Over the weekend I happened to catch a news report about how Germany was celebrating 25 years of reunification.

Maybe because it all came so soon after last year’s emotional commemorations around the fall of the Berlin Wall, maybe because Germany is in the midst of another major upheaval – the arrival of hundreds of thousands of refugees from Syria – but I couldn’t help thinking the festivities seemed rather perfunctory.

I spent time living and working in Berlin last year and one of the first things that strikes and surprises you on arrival is the fact that many Germans, especially those from the former east of the country, are still coming to terms with the reunification process a quarter of a century on. In the UK we often forget that Europe’s economic powerhouse is also one of its newest nations, and that reunification wasn’t a foregone conclusion when the wall fell in 1989.

On the surface, everything in the German garden is rosy, of course. And in the round it is hard to conclude that German reunification has been anything other than a resounding success: an astonishing, unique example of how two previously hostile neighbours can be brought together in peace. Economically speaking, Germany is a miracle, consistently outperforming its peers – notably the UK and France - on just about every measure, despite unifying two very different political and economic systems at short notice just a generation ago.

Psychology is a different matter, however. All roses have thorns and Germany is no different; reality is complex. Many “Ossis” I know – those from the former GDR – have mixed feelings about reunification 25 years down the road. Some of those who marched for democracy in 1989 hadn’t envisaged a reunified Germany; they wanted a free, democratic but still socialist East Germany working in partnership with its capitalist neighbour.

A few weeks after the fall of the wall that vision was swept away by the understandable push for unity. Most Ossis feel the good things about the GDR were swept away alongside the bad. The west had very much “won”, and before long the east was consumed by advertising hoardings, Audis and fast food outlets. Ossis became the butt of jokes, laughed at by their “Wessi” friends for their lack of sophistication and strong accents.

And according to recent study it’s not just a matter of mentality. Ossis are still considerably poorer than their “Wessi” cousins, more likely to be unemployed, more likely to be obese. Worryingly, recent news reports also reveal them to be less welcoming to refugees and migrants.

So, does all this spell trouble for modern Germany? Not necessarily. Mental reunification obviously takes longer than any physical coming together. But if any nation has experience of dealing with a complex past and working out what it means to the present and the future, it is Germany. Indeed, I think the experience of the last 25 years can only help it cope with its newest challenge, the integration hundreds of thousands of traumatised Syrians.

“Today we celebrate the courage and self-confidence of that time,” German president Joachim Gauck, an Ossi, told his countrymen at the weekend. “Let us use this memory as a bridge.” I have every confidence that they will.