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The German Post Office and Postal Services

Updated - May, 2017

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

In 1989 the government-run Deutsche Bundespost, which included the Deutsche Bundespost Postdienst, Deutsche Bundespost Postbank and Deutsche Bundespost Telekom was broken up into three parts and set on the path to privatization. By 2005 the privatization of the Post Office was complete when the Deutsche Post AG went public with an IPO. (The former Postbank is now Deutsche Postbank AG and the telephone company is Deutsche Telekom AG)

In 2004 the Deutsche Post AG acquired DHL International. Now called Deutsche Post DHL Group, the new acquisition is responsible for the delivery of express mail, packages and parcels and other services in Germany as well as operating the former DHL business worldwide. This is why the Deutsche Post and DHL logos adorn all the post offices in Germany and why it is common to see DHL trucks on the roads and streets in Germany.

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.

You can download the German Post Office rate information brochure as a pdf here.

Postal Rates - Effective January 2017

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 0.70
  Kompaktbrief - 235 x 125 x 10 21 to 50 gms 0.85
  Grossbrief - 353 x 250 x 20 51 to 500 gms 1.45
  Maxibrief - 353 x 250 x 50 (Minimum 10 0 x 70) 501 to 1,000 gms 2.60
Small Package (DHL Päckchen) Maximum 300 x 300 x 150 (minimum 150 x 110 x 10) up to 1 kg 4.00
Small Package (DHL Päckchen) Maximum 600 x 300 x 150 (minimum 150 x 110 x 10) 1 kg to 2 kg 4.50
Large Package (DHL-Pakete) 1200 x 600 x 600 (minimum 150 x 110 x 10) up to 5kg 6.99
    up to 10 kg 9.49
    up to 20 kg 16.49
    up to 31.5 kg 16.49

Europe & International

Item Max. Size in mm (LxWxD) Weight Rates (€)
Letters Postcard - 235 x 125 (minimum 140 x 90)   0.90
  Standardbrief - 235 x 125 x 10 (minimum 140 x 90) up to 20 gms 0.90
  Kompaktbrief - 235 x 125 x 10 up to 50 gms 1.50
  Grossbrief - 353 x 250 x 20 (minimum 100 x 70 L x W) up to 500 gms 3.70
  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 17.00

Packages inside the EU

Item Max. Size in mm (LxWxD) Weight Rates (€)
Small Package (DHL Päckchen) Maximum 300 x 300 x 150 (minimum 150 x 110 x 10) up to 1 kg 9.00
Small Package (DHL Päckchen) Maximum 600 x 300 x 150 (minimum 150 x 110 x 10) 1-2 kg 9.00
Large Package (DHL-Pakete) 1200 x 600 x 600 (minimum 150 x 110 x 10) up to 5kg 17.99
  1200 x 600 x 600 5 to 10 kg 22.99
  1200 x 600 x 600 10 to 20 kg 33.99
  1200 x 600 x 600 20 to 31.5 kg 44.99

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

Registered Letters (Einschreiben) inside Germany:
Any type of registered letter (Einschreiben) costs a minimum of €2.50
Einschreiben Einwurf - guarantees delivery to the mailbox or post office box of recipient– costs €2.15 extra.
Einschreiben Eigenhändig – 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 Rückschein – a standard registered letter with a return receipt (Rückschein) costs an additional €2.15.

Special Delivery letters (DHL Expresseasy National) inside Germany. The letters are delivered the following day (Monday – Friday (not includng 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
Special Delivery letters to addresses in Germany that weigh up to 500 gms cost €11.90;
500-1,000 gms costs €12.90;
1,000-2,000 gms costs €1.490.

Special Delivery packages (DHL Expresseasy National) in Germany. The packages are delivered the following day (Monday – Friday (not includng 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.
2 kg to 5 kg costs 20.90
5 kg to 10 kg costs 25.90
10 kg to 20 costs 30.90
20 kg to 31.5 kg costs 45.90

The Post Office sells mailing cartons (DHL Packsets) in five sizes and a couple of different shapes. They cost from €1.49 and €2.49 each, depending on size.

DHL Packstation
Outside many Post Offices and in selected locations there are DHL Packstations. You can frank and send packages as well as receive them. This applies to DHL Pakete, DHL Packchen and returning items sent through Deutsche Post DHL. Good for packages that are up to 60 cm x 35 cm x 35 cm (L x W x H).

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 Deutsche Post DHL Group , 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. The banking service is run by Deutsche Postbank AG. 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. The Postbank continues to maintain a presence in many post offices with service at the counters and ATM's in many locations.