Controversy has arisen as some American tourists visiting Europe claim that Europeans simply “don’t drink water,” sparking outrage and heated discussions about cultural differences. While it is well known that there are significant distinctions between the United States and Europe, it seems that drinking water has become a point of contention.
In the US, there is a strong emphasis on consuming a sufficient amount of water daily to stay hydrated. While guidelines for hydration exist in many European countries as well, they may not be as stringent as those in the US. This observation has been voiced by several American tourists, who have taken to social media to share their experiences while traveling in European countries.
One TikToker, @ditchthedistrict, posted a video in April expressing frustration, stating, “Everywhere I go, I’m drinking the same amount of water as the three other people at the table combined. I’m hoarding water bottles in my room. I feel like my organs are turning into beef jerky because they’re so dry. I can drink a whole bottle of water before my first course even comes at a restaurant.” Another TikToker, @br3nnak3ough, posted a video showing her friend group enthusiastically drinking water with the caption, “Us the moment we find water because Europeans don’t believe in water.”
These claims have not been well-received by many Europeans, who have pointed out the various ways in which water is readily available while out and about in their countries.
One response from Sweden emphasized that tap water is perfectly suitable and that individuals can fill their own water bottles for free. Another suggested that the disconnect may arise from the fact that in some European countries, one needs to specifically request water instead of it being automatically provided or readily available at public fountains. Numerous Europeans expressed frustration at the dramatic nature of the claims, highlighting that water can be found on every street corner and that markets and stores offer affordable bottled water. Some Europeans also expressed annoyance at Americans referring to “Europe” as a whole without recognizing the distinctions between individual countries, humorously reminding them that Europe is a vast place with diverse cultures and practices.
In the United Kingdom, the National Health Service (NHS) provides guidance on fluid intake without specifying a specific quantity. Instead, it suggests that individuals should aim to drink enough throughout the day so that their urine is a clear, pale yellow color, indicating proper hydration.
The controversy surrounding water consumption highlights the cultural differences between the US and Europe. While Americans prioritize drinking a significant amount of water, Europeans have alternative ways of accessing hydration. As with any cultural variance, it is important to approach these discussions with open-mindedness and respect for differing practices and perspectives.