Never been to Germany, but my parents went to Berlin last year, and described it as pretty much what the article said; on first instinct, they're rude, but not really when you think about it. One thing I was quite fascinated by was that apparently if you go to a restaurant and sit at a bigger table than you need, another customer might walk up and ask you to move. That isn't rude, it's just logical... but I'd never do it.
As for Brits... I don't think we're rude. I think the average Brit tries too hard to be polite, and thus ends up seeming false, like the article said.
I think the German rules of social etiquette are more logical... but I could never bring myself to follow them. Even though I can see it isn't rudeness, it would feel rude.