Around one fourth of Europeans (23%) have been the object of open flirting on a train, according to a survey carried out by Ifop for the European rail operator Thalys.
Released just ahead of Valentine's Day, the survey indicates that the Dutch are approached slightly more frequently than the French by pick-up artists on trains (28% vs. 21%). Unsurprisingly, women are more likely to experience the phenomenon: 28% of female respondents reported having experienced advances from their fellow passengers, compared to just 17% of men.
The Dutch emerged as the most likely to instigate flirting on a train, with 20% of respondents from the Netherlands admitting to having engaged in the practice. Defying stereotypes, French respondents were in second place (18%) but are nonetheless more likely to flirt than their reserved neighbors in Belgium (14%) and Germany (4%).
Perhaps most remarkably, 5% of French travellers and 4% of Dutch, Belgian and German travellers reported that they had succeeded in starting a romantic relationship on a train.
Much more likely, however, is the possibility of starting a simple friendship with a fellow passenger. Around one third of the Europeans surveyed said they had made a friend on a train. Here the Germans appear to be less reserved: 35% of them had started up a friendship, compared to 33% of French respondents and just 15% of the Dutch.
Thalys ordered the study from Ifop, which surveyed a total of 4,025 individuals representing the over-18 age group in France (1,002 respondents), Germany (1,001 respondents), Belgium (1,006 respondents) and the Netherlands (1,016 respondents), from June 24 to July 3 using the quota method.