Several Noticeably Different Day-To-Day Things About Europe

I love the variety and unique nature of all of the different countries and cultures on our planet—learning how other people groups structure their lives and go about their day-to-day activities is fascinating.

As I’ve walked around Europe for the last two weeks, I’ve kept mental notes on a few differences in daily life that caught my attention more than once. Here they are:

Smaller refrigerators – We stayed in both family homes (France) and small apartments (France, Belgium, Italy) and the refrigerators in both were much smaller than a typical unit in the United States. Some researchers think that the growth of the American icebox was due to delivery infrastructure for cold foods1.

Fewer rain jackets – This is an odd one, but I noticed that many people either used an umbrella to protect themselves against the rain or nothing. I asked our French friend (who now lives in Belgium and has travelled Europe extensively) and he confirmed that rain-specific jackets are less common there than in the states.

Toilets separated from showers – In both France and Belgium we found houses and apartments built with toilets in individual rooms, separate from shower and sink. While less efficient in terms of space, I really like the idea and functionally it worked really well when multiple people in a small apartment were getting ready in the morning or before bed. I had trouble finding detailed information about this architectural design decision, but it seems to be mostly concentrated in France2.

1. Read more about America’s large refrigerators in this Atlantic article.2. One site dedicated to Paris has a few words to say about international differences in bathrooms.

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