Cultural differences are what makes us all unique and what greatly contributes to the excitement of travelling when you get to discover some particularities of a destination that aren't too or at all common in your home country. Eating rotten fish might sound slightly (and literally) off to you, but it’s totally normal in Sweden. Having two passports from the same country is common in Russia, but might not exist where you live. And the practice of eating fried Mars bars might not be the most popular one in North America, but it’s common in Scotland, or seeing police driving Lamborghini as their work car in Italy might not be seen anywhere else.

Check out the list of some strange things from that are only common in certain countries, vote for the weirdest ones, and let us know if you've experienced them in the comments.

#1

Luxembourg's Public Transportation Is Free

Luxembourg's Public Transportation Is Free

In 2020, the public transport was made free for all locals and visitors alike.

Wikimedia Commons Report

Hans
Community Member
2 months ago

The efficiency gains must be tremendous.

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#2

Nepal's Flag Is Non-Rectangular

Nepal's Flag Is Non-Rectangular

The only modern country in the world with a non-quadrilateral flag is Nepal and it is said to derive from Hinduism.

Balathasan Sayanthan Report

Sum Guy
Community Member
1 month ago

Stop trying to fit in... do your own s**t

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#3

There’s A Lamborghini In The Italian Police Fleet

There’s A Lamborghini In The Italian Police Fleet

A few years ago, a Lamborghini was added to the police vehicle fleet in Italy, and it’s probably quite fast and, well, impressive to look at.

massimomormile Report

mulk
Community Member
2 months ago

I think they have only one Lamborghini

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#4

In Scandinavian Countries, Parents Leave Their Kids To Nap Outside In Cold Temperatures

In Scandinavian Countries, Parents Leave Their Kids To Nap Outside In Cold Temperatures

Most Scandinavian parents think that it's healthier to expose their children to as much fresh air as possible. Therefore, they leave them outside to take their naps.

Bjonsson Report

Mere Cat
Community Member
1 month ago

A Finn here. I know babies that didn't want to nap inside at all, my sister's kid as one of them. Slept like a dream outside, even in extremely cold weather. And was completely warm and happy when woke up. It's all about proper clothing, sleeping bags etc. :)

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#5

In Japan, Traffic Lights Seem To Be Blue

In Japan, Traffic Lights Seem To Be Blue

As the word for green originally didn't exist till later and 'blue' was used to refer to both green and blue, Japan uses the most blue shade of green that is legally possible.

David McKelvey Report

Titas Burinskas
BoredPanda Staff
2 months ago

Actually, it's quite colorblind-friendly.

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#6

Bathtubs Made Of Wood Are Used In Japan

Bathtubs Made Of Wood Are Used In Japan

The ofuro baths are for sitting and soaking in hot water and are not frequently found around the world.

Wikimedia Commons Report

Foxxy (The Original)
Community Member
2 months ago

Very tiny bath tub. Don't think my fat a**e would even fit in lol.

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#7

Colombians Drink Hot Chocolate Cheese

Colombians Drink Hot Chocolate Cheese

The sweet cocoa drink is consumed with savory cheese slices. And if you've tried it, you know that it's quite delicious, but surely not common elsewhere.

einalem Report

Iggy
Community Member
2 months ago

This actually sounds fantastic.

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#8

In France, Milk Is Not Refrigerated

In France, Milk Is Not Refrigerated

Most of the milk sold in France is pasteurised at UHT (ultra high temperature) and therefore doesn't have to be stored in cold.

nikolai chernichenko Report

Shelp
Community Member
2 months ago

...and doesn't look like that either

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#9

Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu

Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu

This place in New Zealand is said to have the longest name and it's 85 characters. Have you tried to pronounce it?

Wikimedia Commons Report

Shelp
Community Member
2 months ago

Well it seems quite easy to pronounce, consonant/vowel/consonant/vowel etc. Just take a deep breathe and go

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#10

People In The UK Have A Competition To Roll After A Giant Cheese Wheel

People In The UK Have A Competition To Roll After A Giant Cheese Wheel

The annually held Cooper's Hill Cheese-Rolling is a competition where people race down the 200-yard hill chasing a giant wheel of cheese.

Dennis Lam Sweden Report

Jayne Kyra
Community Member
2 months ago

And in 2020 they rolled a Babybel cheese down the hill since the event had to be cancelled.

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#11

Some East Asian Countries Wore Face Masks Pre-Pandemic

Some East Asian Countries Wore Face Masks Pre-Pandemic

In countries like South Korea, for the safety of others, people would wear face masks even when having a common cold prior to the pandemic.

Gayatri Malhotra Report

Sum Guy
Community Member
1 month ago

And I think it should be common practice when you have a common cold

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#12

In The Netherlands, Stairs Are Usually Very Steep And Narrow

In The Netherlands, Stairs Are Usually Very Steep And Narrow

To some foreigners, staircases in the Netherlands might look more like a health risk than anything. Historically, the buildings were built up rather than out, saving all the centimeters possible.

Kirsten Loza Report

Hecking Heavy
Community Member
1 month ago

Fall down the stairs with more fall this time! Yay!

RoseTheMad
Community Member
1 month ago

To be honest, this is pretty common in a lot of older European buildings, iirc.

H Edwards
Community Member
1 month ago

These tiny steep stairs are built into modern Dutch houses as well, though.

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Anouk Linthorst
Community Member
1 month ago

The stairs in the picture is not that steep? Or is this just my dutch mind accustomed to these stairs? I see these all the time. The horrible ones are the ones you have to go down the same way you go up, 'cause your heels don't fit!

Up All Night
Community Member
1 month ago

How to spot the Dutch: "This is not THAT steep" 😂

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Zoe's Mom
Community Member
1 month ago

My understanding is due to taxes. Taxes are paid on square feet so everyone builds 'up'. I stayed in a home in Amsterdam that had stairs just like this. I had to walk up backwards so I could pull my small piece of luggage up. Aside from that, it was a lovely place to stay and I really enjoyed Amsterdam.

Dynein
Community Member
1 month ago

In a lot of European towns with medieval town centers, you'll notice houses where the upper stories are broader than the ground floor. That was also a very common attempt to get more square meters out of your property.

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Iván Galarraga
Community Member
1 month ago

Yeap, that's is meant for better defense against sword armed knights attacking your house (¬‿¬) https://www.thevintagenews.com/2016/08/03/the-secrets-of-medieval-castles-stairs-are-built-in-a-clockwise-fashion-for-a-very-good-reason/

m squared
Community Member
1 month ago

They like to live dangerously in the Netherlands

Nikki Owens
Community Member
1 month ago

I like these stairs better, personally.

Rens
Community Member
1 month ago

I lived in the Netherlands for 12 years and my house was built in the 80s and it had a staircase like this from the ground floor to the first floor and an even steeper one that twisted 180° from the first floor to the second.

Ozacoter
Community Member
1 month ago

Yes. I lived in a house from the 70s and the stairs were impossible. Then I lived in two modern houses and while they were a bit better they were still extremely steep

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GVL
Community Member
1 month ago

Also in other places like Canada, S Korea, France and many other countries outside the USA.

Nevits Yibble
Community Member
1 month ago

As someone who's dined upstairs at De Groene Lanteerne (over and over - I love that place), I can vouch for this!

Marilyn Ransberry
Community Member
1 month ago

How do old people cope?

Leo Domitrix
Community Member
1 month ago

Makes sense to me.!

I want cake
Community Member
1 month ago

We viewed a house (in the Netherlands) and the stairs were pretty much a ladder. We noped out of that one very quickly.

ArhomR
Community Member
1 month ago

That fall would break your tailbone in a heartbeat. Ouch!!

Ellen Ranks
Community Member
1 month ago

I am Dutch and I have stairs like this. They are quite common in older houses. I slipped and fell down on them several times. Now put special anti-slip paint on mine.

InfectedVoice
Community Member
1 month ago

Anything to do with the Dutch being the tallest country maybe?

Up All Night
Community Member
1 month ago

If you're tall (and have big feet) it's even worse!

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Amyah Labrèche-Docq
Community Member
2 weeks ago

How do they bring big matresses and furniture up these steps? A place for an IKEA bedroom? 😀

Bill Anderson
Community Member
1 month ago

Because of taxes, floor area cost money but height was free, so tall and tight was the way to go...

I_put_the_ace_in_disgrace
Community Member
1 month ago

This is because in the 18th/19th century, you had to pay more for broader land, but the height did not matter. There are also some cities that still have (some of) these houses, for example Amsterdam and Leiden

SoozeeQ
Community Member
1 month ago

Can you imagine taking up somebody a tea tray?!

Stannous Flouride
Community Member
1 month ago

Buildings were taxed according to how much street space they took up.

Mark Kelly
Community Member
1 month ago

People must have the most tired legs and bad knees there.

Karin Jansen
Community Member
1 month ago

Ouch! Dutchy here with the steepest staircase ever and now - prapapapum - a busted knee. This hit me right in the feels.

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Franc Esca
Community Member
1 month ago

In Belgium as well. Horrible!

A_BadlyDrawnBearPic
Community Member
3 weeks ago

My friend's house in the US looks like this ;-;

Jane Moore
Community Member
1 month ago

Stayed in a Youth HOstel 6 years back - great place to stay but oh my oh my the stairs nightmare

Derek Clark
Community Member
1 month ago

You ain't seen nothing yet, those stairs are not steep to us Dutchies.

Robert Hebert
Community Member
1 month ago

And the shower is over the toilet...

Mare Freed
Community Member
1 month ago

I would die on those.

Cheryl Fontaine
Community Member
1 month ago

Actually that looks very much the same as my staircase here in the U.S. - the house was built about 60 years ago.... fell down the entire flight once, didn't break anything but was covered in bruises from head to foot...

Jane Petersen
Community Member
1 month ago

Moreso in Iceland.

Anna Repp
Community Member
1 month ago

I remember noticing that when I visited Amsterdam!

Barbara Vandewalle
Community Member
1 month ago

My cousins house had narrow stairs were straight and did not curve.,

markdorlas.ml@gmail.com
Community Member
1 month ago

Very true and terribly so!

Freya Fluharty
Community Member
1 month ago

Imagine moving and dealing with wardrobes et al.

shaDoria
Community Member
1 month ago

old folks with bad knees are screwed...

DC
Community Member
1 month ago

... every sqare inch of the netherlands is fought off the ocean. No wonder they try to use it as efficient as possible!

IAmKaLm
Community Member
1 month ago

They really wanna watch the world burn.

Stannous Flouride
Community Member
1 month ago

This comment has been deleted.

Rissie
Community Member
1 month ago

Maybe in older buildings, but that's hardly a Dutch thing.

Ans W
Community Member
1 month ago

In old houses you hold on when going down hahah

Hutt'nKloas
Community Member
1 month ago

That's why a banister is essential

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Strahd Ivarius
Community Member
1 month ago

I'm pretty sure they started doing it before the centimeter was invented...

Martha Hubbs
Community Member
1 month ago

With my mobility issues, that's one repeated concussion all the way down! Or open head trauma with a broken everything below my neck!!

Altea
Community Member
1 month ago

well, like many stairs in the Uk and Ireland

BlackPearltheSeaWing/NightWing
Community Member
1 month ago

I can never own a house in the netherlands with stairs in it. I would probably kill myself

Marissa Taylor
Community Member
1 month ago

o.o call the break neck dos DX i know my accident prond but wouldn't last a day lol and lorady hope your furnitures is light and thin

Asy EnderDragon
Community Member
1 month ago

my aunt had a house with that kind of stairs. she moved because her 1-year-old child almost fell down the stairs multiple times

Kirsten Kerkhof
Community Member
1 month ago

That is very rare and only really found in the old canal houses in Amsterdam. And in my late grandmother's house which had lethal stairs for no apparent reason ...

Marcellus the Third
Community Member
1 month ago

Nonsense. All 1910---1930 houses in Oud Zuid are the same, super steep outside stone staircases, as well as similar age in The Hague etc. It's just pre-code. Also building 3 houses on the footprint of 2 causes things like that. In the UK, irregular staircases were a big hidden killer in the Victorian age -- people just put up with that.

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#13

In Ecuador, The Trash Trucks' Tune Is Similar To What Ice Cream Trucks Play In The USA

In Ecuador, The Trash Trucks' Tune Is Similar To What Ice Cream Trucks Play In The USA

If you are visiting Ecuador, you might mistake the garbage truck tune with an ice cream tune and get highly disappointed.

natibal Report

Foxxy (The Original)
Community Member
2 months ago

Thank f**k our trucks don't have a tune, especially when they can come at 6am.

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#14

You Can Walk From The North To The South Of Monaco In About An Hour

You Can Walk From The North To The South Of Monaco In About An Hour

Due to the size of this country, you can easily walk the length of the whole country. How convenient!

Google Maps Report

Hecking Heavy
Community Member
1 month ago

Vatican City is also another country you can walk across in less than 60 minutes!

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#15

There Are 'Bra Studies' In Hong Kong

There Are 'Bra Studies' In Hong Kong

At Hong Kong polytechnic, you can major in Bra Studies, where Top Form manufacturer has its lab and factory.

tinaxduzgen Report

Iggy
Community Member
2 months ago

That was uplifting.

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#16

In Italy, Restaurants Include Service Charge

In Italy, Restaurants Include Service Charge

You are not expected to tip in Italy as it is quite normal for the service charge to be added to the bill.

tripadvisor Report

Shelp
Community Member
2 months ago

Same in most of Europe as far I know. I don't even understand how people in the US can expect the waiters to rely uniquely on tips in order to survive, and how some people still want to do that job.

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#17

In Italy Cappuccino Is More Of A Breakfast Drink

In Italy Cappuccino Is More Of A Breakfast Drink

Italians associate milk with mornings; cappuccinos are traditionally drank as a morning beverage.

Wikimedia Commons Report

Foxxy (The Original)
Community Member
2 months ago

I always thought espressos were a morning drink to get you going.

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#18

Fried Mars Bars Are A Thing In Scotland

Fried Mars Bars Are A Thing In Scotland

This food item of questionable health value originated in Scotland in a fish and chips shop. It's battered and deep-fried. Would you like to try?

Peter Shanks Report

Iván Galarraga
Community Member
1 month ago (edited)

it's actually quite delicious, but wait till cool down unleast you want to burn your tongue with hot chocolate

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#19

In Thailand, There Is A Nationwide Water Fight In April

In Thailand, There Is A Nationwide Water Fight In April

If you are into water fights as much as Thai people, you should participate in Songkran, the Thai New Year's national holiday (13th of April). The water fight is a part of ritual cleansing during the celebration period.

Phuket@photographer.net Report

Foxxy (The Original)
Community Member
2 months ago

Sounds like fun, I know my kids would have a blast.

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#20

Bamboo Poles Are Used As Drying Rails In Singapore

Bamboo Poles Are Used As Drying Rails In Singapore

Don't be surprised seeing clothing drying on bamboo poles in this country—the bamboo material is widely available, making it quite a popular tool to dry things.

Wikimedia Commons Report

Mike Morton
Community Member
1 month ago

Oh hey that's my country

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#21

In Thailand, People Remove Their Shoes Before Entering A Building

In Thailand, People Remove Their Shoes Before Entering A Building

One of the things related to feet etiquette in Thailand is taking one's shoes off before entering a building—that's to keep dirt from the outside outdoors.

Wikimedia Commons Report

Mia Quest
Community Member
2 months ago

All Arabs and Asians do that too :)

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#22

There Are No Street Names In Costa Rica

There Are No Street Names In Costa Rica

Although some streets might have names, they might not necessarily have signs, so the addresses in Costa Rica are still described by local landmarks.

Wikimedia Commons Report

M O'Connell
Community Member
1 month ago

It appears that mailing addresses are on a grid, regardless of the street pattern. I have relatives who live in a US municipality that does this too.

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#23

In Some Parts Of Highways In Germany, Speed Limit Is Only A Recommendation

In Some Parts Of Highways In Germany, Speed Limit Is Only A Recommendation

On the federal highway system AKA autobahn in Germany, the speed limit in certain places is only a recommendation and drivers can choose to drive as fast as they want.

Wikimedia Commons Report

Ritchat
Community Member
2 months ago

That's not 100% correct. We do have speed limit on the Autobahn and they have to be obeyed. But we do have a sign that cancels the last speed limit. THEN you are allowed to drive as fast as you want. So it's only allowed on specific sections of the Autobahn.

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#24

In Slovakia, A Live Carp Is Kept In A Bathtub Before Preparing It For Christmas Dinner

In Slovakia, A Live Carp Is Kept In A Bathtub Before Preparing It For Christmas Dinner

A Christmas tradition in Slovakia is letting the carp that is meant for dinner swim in the bathtub for a few days to clean its tract, since it's a bottom feeder. And, well, people don't take baths unless they want to share the tub with a fish.

Andrij Bulba Report

Jayne Kyra
Community Member
2 months ago

It is also killed in the tub and people keep a scale from the carp in their wallet to attract money. Thankfully, we have never done it, but it is still a thing.

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#25

Sitting In A Sauna In Finland Can Be A Competition

Sitting In A Sauna In Finland Can Be A Competition

World sauna endurance championships were so famed that people from different countries would compete in this extreme activity in the homeland of saunas—Finland.

Hotel Arthur Report

Foxxy (The Original)
Community Member
2 months ago

If I remember rightly a guy died a year or two ago whilst doing one of these competitions. I can barely last 5 mins in a sauna.

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#26

People In The Netherlands Don't Use Curtains

People In The Netherlands Don't Use Curtains

It seems that the Dutch don't mind people looking into their homes. This might be coming from Protestant religious traditions and the notion of 'I have nothing to hide.'

storebukkebruse Report

Foxxy (The Original)
Community Member
2 months ago

Eek, I would absolutely hate that.

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#27

Russians Have 2 Passports

Russians Have 2 Passports

Citizens of Russia have two passports: one national passport that serves more like an ID and a passport for travelling abroad.

mmamontov Report

Samantha PandaNotBored
Community Member
1 month ago

The Russian train stations are something else . Each one different, each one beautiful. You can travel from Moscow to St Petersburg economy for around £4 Stay in a YMCA instead of a small room , they are much cleaner and very cheap . The Russians have a wonderful dessert , it’s like a doughnut, but much much more yummy . Cheap too !

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#28

South Koreans Think That Writing In Red Ink Is A Bad Omen

South Koreans Think That Writing In Red Ink Is A Bad Omen

In the past, writing someone's name in red in the book registry meant that the person is deceased.

Crystal Report

mulk
Community Member
2 months ago

"red pen shop": oooooh noooooooo

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#29

In Brazil, Hair Lightening Is Just As Popular As Hair Removal

In Brazil, Hair Lightening Is Just As Popular As Hair Removal

Some women in Brazil like to bleach their body hair rather than remove it completely in order to keep the light fuzz.

Andrey Report

Iggy
Community Member
1 month ago

It's a good idea. A lot less painful.

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#30

Unmarried 25-Year-Olds In Denmark Get Covered In Cinnamon

Unmarried 25-Year-Olds In Denmark Get Covered In Cinnamon

This messy tradition derives from spice sellers in 16th-century Denmark who were famed to be single and were called 'pepper men' and this makes a perfect extra excuse to party more. So why not?

Steven Worster Report

Birgit M
Community Member
2 months ago

Whoa! I once had a Tequila Gold that comes with a piece of orange covered in cinnamon. I accidentally inhaled a tiny bit of that powder and nearly choked to death!

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#31

Some Streets In Japan Don’t Have Names

Some Streets In Japan Don’t Have Names

Due to the different addressing system in Japan, the blocks have names instead of the spaces between them (streets).

wikipedia Report

Nizumi
Community Member
1 month ago

I vaguely remember that addressing mail in Japan works like this: Country, province, city, ward, block, house, person. Kind of a "drill down" method of writing the address. Neat!

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#32

People In Singapore Reserve Seats In Public Eateries

People In Singapore Reserve Seats In Public Eateries

As you need to order food from the counter and risk not being able to find a seat, Singaporeans leave anything from umbrellas to packs of tissues to maintain seats reserved for when they return with their purchased meal.

CELSprojects Report

Dark_flame
Community Member
2 months ago

Not limited to Singapore, I'd say... I'm from Northern Europe and it isn't an uncommon custom here

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#33

There's A Dessert In Turkey That Contains Chicken Breast

There's A Dessert In Turkey That Contains Chicken Breast

Shredded chicken breast in a milk dessert, anyone? Tavuk göğsü is a sweet served in Turkey that might be not to everyone's taste.

a 1 u c a r d Report

Foxxy (The Original)
Community Member
2 months ago

Doesn't sound very appealing.

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#34

While Taking Photos, Dutch Say “Smile At The Little Bird”

While Taking Photos, Dutch Say “Smile At The Little Bird”

Surprisingly, instead of saying "cheese" (after all, a lot of cheese is made in the Netherlands), the Dutch say "Lach eens naar het vogeltje" ("Smile at the little bird").

Shim Report

Russell Ellwardt
Community Member
2 months ago

Because, in the 19th century when photos were taken in studios with long exposures, photographers had a little bird figure indeed to focus people's attention and thus their view. This is not a Dutch thing. Just like most entries in this thread, this one is crap.

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#35

In Sweden, Rotten Fish Is A Food Item

In Sweden, Rotten Fish Is A Food Item

Lightly salted and fermented Baltic sea herring has been in Swedish cuisine since the 16th century and it's famed for its extremely particular taste.

Wikimedia Commons Report

Dark_flame
Community Member
2 months ago

I don't know anyone who's tasted it tho, born and raised in the capital of Sweden

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#36

Swedes Cool Their Drinks Outside

Swedes Cool Their Drinks Outside

A perk of having cold winters in Sweden is that you can cool your drinks outside in the snow. Perhaps a few countries take advantage of infinite alcohol cooling opportunities outdoors.

GregMontani Report

Dark_flame
Community Member
2 months ago

Think this might be quite usual in most countries with cold winters?

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#37

In The Netherlands, It's Common To Answer The Phone With 'Hoi'

In The Netherlands, It's Common To Answer The Phone With 'Hoi'

No matter how bizarre it sounds, it's normal for the Dutch to answer the phone with the very old-school 'hoi,' that even gave the roots for the nautical term 'ahoy.'

idleman Report

A H
Community Member
1 month ago

I live here in the Netherlands, speak Dutch, and I don't understand how this is weird. "Hoi" just means hi and it isn't 'old school' at all

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#38

The UK And Some Other Countries Still Drive On The Left Side

The UK And Some Other Countries Still Drive On The Left Side

Driving on the left side of the road is a feudal heirtage of the days when it was more convenient to hold and use swords in the right hand and have any opposing traffic on the same side in order to fight them.

David Dixon Report

All Lives Matter
Community Member
2 months ago

Yes we do, is this weird??

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#39

The Swedish Use A Special Cheese Slicer Instead Of A Knife

The Swedish Use A Special Cheese Slicer Instead Of A Knife

The Swedish are so serious about cheese that they use a cheese slicer (which is said to have been invented by Norwegians) instead of a regular knife.

Wikimedia Commons Report

Dark_flame
Community Member
2 months ago

Didn't know this was uncommon in other countries, they seem to be available in other European countries as well?

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