When I first came in Germany 8 years ago, there was almost no trash on the street and these were with no holes at all. And I’ve never seen uncleaned snow in winter. Now the things changed. Actually there are three explanations why I think this.
The first one is that I get used on clean street with no holes. When I came from Bulgaria, I was used to see everything possible on the streets, so the German streets seemed to be flawless for me. But nowadays I’m not anymore looking with the Bulgarian eyes, but with the German ones and everything seems to be very dirty and chaotic.
The second reason is that the winters became much colder in Germany, so it is easier for the holes to occur and there is much more snow, which is harder to clean. I remember, that many of the Bulgarian students liked to work at the snow cleaning department of the municipality. You got paid about 400 euro a month and you had to do something only if there is some snow and there was normally no snow. But after the first really hard winter, nobody wanted to do it anymore, because it was a lot of work.
Of course, these things matter, but this can explain the trash on the streets. And the change in the punctuality of the German trains. People used to say “Punctual as the train” and no they say “Unpunctual as always”. And they were really punctual. I can’t remember a single delay in my first years in Germany. And now there are some “Italian” delays of several hours. So the real reason lies somewhere else. Germany has changed. It is not anymore as perfect as it was. It is not anymore as rich as it was. There are much more poor people as there used to be.
Some things have to change. I think that the first and most important change can be to become more open for the world and to decrease the bureaucracy. This will enable people with ideas to realize them faster. Because of this bureaucracy and of some typical conservatism some of the best foreign students who started to study with me left and went to USA. And a lot of German students did the same. Germany still has to become more open minded and easy going and thus enable more creativity, lateral thinking and innovation. And on the other hand, it has to stay punctual, orderly and well organised in order to save the traditional strengths of the country. The balance between this to contraries is not easy, but vital.