Mini-Europe & Facts about Europe

January 10th, 2013 by Tatiana

Did you know that it is possible to tour the whole of Europe in just a couple of hours and that you can walk from Sweden to Spain in just 5min? I managed to do so with friends a couple of months ago. How? Simply by taking Eurostar from London to Brussels and then going to a park called Mini-Europe.

It displays around 350 monuments from each country-member of the European Union at a scale of 1:25. At the entry to the park there is an obligatory photo with some orange-blue dragon (not sure what it has to do with the EU??) and then you are free to explore. Look to the left and you are in Finland, to the right it’s Belgium and is it the Eiffel Tower at the background? You can even notice Thalys going from France to Belgium and see the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.

When Ieva, my Latvian friend,  saw a beautiful big Latvian monument she proudly posed with it. But, ooops, it was Lithuania! To her biggest disappointment Latvia only deserved a small column. She even joked that Latvian citizens should be given handkerchieves on the entry to the park to wipe their tears from disappointment.

Meanwhile Svetlana was demonstrating her commitment to the UK whilst singing the national anthem “God Save the Queen” in front of the mini Houses of Parliament,  and even wanting to be one of Queen’s guards! Et moi, I became uh oh nostalgic about my French life. No wonder I  even wore a beret on that trip, ;) How could I miss having my picture taken in front Centre George Pompidou and pose with mini château de Chenonceau!

It was cool to see the places I had visited before and it certainly gave ideas on what I would like to see. Hungarian Baths and Melk in Austria are certainly on the list.

  
In August 2012: we only stood by the wall of Palazzo Pubblico in Siena, a couple of months later we were towering above it!

On the entry you get a brochure with information about all the sights. Here are some interesting facts taken from it, as well as from www.eupedia.com

Austria

  • Breakfast croissants were invented after the victory of Austria over the Turks in 1683.
  • Austria is the only continental EU country that is not a member of NATO.
  • Among Europeans, Austrian people work the longest, with an average of 45h a week.
  • Every type of winter sport can be enjoyed throughout the year.

Belgium

  • Belgians eat more chips than anyone else.
  • An average Belgian consumes 8kg of chocolate per annum and per inhabitant.
  • Belgium has one of the lowest proportion of McDonald’s  restaurants per inhabitant in the  developped world, 7 times less than the USA louis vuitton replica, 4 times less than Japan and twice less than France and Germany.
  • Belgium is one of the rare countries with compulsary education up to 18 years old (highest in the world).

Bulgaria

  • In Bulgaria, a vertical movement of the head means “no” and a horizontal movemenet means “yes”.
  • At the beginning of the 10th century, Bulgaria was the largest kingdom in Europe.
  • Two monks, Cyril and Methodius, were to invent what was to become Cyrillic script.
  • Football is the most popular sport in Bulgaria.

Cyprus

  • The name Cyprus comes from the Latin word Cuprum (copper), which is Kypros in Greek.
  • Cyprus’ wines (2000 years BC) are the oldest in the world. According to legend, Dionysus, the god of Vine, taught Icarus how to plant vine stock.
  • Aphrodite, the goddess of Love and Beauty, was said to be born there. Designer louis vuitton outlet in UK.
  • The locals very rarely walk anywhere but prefer to drive. Cyprus is home to some very congested roads.

Czech Republic

  • According to national legend, the name Praha (Prague) comes from the word “prah” meaning doorstep.
  • The Czech Republic has the most hospital beds per inhabitant in the EU.
  • A Czech, the chemist Otto Wichterle. invented the soft contact lenses in 1959.
  • All the old houses in the city center had two numbers: one (blue) for their position on the street and another (red) cadastral number.

Denmark

  • In Denmark, 70% of women work. This is the highest percentage in the EU.
  • Danish men marry the oldest of all Europeans – at 32 years old in average.
  • The rates of income tax are very high in Denmark. They vary from 51% to 68% depending on the income bracket.
  • The world famous Lego is from Denmark.

Estonia

  • The Baltic Sea is the youngest sea on the planet and was formed by the melting of the snows in Scandinavia.
  • Nearly 70% of the population lives in cities.
  • Estonia was the first country in the world to use online political voting.
  • Estonia has the highest number of meteorite craters per land area in the world.

Finland

  • There are more saunas than cars in Finland (1,6million).
  • 70% of the land is covered by forests and 54,7% of them are privately owned.
  • Finland has been at the top of the wrldwide Press Freedom Ranking list every year since the publication of the first index by Reporters Without Borders in 2002.
  • Finland is known as “the land of the thousand lakes” (187,888lakes) and water covers about 10% of the area.

France

  • At 1568 working hours per annum in 2003, the French are the least industrious people who like replica louis vuitton monogram in Europe.
  • The French “Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen” in 1789 is the world’s first universal declaration of human rights.
  • France is the largest country in the EU in terms of surface area but not the most denely populated,partly because of the Napoleonic wars.
  • French men are on average 1.72m tall. The average height for French women is 1.65m. Compared with one century ago, men are 7cm taller and women 5cm.

Germany

  • Germans are the Europeans most likely to consult a doctor. Germans go on average 11 times a year to the doctor.
  • The Germans eat 84kg of bread per annum. They are the biggest consumers of bread in Europe.
  • Germany is No.1 for its quantity of museums (6500), ahead of France (4500) and Italy (2500).
  • Germany was the first world’s country to adopt Daytime saving in 1916, in the midst of WWI.

Greece

  • The country has by far the lowest number of fatal transport accidents per capita in the European Union.
  • 85% of Greek people own their accomodation – the highest rate in the EU.
  • Part-time work is almost inexistent replica designer handbags for women in Greece.
  • Feta, the Greek cheese, comes from Italian “Fetta”, slice.

Hungary

  • Some of the great inventions like the Rubik’s cube, ballpoint pen and holography were invented by Hungarians.
  • In 1946, Hungary issued banknotes of a face value of 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 pengo (one quintillion pengo)- the world’s highest denomination ever.
  • According to EU statistics, Hungary the highest death rate by cancer in Europe, and the highest female suicide rate.
  • Hungary is one of the oldest countries in Europe, founded way back in the year 896.

Ireland

  • 81% of the surface area of Ireland is agricultural land.
  • In Ireland, people can vote in elections if they have lived there for a long time, even if they are not Irish citizens.
  • Ireland is also known as “The Emerald Isle”. Green is the lucky colour there.
  • The number of Irish people who were born in Ireland and kive elsewhere is an estimated 50%.
  • About half of population of Australia claim Irish ancestry.

Italy

  • Italy is the European country with the highest rainfall (95cm per year).
  • Italians have the longest life expectancy in Europe (85,3 years for women and 80,4 years for men).
  • The Italians spend the most on clothing.
  • Italy is the world’s leading exporter of wines, ahead of France.
  • San Marino and the Vatican state are not part of the European Union.

Latvia

  • Russia displaces many Latvians.They now represent only 50% of the population and 35% of the population is of Russian origin.
  • Historically, Latvia is known by the name Lettland. Lettland gets its name from the natives ‘Letts’ or the Lettish people.
  • Latvia, like Estonia, is mainly protestant.
  • 1/3 of the population live in the capital, Riga.

Lithuania

  • Lithuania is one of the world’s leading producers of linen.
  • Lithuania is the only one of the three Baltic countries in which 98% of the Russian speaking residents have been naturalised.
  • Basketball is Lithuanian’s national sport.
  • Lithuanians love bread, and you’ll find many varieties, including bread filled with dried fruits, spices, nuts or potato.

Luxembourg

  • Luxembourg has the greatest GDP per capita in the world, with almost 3 times the EU average, and also the largest proportion of the population who are saisfied with their living conditions.
  • More than 30% of the residents of Luxembourg are foreigners.
  • Luxembourgish is the mother tongue of nearly all Luxembourgers. Inspite of that, most official written business is carried out in French, whereas German is the first language taught in school and used in media.
  • Luxembourg has the highest minimum legal salary in the EU -1570 euros per month in 2007.

Malta

  • Maltese drive on the left hand side of the road.
  • Malta’s megalithic temples date from about 3200 B.C.
  • Ancient Greeks and Romans called the island Melita – the island of honey.
  • Malta was used as an English base during WWII and it was heavily bombarded.

Netherlands

  • More than half the area of the Netherlands lies below sea level.
  • 65% of Dutch people go on holiday at least once a year. They are the Europeans most likely to go on a trip during their free time.
  • There are over 19.000 km of cycle paths in the Netherlands. 80% of the population owns a bicycle.
  • Dutch people are the tallest in the world, with an average height of 184cm for men and 170cm for women.
  • A 2007 UNICEF report on child well-being ranked the Netherlands as the best country for children to live.

Poland

  • Poland is one of the countries that has undergone the greatest number of changes in its borders, and even disappeared entirely in 1795.
  • Polish people marry the youngest within the EU (24 years old for women and 26.5 years old for men in average.
  • In Poland, most Poles consider their name day more important than their birthdays.
  •  Geographically, Poland is not actually in Eastern Europe – it is in fact in the very centre of Europe.

Portugal

  • Portugal is the country with the highest average temperature in europe (16C) and the highest number of hours of sunshine per annum.
  • Estoril Casino, 20 km from Lisbon, is the largest gambling outlet in Europe.
  • Henry the Navigator set up an efficient sailing school which made possible the great discoveries of Diego Cao, Bartholomeo Diaz, Vasco da Gama, Magellan etc
  • Portugal s the largest producer of cork in the world.

Romania

  • The parliament building in Bucharest is the biggest monument in Europe.
  • Half of the population of Romania died in World War II.
  • Transylvania, the central part of Romania, is where the legend of Daracula was born.The name Transylvania comes from Latin, and its meaning is ‘beyond the forest’.
  • Romania is the only country in Europe where the brown bear still lives in the wilderness.

Slovakia

  • Slovakia boasts over 4450 caverns.
  • Slovaks are afflicted by the highest percentage pf cardiiovascular diseases and heart-related deaths in the EU, and one of the highest in the world.
  • Around 90 % of the Slovaks have had secondary education, amongst the highest rates in the EU.
  • Slovaks have the highest percentage of Gypsy (Romani) genes of all non-Gypsy populations in Europe.

Slovenia

  • The Slovenian language is one of the most archaic languages in Europe and there are 36 dialects.
  • Slovenia is home to as many as 260 waterfalls.
  • The vine growing in Maribor’s old town is believed to the oldest vine in the world, as much as 400 years old.
  • Lipizzaner horses, known throughout the world, originate from Lipica in Slovenia.

Spain

  • Spain produces 44% of the world’s olive oil.
  • Tomatoes, potatoes, avocadoes, tobacco and cacao, were all brought to Europe (then spread around the world) by the Spaniards from their american colonies. All these words were imported from Spanish language into English, which explains why they end in “-o”.
  • Spain is 5 times bigger than the UK with only two thirds of its population.
  • Spain has the highest number of bars out of all the countries in the EU.

Sweden

  • Nobel was an industrialist who invented dynamite; he left his fortune to create the prize that bears his name.
  • In 1967, Swedish motorists changed overnight from driving on the left to driving on the right.
  • Sweden has the highest percentage of working mothers in the developed world, no less than 76% of them.
  • The astronomical lens is a swedish invention.

UK

  • Britain is he only country in the world which doesn’t have the country’s name in its postage stamps.
  • About 25% of Londoners were born outside of the UK and can speak over 300 different languages making it the the city with the highest cultural diversity in the world.
  • The first passenger railway in the world was built in England between Manchester and Liverpool.
  • The English are tea addicts: an Englishman drinks more tea than any person of any other nation, over twenty times more than Americans!
  • 80% of the population is English, 9% Scottish, 5% Welsh and 3% Irish.

There is also an interactive exhibition called Spirit of Europe which tells about the history of the EU. Mini-Europe is a great place to stroll through with friends and family. Some people say it is mainly for children, but hey, children see these monuments but can they relate to them?  It is as equal fun for the adults, too!

It is located next to the entertainment park called Brupark alongside an amusement park, a water park and the Atomium. To find more about the park go to their website  http://www.minieurope.com/

To see bigger photos please go here

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