Travelling across the German countryside on pristine, high speed intercity trains and around German cities on efficient urban S-Bahn and U-Bahn networks, it's easy to feel the spirit of efficiency which drives the country forward.
Germany's commitment to the principle of progress has a bit of a track record. For five hundred years the German lands have been a crucible of technological innovation, theological revolution, modern philosophy and radical political movements.
The modern German state, inaugurated in October 1990, is a social and economic bridge between the former Eastern bloc and the European Union, and has firmly set its sights on building for the future.
Berlin, a remodelled capital city with an openly gay mayor, a reconstructed Reichstag, a new city centre at the Potsdamer Platz and a brand new international airport is described today - almost to the point of tedium - as being the biggest building site in Europe, if not the world. Germany's time is coming.