I hate generalizing, but often can't help myself from doing so. Keeping aside the externally visible differences with Indians, including an average better dressing sense, and a better physique, I found most people here to be very honest and helpful. Everyone seems to be so much kind and friendly towards others. In India, almost no one bothers about the others around him. I am pretty certain, that the major reason behind this is the population. There are so many people in India, that people grow up with a mentality of immense competition.
There was never any doubt that Germany is one of the most advanced nations of the world, with top class feats in Mechanical and Civil Engineering, but what I found interesting was the fact there is innovation as well as perfection. I used to have the feeling that one can't go with the other. As a crude example, scientists (great innovators) are often very untidy when it comes to their personal life. In me, I have seen both the traits express themselves, but never together. However most Germans I interacted with, I found were very particular about the details of everything, and at the same time cultivating new thoughts. For example, I saw many variants of the bicycle here, - with added wheels,or with differently sized wheels, or with a pram at the back. The windows here can be opened both horizontally and verticallyabout hinges. These might sound trivial, but it shows that the minds of the people here are open to new ideas, and they ensure that the ideas are achieved in practice. On the other hand, I see perfection in the way most Germans like everything clean, tidy and proper and at their positions, not allowing an inch of error. This is I guess what is behind most of their high precision state-of-the-art technologies.
In general, all of Europe in comparison to US seems to have a richer culture and heritage. I have been informed from many sources who has seen both, that US has a more business like approach.
But Germans by themselves have some differences from people of the surrounding countries. The roots lie in history. Germans used to be a proud race, with advancement at its core. Since long, has the Rhine valley been used for transportation of iron ore and related goods. However, Germany received a terrible set back immediately after the first world war, when they had to pay taxes to England and France. One of the main reasons why Hitler rose in power and popularity was that he tried to restore pride in Germany, but unfortunately after the war, he became the cause of shame for Germany, more for his nature and atrocities, than the fact that he lost. Although, it might have been a different story had he won.
The Germans wanted to forget what had happened before 1945, and the period at the end of the world war was called Stunde Null or Time Zero. In spite of getting foreign help to rebuild the country, the scenario was again pretty similar to what it was after the first war. Not only did the other nations control the Germans, the world used to associate Germany with Hitler and with loss of humanity. Their pride took a beating. Of course, by their basic nature, advancement was inevitable.
It tried to merge with the world on several occasions, but incidents like the attack on Israelis in Munich Olympics (1972), and the division between East and West Germany, proved to be major deterrents. Finally, this period ended with the unification of Germany, followed by the European Union, in which Germany and France became the major contributors. World Cup 2006 did its part as well, in helping Germany merge. And now the flood gates to foreign nations in the field of research has also been opened. However even now, if you ask an elderly German about times of the war, they will be extremely hesitant speaking about it.
I found them extremely religious too, but I better not get started on it here; otherwise this blog might end up becoming something very different from what it was intended to be.
However, being religious has got nothing to do with their partying culture, which the Germans just love to do. I did not subject myself to much of it though.