The German Post System

 

You would think getting mail would be the same everywhere, wouldn’t you? Sure, some places are quicker than others and some companies are most trustworthy thank others. And, of course, visiting the post office is never fun, no matter where you are.

Now that it’s been two years, I have gotten used to the German post system and, while it’s still not the easiest to understand, I’m going to share what it’s like to get your mail in Germany.

First and foremost, there are several different mail companies and not just for packages. Our mail, like bills and magazines, can come from either BW Post, which is the post for our state, or Deutsche Post, the system for the country. The mail carriers actually ride around on electric bikes to deliver the mail. They have a huge pouch on the front and ride around to deliver the mail. Copley loves to bark at them while on our walks.

Newspapers are delivered right to your mailbox, as well. They are free and take up a lot of space in the mailbox. If someone doesn’t want a newspaper, they have to put a note on their mailbox, otherwise, you get one.

When packages are delivered, there’s a whole other process. There are several companies that provide shipping for online ordering and they come at all hours of the day. If you aren’t home, you may get a note in your box that says a neighbor has signed for it or that it is at the post office and you need to go pick it up. Our first Christmas here, I ordered Vinn’s Christmas present from Amazon and I wasn’t home when it was delivered. The slip in my mailbox said that someone two houses down from me signed for it. So, I had to walk over to the house, ring the doorbell and ask for my package. I had never met the person, yet she signed for my package. “Hi Stranger, Can I have my husband’s Christmas present? K, thanks.” This is common practice. It says a lot about how trusting Germans are.

If you order something from another country, like the US, you will get a letter in the mail that notifies you that you have to go to the customs office to pay the customs. Sometimes it’s a couple Euros, sometimes it’s almost 30. It’s just a percentage of the total amount. This isn’t for every shipment, sometimes you can pay the customs up front. I actually have to go in the near future and it’s a pain in the butt. You have to provide the receipt of what you bought, your identification and the letter you received in the mail.

All in all, the mail system is pretty simple in Germany, it just took some getting used to. If you are ever going to move to Germany, I hope this helps!

Is there anything unique about how you get your mail? Any crazy post office stories?

How you get mail in Germany,  The Differences Between America

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