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Postcrossing blog

News, updates, and all kinds of goodies and stories from the postal world!

Receiving lots of mail definitely has its perks, and one of them is all the pretty stamps you get from all over the world. I carefully cut them off envelopes and end up stashing them somewhere, waiting for that one person who collects stamps, or for the inspiration for a crafty project to strike. Sadly, most of the time they just end up forgotten, waiting for Marie Kondo to come around and ask whether they spark joy...

Bethel stamp initiative

But they can bring joy! Patrick (aka patric) from Germany brought Bethel's stamp initiative to our attention and we wanted to share it with you, in case you'd like to make your stamps work for a good cause. Here's Patrick, explaining the concept:

Some time ago, I became aware of the Bethel charity here in Germany. They have a simple concept: the charity employs 125 adults with different handicaps. Members of the public make donations by sending in stamps. New stamps, old stamps, German stamps, foreign stamps... The workers there open the incoming mail and sort the different types of stamps into categories. These are then weighed and put into packages and are sold to dealers and collectors. Because of the stamps being sold by weight, they have the name "kiloware". Believe it or not, the charity gets 400 shipments a day! That is 29 tons a year!"

Simple, right? You too can help Bethel thrive! Make a pile of stamps, or set up a collection box in your office or somewhere people might contribute. When it's full, send it to:

Briefmarkenstelle Bethel
Quellenhofweg 25
33617 Bielefeld
GERMANY

And that's it! Bringing joy and cleaning up in one fell swoop... Marie Kondo would be proud!


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Remember the World's Smallest Postal Service (and their fantastic DIY activity kit) which we mentioned here on the blog some years ago?

Lea Redmond and her company have been busy creating lovely new things in the meantime, and we're here to tell you all about one of their more recent ventures — a book of letters which you write to yourself, to read in the future! 😍

Letters to my Future Self

The "Letters to My..." are a series of themed books, each containing 12 paper time capsules (which are a set of 12 aerogrammes bound together in a hard cover). There are several themes to choose from, from letters to your "older and wiser" self, to your baby, mom or dad, grandchild, the bride...

On the Letters to My Future Self for instance, each letter features a prompt such as "things you never want to forget" or "promises you made to yourself". As inspiration strikes, you write down these memories or pieces of advice on a letter, which you then seal with a special sticker and save for when the right time comes. We'll let Lea show you how it works:

Each aerogramme is beautifully designed and the thoughtful prompts encourage us to sit down with our thoughts and plans for a little while, inviting reflection and appreciation.

We're truly enamoured with this simple yet genius idea. Wouldn't they make perfect gifts for snail mail lovers? We think so too, which is why we're super excited that Lea's company Leafcutter Designs shared some of these with us — so we can share them with you guys!

We have 2 copies of Letters to My Future Self to give to two lucky postcrossers who answer the following question in the comments: If you could write one short piece of advice to your future self right now, what would you tell yourself?

Letters to my Future Self

Good luck everyone — remember to check back on this post around this time next week, to know whether your name was picked by Paulo's random number generator. And a big thank you to our generous friends at Leafcutter Designs, for sponsoring this giveaway! 😊

And the winners, as chosen by Paulo's random number generator are... otegami and ravioli22! Hurray! Thank you everyone for all your interesting comments and precious words of advice!


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Good news, everyone! We're super excited about this upcoming exhibition curated by the Singapore Philatelic Museum, which features one of our favourite series ever... HARRY POTTER!!

Since the first book came out in 1997, J.K. Rowling's young wizard and his friends have been hugely popular all around the world, influencing a generation of readers. Postal operators have also joined in celebrating the series, which are naturally featured in plenty of stamps as well as postcards and fan art... which is where YOU come in. The SPM is looking for your collections and postcards, to feature on their next exhibition! 😀

Harry Potter exhibition

If you're a collector of Harry Potter postcards or postal stationery and would like to showcase your collection in the exhibition, please contact Mishelle (the curator) at SPM179807@gmail.com by August 10th.

But you don't need to be a collector to participate! As is tradition, the museum is also calling all postcrossers to send in their themed postcards to them. So grab a Harry Potter card and share something with the visitors! For instance, what do you like about the series? Who's your favourite character, or what's your favourite scene or quote? Do tell! Here's the address:

Singapore Philatelic Museum
23B Coleman Street
Singapore 179807
Singapore

If your card arrives before August 21st and includes your address, you'll receive a postcard back! :) Sadly, the reply won't be a Harry Potter card, due to licensing fees, but the postcards of the museum never disappoint.

The Harry Potter exhibition at the Singapore Philatelic Museum is scheduled to open in November, and stay on until July 2017. Now if only we had a magic spell to teleport us there...


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We all know how it works: find a nice postcard, write it, and mail it off. Then, after a few days, weeks or even a little adventure later, our postcard finds its way into the recipient's mailbox. But what happens in the meantime, after we post it on a postbox? We've written about mail sorting centers before (e.g., here, here or here), and the magic that goes on behind the scenes... but it's always nicer to see it with your own eyes, right?

Visiting a mail sorting center in Bremen

That's what a group of curious postcrossers in Germany thought too, so they got together some time ago, and asked Deutsche Post for a tour of a mail sorting center — which they got, due to their persistent and persuasive requests! They turned it into a Postcrossing meetup, took pictures, sent postcards and even wrote about it for our viewing pleasure. 😊

Here are Claas (aka Speicher3) and Christine (aka Reisegern), the meetup organizers, to tell us all about it:

Visiting a mail sorting center in Bremen

In the morning of June 19th, we were welcomed by employees of Deutsche Post to the "Briefzentrum 28 Bremen" (that's the official name of Bremen's mail sorting center). This is one of more than 80 sorting centers for mail in Germany, that every day process about 66 million letters from 140,000 mailboxes throughout the country. So this is the place where postcards come to after postboxes are emptied.

Visiting a mail sorting center in Bremen Visiting a mail sorting center in Bremen

Wow... they take quite a tumble! We could even see what happens to letters containing keys, coins or other loose parts when going through the machines. Can you imagine? You'd better not send things like those on a simple envelope...

The mail that arrives is sorted by size, and then a machine checks the postage and puts a special cancellation mark on the mail. Perhaps you've already received a postcard with a postmark from Bremen?

Visiting a mail sorting center in Bremen Visiting a mail sorting center in Bremen

It shows the outline of this distribution center's zone of responsibility and one of the city's landmarks: the Town Musicians of Bremen (a donkey with a dog, cat and rooster standing on top of it), from the famous Grimm Brothers fairy tale!

Visiting a mail sorting center in Bremen Visiting a mail sorting center in Bremen

A machine further down the line reads addresses. Did you ever notice the orange bar code on postcards from Germany? This code is printed onto the card in the sorting center, and it contains all the important information about the card's destination.

Visiting a mail sorting center in Bremen Visiting a mail sorting center in Bremen

There are plenty of impressive machines in the giant, busy hall of the sorting center. Within those machines, letters and postcards dart back and forth at breathtaking speeds.

Visiting a mail sorting center in Bremen

As soon as a Postcrossing postcard makes its journey through all these machines, it finally arrives in a yellow box, together with hundreds of other letters and postcards, which will be sent to the sorting center closest to the recipient's address. And from here, the postcard will be delivered by a mail carrier to a happy postcrosser.

Visiting a mail sorting center in Bremen Visiting a mail sorting center in Bremen Visiting a mail sorting center in Bremen

If the postcard is being delivered to another country, it will instead be forwarded to the international sorting center in Frankfurt, where it will be delivered via air mail. Every day, busy and focused employees make sure that our mail will be delivered quickly and reliably.

Visiting a mail sorting center in Bremen

Postcrossers were visibly impressed by all the machines and the dizzying speed at which our postcards passed through the sorting center.

Visiting a mail sorting center in Bremen

After the tour was over, the meetup participants did what is a traditional part of every postcrossing meetup: sitting together, talking and writing postcards!

The cards that were written during this special meetup didn't need to take the detour through a mailbox though — about 1000 of them were mailed directly from the inside of the sorting center in Bremen. The participants gained insight to the world of mail delivery and learned a lot about the adventurous journey of their postcards!

Visiting a mail sorting center in Bremen

A big thank you to the Deutsche Post and the friendly employees of the sorting center in Bremen, who enabled us to have this very interesting day.

Thank you Deutsche Post — and thank you Claas and Christine for this wonderful report!



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Hurray! July 14th is Postcrossing's anniversary and we couldn't be happier! Eleven years of connecting the world, one postcard at a time... feels great!

Postcrossing is not just a platform or a bit of code on a server. What makes this project great is definitely its community... which means YOU! Every single one of you, that perhaps looked at this idea with suspicion in the beginning but decided to jump in anyway and give it a go. All of you who ensure the world's mailboxes are filled with smiles and kind words. Those of you who help each other in the forum, who organize and attend meetups, who send us tips and ideas, who send thousands of postcards to lovely ladies on their birthday. We're thankful for your trust, support and enthusiasm in the past 11 years. Long live Postcrossing!

A couple of postal operators neatly lined up their Postcrossing-themed stamp launches to mark the occasion, so today, Poland and Guernsey see new stamps come to life!

Polish Post drew inspiration on the theme of traveling through postcards, and re-imagined a "postcrossers' suitcase"... which naturally has a mailbox on the side!

Polish Postcrossing stamp

To celebrate the stamp launch, Polish Post is holding several events in Wrocław. Among the activities, there will be a free tour of the Post and Telecommunication Museum in Wrocław, a competition with some prizes and, of course, the opportunity to buy the new stamp and even receive a special cancellation mark.

Today is also the day two new stamps from Guernsey Post make their debut! International postage is being updated, and the stamps (for Europe and Rest of the World) reflect this change. Guernsey Post's new stamps were drawn by Sue Hamon and aim to share the island's rich flora and fauna with the world through the postcards they'll be traveling in.

Guernsey Postcrossing stamp

Guernsey Post is also launching a set of related products along with the stamp, on their online shop, including first day covers and maxicards.

So, happy birthday Postcrossing! Now it's time to blow those candles and grab a piece of cake while we write some postcards — do join us! :)

PS - Speaking of stamps, the German Postcrossing community has been trying for years to convince their Finance Ministry that a Postcrossing-themed stamp would be a good idea... with little success so far. As Germany is the country with most postcards sent in the project, we think they deserve it. So if you have an extra card, give them a hand in turning this dream into reality!


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