Postcrossing uses cookies to help deliver its services. By using this website, you agree to its use of cookies. Learn more.

Postcrossing Blog

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

Posts tagged "mail-sorting-center"

It’s no secret we’re big fans of the behind-the-scenes part of postal delivery (see here, here or here). Russell (aka SonOfBilly) from New Zealand, spotted this love of ours and sent us this video by New Zealand Post:

That put a huge smile on our faces! Samson’s enthusiasm is contagious, and pretty much a mirror of our own delight when we see these videos. Keep them coming! 😊

on

Tags: , ,

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 BremenVisiting 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 BremenVisiting 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 BremenVisiting 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 BremenVisiting 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 BremenVisiting a mail sorting center in BremenVisiting 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!

on

Tags: , , ,

Postal related videos have a soft spot in our mail-loving hearts… bonus points if they feature postcards and envelopes whizzing by at the speed of light! 😀

So we were happy to discover another of these videos, which Ana (aka ninocas) from Portugal shared with us. Some details are specific to the USA, but in our experience, this is how mail is processed in most countries as well. Have a look:

The video is part of Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum’s permanent exhibition Systems at Work, where you can learn how the postal service works and has evolved over the past 200 years.

If you’re not in the US, you can still “visit” this exhibition (and the whole museum in fact!) on their virtual tours — it’s super interesting!

on

Tags: , , ,

In theory, we all know what happens when something goes through the mail: it is picked up, put in crates and boxes, gets sorted more or less automatically, and is finally delivered by the hands of the local postman. If you’ve ever seen a mail sorting center before, you know that there are hundreds of meters of conveyor belts involved, and all sorts of complicated sorting machines… but what does it look like from a “parcel’s perspective”? How many people touch it? How long does it sit around just… waiting?

Designer Ruben van der Vleuten wondered about these things, and instead of sitting still, he came up with a simple solution to solve this mistery: a camera, hidden inside a parcel!

From A to B

Inside the parcel there’s also a small Arduino circuit, with a timer which tells the camera to film more when the package is moving, and less when it is stopped. The result is the amazing video below:



Pretty neat, huh? Check out Ruben’s page, to see what the parcel looked like from the inside! :)

on

Tags: , , ,

Have you ever wondered how postcards get to you? I mean, we all know how to send them and we know it’s our postman who delivers them – but what about the rest?

Wonder no more – we have found a great video that shows how the magic happens between the sender and the receiver. It documents a sample delivery through the UK Royal Mail but the process worldwide doesn’t differ that much. Enjoy!


Quite impressive, isn’t it?

on

Tags: , ,