EURO MICROS (and Others)
Welcome, intrepid travelers, to part nine, the final segment in our course on European escapism. Remember to review the following in order to come up to speed:
PART I: Poland
PART II: Slovakia
PART III: Hungary
PART IV: Poland 2.0
PART V: Romania (and Moldova)
PART VI: Austria, Slovenia, Croatia (with Czechia)
PART VII: Estonia and the Baltics
PART VIII: Ukraine, Russia, and More
Let’s think small, for a moment, shall we?
Sometimes big, good things come in smaller packages. Here’s a quick look at the Microstates of Europe. These are postage-stamp-sized places in out of the way locations, some you’ve heard of, others you haven’t. In the end, I’ll add in a few nations outside Europe that are still worth a cursory investigation – a bonus for you!
Herein, I will concentrate on two quaint little nations, both mountainous, with a shortlist of others to follow.
Who else can say they harassed Hannibal with mountain guerilla warfare, fought the Moors with Charlemagne, and took an active “neutral” role in defeating the Axis Powers during World War Two? I have no idea who else could, but the Andorrans can.
Welcome to the zany, happy little mountain hideaway no one knows exists. Andora is real. She sits high on the hills (the Pyrenees) between Spain and France, a nation the size of a small US county. 75,000+ Andorrans happily share their prosperity, history, and traditions a world away from, though only a short drive to, the rest of the EU.
Of that 75,000 (and, due to rampant tourism, there are generally more folks than that about), a third are literal Andorrans. Another 60% come from Spain, France, and Portugal. We’ll say it’s 97% Euro homogeneous, with the bulk of the minority composed of seasonal and resort workers, generally from Arabic states. The people are roughly 94% Christian, with a full 90% belonging to the Roman Catholic Church. The national average IQ is roughly center-average, around 100.
All of these good people do something right because they hold the record for the highest life expectancy in the world! They’re as healthy as we can get, and they like it that way. They also enjoy decent novelty in their civic lives. The national postage stamp is governed by what amounts to a town council. And, they have a Prince for a chief executive. However! Unlike anywhere else in the world, the Monarch is … appointed! That’s right. It’s a strange deal, but when the time comes to meet the new boss, a leader is selected by a two-man committee composed of the President of France and the Catholic Bishop of some town (I forget which) in Spain. No hanging chads and no stupid fads; wrap your heads around that at your leisure.
When they’re not living forever, they like to socialize and talk, officially speaking Catalan (a Spanish-ish Romance language). And, given their geography, resorts, ultra-high-tech and modern everything, and status as a duty-free TAX HAVEN, they frequently entertain French, Spanish, Portuguese, and even English.
Being located between and sheltered by two larger nations, they have little need for any military or associated spending. They have police, of course, and a part-time, kinda-sorta might-show-up militia, not that it is regularly called on. Mountains are easy to defend and it’s all the simpler when an enemy would have to march through or fly over a larger country with a standing army. Of course, should France or Spain turn on them (you), it might go poorly – be nice to your neighbors! (This has rarely ever been more than an administrative issue).
Here’s a more common dilemma: how to get home from France. Assuming you drive back, you have to make this terrible choice upon reaching the border. Do you zip through the new freeway tunnel and arrive in minutes? Or, do you meander down the old highway, taking in all the gorgeous scenery and eating up a few more minutes? Well??? Així és la vida, as the Catalonians say.
All this perfection does not come cheap. Things can be a little pricey (and, it’s all priced in Euros). One popular local trick for beating the higher costs is to be rich. If you’re not, then there is work and, I suppose, some discounts here and there. Shop around if you’re interested. They’ve got it all if it’s a tad small. Geesh … now, to a similar story in,
After Andora, you’ll feel like a minnow in the tub with some other minnows in Liechtenstein. There, one finds only half the population, spread throughout the valleys of a nation the size of a medium-sized American county. Of course, there may be more tourists and passers-by than citizens, but you’ve still got a whopping 62 square miles of space.
Oh, and the natives are rather wealthy, hosting a per capita GDP somewhere between two and three times that of the US. Yes, it’s another very small and pretty expensive, but physically pretty, place.
Scenery everywhere! The little nation that can is situated smack-dab in the middle of Switzerland and Austria, in the Alps. If you need a job, you’re in luck, as Liechtenstein has more companies than people. And, the taxes are so low as to flirt with the ridiculous. Again, as things are priced, you’ll need the money.
And, you’ll like the people, 95% of whom are ethnically European, with a few “others” mixed in, usually for cheap labor, which – keep an eye on it – usually doesn’t turn out cheap in the end. The people are 85% Christian, and 75% Catholic. And, they all clock in with an above normative average IQ! The people are smart enough to warrant a rare direct democracy, though they are checked by the soothing influence of another kindly Prince, this one of the more common hereditary kind.
They all, officially, speak German, though one will hear the occasional French, Italian, or English conversation. Business is conducted in the Swiss Franc. If you must be doubly-landlocked, this might be the place to do it.
Now, for a brief naming of the other little-bitty city-states of Europe:
Malta – an island with some recent arrivals, but with a higher IQ.
Monaco – Another Prince’s wealthy backyard where Roman Catholicism is the official religion, the people are homogenous, and on average, brighter than Amerikans.
San Marino – It’s ancient and it’s essentially Italy. Home to some of the smartest people in the world.
Luxembourg – Pricey Monarchy where people are smart, look the same, are mostly Christian.
And now, for another bonus, I’ll throw out the names – and not much more – of some viable places of potential located elsewhere:
The far north of Canada (for the cold and hearty who require little companionship), and there are more, but you’ll have to do your homework. Anywhere will have pros and cons. I’d suggest perhaps avoiding the places already popular with American (Boomer) Expats, ie: Costa Rica, Belize, etc.
When you go, wherever it is, remember why you’re going. And remember that the evil never sleeps; we must resist the siren-songs of the globalist everywhere and all the time. Postcards, etc.
And, next time, we finally get around to those of us who remain in place.