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

Old things. Houses especially. "Someone died in this house" yeah no s**t Sherlock, this house has been here more than your country

dom farque
Community Member
5 months ago

my house was built in 1677

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#2

The metric system

Community Member
5 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.”

Nirity
Community Member
3 months ago

Not true. To boil one gallon requires 7 mouse penises length of fuel in a 1860 standart bottle of coke. Burned in the time it takes 5 leaves to fall from a tree in autumn. When the sun is up enough to cast 11 thumbs of mid-aged male orangutan length shadow. If there is no earthquake in Turkey. So easy to calculate - why you can't.

Caro Caro
Community Member
5 months ago

YES

WilvanderHeijden
Community Member
5 months ago

Beats the system of 1 unit is about 6.7324 smaller units unless it's a Saturday and your name is Hieronymus in which case you have to divide gallons by the average weight of an unladen African swallow in full flight.

LAWLAWLAW
Community Member
5 months ago

The airspeed is 20.1mph if you're interested

Thomas Sweda
Community Member
5 months ago

In the metric system, 123 liters of water weigh 123 Kg, and take up .123 cu. cm of space. How long would it take the average American kid to learn that, over our stupid English/ American system?

Muff_Fluff
Community Member
5 months ago

Ughhhh, I know. Why not just SWITCH TO THE METRIC SYSTEM?

SykesDaMan
Community Member
5 months ago

I don't know about this one. I met a lot of Americans and they didn't think the metric system was horrific or even strange.

Honu
Community Member
5 months ago

I'm American. I learned the metric system in school. I prefer working in metric where I can. Stuff I do at my job is metric. I prefer recipes in metric. Imperial is a little more intuitive for me for some things since, despite learning metric in school, most folks in the US still use it. So I'm used to everyone stating their height in feet/inches and distances in miles, etc.

Sean Harrison
Community Member
5 months ago

Why don't people understand that we use both systems in the USA?

Michael Ellis
Community Member
3 months ago

You don't really. Let's admit it.

Ole Peder Amrud Hagen
Community Member
5 months ago

Which is funny, because the system actually makes sense, unlike imperial.

Aisling Raye
Community Member
5 months ago

Metric >>>>> Imperial. I'm an American and very upset with how we can't admit we're wrong and switch. (Yes I know we were going to but money to change signs blah blah... )

Honu
Community Member
5 months ago

I'm an American, too, and I was actually taught metric in elementary school as a child because there was a push at that time for us to go metric so it was mandatory in the curriculum. Sadly, that never happened. I'm 50, so this was back in the 70s.

Solidhog
Community Member
5 months ago

I really don't understand the hatred for the metric system? Counting in units 10 is the easiest thing to do. Well, it is for the rest of the world that can count.

M O'Connell
Community Member
5 months ago

I don't see it as hatred, but many people don't seem to understand the nominal changes that would need to be affected for that switch to metric to happen. Absolutely everything in the US revolves around the US standard system of measure. Changing to metric units would require one of two paths: 1. Changing every single standard dimension to a standard metric one; 2. Leaving the nominal dimensions the same, but using metric units. The latter seems pretty easy until you start seeing how many things which have been a round-number of inches for more than a century suddenly become 101.6mm. We can't make it 100, because then it won't be the same as everything else that's always been 4" (electrical boxes, for example, and the devices designed to fit within them). It's also much easier to do 4x3 than 101.6x3. Another example is that 1 acre is 43560 square feet (if you're dealing in land, you'll just remember that one). Hectares would be a much better unit to use, and the conversion isn't awful

Makabert Abylons
Community Member
5 months ago

The world finds it normal....

Community Member
5 months ago

In UK. Grew up with metric. Hate metric.

Faith Hurst
Community Member
5 months ago

I know both. No big deal. They are both just made up ways to refer to quantities. I like to push the narrative that different just means different.

Bob Belcher
Community Member
5 months ago

No, as an American I love the metric system. I known it just as good as the Imperal system. I also know the formula to convert a lot of measurements. Many Americans do as it's taught to us in grade school.

Andrew P Jump
Community Member
5 months ago

We use the metric system... for our ammo.

Jace
Community Member
5 months ago

Most things in the USA that matter are already metric. The government is metric. We have metric on most containers and measurement devices. The real problem is committing to replacing all the signage on our many roadways/highways. Those things cost a lot, much of it is state-funded, states hate conforming to federal mandates, and the conservatives usually get all Trumpy when it’s suggested to invest in such “wastefulness”.

Watching
Community Member
5 months ago

Well they damn sure hate investing in our country.

Nannerdog
Community Member
5 months ago

I have an idea! Instead of measuring things in meters, let's just measure some dude's FEET and use FEET instead!!

M O'Connell
Community Member
5 months ago

The imperial foot has long been defined as precisely 0.3048m

Frozengeckolover
Community Member
1 month ago

I'm an American, and I really wish we would switch to metric!

Rosemary Moreland
Community Member
3 months ago

We have the metric system here in Australia. But I still remember using standard measurements until about 1976 .

Giette Hulsbosch
Community Member
3 months ago

well, not just in Europe

HooowlAtTheMoon
Community Member
4 months ago

we use the metric system in my school a lot of the time, and im an american

Brooklyn
Community Member
5 months ago

This.🤣🤣🤣 Even as an American I find this hilarious😭✋

RCK
Community Member
5 months ago

Work of the devil.

Jarrod Nichols
Community Member
5 months ago

I'm American and use the metric system every day. This is waaaaay overblown.

Cee Mor
Community Member
5 months ago

I wish we had totally switched to the metric system when the usa tried to do...I was in 5th grade. I remember people saying it would cost too much to change all the signs...hint: they had already added the metrics to all the signs!

ben woskje
Community Member
5 months ago

The oatmeal has a great comic on this https://theoatmeal.com/pl/senior_year/science

Russell Bowman
Community Member
5 months ago

I still blame former President Carter ( 1977 to 1981 ) who stopped the U.S. transition to the netric system.

Rachael Denver
Community Member
5 months ago

shrugs

Community Member
5 months ago

to all americans: CENTIMETERS!

Santiago
Community Member
5 months ago

That the Americans still work with the imperial system is simply nonsense, inherited from the Middle Ages. But worst of all is the fact that sometimes this leads to big failures. Remember when a spacecraft sent to Mars crashed on landing because part of its software was written in the metric system and the other part was in the Imperial system. No one realized this and therefore there was no conversion system on board, and the lander made a large hole in the surface of Mars.

Frank Ropen
Community Member
5 months ago

Fun fact, all imperial units are defined using metric units. https://youtu.be/SmSJXC6_qQ8

Me Oh My
Community Member
5 months ago

But.. the scientists like it! I like it!

Burs
Community Member
5 months ago

There are many things that Us does better but the metric system is superior without a doubt.

g90814
Community Member
5 months ago

Name one thing we do better.

Wayne Basso
Community Member
3 months ago

We use the metric system in Canada, which is part of North America.

Szebastian-Jacint Stefan
Community Member
5 months ago

Americans use the British imperial system! Do they even know this?? And they think they are original! :)))) an it is a very complicated, and a medieval system!

Little Phoenix
Community Member
5 months ago

The "American" Imperial system makes no sense IMHO. How can the half of something ever be accurate?

Jon Steensen
Community Member
5 months ago (edited)

Way easier to work with than the emperical system. Most people are really bad at convertions, so it saves a lot of trouble when the convertion factors are always ten to some power, and hence the convention is just a matter of moving the decimal point. It also gets rid of all those rediculous fractions which some people have a hard time handeling. compairing two decimal numbers can be done at a glance whereas saying if 47/48 is bigger or smaller than 93/96 requires some hard work. Americans should at least try using the metric system for a period of time before just ruling it out because it is unfamiliar an therefore quickly deemed as weird.

M O'Connell
Community Member
5 months ago

It's somewhat less complicated than people from metric parts of the world make it out to be. Fractional measurements are always in base-8: 1/8, 1/16, 1/32, 1/64 which makes it relatively easy. Fractions are incredibly common in woodworking and construction because they are easy to measure on the fly. In engineering or any sort of precision work, we use decimals. My work is generally in the 0.001-0.005" (thousandths) tolerance range (~0.03-0.13mm). High-precision machined parts might go down into the 0.0001 (ten-thousandths, .0025mm).

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#3

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.

October
Community Member
5 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.

Miss Cris
Community Member
5 months ago

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

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#5

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).

LH
Community Member
5 months ago

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

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#6

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.

Roxy Eastland
Community Member
5 months ago

What???

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#7

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...

Fred L.
Community Member
5 months ago

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

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#8

Taking of your shoes when getting home.

James016
Community Member
5 months ago

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

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#9

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.

Caro Caro
Community Member
5 months ago

They should make this a European thing.

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#10

Being expected to know another language other than English.

MiriPanda
Community Member
5 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.

Tassenküchlein168
Community Member
5 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

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.

Natalie
Community Member
5 months ago

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

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#13

Trillian
Community Member
5 months ago

Of course not. I am on VACATION.

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#14

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

Robert T
Community Member
5 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

Open borders.

Robert T
Community Member
5 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.

Got Myself 4 Dwarves
Community Member
5 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).

WilvanderHeijden
Community Member
5 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

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.

Roxy Eastland
Community Member
5 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

Not giving your debit/credit card to your server but doing it yourself

Jon Steensen
Community Member
5 months ago

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 to easy.

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#20

Sitting a foot away from a complete stranger and then completely ignoring them.

James016
Community Member
5 months ago

This is Rule 1 of the London Underground

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#21

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.

Caro Caro
Community Member
5 months ago

True. Topless is normal.

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#22

Smaller food portions

Pat Bond
Community Member
5 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.

lenka
Community Member
5 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

Not doing small talk.

Daria Z
Community Member
5 months ago

Not smiling all the time, too.

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#25

Putting mayonnaise on french fries instead of ketchup.

tomandjerry56
Community Member
5 months ago

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#26

Almost every car having a manual transmission. when i visited ukraine, i only saw rich people with automatic cars

Moodles
Community Member
5 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

Charging for water at a restaurant.

brukernavn340
Community Member
5 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

Ole Peder Amrud Hagen
Community Member
5 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

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.

Lila Launehase
Community Member
5 months ago

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

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#30

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.

Francis
Community Member
5 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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