ordnung muß sein...

germany01Literally 'order must be,' a phrase that belies a cultural leaning toward order and efficiency. Ordnung has its roots in 19th century Prussian military schooling that embraced discipline in the forms of punklichheit (punctuality) and pflichtbewußtsein (duty).

Pflichtbewußtsein simply means 'duty before self-interest', that selfishness is egoism and something to be frowned upon; and punklichheit is both respect for other people, and efficiency, whether at the work place or within the community.

The big German television hit in the 2000s is Hausmeister Kraus. Tom Gerhardt plays Dieter Kraus, who describes himself as 'total normal'. He is an over zealous janitor in a modern day apartment block, and the only inhabitant who upholds ordnung muß sein. Everyone else - like most German people after hours - just want gemütlichkeit.