Lithuania: Eastern Europe or not?

Ever since my move to Lithuania a few months ago, I feel like I am in Eastern Europe. In fact, discovering Eastern Europe was one of the main reasons behind my move east (I should point out that I am from Germany), but whenever I mention this to Lithuanians, they are visibly insulted and correct me that I am not in Eastern but in Central Europe. I had always been tempted to ask “If this is not Eastern Europe, what is?” until I was informed that possibly Ukraine and definitely Armenia and Georgia are Eastern Europe, but not this Baltic country. I then apologize for the unintended insult, try not to repeat it and feel ashamed about having been so EU-centered when speaking of Europe.

Later, usually on my way home from the pub, I always wondered – thus far to no avail – why people are insulted by the term “East” but most probably wouldn’t be insulted by being called “Western”. Then I began to work out objective factors for what is Eastern Europe and what is not. I am sorry to say that after applying these objective factors, Lithuanian is part of Eastern Europe. I know this means that I will lose the few friends I have made here so far, but I am not one to hide my true conviction just to make people feel cozy or happy.

Let’s look at the facts, one by one:


On a somewhat ball-shaped planet, East and West are of course completely arbitrary concepts, as Christopher Columbus had to discover. Looking at parts of Europe from within Europe however, there is clearly an East, a West, a North and a South and of course a center. Looking at a topographical map of Europe, it becomes obvious that it was indeed rather close-minded of me to equate Europe with the EU (which is constantly growing and shrinking anyway).

If we accept that the eastern geographical boundary of Europe are the Ural Mountains, this continent is actually a surprisingly large chunk of land.

According to one calculation, the geographical midpoint of Europe is actually in Lithuania. With that in mind, it would be hard to argue that Lithuania is anything but in Central Europe. But first, there are several geographical midpoints all over the continent, depending on the method of calculation. Second, all of this reasoning relies on counting a large part of Russia and Kazakhstan as Europe, which I find highly dubious given that the much larger parts of these countries are in Asia. If we are in the business of drawing clear-cut lines, like Sykes-Picot, Mason-Dixon or this article, we can’t allow a country to attend two parties. Good bye, Russia. And without Russia, it is very hard to argue that Lithuania is not in Eastern Europe. In fact, it is so far east that it is in danger of falling off into the abyss which already swallowed Napoleon’s Army and large parts of the Wehrmacht (albeit too late, unfortunately).

History & Politics

This brings us to history and politics. My interest in world affairs began to develop surprisingly soon after my birth (yes, I was the kid who read the newspaper while other children played in the sandbox) and my political socialization thus began in the 1970s and 1980s. It has been heavily influenced by the Cold War, which sounds like such a negative term (and for those in Asia, Africa and Latin America it was indeed not cold at all, but a rather lethal affair) but which many spies, political scientists, writers of thrillers and arms dealers miss for its clarity: there was East and there was West, with a clear line, dramatizingly dubbed “the Iron Curtain”.

The antagonism between NATO and Warsaw Pact, between free market economies and communism, between freedom and repression admittedly continues to influence my image of Europe. To me, history and politics are more important than rivers or mountains or other unelected boundaries. Therefore, any country that was part of the Soviet Union or the Warsaw Pact will always remain Eastern Europe.

(Some of you will try to be a smartass and point out that my own country, Germany, would be West and East according to this definition. I will retort that if East and West fuse together in one country, this means that this country is the only one which is really Central Europe.)

Time zone

Lithuania is within the Eastern European Time Zone, which is one hour ahead of the Central European Time Zone. The name says it all. If you want to be part of Central Europe, don’t make me wait an extra hour every evening to watch Tagesschau.


Language offers the most incontrovertible evidence yet that Lithuania is part of Eastern Europe. Any language that has letters that look like č, š and ž (and sound accordingly) is definitely Eastern European.

(Central Europe is identified by ä, ö and ü, Western Europe by á, è and ô.)


Lastly, and most authoritatively, Lithuania is included in the “Eastern Europe” guidebooks of most publishers, for example the Lonely Planet guidebook for Eastern Europe.

(This article was also published by Medium.)

About Andreas Moser

Travelling the world and writing about it. I have degrees in law and philosophy, but I'd much rather be a writer, a spy or a hobo.
This entry was posted in Cold War, Europe, Lithuania, Travel and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

125 Responses to Lithuania: Eastern Europe or not?

  1. Pingback: Where is Lithuania? | The Happy Hermit

  2. Hmph says:

    I’m sorry, Andreas, but you’re analysis wasn’t nearly as objective as you claim.

    Geography – Fair enough, but geography has little to do with the socioeconomic factors that influence a nation.

    History and Politics – A part from being forcibly annexed for half a century, I can’t see how Lithuanian politics / history can be identified as “Eastern European.”

    Time zone – So you will insist that Finland is Eastern European as well?

    Language – This is the part that struck me most. Lithuanian is not a Slavic language, which are found in proper Eastern Europe, in fact it has very little to do with Russian / Polish / Romanian / etc. The comment about the letters was a little inane, needless to say.

    Guidebooks – People just find it more convenient to categorize the Baltic states as Eastern European.

    I realize your analysis wasn’t meant to be taken at face value, but I couldn’t resist.

    • Andreas Moser says:

      Thanks for your comments! I am glad you noticed that my article was not to be taken completely seriously, I wouldn’t have wanted your blood pressure to rise.
      Actually, the main serious thing about it is the question why people mind being put into the “Eastern Europe” category. I don’t see what is bad about it. If somebody from Norway or from Iceland tells me that for him, Germany is “Southern Europe”, I wouldn’t mind. Nor would I mind if somebody from Malts would call me “Northern European”, although objectively Germany is neither on the Northern nor Southern periphery.

    • o3xn says:

      Geographically, Lithuania is indeed Eastern Europe, and no offence is usually taken for saying so. People get upset at being called Eastern Europeans because “East” is far more than a mere geographical category, it is associated with poverty, political corruption, narrow-mindedness, etc. While these negative social phenomena have been prevalent in the region, the Baltic states have now gone a long and complicated way of transition are no longer what they used to be 26 years ago. Insisting that they are “East” is like throwing it in their face that they still stand at the same point where they used to be when the Soviet Union collapsed.

      The Soviet era is something most people don’t want to remember because they have bad memories about it. It’s something like when discussing modern Germany, insisting that this is the country which

      1. was the loser of World War 2
      2. is responsible for the Holocaust and the death of 6 million Jews
      3. is the successor of the Third Reich / Nazi Germany

      While all of the above points are true, I don’t think Germans would be happy if someone kept pushing it in their faces.

      I see East and West continuing to exist but only as a geographical/historical distinction in the future, since all other differences (especially, economical and social) between East and West are rapidly disappearing and will be completely rubbed off in the nearest 20-30 years.

    • For me, Eastern Europe is actually something positive because I find it the more interesting and exciting, even exotic part of Europe.

      And as a German, I am absolutely happy if somebody knows something about German history. I am also most happy and relieved that Germany lost World War II, so I really don’t mind that at all. And the way Germany has developed from a brutal dictatorship into a stable democracy within short time is something that can be appreciated without forgetting the past. In fact, I think the way Germany (and most Germans) deal with the past is exemplary.

    • Mihai says:

      You should take a short linguistic trip to the past:

      Also, Romanian has nothing to do with the Slavic group, but it still considered mostly eastern rather than central. Nonetheless, I don’t see the problem here.

    • Ivano Franko says:

      About 25% of Romanian words are Slavic words. About 3% of Lithuanian words are either of Slavic origin, are similar, or are borrowed by Slavs from the Balts. I wonder why they did not include Romanian language into a new to-be-created Romano-Slavic group. Bad science.

      On the other hand, if someone tells me that Ukraine is in West Asia, I would be offended, because Ukraine is quite close to the Urals and the Caspian Sea. Also, do you think Finns will love it if you call them Eastern Europeans? Even Greeks and Austrians get upset over that label.

      And yes, factually, the Baltic countries are indeed North-Eastern Europe. So is Belarus and Finland as well.

      I also think that being Slavic as myself, is an advantage.

  3. Michael says:

    According to the UN (well, they’re as good an expert as any on such a tricky topic), Lithuania is in Northern Europe.
    And even the UEFA, for me an authority on anything European, regards the Baltic states as “Northern”,

    • Andreas Moser says:

      I have already received word that both of these assessments will be changed soon, based on my convincing arguments.

    • Michael says:

      Kudos for the convincing power :-)

    • Литхуйня says:

      Why? No… stay with your opinion. Don’t appear weak pressurised by some east Euro chauvinist. I love the typical innocently chauvinist opinions of west Euros. West is Best. East is Yeast. I told ya folks that letters and the way words are written matter very much, at least to the west Euros. C@@L or COOL has these round, cool letters. It’s all about (being) COOL to the West, just what KAWAII is to Japan. The two polka dots on top of a, e, u, o looks so cool meh, we are so West about those letters or central. Hey, but how about Finland and Turkey? I think Azeris, Uzbeks also use those umlauts. Love the UEFA map. Almost.

  4. If forced into a category, I’d hang it in Central Europe, with Estonia being the Western edge of “Eastern Europe”. (Not sure where Latvia would like itself placed, so I’ll leave them out of it for now. :D ) Of course, I’m biased with my World War 2 studies, and tend to think of European Russia as “Eastern Europe”, so my geography is probably not the best example to use…. ;)

  5. Mal Ta says:

    try saying that malta is part of africa (it’s actually more to the south than africa’s northern point) or that maltese people are arabs. you’ll get all sort of phone calls…..oh….you already did experience something like that :P

    • Литхуйня says:

      I also noticed that Malta are in African plate and their language is mostly Arabic with some Italianate words. No problem with that, we Love Malta! Then there’s Cyprus, which is clear;y i Asia, but I was forced to move it to Europe on my blog as I had some angry comments from Cypriots. And some Greek islands are too close to Turkey to be considered Europe, or let alone Western Europe. Yet! SCOTT postage stamps catalogue included Turkey and Yugoslavia with Western Europe.

  6. foinaven says:

    Entertaining, and with comments from educated non-troll people. Very refreshing! Keep up the good work, Andreas!

  7. Lithuanian says:

    well. the bad to be called EE country is of course wrong associations. Watch a bunch of movies about EE countries and note how these countries are drawn – very poor, people eat cats and drink vodka all day long. Even worse, people, who never been here, think that way also. These associations are not correct. Yes we are poor, but this is not our fault – years of occupation had negative impact on overall country development. But country is moving forward and at this point of time I already can see more “western” than “eastern” life style.
    All in all, there are no problem of being “eastern”, but the problem are wrong associations.

    • Ivano Franko says:

      Well, because western Europeans have a lot of insecurity about themselves, or should we say, an inferiority complex.

  8. 'NuffSaid says:

    What the average citizen thinks Eastern Europe looks like:

    • Andreas Moser says:

      This “Eurotrip” is one of the worst films ever, not only about Eastern Europe.

    • Heckler without Koch says:

      So you disagree with the movie’s tagline “No Europeans were harmed in the making of this film.”? ;-)

    • Andreas Moser says:

      I think the film is so bad because for many non-Europeans (i.e. Americans) it is the only or at least primary source for their image of Europe. If people were informed about Europe, the movie wouldn’t do any harm. (Although it is still a terribly bad movie in which I couldn’t discover one funny bit.)

    • Литхуйня says:

      In fact in South Africa East Europeans are regarded as rich Europeans very much. They do not separate East from West as long as you look White and are well dressed.

  9. g says:

    I was trying also to locate my grandparents they were from from germany area but much has changed since the war in the 40s I cant even find their region which was called the goldberg region ever hear of it?


  10. Kosmoso šlavėja says:

    Nice article, i do not feel offended, i say myself that i am eastern european,so i don’t know who could be offended,just the topic about language is not correct as it is not slavic background and if you take for example portuguese language they pronounce č,ž also :)

  11. N.Smat says:

    As a Lithuanian-Canadian, I identify personally with the East.
    Much like yourself, I believe anything that was once part of the Warsaw Pact an Eastern European nation.
    I take no shame or humiliation of my Eastern and Soviet past, (not a Commie, but that’s a whole other convo) and don’t see why other Lithuanians would either.

  12. jpetros says:

    I know this was meant as a joke, but some of them did hurt a little bit. I don’t mind being eastern European but the slavic thing was a little much, especially considering I get it a lot

    • Stefan says:

      I am Slavic, why does it offend you so much, do you think you’re superior?

    • jpetros says:

      :( I don’t think I’m superior. I’m sorry if you got that impression. I’m just saying I’m not slavic. How would you feel if everyone started saying your germanic 24/7?

    • Slawofil says:

      If you want to find some really ugly people, always head for Slavic countries:

    • But there are some of the most attractive girls here.

    • Slawofil says:

      You mean the slutty looking attractiveness? And those attractive submissive in appearance ladies give birth to such ugly schmugly tiny mouthed buzzing like bugs males?

    • No, I mean the naturally attractive and self-confident look.

    • Slawofil says:

      Yes, but such a category of women exist in all countries. I personally find Slavic women in the appearance closest to Turkish and Middle Eastern. Except those that clearly have Scandinavian and Baltic look and genetics and even some Asian intermix. Such examples would be Belarusian, St. Petersburgan women (Scandobaltic), while Asian premix exists in eastern Ukraine and Russia.

  13. Ulian Aliev says:

    If Lithuania was more simular to Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands etc – then I wouldnt love it so much!

    YES!!! Lithuania is eastern Europe, mentality, location – everything! The capital is located more to the east than most european cities! And the mentality is “very eastern european”, with proud young ladies with mouch make-up and, macho men everywhere, most ppl are anti-gay-marriage, and the food is very ver very eastern european!


    • Литхуйня says:

      I was going to say it – when I travel around Europe, I always find some friendly people in Western Europe, but I prefer eastern Europeans, except I find Portuguese very friendly.
      I think the entire Europe and the world is a pearl, no matter where you go.The more diversity, the better.

  14. Pingback: Grumpy Cat coming to Lithuania | The Happy Hermit

  15. Tomas says:

    Letters of Slovenians, Czechs Latin alphabets: č, š, ž. Slovenia, Czechs – Eastern Europe? :)

    What is Cyrillic script then – Eastern Eastern Europe? :D

    South Africa, Turkey, Greece, Finland – all belong to the Eastern European Time Zone. Turkey, Finland, South Africa – Eastern Europe? :)

    East Germany with cities Berlin, Dresden, Leipzig belonged to the Warsaw Pact. What is more, they all where commies. Dresden lies within Eastern Europe? :)
    Ok, Germany should be excluded.
    What about Hungary, Czech, Slovakia?

    Let us do not forget, that Lithuanians are mostly Catholic nation (79%) – just the same as Spanish, Portuguese, Italians or French.

    France, Spain – Eastern Europe or Belarus, Ukraine – not Europe? :)

    And so on, my friend.

    • Tytanos says:

      Cyrillics, Greeks, Georgians, Armenians are the exotic Eurasia of course.

    • Beta says:

      hahahahha excellent.

    • Simasu Anonimasu says:

      Stupid “Lithuanian” biatch (usually russkie KGB is acting up)… I am Lithuanian, but I am normal and i have no assoc. with this katsap KGB biatch kind. Unfort. so many such biatch here.

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  18. Литхуйня says:

    UEFA maps creates Moldova-Romania and Corsica-France separation problem. Regarding Lithuania (sometimes Russians call it Литхуйня) it belongs to Africa accordingly to the colours of its flag. :-)

  19. Литхуйня says:

    By the way, Lithuania is all 5 (N, S, W, E, C). Let me prove it. Northern, because it is in Northern Europe and its genetics are Northern European mostly. Eastern Europe – very much so too for all the above and historical reasons (Grand Duchy etc.). Central Europe because the geo centre of Europe is near Vilnius. Western Europe, because it is westernmost part of Eurasia along with the Scandinavian countries and it is in the EU, NATO and has been westernised. Southern Europe, because it has a great influence of Italian architecture, especially in Vilnius and the temperament of Lithuanians, they are called the Southerners of the Baltic countries for a good reason. Can’t pas a bunch of guys on a sidewalk without getting in trouble. :-)

    • Christine Zemaitaitis says:

      My Father is 6’7″ height and always has been a tough Lithuanian man….very hard to please and he never put up with any nonsense. He was always in trouble with the law because he always started the trouble to begin with. He roughed up many people in his day. My guess would be the warrior gene. I really believe it runs in my family all from Dad’s side….even the women in the family don’t put up with nonsense and will hit you in a quick minute. I myself am not innocent though I try to be a peaceful person. That only lasts so long. So yes you can’t pass a bunch of guys on the sidewalk if they happen to be big Lithuanian men LOL

  20. Pingback: Unter Schwulen: Baltic Pride 2013 | Mosereien

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  22. 4lulz says:

    Just a quick Q : How does Germans will feel if call them Turkish ? A: Some will ignore it,but most will be offended!
    P.S. I don’t care either I belong to Eastern or Northern part. As for your “research” you can wipe your bom bom with it. As all this article is just a CHEAP attempt to get click from attention whore like you :)

    • Литхуяйнья says:

      I would avoid strong language like this. I’d rather ask a German whether he or she is a French or a Polish. That would be closer to the reality. Or Russian. East European. Because a lot of Germans look and act very much like Russians do. Friendly but rude. But then again, it all depends on an individual person.

  23. Angele Roy says:

    Think if some Lithuanians lightened up with their judgements it would not matter if they are Eastern European or need to have all 5. Five?

    Prussia, once upon a time, was west of Lithuania. My mother, who was born in Lithuania and whose ancesters were from Prussia, was shamed because of her heritage. Prussi was not a nice thing to be called in our Lithuanian household.

    Lithuania may not rank third place on the list of sucide countries if some of those value judgements were gone. Did it not hold first place for a while? Anybody have an explaination for that?

    • Aliaen Xhaxhazhi says:

      Prussian was a Baltic tribe. They were also called Semba, Prusa. Germans stole their name and were using it for “their” country called Preussen, but today a lot of Germans have Baltic blood. All those blonde White Germans are actually Balts. Look at their baltic faces. The most beautiful people in the world come from Baltic Sea. Other Germans are Slavic and Germanic. Balts are one of the most Aryan people along with Swedes and other Scandinavians. They are most blonde people around the Baltic Sea and tallest. Lithuania is one of the best countries in the world and I have been there. No matter what you say, Baltics and Scandinavia rulez!

  24. Aliaen Xhaxhazhi says:

    Lithuania # 1 or # 3 for suicides because they are beautiful, intelligent, but depressed people because of the cold climate, but I personally think that a cold climate is much more soulful and has much more genius loci. Suicide rate has also something to do with the economic development, which is still lagging somehow.

  25. Brigita says:

    The only Lithuanians that wouldn’t mind being ‘Eastern European’ would be those that don’t mind Eastern Europe itself. When most people think of Eastern Europe, they imagine poor countries with cheap booze and ugly promiscuous girls. Whereas, when most people think of Northern Europe, they automatically assume Scandinavia and rich countries full of pretty blonde people. Now you see, those who like the lifestyle currently in Lithuania, would accept that they are Eastern European as they do not think outside the box and aren’t as eager for Lithuania to develop. Eastern Europe is poor and less developed than pretty much any other hemisphere in Europe. Those who have hope for Lithuania (they are possibly delusional though) will very much rather be called Northern European. I don’t even live in Lithuania, but I wish I did, and I wish I was old enough to make a change for the better. Because right now, even though Lithuania is in Northern Europe geographically ( AND THAT IS WHY YOU SHOULD CONSIDER IT NORTHERN EUROPEAN as it’s all about the precise geographical locations), it feels very much like it belongs in Eastern Europe. The accents itself, and the physical attributes make this clear. So yes, Lithuania is Eastern European due to its lifestyle (for now, as it WILL BECOME A BETTER COUNTRY), but it truly belongs in Northern Europe, and time for development will make this clear, and there won’t be anymore stupid threads as of such, and I won’t be tempted to respond to such intimidating posts.

    • CHEMTRAILS says:

      As far as I know, in 2014, the living standard in Lituania is better than in Portugal or Greece. The “accent” the way people speak (about 50% speak with a russified accent), will not disappear; it will always be there, unless the linguists will do an excellent job to eradicate beginning with kindergarten and the primary schools.

    • Beta says:

      maybe YOUR lifestyle is eastern european. I come from the beautiful capital Vilnius, we go skiing all winter, travelled the world and half of our family stay in Denmark. All my money is in Swedish banks and my house is Norwegian… so is the mortgage actually. I don’t eat the disgusting vederai and desros, cepelinai, but eat healthy modern diet and speak fluently 3 languages and none of them are russian or polish. I am a proud nothern european and not a single thing suggests I am from Ukraine or Poland.

  26. Beta says:

    haha. you are so wrong, but that’s okay. Many people are. Even the commentators not got a clue what they are saying. Geographically (I am PhD in Geology so obviously what I say goes.) when you speak about ‘East of Europe’, you must add Russia, well.. up to the mountains, I can try and explain it to you, but without any scientific background doubt you would understand, so ‘good bye Russia’ or whatever you were writing is a non-sense. So Lithuania is central Europe. You like it or not, it is.
    Language – Lithuanians speak a very unique Baltic language which is nothing like Russian, Polish or any other slavic languages. It is a completely different family group! Did you know it is one of the oldest living languages? and the sounds you mentioned are nothing to do with East/North, haha, you are so uneducated I am suprised you can even speak English never mind discuss other languages. The sounds are similar to sanskrit more than any Slavic language, what can you say about that? no wonder some people spend their lives trying to figure the language roots, it’s that fascinating. but it’s okay if you are uneducated, you wouldn’t know, don’t blame yourself… I can hardly tell a difference between estonian and dutch! we are only human after all. But here, now you know it, apology accepted! :)
    Politics! hahhaha, you are so dumb, once again, Google baltoscandia, google NB8! ever heard of these things? Don’t speak about the soviet union, that thing is older than you!

    So to sum up… Lithuania is geographically in the centre of the continent of Europe. Lithuania is proud to be a baltic state and even more – to be one of the Northern countries! If you don’t believe it, visit any bank in Lithuania, Swedbank, DNB, SEB and other. Why are they scandinavian, why aren’t they Szczyz… bank of Poland? Let me think! haha. silly german.

  27. James says:

    Failed: Are you for real or here just german humour? I’m proud I’m Lithuanian. Because we were part of Eastern Europe, but through hard work we become part of Northern Europe :) You may like it or not ;)

  28. James says:

    “Jacek Litewski” – we feed you… give you free education and latter you cannot say “Thank You” in Lithuanian.. This is the main reason why nobody like european mexicans ( polish ). We were close long time ago, but because we are deeply ashamed to be associated with mexicans, we chosen northern way. Also we are as eastern european as Finland.

    • James says:

      Eat it…. By the way author of this article should be thankful for us for creating Prussia which in time became Germany. we created you ;)

    • And I thought my parents created me.

    • Paulius Mockus says:

      I am also a Lithuanian, and I think we have some people in our country, who are just ridiculous and stupid. They brag to hate Poles, and there is nothing wrong with the Poles or the Germans; they call Latvians “zirgo galva”, which is just plain wrong; they envy their own tribesmen; they claim to be something they are not and I am ashamed to be sharing land with such people. It originates from their complex of inferiority, being a tiny nation and a rude subculture adopted from the Russians and even the Central Asia. Gladly not all Lithuanians are like that, but the general trend of being stupid is right there and i pray it will change.

    • Jacek Litewski says:

      “James”, litwins are mongol tribe mixed with Baltic peasant and Poland is a great country indeed. Mexico is too. Your little country has some overconfident and overstupid people similar to yourself. WE LOVE POLAND. Litwa ojczyzna moja, biez glupych litwinow. You created what? Germany??? Prusja? Cha-cha-cha!!! This only proves that some litwins are dumb like a shoe.

  29. James says:

    I’m not Litwin… Esu lietuvis ( Lithuanian) ;) Jei nors kiek dekingumo jaustum uz viska ka tau mano valstybe duoda, tai neizeidinetum musu. Something similar like dog bitting hand which feeds him. But what to expect from Mexicans.

  30. James says:

    After battle of Grunwald, which was commanded by Lithuanian Grand Duke and polish King who also was Lithuanian… , new vasal kingdom was created called prussia. .

  31. Magnus says:

    Lithuania are part of Northern Europe 100% !!!

  32. vidavidav says:

    I can understand so well why so many LTs are so reactive to being called Eastern Europeans. Because in many cases it has a negative attitude. And even when it does not, we react so because in our heads it is = you are bad. I am learning myself to set boundaries from what others might associate my country of origin (and their lack of education can be one of the reasons why they see it as they do) and me who I am as a person.

  33. Götweren Yhdynnän says:

    Why am I being sent this? I am not interested who is part of who, we are all part of Earth.

  34. Vittu-Pelle says:

    I just don’t get it. We should call Lithuania Northern-European? Sure, it is. So is Belarus, a poor dictatorship that geographically speaking belongs to the East, of which no one would ever consider being a Western country. I know that you shouldn’t call Lithuanians Eastern-Europeans, or even Baltics, but I just don’t understand why not.

    I’m Finnish, call us Scandinavian because we’re easily mistaken for that, it does not bother me. You can call me Eastern-European because sure as hell we’re in the eastern part of Europe (bordering to Russia!). It’s no big deal. Call us Swedes or assume we’re ruled by the Swedes today? That’s a quite a big deal! So… take it for what it is. If East/West is defined by economic standards then Lithuania _does_ belong to the East, no matter the reason why – I know it’s not their own fault, but it doesn’t really matter if we’re using development as a tool to measure. It’s numbers, personal feelings, wished and desires do not count.

  35. eli says:

    Geographically Baltic states are in northern Europe.historically – part of the eastern block thus westerners still call it eastern Europe …its not gonna change any time soon
    It will in the can’t blame people for saying the word east, they don’t know much about the countries and their cultures so its easier to just say eastern Europe…it makes me angry because it just reminds of occupation again and again…but let’s chill people.every country is cool.educated people know that

  36. howtoclasses says:

    Andreas, thanks for your ” ” controversial post. I mostly agree with your points. Litwania is Eastern European, along with the Livonia, Kurlandia, Estonia, Finnland. Definitely, Moldova, Rumynia, Ukrinia and Eastern Russia. I’m not sure about Poland, though. Since the Western Poland used to be an Eastern Germany, 70 yrs ago.

    So why do the people of the Baltic Seashore, and Moldovan, Rumynian, Ukrainian and Georgians feel ashamed to be even considered E Europeans? Because it reminds them of the recent unhappy past. Just like a villagers’ son after having received his education at Sorbonne or Oxford, after having deposited his 1500 Euros savings in a Danish Bank, and having bought an affordable 2-bedroom, 1-bathroom ranch somewhere in Norway would too feel ashamed to meet his uneducated sloppy dressed parents visiting him with gifts of salo and potato soup in a glass jar coming from their poor and destitute village somewhere in the middle of Nowhere. You see, Andreas, these people do belong now to the West! – Or so they think. No matter how uprooted they are.

    You make them feel angry because you dare to remind them of their past and of what they really are. … Now they are building the protecting shield between their Now and their Before. They invent stories of their glorious past, or in the least, of the glorious past of their nation. And this is where the fun begins. The Moldovan and Rumynian people declare themselves and their 3 thousand year old culture the oldest in Europe, in fact, they are claiming to be direct descendants of the Roman soldiers, and Senators, for a good measure. …. Ukrainians invent a powerful nation of Ancient Ukres with 50 (sic!) thousand of years of the glorious past. In case you don’t know, Homer was one of them, and the whole Trojan War story is about Their Battles. …

    Litwaniens have nothing that special and heroic to be proud of on the great scale of Rumynians and Ukrainians. But wait! They can say their language is the oldest of them all. Directly related to Sanskrit. Hmmm… Not true. Theirs is just one of the most conservative, reason being their ancestors lived in a complete isolation from historical events, in the middle of the swamps between Poland and Tartaria. Not christened, not cultured, no innovations, Until finally Poles came in and improved their ways, religion, culture and language. For better or for worse. … As a matter of fact they did not descend from Aryans, either. Balto-Slavic tribe inherited their language from a pra-Indo-European language at its very late stage. After Persians, Hindus, Armenians, Greeks, Celts, Italics, Germans split off. Then the Slavs went away. The Litwaniens stayed behind, in their swamps and forests, hunting wild geese and fishing, encircled by finnish nations of the Baltic Seashore, praying to the gods of trees and rivers. Cold and lonely. Very sad. But they were very proud of their Language.

    Speaking about their language. It is not russified or polonized. That’s just the way it always sounds, naturally, like a song of a wild goose…

    Germans, then Swedes colonized their brethren up north. Poles took care of the Litwaniens, then Russians, then Russians again….. Is this why they hate so much when you call them Eastern Europeans? Is this why they hate to be associated with the Slavs? But again, they really have nothing to do with Swedes and Germans. I guess it’s so much easier to live in a Dream World.

    Go West, be happy, come bock home to your natural family of Swedes, Danes, Germans. Americans?? (I’m not sure they are really happy to see you in their Western home, though.)

    • Vanka Vankin says:

      Welcome onboard uneducated (Belo)Russian Fool and Historical Relict. While your delirium has 5% Truth in it (yes, it does), the rest is just delirium of a permanent slave. Your multiple misspellings tell about your “education”.

      SLAVA KP-SS!

    • Do you notice the irony of talking about education and at the same time insulting others with foul language?

  37. 999boy666 says:

    I born in 90 when my country becomes free. So I was blessed to see how country from eastern mentality growing to western mentality. Now I understand world betrer than others.

  38. Interesting information about Lithuania. Is it true?

  39. Agne says:


    The term ‘Eastern European’ offends so many people because it is a way of labelling millions of diverse groups with their own identities and cultures along very arbitrary lines.

    Sadly, the European territories overrun by the Red Army suffered greatly in post-war Europe. Some folk (by no means all) in the territories liberated by USA, Britain and France after the war have now developed an air of superiority about themselves as they benefited from stronger economies and greater freedoms between 1945 and 1991. Some, have developed a narrative that is sub-consciously derogatory towards the former Soviet Occupied territories.

    The narrative that has developed is so strong that you yourself have been lured into creating imaginary cultural links between the former Soviet occupied countries. For example, you have described the Lithuanian language as essentially a Slavic dialect. This is incorrect. The Lithuanian language is a very distinct Indo-European language of particular interest to linguists owing to its age and separation compared to other European languages

    It’s a silly point to add, but while we are on Geography, whatever happened to North and South? If you check Wikipedia, Lithuania is actually described as a North European Country which makes sense given that parts of it are further North than both Denmark and Sweden. Like I say it’s a silly point because North and South are also too much of an arbitrary way of describing groups of people.

    Dividing an entire continent in two and saying some are Eastern Europeans and some are Western European is very simplistic and degrades people to mere sub-people, like something out of a bad American movie. I am sure you don’t mean it but the truth is, people probably feel it is incredibly arrogant for you to visit another country and make sweeping statements about who they are.

    We would like to move away from these childish descriptions of ‘Eastern Europeans’ or ‘Western Europeans’ or even ‘North Europeans.’

    We are Lithuanians and we ask that you respect that fact.


    • My article was more trying to make fun of people for whom the differentiation is important, as I agree with you that many of these lines are arbitrary. Particularly now, 26 years after the fall of the Iron Curtain, we are all Europeans. In my travels through all the corners of Europe, I find that youngsters in Vilnius or Kaunas have much more in common with youngsters in Belgrade, Barcelona and Belfast than with farmers in Budeliai. But these farmers have much more in common with farmers in Bozen or Beilngries. For me, nations, borders, even languages are not the important lines. As a lawyer, I will for example immediately have a better understanding with a lawyer from Pakistan, even if we can only talk in patchy English, than with a bus driver from my own village in Germany.
      On your last point, I don’t really respect anyone for being Lithuanian. Just as I don’t respect anyone for being Japanese or Turkish or Alsatian. Because I don’t care about that (and nobody should pretend they deliberately picked their country of birth, so let’s not make a big deal out of something completely arbitrary). I find it much more important if someone is funny or optimistic, for example.

  40. Agne says:

    That’s a very stupid article, please kindly get your facts about the Lithuanian language right.

  41. Karol Sabielski says:

    Lithuanians seem very arrogant here. They dont’t know they’re just an irrelevant tribe.

    They feel proud that their language is different than Slavic languages. It’s truth but why is that?The answer is simple: Lithuanian belongs to the Baltic language family. This family is the most primitive within Indoeuropean group. Simply put Baltic family is backward in compare with other families (Slavic, Romance, Germanic). Baltic languages did not evolve like other Indoeuropean languages did. It’s also worth mentioning that Lithuania was the last pagan country in the Europe. Paganism was another sign of backwardness in 15th century. Lithuania received its cultural identity from Poland. Poland may be compared to China, which civilized barbarian Mongolian tribes in Asia.

    It’s also easy to prove that their capital city Wilno (WTF is Vilnius?) has Polish roots. Namely, there is plenty of data which confirms that Poles made up majority of Wilno before World War 2. I know that prewar Republic of Lithuania saw Wilno as its capital city under foreign occupation but this claim had no support among local population. According to 1931 census Poles made up ~66% inhabitants of the city, Jews about 28% and finally Lithuanians… 0,8%. Everyone living in the city was crying when Lithuania annexed Wilno in 1939. Lithuanians accompanied SS Nazi Germans in Ponary massacre where in total 100 000 Poles and Jews were slaughtered. They have never apologized for this crime.

    Unfortunately Poles were expelled from Wilno after WW2 but even these days there are many of them living in Lithuania. Actually it’s a sad topic – Poles which has been there for ages are persecuted by the Lithuanian regime. They are not even allowed to write their surnames using Polish script. It’s an obvious violation of human rights. By contrast Lithuanians living in Poland are allowed to write their family names with Lithuanian alphabet without any obstacles.

    Lithuanians tend to claim that Poles in Wilno are in fact polonized Baltic Lithuanians. This is an evidence that Polish culture was seen as more advanced, sophisticated and attractive than Lithuanian culture. In fact nobility and burghers spoke Polish. Lithuanian was a language of uneducated, illiterate peasants.

  42. Sharas says:

    Andreas, as a lithuanian i can tell you you havent learned anyting whily living in lithuania.

    The majority of people you’ve met havent they been blond? First indication – we are northeners.

    Secondly, why are you forgetting that around the last 200 years we have been occupied either by russian empire/soviet union. They have been continiously trying to demolish our culture language etc. Im 30years old and I’ve been born in soviet lithuanian republic. What do you expect after 200 years of occupation? Luckily enough, we have multicultural capital and things are getting much better. Come to Lithuania let’s say in 2037 – im sure you will appreciate we are northern europeans and not eastern europeans.

    • North and east are not mutually exclusive.
      And I have learned a lot in my year in Lithuania, particularly that sense of humor is not very widespread.

  43. Käästas Naujokas says:

    First of all, Karol Sabielski is a troll. He’s a well know Polish chauvinist known as “Zbygniew” and he is either from Poland or rather from eastern Lithuania. What he tells is half truth, but on the other hand, what he tells is also half lies. Which means, Lithuanians indeed were backward peasants, while western-more countries, such as Poland and Germany already had higher culture.
    It is also true that Lithuanian used to be a peasantly language, although mostly beautiful, and quite unique in its won ways.

    During the times of GDL Polish and Belarussian languages were the written languages of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. We were peasants and we are still very much peasantly till these days. When I watch “Lithuanian” videos all I can hear is “blet, blyadj, suka, kurwa, naxui with the occasional newsome “fuck””. I want our culture to change. I want us to stop using words such as “NU”, “BL’ATJ”, “DAVAJ” “VPIZDU” “NAXUI” “XUI” “PIZDÁ” “KURWA” and so on and so forth.

    It is shocking to see all these Lithuanian guys speak like unwashed peasants that they still are and then once foreigners say “YOU SOUND RUSSIAN” they jump up and become all offensive.

    Why don’t we change ourselves first. How many times I wrote, promoted new educational standard to clean up our language, to change the way we write words, change the writing system and even the spelling system and most likely to get rid of that peasantly slanguage (jargon) and the Sovietly-Asiatic attitude. I love to hear when some people from smaller towns speak the clean, beautiful unlittered Lithuanian language just the way our folks before WWII spoke it, the way I have heard pre-WWII emigrants speak. But then come those sport-suit-wearing “hooligans” all obsessed with lowlife-Asiatic culture of spitting everywhere, beating everyone up, beying miserable and rude, obnoxious, extremely aggressive and downright disrespectfully criminal. No wonder civilised people consider these kind of Lithuanian as “Albanians”, “Caucasians” or even Africans of Europe. With all my respect to the flag, but take a look even at the colours of the flag we selected. We definitely belong to the Southeastern Europe. Absolutely peasants in the bad meaning of the word. Very aggressive, downright dangerous. Don’t get me wrong, Poland is full of such kind of people, so is Turkey, Russia etc.

    Only thanks to widespread criticism of our guests such people can change, or may as well go extinct. I would not like Lithuanian language to go extinct as that would mean Europe would lose part of its heritage. The country is not doing bad, it is a high income country and has been growing fast, but the things I mentioned above must change too.

    I must also note that this kind of rude culture, it came rather from Korea, Mongolia, Russia, Poland and other easternmost countries. When I go to Poland I experience this kind of rude aggressive behaviour, when either in “their” so called Wilno (which in fact was established as Lithuanian city almost 700 year ago and has always been Lithuanian city until perhaps XIXth or early XX century) or Warsaw etc. So when I walk with a lady in Poland, on a sidewalk, the two guys approach us and one of them always hits me with his shoulder, then they turn around and attack me for “hitting them”. Of course, usually it ends up with them in the emergency room or us simply explaining to them peacefully that we are foreigners. Same thing happens with local Poles in Wilno, or rather Vilnius, since the city was established in 1323 as VILNIUS. 3 Polish guys “shoulder hit” me, then turn around and…. after two of them are on the ground, the third one runs away screaming “I WILL FIND YOU!!! I WILL KILL YOU!!!”. So typical, cowardly Asiatic behaviour. Whatever peqasants we are but gladly Lithuanians do not usually behave like that. Although they probabaly do, I jst did nt have a chance to participate… Otherwise I am very respectful of Poland and their culture. And i hate when Lithuanians and Poles fight each other with words and spread hatered towards each other.

    Regarding spelling rules in LT…. I think Poles should be allowed to spell their names and street names the way they prefer. Almost. Write first line in Lithuanian and second line (street name or passport) in Polish. Why not? Every country alows that in the local communities or local ethnoc neighbourhoods. Poles are our fiends, brothers, neighbours, so are Germans, Latvians, Russians, Finns etc.

    Also I would prefer if Lithuanian language had a different system of spelling by getting rid of the “ugly” letters such as: ĄČĘĖĮŠŲŪŽ. Well, especially the ĄĘĮŲ. If I could I would reform the culture and the language and you would not recognise it as “peasant” anymore.

    Being Lithuanian I notice myself how ridiculous many or even most of the Lithuanian online posters are. They are kind of self-deprecating and at the same time very arrogant. Quite undeservedly I would say. Are they really such douche bags or are these posters some foreign trolls that are paid to create ethnic tensions? We will never know. Can be both. Yet I can tell you that a good number of us Lithuanians are “keisti išsišokėliai” (whippersnapper, Emporkömmling). First of all they always say:

    1. WE HAVE NO MOUNTAINS (true, but… no need to repeat it so much)
    2. WE ARE NOT SLAVS (what if we were? Are Czechs or Belarussians worse than us?)
    3. OUR LANGUAGE IS SANSKRIT (not only LIthuanian….also Latvian, Russian, Greek, French etc.)

    I want to hide when I hear this again and again, over and all over again. Yet I also disagree that Lithuanian is a Balto-Slavic language. It is not. It is rather intermediate between Latin/Germanic and Slavic/Hellenic languages, but mostly unique, on it’s own, yet part of the IE. And yes, indeed we do not have mountains in Lithuania, and Russian, Portuguese, Greek has a lot of similarity to Lithuanian, but not enough to turn it into a Latin, Slavic or Germanic language or make it a mountainous country or into Northern Nederland, but then, who cares? So I must agree with the Polish troll, or should I say, the shill, who said half the truth by the way, that yes, indeed Lithuanians are still very peasantly in their attitude and behaviour and they are turning Poles against themselves really quick. Quite unnecessarily.. And i have noticed, I have some of that as well, which I have been cleaning up myself.

    I also want to add that you, Andreas, have certain characteristics, features, attributes of a troll. Don’t get offended. It is true. Yet a lot of what you post I can agree with, it is mostly true. You may have been had your feelings hurt by some rude, unwashed, peasantly Lithuanians, but there are many great people here as well. And you were quite very positively attituded in the beginning, but the handful Lithuanian crudes had the better of you. You are still holding on well and you really are not a troll, but you do have tiny bit of a troll as well. We most do. So you can’t gave an absolutely idependente opinion, especially after living in a country.

    Yet when I returned to Lithuania after many seconds of being absent, I see the situation is still pretty sad and the place has become even more peasantly, provincial, than before, except Vilnius. Of course there is developpement and improvements, but still. The Vilnius airport feels like deep Canadian province. While I drove from the airport to the city centre, I saw a horrible sight, which should not be there – three little buildings without windows, completely oblitterated, on the street leading from the sad- and provincial-.looking airport to the city centre. On the left hand side. That sight made me so angry on the city governement. The same situation in the centre of Nida, Couronia. Then the LIETUVA cinema in front of the Vilnius Old Town and all the broken sidewalks in the older parts of the city close to the Railway station and even in the old Town. And I have lived on 4 continents for quite a few seconds.

    We, Lithuanians, need to change. Not only physically, or economicaly, but we need to change our social culture and our atitudes. We need NOT to become more westernised, which a lot of times means going backwards and downwards, towards becoming drug infested, satanistic hellhole, no, we need to become more of an idealistic society, back into the progressive mid XX century. I would say even more naive. More pro-family, more kind, more kind to each other, more helpful. Help the stranger and expect someone will help you when you need it most. Or help them from the depth of your heart and PLEASE clean up, get rid of those ugly nasty BLJAAA, NAAXUI, SUUUKA, ZEEERTVA, PIZDEETSSS, AXUIEEEENNAA spicewords, etc. Ar jums negeda? Aren’t you ashamed? Turn yourselves into a kind and highly cultural people despite even if you have a low income and a miserable life. Try it. And you will see how life will become better. More investment will come and you will live better.

    • o3xn says:

      If someone considers a language to be “a language of peasants” only because of the specific set of diacritic marks used in that language, then the real peasants are those who think that, not the language or its speakers. You say you find ĄĘĮŲ ugly. Well I say I find them especially pleasing. Now, which one of us is right?

      I can add that I do hate the letters ÄÖÜÅ used in some Germanic languages. They are ugly, boring and overused in too many languages which makes them all look alike. Does that make German a “peasant” language and should Germans “clean up” their language because I think so? NO, since this is my personal opinion. And while I do have the right to have an opinion about anything, I don’t know about all the historical reasons why e.g., German or Swedish use those specific letters and what they mean to the native speakers. Maybe the cherish them as a linguistic heritage. As such, I distance myself from judging and leave it to them to decide. In the same way, I think we Lithuanians also have our reasons for using some letters and not the others, and it should be respected.

      The same can be said about the flag. I don’t see anything wrong with it. May I remind you the flags of Norway, Sweden,l Denmark, Finland and Iceland look identical just with different colors? Are they then unimaginative people, reusing and recycling the same shit for 5 different countries?

      We, Lithuanians, do have a problem. And that’s, first and foremost, our inferiority complex. That someone somewhere does things differently, doesn’t mean we too have to do it their way. We can be ourselves and be respected for that.

    • As a native German, the only problem I have with Ä, Ö and Ü is that I cannot find them on keyboards in most countries. So when I need a new computer, which luckily happens only every few years, I need to order one from Germany and can’t get a cheap one from the local market.

  44. Käästas Naujokas says:

    P.S. Then again, perhaps I have not see enough….

  45. says:

    i’m lithuanian and i’m kinda surprised that a lot of us insist that we’re not eastern european. most people i’ve heard don’t really like the fact but it requires quite a bit of stubborn blindness to deny it

    • And as I wrote in this article and others, for me, “Eastern European” is nothing negative, it’s just like some people live in North America and others in South America.
      Actually, I find Eastern Europe far more interesting and dynamic than Western Europe. So, I am happy that Kaunas will be European Capital of Culture in 2022!

  46. José says:

    Andreas, any modern PC can produce Western European letters (German, French, Spanish, Portuguese) such as and I now am typing on a Portuguese keyboard: Ä Ë Ï Ö Ü Ñ Ã Ç etc. although Scandinavian letters seem to be missing from this keyboard. Also you can download fonts or purchase a German keyboard but not necessarily the entire PC. Not a problem in 2017.

  47. Lithuanian says:

    the term east, central south, north, west europe its only to be used as geographical and not to be associated with politics or anything else, because then you can associate with anything you want like Lithuania is south europe because architecture is southern like Italian, Lithuania is south europe because they are catholics like spanish so that very incorrect. Lithuania is Nothern europe and you can not be blind and dont see that in the map and i agree with you that its nothing wrong to be called easten european, but if we not that means we are not.

    • But what if the borderline between Central and Northern Europe is the Baltic Sea and only the countries north to it are Northern Europe?
      I must have missed the Italian architecture when I was in Lithuania, although I honestly find the wooden houses even more beautiful than most Italian houses.
      I am also not sure if geographical descriptions can only be used for geographical terms. Since the end of World War II, the terms East and West have really been used widely to describe whether a country was Communist/Socialist or Democratic/Capitalist, particularly in Europe. As someone primarily interested in history and politics, and maybe also because I was born in 1975 and thus brought up during the Cold War, I still use the terms in that meaning. I also still talk about Rostock being in the east of Germany although geographically it’s clearly in the north.

  48. Joe Star says:

    Business is business,that’s why all those Nordic banks and shops are in Lithuania.When Lithuanians sought asylum in Sweden,thousands were handed back to the Soviet’s and a certain death.if Poland is the Mexico of Europe,handsome and hard working,Lithuania must be the Guatemala.Have you flown Lithuanian airlines lately?LOL,I just flew a Polish LOT to Los Angeles.Fortunately most Lithuanians are really fine people.Sveikas!

    • Joe Star says:

      BTW,Poland shares closer ties to Scandinavia,given that the Danish Viking,Knute the Great who conquered England,was half Polish.Such ties are commemorated yearly at a festival held on WolinJomsborg island.Some of Poland kings were Swedes,Vasa comes to mind,and even Angela Merkel is half Polish.Insulting your neighbors while handing over money to foreign banks will never make you Nordic,Scandinavian..or smart.The Polish airline also found a close partner with a far more mature and pragmatic Nordicair of Estonia.oh yeah,the biggest nation of the baltics,Lithuania has no airline,or even a high speed train

    • To be fair, high-speed trains make less sense in smaller countries. ;-)

  49. Joe Star says:

    Since we are being fair and not rude,Poland IQ averages are on par with Sweden And Germany,above Israel,and well above Lithuania with one of the lowest IQ scores in Europe,on par with Balkans and Ireland for lowest scoring

  50. Joe Star says:

    Not Really.The results are based on results from several science based studies.

  51. Joe Star says:

    BTW I Am no way bashing Lithuania.Love almost everything about it ,regret so much hostility towards Poland(I am both).,naiivete towards Nordic.Very offended by talk of “peasant language”.No more than Norwegian some 100 years or so ago in Swedish kingdom.That was then,this is now.But yes very special,should be taught alongside Greek and Latin.

  52. Joachim Vogele says:

    Lithuania is proudly part of Eastern Europe and that is a good thing.

    • Joe Star says:

      Correction draugas,Northeast Europe, and we don’t need Scandinavians to validate it,we were here long before them.No chance of Lithuanian language going extinct either,we outlasted everyone in Europe,and always will,anyone who imagines otherwise doesn’t understand Lithuanians

  53. Erik Äänekosk says:

    As an Estonian, it sometimes looks like Lithuania is having an identity crisis. Sometimes they claim to be Central European, other times Northern European. Which one is it?

    For most Estonians, Lithuania is either Central European or Eastern European. There’s nothing “Northern European” about a catholic country that speaks a Balto-Slavic language. I understand why you want to do it for branding reasons, but saying that LT is “Northern European” just looks and sounds fake.

    • And with that comment, you are also proving those wrong who say “all the Baltic countries are the same anyway” (which nobody who is Baltic themselves would ever say, of course).

  54. Pingback: リトアニアはどこにあるの?リトアニアの位置と基本情報 | LithuaniaNote

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