences (possibly huge ones) between regions in the USA: between Seattle and St. Louis or Miami and Phoenix or even New York City and Albany, which are in the same state. And all of those are just large cities, there are differing local preferences and tastes that you will find among the smaller cities and rural towns. It is really hard to make gross generalizations, and the writer of this article did that. It is such a pity that it was handled in such a way, because I was interested in someone else's opinion of the differences between the counties in the two continents.

Which is better is a matter of opinion. What is certain is they are different, and people like what they like. Why can't we just learn about each other and enjoy the differences for what they are? I won't make a whole country change just for me. And, another country can't make someone change their personal preferences; it is up to the individual to adjust or not.


Paula 3 years ago

I wonder how you say you have always been "captivated" by Europe and then write something like this. Perhaps you are trying to be funny, I don't know. You hate the weather (although much of Europe has beautiful weather!) you love your American luxuries and conveniences, large spaces and so much stuff that you need large amounts of storage space. You mentioned dirtiness several times (that's such a cliché!) and lament that you must actually put your food scraps in the trash (horrors!!). Good grief, what DO you like about Europe? The scenery? Most of the world lives differently from Americans, and significantly better in many cases. Sounds like you need to put your American cable tv on the travel channel so you can stay home with your ice-cold Coke in your carpeted, air conditioned apartment! I'll take the world, with or without a CLOTHES line (not close line) or a big REFRIGERATOR (not Frigerator). I suspect most of Europe would prefer it if you would stay at home.


Aloha 3 years ago

I disagree with many of the points, for example, weather sucks, where have you been in Europe? Only England? Do you know that France, Spain, Italy, Greece, Hungary...are also part of Europe? And I even if you were right, this doesn't mean that it's wrong but just different...I guess it all depends where you live and what you like, as an immigrant you probably lived in flats where people change often, hence the quality of the places and the furniture story...If you live here as a European you have proper furniture and all what you want and don't need a huge fridge to store your jumbo coke, because there is no jumbo coke in Europe ;-)


Eva 3 years ago

12 years in US. Slowly got used to it. It was A LOT to get used to. Carpets? The truth is most Americans would LOVE to have hardwood flooring but not everybody can afford it, so cheaper houses use carpets. Which is one of main contribution to multiple allergies Americans have. They never get professionally washed often enough to be considered hygienic. Washers/dryers? Have you ever heard of Bosch? Will take it any time over most American manufactures. Walk-in closets are nice. Not any nicer though than good size European wardrobe with huge mirrored doors. Well organized, clean, and movable to any wall of the room to your pleasure. Again, not every American house has walk -in closets. If it is not a walk-in closet, mmmmmm, what is good about it? Still cant get used to a sloppy wrinkled look of cloth americans wear. Maybe some day irons will make their way into american homes. Huge refrigerators. I guess it's OK if you want to stock your food for a week or more, eat frozen TV dinners or pizza. You have a right to like it. I, personally prefer fresh

products. Ice. Again, you have a right to like it. The same way Europe has a right to drink cold juice from refrigerator undiluted with melted ice.

12 years ago I came to America and for a year I was crying my heart out because nothing was to my liking. Then, I meat a swedish missionary girl, who has travelled all over the world. She told me "when you see something different from what you are used to, it's not necessarily worse, it might be just different. " I taught myself to think this way and I learned to love America.

Maybe you should try to enjoy amazing performance of German cars, while in Germany or get blown away by London theatre while in England.... Whether Americans believe it or not, there is happy and wealthy life outside of America. :)


Kellynyc 3 years ago

I'm an American living in the United States and I love my "European" apartment. It has no disgusting carpet but beautiful, easy-to-clean hardwood floors. I have no closets with tacky sliding doors like you usually find in American apartments but I do have plenty of room for my antique armoires. I have no garbage disposal in my sink and I don't need one because I'm a vegetarian (no maggots). It's absolutely true that dryers are hugely inefficient so I may buy a combo washer/dryer if I get tired of the laundromat. I have collapsing removable screens for my windows so I can hang out on my fire escape. I don't have any hideous laminated built-in cabinets in my bathroom so I was able to install my own glass and solid wood cabinets and shelves. Most American landlords have hideous taste: I don't know why anyone would want these things pre-installed anyways. My favorite past-time isn't eating so I don't need a gigantic American-size fridge sending my electric bill through the roof. Food and drinks have more flavor when they're not tooth-numbing cold - THAT'S why Europeans aren't into the obsession. Don't take this blogger seriously. Americans are jealous of the beauty of European cities. Comments like these are just sour grapes.


new 3 years ago

i am living in the US for 5 years now.

things I absolutely hate :

1. stupid dirty carpets everywhere with the absolute absence of good vacuum cleaners. all vacuums that are sold in the US - have no power, huge, heavy, inconvenient in use, and throw the dust back to the air.I had to buy a huge air-purifier to undust the air after I vacuum my apartment there! I live in a beautiful, very expensive big apartment with an amazing view - and constantly annoyed with the dusty, ugly carpets and all the hell of work to vacuum them with the horrible heavy-huge vacuums that are not going into the corners of the room or anywhere around the furniture.

2. stupid noisy air-heating. lots of noise, no real warmth and heat. those things blow the dusty air into my face at night in the bedroom. how great!

3. i absolutely hate those sink-grinders! never dispose food into it. people who do that - they have such a stink out their sinks! if someone disposes food into my sink - i have to put a bunch of Clorox to unclog it and kill the stink.

4. no good kitchen appliances. nothing compare to Europe. all machines a big, heavy, bulky - and have 2-3 functions maximum( food processors). no excellent European brands on the market, no good powerful meat-grinders, food processors are so bad - no comparison to European brands.

5. ugly furniture, home design. walls, сeilings, colors , surfaces finish, tail - everything - just ugly. no taste, no class. I've been to new fanciest houses here and there - no comparison. quality of materials, design, look , finish - you can't find this for yourself in the US.

yes - generally there is more space in the US. But design, shapes and forms of everything in that space....looks cheaper and doesn't have that style.

6. window curtains....again - almost no choice in the US. no variety, no quality, no stile. Everything dull and puritan. I am bringing those things from Europe to have on my windows.

Do not want to comment that there are no screens in Europe. I need it - i buy it. ( And i have it of course:))) Simple.

7. Dryers- in Europe you can buy it if you need it. simple.

8. food in the US has so many chemicals that are prohibited in Europe. Absence of "genetically-modified" labeling in the US.

7. one thing I have to admit is remarkable in the US - abundance of public toilets. and they are free. whenever you need it - you have it:)))


sdd 3 years ago

So if they do it in Germany, it happens everywhere in Europe.

You must be from the US.


Finnish 3 years ago

Heh.. such generalizations.. the way people live in France, Sweden or Moldova can vary soo much. It's a bit funny to say that "Europeans" live this way.

In FINLAND we do

1) have a LOT of space.. only 17,6 peoples / km2

2) many Finnish apartments do have a walk-in closet. this is a choice.

3) I can guarantee that every Finnish home has a bathroom cabinet

4) Finnish people usually don't take any extra with them when they move.. in fact the previous owners of my house left me lots of stuff; an old phone, lawn mower, some lamps

5) no garbage disposal.. well I admit this might be convenient sometimes

6) some houses have a dryer, some don't. again it's a choice.

7) let me think.. would I like to buy a new carpet or a new rug when it gets dirty by the time. what might be easier and cheeper?

8) refridgerators come in all shapes and sizes.. a choice.

9) A/C units are not needed in Finland. The warm period lasts sometimes only couple weeks. Then again Nordic countries have some of the best built houses to withstand winter. I heard that in China they may wear coats inside the house during, cause they don't have the heating system. Ice machines.. are you kidding me? what a useless thing.

10) At least in Finland we put nets on the smaller windows which are meant for letting the air change. Doesn't a bigger screen block light?

Anyway I think you should show some respect in your writing. I do know this feeling when you go into a new country and face things that just don't make sense. I had a similar experience with tons of things in Asia.. like sleeping on a floor or not drying the floor after taking a shower, but using "bathroom flip flops". But still don't write an article about it with an offensive tone. You made it seem as if Europeans are living in some poor conditions. Oh boy, you are so wrong. What about equality issues in the US? What about schooling? Or social security? Health care system?


Nick MFG 3 years ago

I was not going to write a response until I hit the word Frigerator! Or rather, it hit me. 'Refrigerators' requires the effort of an insect to build from the mauled American/Australian version. So intent are the Americans on destroying anything espoused by the British that they even claim to have the high ground with the word closet, forgetting that the word was originally French, and assumed into the English language a few hundred years before the notion of an American state was considered desirable. 'Coming out of the closet' and 'closet queen' were well trodden sobriquets describing aspects of homosexuality well before the 1939-45 war which hastened the import of genteel and subtle expressions such as 'faggots' or 'fairies'.


eidschun 3 years ago

Having spent much time in Europe, the most important difference is the lack of window screens there. Anyone there who says that they're not worthwhile simply doesn't realize or won't admit that human productivity goes way down when it's hot inside but the windows must be kept shut because of bees, mosquitoes, etc. Not to mention that I've watched countless Europeans try to work while distracted by insects buzzing around them. But hey, productivity is an American invention and so it's probably best avoided. :-)

The real reason why Europeans don't like window screens is because of a psychological hang-up: they simply can't help feeling that a screen would put a barrier between themselves and nature, and so with a window screen in place, they're afraid that they wouldn't "commune" with nature to the extent that they need to do so. Get to know someone over there who is willing to be honest, and you'll here this from the horse's mouth.


Amanda 3 years ago

Great hub! I don't understand why many are upset when he is merely pointing out the differences. Some good, some bad, no big deal. It would be a huge change to move from US to Europe, or vice versa. We adapt to our environment, so it makes sense that Americans enjoy their ICED tea and air-conditioning--Try to understand, the temp reaches 110 Fahrenheit here for months at a time with insane humidity levels. Iced drinks are absolutely wonderful to help beat the heat. And ac is beyond necessary. I read one post above that commented on America's obese level. Right you are, but that has nothing to do with fridge size. Our food here is loaded with artificial junk and corn syrup and unfortunately many are not aware of this concern.We do enjoy our grease, we do, but over here, we prefer to buy refrigerated items maybe once a week and not have to stop by daily. Just a different preference, that's all. I thoroughly envy European's healthy and much more natural and safe diet. See, you win some, you lose some, again, no big deal.

Carpet in the US is becoming a thing of the past, thank goodness. Although I kind of dig that 70s shag carpet trend :)

As for the dryers, we are very spoiled here, and I would hate to live without it. These machines last for years and years, and it's great that I can do laundry and not have to leave the house or set up a clothesline. And the clothes come out completely dry within 30 minutes give or take and wrinkle free. Yes, this is a perk in life but oh what a good one. It's wonderfully convenient.

All this being said, there are MANY advantages to living in Europe that we will never have. The transportation, healthcare, food, scenery, the people in general!

In a sunflower seed shell, if I could pick up my house, backyard and all, and move it to Europe, that would be the most ideal situation :) Cheers! :)


cabaleb 3 years ago

Man, either you're bad faith, retarded, or not really living in Europe (maybe you came in Europe 20 or 30 years ago ?!) ...

Several points here are completely false. I am a native European, lived in many countries out here, France, Ireland, England, Spain, Belgium and Poland, and visited many others, Italy, Netherlands, Germany, Hungary, and so on ... And you're definitely wrong on many points


Rose 4 years ago

I do not think people from Europe understand why American fridges are so big. It is simply not the custom in the US (generally) to go the grocery store daily. Most families go once a week and "stock up," so the fridges are large for that reason.

I must say, however, that having huge fridge everywhere I have ever lived in the US has always sort of bothered me. I lived alone a lot and I really did not need a large fridge. I have lived in Germany for two years and I prefer the smaller fridge here. It uses less energy, takes up less space, and it is less likely that something gets "lost" in it.

I personally always hated garbage disposals and IMO, they are a gimmick. They really serve no useful purpose, and god forbid you should do something stupid, like accidentally drop a beer cap in the sink. In fact, I must say, I do not personally know anyone in America who cares about having a garbage disposal. Heck, I have had them in three apartments I rented and in ALL three apartments I had to have someone come over at least once to repair the stupid thing. I even once got chastised by the landlady for not using it ENOUGH.

I will defend closets though. They offer better storage than a wardrobe and create a more pleasing lay-out to the bedroom. That is really the only thing I truly miss over here in Germany. I really miss my walk-in closet!

I do not think that many Europeans can get it through their heads how much climate zones can vary in the United States. For all the people here from the UK bitching about how ice machines and AC is unnecessary, I DARE you to go live in South Texas for one summer. You will change your view on that within the week.

Like I said, I have lived in Germany for two years and I honestly feel no need to have and AC in my apartment. There were about 2 weeks this summer when it would have been "nice," but it was not really needed. I also keep ice trays in the (very small) freezer, but I am sure I am one of the only people in my 'hood who uses ice in my drinks all the time.

And finally, one the dryer issue: I am sort of wondering if I am the only American left who does not care if I have a dryer. I just hang them out to dry. What's the big deal? I guess it is nice to have your clothes sort of wrinkle-free from the dryer, but I have to iron my work clothes anyway.

The comments here have been really interesting. First of all, people can get quite nasty over something as simple as the size of a fridge. But I guess it just goes to show how an expectation can get so ingrained in you.

PS - I am from the US and so I can say with accuracy that carpeting is really going out of style. Most new apartments do not have carpeting, and people these days prefer hardwood floors.


Jay 4 years ago

i meant to say i prefer the apartments over there not over here & the homes over there too. the houses & apartments over here are jus shitty. they're pointless.


Jay 4 years ago

I live in the uk. i hate it everything is so weird. Im a british born american. I prefer american tv, more entertainment, i hate british tv. I prefer the apartments over here & the homes, bleurgh so shitty. i like the american style apartments wiv the open space. they have balconies too. nd the city life is sooo much better havin an apartment in the city is better. The indoor walls made of brick i love tht idea. bt it doesn't matter to me. I wish i lived in america & hope to soon enough.


Great! 4 years ago

So true. I was wondering if I made the right choice giving up my London apartment and starting from couchhopping in the US, but thanks for the reminder! Yes, every word of yours is absolutely true!


username01789 4 years ago

i live in britian and we ALWAYS have carpet, and put rugs on them.

we don't have the space for a fridge because the price we pay for a 3 bed house over their you have a 5 bed house.

ice units... what for thatsa waste of space

we want to take our wardrobes with us, everyone has a different taste in wardrobed.

our houses interior tend to be different from person to person where as you have the same.

stop trying to make our flats sound bad, yours sounds like it has a waste of space and bland and boring


Alex 4 years ago

1. Space? Yeah, the population dencity in North America is 22.9/km2 compared with Europe's 72.5/km2. I'm sure you can see the disparity.

2. Closets? We call them cupboards (in the UK and Ireland atleast) and flats and houses do have them, if it doesn't then one buys one. Simple as, we don't really consider it a chore.

3. Bathroom closets? Again, not every flat/house is the same, if a house doesn't have one - then BUY one!

4. Everything but the bathroom sink? Yes, this is true, not just in Germany. But then you buy a flat unfurnished, it is unfurnished. The word has it's definition.

5. Garbage disposal? Really... this made my laugh. Why on earth do we need a hole in our worktop to feed our leftovers into, we have no problem using a bin. The Garbage disposal aimed to fix a problem that did not exist, and still doesn't.

6. Dryers? My house has a tumble dryer, as does most people I know. A rather inaccurate generalisation.

7. Carpets? What can we say, WE prefer hard floors, thus we predominately use this more hygienic method of flooring our homes.

8. Fridge size? Please remind, me what's America's obesity percentage.

9. AirCon/Ice? This again is presuming all Europe is the same, why in Northern and Western Europe would we need air-con? Heat where it's handy to have one is incredibly rare, we get by. Southern Europe, a different story. Ice Machine.... please, a contraption to make ice for us? When we want ice we use an ice tray. Again since it's not that hot, we don't need our drinks ice cold. I avoid it always because I hate my drink going watery.

10. Screens? Most Europeans consider the prospect of having a prospect of having a screen laughable. They aren't a genius invention, they're weird.

Sorry but your choice of differences are quite simply you complaining that Europe isn't America. No dear it ain't, Asia's different too. Get use to it.

You may claim to have an open mind, but you don't. Someone who did would NOT complain about a smaller fridge, and the lack of a hole for waste disposal.

I'd stay in America if I were you.


Phillip 4 years ago

As an Australian I lived in the US for five years and must admit I was easily seduced by the very things listed in this article: dryer, ice machine, garbage disposals and toilets with lots of water... there are several things that are done so well in the US - leaving your letter in your own letter box for the postman to pick up, drive-thru ATM, drive thru Pharmacy, big fridges and of course the closet.

People from Europe are probably more victim to evolving from their historical pasts and traditions from their families. They do live in smaller spaces and their aesthetics in their houses (like carpet vs hardwood) are more focussed on art/culture (similar to their history) rather than convenience - the American driver.

Australia is halfway between both cultures.


Duhhh 4 years ago

Also using too much ice, is really wasteful of water. As well as ruining people's teeth when they are inclined to chew ice.


Duhhh 4 years ago

Okay, to begin with Europe has a much higher population density than the US. Meaning we have larger spaces to live. The US is also larger.

Second, due to high population densities the demand for goods and services in an area are also higher. Leading to higher energy costs, etc.

Third, there are washer machines that also turn into dryers after washing clothes.

Honestly, carpet is generally unhealthy and difficult to clean.

As for the air conditioning issue you are expressing, there is only a short time of the year that northern Europeans would use it. Again the energy cost issue comes into play.

In southern Europe I have seen air conditioners. As it is more needed there. Think NYC, most homes in NYC that aren't new don't have AC either.


Ricardo 4 years ago

Mate, you really, really have to go in to South Europe. But not for a few days. What you express is more like the standard of living of most foreigns in London. But that is really far from the standard of living in most of Europe.


sunny 4 years ago

OMG somebody else from Malta wrote here! Hello Anon:) to everyone: Malta is a beautiful glittering island in the Med with the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen, and the stars at night seem so close its almost like you can touch them! worth a visit!


sunny 4 years ago

An interesting read. Its quite amuzing to compare the different life styles that people share around the world. Things which seem bizarre in one country are completely normal in another. I live in southern Europe, and an AC here is a MUST, doesn't matter how rich or poor you are. We do not have cetral heating since winters are short and with no snow. In winter we use portable plug-in oil heaters or gas heaters (there are incidents of gas heaters exploding:( a negative side effect)...To be honest I never even heard of the whole garbage disposal and I drive a Benz so Im not dirt poor, sounds like some sinister device to me, it's very normal for us to keep a bin under the sink, where we put absolutly everything: chicken guts, plastic wrappings, etc, and we take it out into the street every two days to be picked up by the trash truck. Fridges are tiny, but nobody minds. Even though its hot here I've never seen an ice-machine, we can buy ice at supermarkets. Europeans don't have this obsession with ICE cold drinks, a cool drink will do. Carpeted floors are probably more pleasing to the eye and create a cozy atmosphere however tile floors are so much easier to clean, plus its an amazing feeling to walk barefoot on a cool tile or marble floor in the summer. Yes our apartments are much smaller, everything is smaller, even parking spaces, its hard to fit a sedan into a parallel parking space in Europe, but you get used to it:) Humans can adapt to anything. Europe is an amazing, magical place, with its own story to tell, and the lack of sink cabinets or carpeting shouldn't stop you from experiencing it. We are all different in this world:)


Petr (Czech Republic) 4 years ago

You are just very spoiled and stupid american, wasting everything and living in your us bubble. I've lived in the USA for 10 months and I would never change my home in my city of Pilsen with that american crap. At least, I'm able to live without a car as a student, your public transportation is sooo bad. The USA is stupid. I loved Canada though. USA, "free country" with very stupid rules


Marty 4 years ago

In Which century did you live in Europe?!

My comparison with NYC and Chicago, the only US cities I've been to:

About the refrigerators: they're big... But you don't cook, so they're only full of bottles... Or empty!

No bathroom cabinets: Well, if there is no cabinet (and if the apt is unfurnished), we buy some.

No kitchen cabinets, sinks, etc: if I paid the furniture, because there was nothing at first or because I hated the previous one, then you can make sure I'll take it away for my next apt! But of course, if the furniture belongs to the owner, we're not thiefs, it stays there.

No garbage disposal in the sink: a what?! what for?! So we should use our hands to throw out everything in the trashcan... But what do you use to throw out the guts of the chicken? Does it go magically inside the sink? And BTW, never seen any in NYC...

Dryers: we can buy one if we feel the need to have one. I had one, but used it just for the sheets, the towels, socks, etc... Basically for coton clothes. Other fabrics get damaged faster with the use of a dryer. So now, I use a clothes airer... And guess what, the air makes the job perfectly: on my terrace when it's hot outside, inside my apt when it's cold (with the help of the heating).

So you love carpet........ I haven't seen carpet (or rugs) for years! And last time, it was at my grandmother's friends home! Carpet is for old people here. When you visit an apt with carpeted floor, it says "old" immediately and you want to remove it! So hardwood floor, tiled floor yes yes. Carpet no no! Great hardwood floors in NYC BTW, never seen any carpet...

Ice machine: again, what for? Ice trays are enough, we don't drink everything iced like you do. When it comes out of the refrigerator, it's cold enough.

Sooo! To sum up: you may have window screens, but we have window shutters, not the same use, but convenient as well. Your bathtubs are tiny and I never found a shower handle, only shower pommels... Hello modernism and convenience! Cockroaches, bedbugs.... First time of my life in NYC. You have A/C everywhere, which is great! But now you have to learn how to regulate it! Because it's too damn cold and in summer, the difference of temperature between inside and outside is so big that you get a thermal shock everytime! And in winter, sorry, but A/C doesn't replace a real heating system, it's just a blow of hot air. It gives the impression of heat, that's it. Not to mention the noise...

OK, I could go on and on, and not only with the apartments! But I love NYC and Chicago and I can't live a single year without coming there several times and I could live there with no problem! But I live in Paris, and I also love that.

Tings in Europe are not as you described them, not everywhere! And keep in mind that living in France can be different than in Italy or Germany, or Croatia!


Anon 4 years ago

he sounds like he needs to open his mind up and stop being so superficial. My experience of living abroad is that what a country may lack materially, it compensates culturally. He obviously didn't take in any positive aspects of life in Europe (which i think is far richer intellectually, culturally and historically speaking) but merely compared observed only negative aspects, comparing everything to the United States. This attitude is a recipe doomed to fail.


Anon 4 years ago

When you speak of ALL of Europe being like that NOT TRUE!!!! I was born in Malta, and it's definitely not dark and rainy there, neither is it in Italy. And they do too have dishwashers and the like. You make it sound like they live in the dark ages. They do not. I don't live in Europe now, but I'd rather live in Europe than the US anytime. And who cares if you don't have garbage disposals? omg, talk about spoilt, I don't have a garbage disposal and have never seen one. And Europe is also more environmentally conscious it seems than America, which would in itself deter me from going there!


EU 4 years ago

what about the washing machines in the bathrooms? I hate that!!


Bob 4 years ago

Hes right about almost every comment.


Boybrat 4 years ago

Oh please, give this guy a break. He is nostalgic for a more rural environment, so what?

If you want to live in an urban environment, such as Manhattan or Europe, you'd better prepare for space to be at a premium: your apartment will be smaller. No large closets or private swimming pools, unless you are seriosuly rich. And yes, carpets are socially unacceptable -- aspirational urbanities are too obsessed with cleanlines to tolerate them.

Neverthless, you may think that nobody in their right mind would actually CHOOSE Texas over Manhattan, or the USA over Europe.

But a lot of country folks miss their big houses, which really ARE much cheaper and more comfortable than your average city dwelling.

Sure, there is a price to pay for that. You cannot just take a 5 minute walk to the theatre/ opera and pop into a supermarket on your way back as you can do if you live in Manhattan or almost any city in Europe. If you live in rural Europe or anywhere in America outside Manhattan, you are foced to stock up -- which means you will need a large freezer.

To an extent, this guy is putting on a brave face, trying to present such disadvantages as achievements. :)

But I think the key advantage of country living -- having enough space and a comfortable house -- is still there.

It is only a question of whether for the sake of it you are really prepared to give up almost everything else.

So this whole discussion about the pros & cons of America vs Europe boils down to a simple question: do you want to live in the country or the city?


Jamie Kerlen 4 years ago

Very Funny!!!


Amogha 4 years ago

Looking at your description, I doubt you lived in Europe. Just recheck your passport.


bob 4 years ago

What a bunch of bull...

i live in the netherlands and been to almost all the european countries.

We do have dryers.

We do have closets

We do have airconditioning

We do not have carpets, we have wooden floors. the rugs are just a nice addition

We do have freezers large enough.


JessicaR 4 years ago

The dryers!!! I can handle everything but these worthless dryers! Why even have one when every time I put clothes in them they just heat up my entire house and leave me an hour later with wet clothes???? I miss dryers in the US. Not to mention the dryers in Europe leak water?! Its so irritating. I cant stand doing laundry in Europe - it is the hugest waste of time and so incredibly annoying. Bagh.


Brian 4 years ago

As others have said, neither set of customs is necessarily WRONG; we just have different cultural expectations based on what we're used to.

Also, some of the Europeans' comments about the U.S. must be based on their experiences in New York City, because I've never experienced what they apparently did.

Finally, it's clear that Europeans are generally MUCH more concerned about efficiency and waste than we Americans are. From my perspective, it's borderline obsessive, but that's just based on my upbringing. If we'd quit arguing about what's the most efficient or the least "wasteful," then many of these distinctions wouldn't be nearly such a big deal.


brenda 4 years ago

Hah!,,,all true!

I live in NYC, also.....so space wise, more here in Germany........You have to talk about the lights also......I have 8 ~ 40 watt lampens, & still can't see in my one room.!! I don't know how to connect the ceiling light. (which previous tenant took) I have more lights in my one room than the whole place. & then there are the keys......& locks!!!!!....doors lock behind you ....& .....you HAve turn key around 4 times.....& bolt also on inside..........(who would steal me!) I live on the top floor of great old building....& you have to hit a light switch on the hall wall, each floor... to get to top to see.....& trying to get bike from courtyard parking lot.....@ night....I have to jump back & forth to the sensor light to see where the bike lock is........forget about delivery of anything! water is great here..but all the heavy soaps & fresh veggies to bring up 5 flights...!! whew!! just as dryers, ~microwaves, against the law sort of. fans be hard to find actually...no fire alarms. In these great old buildings there is not one squared off room!! So why are brooms square here?? & most use the hand broom/dust pan ..so you have to be on your hands & knees to sweep~ I brought from the states the standing "triangle" sort...same with the washing the floor mop things~ I prefer the old fashioned rag mop....to get in corners........vacuumes,,,,,,well I have had to add an American extension to get to the hi ceilings.........~ there be cobwebs here.....I know the germans have their ways....of doing things......~ but why more work???????&&&then I think I have to paint this room when I leave......Jeez....but a fun learning experience!


Emily 4 years ago

Hi all,

I think these generalizations are hilarious, and people on each side of this debate are certainly making generalizations. There are a ton of places in the world that I'd love to visit,including various places in Europe, Australia, and South America. I'm an American, and I have no intention of bringing my assumptions about how someone should live with me when I come to visit. My grandmother uses an electic kettle all the time for coffee, which she drinks frequently throughout the day. When I lived in a damp basement apartment in Boone, N.C. I had no AC, no washer/dryer, and the breakers would flip if I plugged my hairdryer into the wrong outlet. I think that finding an apartment or a flat requires deciding what you can and cannot live without and how much money you are willing to spend to get what you want. I could have rented an apartment in any number of really nice apartment complexes in Boone. Some of them even had common areas with swimming pools and gyms, but I was satisfied with my apartment because a) I'm not really used to AC, b)the laundromat was really close to my apartment, and c) I had the cheapest apartment in Boone so I wasn't expecting a life of luxury.

I find discussions like this funny because of how much they reveal about cultural experiences and expectations. If you've enjoyed this debate, you should watch Househunters International. I'm often embarrassed by the expectations of Americans in these situations because I know that these representations are not reflective of how most of us feel, but I'm sure that every culture and society can say the same thing about its members. I know my boyfriend and I sit back and laugh when wealthy people say things like "I love this expensive home with the ocean view, the swimming pool, the vast amounts of space (including a walk-in closet); however, I wish that it was closer to the water." REALLY!? We keep expecting for someone to ask how much it will cost to move the ocean closer to the house. LOL.


Rose 4 years ago

The reason Americans do not have electric kettles is because we do not constantly drink tea. It is not because we do not like kitchen gadgets - we love them in fact. It is because drinking a "cuppa" three or four times a day is simply not done. I prefer the front loader washers too, but your clothes still get clean with the top-loaders. One advantage to the top loader is that you can stop it mid-cycle and take things out or add things in. And your "apartment complex" in Birmingham is most certainly a very new development in England. No doubt people are finally catching on that people prefer a closet to a wardrobe when given the choice. I also prefer the "bounce" of a wood floor. It is way better for your back. After spending one summer living in Sicily in a house with a poured concrete floor, my back was killing me!

And if you think America has too many news channels, then I dare you to come to Germany. Besides awful soap operas, their entire programming is news. Morning, noon and night, it all news talk shows.


Kala 4 years ago

LOL too funny and toooooo true...living in a coffin next to Ikea.haha


Bri 4 years ago

Lol i am reading this and i am thinking to myself isn't it any wonder that when i lived in the states people actually asked me if in Ireland/Britain did we have electricity,cars etc etc because they read this and believe every word.I don't know what parts of Europe you visited....but im writing this from my APARTMENT COMPLEX in Birmingham,UK...yeah that's what its called,from my big tv room with my clothes hanging in a closet that where dried in an erm tumble dryer.When i lived in the states i actually could not believe how backward it was with some things.A washer that said hot warm or cold with an old fashioned timer on it that said 5 10 or 20 minutes and your clothes came out as dirty as they went in,when in Britain we had nice digital,efficient front loaders 20 years before you guys.I remember saying to my roommate,don't you guys have electric showers over here and he just looked at me and said a what?Oh yeah in the states you had to heat a big old tank of water first.Still do i guess.And don't even get me started on the kettle that you actually had to put on the stove to heat the water UGH.When i did buy a kettle there you actually had to unplug it when it boiled and you would get that big old spark from the socket....same with the toaster.As for the weather....hey in Birmingham it rarely drops below 50 in winter and its usually in the 70s in the summer.Just right....not 20 below with four foot of snow then 100 in summer and you cant go outside.Then you have the television...commercials every 7 minutes(mind you that's just as bad here these days) and how much news is on.They all should just become news channels!!

I actually like the US....but my point is,its got its niggly flaws that i hated when i lived there.Just like when Americans come here the UK/Europe will have its flaws for them.

Oh and american chocolate....first time i tried that i just wanted to get on the first flight home UGH UGH UGH!!


GH 4 years ago

It's funny this article is over three years old and people are still hammering away at this guy. I have lived in Finland and spent a lot of time in Russia and elsewhere in Europe and love it, but yes, it is different. The interior of flats and houses just aren't as nice as what is found in the States. But then again, Europeans live in real communities and so many Americans now live on a cul-de-sac in a neighborhood without sidewalks or alternative transportation. What we lack in the States, Europeans have and take for granted. I despise the amount of driving that I have to do in the States, as it is very expensive and much more dangerous and stressful than taking the tram, for instance.

So, our American living spaces are nicer on average by a long shot but they are built structurally as cheap as possible. I don't know why we Americans don't notice this. Our houses are too often built of cheap southern yellow pine and covered with plastic siding. I can assure you all, you would NEVER, NEVER find this shoddy shit in Europe, then again, most Americans live in a warmer climate and don't need to build homes with the same commercial standards as Europeans would.

Another ex-pat told me once in helsinki: "Once you've crossed the Atlantic once, you're always on the wrong side.... "

So, so true.


4 years ago

One thing that is crap in the United States and not convenient at all is the power outlets. The metal flat connectors are shit and fall out all the time. At least in Europe they are nicely round and actually stay in the contact. Also even in expensive hotels in th US I had the feeling the floor was bouncing when I walked, must be because they are made of wood?

Americans indeed use a lot of ice, which is crap cause all drinks are watery soon. Also it is well know it is better to drink something a bit more warm in the summer to cool down.


Rose 4 years ago

I am from the US and have lived in Germany for a couple of years. I never cared much for garbage disposals or carpeting, but I sure do miss having a closet! Look, I understand that this blog post came across as obnoxious, but I sort of have to agree with the sentiment echoed by the author: it sometimes feels (at least in Germany), that things are built without much thought to comfort or convenience. For example, I have lived in several German apartments and every single one of them had a kitchen which was unnecessarily small. What I mean by that, is that the space in the apartment could have been better utilized and thus made the kitchen a much more pleasant place to cook in. Technically, the kitchen had everything one "needs" but it really could have been just a bit bigger and bit better thought-out. (BTW, these were new apartments and the buildings were orinigally designed to be apartments. I am not complaining about 200 year old building that used to be a factory.) No builder in the US would ever build an apartment with a kitchen like that because they would have a very difficult time getting people to live there. No doubt Germans are used to having cramped kitchens, but I think everyone, no matter what their background, can appreciate more counterspace and room to move around. My current apartment, for example, just does not seem that very well thought-out. There is a TINY kitchen, a bathroom with a tub and a shower hose, but absolutely no way to hang a shower curtain (you just sort of crouch in the tub to shower). There are not cabinets in the bathroom either (fine, I just got some shelves). The place has two bedrooms. One of the bedrooms is MASSIVE and the other one in TINY. The tiny bedroom had two heating units and the massive bedroom has one heating unit. I guess this is something that maybe Europeans would not even think about, but my American eyes noticed it right away!

As to the fridges, I actually prefer the ones in Germany to the ones in the US. Their smaller size uses less energy and encourages buying groceries more often and thus reducing waste. I think large fridges are nice for big families, but for an apartment intended for only one or two people, the smaller fridge is better. However, I think people complaining about this from both sides simply do not understand the different cultures of grocery shopping in the US and Europe. Americans go once a week and "stock up," whereas Europeans go pretty much every day and only buy what they need for a 3 meals or so. I do not personally see how one system is "better" than the other; they're just different.

As to the A/C thing, you don't really need that in Germany. There is maybe about a month in the summer when having an AC would be nice, but it seems sort of stupid to install something that you are not going to use very often. And to you Europeans who think that A/C is wasteful/unnecessary: go spend one summer in south Texas and then get back to me. Same goes for ice machines.

I am totally used to living here now, and luckily I lived in Europe as a teenager too so I sort of knew what to expect, but I have no doubt many Americans are shocked by some of these differences. I think a lot of Europeans simply do not understand how much things in the US are centered around "convenience." I personally like things to be convenient, but I am sure many Americans take the level of convenience one sees in the US for granted and thus are a little put-off by many European customs. The bank account thing is a good example: in the US, opening a bank account is a very simple transaction and only takes a few minutes. In Germany I had to make an appointment, come back a week later, and spend about an hour in some guy's office just to open up a student checking account.

I sort of don't understand much of the hostility on this board. I like things about Europe and the United States and I dislike things about both places too. Although, I do gotta say, once you have had a walk-im closet complete with a make-up table and a folding table, it is pretty hard to make an argument in favor of the Ikea wardrobe ;)


Matt 4 years ago

Thought this was cool, but some of those things are not common in my part of the woods ether, and I live in the USA (well north west washington to be specific) while I don't know any one with out a dryer (kinda needed when its only sunny and warm for like 2months, and rainy damp and cold for the rest of the year) but I don't know any one with A/C, heck most business where I live don't ether about only ones that really do are the movie theaters, even the "big box store" I work in dose not have really A/C. Then again well even in the summer a fan is normally enough and you can also put one in one window in an apartment (or house) and open the bedroom windows and just pull the cool air threw at night (much cheaper then A/C) While most new windows come with screens many older places don't have them, and even many newer one they don't or people simply don't use them.(only reason my family dose is moms from the east coast and obsessed with using them)

I like carpet its nice on a cold day, but you have to have a good vacuum and rug shampooer so that you can keep it clean. wood laminate and vinyl are much easier to keep clean.

Fridges in the US have balloned in size over the years, my family literly had the refigerator sitting outside the kitchen space in the dinning area because on the one before it died we could not find one small enough to fit in the space made for the fridge in the early 70's! It took the kitchen being redune for the fridge to move back into it. although a big fridge is nice when you go shoping/for storing leftovers.

Although an Ice Maker is nice it's definitely not on my have to have at all cost list, ice cube trays work very well. But ice cold drinks are a must, from water to beer, I do want my drinks icy cold.


MrB 5 years ago

Well, I'm living rather poor European country called Poland.

I agree with almost everything, excepting:

- there is a bathroom cabinet in almost every flat (and every house),

- most of the new fridges have ice machines and water dispensers,

- carpets are used mostly by poor people, the rich ones have wooden floors, way nicer than the ones in the UK.

Also, as many folks above mentioned, there are much bigger differences between European countries than between States in the US.

For example American fridges are TINY compared to those in Norway (in fact, many Norwegian folks have 3-4 HUGE fridges next to each other - you know, it's useful when it's snowing heavily for 40 days and the closest market is 20 miles away).

I found driers very popular in Denmark. But you're still totally right, I am thinking about drier, but have not enough space in the bathroom.

BTW what about the quality of major appliances? In Poland 2-3 year old washing machine is often useless and needs repairs that cost more than the washing machine itself. The same rule applies to fridges (even the most expensive ones) etc.


Annie 5 years ago

Liz,

You sound like a typical arrogant and ignorant American. I am not from the US nor Europe. But I have lived in the US for 11 eleven years and now in Europe for a 1 year. I am asking myself why I didn't come here sooner.

Many facts here are related to Europe's efforts in conserving energy. USA is of course the opposite. Gas/Petrol is almost $4 in the US and people are complaining, well, get used to it. May be one day you'll wake up and wonder what you are doing with those giants cars.

You can get your refrigerators, dryers and all that if you have room for it.

CARPET - It's not even an argument, it's so unhygienic, I don't know why one would want this in their apartment/flat. It's so contradicting especially when you see Americans running around with Antibacterial gel/soaps/wipes/sprays and now having a carpet is a big deal! Even worse because most US apartments/homes are wooden.


Vicky 5 years ago

Liz, you have obviously never been to Europe. You may not want to say the things you say without having experienced it yourself. The U.S. is not way above the crowd and it really makes you sound a little ignorant if you say it is. Many many countries are at the same if not at a higher level than the USA. I myself am from the Netherlands and I have lived in the US for 3 years. If anything, the area in Indiana that I stayed had less "modern" households in general than the Netherlands. Of course there are differences and some of the differences mentioned in this article are true.

However, it is ridiculous to generalize all these things. Europe is huge and there are many different cultures. These things change a lot and 80% of the things mentioned in this hub are not right for my home country.

Jes, Europe has plenty of automatic cars. Gas here is expensive on purpose, our government taxes gas because it's not the best thing for the environment and they are trying to reduce unnecessary driving and increase use of public transport instead. The European Union is working a lot on improving the environment and attitude towards the environment and electric cars are a part of that. Maybe you should read up on it.


Jes. 5 years ago

You forgot something else they don't have: AUTOMATIC CARS! :-S oh..and cheaper gas.


Liz 5 years ago

I am sorry but everything the author has said is TRUE. EVEN if it hurts, plase admit it. The author is not trashing Europe but merely stating the differences she saw. YOU HAVE NO CLOSETS, NO GARBAGE DISPOSALS, NO AC, AND NO ICE! I've read a couple comments stating that we do not need a garbage disposal if we have a trash can...WELL THAT'S STUPID! SEEMS like you don't wash your dishes too often. Once my marketing teacher told us in class that the teacher whom they were stayin with only rinsed the dishes with water. Yes you read right, NO SOAP! YUK! No wonder you don't need garbage disposals. We like big refrigerators to have lot of food. Do not feel bad or envious because she points out your lifestyle weaknesses. As a final note, I think that in the U.S. we are way above the crowd. Keep on conserving resources so we can use them! HA!


jac 5 years ago

clothesline...

refrigerator


Urosh 5 years ago

U never been to Europe.


Mary 5 years ago

One thing I love, despite the obvious inconvenience,is that somehow Europeans have avoided the energy consumption and wastefulness that we in the USA are responsible for.

When I look at the huge mowed lawns we have here, and our own fairly modest home with three bathrooms, I know it's too much.

It's always easier to not start with luxury, than to have to give it up..


... 6 years ago

this is the most narrow minded thing ive read in awhile, thanks!


6 years ago

my experience in US:

Bathrooms:

- no heating

- fixed shower sprayer

- toilet splashing and plugging

- bidet?

- no privacy in public toilets

Kitchens:

mainly used for preparing french toasts in the morning and keep beer freezing-cold to serve with domino's pizza

Laundry:

usually placed in a comfortable basement or in a cabinet in the middle of the apartment where the thumble drier can entertain you for half an hour or so

getting used to all of that, still thinking that there is some space for improvement...


Sweet T 6 years ago

Europeans are snobs. America rocks!!!! Now excuse me I am going to get a glass of ice water.


gary 6 years ago

ok...about half of this is utter bollox. I live in a lower than middle class area in ireland, and i have a large fridge, with an ice unit, carpet(although we prefer floorboards) AC units and a dryer, these are all standard comodities. The reason we have less space is because all of our houses are made of concrete(yes every one of them) so if a hurricane came along my house would not end up in a different part of the country, concrete also makes them much more expensive, i have no idea what areas of europe you have went to, but in the major cities and in the british isles especially this is not the case


adi 6 years ago

i completely agree to what mariana said.

what i am about to say applies to romania and most of eastern europe. i don't know if things are the same in western europe.

garbage disposals in the sink. unpractical. we keep the waste-bin right next. when it fills we take it out to the dumpster dump the sack and replace it with a new one. plastic waste-bags are much cheaper than electricity.

we have removable bug-nets so we don't need screens. not many bugs around during winter. plus if you want to let some fresh air in you open the window vertically to about 100 degrees. the opening is big enough for the air to come in yet small enough for bugs to stay out. and if they do manage to come in once, well that means its bug net season.

we have carpets, but they are mostly reserved for the hall-way or the ante-chamber because unlike in america it is extremely rude to wear shoes in any chamber of the apartment other than the hall-way. that's whet slippers or socks are for. plus rugs are easier to clean and give more style to your room.

we have large fridges. but nobody uses them. they consume to much electricity and occupy to much space. most apartments have 2 fridges. a 2 meter one used as the main fridge and a small waist high fridge used for emergencies (like when preparing for christams an you need to store large quantities of meat for a couple of days)

we don't need air conditioner. we have central heating during winter and the facts that most apartment blocks have tilled roof tops and that almost every street is lined with trees prevent the apartments from overheating in summer.

ice-machines. come on. how snobbish can you get.


mariana 6 years ago

I stumbled upon this by "googling accident", thought it would be an entertaining read, but...ech. Whining about closets and garbage disposals?

Look, no offence, but you obviously have NOT seen much of Europe, or your "article" would be much more informative and realistic. You make Europe seem like a primitive place (nevermind it's an entire continent - not "only" EU) to live in, at least for an American. It sounds a tad offensive, you know?

For example, I live in Croatia.

We have carpets and/or rugs in whatever size and color and texture you want; and yes, if you have a rug which you can remove easily from the room, then you take it outside and hit it into submission until all the dust is gone).

We have driers, but they're not very common (for lack of space, price, or we simply don't need them - why waste space?).

We have refrigirators of different sizes, colors and shapes - waist high or the size of a wardrobe; whatever you need and can pay for.

Most of the houses and flats have air-conditioning because it gets really hot in summers, but I don't know why a house in, say, Scotland, would need an AC unit? Unless its used to warm up the place...

I assume you mean a walk-in closet when you mention closets? Yes, we have them. Those of us who want them, anyway. It's an entire little room, eating up space unnecessarily. A wardrobe is much more sensible and you can move it around if you wish to reorganize the room. And yes, for shoes we have separate chest of drawers of sorts. Why would I want to keep shoes in the same space as clothes? Ewww.

What else? Ummm... oh, yes. Garbage disposal in a sink? Why? Is garbage bin no enough? I think only super-new pricey flats have them here. I don't see the point, though.

Bathroom cabinets - we have them. We've had them for centuries, me thinks. Check your history books.

As for space... it's nice that you have enough space in the US to have huge floor plans. But really, I don't think a family of 3 or 4 realistically needs more than 100 m2. Most families here live in much less space than that, some live in larger homes. But if the floor plan is functional, used up completely, it's enough. Besides, larger the space, the more you have to clean, vacuum, furnish, heat, etc...more work and more expenses in the long run.

You may think you've been funny here, but unfortunately you're giving a very wrong picture of Europe, especially to those who know nothing about it in the first place.

Generalisations are NOT good or fair.


Todd, MI, USA 6 years ago

Freakin' hilarious! Glad I live in the good 'ole U S of A!


Saja 6 years ago

A contra - comment.

1. Stores and fitting rooms

In Europe, when you're byuing clothes and want to fit some, you just grab the clothes and go to the fitting-room, which is *open* for all. In USA you have to go to the assistent lady, take the key (or she will open it), then fit, and then return the key. What if you want to fit more clothes ? .. Guess - go to the lady, open the door, fit and return the key. That has sense to you?

2. Supermarkers and cars

When you are going to the supermarket in USA, park a car in their parking and finish shopping - you can't go to your car with a supermarket car. They have this barriers that block you from stealing supermarket car. That sounds very comfortable :D

3. Public fields (for basketball etc).

You can use it - yes.. but not in later evening. They are closing it at 22.00 (it may vary in different States), but generally you can't play later.

4. Alkohol only above 21 .. LMAO

5. Going home drunk (by foot) - watch out! Police can catch you and you are going to jail. American Freeedom huh?

6. LAck of AC? Dude - most of Europe doesn't have any humid in the entire year. I've never seen a cockroach in my entire life before I went the USA. People don't have AC here cause they don't need it!

7. Drivers.

USA driving culture is awful. If you have like a 2 sec delay on the green light, you hear "hey! move your car motherfucker, WTF".. In Europe you never hear such stuff.

Now, I'm not bashing America. I like many thing in US. I just wanted to show that many things from the authors list is not true (like this Frigerators - you can buy any size you want) - people just don't need it!


Jennifer 6 years ago

I've seen more than a few comments from self-righteous Europeans insulting the writer for "complaining".

Everyone notices and comments about things they don't like in foreign countries. It doesn't mean the person is demanding that the foreign country change or that the person has an arrogant attitude towards the country they are visiting / living in for a while.

We had a German visit us (southern USA) for a few weeks and he would not stop commenting about how this or that was better in Germany. I've been to Europe several times, and there were things I liked about it and things I didn't. I had schoolmates from countries all over the world when I was at a language school in Europe and they ALL had negative things to say about our host country. So what? Every foreigner will have both positive and negative comments about the country they are visiting.

When people express a viewpoint that I don't agree with, or that I don't like, or that offends me, i don't assume they are trying to force their ideas on me. It's called free speech and a different perspective, and the comments about the "arrogance" in this post make me think that maybe Europeans really don't know what tolerance of diversity is after all. Oh wait, I choose to judge each European based upon each person's behavior and beliefs instead of making ignorant assumptions about entire nations of people at one time.

What's really surprising is the arrogance of people who expect foreigners to NOT have any negative reactions to their country or who expect foreigners to immediately be comfortable in a foreign country and immediately see the supposed "superiority" of the foreign country when it comes to the differences. Please, get over yourselves.


A.P 6 years ago

Since you hate the living conditions in Europe why the hell do you choose to live there? I think this article is revolting and untrue. The interior design of many homes and apartments in Europe are far more renovated. They have style, fashion and are cleaner than majority of homes in America. For starters, most homes in America smell because the wood is soooo rotten.

Let’s not speak about the filthy apartments across this county. Not only do you hear your neighbors having conversations on daily basis but the bugs that lie everywhere in the apartment not even bleach gets rid of them.

Don’t believe this article. Every country has good and bad living standards.

I am truly insulted!!!


A.P 6 years ago

Since you hate the living conditions in Europe why the hell do you choose to live there? I think this article is revolting and untrue. The interior design of many homes and apartments in Europe are far more renovated. They have style, fashion and are cleaner than majority of homes in America. For starters, most homes in America smell because the wood is soooo rotten.

Let’s not speak about the filthy apartments across this county. Not only do you hear your neighbors having conversations on daily basis but the bugs that lie everywhere in the apartment not even bleach gets rid of them.

Don’t believe this article. Every country has good and bad living standards.

I am truly insulted!!!


JJDvorshak 6 years ago

God! Why do you whine so much...

I could write a whole essay to counterpoint your statements, but i saw that others have already done it (especially Proper Person did it well).

People like you make all americans sound like spoiled whining children.

I mean where's the point with people like you?

You leave the USA and travel to a different country, but the second that something isn't american fashioned you bitch about it.

'God, they don't have this and that!'

You leave the states, travel for hours to a different country and then demand the same comfort you're used to at home.

Almost the whole article offended me, but the worst thing was (and i'm quoting): ?Then, if you're like some Eastern European folk, you beat the hell out of that rug outside on some iron-rod commi metal bar next to the bored adolescent smoker kids.?

I personally am from a central european country named Slovenia, but how can you dare to talk about countries like Serbia and Bosnia like only savage barbarians live there.

Beating the hell of a bloody rug on some commi metal bar next to bored pot (or cigarete) smoking teens.

Also, i don't know in which country you were.

But if it was Serbia, Bosnia, Croatia... you have to learn the difference between communism and socialism (of course all these countries are democratic today).

You're basically saying that the american youth is not at all bored and therefore experimenting with various things.

Nobody smokes marijuana there, nobody drinks, nobody is curious about new things.

Just stay in the USA!

I personally would like to visit the USA, because i think it would really apeall to me, but i wouldn't bitch about every little difference.

Instead study it.

In which ways it's better and in which ways worse.

I also met some americans in my life and they were very kind and friendly people.

Only ONE of them was matching to the american stereotype and also bitched about Europe all the time.

I don't insult americans, because i met some of them.

But people who never met an american just have a bad picture mostly.

And people like you don't make it any better.

Besides, if you ask me Europeans are tougher and more independent.

BTW: You only said what we don't have here.

You forgot to say what we have and you don't have.

I also saw that now other americans have had 'they're eyes opened', that everybody in Europe is a poor commi bastard.

Nice job.


Jiri 6 years ago

I really think you should take into account that in Europe there are probably bigger differences among different countries than you think. You have to consider climate - Italy or Spain have much less isolation, you do not have double glazing in every house and people live more connected with their neighours. You would not see anything like that in Norway or Sweden. The size of house of flat depends on density of population in country, whether the house is in country or city, affluence as well as the usual size of the family. I have travelled extensively, I have spent most of my life in the Czech republic and now I live in Britain. Britain has majority of population living in urban areas and size of flats is notoriously small with microscopic bedrooms and people wearing their shoes inside of the house where they allow their pets as well. The house is usually not so clean because the focus is more on living without too much hassle - eating out, not too much cooking or cleaning. Family does not keep too much toghether because people are moving a lot and they keep more in touch with their friends and often works long hours. People often regard their house as an investment and property market is very developed with a lot of people working in the real estate sector.

On the other hand in the Czech republic less people live in the urban areas although this is changing now as well. The size of flats in the urban setting is small and the quality of construction of block of flats from comunist era is usually poor, however, a lot of people have their cottages, which is legacy from comunist regime, when the air in cities was really poor, people could not travel and everybody was trying to get out of the cities on Friday afternoon. People are probably not going so much out, they are cooking at home and flats are kept cleaner and people are more likely to invite their friends or relatives to their place than to eat out. Important factor is that people are hardly ever moving and usually stay near the place of their parents and friends. Houses in the country are usualy larger because the families are larger and three generations can live together.

So much comparison of British and Czech conditions.


anonymous 7 years ago

@ 888...you've obviously not tried opening an account in California...at one point, I was almost certain they would enquire about my shoe size.

Perhaps the European flats haven't all the 'modern conveniences' that the american flats have, however, there is no doubt which ones have better engineering. However, one thing I am very curious about...why do you glorify carpeting? America being a germ-phobic society, I am surprised that these are so popular in America or are the carpetings being washed with anti-bacterial soap?


888 7 years ago

i have to also say this. i remember sitting in a burger king in britain in the middle of the winter, and i don't think they had the heating on. they are real stingy with their heating and air conditioning. i was in one fast food restraunt that had heating in the eating area, but no heating in the toilets. a gym that i use has air conditioning in the work out room, but not in the changing room, and stairs. the subways and most trains, buses don't have ac either, something you would expect them to have. none of the museums or art galleries i visited had ac either. it seems like they try to preserve every last penny that can be spent on utilities. i also noticed that a few other countries are stingy, such as canada. even though they are the 51st state, i noticed that many places there are also not air conditioned. vancouver and seattl have very similar weather, yet when it came to air conditioning, most places in seattle had ac, whereas no house did in vancouver.

going back to difficulty in living in europe. has anyone ever tried opening a bank account? it is not quite the same as in america, and they definitely try to make things as humanly difficult for you, asking for proof of address and all your personal details including your job, how much money you make, where you work and a whole bunch of other questions. i have never been questioned so thoroughly in my life.


888 7 years ago

i am sitting here in my british flat, sweating my balls off. although the place came with a sink, light bulbs, and sink, it is definitely not what i am used to. i had lived in various parts of the u.s. rich and poor. back in the states, i used to rent this apartment for $350 and it had air conditioning, proper laundry, and parking. here i have no screen, or air conditioning. there is a dryer here, but it doesn't work very well, and i end up having to put all my clothes on the floor to dry. i have found it be be quite ghetto here in those aspects, and many many other aspects. there are just so many things that are better in the states. it seems like they just try to make things difficult here. i don't know if anyone here has tried getting a european driving licence, but they make them as difficult to get as possible, with required lessons in many countries costing thousands of dollars. the funny thing is, people arent really that good of drivers. ive seen drivers pull some crazy stunts, such as back into a side street from a main road in the middle of a big city. they also make uturns in the middle of the road where most americans wouldn't attempt. ive also seen people back into a large main road from a side street. its pretty crazy if you ask me. if america wasn't so authoritarian, i would move back there in a second. the only reason why i like it here better is because it is more liberal. in terms of material stuff, and luxuries, i definitely feel that i took a step down from the usa. everything here seems to be of a lower quality. everything from hospitals to airports, to schools. things look like they're about to fall apart, and a lot of things don't get fixed when they're broken for a long time. theres an atm machine i use and it seems to always be broken. in most ways things are substandard to the usa, but i have noticed that some of their profesionals can be very profesional, for example, a dentist, physiotherapist, optometrist. i have found these people in britain to be very educated, informing, and careful with what they do, much better than in the usa.


Proper Person 7 years ago

I'm sorry, but your whining and complaining is simply too much to endure without some kind of rebuttal.

1. SPACE. Yes, American apartments are generally bigger than European flats. Look at an atlas. Have you seen the size of the USA compared to even the largest of European countries? Space is far more scarce in Europe than it is in America. If you don't like it, stay in America!

2. "CLOSETS" What difference does it make whether your clothes are hanging in a built-in closet or a free-standing wardrobe? Either way, it constitutes floorspace taken up by clothes storage. Your miraculous closet is, in fact, a reduction in the size of your bedroom, you just haven't realised it yet.

3. BATHROOM CABINETS. We have these. We had these before America had them. It sounds like you're living in a shithole.

4. GERMANS. I can't comment on the German philosophy, but in the UK, if you rent a furnished flat, all the things on your list should be provided. If you rent unfurnished, then you take your chances. Check your lease.

5. GARBAGE DISPOSAL. Rubbish goes in the bin. Why do you need another disposal unit? Also, when you're on the 4th floor of an Edwardian terrace, how do you propose to facilitate the falling of chicken guts to ground level?

6. DRYERS. Again, most people have dryers. But, they use a huge amount of expensive energy (as you say), and are environmentally unfriendly (as you say). Drying clothes on airers is not rocket science. People have managed to do it for thousands of years. Fabric softener will ensure your clothes smell nice...available in shops.

7. CARPET. No carpet in Europe. This is true, carpet is actually illegal in Europe, and you can get arrested for owning one. Wooden floors are much nicer anyway.

8. REFRIGERATOR SIZE. What are you moaning about? Buy a bigger fridge. Or stop eating so much.

9. AIR CON. Why would anyone in northern Europe possibly want air conditioning? In the south, people have it.

10. Something about screens? I got bored by this point.

The point is that if you are from America and you go to live in Europe, why do you expect everything to be exactly the same as at home? Things are going to be different, and if you don't like them, feel free to go home.

The number of criticisms a European person could level at the American way of life are practically endless. The history of Europe extends back thousands of years; in America, if a building is 150 years old it's made into a historical monument. Most of the buildings that make Europe so beautiful and so magnificent are hundreds of years old, I'm sure you can forgive them not having garbage disposals.


7 years ago

Re: "Toilets are another one. You Americans have so much water in the bowl that splashing is inevitable. Yuk. On top of that, the noise of liquid being poured into liquid is way too loud for us Aussies. Silence is golden, and way more private"

You Aussies and Europeans have so little water in the toilet that every poop guarntees lovely, smelly skid marks with every flush. But at least the water doesn't splash on your buttcheeks...


adrainsean profile image

adrainsean 7 years ago

i personaly find european style of building and houses much better than the one i live now in.. the medievial, wood stone works i like a lot i shall one day get a place like that to my self.

till i will live in the closed cabinets which some call american style ..


jennifer bhala 7 years ago

To compare America with Australia though, why don't you guys have lights in ceilings as a common way of lighting. Hotels, Motels, apartments, and many homes do not. In Australia, every room has everywhere has lights in the ceiling.

Also, in Australia we actually have a room set aside called a laundry. Notice I said room. Not closet or corner in a basement. Not garage, or in the bathroom or toilet.

Washing and folding clothes, and even ironing clothes needs a clean, large area with a stainless steel sink for cleaning with benches for folding, etc. etc.and a light in the ceiling.

Toilets are another one. You Americans have so much water in the bowl that splashing is inevitable. Yuk. On top of that, the noise of liquid being poured into liquid is way too loud for us Aussies. Silence is golden, and way more private.

That's all for now. Great post though. Easy to read.


pricelessway profile image

pricelessway 7 years ago from United Kingdom

Very hilarious! You made your point. If you are not used to having little space and driving on narrow roads, your may not be at all impressed on your first visit. Seriously, KrisC’s imaginative writing on this issue should not stop anyone from visiting UK or any part of Europe for that matter. Your experience may turn out to be amazingly wonderful. I think KrisC is actually enjoying this!


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks

Great Hub with useful information. I think the comments are especially interesting.

Half the people are saying Europeans are more frugal, use less space and energy, and have free health care. You argue that a less luxurious lifestyle is more efficient.

The other half are saying that not having much space or energy and having to make economies that pay for the "free health care" is inconvenient. A more "efficient" lifestyle is not as luxurious.

You're really all saying the same thing! The point of view may be different, but the facts are the same. It's no sin to be poor; it's also not a virtue.

 

 


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

You may well be right about the electricity, I didn't know before I read your post.


Moon Daisy profile image

Moon Daisy 7 years ago from London

That's an interesting hub, and a good idea as we have such a multi-national audience here on Hub Pages.

Our attitudes towards these things of course depend on what we're used to, and so not having a garbage disposal, for instance, is not really a hardship.  It's no problem at all to put food waste in the bin outside.  In fact many of us have a special green bin specifically for food and garden waste.  This gets composted and reduces household rubbish.

People have already mentioned that there are many differences between European countries, and this seems to be the case with clothes dryers.  From living in France, I know that they are less common in some countries, but in the UK I think that most people own a clothes dryer.  We don't use it all the time as it's quite wasteful, but it's also a simple thing to dry clothes on a clothes horse.  If you have central heating then things dry quickly, so there's no need to walk around in damp clothes!

And we don't have AC units or ice machines because we don't need them.  In the UK it's only hot for a small proportion of the year, and it seems silly to have AC for just a few months' use.  And homes in the hotter countries of Europe are built especially to keep you cool in hot weather. 

As for ice machines, well who wants freezing cold drinks when it's cold outside?  Apart from this, I think that we just haven't developed the American tradition of needing our drinks to be ice-cold.  Warm beer is fine for us!

LondonGirl, the reason why we are not allowed plug sockets in our bathrooms in the UK possibly has something to do with our electricity supply being more powerful (250V - potentially enough to kill you if you get a shock).  While the US power (at 115V) it's less efficient, but much safer.


Cam Central Coast profile image

Cam Central Coast 7 years ago from Ourimbah, NSW, Australia

Europeans are more efficient than Americans. Hense smaller space, and possibly used more effectively.

I would choose cultural Europe and lack of space over spacious USA anyday.

To be honest your article was actually interesting, but I hate it that Americans always have to end with a conclusion that "after considering the options, I still prefer America".

I love Australia, as do most Australians, but you'll notice we don't try and force feed that to the rest of the world.


Cailin Gallagher profile image

Cailin Gallagher 7 years ago from New England

Living in Ireland when I was younger I remember all of the beautiful wardrobes...but, yes, no closets.  Also, the lack of washers and dryers.  My mother washed our clothes in the tub and hung them out to dry...which was great when it was windy, but less than great when it was raining and damp.  But, when I went back recently, the new houses have more modern conveniences than we have here in the States.  Every bedroom has a full bathroom!  Built-in dressers galore!  Stunning tile-work and oodles of space.   But, then again, I've lived with three kids without a garbage disposal, dish-washer or clothes-washer and dryer in my apartments for the last five years and I live in the good old U.S. of A. 


Sufidreamer profile image

Sufidreamer 7 years ago from Sparti, Greece

Good read, Cris. Made me laugh :D

AC is essential in Greek cities, as are window screens, but there is little need for clothes driers.

Right about the completely emptying an apartment, though. Some people; if they could take the wallpaper, they would.


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

I agree - there are vast differences between different countries in Europe.

In the UK, people prefer houses in flats, and pretty much every single house has a washing machine and a dryer. We live in a flat (in the middle of London) and have a washer-dryer, which works perfectly well.

We also used duvets, rather than sheets and blankets for bed coverings.

Ice machines and air-con are very rare in the UK - I've never come across either in a home. But then neither are necessary in our climate! Central heating, we do have (-:

Built-in wardrobes aren't that common, but free-standing ones are fine.


ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 7 years ago from USA

Kris, you hub is hilarious! I really enjoyed reading it. What’s interesting, I lived in Europe, in Middle East and in America, so I can relate to all you’ve wrote about. But for me all the differences were kind of natural and I didn’t give much thought to them, just excepting them without any criticism or comparison. Like, you know, OK, it’s different here, so what, it’s another place and I’ll except it as it is. You showed me that it was really interesting to give this a thought. My little observation (my 2 cents so to say) about how people are used to different things- they use blankets in America as they are or with a flat sheet. In Europe they have special cotton blanket cases (like pillow case, but a huge one), and they put blankets inside them. Also they take their shoes off at the entrance and change for house slippers (I actually like this way). And about change in their pockets- if Americans pay cash, they use bills and put change (coins) in a jar and later turn into paper bills, but Europeans carry coins in their wallets and try to give an exact sum to a cashier in the super market.

Different places different customs.


J_Eds profile image

J_Eds 7 years ago from Blackpool

Wow.... i thought this was going to be fun but it was actually a big long rant :(

Also:

Very good hub KrisC, I've never been to Europe, had an idea what it was like, but now I know. Very eye opening.

Jery

great, makes us sound absolutely terrible!

I keep editing this for new things:

No carpet? What? My entire house is carpeted...! So are my friends and families. Including my dutch family.

Almost every home built since 1999 has a dryer included. Houses older than this have them easily inserted. I have lived almost my entire life with a dryer (I am 21)

Closests.... I have "built in wardrobes". it's basically the same thing. My grandmas house does too, built in 1939....

I'm gonna stop here....

PS: If any of this was meant in jest, call my bluff and tell me to lighten up, but to be honest I think this is unrealistic when it comes to describing "Europe" Which is, by the way, 48 countries. Compare Spain to UK to Holland... totally different!


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK

Hi Kris,

Thanks for becoming a fan. You certainly seem to have excited the interest of all the hubbers either from Europe or with experience of living in Europe. The comparisons are interesting, and I'm sure they don't stop at apartments v. flats!


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

"Oh, and the pull-string switch for the electricity! Apparently, regular wall switches are not allowed in the bathrooms there."

That's right - you either have a cord to pull to switch the light on, or the ligh switch is outside the bathroom. For the same reason, you aren't allowed plug sockets in bathrooms, apart from the special shaver sockets.


livelonger profile image

livelonger 7 years ago from San Francisco

This is hilarious. I lived in Europe for 4 years and what you wrote is true. I happen to *love* dryers, and while they are rare in Europe, they can be found (most actually condense the resulting steam and require dumping of the water, instead of outputting hot, moist air).

Yes, ice is an American obsession. We apparently like our drinks very cold. :-)

Our lifestyles are generally more energy-intensive than they are in Europe, but not completely, and the answer is in technology and regulations. I read that California, uniquely, has not seen its energy usage per capita grow significantly since the 1970s, while the rest of the US has more than doubled. (In fact, Californians use less electricity per capita than "green" Denmark) California just forces manufacturers to make efficient products, and they comply.

One oddity in the UK, by the way: carpeted floors. I found that, um, unhygienic, esp near the tub and the *toilet*, but I guess your feet stay warm on cold days. Oh, and the pull-string switch for the electricity! Apparently, regular wall switches are not allowed in the bathrooms there.


KrisC profile image

KrisC 7 years ago Author

Again, I'm going to continue writing about this subject matter more often. I did not receive too much debate over this hub initially. Since I've made it to the nugget competition everyone has taken more interest in the Euro/USA debate.

I'll definitely write another hub on the contentious issue of universal health care versus privatized.

As for National Lampoon's European Vacation - of course I've seen it! Hilarious. Chevy Chase is the perfect American.

Thanks again everyone!!!


NDBEES profile image

NDBEES 7 years ago from DEVON

Have you been watching the film, National Lampoon's European Vacation?


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK

Kris C, I laughed right through your hub whilst simultaneously being out-raged that you can badmouth our lovely flats so readily! You're right that we don't have so much space here and that does limit our choices somewhat, but to be fair London is probably is not typical of the rest of the UK. You'd probably find something far more palatial for your money in say, Cardiff or Sheffield, or even Brighton. Don't let this hub put you off coming to Britain Ripplemaker. We have other great things that America does not, like Universal Health Care for starters!


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 7 years ago from California Gold Country

Seems like both sides could learn from each other. for one thing, those tiny electric water heaters that heat on an 'as needed' basis in Europe, seem like a much better idea than our humongous American water heater tanks.

Great hub.


KrisC profile image

KrisC 7 years ago Author

I actually lived in London for all of last year. An amazing experience. You just have to get used to a different standard of living...... Thanks again for all the support!


ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

Hi KrisC, this is interesting information. Now you are making me think twice about living in England. LOL Guess I just feel blessed to have a home with space and closets and all.

Also...Congratulations! Your hub has been chosen as one of the hubnuggets. Check funride's hub and cast your vote. :-)

Here is the link: http://hubpages.com/community/hubnuggets-jan12-200


KrisC profile image

KrisC 7 years ago Author

Wow. So many different comments. Thanks for the compliments! Everyone keeps writing about the economy and relationships. I chose the Europe/USA debate because it's a big one and will continue to intensify in 2009.


Dottie1 profile image

Dottie1 7 years ago from MA, USA

What a fun hub to read.  Who would have guessed from a title like this that one could laugh soo much.  Hmmmm, let's see, would I rather be a snot or an idiot? Ummmm, do I have another choice? LOL


Princessa profile image

Princessa 7 years ago from France

Very interesting. I have never seen a rubbish disposal on a sink sounds a bit like a horror movie where I would loose my fingers searching for my rings LOL.

As for the carpets, I am glad we do not use them in France, I find that the most anti- hygienic item of American homes. Nothing can be better than a freshly washed floor!

You made me laugh about Europeans taking even the kitchen sink when they move, it is true. When searching for houses in France, Italy and Spain I have visited many houses where the owners had taken even the toilet seats and all electricity connections with them LOL

Great hub, I enjoyed reading it.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 7 years ago from North America

Amaaing information. I'd never find it anyplace else!


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

Summary - "Europeans don't waste enough electricity for my liking....?"

Seriously, a lot of your points relate to less consumption than in the US, which seems like a good thing to me.


Lissie profile image

Lissie 7 years ago from New Zealand

Funny - though I can't see AC being required anywhere except maybe sothern Spain and there the buidling are usually constructed to not really require AC. The ice machine is definitly a US obsession - even in Australia they are rare - and we have a lot htter weather than most of the US - we just make ice in a tray - or buy a bag from a service station!


KrisC profile image

KrisC 7 years ago Author

Glad you guys enjoyed. I'm going to write more and more on this issue. Lots of interesting changes happening abroad.


glassvisage profile image

glassvisage 7 years ago from Northern California

So I guess I should be happy to live in a U.S. apartment :) Interesting idea for a Hub, and a great read!


Jery 7 years ago

Very good hub KrisC, I've never been to Europe, had an idea what it was like, but now I know. Very eye opening.

Jery

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