- A Twitter user kicked off a viral meme about a fictional European country called “Listenbourg.”
- People have made fake government accounts for the country and even a national anthem.
- Verified brand accounts like Ryanair and Prime Video France have referenced the sham nation.
Listenbourg is the newest country in the European Union — at least, that’s what many on the internet want you to believe. The fictional country, which began as part of a joke using a photoshopped map of Europe, has taken over the internet this week, going viral in French-language social media circles across multiple platforms.
A TikTok hashtag for the nonexistent nation has amassed over 70 million views in just a few days, with some users on the platform making themed accounts pretending to hold Listenbourg government positions including president and minister of finance. The fake country gained so much traction on Twitter that it was made into a “trending event” on the platform. There’s even a purported Listenbourg national hymn that has over 30,000 views on YouTube, and a drill remix of it.
Twitter user Gaspardo, whose bio describes himself as the President of Listenbourg, started the meme when he shared a picture of a map with an extra chunk of land attached to the end of Portugal and Spain. “I’m sure Americans don’t even know the name of this country,” Gaspardo tweeted. In reply, someone said it was Listenbourg, causing many others to start giddily piggybacking on the meme.
—Gas🅿️ardo (@gaspardooo) October 30, 2022
Listenbourg has national anthems, viral memes, and brand account support
Much of the posts and videos about Listenbourg are written or spoken in French. The content is diverse — there’s a viral TikTok of people pretending to install 5G cables in Listenbourg, while another video appears to offer “10 interesting facts” about the made-up country. One Twitter user wrote a detailed thread about the supposed history of Listenbourg, amassing over 30,000 likes.
There’s already a Reddit page for Listenbourg that has almost 2,000 “Listenbourgeois.” A short history post on the subreddit says that mentions of the fake country date back to at least the early 10th century, when it was referred to as just “Lisbourg.” A top post on the forum features a picture of a chocolate croissant and states, “The great Listenbourgeois debate: Chocolate roll or Chocolette?”
Official brand accounts have even gotten in on the viral action. The airline company Ryanair tweeted Thursday morning announcing it was opening “a new base” in Listenbourg, and said that its first flight into the country would be welcomed by the current King Listen XLVIII. An account that was made for a fictional airline service in Listenbourg — Listen Airlines — responded to Ryanair’s post, questioning if they were going to steal away the business.
Other verified accounts like the French journalist and Twitch streamer Samuel Etienne and the official airport for Nice, France have also referenced Listenbourg. Amazon Prime Video’s official French account tweeted promising it would have a report soon on the sham country.