17 Things Europeans Have That Americans Think Are a Luxury

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By Jonathan Trent

While European countries and the United States may have some things in common, there is a lot to differentiate them. From food standards to workers’ rights, here are 17 things Europeans have that Americans consider a luxury.

Universal Healthcare

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Almost all European countries have access to universal healthcare, meaning they won’t go bankrupt if they suddenly fall ill. According to Pew Research Center, 63% of American adults believe that the government should provide free healthcare for all.

Great Bread

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In many European countries, think France, Italy, and Germany, to name three, bread is taken seriously. It’s baked fresh to a high standard, with bakeries present in the most remote areas. In the US, it’s not so great. The bread is often packed with sugar and tastes artificial.

Paid Vacation

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Unlike in the majority of European countries, American workers are not legally entitled to any paid vacation time. Not all employers will deny their workforce paid time off, but it is unlikely Americans will receive as much time off as Europeans.

Things in Walking Distance

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The size of the USA makes things that Europeans take for granted, such as walking, almost impossible. Getting in a car to drive where you want to be is ingrained in the American psyche, with NPR suggesting that Americans walk the least out of all the industrialized nations in the world.

Great Chocolate

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Europe as a continent seems to have mastered chocolate production, with Belgium and Switzerland particularly known for their incredible produce. Due to the size of the US, a lot of manufacturers use dried milk for longevity purposes during transport, which gives American chocolate a distinct taste of vomit. 

High Food Standards

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Food standards mandated by the EU are far stricter than those in the US, with chemicals and dangerous additives running rife among American food suppliers. According to the National Library of Medicine, the US struggles to approve higher standards, as the system is fragmented, with 12 federal agencies being involved.

Appropriate Drinking Age

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The USA is one of the very few developed countries with a legal drinking age of over 18 years old, with this strictness often challenged by younger people. It has led to the rise of fake IDs, which have become commonplace for those between the ages of 15 and 20.

Reasonable Gun Laws

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To most Europeans, the thought of being able to purchase a gun is unthinkable. There are many Americans who wish to see gun laws in the USA become stricter, with 64% of Americans believing they are currently too loose, according to CNN.

Historical Culture

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Most European nations are teeming with history, featuring buildings built centuries before the USA was even founded. Whereas a home is deemed to be old in the US if it was built in 1950, these are considered modern by European standards.

Other Countries on Their Doorstep

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With some European nations the size of individual US states, it’s easy to enjoy a quick break in another European country without paying a great deal of money. A three-hour flight across European skies can see you fly over multiple countries, which can be said about most flights in the USA.

Job Security

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In European Union countries, there are plenty of rules that employers must follow that help to protect the job security of workers. In a lot of American states, people’s contracts can be terminated with very little notice, leaving many workers struggling.

Effective Public Transport

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Effective public transport in US cities isn’t uncommon, but as soon as you head out of the city center, it becomes hard to even catch a bus. In Europe, as the individual nations are a lot smaller, they will often have reliable systems in place.

Ad-Free Television

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Europeans who visit the United States are often unprepared for the number of advertisement breaks you see on American television. It seems as though there are more adverts than actual content. In addition, many European countries have a national broadcaster that shows programs with no adverts at all.

Less Traffic

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Europeans don’t need to drive anywhere near as often as Americans, and when they do, their cars are generally a lot smaller. This inevitably leads to less traffic on the roads, allowing you to cross the road without waiting for the green light, as well as allowing for cleaner air in major cities.

Towel Warmer Racks

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One thing that always seems to drop the jaws of Americans is the towel racks that double up as radiators, which are commonplace in European bathrooms. They help to heat up the room while giving you a place to store your towel until you need it next.


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On the European mainland, bidets are commonplace, helping to push forward the fact that full-body hygiene should be taken seriously. While they may seem it, they are far from exotic and would be easy to install in most US households.


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Unfortunately, the American lifestyle dictates that everything must be done at 100 mph at all times. European countries such as Spain and Italy prioritize time spent with family, time spent eating, and time spent relaxing. This eliminates the ever-looming threat of burnout.