Germany has an abundance of laws regulating all aspects of life and its people like to obey them. This tendency is one of the many leftovers from the values propagated by the Prussians. Prussia used to be a German kingdom known for its unusually well-organised and effective army.
This love of rules manifests itself in many ways. For example, crossing the street as a pedestrian at a red traffic light is frowned upon, even if no cars are coming. Every house has at least four different garbage cans: plastic and metal, paper, organic waste and general garbage. Plus, there is even a government office called Ordnungsamt, which literally translates to “office of order.
Being on time is considered a virtue in Germany. They would rather be too early than too late. Punctuality is seen as a sign of respect to the person you are meeting. It does not mean that every German is good about this, but they will apologize if they arrive past the agreed-upon time.
Train and bus schedules are given in exact minutes and yes, people do expect transportation services to be true to their schedule. However, the Deutsche Bahn (German rail service) has a reputation that their timetable is merely an approximate reference for when trains arrive or leave the station.
You may have heard that Germans are often described as being a little standoffish and cold. That might be because people’s personal space bubbles are larger here than in other countries. Therefore, Germans have a tendency to treat strangers rather formally, especially at first encounters and are not always big on small talk. In reality, it just means they take a little longer to warm up to others. As a consequence, close friendships with Germans don’t necessarily happen overnight, but when they do form they are generally very genuine.