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German postage costs may increase by ‘up to 30 percent’

A government meeting in May is set to determine whether the humble postage stamp will increase from the current 70 to 90 cents.

German postage costs may increase by 'up to 30 percent'
Photo: DPA

While German postage costs remain comparatively cheaper than many of the country’s European neighbours, rising postage costs have become an increasingly controversial issue in recent months.

The postage stamp set to get more expensive

Reports in February said that the standard postage cost may increase by five or possibly ten cents from the current 70 cents. But recent indications are that the increase could be up to 20 cents – or roughly 30 percent. 

This would render the cost of sending cards, letters or postcards within Germany to the same level as international mail. Currently, sending cards to worldwide destinations costs 90 cents, although with rising domestic postage costs, a similar increase in international prices would be expected. 

The last price hike to the cost of domestic postage took place in 2016, with stamp prices increasing from 62 to the current 70 cents. At the time it was the largest increase since German reunification.

The historically low prices have in part facilitated a strong manufacturing and export sector.

The prices for postage are set by a federal agency, although the Deutsche Post itself is a largely privatized entity. The government only holds a 20 percent share in the national postal service.

The decision as to the cost will be made by the responsible government agency in May, with costs to the general public to increase from July 2019 onwards. Costs for businesses would not increase until 2020.

Four times the previous cost

As reported by The Local in February, postage costs increased by up to 400 percent in some instances From April 1st.

Package prices rose sharply, particularly for international postage. Costs for sending packages to the US increased four fold.

The costs associated with sending small packages was also subject to a considerable increase as it became no longer possible to send CDs or DVDs at the original letter price. 

Previously, letters containing CDs or DVDs could be sent at the cost of a card or postcard. 

The hidden cost of email

As reported in RP Online, the main reason for the sudden increase is primarily the popularity of electronic communications. 

Swiss Post told RP Online that there were fewer and fewer letters being sent, leading to a decrease in revenue for post operators.

In recent years, the amount of letters sent annually has decreased by roughly two to three percent.

Politicians at loggerheads over the way forward

The current proposal – which could see an increase of 20 cents per domestic letter – has been criticized by politicians. Pascal Meiser, from The Left (Die Linke), has argued that it represents the government favouring private interests over that of the general public. 

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Conversely, the FDP’s Reinhard Houben has called for the government to fully privatize the service to improve its efficiency.  

Member comments

  1. Actually the average rise on domestic letters will be limited to 10.63 prozent which I think makes this something of a scare story.
    The reasons for the rises are however reported correctly.The German postal service has by law the duty to deliver letters to even the most corners of Germany. That means a lot of very expensive delivery routes. Less and less letters but a cost base which is hard to reduce means increasing prices. Get used to it.

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LIVING IN GERMANY

REVEALED: The most commonly asked questions about Germans and Germany

Ever wondered what the world is asking about Germany and the Germans? We looked at Google’s most searched results to find out – and help clear some of these queries up.

Oktoberfest
Hasan Salihamidzic, the sports director of FC Bayern, arrives with his wife at Oktoberfest in full traditional dress. Photo: picture alliance/dpa |

According to popular searches, Germany is the go-to place for good coffee and bread (although only if you like the hard kind) and the place to avoid if what you’re looking for is good food, good internet connection and low taxes. Of course, this is subjective; some people will travel long stretches to get a fresh, hot pretzel or a juicy Bratwurst, while others will take a hard pass.

When it comes to the question on the bad Internet – there is some truth to this. Germany is known for being behind other rich nations when it comes to connectivity. And from personal experience, the internet connection can seem a little medieval. The incoming German coalition government has, however, vowed to improve internet connectivity as part of their plans to modernise the country.

There are also frequent questions on learning the German language, and people pointing out that it is hard and complicated. This is probably due to the long compound words and its extensive grammar rules, however, as both English and German are Germanic languages with similar words in common, it’s not impossible to learn as an English-speaker.

Here’s a look at some of those questions…

Why is German called Deutsch? Whereas ‘German’ comes from the Latin, ‘Deutsch’ instead derives itself from the Indo-European root “þeudō”, meaning “people”. This slowly became “Deutsch” as we know it today. It can be a bit confusing to English-speakers, who are right to think it sounds a little more like “Dutch”, however the two languages do have the same roots which may explain it.

And why is Germany so boring? Again, probably a generalisation, especially given that Germany has a landmass of over 350,000 km² with areas ranging from high rise, industrial cities to traditional old town villages and even mountain ranges, so you’re sure to find a place that doesn’t bore you to tears.

Perhaps it is a question that comes from the stereotype that Germans are obsessed with being strict about rules, organised and analytical. Or that they have no sense of humour – all of these things being not the most exciting traits. 

Either way, from my experience I can confirm that, even though there is truth to German society enjoying order and rules, the vast majority of people are not boring, and I’m sure if you come to Germany you’ll meet many interesting, funny and exciting people. 

READ ALSO: 12 mistakes foreigners make when moving to Germany

When it comes to the German weather, most people assume a cold and cloudy climate, however this isn’t entirely true. While the autumn and winter, especially in the north, come with grey skies and sub-zero temperatures, Germany can have some beautiful summers, with temperatures frequently rising above 30C in some places.

Unsurprisingly, the power and wealth of the German nation is mentioned – Germany is the largest economy in Europe after all, with a GDP of 3.8 trillion dollars. This could be due to strong industry sectors in the country, including vehicle constructions (I was a little surprised to find no questions posed on German cars), chemical and electrical industry and engineering. There are also many strong economic cities in Germany, most notably Munich, Frankfurt am Main and Hamburg.

READ ALSO: Eight unique words and phrases that tell us something about Germany

Smart and tall?

Why are Germans so tall? They are indeed taller than many other nations, with the average German measuring a good 172.87cm (or 5 feet 8.06 inches), however this may be a question better posed to the Dutch, who make up the tallest people in the world.

Why are Germans so smart? While this is again a generalisation – as individuals have different levels of intelligence in all countries – this question may stem from Germany’s free higher education system or their seemingly efficient work ethic. Plus there does seem to be some scientific research behind this question, with a study done in 2006 finding that Germans had the highest IQ in Europe.

So, while many of the questions posed about Germany and Germans on Google stem from stereotypes, we can confirm that some aren’t entirely made up. If you’re looking to debunk some frequently asked questions about France and the French, check out this article by our sister site HERE.

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