Americans should try a taste of the sacred European summer vacation

Newt Gingrich
Conservative Opinion

Newt Gingrich

Former House Speaker; Chairman of Gingrich 360
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Unlike in the United States, a minimum of four weeks paid vacation is mandatory in the European Union. In Italy, German and any other European country, many businesses are closed and services harder to schedule as Europeans take extensive time off from their jobs to enjoy the good life. Straight Arrow News contributor Newt Gingrich would like to see more Americans follow their European counterparts by unplugging from their work routines — no texting, no emails, and no phone calls:

You know, in the middle of August, in Italy, where Calista and I lived for three and a half years — well, she was the ambassador to the Vatican — everything stops, I mean, stops. Friend of ours just wrote that her favorite restaurant for lunch will be closed for three weeks. Oh, and her favorite restaurant for breakfast will be closed for three weeks. And oh, even more, her hairdresser, who will be gone for three weeks. 

The concept of the August vacation is sacred in large parts of Europe, sacred in France, Germany. I once talked to an American manager of a large company that was owned by a German company, who said they can’t get any decisions in August, because people literally are gone. And they refuse to break their vacation over some trivial crisis. Very different. 

I once told my granddaughter, that you have to recognize that Americans live to work. Italians work to live. And they’re just profoundly different approaches. So as we are in the middle of August, and it’s hot, and you’re wondering what you’re doing, you will pretend to be a European for a few days. Take some time off. Don’t look at your email, don’t answer your texts, don’t pick up the phone. Just relax. You know, go sit by a pool, go out and swing a golf club, hang out at a couple of nice restaurants, and pretend you’re European. And you’re actually enjoying life instead of just working. You’ll find it really interesting…a little scary. Because if you do it long enough, you’re going to think, “Huh, I could actually live like this.” And of course, that is exactly how the Europeans live. 

The result is they have less income, less economic growth. They are poorer than we are and the gap is getting bigger over time. But on the other hand, they find life endlessly fascinating. And they’re prepared to sit around local cafes and drink wine for hours at a time and talk about how much they fascinate themselves. So try a little bit of being European.

you know, in the middle of August, in Italy where Calista and I live for three and a half years. Well, she was the ambassador to the Vatican. 

Everything stops, I mean, stops, friend of ours just wrote that her favorite restaurant for lunch will be closed for three weeks. 

Oh, and her favorite restaurant for breakfast will be closed for three weeks. And oh, even more, her hairdresser, who will be gone for three weeks. The concept of the August vacation is sacred in large parts of Europe sacred in France, Germany, I once talked to an American manager of a large company that was owned by a German company, who said they can’t get any decisions in August, because people literally are gone. And they refuse to break their vacation over some trivial crisis. Very different. 

I once told my granddaughter, that you have to recognize that 

Americans live to work. Italians work to live. 

And they’re just profoundly different approaches. So as we are in the middle of August, and it’s hot, and you’re wondering what you’re doing, you will pretend to be a European for a few days. 

Take some time off. Don’t look at your email. Don’t answer your texts. Don’t pick up the phone, just relax. You know, go sit by a pool, 

go out and swing a golf club, hang out at a couple of nice restaurants, 

and pretend you’re European. And you’re actually enjoying life instead of just working. You’ll find it really interesting, a little scary. 

Because if you do it long enough, you’re going to think, Huh, I could actually live like this. And of course, that is exactly how the Europeans live. 

The result is they have less income, less economic growth. They are poorer than we are and the gap is getting bigger over time. 

But on the other hand, they find life endlessly fascinating. 

And they’re prepared to sit around local cafe and drink wine for hours at a time and talk about how much they fascinate themselves. 

So try a little bit of being European


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