The world’s coolest nationalities: Where do you rank?
By Barry Neild 21 January, 2011
s it possible to call an entire nation cool? Is it fair to say one nation is more cool than another?
Given that most countries have their own share of murderers, tyrants and reality TV stars, the answer is unequivocally — yes.
To help sort the cool from the less fortunate, we’ve compiled this list of the hippest peoples on the planet. No easy task when faced with almost 250 possible candidates.
The main problem is, of course, every nationality in the world believes it is the coolest — with the exception of Canadians, who are far too self-deprecating for that sort of thing.
Ask a man from Kyrgyzstan which people cut the biggest dash and he will say, “the Kyrgyz.” Who knows (seriously, who would know?) he might be right.
Ask a Norwegian and he will carefully finish chewing his mouthful of Thai green curry, take a swig of Thai Singha beer, gaze wistfully across the Thai resort of Phuket at the sunshine that eludes his country for 10 months of the year, then mumble softly, with a semi-suicidal lack of conviction: “Norwegians.”
Equally perplexing is how to define cool. Are Italians cool because some wear tightly fitting designer suits? Are the Russians uncool because some favor outmoded sportswear and pro-wrestling hairstyles?
Are the Swiss too neutral to be cool or uncool?
Before you start punching your computer screen in nationalistic indignation at your own country’s omission from our cool list — or the lazy stereotypes it inevitably falls back on for cheap laughs — remember, if you care that much about being cool then you, valued reader, simply ain’t cool.
Without Brazilians we wouldn’t have samba and Rio carnival; we wouldn’t have the soccer beauty of Pele and Ronaldo; we wouldn’t have the minuscule swimwear and toned bodies of Copacabana beach; and we wouldn’t have certain eye-watering procedures performed with wax.
Unless they’re using their sexy, laid-back, party-loving reputation as a cover for exterminating dolphins or invading Poland, then we have no choice but to name Brazilians as the coolest people on the planet.
So, if you’re Brazilian and reading this, congratulations — although, since you’re sitting at a computer instead of showing off your six-pack on the shoreline, you probably aren’t that cool yourself.
Icon of cool: Seu Jorge. The favela-raised performer’s soulful Portuguese-language Bowie covers make you wish Ziggy Stardust was from Brazil, not space.
Not so cool: Mmmmm, Brazilian meat and cocoa — so delicious, but farming’s destruction of vast tracts of rainforest leaves a bitter aftertaste.