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How true are national tourist stereotypes and where do they come from?

Too happy - must be American
Europe according to the US, according to Bulgarian designer and comic Yanko Tsvetkov Credit: FLICKR/ALPHADESIGNER

Germans hog sun loungers, French tourists are snobs, Americans are loud, and the English apologise too much. Sorry, but it’s true – according to national stereotypes that is.

Humans have been stamping geography-based labels on fellow Earth-dwellers since the dawn of time. At best, national stereotypes are comical, and at worst, plain racist. So how did we earn these long-standing reputations and are they fair? How long have Britons been apologising so profusely? Which German began colonising sun loungers?

Telegraph Travel conducted an evaluation on the matter by addressing the experts and interrogating foreigners on their labels.

Back to the start

The question as to where certain national stereotypes first emerged is a difficult one. But as natural pattern-seekers, we’re quick to propagate them, says behavioural psychologist Jo Hemmings. A Briton in Paris, for example, may likely ignore the unremarkable behaviour of the majority of the French, but be jubilantly alert to the first Parisian they encounter who happens to possess the slightest superiority complex.

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