You just don’t skip reading the country fun facts, right? I mean, you never know what may come up in Pub Quiz vol. 2. 😉
James from Luxembourg tells us:
- Luxembourg radio stations used to be one of the most popular radio stations in the UK as British stations were forbidden from playing genres like rock and pop.
- Luxembourg has won the Eurovision Song Contest five times (in 1961, 1965, 1972, 1973 and 1983), a feat only surpassed by Ireland. Rumour has it that these winners can be found practising on Saturdays at Oscar’s!
- General George C. Patton is buried here in Luxembourg at the American cemetery in Hamm
Lia from Greece reports:
- Sirtaki is not a traditional Greek dance as most people believe, but was created and choreographed for the movie “Zorba the Greek” with Anthony Quinn (1964) by mixing elements of the Greek dance “Hasapiko”. Its name comes from the greek word syro< syrtos< syrtaki which means “to drag”.
- Greece has 1,200 to 6,000 islands, depending on the minimum size taken into account, of which approximately 170 to 227 are inhabited. Greece’s largest island is Crete and two of the most famous islands are Mykonos and Santorini. There are no navigable rivers due to the mountainous terrain, which corresponds to nearly 80% of its total land area.
- A popular Greek tradition is the “name day”, which according to the Greek Orthodox Church is even more important than our birthday. Usually, the Greek names come from a religious saint which is celebrated by the church on a specific day each year. People who share the same name also celebrate on that day, often receiving gifts from their friends and family. Another interesting fact is that parents usually give the names of the grandparents to the children and, as a result, many cousins also share the same name.
Dejan from Bosnia informs us:
- Bosnia and Herzegovina has probably one of the most complicated public administrations in the world. In order to ensure equal participation of all three ethnic communities, there are three presidents (who tend to disagree on absolutely every possible issue!) + the High President, appointed by the EU, serving as a mediator. The country is divided into two entities and one district, with one of these entities being further subdivided into 10 cantons and so on… And there are assemblies at all levels! All this makes decision making extremely complicated.
- In Sarajevo you can find mosques, Orthodox and Catholic churches as well as synagogues in a radius of less than 100 meters. Sarajevo was not only home to Nobel prize winners such as Vladimir Prelog and Ivo Andric, film directors who won Palme d’Or, Oscars and Golden Bears but also a scene of major historical events. In 1914, a student by the name of Gavrilo Princip assassinated the Archduke of Austria Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophia during their ride through the streets of Sarajevo, thus triggering the First World War. Sarajevo also hosted the Winter Olympic Games in 1984 but only a decade after, during the war in the 1990s, witnessed the longest siege in the history of warfare.
- A couple of years ago, a strange man appeared out of nowhere, claiming that mountains in central Bosnia are actually ancient pyramids, and started with excavations. The academic communities from around the world strongly dismiss that idea, but there are nevertheless many “experts”, ghost hunters, conspiracy theory specialist, not to mention thousands of tourists, coming each year and leaving their precious euros/dollars. Well, come and see for yourselves! Also, in Medjugorje, in 1981, six local children claimed they had seen Virgin Mary. Ever since she has appeared to them (check out on Youtube) and millions of tourists come to this site of Catholic pilgrimage each year.
Carin from the Netherlands:
- Low country
‘Netherlands’ means “Low Country” in Dutch. About 25% of its area and 21% of its population are located below sea level, and 50% of its land lies less than 1 meter above sea level. Its highest point is the Vaalserberg with 323 metres above sea level (in the province of Limburg). The rest of the nation is as flat as a pancake.
Due to the flat land and the land being below or just above sea level, about two thirds of Holland is vulnerable to flooding. Hence, flood control is an important priority in the Netherlands. River dikes prevent water from flowing into the country, while a complicated system of drainage ditches, canals and pumping stations (historically: windmills) keep the low lying parts dry for habitation and agriculture. Today more than 2,400 kilometres of dikes shield the land from the North Sea. Without the existing dikes 65 percent of the country would be flooded.
Flemish is not a language. Nope, it’s not. The people living in Flanders – the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium – speak Dutch, albeit a variant of Dutch called Flemish. Other than in the Netherlands and Belgium, Dutch is also spoken in northern France, Suriname, the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba.
Jana from Bulgaria:
- Awesome folklore…
Some of you may have heard of an abominable music style, sweeping across the Balkans since 1989. Every Balkan country has a different name for this music style. It is turbofolk in Serbia, chalga in Bulgaria, etc. The mind-boggling dress code of chalga singers (e.g., Azis) puts the boldest participant in any bad taste party to shame. A few people know, however, how beautiful the original Bulgarian folk songs are. The Bulgarian folk song Izlel e Delio Haydutin has been flying around open space together with Bach’s and Mozart’s greatest works since 1977, when the Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 probes left the Earth.
- The oldest golden treasure…
“More gold has been mined from the thoughts of men than has been taken from the earth”, Napoleon Hill once said. But where did the idea of using gold as a means of freedom and benefit originate? You will be surprised to learn that the oldest gold treasure in the world, dating back to roughly 5000 BC, was discovered in the Varna Necropolis on the western Black sea coast. The early Copper-age farmers of the Varna culture left cities and sanctuaries carved in limestone rocks (e.g., Perperikon), menhirs, a couple of mass burials (including Durankulak, the largest prehistoric necropolis in the world including over 1000 tombs!) and the first gold mines in the world. Facial reconstruction from several skulls of the Varna necropolis indicates that the appearance of the representatives of the Varna culture is most similar to this of modern-day northern Europeans. “Although the Varna civilization did not leave any direct descendants, the members of this ancient culture did leave behind many lasting legacies and set the stage for the emergence of subsequent civilizations throughout Europe. Their skills in metallurgy were unprecedented in Europe and indeed throughout the world, and their society demonstrated many features of a highly advanced and developed civilization.” (Reference: http://www.ancient-origins.net/ancient-places-europe/varna-man-and-wealthiest-grave-5th-millennium-bc-002798)
- Contributions to the digitizing of the world…
The first computer in the world was created by an American scientist of Bulgarian descent. In the late 30s and early 40s, John Atanasoff, a scientist whose father is Bulgarian, together with Clifford Berry designed and developed the first electronic computing device. It was announced recently that an interface developed by Bulgarian software engineers will be used by the NASA. The NASA Planetary Data System selected the Bulgarian company Telerik UI for ASP.NET AJAX to create a robust web-based app for its Mars Mission.
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