German postal service set to hike charges in 2022

Sending a letter in Germany is set to become that bit more expensive as Deutsche Post reveals that it will hike the fees for posting letters and postcards in the new year.

Deutsche Post post box
A man places a letter in a Deutsche Post post box in Berlin. From next year, posting letters will become slightly more expensive. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Fernando Gutierrez-Juarez

According to the plans announced by Deutsche Post, sending a standard letter will cost 85 cents instead of the current 80 cents, and 70 cents instead of 60 cents will be charged for sending a postcard.

The prices for other letter products such as large letters, registered mail and book and merchandise shipments are also to increase “moderately” as of January 1st, the postal service revealed.

After New Year’s Eve, sending a compact letter will set you back €1, the large letter €1.60 and the maxi letter €2.75 euros. 

Under German law, prices increases as Deutsche Post have to fall within the margin set by the Federal Network Agency (BNA).

This year in October, the BNA announced that Deutsche Post would have a 4.6 percent margin for raising its prices – meaning it could increase postal costs by up to 4.6 percent. 

This announcement formed the basis for Deutsche Post’s planned price increases, which were approved by the government last week.

According to the BNA, the operator is allowed to spread the margin across different products – meaning some will be raised by less, and some by more – as long as the total increases don’t come to more than 4.6 percent across the board. 

Deutsche Post has justified the increases by pointing to its increased operational costs. The additional cost of sending letters covers “only part of the cost inflation,” the company revealed.

“The approved margin is less than the compensation for the wage increases that have occurred in the meantime and certainly not compensation for the increase in unit costs to be expected in the next few years.”

The previously state-owned company last raised its costs when a standard letter became ten cents more expensive in 2019. That makes the current price hikes the first domestic prices increases in around three years. 

On the international side, there have however been increases in the cost of sending letters and parcels to Britain after Brexit, and reports of people being charged exorbitant fees to receive parcels from outside the EU.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Why people in Germany are being charged to receive small parcels from outside the EU

Domestically, the price increases are in response to an increasingly un-lucrative letter market, which has been shrinking for several years.

People currently write far fewer letters to each other than they used to and are increasingly using e-mails, chats or social media to make contact with friends and family instead. 

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Living in Germany: Pushback on dual citizenship plans, university ‘buddies’ and Stollen

From possibly the most German-sounding university introduction ever, to a heated ongoing debate about dual citizenship, here are the latest talking points about life in Germany.

Living in Germany: Pushback on dual citizenship plans, university 'buddies' and Stollen

Pushback on citizenship plans

The German coalition government’s proposals to relax citizenship laws are in the spotlight once again this week – but not for a positive reason. In a last-minute debate called by the opposition conservatives (CDU/CSU), emotions ran high as politicians clashed on the proposals that would see naturalisation legislation changed to allow multiple citizenship and remove hurdles of becoming German.

Imogen Goodman wrote in her report that CSU politician Andrea Lindholz called the plans “irresponsible” and “unprofessional”. “I’m convinced that everyone that wants to become German should give up their previous citizenship,” Lindholz said, in response to the idea of allowing people in Germany to hold more than one nationality. The row has thrown doubt onto the changing legislation.

On our Germany in Focus podcast, Julie Schäfer, a citizenship lawyer and dual French-German citizen based in Düsseldorf, said she hoped the laws would be passed. Schäfer said the reforms “would be a great benefit”. “Especially because many people are seeking dual or even multiple citizenship because they still want to be part of their original country, where they were born or where they grew up. They do not want to lose their identity.”

Tweet of the week

The award for the most German-sounding thing this week (or possibly ever?) has to go to this tweet by a student. 

Where is this?

snow in Erfurt

Photo: DPA/Michael Reichel

There’s a real winter – and Christmas – feel in the air across Germany, with lots of snow forecast in the coming days. A coating of snow had already reached Erfurt, Thuringia, on Friday as seen here in this photo next to the central Christmas market. 

Did you know?

Stollen is a traditional Christmas snack in Germany. But did you know that it dates all the way back to the Middle Ages? During that time it was considered a fasting pastry in monasteries during Advent season. The recipe used to have very little ingredients (no butter, for example) and was a bit dry. It was only later that Pope Innozenz VIII allowed butter into the recipe. Nowadays, the cake contains dried candied fruits such as lemon or orange peels.

Some also have marzipan, and raisins. Another favourite twist on the recipe is filling Stollen with poppy seeds, which gives the dough a black, moist colour. These are all loaf-formed and covered in powdered sugar. The name of the cake is thought to come from miners who would take it with them underground as a food supply. In German mining tunnels are called ‘Stollen’.