When in Rome, do as the Romans do: the difference in living habits among Europeans, from dishwashers to Internet and smoking habits

20 MAY 2015

Where do the neat freaks live and who are the biggest fans of children and pets? In which countries is smoking in the apartment a no-go, and where do WiFi and Internet belong to the list of societal must-haves? Those and more are topics that Wimdu, Europe’s largest online platform for city apartments, discovered after surveying 150,000 private accommodations in 14 different countries, ranging from Germany, UK and Spain to the Scandinavian countries.

Layouts in bathrooms differ throughout Europe
Bedroom, living room, kitchen, hallway, bathroom – that’s how a typical apartment in Germany is laid out. If you spend a holiday in another country, you probably going to encounter different customs and peculiarities. For example, while in Germany the toilet is a standard part of the bathroom, in neighboring Austria there are hardly apartments without a separate toilet. In the Netherlands you need to allot yourself a bit more time to find the shower. That’s because it’s usually in its own room.

For child-friendly apartments head south

It’s no secret that Spaniards and Italians love children. Therefore it’s not a surprising to see them high up the list following a data survey on family friendliness. Sixty percent of Italian (compared to 64 percent of Spanish) private apartment renters categorize their apartments as family friendly. The leader in this category is Turkey, with 72 percent.

The “cribs” category is led by Austria, with a whopping 49 percent. Wimdu renters here appear to be overwhelmingly child friendly, because the birth rate in Austria averages out to 1.4 children per woman. The Americans pull up the rear with just eight percent of apartments offering cribs.

The Scandis like it hot

Countries like Sweden, Finland and Denmark, notorious for their long winters, need to find other ways to keep warm. That’s why you see a large percentage of apartments here offering a bathtub. The front-runner here are the Danes with 42 percent. A standard accessory in Scandinavia is often an indoor fireplace, a category Sweden tops with 76 percent. And no surprise that Finland is the sauna king with 58 percent.

Denmark and Austria swear by dishwashers, Italy couldn’t care less

Washing dishes is an annoying task. The Danes appear to believe that wholeheartedly, which is why you see 78 percent of apartments with a dishwasher at your disposal. In second and third place are the Austrians and the Swiss, with 58 percent and 54 percent respectively. Italy is still a little slow to catch on to the convenience of dishwashers, as only a quarter of apartments have one available.

Pets: Denmark on top, England a flop

Not a lot of hosts are excited about having pets in the apartment. Only 11 percent of Britons allow the four-legged friend to tag along. And with 14 percent and 17 percent, respectively, the Americans and the Dutch are not exactly crazy to have dogs as guests. It appears only the Danes have opened their hearts - and homes - for animals. Almost half (48 percent) of hosts have given guests the go-ahead to bring their pets with them.

No smoking in the USA, UK and Germany, but the Danes are more relaxed

Americans and Britons don’t stand for smoking in the apartment. Only six percent of offerings in the USA, along with eight percent in the UK, allow smoking in their flats. But a little cigarette smoke doesn’t seem to bother the Danes at all. Ninety percent of hosts in Denmark offer their guests the possibility to smoke in the apartment. Surprisingly, the normally liberal Dutch are rather strict when it comes to smoking in the flat. Barely 26 percent of renters allow their guests to smoke in their homes.

Overall in Europe there are noticeable differences between countries. A good example is the comparison with Germany and its direct neighbors: 39 percent in Austria, 38 percent in France, 36 percent in Switzerland are fine with cigarettes in the apartment, more than double what the hosts in Germany (17 percent) allow.

Turkey leading the pack in Internet connectivity, Germany & Switzerland only average

In matters Internet and WiFi one of the surprising leaders is Turkey, where 84 percent of all apartments have access to the web. The popular travel destination is a nose in front of the well-connected Great Britain (83 percent). Only the USA (89 percent) and the Netherlands (87%) stand above Turkey. Equally striking: Southern Europe, not traditionally known for having a high rate of Internet connectivity, does a fine job of keeping pace with the leaders. That explains why Spain (63 percent) is able to run neck-and-neck with Germany (65 percent), and Portugal (70 percent) edges out Switzerland (67 percent).


About Wimdu
Wimdu is Europe’s largest online portal for city apartments. Over 300,000 quality approved apartments are available to guests in over 150 different countries. Wimdu is a leading address for authentic accommodations worldwide and has established itself as an affordable alternative to hotels, especially in city centers. Private renters can list their apartments for free on www.wimdu.com and even earn money for unused living space. The platform’s quality was confirmed with a top grade of 1,8 in November 2013 from TV Saarland. Wimdu has been led since January 2015 by Arne Kahlke and Sören Kress. The investors Rocket Internet and Kinnevik supported Wimdu in its latest finance round with $90 million (US). In February 2015 the Italian group Mediaset joined as an investor. 

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