Here are a list of stereotypes and prejudices about Poles (or if you prefer The Polish people) and Poland. Polish jokes are jokes based on stereotypes about Polish people. Jokes that disparage Poles are also colloquially called Polack jokes, in reference to an ethnic slur. The jokes generally stereotype Poles as being of inferior intelligence.
Polish people in keywords are neurotic; never smile but complain a lot; hard bargainers; babysitters; intolerant; heavy alcohol users; your car will be stolen, once you cross the border; easy-going; conservative; intellectual; attractive women, aggressive men – always up to pick a fight; excellent drivers; hard-working; helpful; listen to folk music; sit in church all day if nothing else to do; very religious
Lots of foreigners consider Poland to be a poor communist state with wild beasts on the roads. In fact, the country is situated in the very heart of Europe – and saying that Poland is the centre of the ex-communist bloc makes the majority of Poles furious. It is true that it is geographically close to Russia, which is Poland’s neighbour, indeed, but you should not forget that Russia is an enormously big country and its European part constitutes only a small fraction of its total territory. Since Poland became a member of the European Union, it has become even closer to the Western world.
Here are some tips that you should bear in mind while travelling. As car-related crimes such as break-ins and outright thefts are quite common, we advise you to leave your car in the special, guarded parking lots – Polish towns teem with them and, surprisingly, they are not horribly expensive (approx. 3-5 PLN per hour depending on the place itself, of course). Do not leave any valuable items inside the car, especially on the front or back seats, or anywhere that they are visible – this attracts the attention of thieves. In case a car theft happens to you, always report it to the police. It is not likely that you will be able to regain your property, but you will be given the appropriate confirmation you need to claim insurance in your country.
- Poles do not speak foreign languages
Generally speaking, it is not Poland’s best feature. According to the latest surveys only 8 percent of Poland’s citizens officially admit to the ability of speaking any foreign language. However the situation has been improving and it is not as dramatic as it may seem. The basics of English are known to the majority of the younger generation, while adults and elderly people speak a little Russian as it was an obligatory foreign language at school in communist Poland (lots of people do not even reveal this fact, because nowadays Russian is not as useful as it used to be a few decades ago). Moreover, learning foreign languages has become very fashionable in Poland. Language schools and university courses are besieged by thousands of young applicants eager to study and make use of their abilities. Believe it or not, Poles have dealt with the problem more effectively than Italians or Spaniards, for whom mastering a foreign language at any level is much more difficult.
- Poles never smile, but complain a lot
This fact concerns the older part of Polish society who grew up and lived under a communist system. The continuous lack of basic goods (including meat, razor blades, sugar or toilet paper) and the absurdity of everyday life (enormous queues, extreme bureaucracy and propaganda) would exhaust the patience of a saint, not to mention ordinary people. Many of them do not believe in any improvement of their situations, so they only complain. On the other hand, Poles always can laugh at themselves and have been known for the brilliant comedies and cabarets.
The first years of capitalism brought quick changes and instability that were completely new challenges for lots of people. Many of them were left disappointed with the new system and… keep complaining. Although the Poland’s economy is still developing and the population grows richer and richer, Poles are accustomed to complaining. Over half of Polish citizens believe that even joining the European Union did not improve their living conditions.
On the other hand, young people are more similar to their Western European peers – they hardly complain, and they smile a lot.
- Poles are intolerant and full of anti-Semitism
Once Poland was a multinational country where Poles learned to accept diversity and respect the beliefs of other people. Lots of foreigners come here for to stay permanently, including scientists, students, qualified specialists etc. Poland is also home to thousands of refugees escaping from war, famine and natural disasters. The majority of them are citizens of poor African or Asian countries, former Yugoslavia and the Soviet bloc. Temporary visas are distributed almost off-hand, whereas refugees are provided with accommodation or even support in finding a job. There are also numerous minority groups, e.g. gypsies, that create their own communities and freely cultivate their own culture and religion.
As far as anti-Semitism is concerned, this is a common trend that was not invented here in Poland. It is prohibited by law and is not officially followed. People admitting Jewish origins are treated equally to any of the other minority groups mentioned above and have exactly the same rights. Moreover, the Polish Government tries to improve the relationships with Jews. Since re-establishing diplomatic contacts with Israel in 1987, a lot of effort is being made to create a better understanding of Poland to Israeli youth visiting the country on Holocaust anniversaries. Young people come to participate in seminars and try to discover their roots.
- In other hand, Polish people are religious
Many foreigners associate Poland with the Pope. The Pope is probably the most famous Pole in the world. John Paul II was born in Wadowice. It is a small town in the south of Poland. He became the Pope when he was 58. We are so proud that The Pope is a Pole and is respected all over the world.. But not only thanks to the Pope Poland is associated with religion. We are a very Catholic nation with strong faith. Peopple who are Roman Catholics constitute the majority of the Polish society – above 90%. Christianity was introduced on our territory just after 996.The first Polish king with his court received baptism which started Christianity of the country. In this way Poland became Christian and joined European Religion Community. Since this time we have been zealous Catholics.
- Poles abuse alcohol
Undoubtedly, the culture of drinking alcohol is highly developed in Poland. Its roots go back to the times of monarchy and nobility, who in the 17th century even had the slogan “eat, drink and loosen your belt”. This way of spending time is still very popular in Poland. However, do not suppose that you will see Polish streets full of overweight or drunk people. Poles often go to bars and pubs – they are the most frequent places to meet friends. Traditionally, the most popular alcoholic drink was vodka, but today more people, especially younger generations, choose beer – and beer is now really good in Poland.
- Organised crime and car theft are part of everyday life
Poland is said to be extremely dangerous country, which is a hard exaggeration. But the truth is that nowadays you may be robbed or killed anywhere you go irrespective of the latitude or political status of the country you are visiting (even in St. Peter’s Square in Rome). Crime and terrorism have become one of the greatest world menaces and everyone should be aware of it.
From some time there have been rumours that Poles are thieves. There is nothing to boast about. Probably Polish thieves are very refined, smart and cunning. There aren’t any car protections that we can’t break. In Western Europe, especially in Germany, there is a very famous proverb: ,, Go to Poland, your car is already there’’. There is no need to write and reflect about this longer.
P.S. If you want to dispose of your car (rapidly!) come to Poland and leave it somewhere: locked or unlocked – there isn’t much difference. It’s only one minute question.
Polish Girls are beautiful
- Polish people are very hospitable
An heritage is hospitality. A Polish proverb fully shows our relations to visitors: ,,A Guest at home-God at home ‘’. Poles are very polite, kind and obliging. If you come to us we put on the table all the food we have. It doesn’t matter that you are not able to eat it. A visitor should feel like a part of the family in every Polish home.
- Polish are grumblers
They like complaining about their mistfortune, lamenting over our fate and worrying about something prematurely. Some Poles can talk about and relate their troubles round and round. They don’t perceive good things. Even when something is quite good and very good, they are not satisfied. Complain, complain, complain…
- Polish food is bland (even by British standards)
- Polish people are patriotic
- Polish people have vowel-starved names, like Zbigniew_Rybczyński
- Polish people have a lot of respect for education and hard work
- Polish people have a dour demeanor