We often read of things that are totally normal in America but look super crazy to the rest of the world. Like free refills, medical debts, the sheer portion sizes, you name it. But hey, the place and time is everything when it comes to which things we view as typical and which ones raise our brows.

So this time, we are setting our eyes on Europe and the weird customs, things, and manners people in its 44 countries have that look totally crazy to Americans. “What's considered normal in Europe but horrific in America?” someone asked on AskReddit, and 12.7k comments followed.

We picked some of the most telling and thought-provoking responses that prove European countries are also home to a bunch of weirdos!

#1

People Share 30 Things That They Think Are Normal In Europe But Horrific In America Old things. Houses especially. "Someone died in this house" yeah no s**t Sherlock, this house has been here more than your country

flawed_yet_fun , Mike Report

dom farque
Community Member
11 months ago

my house was built in 1677

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#2

People Share 30 Things That They Think Are Normal In Europe But Horrific In America The metric system

rmbl88 , pxfuel Report

Sam Yobado
Community Member
11 months ago

Favorite metric system quote is by Josh Bazell. “In metric, one milliliter of water occupies one cubic centimeter, weighs one gram, and requires one calorie of energy to heat up by one degree centigrade—which is 1 percent of the difference between its freezing point and its boiling point. ... Whereas in the American system, the answer to ‘How much energy does it take to boil a room-temperature gallon of water?’ is ‘Go f**k yourself,’ because you can’t directly relate any of those quantities.”

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#3

People Share 30 Things That They Think Are Normal In Europe But Horrific In America Taking the bus. There is so much stigma around public transport in the US, especially busses, and in Europe it's just a totally normal way to get around because nobody wants to deal with driving and parking in a big city.

Also from an employer's perspective: 25+ vacation days minimum for all employees and unlimited sick days. The absolute horror.

Zack1018 , Pofka Report

October
Community Member
11 months ago

This! When I was a nanny in the US, the family I worked for was always nagging me for using public transport. I never unederstood what the big deal was.

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#4

Songs with swear words being broadcasted on the radio, or swear words not being covered with a beep tone on tv. It’s always felt weird to me that Americans are all about being free and freedom of speech but then again they are scared of some stupid words.

Elisiana12 Report

Miss Cris
Community Member
11 months ago

And then we have our beloved bored panda censure... s**t!

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#5

People Share 30 Things That They Think Are Normal In Europe But Horrific In America Pro union laws. Pro worker labour laws. Mandatory paid vacation days (including fines for companies if the workers don't take their vacation days or get them payed out. They NEED to actually leave work legally for around 25 days per year).

AgarwaenCran , Alex Kotliarskyi Report

LH
Community Member
11 months ago

Rested and healthy employees = higher productivity. Who'd have thought?

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#6

People Share 30 Things That They Think Are Normal In Europe But Horrific In America Letting kids go to school or walk around the neighborhood by themselves without supervision.

A Dutch family moved to the USA and their kids went to school on their bikes like they always do, after a while the police showed up on their doorstep and child protective services letting them know they’re being irresponsible and to not do that again.

ik101 , Elizabeth Report

Roxy Eastland
Community Member
11 months ago

What???

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#7

People Share 30 Things That They Think Are Normal In Europe But Horrific In America Mailman doesnt leave packages unattended on your porch. He eather gives you it on the doorstep or you go get it at the post office. Much less infureating than getting it stolen or thrown accros your yard by a mailman...

haberg6 , MobiusDaXter Report

Fred L.
Community Member
11 months ago

Or, at least partially in Germany, leaves it with a neighbour.

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#8

People Share 30 Things That They Think Are Normal In Europe But Horrific In America Taking of your shoes when getting home.

Fliggan , Cade Martin Report

James016
Community Member
11 months ago

I'd rather not have muddy footprints/ dirt from outside around the house.

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#9

People Share 30 Things That They Think Are Normal In Europe But Horrific In America I don't know if this would horrify Americans as I've never heard it discussed, but where I live in Europe (Luxembourg), voting is mandatory and you can get fined for not voting in an election. You can still spoil your ballot, so you don't have to decide between lesser evils if you don't want to, but you have to make the effort to go to the polling station or submit a postal vote. It guarantees a high voter turnout and by extension more representative elections, coupled with a proportional voting system so we're not locked into a two-party mess like the UK or the US - not that it's without its issues of course, but I think it's an improvement.

MrLuxarina , Santeri Viinamäki Report

Caro Caro
Community Member
11 months ago

They should make this a European thing.

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#10

People Share 30 Things That They Think Are Normal In Europe But Horrific In America Being expected to know another language other than English.

Coygon , Thirdman Report

MiriPanda
Community Member
11 months ago (edited)

I think they meant: While it is normal for Europeans to speak at least one language other than their mother tongue, Americans are not expected to speak any other language than English.

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#11

At least in Germany, nudity. No one cares if you're naked, no one thinks you're a sex offender, no one thinks it's even sexual to be naked unless you're actively having sex, and no one makes it weird.

You can be naked in public parks to soak up sun, on beaches, swim naked in lakes. Saunas are all naked, mixed sex areas in spas and saunas are naked with no issues and in general, it's just not an issue.

climbmea Report

Tassenküchlein168
Community Member
11 months ago

At least where I live in Germany it’s NOT usual to be naked in parks or bathing naked in crowded places, except they’re designated as nude areas. Topless is tolerated in most urban parks, if you don’t Walk around. Otherwise it’s a "Public nuisance", which is an administrative offense and is punished by a penalty fee.

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#12

People Share 30 Things That They Think Are Normal In Europe But Horrific In America From what I’ve heard, allowing retail workers to sit. I’ve heard it’s regular for people to be sitting in Europe as cashiers, but in the us it is seen as lazy. Only store I know of that allows it is Aldi and that’s because it helps their cashiering metrics.

whovian1087 , Wolfmann Report

Natalie
Community Member
11 months ago

Seen as lazy, huh? So the management only have standing desks?

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#13

You don't have to answer your phone on vacation.

affo_ Report

Trillian
Community Member
11 months ago

Of course not. I am on VACATION.

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#14

People Share 30 Things That They Think Are Normal In Europe But Horrific In America The number of rooms in the description of apartments. 1 room in the US usually means 1 bedroom, a living room ,and separate kitchen. Was shocked when I realized it means everything inside one room in most European countries

coolth3 , Bromford Report

Robert T
Community Member
11 months ago (edited)

In the UK we normally describe properties as 1 bed, 2 bed etc. and give a separate count of other rooms. Studio is normally used to describe rooms of mixed use. So a 1 bed studio apartment will normally be a combined kitchen, living and sleeping space with a separate bath- or shower-room.

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#15

People Share 30 Things That They Think Are Normal In Europe But Horrific In America Open borders.

Starfuri , pxhere Report

Robert T
Community Member
11 months ago

I remember one work trip where I was in Germany, just over the border from France. All the staff were French and commuted across the border daily. Hell, we even went back across the border for lunch each day!

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#16

Not being super patriotic.

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Got Myself 4 Dwarves
Community Member
11 months ago

I love being Scottish, I love living here, the people (mostly), the accepting and open culture, the sarcastic swearing humour, that we can take the piss out of ourselves - but I don't feel the need to fly a flag on my doorstep or cover myself in Scottish symbols and scream about my freedom and rights and chant some verse every morning - im sure there are plenty of Americans who also think that the stereotypical over the top patriotic American is as odd as outsiders do - but they do tend to be the loudest

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#17

Long paid parental leaves and month long holidays (vacations).

sammacias Report

WilvanderHeijden
Community Member
11 months ago

Fun fact: These are all things that Unions achieved and next the government made them law. Some Americans would go bat shyte crazy over that. "The government has no right to force 25 mandatory vacation days on me!!!!"

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#18

People Share 30 Things That They Think Are Normal In Europe But Horrific In America Oh man... europe has so many different countries. Something that is completely normal where I live could be frowned upon as soon as I cross the next border. But in general we tip for good service, not bc we have to. A rude waitress won't get tipped by me. Also we usually remove our shoes before we enter a home. And yep, "free" healthcare.

ghost882 , Lee Haywood Report

Roxy Eastland
Community Member
11 months ago

Absolutely, what's acceptable in Spain wouldn't fly in Denmark and vice versa. All countries have their own cultures. The first time, years before the internet through reading American magazines, I came across 'Europe' being referred to as a homogeneous whole I was extremely confused. I was also highly entertained by all the adverts stating 'Everyone in Europe is using this product' for something I'd never seen in my life.

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#19

People Share 30 Things That They Think Are Normal In Europe But Horrific In America Not giving your debit/credit card to your server but doing it yourself

Ok-World-4822 , HLundgaard Report

Jon Steensen
Community Member
11 months ago (edited)

It prevents them from copying you card information and using them to commit fraud by buying stuff online with your creditcard information. In fact I think we ought to memorise the control numbers on the back of the card and then remove them for the card. Having them there is like writing the pin code on the card with a marker, it is just making abuse way too easy.

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#20

People Share 30 Things That They Think Are Normal In Europe But Horrific In America Sitting a foot away from a complete stranger and then completely ignoring them.

skelebabe95 , TheOtherKev Report

James016
Community Member
11 months ago

This is Rule 1 of the London Underground

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#21

People Share 30 Things That They Think Are Normal In Europe But Horrific In America Americans get so bend out of shape over naked children running around the beach.

On every beach in Bulgaria I've been, naked children is the norm, women sunbathing in monokini is considered absolutely normal, while naked men are okay only in the nude sections of the beaches. And every beach has a nude section.

gerginborisov , Charlottees Report

Caro Caro
Community Member
11 months ago

True. Topless is normal.

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#22

Smaller food portions

Sharp-Run-8670 Report

Pat Bond
Community Member
11 months ago

You mean normal portions.

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#23

Not enrolling your kid in extracurricular activities. In Europe, some kids are enrolled in a sport or club and the older ones are mostly responsible for getting there and figuring out their schedule. In America, some parents are so obsessed with kids sports that the whole family's existence revolves around it, or they get judgemental when they hear that a kid isn't involved in any sports or clubs.

cookiecutterdoll Report

lenka
Community Member
11 months ago

I am in the Netherlands and almost every kid I know does some kind of extracurricular sport. There are also special subsidies to make sure every kids even from low income families can participate. But we dont tend to get obsessive parents here.

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#24

People Share 30 Things That They Think Are Normal In Europe But Horrific In America Not doing small talk.

Thundechile , Tim Douglas Report

Daria Z
Community Member
11 months ago

Not smiling all the time, too.

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#25

Putting mayonnaise on french fries instead of ketchup.

actuallynotvictoria Report

tomandjerry56
Community Member
11 months ago

what about mayonnaise AND ketchup??

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#26

People Share 30 Things That They Think Are Normal In Europe But Horrific In America Almost every car having a manual transmission. when i visited ukraine, i only saw rich people with automatic cars

_doofus25_ , Rutger van der Maar Report

Moodles
Community Member
11 months ago

Personally, I dislike automatics. It makes me feel like I'm driving a go kart. If you're going to drive a car...well...drive it!

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#27

People Share 30 Things That They Think Are Normal In Europe But Horrific In America Charging for water at a restaurant.

dpstreetz , Pixabay Report

brukernavn340
Community Member
11 months ago

In Norway you'll get tap water when you ask for water, and that's free.

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#28

Bidets? I was born and raised in the US and I think they're efficient and far more hygienic than TP, but apparently most other dudes in this country think it's gay to clean up after your business is done lol

Vanatru Report

Ole Peder Amrud Hagen
Community Member
11 months ago

The only really gay thing I know is falling in love with someone of the same gender as yourself. If cleaning your ass after you've been to the toilet is 'gay' to you, you have some real issues.

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#29

People Share 30 Things That They Think Are Normal In Europe But Horrific In America In Germany, looking for a apartment doesn't automatically mean it will come 100% with a kitchen. 90% they don't have them in and you have to buy them yourself.

Ok_Context_732 , Marco Verch Report

Lila Launehase
Community Member
11 months ago

That's one of the most stupid things in Germany. The kitchen should belong to the apartment.

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#30

People Share 30 Things That They Think Are Normal In Europe But Horrific In America Underage drinking seems more of a crime in the US - in most cases of a kid is caught with alcohol in the UK it's just confiscated and poured away. Strictly speaking the age you can drink alcohol is really low as well, so long as you're home with a parent I think it's like 5/6. When you're in a restaurant you're also allowed low percentage alcohol like cider with a meal so long as you're with an adult.

AugustineBlackwater , Ketut Subiyanto Report

Francis
Community Member
11 months ago

in germany you're allowed to drink beer/wine with 14 when you're parents are around, at 16 without them and everything else at 18

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