Friday, May 16, 2008

Why Brits have no idea where they're going ...

Scary stuff. I know that I'm lucky enough to have travelled to lots of different countries and that I'm insanely interested in different countries, their location, their culture, their people ... and other people have, well, other interests. But the stats I just read from a survey are really scary. It was a survey of British people about their geographical knowledge of Europe, and some of the most frightening results include the following:
  • 45% couldn't identify Switzerland on a map
  • 19% didn't realise Britain is part of the European Union
  • 11% didn't have a clue that Iceland was part of Europe (most thought it was in North America)
  • 62% don't even bother to check a map after they book a holiday to somewhere in Europe
  • And the winner of the worst known destination is Lithuania, because 81% of people failed to find it on a map.
I have a little bit of sympathy for the Lithuania error: I remember when I was on my way there I kept reciting "Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania" so I could remember how they fitted in from north to south. But almost half couldn't even figure out where Switzerland was ... and a fifth don't know they're in the EU? Call me a travel snob or a geography know-it-all or whatever, but I think it's pretty shocking.

For the record, I definitely don't want to pick on the Brits, because I've seen similarly scary surveys of other nationalities, but really ... they do live in Europe so it wouldn't hurt to have a quick glance at a map now and again.


  1. are you sure we aren't talking about americans here!! lol

    That sounds like America! sorry the opera singer scared your cat...but isn't she good!!!

    ps- do you have stumbleupon?

  2. yeah, I've definitely seen similar reports about Americans! Actually I hate to think about what the results of a survey like that would be here in Australia, but I think the excuse of being a million miles away from everywhere does excuse people a little bit ......

  3. and what about "our" eternal problem: even top world politicians sometimes confuse Slovakia and Slovenia. and our flags and our flags and Russian one and...

  4. Peter, that's so true, when I tell people I used to live in Slovakia a lot of them are confused but I always educate them! So I'm doing my bit to sort out the confusion ... When I crossed into Latvia from Estonia and they saw my Australian passport, they thought I was from Austria ...


I love to hear from you ...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...