Mailing address

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Post box of the Deutsche Post of the GDR around 1970 with an additional red sticker that indicates the correct address.
Envelope with postal address in the lower third, the recipient's postcode is on the lower left (Ukraine)

The postal address (in Switzerland postal address ) denotes the destination in address form to which a mail item is directed. This can either be a PO box or an address with a mailbox .


As a minimum, a postal address must contain the name of the recipient, which can be a person or a group of people (e.g. companies, associations and the like) and an exact local name. The local name must always contain the place and the corresponding postcode . If necessary, it must be extended to include street information with house number or a PO box number. For shipments abroad, the valid name of the country must be given.

With the introduction of automatic letter sorting machines , the demands on the accuracy of the postal address have increased significantly. Internationally, the postal addresses are defined according to the standards of ISO ( EN 14142 and ISO 19160-4 ) and the Universal Postal Union ( Standard S42 ), in Germany they have been included in DIN 5008 . This standard prescribes the affixing of the address in a certain zone of the envelope and the addressing in typescript . Compliance with this standard is for large customers of Deutsche Post one of the prerequisites for an estate to get on the postage. In addition to the order of the details in the address, the position on the shipping envelope is also determined.

In the German-speaking world, it used to be customary to include the address and academic degree or professional title in the postal address. Nowadays this is still common, especially for private letters. Example:

Dr. Hans Mustermann
Neubaustraße 1
12345 Musterstadt

In the course of machine processing, this is increasingly being dispensed with. Placing the academic degree “Dr.” in front is common in Germany. Abbreviations are also common in business letters:

Dr. H. Mustermann
Neubaustr. 1
12345 model town


International ISO standards for the structure of the postal address have been developed since 2004 .

Undeliverable items will be given a stamp or sticker stating the reason for the undeliverable. For this purpose z. B. developed the AFNUS system.

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: Postal address  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ISO 19160-4: 2017 (en) Addressing - Part 4: International postal address components and template language. In: Retrieved November 29, 2019 .
  2. ^ Standard S42: International postal address components and templates. In: Retrieved November 29, 2019 .
  3. DIN 5008 template: format your own letters step by step. Deutsche Post, accessed on November 29, 2019 .
  4. The most important forms of address in a nutshell: How to correctly address doctors, nobles and dignitaries. In: Retrieved November 29, 2019 .
  5. Correctly addressing the envelope - this is how your mail arrives quickly. Deutsche Post, accessed on November 29, 2019 .
  6. ISO / IEC 19773 Part 08: "ISO / IEC 19773 Information technology - Metadata Modules (MM)" Part 08: Data structure for UPU postal data ( MS Word ; 267 kB) Status: November 4, 2004
  7. ISO / IEC JTC1 SC32 WG2 Development / Maintenance - ISO / IEC 19773 : Information Technology - Metadata registries (MDR) - Modules; Author Frank Farance; As of January 8, 2012