Currently, though, it may be feeling somewhat ambivalent about that elevated status as it finds itself the only European country with enough capital to bail its troubled neighbours out of a eurozone crisis that threatens the very foundations of the EU.
Its Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has the unpalatable choice of weighing up resentment among suffering EU members against her preferred regime of imposed austerity with the equally strong views of her compatriots who have built the continent's largest economy, notionally the fourth largest in the world, and who are in no mood for a further round of what they perceive to be handouts by Germany.
The country's success has been achieved by an aversion to debt, steady growth in its niche manufacturing markets and close partnerships between the public and private sectors – all of which leave it with low unemployment when that in much of the rest of the Eurozone is at a record high and exports have remained resistant to the foreign competition felt in other parts of Europe.
It would appear, therefore, that whatever the outcome of the wider malaise, the country is going to remain a vital trading partner. Sarah Lord, Scottish Development International's regional manager for Central Europe is based in Dusseldorf. She points out that the office has been consistently successful and sees no reason why this should change.
"The pipeline of projects that we have to take us through the next couple of years is very strong so while obviously it's a difficult situation at the moment with the euro crisis and the debate as to how to recover from this, the message that we're getting from our customers, both in terms of Scottish companies that are interested in trading with Germany and equally in terms of German companies with whom we are discussing inward investment projects is overwhelmingly positive."
That message, she says, is that there is a high degree of interest and that the confidence is still there. "There has always been such a long-established trading relationship between Germany and Scotland and to be honest, it would take a heck of a lot to knock it off course now."
Lord points out that the relationship dates back to a letter written by William Wallace after his victory against the English at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297, saying that business was back to normal and that the merchants of Hamburg and Lubeck were welcome to recommence trade with Scotland.
That history of trade has always been a secure platform for the future and Germany has been Scotland's fourth largest export market for most of the past decade, worth some £1.3 billion in 2010, while over recent years 20% of foreign direct investment into Scotland has come from Germany.
As Lord points out, that's a lot of interest. There are more than 100 German companies with a presence in Scotland, including such giants as REpower Systems, Aldi, E.ON and BASF, which last month acquired Hebridean life sciences company Equateq, in a move that was welcomed by Highlands & Islands Enterprise as a "real vote of confidence in the company's products, its workforce and its location on Lewis."
It helps of course, that the German business mentality is very export oriented: in 2010 the country exported $1.3 trillion of goods, which was more than $200 billion more than it imported and with a population of 82 million, exports represent almost the same value as those of China, which has 1.3 billion people. Plus, in addition to highly visible products like Porches and BMWs, many of its products are engineering tools and components which, though relatively anonymous, form part of the manufacturing process in countries throughout the world.
Neither is it, Lord adds, a complicated market to do business in. "Any barriers to trade are very well documented and very clear; there are no lists of hidden rules and regulations and when compared with a market like Russia there are huge differences in transparency and ease of doing business."
"So while there are differences between the business culture in Germany and the UK it's very clear as how you can work with agents and distributors and get your business and your sales accomplished."
Germans, though, do adopt a degree of formality which is sometimes a surprise to more casual Scottish colleagues, with the use of titles and surnames common – even among colleagues who have worked together for some time –and there is a stronger sense of formality in dress than the open-necked shirt culture that has taken root here via the US.
Organised business relationships, says Lord, are important. "Because there is a formalised structure of business development agencies and chambers of commerce – and it's obligatory to be part of a chamber of commerce in Germany – members are very keen to maximise the benefit of something they have to pay for, while these organisations are very keen to add value."
As in most foreign trading ventures, she says, long-term relationships are key: "We always advise companies who want to do business there to work with an agent or look at setting up a direct presence because German companies are different in their employment structures. A German employment contract is time limited and highly specific so there is a longevity of relationship between companies and their employees."
While the nature of the contracts might be binding it has the advantage of providing clarity as to what each party's obligations are and what the duration is. "You know exactly where you stand as opposed to doing things over a handshake."
Lord reports good levels of interest last year from Scottish companies, and says SDI dealt with about 150 trade-related enquiries over the past 12 months to March, ranging from initial queries to requests for very detailed market research or help with a specific product opportunity.
The Germans' perceptions of Scots as business partners is similarly encouragingly good. Lord also heads SDI's EMEA team for tourism and says that in the 15 months she has been in Germany, there has never been a negative opening to a meeting.
There is an open dialogue and a lot of good linkages, including in education with many established links between German and Scottish universities. Of the 18,000 Germans staying here, more than 1,000 are students at Scottish universities and there are also several exchange schemes.
While tourism is clearly an area of expansion, there is a focus on the main areas of development, including renewable energy, life sciences and chemicals.
All of which are, Lord says, compelling reasons to consider trade there. "It has the largest and most powerful economy in Europe and is Europe's largest domestic market – so it's not surprising that Scottish companies get interested." n