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How sending parcels in Germany changed in January 2021

Starting in January, Deutsche Post is no longer selling stamps for packages, but rather requiring customers to purchase a special code through the company’s app or online.

How sending parcels in Germany changed in January 2021
DHL packaging centre in Ottendorf-Okrilla, Saxony. Photo: DPA

Looking to post that belated holiday gift? You might be affected by a change that Deutsche Post and package affiliate DHL have introduced for customers this January.

It will apply to anyone in Germany who wants to send smaller items weighing up to two kilos, whether to a domestic destination or abroad.

Stamps for the usual small parcel rates of €3.79 or €4.39 are no longer available in stores or online, but Deutsche Post will accept them until June 31st 2021 so that anyone who still has a supply will have a chance to use them.

Customers can now purchase and print out labels online or through Deutsche Post’s and DHL's app, or simply drop off the package at the nearest post office.

But those who don’t have the option of printing out a label at home can generate a QR-code with the app, which they simply write on the package. A parcel label is later printed out and scanned by an employee at the closest post office or DHL shop. 

The function is also available for letters, although it is still possible to purchase and use regular stamps for these as well.

A woman writes the QR code on a letter instead of using a stamp. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/Deutsche Post DHL Group | Deutsche Post DHL Group

For an extra cost, a DHL courier can come to your home to pick up the parcel. However, it’s free if you hand over your package to a driver who rings your doorbell anyways to deliver your parcel – or have you watch that of a neighbour's.  

In recent months, Deutsche Post had already announced that in future it would focus on digital services such as letter notifications and more precise parcel tracking through its app. 

Deutsche Post said that post and package prices, which were last changed in September 2020, would stay the same through the end of 2021.

 

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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. German 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 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, comes 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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