Die Zuschlagmarke

Die Zuschlagmarke is a type of stamp that has two face values: one for the postage and another for a special cause, eg. 55+25

These sorts of stamps often appear before Christmas and include a small donation to a charity. In the above example 55 cents would be the postage for a letter and 25 cents would be the donation.

The donation is not allowed to be higher than half the value of the postage itself, although this has not always been the case and stamps used to be produced with values such as 12+38.

To hear a simple explanation and a short discussion in German, listen to the podcast:

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Download a transcript

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No post today

I have always been fascinated by the way that post boxes in the UK make a special mention of Good Friday.  On this day the post is collected at a different time to the rest of the year.

It’s one of the quirks that as a British ex-pat I think about today, along with having a lack of hot-cross buns to eat.

There are not many things that I miss about the UK, and most of the things that I do I bring back to Germany with me.

But the postal collection on Good Friday is one that I cannot bring with me, and Germany does not collect the post on any bank holidays.

I guess it’s just a piece of culture that I will have to do without.  I wonder how long it will last for?

Come to think of it, does anyone know why this exception exists in the first place?

TNT: we are “the post”?

Saturday morning.  9.50am.  The doorbell rang and I answered using the intercom.  “Der Post” the man replied.

Actually, the postman doesn’t have to ring the bell to deliver the post, unless it’s something I have to sign for.  So I replied that I’d be right out.

The only trouble was, that I was still in my pyjamas having worked late the night before, so I quickly threw my dressing gown on and grabbed my keys and headed out of the flat.

Except there was no-one there.  I went outside to see a courier from TNT getting on his motorbike and riding off.  I called after him “what’s up?”  He looked in amazement “I only wanted to put something in one of the letter boxes” he replied.

Great! And there was me thinking that this sort of thing would stop (see this post).

Personally, I think it’s a bit off to let me think I need to come outside if he only needs access to a letter box.

Also, if he had said that he was from TNT, then I would have probably guessed what the problem was and let he into the building.  But identifying himself as “Der Post” (the postman) is misleading.

Only recently, a building contractor in a neighbouring flat did the same thing to get me to open the door.  I guess he didn’t think that I would bother going out to check!

So beware – just because someone at the front door identifies themselves as “the postman”, it doesn’t always mean that they are.  At the moment, it seems, they are more likely not.

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