Map #43: June 12, 2017

Difficulty Level: 9

This map is a proportional symbol map of part of Europe. (Do you need a refresher on what a proportional symbol map is? Visit our “Basics” page for a quick primer.) On this map, the various colored dots are drawn in proportion to a particular statistic, which is what you have to figure out. The scale is just a little bit wonky (we’ll explain in due course), but it shouldn’t throw you off too much. While this map only shows a small part of Europe, you should know that there are no other dots anywhere else in the world. This map corresponds to a particular time period, which is this century—everything from the year 2000 to the present. Your job is to figure out what statistic is represented by this proportional symbol map.

Stumped? Check back Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday for hints about where to focus your investigation. The answer will be posted on Monday, June 19. Good luck!

Tuesday’s hint: The first thing you need to remember when you look at this map is that Croatia’s coastline is non-contiguous. The orange circle covers the national boundaries, so it may have been a bit hard to tell that it’s in Croatia. Specifically, it’s the city of Dubrovnik. Next, remember that this map covers the period from 2000 to the present, which includes some years in which Serbia and Montenegro were part of the same country. Finally, see that dot in Slovakia? It’s accurate, but it’s something of a red herring, so just put it out of your mind for the moment. Bearing all of this in mind, you’ll be able to focus on just three countries: Hungary, Serbia, and Croatia. What you need to find is what these three countries—and no others—have in common.

Wednesday’s hint: The pattern of dots in Croatia is very different from the pattern in Hungary and Serbia, which are both landlocked countries. In Hungary and Serbia, the biggest dots are in the most populous cities. But in Croatia, the most populous city is Zagreb—which has no dots at all. All of Croatia’s dots are in cities on the Adriatic Sea. Croatia has an incredibly beautiful coastline. What you need to figure out is what a person growing up near the shore might be more likely to learn to do than somebody growing up farther inland. (Obviously, this won’t apply to Serbia and Hungary, but just focus on Croatia for the moment)

Thursday’s hint: Today’s hint is simple: this map has to do with sports.

Friday’s hint: But what sport is especially popular in this part of Europe? Although this map is only focused on the period from 2000 to the present, it may be helpful to look back in time. In 1956, The Soviet Union invaded Hungary to put down an uprising against the Soviet-backed government. This dispute spilled over into the Summer Olympics, which were held that year in Melbourne, Australia. With tensions high, Hungary and the Soviet Union ended up playing an exceptionally brutal game that has gone down in Olympic lore. As a result, Hungary has long been associated with a particular sport...and, sixty years later, the Hungarians are still very, very good at it.