Catalans are the least popular among Spaniards: survey

What do people in Spain’s different regions really think of one another and is regional identity really all that important? The results of a recently-published survey reveal all.

Catalan flags
Catalans are the least like among Spaniards. Photo: Josep LAGO / AFP

Anyone who knows Spain relatively well will be aware that it’s a diverse country and that not all Spaniards hum the national anthem with pride

A survey published on April 12th 2022 by Barcelona’s prestigious ESADE private educational institution has analysed the nature and gauged the severity of polarisation in Spain.

One of their standout conclusions is that of all regional groups, Catalans are the least favoured among Spaniards, although there actually isn’t a huge difference between the regions.

The results showed that the Catalans were slightly less popular among Spanish citizens in all regions, apart from in the Basque Country.

However, Spaniards generally approve of one another, whatever region they’re from, ESADE found. 

The results reflect that the high level of tension in politics is not actually a true reflection of what people from different regions think of one another. In fact, the survey’s findings indicate that there does not seem to be a problem of coexistence at all. 

READ ALSO – The good, the bad and the ugly: What are the regional stereotypes across Spain?

ESADE’s survey reveals that the region Spaniards come from doesn’t actually appear to be defining for their personal identity. More than 70 percent of the Spanish population indicated that regional identity was “not at all” or barely “somewhat” important. 

Most frequently, Spaniards indicated that they felt a dual territorial identity – both Spanish and regional.  

The greatest differences were seen in Catalonia where exclusive identification with the region was the highest, but still under half at 21 percent.  

Valencia was the region where the highest number of citizens identified as being exclusively Spanish at 31 percent.

The study found that when one of your parents is from a region different from the one where you live, the probability of identifying with your region decreases significantly.

Unlike the national sample, in Catalonia the assessment of coexistence between the regions is conditioned by political attitudes – those with more regional identities value coexistence more.

The survey also found that unsurprisingly, citizens of Catalonia and the Basque Country are more against centralisation and more in favour of decentralisation than the rest. They are also more averse to moving to other regions in Spain.

All things considered, it seems that despite some regional differences and light animosity, most Spaniards from all corners of the country recognise their regional neighbours as their countrymen and countrywomen.

They also have plenty in common, such as their generally low levels of institutional trust, with no administration (local, regional, central or European) scoring high in any territory. 

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‘More to offer’ than war: Ukrainian art on display at museum in Spain

Dozens of modern artworks removed from Kyiv to protect them from Russian strikes that have already done huge damage to Ukraine's cultural heritage will go on display at a Madrid 's Thyssen-Bornemisza museum on Tuesday.

'More to offer' than war: Ukrainian art on display at museum in Spain

The works on show at the Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum of Art as part of the “In the Eye of the Storm: Modernism in Ukraine 1900-1930” exhibition include oil paintings, sketches and collages.

Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza founded “Museums for Ukraine” which is seeking to showcase Ukrainian art, using the museum which houses her late father’s collection for the exhibition.

The Madrid exhibition is one of a number of showings of Ukraine’s cultural heritage across Europe, as well as an effort to raise awareness of the threat posed to the war-torn country’s artistic legacy as fighting grinds on.

Curators say it is one of the most comprehensive surveys of Ukrainian modern art in the period between 1900 to 1930.

Many of the works have hardly been seen outside of Ukraine. The exhibition will run at the museum until April 30, and then go on show in Cologne in Germany from September 2023.

‘Vision’ of Russia’s destruction

President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video shown at a preview Monday that “this is a vision of what Russia is trying to destroy”.

After weeks of intense preparation, the pieces were loaded into two trucks in mid-November just before the Ukrainian capital came under intense missile fire.

As it headed to the Polish border the convoy avoided passing infrastructure likely to be attacked, Thyssen-Bornemisza said.

When the convoy reached the border, they found it shut because a missile had just landed in a Polish village killing two people.

Thyssen-Bornemisza said she then asked Ukraine’s ambassador to Spain for help, who in turn contacted “every politician he knew between Poland and Ukraine”.

“It took them 12 hours that night — they managed to get through,” she said.

UNESCO, the United Nations’ cultural agency, says over 200 cultural sites in Ukraine, including museums, have been damaged since Russia invaded Ukraine in February.

Krista Pikkat, UNESCO’s cultural and emergencies director, said in October that “cultural heritage is very often collateral damage during wars — but sometimes it’s specifically targeted”.

The Madrid exhibition is one of a number of showings of Ukraine’s cultural heritage across Europe. Photo: Oscar del Pozo

‘Talk about the war’

The exhibition follows a chronological order.

It starts with the 1910s when Ukraine was part of the Russian empire and ends in the 1930s when several artists died during purges carried out by Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, said one of the show’s curators Katia Denysova.

Most of the works come from the National Art Museum of Ukraine.

Among the works on display is “Composition”, a Cubist-inspired painting by Vadym Meller and a realistic portrait of a soldier by Kostiantyn Yeleva.

“It is important for us to continue to talk about the war,” Denysova said.

“But we also want to show with this project that Ukraine has so much more to offer.”