Where to put the address on the envelope

Your letters will only get delivered if you write the address correctly on the envelope. The location of the addresses and postage stamps on German letters are the same as in North America and the rest of Europe.

The address of the recipient goes in the middle. The return address goes in the top left and the postage stamp in the top right. The section at the bottom must be left empty for the postal services.


How to format the address on the envelope

If you want to write to your friend Max, this is how you would write his address on the envelope:

Max Mustermann
Musterstraße 17 (street and door number)
12345 Berlin (postal code and city)

German apartments do not always have door numbers, so if Max' name is not on the mailbox, your letter will not be delivered. You must include the name of the main tenant on the envelope. For example, if you want to send a letter to Max at his girlfriend's address, you must address the letter like this:

Monika Schmidt (Monika has her name on the mailbox)
(z. H. Max Mustermann)
(to the attention of Max Mustermann)
Musterstraße 17
12345 Berlin

"z. H" is an abbreviation for "zu Händen von". It's equivalent to "c/o" or "attn"1. The mailman will put the letter in Monika's mailbox, to the attention of Max Mustermann.

If you want to be extra clear, you can label the sender's address with "Abs." for Absender and the recipient's address with "Empf." for Empfänger.