20.6k readers

15 Things That Aren't From The Country You Think They're From

May 15, 2017 20.6k views15 items

Whether it's French fries or a Dutch Baby, vodka or Chinese Checkers, there are lots of common things that aren't from where you think. Names can quite often be deceiving, especially when it comes to animals, food, or common household items. Some of your favorite products or inventions hail from different places than you might expect, simply due to their fascinatingly inaccurate names.

One of these inventions from unexpected places is the Venetian blind. Despite the Italian moniker, the slatted wooden window treatment is Middle Eastern. And diners love fortune cookies - but did you know that the tasty treat that accompanies your Chinese food was probably invented by a Japanese immigrant to America? Pull up a chair, get out an atlas, and prepare to be surprised by these things that come from different countries than you thought.

  • French Horn

    French Horn
    Photo: ClaraDon / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

    Surprise, surprise - the French horn isn't actually French, but German. The instrument was originally based on hunting horns, but was modified over time to create larger, more flared bells. In 1814, a German man created the valves to allow the player to change keys; his instrument became the first modern French horn.

  • Great Dane
    Photo: Unknown / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

    The massive dogs known as Great Danes don't actually have anything to do with Denmark. Back in the 16th century, they were dubbed "English Dogges." In the 17th century, these massive animals became favorite pets of German princes. The pups weren't known as "Danish Doggen" until a Hamburg dog show in 1863; it's unclear why they were dubbed as such, but the moniker stuck.

    More Great Dane 

    #12 of 123 The Very Best Dog Breeds, Ranked#5 of 76 The Best Dog Breeds for Families#30 of 43 The Best Apartment Dogs

  • French fries reportedly hail not from France, but from Belgium. The debate over their origin still rages today; some claim that street vendors first began selling fried potatoes on the Ponte Neuf (a bridge in Paris) before the French Revolution. The Belgians claim that French fries actually hail from their city of Namur. Belgians would fry their fish, and when the rivers froze over and cut off the food supply, they cut potatoes into the shape of fish and fried those instead.

    More French fries 

    #5 of 439 The Most Delicious Foods in the World#4 of 243 If You Could Only Eat One Food for the Rest of Your Life...#2 of 118 The Very Best Snacks to Eat Between Meals, Ranked

  • Danish

    Photo: jpellgen / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

    The Danish pastry isn't actually from Denmark - in fact, Danes call the pastries "Viennese." The treats likely became known as Danishes once Danish bakers began traveling the world.

    The delicious baked good came from a French baker's error. According to the story, Claudius Gelee didn't add butter to his flour. To hide his mistake, he folded lumps of butter into the dough. The resulting light, flaky pastry was a hit, and Gelee opened a cafe in Paris, then another in Florence.