Ever since Europeans laid eyes on what they came to call “America“ it has served as a space for them to project their desires (wealth, freedom, democracy, equality) and anxieties (savagery, violence, materialism). America and particularly the United States became a key significant other from which they could make sense of their own identity while trying to impress it upon the “New World.” Thus the scholar Mary Nolan concludes that “the different Americas that Germans constructed in different eras reveal as much, if not more, about Germany and particular Germans as they do about the United States.” From that cue we will proceed to analyze the continuity and change in the European and particularly German perception of America and the United States and its productivity in the negotiation of conflict and change within European societies in the realms of politics, culture, and the economy. We will acquaint ourselves with some basic theories and conceptualizations of cognition and transatlantic perception to explore visual representations, travel accounts and cultural criticism engaging with America from the Renaissance all the way to the recent NSA spying scandal, probing the ongoing deep ambivalence towards the United States and discovering the roots and dynamics of our own transatlantic auto- and heterostereotypes.