”When Romanians living in Transylvania are asked: ‘Where do you come from?’ they generally say ‘Transylvania’. The almost invariable response to this is: ‘Ah! Dracula!’, because Dracula is the one thing that everybody knows about Transylvania, in spite of the fact that far more of Bram Stoker’s novel is set in Whitby, England, than in anywhere recognizable as Transylvania.
Why don’t these Romanians say ‘Romania’ when they answer the question? Do they want to be thought of as compatriots of Vlad, Son of Dracul, or Vlad the Impaler? Probably not, but they would rather be associated with a legend than be called Romanian, because they know – or they think they know – what the world thinks of Romanians. ‘Hungarians’ who live in Transylvania call themselves Hungarians, mainly because they think of themselves as Hungarian nationals in exile. Romania is relatively poor, and Romani people (who, at something like three per cent of the Romanian population, are not one and the same as Romanians as I have heard it claimed they are) found their way to Western Europe before 2007, when Romania joined the European Union. In consequence, Romanians are thought of (or they think they are thought of) as second-class Europeans – and this hurts.” - fragment from Introduction