Whether you’re in, out or on the fence, our relationship with Europe and theirs with us has been under a particularly strong, EU funded microscope recently. The debates have been done to death, with battle lines drawn in both metric and imperial, leaving no one’s dignity intact.
In an IDEAL world, there would be no us and them, just an amalgamative, harmonious one. We’ve made great use of that lovely, visa-free, automatic-right-of-admission travel to experience all that Europe has to offer, and along the way, have luxuriated in some routines we think would be ripe for integrating into British culture. So, with arms and minds wide open, here are 5 IDEAL European routines we should all embrace.
Vacay à la Français
The average French worker can expect 30 days a year of paid vacation, compared to around 20 days for most other European countries. What’s more, legal rulings in the country protect their right to be undisturbed by work when enjoying downtime. This, combined with a host of other benefits and perks for workers, means the French have a most favourable work/life balance and an ethos which is all about enjoying life; la joie de vivre, indeed.
Capitals on the continent are synonymous with cycling, with Copenhagen and Amsterdam perennially named as the most cycle-friendly cities on the planet. Indeed, on a recent list of the world’s 20 most bike-friendly cities, 85% (yes, 85!) were in Europe. The air feels clean, there’s less noise and the people have a healthy glow and toned frame – what more could you want?
Recycle Like A German
A commitment to sustainability seems engraved and ingrained in the German national consciousness, and this is no more apparent than in their obsession with recycling. Their system has been so effective, in fact, that they now have to import rubbish to keep their recycling plants operational.
The Danes and Norwegians have hggye. The Finns practice kalsarikannit. and the Swedes cherish fika. The Scandinavians, it seems, have a way of taking something completely habitual and mundane, giving it a name, and turning it into the ‘secret to their success’.
Fika is akin to a coffee break, but it’s so much more than that. It’s a state of mind; a commitment to unwinding and sharing downtime with colleagues, in turn creating a friendly, informal space where creativity can breathe and ideas percolate. No wonder then, that the Swedes are so often mentioned as the most creative country in the world.
Spanish Siestas & Fiestas
Although the siesta is rarely practiced with the regularity we like to assume in Spain, it’s a great idea for so many reasons. Not only have scientists confirmed the health benefits of a siesta, which include reduced stress levels as well as its ability to helps cardiovascular function and improve alertness and memory, an afternoon nap is just a delightful treat.
The Spanish ethos of late, leisurely dinners is also something we can very much get on board with. It promotes slow grazing, conversation, community, and a sense of celebration and fiesta – something us Brits admire about the Spanish a lot.
The interactive map below by Translate Media, who conducted a survey of 2,500 people across Europe, depicts just what it is that we Brits love so much about Europe and what they love about us in return. It found that one fifth of us praise Spain’s love for fiestas and it’s no wonder why – who doesn’t love a good party. So as Yusuf Bhana from TranslateMedia so perfectly puts ‘ let’s celebrate our differences and enjoy what each has to offer’. We think that embracing these 5 IDEAL European routines is the perfect place to start.