Great Britain Subdivided

Forgive me if this has been covered somewhere (or is very naive), but why isn’t Great Britain separated out as 4 “countries” in Postcrossing? I’d love to collect/receive cards from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales as individual countries! Hoping to be educated further on the matter.

Side note: when I visited Scotland, I was moved to tears at one point, saying, “I didn’t know that this many shades of green existed!” What a lovely place I hope to return to someday.


:+1: I would like this as well.

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Yes please i would Like IT too

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Because technically speaking, the country name is United Kingdom - as for the division that postcrossing uses - look up ISO 3166 if you are curious about the formal classification.

As for Scotland, I found the greenery here so dull and monotonous - back in my home country (central Europe) we have thousands of different shades of greeneries, here in the UK most of the local flora is mainly the same evergreen shrubs or trees…I think the entire mainland Europe will have more to offer in terms of greenery.

But what thrills me here when it comes to botanics, are the flowers and flowery shrubs, the number of different ‘species’ of rhododendrons will never cease to amaze me…


Very interesting! I didn’t realize that the formal classification system didn’t identify each country in Great Britain separately. I wonder their reasoning of it, though. Other countries are governed by others or part of others and are recognized separately. For example, the Faroe Islands are a territory of Denmark. Why would they not then fall under “Denmark” for classification? These might be separate questions, but ones to ponder.


England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland are countries but not Sovereign states. Hence why they don’t have their own Iso/country codes* and we use GB to represent the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The UK is the sovereign state made up of the four constituent countries.

*Alhough we now have to display UK on the back of our cars to drive when we go abroad instead of GB as used to be the case, go figure.

So getting cards from the individual countries would be the same as getting cards from individual US states.

I would not support this.


Thank you for this explanation! However, I don’t see that it would be like the individual US states since they are, in fact, countries and not states. Do you have further reasoning about why you wouldn’t support it? I truly want to know—especially from those who live in UK.

Regardless of the political arguments that surround the status of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland (which are many and sensitive) ISO 3166 regards the individual countries as subdivisions so they have subdivision codes rather than country codes.

Combined, the code is GB. For Wales, for example, the code is GB-WLS or GB-CYM depending on the language. This is the same as a US state [eg US-TX]
Since Postcrossing is built around ISO 3166 2-letter codes, separating out at the subdivision level is unlikely to happen.


Xyz sets it up well… :

Regardless of the political arguments that surround the status of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland (which are many and sensitive)

Sensitivity re NI has resurged in particular since Brexit with politicians trying to fit square pegs in round holes. Scottish independence rears its head from time to time again for similar reasons.

I consider myself British first and English second and given this and the above I’d not support such a move in postcrossing. To use the US states analogy a Scottish person is no more “foreign” to me than a person from Massachusetts is to one from California. And I wouldn’t support anything that suggested otherwise. But that is my view.


To make it easier to understand, UK as the name indicated it is simply a union of four nations, 3 out of 4 of these nations are just tiny - Ireland and Wales have less inhabitants than Brooklyn, it wouldnt make any sense to me to separate them for postcrossing…

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Thank you for this insight! And I appreciate the dialogue as it is sensitive. I’m not trying to be rude or ignorant. I do love this community that can explain things. Didn’t realize so much of it was politics, too. I’m interested in educating myself further on the ISO 3166 code and what that all entails. Very interesting to me, as I continue learning about so many countries since I’ve joined!


Just to be clear here, it’s not a population issue (and the “Wales is small compared to England” can be an argument starter here). The population of Vatican City is small compared with Italy, but they are two separate political entities.
The ISO country code standard works on politics and, in some cases, on geographical separation - hence why some islands that are politically part of another country have a unique code.


I realise that it may be official cards you’d like but I am sure that if you pop by the UK/GB section of the forum you will find people who would send you cards from the individual nations of the union.


Oddly the Isle Of Man, part of the United Kingdom and just off the coast of England in the Irish Sea, is SEPERATE as Postcrossing goes…

Also we should note all our “British Overseas Territories”, as the Chanel islands, Jersey, Guernsey are part of the United Kingdom, but also separate…

Perhaps then it should be England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland now…

After all if one day Scotland and Wales get independence, will Postcrossing have to change then?


if the ISO standard changes, postcrossing changes too


Isle of Man and Channel Islands are not part of the UK but self-governing Crown Dependencies.



You can differ from the official way for your own collection.

Indeed, I do so for the postcards from USA. I collect them “statewise”, for me they are from Michigan, Florida etc first, then from the US. I do so, because there are so many cards from the US, and I think e.g. Texas and Washington, or Oregon and New Jersey, are very different regions. I would like to know if it’s only different in climate, landscape etc, or also in food specialities, mentality of people etc?

I do not differ concerning UK, even though I visited all parts of it and can see some differences quite well (e.g. some have own languages besides english). But I haven’t received so many cards from UK that it would make sense to differ.

Nevertheless, if politics change, pc will change as well. E.g. think about all the formerly USSR states which now are independent states with own postcrossing “identities”.


That’s a great thought! But I will also be very happy to receive the cards through official postcrossing and just hope that the person writes on the back indicating whereabouts they might be within the UK. :slight_smile:

This is also a great idea! Being from Wisconsin, and having lived in DC where it’s much more diverse, I do think there’s something to be said about learning about regions within a country too if you want to separate them out yourself. I use my postcards to really learn about others and gain perspective. This is something I could do on my own!

The Isle of Man is not part of the United Kingdom. It has the same sovereign, but is politically self-governing. Same goes for Jersey and Guernsey.