What Every Country in the European Union Is Best At
The European Union has 28 member countries, and much like snowflakes, they’re all special in their own way. You already know what each country is worst at. Well, every country excels at something, too -- and to that end, we found one thing every EU nation is the best at... even if it's having the most experience working with robots.
Click here to see the full map, or on the stats to see the methodology.
Austria: Lowest unemployment
During the past year, Austria had the lowest unemployment rate at an average of 4.9%. Compare that to Greece's unemployment rate, which NASA is still trying to calculate.
Belgium: Most recycling
Originally, it looked like Belgium was going to reign as "Most Van Damme." But alas, Time Cop is pretty much Hollywood-only these days. Instead, Belgians ranked best at recycling packaged waste. They may not be burning their trash like the Swedes, but Belgians sure do know what to do with those boxes they get from Amazon.
Bulgaria: Cheapest electricity
Bulgaria is the place to be if you've got a roommate who never shuts off the lights after leaving the room. The only problem: it means you live in Bulgaria.
Croatia: Least noisy housing
Croatians get the most peace and quiet, with only 10% reporting they suffer from hearing noise at home. But what about houses with super creaky floors, eh, Croatia? What about that?
A whopping 78% of Cypriots said they have no problem distinguishing and handling euro coins, and 91% said they could distinguish and handle euro notes. Which makes a ton of sense, seeing how big of a tax haven the country is. Cyprus is more than willing to help you handle your dough.
Czech Republic: Best at drinking beer
Out of all the things to be best at, the Czech Republic has the coolest bragging rights. Czechs have the highest per capita beer consumption in the world, at a yearly rate of 148.6 liters per capita. And all this in a country without sororities or fraternities.
Denmark: Most dancing and singing
Here's a sleeper statistic: 35% of Danes report having danced in the past 12 months, and 38% report having sung. If you were to lay odds on which countries did these most frequently, Greece would be a 2:1 favorite, Italy at 5:1, and Denmark would be 400:1. Thanks for being good at everything, Denmark.
Estonia: Least wasteful
Belgians might recycle more than anyone else, but the good people of Estonia are the least wasteful altogether. Just imagine Estonia as your neighbor who squirrels away old lawnmower parts, only to figure out how to get your broken down car running again with them in six months.
Finland: Most tourists
Finland: Tourism capital of Europe. It's true. Well, in terms of residents who actually go on trips, seeing how 88.5% of Finns have taken an overnight trip for personal tourism in the past 12 months. That's gotta be some kind of record.
France: Lowest obesity rate
It’s hard to believe a country that was founded on soft cheese, baguettes, and surrendering could have the lowest obesity rates in Europe -- but it's true. Perhaps France just had eating well down to a science before junk food really came into the picture.
Germany: Happiest with employment
This is the least shocking "best" on this list. The most highly populated country in the EU, Germany, still manages to have enough jobs to go around. Germans = efficient.
Greece: Lowest rate of tuberculosis
Here are three things Greeks love: eating food their mothers made, talking smack about the Turks, and not having tuberculosis. The country has a rate of only 5 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.
Hungary: Least illegal spending
Everybody pays for things that don’t get taxed sometimes, like when you pay a babysitter, buy from a lemonade stand, or decide it’s easier to just hire henchmen and pay them in sacks of money with "$$$" printed on the side. Some countries do a lot of off the record economic activity (**cough** **cough** Italy), and others, such as Hungary, reportedly do very little.
Ireland: Fewest divorces
Ireland has the lowest divorce rate and also the highest fertility rate, keeping in motion its plan to never break the stereotype of the Irish-Catholic family with more kids than a goat farm.
Italy: Highest life expectancy
The life expectancy for an Italian is 82.03 years, with two major exceptions: Mario and Luigi's lifespan depends on the prevalence of Super Mushrooms, and is inversely correlated to the number of Goombas and Hammer Bros.
Latvians are so generous, 67% of them figure, "Why wait for Christmas or a birthday -- public officials deserve recognition year-round!" ...or public officials are just really corrupt and require at least a bundt cake to get any pot hole fixed.
Lithuania: Most secondary school graduates
93.4% of Lithuanians complete secondary school. In comparison, 93.4% of Americans can't find Lithuania on a map. It's definitely somewhere in Eastern Europe. Probably.
Luxembourg: Highest foreign language proficiency
The average student in Luxembourg learns 2.5 foreign languages in school, which is kinda weird, because what does half a language look like… Esperanto? But by adulthood, 61% of the population can speak three different foreign languages at a conversational level. Here's the thing: the country has three official languages, and so much money, Luxembourgers can afford to learn another language before they go on vacation.
Malta: Most optimistic about future
If your country had a dog that looked like this named after it, you'd be pretty optimistic, too. In reality, though, Malta has a kickass unemployment rate, which is less than half of any of its Mediterranean neighbors.
Netherlands: Most people who've quit smoking
Smoking is a gigantic public health problem in Europe, but fortunately, 30% of the Dutch have already quit smoking tobacco cigarettes. However, there may be a thing or two still available to smoke in Amsterdam.
Poland: Biggest producer of apples
Poland produces more than 3 million tons of apples per year, but only about 900,000 tons of pork, so Poles are definitely going for seconds of applesauce with their dinner.
Portugal: Highest cork production
Nearly half of the world’s cork supply comes from Portugal (about 49.6%). Everyone would be drinking a lot more boxed wine if it weren’t for the glorious corks of Portugal.
Romania: Lowest cocaine use
Romanians are not very interested in seeing films in theaters, but they’re also uninterested in doing cocaine. So who knows what they do on first dates.
Slovakia: Most work experience with robots
This is a real statistic someone tracks. More Slovakians reported having previously worked with a robot either at home or at school. Maybe "The Jetsons" actually takes place in Slovakia, and not the future. Or maybe Slovakia is the future...
Slovenia: Fewest teen moms
Perhaps it's because of excellent access to birth control, or because young Slovenians are too busy studying German to have sex, but the country has the lowest incidence of teen moms. Not to be confused with "Teen Mom," which airs on MTV Czech in Slovakia.
What are most people looking for when they study abroad? Warm weather, nice beaches, and an excellent selection of ham. Spain checks all the boxes, and then some.
Sweden: Most Internet users
94.8% of Swedes have Internet access. The other 5.2% still have to walk back to IKEA or call on a rotary phone to figure out how the hell to assemble their new end table.
There have been a lot of high-profile British murderers: Jack the Ripper, Harold Shipman, Voldemort. But the UK actually has the lowest homicide rate at only 0.3 per 100,000 inhabitants. Those Brits… so polite.
Kate Peregrina is a writer and English teacher living in Spain. Follow her on twitter @kateperegrina.