I am a rare breed: both European and American, the result of diplomat parents and a childhood spent in Europe and the US. German is my mother tongue, but America is my home country. Therefore, I understand both why Americans call Europeans "Eurotrash," and why Europeans do not get the term and are somehow insulted by it (don't be, it's all for love! - and no, it does not only refer to Posh & Becks). In this article, I will provide definitions of some of the types of Europeans that Americans like to call Eurotrash.

the artsy Eastern European girl

Main characteristics:

She is called something like Tatiana, Zuzana or Katarina and usually impresses right away with her gothic, cool appearance. She is notably mysterious about her life in Europe and only rarely reveals details about it – and when she does, you never quite know if she is telling the truth or not. She paints weird, creepy pictures of foetuses and two-headed animals and appears bored by her art classes. Once you get to know her, though, you are taken with her dark sense of humour, her sharp mind and her freakishly high tolerance of alcohol. (Around Christmas, her family will send her a package of local treats, including a homemade brandy that will make everyone but her see double and hallucinate about little Hungarian dwarfs, though she insists that the black, slimy liquid is "just like wine, really.")

Photo: Catherine Rankovic (CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0)
The sort of liquor that our artsy girl brushes her teeth with

Memorable quotes:

"My dad won a wrestling competition against Vladimir Putin while touring in Russia with his dancing troupe."

"I lived in Paris for a year with an extremely well known male author. Can't tell you who, though..."

"My ex-boyfriend dyes his shirts pink with his own blood. That's so boringly conformist and predictable!"

Favourite thing about USA:

We honestly do not know.

Called Eurotrash by:

Jealous American girls who think that their boyfriends are into her, and her art teacher – because he does not want to admit he doesn't get her art.

The Scandinavian guy who thinks he is an American frat boy after two weeks in college

Main characteristics:

He is called Mads, "but you can just call me Matt, duuude." He went to the USA to study because he watched basically every American frat boy movie in the world and wanted to be in the cast of American Pie (the first one, not the ones where they all have girlfriends and get married). Once settled in his fraternity dorm, he enthusiastically organises – and usually wins – beer pong tournaments, wet t-shirt competitions, and hot-dog-eating championships... Name any random activity, and Mads will burst out: "You know what, dude, that would be a really great theme for our next fraternity barbeque!" The only thing Mads is not enthusiastic about is studying, and the American educational system and its many tests do not agree with him at all.

Photo: Karen Neoh (CC-BY-SA 2.0)
Red Truck Beer Kegs, and lots of them - Mads' wet dream

Memorable quotes:

"Dude, did you see that girl? I bet she has breast implants!"

"Dude, I am so going to fail this test. Can you do something about it? Help a brother out, man!"

When honestly baffled by something: "Duuude…"

Favourite thing about USA:

The parties. The girls. The parties that girls actually attend.

Called Eurotrash by:

Somewhat intellectual American girls who will not admit that his blond, Nordic appearance actually attracts them.

The overly affectionate Southern European

Main characteristics:

Photo: TheDeliciousLife (CC-BY-2.0)
Among other things, Jorge's mama provides him with traditional E-Spanish chorizo

Jorge is from Spain, or E-Spain, as he adorably pronounces it. His slight lisp and his way of maintaining intense eye attracts a lot of girls, who find him dramatic and sensual. He has hour-long talks on the phone in which he passionately discusses something – even people who know Spanish will not be able to follow the conversation because he talks so fast. The girls who are into him will imagine that he is defending the rights of the less fortunate / the art museum that is about to be demolished / the poor shepherd from his mountain village. In fact, he is arguing with his mom about whether he is allowed to stay out past 10pm at weekends - even though she has no way of checking whether he actually follows her rules, he would never do something that would disappoint his mama.

Memorable quotes:

While maintaining intense eye contact: "Is your ‘amburger… Good?"

While maintaining intense eye contact: "I do not have any classes… Today."

While maintaining intense eye contact: "Okay, see you… Later."


Julie is 24 and originally from Germany, but she wrote this article from far away in California, USA. She's currently studying American literature and doesn't have much time to do anything else!

Asked what Europe means to her, she replies: "Living away from Europe, I'm almost jealous of people who live there in a way. Europe will always be my home (much more than Germany is), no matter where I live."

Favourite thing about USA:

The packages his mama sends him with local treats from E-Spain

Called Eurotrash by:

Latinos who think his lisp is ridiculous and that he is invading their territory by having a more intense gaze than them.

The French girl who loves nothing more than France

Main characteristics:

Régine is immensely attractive in an understated kind of way, but she always seems to be mildly dissatisfied about something. Her pout and way of looking away when people talk to her puts off a lot of people, but mostly because her disinterest in them makes them want to be her friend even more. Making her laugh will make your day. She is equally popular with guys and girls, who all imagine that because she is from France, she will be sexually liberal and will be able to teach them a few things. In fact, she is from a sleepy suburb of Lyon, where she grew up in a Catholic family. Her pride in her home country is often mistaken for nationalism even though she is probably the most sincere socialist any American will ever meet. She is the only person on this list able to tilt her head and with a lingering smile say: "Ah, that is so American" and make any American feel like she just called you Eurotrash.

Image: Ingres (PD)
Jeanne D'arc, Régine's idol. A French heroine, what's not to love?

Memorable quotes:

"Well, there is no doubt that modern philosophy is rooted in France. We would still be living in caves if it weren't for Descartes."

"Sartre is undoubtedly the most intelligent man who ever lived. And I don’t care if he adopted his mistress."

"Ah, you are going to a fraternity party? That is so… American."

Favourite thing about USA:

Finding true common ground with Americans by hating Canadians.

Called Eurotrash by:

Punks who think she is a French nationalist. Conservatives who think she is a communist.

BONUS: the Brit who insists on using British words and not American

"Blimey, it sure is parky weather, innit? That tosser in the lorry almost rode me down! Anyone up for catching a pint and watching the footy later? By the way, what is all this about Eurotrash? I'd rather call it… Continental rubbish!"

Front image: Madame Tafetán (CC-BY-NC-2.0)

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