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The German Post Office and Postal Services

Updated - April, 2021

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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.

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Postal Rates - Effective July 2019

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 0.80
  Kompaktbrief - 235 x 125 x 10 21 to 50 gms 0.95
  Grossbrief - 353 x 250 x 20 51 to 500 gms 1.55
  Maxibrief - 353 x 250 x 50 (Minimum 10 0 x 70) 501 to 1,000 gms 2.70
Small Package (DHL Päckchen) Maximum 300 x 300 x 150 (minimum 150 x 110 x 10) up to 2 kg 3.79
Small Package (DHL Päckchen) Maximum 600 x 300 x 150 (minimum 150 x 110 x 10) 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)   0.95
  Standardbrief - 235 x 125 x 10 (minimum 140 x 90) up to 20 gms 1.10
  Kompaktbrief - 235 x 125 x 10 up to 50 gms 1.70
  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

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Other German Post Office services/rates

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 €2.20 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 €2.20 extra.
Einschreiben Rückschein - a standard registered letter with a return receipt (Rückschein) costs an additional €2.20.

Special delivery letters and packages (DHL Expresseasy National) mailed to addresses in Germany that weigh up to 500 gms cost €13.50; 500 gms to 5,000 gms (5 kg) costs €16.50; and 5 kg to 10 kg costs €27.50.

These letters or packages are delivered the following day except Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. Delivery on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays costs extra

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 German language site is at: www.deutschepost.de

The Deutsche Post has an English language section here: www.deutschepost.de/en/home.html

For current information about the post office procedures regarding the coronavirus, visit: www.deutschepost.de/en/c/coronavirus.html

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.

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Germany and New Courier and Shipping Services Perspectives

Germany can take pride in having high quality postal and shipping services, ready to offer the best solutions to customers and meet their needs. However, in a world that can change in a blink of an eye, it is necessary for any logistics company to always stay on track and provide the most innovative postal services and shipping options -especially since there are many to choose from. So, whether you are an expat who needs to send have important documents delivered in-country or across borders; send documents and goods home; a tourist who purchased too many souvenirs; or simply an online-shopping fanatic, you can always find a shipping and postal shipping solution which best suits you.

Let's first clarify the difference between postal and courier companies. In many countries the federal government manages postal services although some have been privatized (Germany in 2005, for example), and are mostly suitable for mail, letters, envelopes and parcels and packages up to certain weight limits. When using a national postal service, you are usually asked to drop off your letter, envelope or package at a post office (or other locations, such as a kiosk or stationery store, that are licensed by the Post Office), since a door-to-door service is rarely available. Courier companies, however, are mostly private and specialize not only in shipping documents, letters and envelopes but also in shipping somewhat bigger and heavier parcels. Contrary to national post offices, they may be able to deliver some of your items in a shorter time. Also, a door-to-door service is very common with many of these companies.

Speaking of reliable courier companies, as stated in the section above about the German Postal Services, the former DHL International was acquired by the privatized Deutsche Post AG. It makes the services of DHL well known, not only in Germany and Europe, but also worldwide. If you're looking for a service suitable for your letters, parcels and packages in more than 220 countries - this is an option for you.

Anther company setting an example in Germany is DPD Group. DPD is the second-largest international delivery network in Europe, and provides service to both B2B and B2C customers in 35 countries. DPD Germany is part of DPD Group, and it's a warranty for whoever wants to ship something either within Germany, or across Europe.

The internationally known and recognized UPS and FedEx also operate in Germany and throughout Europe. Other courier companies operating in Germany include TNT, Hermes and GO! Express.

But there is also another well-known player on the market. Founded in late 1999, GLS had no struggle to prove its efficiency in Europe. GLS Germany has over 60 national depots, and is able to provide delivery service within Germany in approximately 24 hours. GLS is also a good option both for commercial operations and private individuals.

Apart from the dedicated courier and shipping service providers, new companies have started to open up across the continent lately. If you are not sure about which of the discussed courier company suits you better, then the newest figures in the logistic field may definitely help you: companies that intermediate between customers and courier service providers.

One example of these types of new companies is British based Eurosender, an online booking platform for door-to-door courier and shipping services. Established in 2014, the company’s efficiency is becoming well-known and its product offerings are expanding

What makes Eurosender and similar companies’ services different from others is that, through them, you can book your postal and courier services with the most reliable European courier companies, such as those already mentioned - DHL, DPD or GLS - but often for a better price. (Some of these companies also offer freight shipping and relocation shipping services using well-known and reliable shipping companies,)

These new companies system will select the service provider offering the best price for the selected item and route. What's more, your documents and parcels will be collected and delivered at your doorstep! These companies can offer B2C, B2B and C2C service. Currently, the offered services include national and international courier services.

What about the future then? Rumor has it, that in a few years packages will be delivered by drones -which are currently used to facilitate many other things that humans do. Amazon, the giant of e-commerce, already announced its intentions in launching the "Amazon Prime Air" service. However, its pros and cons haven't been evaluated yet, so this plan will take time to be fully implemented.

Needless to say, the logistics industry is putting more and more effort to make the courier and shipping services even more advanced and eco-friendly: almost all the invoices, delivery sheets and receipts are now digital. The market is constantly improving, and who knows what technology next years will bring us?

This article section has been contributed by Eurosender. Eurosender offers solutions for those who want to send packages, documents, or essential letters efficiently without going through all the normally expected bureaucracy.

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