"Pünktlichkeit ist die Höflichkeit der Könige" says a German proverb which means: punctuality is the kings' courtesy.
It means that a king shows respect to his guests in being on time (because usually a king can easily make his guests wait
since he is the king). Punctuality is a German stereotype that is actually true: it's a virtue that we value. It's about efficiency.
And about politeness and respect. Therefore, in case it has to be stated explicitly: when you attend a business meeting in Germany,
BE ON TIME! Better: show up 5 minutes early! In general: be on time.
While Germany's Deutsche Bahn (railway) is mocked for chronically being late, it is still quite on time (e.g. in comparison to Indian standards). So when you have to take a train or a bus or other public transport in Germany, be on time. You can't rely on them being late (unless you check your train online and it explicitly says your train is late).
When you meet with German friends, try to be on time. Showing up 30 minutes or even an hour late is considered to be very rude. If you’re a bit late (but still try to avoid that) bit late (10min, 15min) leave them a message. Likewise, traffic is rarely an excuse because it is expected that someone plans according to such obstacles. E.g. in winter, when there's snow which can affect traffic, employees are expected to take earlier busses to show up in time. When you have an doctor’s appointment just at rush hour you should plan to leave in time to make it to your appointment despite the being stuck in traffic.
It doesn't mean all Germans are always on time. But it depends on the occasion and importance of the event. Business meeting, meeting with a friend for a coffee, casual hang out with friends, attending a party... the urgency to be precisely on time can vary. But to be on the safe side: be on time! Be like a polite king!
📷 Photo by Alexas_Fotos via Pixabay.
Aug 22, 2020