The German Post Office and Postal Services

At the German Post Office, you can do a lot more than just mail letters.

Anybody who's been away from Germany for a while will find "Deutsche Post DHL" a shock. That's the present name for the postal service, a piece of the former government monopoly, Deutsche Bundespost, that went public in 2000.

While there are still dedicated post office branches in most German cities, under the new regime the neighborhood post office is often a sort of one-stop shopping center. It could be part of a stationery or grocery store with a section or counter where you can buy stamps, mail a package, deposit or withdraw money and apply for a credit card. It will also probably be open more convenient hours than the bureaucratic post offices of old.

And that's only the part that is visible to the average consumer. As the name "Deutsche Post DHL" implies, the new company is a major world player in the growing field of logistics. It has streamlined its operations in an effort to give the American giants, UPS and FedEx, a run for their money.

For all the forward-looking plans, the old-fashioned delivery of letters and parcels still accounts for the majority of the Post's business. Even back in its bureaucratic days, the German post office had a reputation for speedy delivery, and the private company has further improved on it: 95% of letters are delivered within one day, and 99% within two days. Most packages can be delivered within a 400-kilometer radius in one day and nationwide within two days.

Postal Rates - Effective January 1, 2014

Following is a partial list of postal rates used in Germany. You can get full rate information at any post office by requesting the free brochure "Leistungen und Preise".

Inside Germany

Item Max. Size in mm (LxWxD) Weight Rates (€)
Letters (Brief) Postcard - 235 x 125 (minimum 140 x 90)   0.45
  Standardbrief - 235 x 125 x 5 (minimum 140 x 90) up to 20 gms 0.60
  Kompaktbrief - 235 x 125 x 10 21 to 50 gms 0.90
  Grossbrief - 353 x 250 x 20 51 to 500 gms 1.45
  Maxibrief - 353 x 250 x 50 501 to 1,000 gms 2.40
Small Package (Päckchen) 600 x 300 x 150 (minimum 150 x 110 x 10) up to 2,000 gms 3.90
Large Package (DHL-Pakete) 1200 x 600 x 600 up to 10kg 6.90
    10 to 20 kg 11.90

Europe & International

Item Max. Size in mm (LxWxD) Weight Rates (€)
Letters Postcard - 235 x 125 (minimum 140 x 90)   0.75
  Standardbrief - 235 x 125 x 10 (minimum 140 x 90) up to 20 gms 0.75
  Kompaktbrief up to 50 gms 1.50
  Grossbrief - 353x250x20 up to 500 gms 3.45
  Maxibrief International - L + W + D = 900 (No side longer than 600) up to 501 to 1,000 gms 7.00
  Maxibrief International - L + W + D = 900 (No side longer than 600) up to 1,001 to 2,000 gms 16.90

Packages inside the EU

Item Max. Size in mm (LxWxD) Weight Rates (€)
Small Package (Päckchen) 600 x 300 x 150 (minimum 150 x 110 x 10) up to 2,000 gms 8.90
Large Package (DHL-Pakete) 1200 x 600 x 600 up to 5kg 17.00
  1200 x 600 x 600 5 to 10 kg 22.00
  1200 x 600 x 600 10 to 20 kg 32.00
  1200 x 600 x 600 20 to 31.5 kg 42.00

Check with the Post Office for more detailed rates for sending packages outside of Germany.

Registered Letters (Einschreiben) inside Germany:
Einschreiben Einwurf - guarantees delivery to the mailbox or post office box of recipient– costs €1.80 extra.
Einschreiben – a standard registered letter requiring a signature upon delivery to the person receiving the letter (or someone authorized to receive a letter – a spouse, for example ) costs €2.15 extra.
Einschreiben Eigenhändig – the registered letter is delivered to the person named in the address or someone who has written authorization to receive such correspondence. A signature is required. This costs €3.95 extra.
Einschreiben Rückschein – a standard registered letter with a return receipt (Rückschein) costs an additional €3.95.
Einschreiben Rückschein Eigenhändig - a registered letter that has a return receipt and is delivered to the person named in the address or someone who has written authorization to receive such correspondence. A signature is required. This costs €5.75 extra.

Special Delivery letters (DHL Express-Briefe) inside Germany:
Special Delivery letters to addresses in Germany that weigh up to 50 gms cost €9.90; 50-1,000 gms costs €11.90; and 1,000-2,000 gms costs €13.90. These letters are delivered the following day (except Saturdays, Sundays and holidays) You can pay extra to guarantee delivery before 9:00 a.m., 10:00 a.m. or noon the following day. You can also pay extra for delivery on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.

The Post Office sells mailing cartons (Packsets) in five sizes and a couple of different shapes. They cost from €1.49 and €2.49 each, depending on size. You can also buy a Packsets with prepaid postage. These are called Plus Päckchen.

On the web:

The Deutsche Post site is at: www.deutschepost.de

For information in English click on the icons in the Top Services und Produkte section. Click on English Version in the bottom right. (Not all the services and products have information in English).

For English language information on sending and tracking packages go to www.dhl.de/en.html

This is the English site of DHL Germany, which is part of the German Post Office.

Now that the Deutsche Bundespost is no longer a government monopoly, its old banking part, the Postbank, is acting more like a private bank. It was long a government service to the small depositor, giving him little more than an inexpensive checking or savings account. Now, however, it has gone also into mortgages, credit cards, consumer credit and the sale of insurance.