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Deutsche Post AG deliverer with a bicycle (2007)

Delivery person means a specialist for letter delivery , courier, express and other postal services. The German Post AG calls deliverer for the letter and joint delivery . Other names are letter and parcel deliverers , parcel carriers , postmen or postmen . In Austria and southern Germany the term Postler and in Switzerland Pöstler is common.

Deutsche Post employs 80,001 deliverers for 54,200 delivery districts in Germany, who distribute around 71 million letters to 43 million German households every day (as of 2007). In addition to Deutsche Post, a number of national and numerous regional postal service providers are also active in Germany .

Distributors of advertising brochures , daily and weekly newspapers and subscribed magazines to households are also referred to as deliverers in the broader sense .


Postman with letters and parcels in Berlin in 1946

In the past, the delivery person was mostly an official of the postal authority . He usually wore a uniform while on duty . Today (or for a number of years) he is mostly employed by a logistics or postal company.

Since the loosening of the letter monopoly , newspaper publishers have increasingly tried to use their experience with newspaper deliverers for print media to deliver letters in their area of distribution .

In addition, deliverers can also be used as mail carriers.

From 1999 onwards, Deutsche Post AG cut around 33,500 full-time jobs, while all new mail service providers combined (2007) employ around 45,000 people, mostly as mini-jobbers . Swiss Post is afraid of losing up to 32,000 more jobs, while more and more (especially: small) private companies in Germany “piece wages” - i.e. H. pay no wages at all, depending on the volume. Since the partial opening of the postal monopoly in Germany in 1998, the responsible Federal Network Agency has issued around 1,000 licenses . Until the end of 2007, it checked the working and wage conditions of the " new mail service providers ".

The letter monopoly finally expired at the end of 2007 . The Ver.di union agreed with Deutsche Post on a minimum wage of EUR 9.80 per hour for mail carriers in the west and EUR 9 in the east.

Parcel delivery protection law

The parcel delivery protection law of November 15, 2019 prevents the circumvention of employee rights . There are companies strongly reminded of their duty and the Nachunternehmerhaftung also introduced in this industry. Those who outsource contracts to other companies are responsible for ensuring that working conditions are adequate and that social security contributions are paid correctly. It will also ensure fair competition in the parcel industry.


Far right in gray: a mail box

Most deliverers pre-sort the mail during about a quarter of their daily working hours in the delivery base (ZSP), formerly a post office , or get some or all of it pre-sorted in the mail center or preparation center . They put the letters and mail items in a special letter sorting table in the correct order of their delivery sequence and then deliver them to the recipients (delivery).

If a deliverer only delivers items without preparing them himself, this is called TVZ deliverer (TVZ means: Separation of preparation for delivery). They get their shipments sorted from a preparation center or prepared by another colleague from the two districts but only delivers one.

If the deliverer is also responsible for delivering parcels in addition to delivering letters, he is called a composite deliverer who also accepts prepaid freight shipments (parcels, parcels) for onward delivery during delivery.

In rural areas, the (network) deliverers also often perform functions of the postal service, such as depositing and withdrawing Postbank credit, and are then referred to as MOPS (Mobile Postal Service). At the Bundespost these deliverers were called land deliverers. A MOPS also accepts mail , sells stamps and provides other postal services.

In many delivery districts there are mail drop-off points along the delivery route . Some of these are located in mailboxes, which look similar to telephone distribution boxes. Mail items for pedestrians and bicycles are temporarily stored in these compartments, because a deliverer usually delivers significantly more items per day than can be loaded onto a bicycle or handcart at once - let alone transported. Such storage locations are now set up along the delivery tour; and when the mail is sorted according to the delivery route and fully packed in the morning, the individual items are distributed by a driver (in some cases also by the deliverer himself on the way to the district) to the corresponding storage locations along the delivery routes.

It is important that the driver equips the "early" boxes first (there is a set sequence for this) and of course that the right part always ends up in the right box.

Less well known is the job of the deliverer to check stamps for their devaluation . If the postage stamp has not been canceled with a postmark, this will be done later by the deliverer. This is mostly done by hand with a ballpoint pen , pencil and colored pencil , but also with a specially designed stamp. Mostly blue or black colors are used for this.

As a rule, the delivery person wears company clothing (service clothing).


A postman on stilts in Gascony , France at the beginning of the 20th century
Modern delivery trolley

There are various options for deliverers to move within their delivery district. The best known are probably walking with out positioner, via postal bicycle , by moped or scooter , by car or with the pickup truck .

Which means of transport is chosen depends on where the mail is to be sent and whether it is letters, parcels or parcels. In a big city, for example, it makes more sense to ride a bike to avoid traffic jams. This also applies to smaller cities and municipalities with busy roads.

Other modes of transport are required in certain areas. For example, some mail deliverers in the Black Forest are equipped with cross-country skis in winter . In the Spreewald , mail is delivered by post barge , to the Zugspitze by cable car and to the Halligen in the North Frisian Wadden Sea, depending on the Hallig and the tide, by mail ship , watt wagon or lorry . The only household on the Hallig Süderoog is served several times a week by a watt deliverer on a 15 km long mudflat path . Around 1900, sporty delivery workers were also out and about with ice skates in winter on frozen waters.

Parcel deliverers use a hand scanner on which the recipient must confirm receipt of the parcel with his signature. The pure mail carrier, who only delivers letters or catalogs, is nowadays only used in delivery districts where the mail carrier is on the move by bike or on foot and therefore cannot transport parcels.

Access to mailbox

In some older apartment buildings, the mailboxes can only be reached with a front door key. If the building (also known as messenger key) with a so-called post lock fitted, the deliverer has a master key access to it. Otherwise he needs the house key, which is provided by the owner of the property. This applies to both the Deutsche Post deliverers and the other deliverers (newspaper couriers, etc.).

According to a court ruling, a tenant is entitled to additional front door keys for the mail carrier and newspaper delivery boy.


Until the late 1970s there were in the Federal Post Office , the vocational training for Postal young messengers . In 1979 the apprenticeship service specialist was created in the postal service . After the privatization of the Bundespost in 1995, the job was called a specialist in mail and freight traffic . In 2005, the new training regulations for the profession of specialist for courier, express and postal services came into force.


The different types of delivery options are also often the reason to issue appropriate postage stamps .


Postmen are a popular motif in art , music , literature or in film . It also occurs in heraldry .

Well-known postmen

Patron saint

Archangel Gabriel is the patron saint of deliverers .


  • In the Middle Ages, mail was sometimes delivered by traveling butchers, see Metzgerpost .
  • In the case of items that cannot be attached (undeliverable and the sender cannot be identified from the outside), a mail dispatch center at Deutsche Post in Marburg takes over the work.

Web links

Wiktionary: Postman  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Delivery person  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Delivery person  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. See "Third Round - Postman / Postman" , Atlas of German Everyday Language (AdA), Phil.-Hist. Faculty, University of Augsburg, June 19, 2006
  2. Deutsche Post advertisement: We give everything for your letter every day, as of October 2009
  3. Law on the introduction of subcontractor liability in the courier, express and parcel industry to protect employees (Parcel Delivery Protection Act) , Federal Law Gazette, Part I, No. 40 of November 22, 2019, page 1602
  4. Zugspitz deliverer on swaying planks at a boat delivery woman in Spreewald / Deutsche Post delivers items to the most remote corners of July 30, 2015 - Press, accessed on October 4, 2015
  5. Court judgment AG-Mainz 80-C-9607
  6. Andres Streppenick: Houdini on the mat. The Freiburg wrestling legend Adolf Seger is 75 years old. In: The Sunday of January 5, 2020, p. 7.
  7. Felicitas Wilke: Letters delivery: wrong address, sender unknown. In: Zeit Online. February 14, 2018, accessed February 22, 2018 .