7/8 Germany postcards

Every year in December we have the German Charity Campaign

A lot of us wrote as much cards as they can manage and sent them around the globe and therefore all postcrossers get a lot of cards from Germany, still much more as they get in normal times.

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Oh that’s cool and lovely! Thanks to German Postcrossers!

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And even in normal times you get pretty much cards from Germany for other postal services have risen the postage enormously or worsened their service (maybe to get rid of the postcrossers).

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I think my personal highest amount of German postcards received in one day was four (I think) and I quite liked it because I usually receive like one or two postcards, but with Germany being a neighboring country post always gets delivered quite fast, and so I was able to receive the crazy amount of like 5 postcards in a single day one time. (One being from the USA)
I remember having a really shitty day that day, but reading all those postcards certainly made it better :slight_smile:

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I can also imagine that there are more cards on the way already, it’s just that German postal service is among the fastest. (though it was quite slow in the last weeks - like everywhere probably)

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Decembers really are the Germany months, but I kind of like it. Taking always extra care to register cards from Germany as soon as possible in December so I can help little in efforts to raise money for charity.

Although, yes, Germany is quite common country to send to and receive from. 30% of my cards have been traveling to or from Germany, second biggest is USA with 13,7%, so there really is a clear “winner” here. However, I think there will be changes along the years and some other country might take the top 1 position, so I am not stressing out about that so much. At least German post is so fast, they deliver sometimes in 3 days!

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That’s right…when I started over 10 years ago, FINLAND was the leader by far and I thought we would never catch up with them. It seemed 3 out of 4 cards were from Finland :slight_smile:

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Yes, agreed with @kugusch. About 10 years ago I drew Finnish addresses really frequently, and Dutch ones too.

I have since taken a hiatus for about 5 years, and now I’m back, and I’m drawing mostly German and Russian address. I don’t mind too, because the postal system is relatively faster in Germany, which also means I get to send more postcards :slight_smile:

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Last month 40% of my postcards came from Germany!
But my figure for 2020 was 28%.

We also have matched the 10.000000 DE-ID yesterday so yeah, we are a lot German postcrossers.

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And the postage cannot be raised this year, so you won’t get rid of us this year. :grinning::wink::innocent:

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As incredibly cheap stamp prices may partly explain why you Germans are so diligent to send cards, I just wonder how your stamp prices can be so cheap? :thinking: Surely the volume of letter mail has decreased in Germany as well? If we take and compare some postcrossing countries with around same population, the UK, France and Italy, with Germany, their stamp prices are much higher. I was thinking if the high number of German postcrossers and postcrossing activity could contribute to price development? Or are Germans in general more into traditional letters and cards than their neighbours?

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Of my sent postcards, 25% is to Germany and 33% of my received postcards are from Germany.

If the prices in Norway had been at the same level I would for sure send more postcards (but we are not that many postcrossers in Norway). The prices for stamps in Norway were rised again as of 1 January.

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I think part of the reason is that Deutsche post is actually a huge multinational company. Most postal companies do other logistic work too, but Deutsche post owns DHL which brings them lot of income. And this might be incorrect information (I didn’t find the current numbers with quick googling) but I heard few years back that Germany is funding Deutsche post with tax monies, which many countries are not doing anymore even thought they own their postal systems. Correct me if that is not the case anymore!

What I can say about the German services, is that they are offered to the population reasonably and as a way to improve the wealth of the whole country. Other countries’ ones, thus including the postal service, are offered as something due, with the main purpose to enrich the service holders :man_shrugging:
So, Germany issues cheap stamps for a fast service, while other countries instead keep on rising the prices whilst the service keeps on worsening.

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@shugal usually has very good information on postal issues. Do you have an idea why German postage is relatively cheap compared to other European countries?

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@TheBeaverFamily did an absolutely amazing analysis on the top 10 Postcrossing countries:


Germany has been growing steadily and constantly for many years, so expect more German cards. :wink: Further below in that topic is also a good analysis by @Regndroppar on how Finnish Post managed to effectively kill Postcrossing in the initial #1 country with low service and high prices, underlining @RalfH’s arguments in the current topic.

Thank you @Axolotl_ for making me aware of this topic! German Post does not share their pricing reasons with the public, so I’m putting together some facts and some guesses.

  • Germany has one of the highest population densities in Europe, a direct result of World War 2 and the explusion of German-origin people from all across Europe (even though they’d liked in these places for centuries). That means the average distance a mail item has to go and the average distance between two stops of a postman are smaller than in other countries.
  • Germans as a whole are old-fashioned and traditional. Our country, especially our federal and state governments, but also most companies, completely missed digitalization and other modern developments (just think about German car manufacturers and their crazed hunt to get up to speed on electric cars…). That means a very high amount of private and business communication is still being delivered by mail. When you look e.g. at the Scandinavian countries, their communication is almost completely digital. Therefore German Post’s income per capita is a lot higher than in most other countries.
  • The German Federal Government Keeps a close eye on what is considered “basic service” (Grundversorgung). That includes things like delivering mail for the same price to every house, regardless how remote (unlike e.g. the USA where in the more rural areas mail is not delivered to the house but must be picked up at the “nearest” post office), a “post office” (I’ll get to the reason for the quotation marks later) in every village with at least 2,000 inhabitants (lately German Post has been very nastily strict on this and closed their office if the population went just below the 2,000 threshold). For this legal obligation to provide basic service German Post is compensated by the Federal Government (so yes, @Kompis-Ninna, your information is correct). Private post companies could also bid for basic service and then receive compensation, but that can only be done nationwide, and no private company has so far bothered with this. :frowning_face:
  • A regulation body created by the German Federal Government controls and approves all prices that fall under the basic services (this includes lighter letters and postcards, both domestic and international). German Post needs to provide good and valid arguments for price increases (unfortunately these are kept secret from the public). German Post wanted to increase prices on 01-Jan-2019, claiming an annual cost increase of 3% and an annual decrease in letter/postcard mail amount of 3%, so totalling 6%. The regulatory body did not accept that for an increase of 14% (from 70 to 80 cent for a domestic standard letter). Somehow German Post finally convinced (???) the regulatory body and was able to increase prices on 01-Jul-2019 with the requirement to keep these stable for several years.
  • There are no post offices in Germany. What most people take for post offices are actually (well, legally) branches of Postbank who just happen to also offer postal services in cooperation with German Post. Of course this is in reality a scam to improve German Post’s financial reports and make it more attractive to investors (currently 21% of the shares are owned by Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau, a proxy for the German Federal Government). More and more Postbank branches are closed, either completely or replaced by shop-in-shop “post offices” where no post officers but e.g. supermarket employees do the work.
  • There is a rather good network of local private postal companies in Germany, who underbid the regular prices of German Post. They can do this because a) they don’t have to pay the same salaries German Post has to, b) taking more time for delivery and c) re-using other delivery chains (e.g. newspaper distribution) to also deliver their mail. German Post tries to counteract by using “freelancers” (who don’t have the right to the same salary as employees) and by providing significant discounts to high-volume mailers. The latter has led to the foudation of “consolidators” (Konsolidierer) - companies who take mail from smaller companies to build up the high amount of mail needed to get the highest discount, so their customers save a bit more than they could by themselves while the consolidator still makes a decent profit.
  • German Post has prohibited any merchandise in international letters - only documents are still allowed. So to mail a pack of 20 blank postcards, instead of a letter up to 500g for 3.70 Euro you now have to send them as a small package (Päckchen) for 9.00 Euro (European Union) or 16.00 Euro (rest of the world). The cheaper option Warenpost (up to 500g, depending on size, either 3.20 or 3.70 Euro inside EU, 3.80 or 5.00 outside EU) is only available to companies, not to private people. So Geran Post is really ripping off their private customers.
  • around 2010 German Post restructured their international services. The distinction between air mail and surface mail went away, now all letters are sent air mail (or so they claim, I don’t believe them, how can a postcard to Shanghai need more than a month when there are (pre-COVID-19) more than a dozen daily flights from Frankfurt am Main (where all international mail except for Europe leaves the country) to Shanghai?). At the same time the postage prices of the new unified air mail were reduced to almost exactly the previous surface prices - a standard airmail letter went from 1.70 Euro down to 75 cents if my memory serves correctly.
  • DHL is providing a significant portion of the overal Deutsche Post DHL company, but DHL and Deutsche Post operate as legally independent companies, so no money from the parcel area (DHL) can go into the letter area (Deutsche Post). Also DHL is under significant competitor pressure: UPS, DPD, FedEx, TNT, and more recently Amazon switched from delivery by German Post or DHL to delivery by their own service.

These factors have lead to the odd result that German Post evolved from one of the most expensive postal services in the 1980s/1990s (more precisely: expensive basic service like letter, postcard, but rather cheap additional service like registered mail) to one of the cheapest in Europe.

I may have missed a few factors, it’s quite late, err, early, here. :wink: I hope I was able to be helpful.

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Those postages are valid until 31.12.2021 and the rules for the approval have changed, so that the authority can now approve higher lifts of the postages. That was in the press last year. So I expect much higher postages by January 2022, but that is just speculative.

Thank you for a through analysis, you pointed out a lot of things I wasn’t aware of. Oldfashioness was one of the points I suspected, as in Finland communication and mail in the business world is indeed digital nowadays, as it’s cheaper, faster and more reliable.

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I can read German perfectly. Always happy to get a card from there.

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