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Germany - Mail System

The German mail service is called Deutsche Post. Post offices and mail boxes Briefkasten are yellow in colour. The postal symbol is a black bugle. DHL does a lot of package deliveries for Deutsche Post.

Post Office

  • Most suburbs of cities in Germany have their own post office, Postamt, although sometimes these might be agents in supermarkets or shops. Many larger post offices are also Postbanks, which offer the same services as any other bank.
  • Your nearest post office should be within walking distance of your place of residence, so that it isn't too inconvenient for you to get there to pick up a large parcel if you weren't home at the time of delivery. However, finding the location of your nearest post office can be tricky. Addresses and telephone numbers of post offices are listed in the telephone directory, Telefonbuch under Deutsche Post. But unfortunately, only the street name and number, not the suburb name, is listed. So be warned - it may take you hours to find your nearest post office by cross-referencing these addresses with a street directory!
  • Like the postal staff, the opening hours are not particularly customer-friendly. Most offices open at 8am and close at 6pm, and many close for lunch for an hour or more in the middle of the day. If you absolutely can't get to a post office during the week, most are open on Saturday mornings (from 9am to 12pm).
  • If you need to pick up a parcel, you will need to bring photo ID with you. Only tthree forms are acceptable: a German driving licence, ID card or your passport. The German residence permit is not considered sufficient. If you are unable to pick the parcel up yourself, you may sign the form over to anyone you choose. They can then pick the parcel up for you, provided they have their own correct photo ID. If you do not pick the parcel up within one week, it will be returned to the sender. Unsuccessful attempts at picking the parcel up (eg. fronting up to the post office with insufficient ID, or not signing the pick-up paper over to a proxy properly) are not taken into consideration for extending this week-long deadline.
  • Stamps for letters and postcards can be bought at newsagents and stationers, but these businesses are unable to determine the correct postage needed for parcels. When sending parcels, you have the choice of airmail or surface mail. Surface mail from Germany to South America takes around four weeks, for example.
  • Letters within Germany should be addressed with the recipient's surname at the top, the street name followed by the street number next, then the postcode followed by the municipality (the name of the city, like München, in most cases, unless you live far out of the city).
  • Normal-sized mail is delivered to your house early each morning from Monday to Saturday. Parcels are usually delivered by lunchtime.


  • It is important to have your surname - and that of any other occupant in the house, if different from yours - on the bell and the mailbox, as unit numbers are not used. If the mail is not addressed to your surname, and/or your surname is not on the bell and the letterbox, the mail will not make it to you. Conversely, if the street name, number or even suburb are addressed incorrectly, but the surname is correct then the mail will make it to you, even if a few weeks late.