Culture & People: Find old Europe in Argentina!
Besides their indigenous roots, a large number of Argentineans have Spanish or Italian roots as well. However, also many Germans, French, Irish, British, Poles, Greeks, Turks, and other nations have found a new home in Argentina and form a vital cultural variety in Argentina. It is not without a reason that Argentina has the reputation of being one of the most European countries in South America.
Due to the influence of the immigrants, you rapidly realize that this historic background has formed a special attitude and lifestyle: hospitality, generosity and a sociable and welcoming spirit sure are qualities that don’t go unnoticed by any foreign visitor. Unlike the nostalgic tunes of the melancholic tango, Argentines are warm and joyful people. They like to have guests and friends around. Evenings and weekends are preferably spent celebrating life: Having one of the famous “asados” (barbecue), sitting together with friends while talking and laughing, singing and dancing!
Landscape: Ready to discover the second largest country in South America?
Only a few countries in the world offer such a broad variety of wide landscapes as you will encounter in Argentina! A vast stretch of 3.700 km separates the most Northern from the most Southern Argentine city.
As you can imagine, that gives room for all kinds of different vegetation zones and landscapes. And the scenic variety really is astonishing! It ranges from tropical rainforests in the North with the impressive Iguazú waterfalls, to ice-blue glaciers in Patagonia. From deserts full of cactuses and breathtaking coloured rock formations in the Andean highlands to the sunny and fertile wine-growing state of Mendoza; and not to forget: the incredible vastness of the Pampa.
Music: Is tango the first thing that comes to your mind?
Tango, the melancholic music, originally born 100 years ago in the poor districts of Buenos Aires, has been brought to worldwide reputation by Argentine tango stars like Carlos Gardel and Astor Piazzolla. Today, tango is still present, especially in Buenos Aires.
However, it’s not only the tango that shapes Argentine music culture. At parties, people move their hips to the country’s own “Cuartetto” or “Cumbia“-beats. Jovial and poetic folklore music is played and accompanied by traditional dance steps in typical “Peñas“. Local rock and pop groups and of course tunes from all over the world dominate the daily radio program.
Argentines love music! During the summer, huge music festivals take place all over the country. Or people just pick up the guitar themselves after a nice dinner or “asado” with friends and sing and play the night away!
Food: Do you know Alfajores, Asado and Mate?
There are delicacies you can only find in Argentina’s unique cuisine. Above all, the “asado” (=barbecue) – not just a meal, but rather a get-together with friends, accompanied by large quantities of scrumptious meat.
The streets are lined with places selling little dough squares or triangles with different fillings (vegetables, cheese, chicken etc.): “Empanadas”, a delicious snack for every day!
Do you prefer sweet temptations that are just as addictive? Look out for “Alfajores”! Those cookies are filled with “dulce de leche” (an Argentine cream caramel speciality), often covered with chocolate. By the way, no party starts without “Fernet con Coca”, Italian “Fernet Branca” with Coke!
And last but not least: “Mate”-tea! Like the “asado” it’s not just Argentinas’s national beverage, but rather a lifestyle ingredient! The bitter tea is served in a special cup, drunken through a special “mate”-straw and handed around within the group and shared alternately. Get used to seeing locals carry their thermos flasks and mate-equipment, ready to relax for a minute and to chat with friends!
Economy: Natural resources and industries
Argentina is one of the major emerging economies and a G-20 member (a group of industrialized and emerging countries in the world). Its economy benefits not only from its natural resources but also from several competitive industries, such as the automotive and metal stands or industries related to agriculture.
In recent years, the country has seen a significant growth of the tourism industry, both in terms of the internal and inbound tourism.
Despite its economic ups-and-downs, the country has a strong strength to grow, which is reflected in international as well as numerous small and medium-sized companies. Furthermore, a high number of startups can be observed throughout all industries.
Carlos Gardel: (*1890) “The Tango Made Flesh” (HistoryToday) singer, composer and actor, naturalized Argentine, main representative of the Tango in the beginning of the 20th century.
Astor Piazzola: (*1921) “the world’s foremost composer of tango music” (NYTimes) composer and bandoneon player who revolutionized the tango by creating a new music style with contributions from jazz and classic.
Julio Cortázar: (*1914) innovative novelist and essayist, strong political commitment in Latin America, influenced a whole Hispanic generation of readers and writers, called the “modern master of the short story”.
Jorge Luis Borges: (*1899) his “works have become classics of 20th-century world literature”(Britannica). Internationally known Argentine writer and translator who stands out because of his contributions to philosophy and magical realism literature. Staunch opponent of peronism and facism.
Eva Perón: *(1919) actress and politician, “Women’s Rights Activist” (bio), First Lady as J D Perón’s wife, fought for the equal rights of women, workers and the poor. Wrote history as a loved and hated figure.
Ernesto “Che” Guevara: (1928*) doctor, writer, politician and revolutionary leader, became the symbol of leftist revolution and other countercultural movements.
Diego Maradona: (*1960 ) “Hand of God” (Wikipedia) known as one of the best football players in the world. His controversial character does not diminish the image of an idol or a legend in Argentine popular culture.
Cristina Kirchner: (*1953) politician and lawyer, President since 2007, #19 The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women according to Forbes (Forbes). She is the first directly elected female president and the first woman re-elected.
Mafalda: (*1964) Comic book character, little girl that reflects the fate of humanity and the world. The comic gives insight into the Argentine middle and progressive class.
Pope Francisco: (*1936) Jorge Bergoglio, “The People’s Pope”, Time’s Person of the year 2013 (Time). The first non-European Pope in 1200 years is Argentine, took the name of a Saint and cares about the poor and unfortunate in this world.
Lionel Messi: (*1987) internationally recognized as one of the world’s best football players ever, repeatadly elected winner of the “Golden Ball ” by the FIFA 2010-2013 (Wikipedia). In addition, in 2010 he was appointed UNICEF “Goodwill Ambassador” (Wikipedia) for his concerns and humanitarian actions for children and adolescents.