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.

Address a letter in Germany

How to write German addresses

The parts of a German address

  • Person or business name
    German addresses start with the recipient’s name. This name must be on the person’s mailbox, or your letter won’t be delivered.
  • Street name and house number
    Germans put the street name before the door number. For example, “Musterstraße 17”. A building can have multiple entrances like “17A” and “17B”.
  • Apartment number
    German apartments rarely have individual door numbers, only a name on the person’s mailbox. This is why the person’s name must be correct.
  • Postal code (Postleitzahl)
    Germany uses 5-digit postal codes. Always include it in the address, because big cities can have two streets with the same name. The postal code finder can help.
  • City name (Ort)
    For example, “Berlin”.
  • Country (Land)
    For example, “Germany” or “Deutschland”.

Simple example

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

Max Mustermann (the person you are writing to)
Musterstraße 17 (street and door number)
12345 Berlin (postal code and city)

If the name is not on the mailbox

German apartments do not always have door numbers, so if the person’s name is not on the mailbox, they will not receive your letter. You must include the name of the main tenant on the envelope. Use “c/o [name]” or “bei [name]”.

For example, if you want to send a letter to Max at his girlfriend’s Monika’s address, you must address the letter like this:1

Max Mustermann (the person you are writing to) bei Monika Schmidt (Monika has her name on the mailbox)
Musterstraße 17
12345 Berlin

If you sent a letter to Max’s workplace, it would look like this:

Max Mustermann (the person you are writing to) bei BigBusiness GmbH (Max works at BigBusiness)
Banhofstraße 1A
10115 Berlin

How to mail a letter in Germany

How to mail a letter — from your computer, without a printer

Sources and footnotes
  1. Wikipedia