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Postal codes internationally
Postal codes (abbreviated Zip Codes) serve primarily to facilitate the assignment of postal items such as letters and parcels. They are also used today to facilitate online searches for specific providers or industries and to optimize the use of navigation systems. Markets can also be called their customers’ postcodes more frequently in order to be able to conduct market research. There are now postcodes in most countries around the world. Sometimes the postcode doesn’t just consist of numbers, but also contains letters and special characters. Such zip codes exist, for example, in the USA, Canada, the Netherlands and Great Britain.
The history of postcodes
The very first postcodes were probably in the old USSR, but they weren’t called that, they were called indexes. The Ukrainian Soviet Republic introduced it in 1930. In 1941 postcodes were introduced in Germany, the United States followed in 1963, Switzerland in 1964 and Austria in 1965. They are now available in around 120 countries around the world. The first German postcodes were in two digits and only served the parcel traffic and only from 1944 also the letter traffic. In 1964, four-digit postcodes were introduced in both parts of Germany, and a year later the GDR’s Deutsche Post developed its own four-digit postcodes. After reunification, it was necessary to install a new postal code system because some of them had double occupancy. It was decided to follow the example of other European countries and now to develop a five-digit system. This was introduced in 1993 and still applies today. Above all, it makes automatic mail sorting much easier.