Last week MrB was struggling with a crossword clue and asked me if I could name the twenty-eight countries in the European Union and their capitals. There was a long pause . . . . . but I managed to give him his crossword answer.

There was then another pause and I realised I wasn’t going to get much further, I was struggling to confidently name the countries let alone their capitals! So today I decided to rectify that but before you click on continue reading, how many can you name off the top of your head?

  • Austria – Vienna
  • Belgium – Brussels
  • Bulgaria – Sofia
  • Croatia – Zagreb
  • Cyprus – Nicosia
  • The Czech Republic – Prague
  • Denmark – Copenhagen
  • Estonia – Tallinn
  • Finland – Helsinki
  • France – Paris
  • Germany – Berlin
  • Greece – Athens
  • Hungary – Budapest
  • Ireland – Dublin
  • Italy – Rome
  • Latvia – Riga
  • Lithuania – Vilnius
  • Luxembourg – Luxembourg
  • Malta – Valletta
  • The Netherlands – Amsterdam
  • Poland – Warsaw
  • Portugal – Lisbon
  • Romania – Bucharest
  • Slovakia – Bratislava
  • Slovenia – Ljubljana
  • Spain – Madrid
  • Sweden – Stockholm
  • United Kingdom – London

I have this vain hope that by writing them all down I might remember them! I am aware it may take me a while and so have decided not to list also the twenty-three European countries which are not in the EU. Their capitals will have to wait for another day!

However thinking about the others has made me curious, especially with BREXIT looming in our future. How many of the twenty-three are in the Eurozone, how many have signed up to the Schengen agreement, are in the European Economic Area (EEA) and most intriguing how many are physically on the European Continent? And then what about those within the EU which are not part of some of these agreements. Confused? Rest assured you won’t be alone! Take a peek at this short CGP Grey video and all will be explained. Or maybe not given the many EU asterisks!

33 thoughts

  1. Well I am a bit of a geography buff so I might have done fairly well with this question. It does worry me how many people on quiz shows know so little about the countries in the world or even places within the UK. I would be fairly OK on US states apart from the mid-west where I get confused, but useless on their state capitals because they are not always the well known ones. Australia I know pretty well as there are very few states/territories to learn. Africa is fine until I reach the north west where there are so many countries that have changed their names and don’t even ask me about the Stans! I might know the names of the countries but definitely not the capital cities.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Like you I’d do pretty well on US states and can do quite a few state capitals, likewise English counties and county towns and maybe Scottish, Welsh and even Australian. But that’s because of visiting in person, so if you ask me to name Irish, South American, African or Asian and I stumble. Although I hope I’d do better than most quiz shows!!

      I blame our education system and also the news, we simply are not told or encouraged to find out. Once I’m confident with Europe, think I’ll focus on another continent. 2019 my year of knowing the globe!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I recommend the board game “Where is Moldova?” – a fun game and helps learn capitals and more.

        I’m pretty good on Europe, plan to visit the Stans over the next couple of years (so they should get better fixed in my head) and I think I’ll set myself Africa as 2019 target for knowing countries and capitals – I have big gaps there!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ooh thanks for that tip, will follow it up 😊

        Strangely I’m better on states!! However Africa it’s embarrassing how few countries I can place. Perhaps I’ll join you in 2019 in filling in the gaps.


  2. I would have had the least of everyone – but then, I don’t live in your part of the world so I’m ok with that. I’m a strong supporter of writing things down, it really does help. Now, where did I leave that notebook?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Terrifying us too. Just find it extraordinary that they are persisting with it despite a flawed and possibly illegal referendum, a change in public views, and the clear evidence that whatever the deal it won’t be as good as staying in and properly engaging in the changes the EU needs. Why oh why did so many of then vote for Article 50 before a plan was agreed within government let alone parliament?! Still one upside I now know the 28countries!


      1. I think that was very foolish (calling article 50 so soon). No research appears to have been done at critical stages either by Cameron or May. I would not like to be her at the moment – she must get up every morning thinking β€œwhat on Earth am I going to do to solve this?” But that’s not the same as having sympathy because she has brought it on herself with her hubris.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I think I could name about half the capitols, but not the countries in the EU. But, to be fair, how many Europeans or Australians could name all the states in the U.S.? Or for that many, how many Americans can name all the American states and their capitals? I know that I always forget a few. And the maps keep changing, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’ve done much much better than most Europeans 😊 and you are right most of us Europeans would struggle with American states and their capitals, especially as some of the capitals are not the cities you’d expect.


    1. I had a friend whose life goal was to visit every country in the world, but every time he was almost there a country split and there was another one or two to visit!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I have a brain that retains stuff for a short while but then someone will ask about something and I know the “answer”……when they ask how did I know that, most times I can’t tell them or sometimes it’s just a don’t ask lol

        Liked by 1 person

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