European stereotypes have been entrenched since at least the time of the first Grand Tour. But as organizational tools, maps have the power to change the way one perceives the world. Personally, I’ve found alternate maps fascinated by maps ever since getting a Gall-Peters world map sometime in the eighties. So for a little Saturday morning fun, let me point you in the direction of Bulgarian artist Yanko Tsvetkov’s Mapping Stereotypes website.
It’s an improvement over the ages-old “French courteous. Spanish lordly. Italian amorous. German clownish” saw or the old “in hell everything is organized by the Italians” joke. In fact, Tsvetkov gives Italy special attention, subtly highlighting that Italy’s North-South problem and the attendant political use of it is not something confined only to Italy.
Speaking of divided states, don’t miss the visually-funny Cyprus map at the bottom.