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International Friendship Day

2 August 2018

Where would we be without our friends? When we're down they pick us up, when we're in a fight, they have our back (or try and talk some sense into us) and when we want someone to hang about with, they're always happy to lend us their presence. The date of International Friendship Day varies depending on where you are, but it's around this time, and we've decided to celebrate the day by taking it quite literally. Here are our favourite international friendships! Before we get into all sorts of confusion, no the UK and the USA are not on this list, as technically they were once part of the British Empire so it's more like parent and child at this point.

Canada and Denmark

This amusing and friendly rivalry is the most recent of the international friendships on our list, and it's also the most amusing (in our opinion). The main crux of their wonderfully eccentric friendship is centred on the tiny rock in the Kennedy Channel known as Hans Island. Nothing is particularly notable about this rock; there is no military use for it, it is barren, and there is no wildlife on it, as it is just a rock. Yet, inexplicably, the two countries have a friendly fight over it whenever they can. Denmark say they are protecting it for the people of Greenland, and Canada say they want it because it's closest to them. Either way, every time a member of one country lands on the island, they take down the flag of the other and raise their own, often leaving a bottle of their nation's alcohol under the pole as an offering.

England and Portugal

This one is a bit of a curveball, because we are assuming that not many people know about the long, long standing friendship between England and Portugal. Today, we are just two countries, two ships in the night, but Portugal is actually England's oldest ally thanks to the Anglo-Portuguese treaty signed way back when in 1373. Because the two countries were the sea-faring capitals of Europe, we decided to enter into a treaty with one another so we wouldn't be in direct competition when spreading our ships throughout the world. Incredibly, the treaty is still valid today, having been called into action a fair few times in the 645 years since this treaty began, with Britain last citing the treaty during the 1982 Falklands War.

Poland and Hungary

Two eastern European countries that have been through… a fair amount in the last century or so, Poland and Hungary have a friendship that has lasted the ages so far. They even have their very own day to celebrate how much they love each other on the 23rd of March. This was actually voted on in Hungary's parliament in 2007, and every single person present (324 people!) voted in favour, with Poland agreeing to it a few days later. From the middle ages, these countries have been linked, often sharing kings like Louis the Great, and Stefan Batory, who was a Hungarian nobleman. So beloved are the countries by each other, there's actually a proverb about it: 'Lengyel, magyar két jó barát, együtt harcol s issza borát', meaning 'Hungarians and Poles are two brothers, they fight together and they drink together'.

Canada and the Netherlands

This is indeed the second entry of Canada in on our list, but we can't help it that Canada is such a friendly country! The friendship between Canada and the Netherlands dates back to World War II, when Canada hosted the Royal Family in exile, even declaring a small hospital room as extraterritorial land when the Queen gave birth, just so the Princess Margriet could be with completely Dutch nationality. Canadian Forces were the leaders of the liberation of the Netherlands, most notably in the liberation of Randstad, when the Canadian Air Force dropped food supplies on the starving people, leading them to write messages of thanks to the Canadians on their rooftops. Because of this, every year the Netherlands send Canada tens of thousands of tulips as a thanks, resulting in the wonderful Canadian Tulip Festival.