Don’t forget the Germans!

My post about a project that forgot the French reminded me of a similar – but not so serious – issue that has happened a few times since moving to Germany. We updated our address with various institutions once we had found a permanent residence on Cologne: bank, insurance, etc.

It’s a small difference, but Germany has a different format for addresses. Instead of ## Street, they use the format Street ## (why is it formatted differently?? Good question! I wish I knew…).

Sometimes, if the address is incorrectly formatted, Deutsche Post will not accept the letter and it will be returned to the sender. I think this is because for the first sorting of the post, a computer reads the address and parses it into the correct postage stream (this may not be correct). Usually it will be posted to us, but probably with a longer delay than correctly formatted mail.

The Problem: within the address fields for all these important Australian institutions, only the standard British/American style address format was possible when updating our details. The mail arrives (as far as I know!) but I worry about any urgent post because there usually seems to be a delay for incorrectly formatted post. Our electoral ballots, for instance, arrived the day of the federal election despite having been sent from Australia about three weeks prior.

All this tells me that the country of origin can also be important, and it might not be the country you assume it is. Don’t forget the Germans, you guys.

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