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8 September 2016

“Why are the British so ugly”: what European nations search about the UK

New research reveals what our cousins on the continent really think of us.

By Amelia Tait

You can tell a lot about a person’s mindset from their Google searches. Their favourite foods. Their penchant for horoscopes. Whether or not they actually understood your rant about points-based immigration (and whether or not they plan on murdering you for talking about it at a party).

But Google search trends can reveal more than just the psyche of one individual. They can uncover the thoughts and feelings of an entire nation. The most depressing example of this was when “What is the EU?” became one of the top-searched questions in the UK after the Referendum results were announced.

Which is why it comes as no surprise that the thing Germans search most often about the UK is: “Why are the British so stupid?”.

Digital marketing agency Search Laboratory have used Google’s auto-fill suggestion feature to compile a list of the things other European nations want to know about us. It’s not the most technologically-advanced technique, sure, but the UN used it successfully in the past to uncover widespread sexism.

According to the research, the Netherlands wonder “Why are the British so ugly?”, Austria muses “Is England a country or a city?” and Spain simply states “The English are strange”. 

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The Italians? The Italians might have something nice to say? The war was a long time ago now. 

“Why are the British dirty?” they write.

Thankfully we don’t just repulse the rest of the world, and the other results show we’re also pretty good at confusing them, too (yay!). The Swedish wonder why we have two flags, the Danes wonder why our judges wear wigs, and the Polish wonder why our flour tastes strange (it’s because Paul Hollywood sticks his fingers in it). 

The French, at least, are kinder to us than we are to them, as they query “Why do we call the English ‘rosbif’?” whilst we ask “Why are the French so rude?” (two questions that answer each other, perhaps). 

Perhaps the most relevant search of all, however, comes from the Portuguese. They ask: “Why are the English crybabies?”

Oh, I don’t know. Probably because everyone else on the playground thinks we’re stupid, ugly, strange, dirty, and bad at making flour? 

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