Postcode (Germany)

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The postcode has existed in Germany since 1941, when two-digit postcode area numbers were introduced in the German Reich , initially for parcel and parcel services. From 1944 these postal code areas also applied to correspondence. The numbers continued to be used after the Second World War. In 1962 in the Federal Republic of Germany and in 1965 in the GDR there was a change to separate postcode systems . Both control systems were replaced in 1993 by a five-digit system developed by the Deutsche Bundespost for the reunified Germany .

Representation of the first two digits of the five-digit postcode ( postcode regions )

The currently valid five-digit postcode is a combination of digits within postal addresses on letters, parcels or small parcels, which limits the delivery location. In addition to the postcodes for geographical delivery areas, there are separate postcodes for bulk recipients and post office boxes . Deutsche Post AG, the successor to the Bundespost, is responsible for assigning new postcodes .

History of the postal code systems in Germany


With the help of ring number stamps , the administration of the Thurn-und-Taxis-Post made it possible for the first time in 1853 to recognize places from a region by a range of numbers. From number 338, assigned to the post office in Lehesten on October 1, 1854, the numbers are assigned at random.

In 1917, Carl Bobe divided Germany into large areas, regional areas and local areas in an organizational scheme.

The one to two-digit system

Introduction in the German Empire

Postal code area around 1943
Postcard from 1944, the two postal code areas are easy to recognize in the respective circles, from (10)  Sangerhausen to (6)  Wreschen

The introduction of a postal code system was founded in the Second World War . During the war, the mail volume increased enormously through field post and especially field post parcels. Most of the experienced postal workers who sorted the mail had already been drafted into the Wehrmacht and had been replaced by inexperienced mail sorters and foreign workers with insufficient geographical knowledge, which led to a significant increase in delivery times. A further complicating factor was that previously unknown and renamed locations, for example in the Generalgouvernement and in the areas conquered by the Wehrmacht outside the pre-war imperial borders, which even experienced forces were hardly known to have to serve.

On July 25, 1941, the Reich Postal Ministry announced the introduction of "parcel routing areas" in its official gazette with order 407/1941 . These initially applied to the parcel service. There were 24 parcel control centers with subordinate control centers, which were numbered from 1 to 24. The areas generally corresponded to the district division and thus also to the upper postal directorate districts . These were identified by two-digit, numeric postcodes, for example 21 for the province of Westphalia .

On October 19, 1943, an "Instruction for the letter distribution service" appeared with the generally binding introduction of 32 routing areas in civil postal traffic .

The postcode should appear in a circle about the size of a penny to the left of the destination, in brackets for typewriter fonts. The destination also had to be underlined.

Example: (2) Luckenwalde

Additional official designations were added to some place names.

Example: (2) Werder (Havel)

Places that were supplied by post by rural service posts had to be marked with the information "above" and the name of the responsible control office below the destination.

(19) Parey
about Genthin

The street name was written below the destination or control office.

An overview of the postal code areas from 1944 can be found in the list of postal code regions in Germany .

From 1944 onwards, the use of the guide numbers was supported by promotional measures, with inserts in machine stamps being used in particular. From the end of March, the postcode should be stated on all official forms (especially on all number slips, etc.). In order to force the application of the guide numbers further, the numbers were to be inserted into the postal stamp from June 1944 . In principle, this requirement still applies.

Further use after 1945

Area Codes
Postcard stamp from August 2, 1945 to (10) Halle (Saale)

After the end of the Second World War, the regulation of the Reichspost continued to apply. The postcodes (two-digit, numeric with one-digit suffix) continued to exist in the four occupation zones in Germany . The postal code areas 4 to 9 as well as 11 and 12 were in areas that had not belonged to Germany since 1945 and were no longer needed. There have been other changes over time by further subdividing some areas - for example 21 in 21a and 21b or 22 in 22a to 22d. Even after the establishment of the Federal Republic and the GDR in 1949, these postcodes continued to apply, with slight adjustments to the respective national borders.

In the 1950s, fewer and fewer letter writers kept to the postcodes. Only every third shipment had the postal area code in the address. This even led to the fact that in the early 1950s there were considerations in the area of ​​the Federal Post Office to dispense with postcodes completely. In the mid-1950s, however, the situation had become obsolete due to the upcoming automation of the letter distribution service and a new system was being considered.

Postal code areas and zones of occupation, 1946

In order to reduce the number of 24,000 post offices in the addresses, the places with post offices II and most places with post offices I were subordinated to leading post offices . That left 6,500 central post offices for which bundles of letters had to be produced. The places saved had the place name with the addition "via Leitpostamt". This reorganization also found no response from customers, 72% of the programs did not contain this place name. A remedy was urgently needed because, for example, in the (western) Federal Republic of Germany alone there were more than 30 places with the name “ Neustadt ” and helpful additions such as the indication of the district were not always given. Even specifying such auxiliary designations required enormous knowledge of the distributors.

In the GDR , the two-digit postcodes were no longer in force in the early 1960s.

Outside line codes for packages

A new system was developed for the parcel service in 1956. Each independent office, along with its branch post offices and post offices, was given an office code. The system of these office numbers was a kind of encryption. The first numbers from 1 to 20 were staggered according to the volume of parcels and assigned to the head post offices. The letters from A to Z below (without I, O, Q due to the possibility of confusion with numbers) were given to the post offices according to the same point of view. When the alphabet was exhausted, a three-part combination was provided: digits - letters - digits.

With Official Gazette Decree 274/1956, the official code on July 30, 1956 also applied to registered mail . The office numbers of the branch post offices, post offices I and II in the Federal Republic and in Berlin (West) matched the office numbers of the accounting or control post offices. After the postal reform of 1959, this applied to post offices and post offices. A total of 22 basic numbers were assigned. The numbers 21 for the Landespostdirektion Berlin and 22 for the OPD Saarbrücken were assigned regardless of the allocation criterion of the parcel volume.

On April 1, 1964, the system was replaced by the postal code that was valid until 1993. The old R-form could be used until May 31, 1964. However, the date was not kept by smaller post offices. According to the official gazette , the postcode registration slips could already be used before April 1, 1964 if the old R slips were not sufficient for the conversion.

The systems in the old Federal Republic and in the GDR

The two four-digit postal code areas up to June 30, 1993
Additional blue stamp: "Don't forget mine: The postcode"

German Federal Post Office

The new postal code system in the Federal Republic was promoted in 1961 by the then Federal Post Minister Richard Stücklen and introduced on March 23, 1962. On November 3, 1961, the postcodes were published in the official gazette of the Federal Ministry for Post and Telecommunications No. 126. The traffic area was now divided into seven routing zones, these in turn into up to ten routing rooms , each routing room into up to ten routing areas . Postal codes that had zeros at the end were initially not written (2 Hamburg, 53 Bonn, 318 Wolfsburg) . The spelling was based on the currently valid version of DIN 5008 .

The four-digit system took into account a united Germany and initially reserved the areas 1001 to 1999, 2500 to 2799, 3600 to 3999 and 9000 to 9999 (a total of 2699 pieces) for the former GDR . Therefore postcodes from these areas have not been allocated in the west. The 1000 was used for West Berlin . For the Federal Republic there remained 6300 numbers. The numbers 0000 to 0999 were not assigned. Numbers from the 2700 onwards were assigned from around 1980. The Bundespost made from March 1962 with the slogan "forget-me - the zip code, the fast companion" Advertising for the new system. As early as the end of 1962, around 75% of all letters had the postcode. A year later it was 94%. From 1964, also as part of the campaign, the television show Vergißmeinnicht with Peter Frankenfeld and the postman Walter Spahrbier was broadcast on West German television .

Each of the four digits had its own meaning. The first digit stood for the routing zone. Berlin (West) , for which the independent Landespostdirektion Berlin was active because of its Berlin status , was assigned 1. Seven large cities in the area of ​​the Deutsche Bundespost had single-digit postcodes: 2 Hamburg, 3 Hanover, 4 Düsseldorf, 5 Cologne, 6 Frankfurt am Main, 7 Stuttgart and 8 Munich. However, like many other places, these still required the delivery post office to be specified after the place name. The second digit stood for the control room . The "xx5x" at the third position featured a Leitgebietsknotenamt . The control area node offices were recognizable by the fact that their last digit was a "xxx (0)", while the control section node offices were characterized by a "xxx8" in the last position. The final number "xxx7" usually denoted a place with a rail post connection . The "xxx1", and very rarely also the "xxx2", designate the small locations of a routing area node office without their own routing number and the "xxx9" those of a routing section hub office . These were usually assigned to several locations, so that different smaller locations often had the same postcodes. (The routing areas were incorporated into the new system in 1993 and are still recognizable today as number groups, as well as within these - by the higher numbers - the associated former routing sections; see below.) In the course of the introduction of electronic data processing, the Postcode system slightly changed. The previously one, two or three-digit postcodes in larger towns have been supplemented by adding zeros to four digits. This procedure, called "zeroing" in Post German, should include all post office stamps and forms. In practice, however, it happened that stamps without the following zeros were used until June 30, 1993 for reasons of cost. As early as 1965, a start was made on providing mail items with various types of destination codes based on the zip code for quick sorting .

German Post of the GDR

On January 1, 1965, Deutsche Post introduced its own four-digit postcode system in the GDR . This was tailored solely to the GDR, numbers from the entire range from 1000 to 9999 were distributed to East Berlin and the 14  districts of the GDR , larger cities in the GDR were assigned several postcodes. In the GDR all postcodes (by omitting the "0" in the fourth and possibly third position) were at least two-digit (for example: 30 Magdeburg, actually 3000 Magdeburg).

The GDR system was essentially similar to that in the Federal Republic. The post office position could be recognized by the postcode: routing post offices were given two or three-digit postcodes. Other post offices were given four-digit numbers ending with 2 to 9, usually preceded by the number of the respective lead post office. If more than eight post offices were assigned to a lead post office, their numbering continued in the next range of tens. Post offices were usually given the last digit 1 after the number of the routing post office. This number was assigned several times, so that different post offices received the same postcode.

similarities and differences

Westpaket , you can see the zip code 'x 45'.

In the course of the introduction of electronic data processing in 1979, the two or three-digit postcodes in the GDR were made four-digit by adding zeros.

Many postcodes existed twice in East and West, for example 5300 for Weimar and Bonn . In order to send a letter across the inner-German border , a country code had to be specified (officially).

The Deutsche Bundespost recommended its postal customers:

"... in your own interest, in future, the character 'x' must be indicated immediately and without a hyphen in front of the Soviet zone postcodes according to the following models for mail items to the Soviet occupation zone :

x43 Quedlinburg
x532 Apolda
x6821 Watzdorf "
- "x for Soviet zone" : press release of the Federal Ministry for the Post and Telecommunications, No. 20/1964 - sheet 2

This practice was used for letters from West to East until 1974 because the Federal Republic of Germany had not recognized the GDR as a state. Similarly, letters from the GDR “to areas of other postal administrations in Europe and overseas” were marked with a zero (0-) in front of the zip code from August 1964 , which “was particularly important when sending mail to West Germany and West Berlin”.

According to the agreement on postal and telecommunications between the GDR and the Federal Republic of Germany of March 20, 1976, the country code D- the West German postcode and the code GDR- for postal items in the opposite direction have been placed in front of mail from the GDR to the Federal Republic individual letters were correctly delivered in the 1980s even without these additions.

Delivery post office

Berlin was the pioneer for specifying delivery post offices in addition to postcode and location. The inner-city Berlin delivery district numbers - see Berliner Postbezirke (from 1862) and Postal History and Stamps of Berlin's # Post Offices in Berlin (West) - are based on an instruction from the Imperial General Post Office from 1873, in which the then urban area of ​​Berlin (and partially in addition) was divided into nine postal districts. Each of these postal districts was given an abbreviation corresponding to its geographical location (N = North, SW = Southwest, C = Centrum). This is how names such as SO 36 or SW 61 were created , which have become a colloquial term for the two districts in Berlin-Kreuzberg , the GDR rock band NO 55 named themselves after their headquarters. With the introduction of the delivery post office as part of the address the operational significance of the old official designation (e.g. SO 36) decreased significantly and was even a hindrance in the case of postal automation.

In almost all large cities in the Federal Republic of Germany, the number of the respective post office was introduced as an addition to the postcode and location, with the main post office bearing the number 1. For recipients with PO boxes, numbers (fictitious delivery post offices) were used that did not exist in street delivery. Fictitious delivery post offices were also introduced from the 1970s for recipients with a particularly high volume of mail, which can be regarded as the immediate forerunners of today's large recipient postal code, e.g. 6500 Mainz 500 for the ZDF or 2000 Hamburg 888 for Otto mail . The addition of a delivery post office number after the municipality name also gained importance in small municipalities due to the regional reform in the 1970s. With this measure, the problem could be solved that, because of the mandatory use of the new municipality name, streets with the same name in several previously independent districts could no longer be distinguished; a delivery post office number was introduced without further ado and the street renaming was no longer necessary.

When, with the introduction of the five-digit postcodes in 1993, the delivery post office numbers were abolished and minimum sizes were provided for the new postcode areas, this often meant that street renaming was necessary. Individual smaller municipalities succeeded in breaking through a division into several postcode areas and thus continued to avoid the elimination of duplicate street names; these municipalities have since appeared in postcode directories with a street directory and are therefore exceptions to a list of otherwise much larger cities; Examples are Eltville am Rhein or Scharbeutz . The city of Limburg (Lahn) with eight postcodes for mostly only one village delivery areas is an example of an exception.

In East Berlin , Leipzig , Dresden , Karl-Marx-Stadt , Halle (Saale) , Magdeburg and Erfurt, the corresponding delivery district was integrated into the zip code. In the Federal Republic of Germany and in other GDR locations with several delivery districts, however, it was customary to insert the delivery district after the place name.

For example, a letter within the Federal Republic to Berlin-Kreuzberg (West Berlin) 1 Berlin 36 (until 1973) or 1000 Berlin 36 (from 1974) was written, whereas a letter within the GDR was sent to Berlin-Adlershof (East -Berlin) addressed as 1199 Berlin . When switching to electronic data processing in 1979, the delivery districts of a number of other places in the GDR were incorporated into the postcode. For example, instead of 25 Rostock 1, 2500 Rostock has been used since then.

Map of the German postal code areas 1974 in the ADAC - "General Atlas", digitized on

The five-digit system

Introduction of a uniform system

Advertising stamp from June 30, 1993: “Remember! - From 1.7. new postcodes apply "
Advertising stamp from July 1, 1993: “Hand drauf! - Since 1.7. new postcodes apply "

From 1990 there were two four-digit postcode systems in the now unified Germany. Of a total of 5420 postcodes, 3400 were in the west traffic area and in 2020 the east traffic area. Therefore, in postal traffic with the respective other traffic area, an "O-" for "Verkehrsgebiet Ost" (for example O-2300 Stralsund ) or a "W-" for "Verkehrsgebiet West" (for example W-2300 Kiel ) was allowed in front of each postcode in order to maintain the uniqueness, "until a new, customer-oriented and efficient postcode system, which is permanent, is available." It was not necessary to place this in front of the respective traffic areas. For shipments from abroad to Germany, a D had to be introduced, so that designations such as DW-1000 Berlin or DO-1134 Berlin resulted.

The proposal to change only the 802 postcodes, which had been assigned twice, and to otherwise leave everything as it was, was rejected, especially since deficiencies in the West German system had already become apparent in the 1980s, which should be remedied as part of the five-digit solution. These shortcomings mainly consisted of the fact that the mail automation and letter sorting made it impossible to pre-sort large mail recipients or parts of the city.

On October 24, 1991, the board of directors of the Deutsche Bundespost Postdienst decided on a completely new five-digit system, which the Central Postal Service should develop by 1993. For this purpose, the experience of other European postal administrations with such a system was sought: France , the Netherlands and above all Sweden . The routing regions of the new five-digit postcode were based on the four-digit West German system, so that in most metropolitan areas in the old federal states, the first or even the first two digits of the new postcode matched the old postcode. Another reason for the introduction of five-digit postcodes was the automation of mail distribution. With the introduction of the new system on July 1, 1993, the basis for the letter centers was created, with which letters are fed to the deliverers in just two sorting aisles.

In the new system, the delivery districts - as in the four-digit East German system - have been integrated into the postcodes. In addition, bulk recipients could now have their own postcode. Here, the old large delivery districts were divided into smaller ones, which continue to show the common affiliation to a post office through closely spaced numbers, as illustrated by the example of Berlin (West). The leading digit 0 was new and unfamiliar . There were occasional protests against it, because a 0 was seen as the first place to put a place down.

One of the deciding factors for the introduction of the five-digit postcode was that it enabled sufficient reserves. New bulk recipients, new post office box cabinets or new building areas can be easily integrated into the system. For this purpose, for example, between the consecutive numbers of the postcodes for the post office box cabinets and the next occupied postcode there is at least one, but usually several unoccupied postcodes. In total, around 30,000 of the theoretically possible 100,000 postcodes are used in Germany today, while the rest serves as a reserve. Due to further restrictions, it can be assumed that there could be a maximum of 98,901 postcodes.

For the 20th anniversary in 2013 there was only one special cancellation

The introduction of the new system in 1993 was accompanied by a massive advertising campaign. The comic figure Rolf (voice actor: Rolf Zacher ), similar to a hand , was invented by Ully Arndt with the slogan “Five is Trümpf” . In 1991, he and the advertising agency Lintas won the pitch to communicate the change from four to five-digit postcodes.

Furthermore, there was the game show Die Post geht ab! In cooperation with the TV station RTL . with Rudi Carrell . This show, which was designed for ten episodes, ran for the first time on May 9, 1993 and by and large was reminiscent of the show On the Run .

In the new postcode book, which was distributed free of charge to all households in Germany in a print run of 40 million copies, the complete street register with the associated postcodes is listed for every place with several postcodes. In addition, a book was published with postcodes for bulk recipients, PO boxes and post office warehouse issues and a numerically ordered postcode book in which both the new and the old system were sorted and the other postcodes were compared in both sorting. These two directories were not distributed free of charge, but were only available on request. A new edition of the postcode book was published for the first time after 1993 on October 4, 2005 in an edition of three million copies, however now subject to a charge. About once every quarter an updated CD-ROM appeared with the postcodes, where all changes including the house numbers that can be mailed - such as incorporations, renaming, renumbering, new streets etc. - are incorporated into the total inventory of streets, towns and districts. The postcodes can be found on the Internet on the Deutsche Post website and from numerous other commercial providers.

The biggest change in the new system took place in 2001, when in Leipzig as part of the carried incorporations besides renaming of streets and the new districts new postal codes have been assigned.


PO box cabinets from ZIP 47018 to ZIP 47020 in Duisburg

The first digit of the five-digit postcode designates the zone , the second digit the region (the first two digits are therefore often called the postcode region or routing region ; usually continuously counterclockwise from the central location - starting in the south). In the postcode regions, the postcode areas are combined that have the same two initial digits. Post usually operates one of the 82 mail centers in the routing regions  , ten of these centers are responsible for two routing regions each.

Within these routing regions, between 20 and 200 numbers are assigned for routing areas , in which each municipality 1 is assigned a number range, starting with the main town of the routing area. Then it was distributed partly according to the number of inhabitants, partly alphabetically. In the number range of a municipality , the lowest numbers are assigned for post warehouse issues (PO boxes), the numbers afterwards for large recipients and the highest numbers for delivery districts. Routing areas are important for the delivery of bulk letters (for example "Infopost").


  • In routing region 88 there is routing area 88001–88099 Friedrichshafen , which includes the eastern Lake Constance district.
    • including the numbers (88) 001–048 for Friedrichshafen , 060–069 for Tettnang , 070–074 for Meckenbeuren , 075–079 for Kressbronn and so on
      • In Friedrichshafen the numbers 001 and following as well as 023 and following are assigned for post boxes, 039 and 041 for bulk recipients, and 045, 046 and 048 for delivery districts.
  • The routing area 88101-88149 Lindau includes the western, 88151-88179 Lindenberg the eastern district of Lindau , 88181-88289 Ravensburg the southern, 88291-88319 Leutkirch the eastern part of the Ravensburg district and so on.

A comparison with the system of the old postcodes shows that the structure of the four mentioned routing areas largely corresponds to the old routing areas 799x, 899x, 798x and 797x and - for example Lindau - also the old sequence of routing area (Lindau, 8990) and routing section (Lindenberg , 8998) can still be read.

The term “municipality” is not based on the organizational unit, but is to be understood in a transposed way, since the boundaries in the sense of the postcode are very often, but not always, based on the political and organizational municipality boundaries. A postcode can also go beyond the boundaries of a district. For example the postcode 04936. This extends over parts of the district of Elbe-Elster as well as the district of Teltow-Fläming . A total of 281 postcodes cross district boundaries, 21 of which even cross federal state borders (as of November 2010).

It is noticeable that the majority of all possible number combinations have remained free: For example, the numbers 20101 to 20110 designate the ten PO box cabinets of the Hamburg Post Office 13, the delivery districts assigned to this have the numbers 20144, 20146, 20148 and 20149. There are 96 in Germany Postal code regions; No postcode region is defined for the digit combinations 00, 05, 43, 62, whereby the 62 in internal use is used to designate the International Post Center (IPZ) in Frankfurt am Main , in which mail from and for foreign countries is processed.

Particularly "round" numbers such as 10000, 20000 ... are assigned to the respective control areas, but are not assigned for delivery districts, but are only used in the internal service of the Post's letter and freight centers, for example on bag flags .

Postcodes and regions

The following table shows the single-digit postcodes with area data and population figures from the municipal register of the Federal Statistical Office as of July 2, 2012. For the regions see: Postal code regions since 1993

Routing zone
Area in km²
Inhabitants per km²
0 37.213 6,662,411 179
1 47,648 7,029,185 148
2 44,021 8,680,860 197
3 45,656 8,892,893 195
4th 20,216 10,244,866 507
5 28,836 9,165,446 318
6th 17,263 7,534,745 436
7th 27,739 8,712,380 313
8th 36,468 7,740,754 212
9 47,900 7,088,062 148

Postcode types

The postcodes can be divided into different categories. The most common type is the post office box postal code, followed by the home delivery postal code, which, however, applies to the vast majority of postal users. Large recipients either receive their own postcode from Swiss Post or share it with other large recipients. Promotion postcodes are used for certain mostly one-off promotions by bulk recipients, such as postal votes and competitions.

description Planned number of
five-digit postcodes
(as of December 22, 1992)
Number of items
(as of June 2003)
Number of items
(as of May 2013)
Post office box 16,500 17,373 16,565
Large group recipients - 2,235 3,109
Large single recipient 1,700 (is included in the numbers for
large group recipients)
(is included in the numbers for
large group recipients)
Promotion zip code - - 801
Home delivery zip code 8,200 8,259 8,208
Total number of
postcodes assigned
26,400 29,630 28,683
Mobile mailbox cabinets 52238 and 52239 in Dürwiß

Example: The postcode area 52230

52231 is the postcode of post office boxes 1101 to 1184 in the main post office in Eschweiler
52232 is the postcode of postboxes 1201 to 1284 in the main post office in Eschweiler
52233 is the postcode of postboxes 1301 to 1384 in the main post office in Eschweiler
52234 is the postcode of postboxes 1401 to 1484 in the main post office in Eschweiler
52235 is the postcode of PO boxes 1501 to 1548 in the main post office in Eschweiler
52238 is the postcode of the post office boxes 6101 to 6180 in the post office Dürwiß
52239 is the postcode of the postboxes 6201 to 6240 in the post office Dürwiss
52240 is the postcode of the post office boxes 7101 to 7160 in the post office Weisweiler
52241 is the postcode for post office boxes 7201 to 7260 in the Weisweiler post office
52249 is the delivery postal code for all house addresses in Eschweiler

Examples of postcodes of single bulk recipients:

01001Dresden City Administration (numerically lowest German postcode assigned)
09107Chemnitz University of Technology
11011German Bundestag in Berlin
44128Foundation for University Admission in Dortmund
50656ARD ZDF Deutschlandradio contribution service in Cologne
55100Second German television in Mainz
80313Munich City Council
80788BMW in Munich
90329DATEV in Nuremberg

Postal code festivals

At the Aukruger postcode
festival , 650 Aukrugers formed the supposedly largest human postcode in Schleswig-Holstein

After the introduction of the 5-digit system, a so-called postcode festival was celebrated in some municipalities. For this, the local postcode was translated into a five-digit date format . For example:


The Reinhardswald estate in the Kassel district is only about a quarter smaller than the largest Hessian city of Frankfurt am Main , with an area of ​​approx. 185 km² , but was forgotten when the postal codes were assigned in 1993. He has exactly two residents, a tourist restaurant in addition to a few meters in Lower Saxony lying Tillyschanze operate. Since the restaurant is still in Hesse, both people are registered with the forestry office in Reinhardshagen . Since there is no official postcode for this district, 00000 was entered as the postcode in the host's registration document . Mail to the restaurant and the host couple was regularly returned as undeliverable, which is why the residents have a PO box in the post office of the neighboring town of Hann in Lower Saxony . Münden added. In the meantime, the problem has been partially solved, because the tower, which is located in Lower Saxony, was given the address “Bierweg 1, 34346 Hann. Münden ".

The village of Billmuthausen , then part of Bad Colberg , was completely cleared and demolished in 1977/78, as it was located directly on the German-German border in GDR territory (see Aktion Kornblume ). Nevertheless, the district continued to exist in official registers of the GDR. After reunification , when the new postcode system was being worked out, it was apparently not noticed that the place had long been uninhabited, so that a postcode was assigned to the village, which had been desolate for about 15 years : It appeared in the postcode book with the entry “98663 Billmuthausen” the 1993 edition. Since the postal code 98663 was also assigned to the other districts of the city of Bad Colberg-Heldburg , it was only unnecessary to assign it in combination with the place name Billmuthausen .

Special regulations

Customs connection and customs exclusion areas

Although the five-digit postcodes were developed for the German national territory alone, as with the four-digit system, exceptions had to be taken into account:

Austrian chopping knife post mark with German zip code
Place name Austria Germany Germany
(until June 30, 1993)
Young wood 6691 87491 8965
Riezlern 6991 87567 8984
Hirschegg 6992 87568 8985
Mittelberg 6993 87569 8986
Day postmark of the Deutsche Bundespost with the addition “Sondertarif” instead of the postcode on a letter that went to Switzerland
  • The municipality of Büsingen am Hochrhein , a German exclave in Switzerland, from the German point of view an exclusion zone and from the Swiss point of view a customs connection area, has a Swiss postcode in addition to the German one .
Place name Switzerland

(since 1987)

Germany Germany
(until June 30, 1993)
Büsingen on the Upper Rhine 8238 78266 7701
  • The Verenahof was another German exclave in Switzerland until 1967 ; it belonged to the German community Wiechs am Randen and had its postcode. In 1967 he came to Switzerland through a state treaty and was incorporated into the municipality of Büttenhardt , whose postcode he also received.
  • Although Helgoland is a customs exclusion area and is therefore subject to special regulations when handling mail, it has been fully integrated since the introduction of postcodes. As with most of the other islands in the German Bight, special tariffs are only available for packages.

Field post

The postal codes of the field post are excluded from this organizational regulation . Originally, their guide numbers were arranged arbitrarily in order to disguise the location of a unit in an emergency. However, with the end of the Cold War this had become unnecessary. Nevertheless, the field post used its own numbering system until 2004. An example here is the stamp of the Feldpostleitstelle in Darmstadt . The guide number 6700 was chosen arbitrarily and had no connection with the postcodes of the cities of Darmstadt (then 6100) or Ludwigshafen am Rhein, which at that time had 6700. Further examples are “731 Feldpost e” (Feldpostamt Prizren -Airfield) and “730 Feldpost b”.

Feldpostmark of the Feldpostleitstelle Darmstadt

Since January 1, 2005, the field post has also switched to an orderly system, so that since then the field post number can be used to identify the deployment. From this date onwards:

  • Without number: Special field post offices in Germany (e.g. Kieler Woche )
  • 1111: Special field post office for the open day in the Ministry of Defense
  • 6400–6409: Feldpostleitstelle Darmstadt
  • 6410–6419: EUFOR mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • 6420–6429: KFOR mission in Kosovo
  • 6430–6439: ISAF mission Afghanistan
  • 6490a: EUFOR mission DR Congo , Libreville field post office , Gabon
  • 6490b: EUFOR mission DR Congo, field post office Kinshasa , DR Congo


The best-known work on the publication of postcodes is probably the postcode book. In addition, the postal system in Germany was regulated by the state until 1995 and was subordinate to the Federal Ministry for Post and Telecommunications and its predecessor organizations; accordingly, changes were published in the respective official gazette .

Official works

Official gazette of the Reichspostministeriums dated June 6, 1944, in which the order for the introduction of postcodes in the day and so on stamps had to be made.

The beginning of the official works is the directory of the post offices of the Reichspostgebiet with indication of the postcode , which was published in July 1944 by the Reichspostministerium in Berlin, one month before it was already ordered to insert the postcodes in the stamps.

In the GDR there were the official gazettes of the Central Administration for Post and Telecommunications and the Central Administration for Post and Telecommunications of the German Economic Commission for the Soviet Occupation Zone and the Ministry for Post and Telecommunications (MPF) of the GDR from the years 1947 to 1953 as well as the rulings and communications from the MPF born between 1953 and 1990. Order via the postal service - postal regulations:

  • April 3, 1959, Journal of the GDR part 1, no.27
  • November 29, 1966, Journal of the GDR Part II, No. 157
  • November 21, 1974, Journal of the GDR Part I, No. 13
  • February 28, 1986, Journal of the GDR, Part I, No. 8
  • August 31, 1990, No. 3
  • September 24, 1990, Order No. 181/1990, No. 12

The (postal) reunification was established in the contract between the GDR and the Federal Republic of Germany on the establishment of the unity of Germany - Unification Treaty - of August 31, 1990, Annex I, Chapter XIII, Subject B: Postal system. Journal of the GDR, Part I, No. 64 (p. 1860).

In the old Federal Republic and after reunification there was the official gazette of the Deutsche Bundespost postal service . These could be obtained from the publisher's post office in Cologne as a quarterly subscription for a fee.

Postal code books

Advertisement on the back of the folded letters from 1943
From 1961 to 2005, the postal code books became larger and more extensive

With the introduction of postcodes, it became necessary to publish corresponding books and maps in which the regions are shown and the corresponding places with the associated postcodes. When the postcodes were introduced in the 1940s, with a total of 24 postcode areas, a fairly large area had only one postcode. In principle, an overview map was sufficient for the sender, provided he was able to roughly assign the receiving location geographically. The directory of the post offices of the Reichspostgebiet with details of the postal code had 64 pages, was published in July 1944 by the Reichspostministerium and cost 10  Reichspfennig .

With the introduction of the four-digit system in the 1960s, in which all post offices were given their own postcodes, it became necessary to publish postcode books.

The Bundespost's first postcode book was published in 1961 by the responsible Federal Ministry and distributed free of charge to all households. The reference work had a total of 368 pages, the first four contained a foreword by the Minister and preliminary remarks on how to use the book. On the last seven pages there was space for your own important addresses and sample addresses.

As early as 1966, a postcode book (the postcode) was created with the postcodes of the Federal Republic and the GDR - together, the postal delivery locations are arranged in alphabetical order (the postcodes of the GDR are preceded by an "x") in the format twice as large as the 1961 edition with a yellow cover page published. In front of the directory there is an overview picture (Federal Republic and GDR) of the control units in the area of ​​the German postal administrations. Various changes to the postal delivery location are taken into account. Appendix 1 contains a list of abbreviations of place names (large cities), Appendix 2 postcodes of France, Switzerland, etc. Lichtenstein and Austria.

Another edition was published in 1977, this book was twice the size of the 1961 edition. In addition to numerous changes, this book also contained the postcodes of the GDR. Some selected postcodes of places from neighboring countries (France, Switzerland, Austria) were also listed in the appendix. Post's own advertising was on the inside of the cover and between the individual directories; only the back of the cover contained third-party advertising for a direct mail provider .

In 1979 a numerical directory of postcodes was published in the administrative area of ​​the Deutsche Bundespost. The data are from March 1979. The postcodes of the GDR were not recorded.

In 1964, before the introduction of the four-digit system, Deutsche Post also published a postcode book in the GDR. With the adaptation of postcodes to electronic data processing, a new postcode directory was published in 1978. Unlike the 1964 edition, this directory also received districts and residential areas without their own post. The postal code directory was published again in 1984 and 1989.

With the introduction of the five-digit postcode in reunified Germany in 1993, 40 million postcode books were produced, which, like the 1961 edition, were distributed free of charge to households (one copy per household). In order to reduce the costs of around DM 120 million at that time (around 90 million euros today due to inflation), the 994-page work contained 37 full-page advertisements of 640,000 DM each. The advertisement on the back cover cost 1.017 million DM. The spine also contained 3 / 4 an advertising print. Additional copies, whether alphabetically or numerically, could be bought at a unit price of DM 10. In addition, the Bundespost also offered postcode cards in A0 format for 5 DM, a CD-ROM for 200 DM (which for the first time also allowed a search in the vicinity ), and microfiches for 5 DM each (alphabetical, numerical, overview maps). In addition, companies could order floppy disks and magnetic tapes through Deutsche Postreklame GmbH and express special requests. Postcodes could also be queried in the screen text system and Datex-J under * 2300010 # or * plz # .

The second edition of the five-digit postcode book was published in 2005 and contained over 63,000 changes and 2,839 new postcodes. In addition to the directory of places, the work also contains the street directory for the 209 towns and cities that have several postcodes. The book concludes with the two directories of bulk receivers and packing stations . In contrast to its predecessor, this one was not distributed free of charge, but sold for 6.95 euros and had a circulation of 1.6 million copies.

The online search at or has been on the web since 2006 and was completely revised on May 10, 2010. For the first time, a cartographic view of the postcode is integrated in a dynamic map. For the first time, Deutsche Post AG also offers the option of using the postcode search as a free service on your own homepages.

See also


  • Federal Ministry for the Post and Telecommunications (Ed.):
    • Handheld dictionary of postal services . 2nd, completely revised edition, Frankfurt am Main 1953
    • Questions to a minister / subject: Don't forget me: the postcode ; Brochure, Bonn, no year (during the tenure of Post Minister Richard Stücklen, so only the period 1962–1966 is possible)
    • Steinmetz and Elias : "History of the Deutsche Post - Volume 4, 1945 to 1978" ; Revised edition, Bundesdruckerei 1979, p. 108
  • Manuals of the consortium for letter post automation on postcode issues, including those relating to the GDR, here parts 1 to 3 from the years 1987, 1988 and 1992
  • Ullrich Häger: Large encyclopedia of philately. Bertelsmann Lexikon-Verlag, 1973 (pages 7 to 9)
  • Horst Busch: The postal code system in the Soviet occupation zone from May 1945 to 1947. In: Working material of the Central Working Group on Postal History of the Philatelist Association in the Kulturbund der DDR, 1982
  • Nikolaus Lappin, Bonn: Postcodes at home and abroad , in ZPF issue 14/68, p. 545
  • New postcodes for united Germany , in ZPT , issue 6/91, p. 39
  • DBZ (= Deutsche Briefmarken-Zeitung )
    • Werner Rittmeier: GD Postal Service sees the best solution in 5-digit postcodes. Issue 1, 1993, p. 21 ff.
    • Werner Rittmeier: GD Postal Service defines the letter regions, issue 3/1993, p. 158 ff.
    • NN: DG Postal Service press release, Background on the new postcodes - The secret life of numbers. Issue 10/1993, p. 735
    • Horst Kaboth: Reichspost made the start in 1941: From the postal code area to the “five-digit”. Issue 15/1993, p. 1151 ff.
    • NN: The postcodes in the SBZ and GDR until 1964. Issue 18/1993
    • Horst Kaboth: 1961: Introduction of the 4-digit postcode by the DBP. Issue 26/1993, p. 2078 ff.
    • Peter Tichatzky: The postcodes of the Deutsche Post from 1964/65. Issue 26/1993, p. 2125 ff.
  • philatelie - The magazine of the Association of German Philatelists
    • Walter Schießl: Thirty Years: Postcodes of the German Federal Post Office. Issue 196/1991, p. 10 ff. And Issue 197/1991 p. 15 ff.
  • Collector Express
    • Forerunner of the postcode - first in Berlin. Issue 23/1987, p. 806 f
    • What does the zip code tell us? Issue 3/1986, p. 81
    • The zip code (0). Issue 17/1982, p. 587

Web links

Commons : Postal code maps of Germany  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Information desk:



Individual evidence

  1. ^ Walter Schießl: Fifty years of German postcodes. A look back at the beginnings ... In: Philately and Postal History. No. 128/1993, p. 20 ff.
  2. Heinz Adlunger: Why did the postal code area number (PLGZ) 22a appear in some Mainz day stamps? In: Philately and Postal History. May 1988, p. 40.
  3. Call! "How do I contribute to the quick delivery of my mail?" P. 13. In: Reichspostministerium (Ed.): Postnachrichtenblatt - messages from the postal and telecommunications service. Volume 24, No. 3, Berlin January 22, 1944
  4. ^ Deutsches Reichspostministerium: Directory of the post offices of the Reichspostgebiet with indication of the postcode , edition July 1944, overview of the postal routing areas, p. 4.
  5. ^ Deutsches Reichspostministerium: Directory of post offices in the Reichspostgebiet with details of the postcode , July 1944 edition, p. 3.
  6. cf. Postal Bulletin No. 13 of April 1, 1944
  7. So the order of RPM No. I 2474-0 of March 20, 1944
  8. Official Gazette of the Reich Postal Ministry No. 56 of June 6, 1944, Official Gazette Ordinance No. 175/1944
  9. ↑ Concise dictionary of the postal system. 2nd edition, p. 536.
  10. ↑ Concise dictionary of the postal system. Supplementary volume to the 2nd edition, 1956, p. 88
  11. a b ZPF 10/62, p. 365
  12. ^ Official Journal for Post and Telecommunications, Vf 543/63
  13. ^ History of the Deutsche Post , Volume 4, 1945 to 1978. P. 108
  14. Milestones in letter coding (PDF; 5.6 MB)
  15. ^ A b c Ministry for Post and Telecommunications of the GDR (Ed.): Postcodes of the German Democratic Republic 1964. Berlin.
  16. ^ Walter Schießel: Thirty Years: Postcodes of the German Federal Post Office. In: philately. 196/1991, p. 12.
  17. ZIP code of the places with a street directory
  18. "Postcodes"; Section “Organization of the German Postal Code” , archived from the original on September 14, 2008
  19. [1]
  20. The switch to the "five-digit". In: Michel-Rundschau . 2/1994, p. 108.
  21. Official Journal of the BMPT , No. 81, year 1990, order P 346/1990, Bonn, October 18, 1990.
  22. Werner Rittmeier: GD Postal Service sees the best solution in 5-digit postcodes. In: DBZ , issue 1/1993, p. 21 ff.
  23. IHK Ratgeber , 4/1992, 14th year, December 1992.
  24. Reuters : Postcodes become five digits. In: Allgemeine Zeitung Mainz. November 2, 1991.
  25. DBZ, No. 24, November 1991.
  26. ^ Peter Tichatzky: The postcodes of the Deutsche Post from 1964/65. In: DBZ , issue 26/1993, p. 2128.
  27. Already the first trouble with new postcodes. In: Allgemeine Zeitung Mainz from January 30, 1993.
  28. German press agency : Union speaks of a flop - harsh criticism of new postcodes also from the SPD. February 8, 1993.
  29. Reuters: Who wants to be one of the zero numbers? MPs worry about new zip codes and the state of mind of the nation. In: Allgemeine Zeitung Mainz from January 23, 1992.
  30. Heimo Thomas: Contribution to the archive for German postal history , issue 2/1993
  31. Werner Rittmeier: GD Postal Service defines the letter regions. In: DBZ, issue 3/1993, p. 158 ff.
  32. Press release from DG Postal Service: Background to the new postcodes - The secret life of numbers. In: DBZ, issue 10/1993 (p. 735).
  33. DBZ, Issue 26/1994 (p. 2260ff) and reply from PA Rheine from September 26, 1994.
  34. Federal Statistical Office: All politically independent municipalities with selected characteristics on June 30, 2012. (2nd quarter 2012)
  35. Large recipient postcodes as text file by Thomas Omerzu, as of December 1, 1993
  36. Alex Kalevi Dieke: The importance of the postal code system in terms of competition policy . November 22, 2006 (PDF; 121 kB).
  37. Press release of the Deutsche Bundespost Postdienst: New five-digit postcodes - the first two digits are fixed. 22nd December 1992.
  38. 10 years five-digit postcode - history of a successful model - special postage stamp for the anniversary ( memento of the original from February 20, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Deutsche Post AG press release of June 11, 2003 @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  39. Annual General Meeting 2013
  40. A telephone card, DM 3 “Postcode Festival Klettwitz 1998”, was issued for the festival
  41. Thilo Bock's blog . Retrieved June 11, 2013.
  42. History of the Citizens and Homeland Association . Citizens and local history association Berne e. V .. Retrieved June 11, 2013.
  43. August 27th is the day of days . District newspaper Wesermarsch. Archived from the original on June 19, 2013. Retrieved June 11, 2013.
  44. ^ Postcode festival in Aukrug started . Holstein Courier. Retrieved June 11, 2013.
  45. Postal code festival - special postmark in great demand . National newspaper. Retrieved September 4, 2013.
  46. The loneliest voters in the country. In: Spiegel Online. January 15, 2009, accessed December 10, 2014 .
  47. Simon Benne's visit to No Man's Land on August 16, 2013
  48. Life in no man's land. In: Retrieved December 10, 2014 .
  49. Focus Online: Residents at Tillyschanze live without a postcode - because the place was forgotten . In: Focus Online . ( [accessed October 30, 2018]).
  50. ^ The Postal Code Book 1993, p. 51.
  51. ^ Walter Schießl: Thirty Years: Postcodes of the German Federal Post Office. In: philately. 196/1991, p. 10.
  52. Austrian Post confirms that the German postcode will be retained ( memento from December 31, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) on from July 8, 2006
  53. ^ Ministry for Post and Telecommunications of the GDR (ed.): Postal code directory GDR 1978. Berlin.
  54. Reuters: Thick, expensive and difficult: The new Post-Tome - 1000 pages of local codes / financed with advertising. In: Allgemeine Zeitung Mainz. January 28, 1993.
  55. New postal code book is coming in 2005. Deutsche Post fulfills customer request for a new edition ( Memento of the original from February 20, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Deutsche Post press release of November 26, 2004 @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  56. Find postcodes ( memento of the original from October 29, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (contains a reference to the postcode book from 2005 and the 2,839 new postcodes) @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  57. New zip code book will be available on October 4, 2005, 63,000 changes and around 3,000 new zip codes added. Press release by Deutsche Post of July 26, 2005
  58. Presentation of the new zip code book in Berlin ( Memento of the original from February 20, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Deutsche Post press release from September 29, 2005 @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on April 21, 2010 .