Mapping Stereotypes, an internet sensation from graphic designer Yanko Tsvetkov

Part of the fun of traveling is discovering how well (or not) national stereotypes hold up. I can’t help but laugh when I meet a German traveler who insists on always being on time, or an Australian who loves to party, or a Brit with a dry sense of a humor. For some people, the farther they venture from home, the more their native country becomes apparent.

Some stereotypes, of course, are malicious and lead to lazy thinking and prejudice. But others, the relatively benign stereotypes, can be the source of laughs. In a recent project called Mapping Stereotypes, the Bulgarian graphic designer Yanko Tsvetkov demonstrates that people of all countries are guilty of stereotypical thinking about one another. But different countries have different stereotypes for each other. In the U.S., as shown by Tsvetkov’s map Europe According to the United States of America (above), France is known for its “smelly people” and Italy is just like The Godfather. But Russians think of France as full of “fashion victims” and Italy as one large shopping center.

Tsvetkov’s project, according to this recent article in the Telegraph, has blossomed into an internet sensation, garnering over a half-a-billion hits on his personal website in the last year.

For more, check out Europe According to Britain, Europe According to France, and Europe According to Poland.

[image above from Yanko Tsvetkov]