is the German postal service. Previously a state-owned monopoly, it was privatised in 2000. Its headquarters are in Bonn
. It delivers around 70 million letters each day; parcels are delivered under the DHL brand after it bought the company in 2002.
In Germany, letters are charged according to the size as well as the weight. A small letter is one that weighs less than 20g and is DL-size (an A4 sheet folded into thirds) or smaller. Delivery of such a letter costs 55 cents within Germany and 75 cents to all other countries.
Within Germany, a letter can weigh up to 500g, after which it is considered aparcel or a packet. A packet (PÃ¤ckchen), for example, can weigh up to 2kg and costs â‚¬3,90. You can save money by sending printed papers by 'BÃ¼chersending' and goods as 'Warensendung', but in both cases you must not seal the envelope (use bag clips to stop the contents falling out) and you cannot include any personalised extras, other than a printed invoice/receipt.
Via the Deutsche Post website you can:
- Find the address and opening times of your local post office
- Find the Postleitzahl (PLZ - postcode/zipcode) for an address
- Calculate postage rates
- Print stamps at home, thus avoiding having to go to a Post Office ("Stampit" service)
Alternatives to Deutsche Post
While Deutsche Post effectively has a monopoly on letters, a number of providers deliver packages and parcels within Germany and Worldwide.
The most consumer-friendly provider is Hermes
, who deliver within Germany and Europe. Whereas Deutsche Post determines the price of a package by the size and the weight, Hermes calculates exclusively the size
of the package, ranging from â‚¬3,70 upwards. They are thus usually cheaper for items that are relatively heavy for their size. Hermes will collect packages from your house, although smaller items can also be taken to a service agent ('PaketShop'), which can range from a stationer's shop to a petrol station or baker's. There are now more Hermes PaketShops than there are Post Offices.
A forum member also recommended checking the relevant eBay forum
Criticisms of Deutsche Post
The Toytown Germany forums regularly feature complaints from users who have had a bad experience with the postal system. Although it is inevitable that some letters will be mislaid and other problems will occur, there is limited evidence that Deutsche Post is worse than the postal service of any other country. In 2005, for example, Deutsche Post delivered 95.7% of mail on time, compared to Royal Mail's 92% in Britain.
That said, the cost of posting letters is considerably higher in Germany than in Britain. Posting a 95g letter within Germany costs â‚¬1.45, compared to 32 pence (47 cents) within Britain, while it costs â‚¬12.90 to send a 500g package by Airmail from Germany to Britain but only Â£3.19 (â‚¬4.70) in the other direction. Moreover, despite their high delivery reliability, they do seem to give up rather quickly if a letter is incorrectly addressed. Deutsche Post has also been considerably reducing the size of its post office network, dropping from around 17,000 branches in 1995 to around 12,000 now. There has been a particular trend towards converting dedicated post offices into agencies within shops and supermarkets. The number of directly-owned post offices dropped from 14,000 in 1995 to under 5,000 ten years later.
Founded in 1909, the Postbank has had a complicated history, but has been owned by Deutsche Post since 1999. With more than 14 million customers, Postbank is Germany's most popular bank. There are no dedicated "banks" in the traditional sense, but all banking business can be carried out at branches of the post office network or online.
Addresses of local branches
to find your nearest branch. The list below shows only the major branches.
- Europaplatz 1 (open 7 days a week until 10pm)
- Joachimstaler Str. 7 (near Zoo; open Mon-Sat until 8pm)
- Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof (open until 7.30pm Mon-Fri, 4pm Sat)
- Goetheplatz 6 (open until 7pm Mon-Fri, 2pm Sat)
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