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About Us / History

By water

Initially, the many islands comprising the country of Denmark made it difficult to establish a reliable postal service to all areas. 

Some of the many ferry lines operated regularly, others sporadically. By the late 18th century, the Danish postal service basically had full control over all ferry lines. By the mid-19th century, all Danish vessels were required to transport post free-of-charge if requested to do so by postal authorities.

The first steamboat 1808

The route over Stora Bält (Great Belt) was of particular importance to the infrastructure. The first steamboat travelled this route in 1808 and by the mid-1800s mail was being sorted on-board the steamboats.

Sweden was also early to use its waterways (e.g. Lake Mälaren) for domestic post. However, steamboats were not used until the 1840s and the first steamboat sub post offices were introduced in 1869. Steam allowed transports to be made more quickly and more often, and many private initiatives were taken to further increase transport frequency.

Boat transportation still important

Today, a great deal of Swedish mail is transported by boat – in the Swedish archipelago, for instance. In Denmark the amount of post transported via water is slowly increasing, for reasons that include avoiding air transport for shorter distances.

Mail Steamer Postiljonen which went into service on the route Grisslehamn - Eckerö in the 1870s.
Mail Steamer Postiljonen which went into service on the route Grisslehamn - Eckerö in the 1870s.

More about our history

Post farmers and mail carriers

Christian IV’s “Forordning om Post-Budde” (Mail Carrier Decree) was enacted in December 1624. Twelve years later the Swedish council of state approved the ”Förordning om Postbådhen” (Mail Carrier Ordinance). This was the beginning of formal postal services in both countries.

Cross border

Sweden established a permanent post office in Hamburg in 1620. Dutchman Leonard van Sorgen was assigned the task of arranging postal service from Sweden to Hamburg.

Stamps

Englishman Rowland Hill is usually credited with inventing flat-rate postage, which was introduced in 1840 and paved the way for the use of stamps.

Railways

The Danish postal service was quick to exploit the innovation of sending post by train. The first Danish railway line between Altona and Kiel opened in 1844.

Automobiles

The New York Times reported in the summer of 1904 on a commission dispatched by the Danish government in Europe to investigate the usefulness of the automobile for short postal transports. 

By air

Sending mail by air is not particularly modern – the ancient Egyptians used carrier pigeons. The bird of peace was used for postal transport through the Second World War. 

New times

In this era of globalization, there is a growing need for cross-border communication and logistics. Regions rather than countries are important to doing business.