National Etiquette Differences in Europe
Etiquette in Europe is not uniform. Even the regions of Europe do not have common manners. For example, a Dane will prefer direct speech while a Finn will tend to prevaricate. Even within a single country there may be different customs, especially when there are different linguistic groups, as in Switzerland where there are French, German and Italian speakers.
Age and social context may determine the level and details of the customs which are followed. The age issue is clearly observable in countries that had have passed through some historical event, a war, revolution of a change in political systems, like previous satellites of the ex-USSR where there is a huge generational divide between those who grew up in the 'Communist era' and those who did not, the same is also valid to those under Fascist regimes, these deep social changes have an impact in what is deemed appropriate behavior in a society.
European etiquette globally[edit | edit source]
Many customs regarding good behavior have been exported to places with cultural traditions based in Europe, including America, Oceania, South Africa and so on. Therefore, much of this article is limited to the discussion of etiquette which is peculiar to only a particular part of Europe.
Generalizations[edit | edit source]
While Europe contains a wide variety of social traditions, it is also (excluding Russia) relatively compact, well-traveled and urbanized compared to many other continents or cultural areas. As such many expectations regarding etiquette are shared across Europe.
Avoid stereotypes and generalizations, because you are likely to cause offense to the country you are visiting and shows your country in a negative way.
Generalizations are never good, e.g. all British people drink tea with biscuits at least once a day etc. Just as not all Americans chew "spitting' tobacco" and wear cowboy hats there are cultural variations and you should never make an assumption asking is the safest thing to do.
Consideration[edit | edit source]
Etiquette begins with some sensitivity to the perceptions and feelings of others and the intention not to offend. Failing to thank and compliment a host, using a mobile phone in a theater, taking the last bit of a dish without offering it to others and many other examples of bad manners fall into this category.