Ritchie S. King

The French want to know about ornamental holly, Germans are curious about cul-de-sacs, and the Vietnamese are reading up on sex positions.

A recent study of the most viewed Wikipedia articles of 2012 reveals the humorous, charming, and sometimes ponderous topics of great interest in different parts of the world. The French, it turns out, want to know about ornamental holly, while the Germans want to know what a cul-de-sac is, and the Vietnamese are reading up on sex positions.

Unfortunately, it’s hard to explore these differences using the study itself, because it was published in a combination of 35 languages.

Here, I’ve translated the top hits for each version of Wikipedia. I’ve included the top two, because in a lot of cases the most read article is either the language’s mother country (which isn’t all that interesting) or something like “Facebook,” which likely picked up some accidental traffic from people trying to find the social media site itself.

Arabic

Bulgarian

Catalan

  • Mario Conde — former president of Banesto bank who was imprisoned for misappropriating $4.2 million in bank funds and falsifying documents to cover it up (198,420)
  • Catalunya — Catalonia (149,397)

Chinese

  • 百度 — Baidu, a large web-services company in China that includes a popular search engine (4,907,569)
  • Favicon — a small icon representing a website (for instance, you might see a black “Q” in your browser tab right now; that’s our favicon) (3,956,858)

Croatian

  • Zakon o sprječavanju internetskog piratstva — The Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA. A controversial US bill proposing to “expand the ability of U.S. law enforcement to fight online trafficking in copyrighted intellectual property”  (446,557)
  • Hrvatska — Croatia (404,725)

Czech

  • Seznam historických výročí — A list of historical anniversaries (680,704)
  • Wiki — a website that allows users to edit the content, such as Wikipedia (631,260)

Danish

  • Te — Tea (752,669)
  • Danmark — Denmark (406,352)

Dutch

  • Hua Shan — Mount Hua, one of China’s five sacred mountains, said to have one of the most dangerous hiking trails in the world (12,719,284)
  • Nederland — The Netherlands (1,169,987)

English

  • Facebook (32,647,942 views)
  • Wiki — a website that allows users to edit the content, such as Wikipedia(29,613,759)

Estonian

Finnish

  • Suomi — Finland (633,367)
  • Wiki — a website that allows users to edit the content, such as Wikipedia (371,022)

French

  • Houx crénelé — Box-leaved holly, an ornamental plant native to Japan (4,464,618)
  • France (4,017,089)

German

Greek

Hebrew

Hungarian

Indonesian

Italian

  • Grey’s Anatomy — an American television drama set in a hospital (2,592,423)
  • Italia — Italy (2,519,023)

Japanese

  • AV女優一覧 — a list of adult video actresses (18,569,543)
  • AKB48 — a Japanese pop music girl group (7,133,542)

Korean

  • 네이버 — Naver, a popular search engine in South Korea (609,622)
  • 거의 모든 점에서 — Almost everywhere, a mathematical property that is part of measure theory (which I won’t butcher here) (473,400)

Lithuanian

  • Lietuva — Lithuania (273,436)
  • Matavimo vienetas — Units of measurement (e.g. pounds, meters, or kilowatts) (140,550)

Norwegian

  • Schrøder — a Norwegian name of Germanic origin (790,319)
  • Norge — Norway (600,658)

Persian

Polish

  • Polska — Poland (2,985,112)
  • Zamek swobodny — Open bolt, a particular design for transferring bullets from the magazine to the chamber in automatic and semi-automatic firearms (1,949,944)

Portuguese

  • Brasil — Brazil (3,664,094)
  • Luiz Gonzaga — A famous Brazilian folksinger (2,218,273)

Romanian

Russian

Slovak

Slovene

Spanish

Swedish

  • Sverige — Sweden (947,276)
  • Loreen — A Swedish pop singer who won the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest (603,992)

Thai

Turkish

  • Mustafa Kemal Atatürk — The founder and first president of modern Turkey (2,185,387)
  • Go — a strategy-based board game originating in China (1,750,564)

Ukrainian

Vietnamese

This post originally appeared on Quartz, an Atlantic partner site.

About the Author

Ritchie S. King

Ritchie S. King is a reporter and visual storyteller at Quartz, focusing on infographics and interactive features.

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