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The myth of German order

19 January 2021 • 12:00

One of the most surprising things I found after moving to Germany was that it’s not nearly as orderly as its international reputation suggests. Maurice Frank digs into the myth of German order at Berliner Zeitung:

In reality, the country is marked by far more lawlessness, sloppiness, inefficiency and incompetence than its self-image suggests. Daily life is bureaucratic, pointlessly complex or involves outdated systems and technologies. Interactions with institutions great and small are often difficult.

Don’t get me wrong. There’s a lot in Germany that works well, and I’m thankful for several aspects of life here. Not the least of these is having government leaders that are willing to listen to science. But I’ve slowly lost my surprise when something doesn’t go as smoothly as I think it should. Instead, I’m now more surprised when something goes more smoothly than I expect.