Want to surprise your German buddy with a care package but unsure how to get it to their doorstep? Google Maps might seem like a lifesaver, but when it comes to deciphering those cryptic German addresses, it’s time to level up your game. In this post, we’ll go over how to read German addresses to enhance your navigation skills and impress your German friends. Let’s begin!
Sending a postcard or package from Germany is perhaps one of the things travelers or immigrants are looking forward to doing. After all, we want our friends and family to somewhat get a taste of what it feels like to be in one of the most popular European countries in the world. By now, you’re probably thinking that going to the nearest Deutsche Post and signing one or two forms will be enough to get your things moving, right? Wrong! It turns out that knowing how to write and read addresses in German is critical to avoid those dreaded “return-to-sender” moments.
I know this feeling all too well when I wanted to send over a spa-day care package to one of my friends located in Berlin. I remember spending days curating the perfect at-home spa essentials that I forgot to focus on the most important part: her address!
As I headed to my local PhilPost (in the Philippines), I thought all I had to worry about was the postage rate and weight. Boy, was I wrong! When I got there, I was hit with a wave of confusion. Where does each piece of information go? Are those numbers in her address postal codes or what? And what the heck is Rosenweg? Is that a region, an apartment name, or a city? I was totally stumped.
And so I did what any grown-up woman would do, I took my package and went home. I was super embarrassed, but I can’t just fill out that form and hope for the best. But, hey, I wasn’t gonna let this setback get in the way of my gifting pursuits! I reached out to my friend and asked her everything there was to know about the German address format. From identifying the street name to nailing how to look for the correct postcode, I got all the juicy deets. And now, I’m ready to share everything I learned about it in this post. Let’s begin!
How To Read German Addresses
German addresses have a specific structure that is regulated by the country’s postal service, known as the Deutsche Post. The address structure usually contains four lines, including the recipient’s name, followed by the street name and house number, postal code, and city or town name. German addresses can also include additional information such as the floor or apartment number, company name, or post office box.
Let’s go over some examples to memorize this basic format.
|Recipient Name||Street Name & House Number||Postal Code||City/Town||Country|
|Franz Schmidt||Hauptstraße 5||10178||Berlin||Germany|
|Anna Müller||Schillerweg 12||40213||Düsseldorf||Germany|
|Peter Wagner||Hermannplatz 2||10967||Berlin||Germany|
|Julia Becker||Kurfürstenstraße 52||10785||Berlin||Germany|
|Thomas Fischer||Brühlweg 10||60318||Frankfurt am Main||Germany|
But wait! What if the recipient does not have a mailbox to his or her name? This thing may happen, especially if the person lives in a sharehouse or with other family members. In this case, you simply need to add the name of the person, followed by the preposition “bei” and then the name of the landlord. You may also add another line starting with “C/O + Name of landlord.” By doing so, the Deutsche post offices will know that they can leave your package to the landlord’s postbox even when the name of the recipient is not there.
Common German Abbreviations Used In Addresses
German addresses often use abbreviations to save space and make the address easier to read. Here are some common German abbreviations used in addresses:
- Street = Str. or Straße
- Square = Pl. or Platz
- Avenue = AI. or Allee
- Way = Wg. or Wed
- Number = Nr. or Nummer
- Attention = z.H. or zu Händen von
Letter Boxes In Germany
In Germany, letter boxes (or post boxes) are an essential part of the postal system. They are usually located on the street, in front of big supermarkets, shops, and dedicated post offices and are painted yellow, with the Deutsche Post logo prominently displayed. If you look at it closely, you’ll also notice that they have a label there for the time and dates for the pickup. The boxes are typically emptied at least once per day, so your mail should be processed and delivered quickly. However, do note that different letter boxes may have different collection times, so it is a good idea to check the collection times before dropping off your mail.
However, don’t just slide and send mail right into those boxes right away! You see, these boxes actually comes with two slots: left hand slot is for local post and the right hand slot is for international mail channels. Additionally, do remember to put postage stamps which are easy to come by if you order them online and print your own or get some in your local convenience stores.
German Words Related To Addresses
Ready to level up your address decoding skills? Impress your friends with some basic German vocabulary related to addresses. Trust us, dropping a few of these words into your conversations will make you sound like a local.
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