Ordnung Muss Sein

"Ordnung muss sein" is a German proverbial expression which translates as "there must be order." The idea of "order" is generally recognized as a key cliche for describing German culture. Franz von Papen, for instance, cited it in 1932 as Frederick the Great's "classic expression". As a slogan used by Paul von Hindenburg, it became "world famous" in 1930, according to The New York Times. A longer version is contained in a mid-19th century collection of proverbs: "Ordnung muss sein, sagte Hans, da brachten sie ihn in das Spinnhaus." In English: "Order must be, said Hans, so they took him to the madhouse."

Related German proverbs are "Ordnung ist das halbe Leben", literally "order is half of life", humorously extended "und Unordnung die andere Hälfte" ("and disorder the other half"). Similarly, a proverb says "Wer Ordnung hält, ist nur zu faul zum Suchen" meaning "he who keeps order is just too lazy to spend his time searching".

There is a Ordnungsamt (Bureau for Ordnung, Code enforcement) in every German municipal and city. Minor or petty offenses are called Ordnungswidrigkeit (contrariety to the Ordnung).

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