4711 definitely has a “greater place” in the german consciousness.
I am a Brit who's been living in Germany for 12 years now, and I can say that it is my ever increasing experience that Germans use the number 4711 extremely often as the number of choice when needing to pluck some example number out of thin air. (I work in the IT-branch and so I hear it quite a lot in presentations, where example numbers are frequently needed).
I'm also interested in the origins of this phenomenon, so I went looking - particularly for the use of 4711 as an example number:
A google search for “Beispiel 4711” (EN: “Example 4711”) finds 144,000 results, the first 5 of use the number as example numbers in various IT branches (SAP, Java, networked systems, Oracle and Webservices) in the next 2 as example telephone numbers, and the 7th entry is the first reference to N°4711 Eau de Cologne…
Here are some interesting references und comments on the topic:
In Germany SAP is a leading computer software manufacturer - and the above forum discussion explains that the numbers 4711 and 0815 are used as example numbers throughout the complete documentation wherever a 4-digit number is required.
4711 is described there by one of the forum contributers as one of the best known numbers in german-speaking countries.
4711 is promoted as an 'aide-memoire' for the size of the spleen, i.e. 4cm * 7cm * 11cm. This may (or may not) correctly reflect the size of a typical spleen, however, I do not think that this is one of the major reasons 4711 has such fame in Germany - at least, I have observed no heightened interest in spleens in Germany.
The Eau de Cologne perfume brand mark “N°4711”
The brand mark “N°4711” originates from the number of the house in Cologne, where the product was invented. It's the number of the house in the town, being before the time that houses got a street number. And the street was called Glockengasse ('bells alley').
The google search “Haus 4711” thus finds 436,000 results, reflecting perhaps the importance of this reference?
IF Eau de Cologne 4711 IS one of the major stimulants behind the public consciousness of the number 4711, (and looking at the above Eau de Cologne web pages, I believe it does play a factor) it is certainly keeping its brand number actively fresh with the recent release of a new product 'NOUVEAU COLOGNE' on the - you guessed it - 4th July 2011 (4.7.11!):
Further info & links to be found on the Wikipedia page on 4711 (the brand mark):
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/4711 or http:// de.wikipedia.org/wiki/4711