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Postcrossing Blog

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

Posts tagged "germany"

We know, we know… the blog has been a bit slow lately, as we’ve been busy with other tasks. In the meantime, here’s a brilliant giveaway to make up for it — enjoy!

Do these postcards look familiar? 😍

papersistershappypostcrossing

If so, you’ve probably heard about Papersisters! Although the company only started a couple of years ago, its eye-catching designs have swiftly conquered the hearts of many postcrossers around the world.

Sisters Wiebke (aka Namibia13) and Maike (aka jofemapa) are both enthusiastic postcrossers, and this passion turned into the creation of postcards and the opening of their own shop. Their range includes nicely illustrated postcards about different regions of Germany and their typical things, the country series featured above, stamp collages (my favorite!), and others for special occasions. They also do cute Postcard IDs or weather-themed rubberstamps to personalize your cards, as well as a few other goodies!

Germany

And now, for the best part! Papersisters is offering a pack of 12 postcards to 4 lucky postcrossers, plus one rubberstamp prize for an extra winner! Pretty cool, right? For a chance to receive one of these prizes, visit their website and leave a comment below, telling us which postcard (or series of postcards) is your absolute favorite!

But be warned, choosing from so much goodness will not be an easy task…

papersisters Airmail

Good luck everyone! Don’t forget to check back here next Saturday for the winners (randomly picked by Paulo’s number generator, as always).

And the winners of this giveaway, as chosen by Paulo’s random number generator are… amandam718, tandrj, Tufta, Allison_b216 and svoboda999! Congratulations — and thank you everyone for your enthusiastic participation on this giveaway!

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Franklinstr Duesseldorf
Mural by Brockenfingaz (Haifa), Kj263 (Ddorf) & Max Fiedler (Ddorf). Kuratiert von Haseläuft.

Have you ever heard of sister cities, also known as twin towns? It’s a concept in which “two cities or towns in geographically and politically distinct areas are paired, with the goal of fostering human contact and cultural links”. Collaborations between the cities can take many shapes (for instance, exchange programs or commercial ties), but the goal is simply to unite the towns on a meaningful level.

Right after the Second World War for example, a lot of cities in the UK and Germany came together in this way, helping promote peace and reconciliation. Sounds like a good idea, right? We firmly believe that projects focused on cross-cultural bonds and dialogue make the world a better place, by helping people open their minds to different realities and points of view. This is what Postcrossing is all about as well, so in a way, connecting cities is a lot like connecting people… just on a different scale! 😊

This year, Düsseldorf is celebrating the 30th anniversary of its connections with three sister cities: Haifa (IL), Chemnitz (DE) and Reading (GB). Despite their differences, these three cities have been finding ways of collaborating and expanding their horizons together for the past 30 years. For instance, they’ve organised internships and student exchanges, sports events, donations to each other in times of need and even brought artists together to build this huge mural in Düsseldorf!

To celebrate this milestone, the city of Düsseldorf is partnering with Postcrossing to create an international postcard exhibition that will allow the world to join in on the celebrations. Nothing says “connections across borders” like postcards, so we believe this is the perfect medium to expand their jubilee to the entire world.

And this is where YOU come in! Düsseldorf kindly invites all postcrossers to take part on the postcard exhibition by sending in postcards with well-wishes and thoughts on sister cities. To participate, choose a postcard from your area and send it to:

Sister Cities of Düsseldorf
City of Düsseldorf / Stadt Düsseldorf
Sonja Weyers
Marktplatz 1
40213 Düsseldorf
GERMANY

We encourage everyone to congratulate Düsseldorf, Haifa, Chemnitz and Reading on their triple jubilee and also to write about sister cities on your postcards! Is your city or town twinned with another one? What do you think of the concept? And do you have any good ideas for cooperations between sister cities?

And as a bonus, the nice people from Düsseldorf’s town hall have reserved 100 specially designed postcards to send out to 100 randomly chosen participants of the exhibition! For a chance to win one, just include your email address on the postcard you send. Don’t worry — your email addresses will be covered for the duration of the exhibition.

All postcards will be displayed on Düsseldorf’s town hall from June 30th onwards, so you have until then to send in yours. And if you’re around, mark your calendar and send us photos! We’d love to see your beautiful postcards in all their shiny glory! 😍

PS – If you were the mayor of your town and could twin it with another one, which one would that be? And what would you suggest for your first cooperation? Let us know in the comments!

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It’s been a while since we’ve had a spotlight interview on the blog, but we haven’t forgotten about them! Today, we’re happy to interview Courtney (aka ColorfulCourtney), who is the from the USA but lives in Germany and is a fan of archery! If you’ve been hanging around in the forum, you might have interacted with her already, as she’s quite active there, helping newbies and answering questions.

How did you come across Postcrossing? What got you hooked?

I was still living in the U.S. and trying to find Christmas postcards, which are not so common there. On Amazon I saw many reviews of cards where people said “These are perfect for Postcrossing, ” or something similar. I decided to find out what this “Postcrossing” was, and signed up.

I think it was the Forum and doing tags that got me hooked, because I was able to exchange more cards while I was still limited in what I could send on the main site. Now I hardly ever do tags, because I can have more traveling than I can afford to send, and I like the random element of the site.

Show us your mailbox, your mailman/mailwoman, your postoffice or the place where you post or keep your postcards!
ColorfulCourtney Postcrossing Spotlight

I have made my mailbox into a postcard – the last time I sent it out was as DE-6420999. This postbox is across the street from the library. There is one closer to my house, but I do not use it as often. Also unfortunately the other postbox is routinely vandalized, which makes me both sad and angry.

ColorfulCourtney Postcrossing Spotlight

I store my incoming postcards in boring random boxes, I’m afraid! But I do display some of my favorite current cards in a mirror in my living room.

ColorfulCourtney Postcrossing Spotlight
What is it your favorite part of the Postcrossing process?

That is also a really hard question. I love getting great postcards and messages, of course, especially when it is clear someone put a lot of time, effort and heart into them. Sometimes people send me amazing bookmarks for the library – I recently received some beautiful handmade ones that were so creative! I also like picking out cards, writing them, finding the right stamp and washi tape, etc. Over all, though, my favorite part is when I get a “Hurray” message from someone who especially appreciated what I sent to them. Then I feel super all day, and cannot wait to send more cards!

Show and tell us about your favorite received postcard to date, and what makes it special.

That is a super-hard question, because I like so many cards for so many reasons, often because of what is on the back or something someone slipped into the envelope. I have some of the cards on my “Favorites” wall where I actually do not like the image at all! But I love what the person said on the back, and seeing the image reminds me of that.

ColorfulCourtney Postcrossing Spotlight

If forced to choose right now I guess I would say for the front image, NL-3817868 from Aafjeknuffel. In my profile I say I like old cards and also ask people to tell me something that makes them smile. She sent me a beautiful vintage card, together with a self-painted postcard that illustrated the things in life that make her happy. It literally made me cry a little bit, it was such a happy card!

Have you been surprised by any place that you have received a postcard from or sent a postcard to?

I was totally surprised that my first card came from Finland! I did not know at the time how active a Postcrossing country it is, and it seemed very exotic to me.

Is there anything that you are passionate about?

“Passion” is a pretty strong word. Postcrossing has made me passionate about our postal system. It makes me so angry when people intentionally under-postage cards, when vandals deface mailboxes, when the government wants to reduce mail delivery, things like that.

Outside of Postcrossing, my “think global” passion is about trying to achieve what I call the Star Trek universe, where the Earth is at peace, and poverty, oppression and violence on our planet are things of the past. I am especially passionate about women’s rights and I wish that women and girls all over the world had the rights and opportunities I have enjoyed growing up and living in the U.S. and now Germany. I worry a lot about the progress we are making as a planet, and about women’s rights, and the condition of people in general, slipping away in many areas of the world.

ColorfulCourtney Postcrossing Spotlight

My “act local” passion is our Gemeindebücherei, the town library. I was a librarian in the U.S. and after moving here I wanted to get involved in some sort of volunteer activity. Long story short, since 2016 I have been the town librarian, and work as a team with another volunteer assistant. We are both really passionate about reading and books, and about trying to get people to see the library as a vital resource to the community. You can see a picture of the library in DE-6500814.

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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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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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