What makes Germans so orderly? A chat with author Joe Baur

Joe Baur is an American travel author and writer who currently resides in Berlin. Germans and Americans alike will appreciate his witty story-telling style and observant eye. Below is an excerpt from Joe Baur’s article on BBC’s website: On the high-speed train gliding smoothly from Berlin to Düsseldorf, a young man started chatting to me. He eventually asked, “What are some of the cultural differences you’ve noticed between Germans and Americans?” As if on cue, a middle-aged woman hovered over us and gave a harsh, “Shh!” with her finger pressed against her lips. She pointed to a sign of a mobile phone with a cross through it, indicating that we were in the Ruhebereich, the quiet carriage of the train. “You must be quiet,” she said, before returning to her seat. “That,” I said to the man sitting next to me. “That’s different.” (Article can be read in its entirety at http://www.bbc.com/travel/story/20200…) On the surface, “Ordnung muss sein” seems to be the foundation of German personal and social conduct. But, stereotypes aside, is Germany really “orderly,” and how does this square with an anything-goes spirit?