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So, it appears Germany doesn't believe in apartment numbers, so couriers must use my surname to locate my apartment.
Some new buildings have the floor number written near the intercom buttons, but my building does not (a new building from late 2019).
The couriers always ask me for the floor number (at least, that is what I guess they ask) over the intercom.
I'm not judging, there must be a thousand year old reason for this.

What do I need to state in my address so the couriers would not have to deal with my very poor german?
5 Etage? 5 Stock? 5 Et. ?

  • 2
    If you have an elevator - what is written there? – user unknown May 14 at 23:04
  • @userunknown The elevator button on my floor shows the digit 5. – Moshe Gottlieb May 14 at 23:45
  • A currier is someone who curries (grooms) and cleans horses in a stable. Someone who carries parcels and delivers them is a carrier. You used three time the wrong word. I corrected this in your question. – Hubert Schölnast May 15 at 6:42
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    @HubertSchölnast It was a spelling mistake, the word should have been courier and not your correction: carrier – Moshe Gottlieb May 15 at 6:49
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    @MosheGottlieb well then, don't hesitate to edit the question to better match your intention! This change would not invalidate any answers, and is thus acceptable. – Hulk May 15 at 6:56
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Please see mtwde's answer to see how to specify this in an address line

You do not use the cardinal numbers but the ordinal numbers, i.e.

5. Etage (fünfte Etage)
5. Stock (fünfter Stock)

The dot is important. Or you could reverse the order

Etage 5 (Etage fünf)
Stock 5 (sounds unusual)

As mentioned in the comments by Carsten S , you can also write

5.Obergeschoss or
5. OG

Please note that Germans start counting floor levels at 0. The ground-floor would be level 0, although nobody calls it that way. It is called Erdgeschoss. The floor above is der 1. Stock, unlike in the US where it would be the 2nd floor.

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  • Thank your for this! Vielen Dank! – Moshe Gottlieb May 14 at 12:51
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    UK is the same as Germany. – PBH May 14 at 13:38
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    I would usually write "5. OG" (Obergeschoss) – Carsten S May 14 at 16:32
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    Note that, unlike "5. Etage" or "5. Stock", using "5. Obergeschoss" or "5. OG" has the added advantage that it makes unmistakably clear that we are talking about the fifth floor above ground, removing any potential confusion about regional / cultural differences, especially considering that couriers are often immigrants who might come from a culture that counts floors differently. – Jörg W Mittag May 15 at 6:27
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    Also (just for completeness sake), the first level below ground would usually be called "1. UG" (erstes Untergeschoss). So you have 1. UG < EG < 1. OG, which has a nice symmetry to it. – Polygnome May 15 at 7:39
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@infinitezero tells you what to write, but not where and how to write it. As with a lot of things in Germany, there is a national standard for this. In this case it is DIN 5008.

DIN 5008 says, that the apartment or floor number is written after the street + house number and is separated by two dashes (//). 1 2

So if you want to add the floor or apartment number to the address you write:

Straße Hausnummer // x. Etage

The whole address could then look like this

Herr
Max Mustermann
Musterstraße 123 // 6. Etage
12345 Musterstadt

The expression 6. Etage, as written in the other answer, can be replaced by 6. Stock. Sometimes the floor number is written in Roman numerals ("// VI" in this case), but this is no longer a standard and the floor number should be written out.

EDIT:

Fun Fact (as OP is from Berlin)

In this old (1923) adress book from Berlin a lot of adresses include the floor number in Roman numerals. Something you won't see anymore today (found via this question)


@Polygnome made a good point, so I want to quote his comment:

While this may be the official DIN, I suppose not many people actually know that DIN and mailman regularly manage to deliver to non-standard addresses ;)

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  • Thanks! Will start using the standard form – Moshe Gottlieb May 15 at 6:56
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    While this may be the official DIN, I suppose not many people actually know that DIN and mailman regularly manage to deliver to non-standard addresses ;) Nice answer nonetheless. – Polygnome May 15 at 7:41
  • I used to put my flat number just below the address line and before the zip code. Also seemed to work. – infinitezero May 15 at 12:01
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    Of course there's a DIN for it! – chrylis -cautiouslyoptimistic- May 16 at 5:29
5

infinitezero already has given the correct answer. I just wanted to add something about apartment numbers, but it's too long for a comment, so I hope it's ok to post it as an answer (although it isn't really an answer to your question).

I can't speak for Germany because I live in Austria, but here in Austria we "believe" in apartment numbers too, and I am very convinced, that German people also do. But when a courier wants to bring you a parcel, he has to take the elevator to reach your floor, and there he needs to know which button to press. Or he walks up the stairs, and then he also needs to know the level where your apartment is. Otherwise he had to search in every floor for an apartment with your apartment number, and couries don't have the time for such searches. So, when he rings you at the intercom, he wants to know two things:

  1. Are you at home? (This will be answered automatically when you pick up)
  2. Which floor? (This is the only thing you have to say)

There are some buildings, where the floor number is included in the apartment number. This is standard in hotels. (Room 101 to 126 are in 1st floor, 201 to 226 in 2nd floor etc., which also means, that there are no rooms with numbers from 127 to 200.) In bigger residential buildings you can find the hotel system as just described, but smaller ones (with less than 50 or 100 apartments) most often only use consecutive numbers. And those consecutive numbers don't give a hint to the floor number. I am living now in an apartment that has the number 15 and is in the the 3rd floor. 2 years ago I lived in another building and I also had apartment 15 over there, but there it was in the 4th floor.

Here in Austria (but not in Germany, as I have learned) there is also an additional number in bigger residential buildings which is called "Stiege" ("stair" or "staircase") that you have to tell when the courier rings you. This is if the building has more than one staircases to reach different apartments. The house has just one house-number, but you need to know which staircase to take. (For details read this question, but it is in German.)

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  • Thank you for this information! Evidently, I'm no expert in German addressing... In my neighborhood (Friedrichshain, Berlin) there aren't any apartment numbers - or at least, I haven't seen any. Hotels around me (and all over the world) employ the floor number prefix for apartment/room numbers (i.e. 603 is the 3rd room/apartment in the 6th floor). – Moshe Gottlieb May 15 at 7:33
  • In my apartment in Wilmersdorf we have apartment numbers, but it is literally the only building I have ever seen in Berlin which has them. – Neil Tarrant May 15 at 9:27
  • I've seen places where you had to know which staircase to take in Germany, too, usually big corporate or government buildings. But I don't know if there is a standard way to communicate this or if it's just a free style Adresszusatz. – Lykanion May 15 at 9:58
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    When we had lectures in the university hospital Aachen, "adresses" had the form "A3 E6 R16", meaning "take elevator A3 to the sixth floor and then good luck finding room 16". For mail, you would put them in a separate row between name and real address. – Alexander May 15 at 10:54
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    German here with the experience that apartment numbers are rarely a thing in everyday life. They are almost never written at the apartment door. They may exist in the rental contract and in consequence also in the contract with electricity, IP/phone suppliers and big fuse box. But even for these descriptions like "2. OG links" are common in my experience. (Student dorms often have them, though) – cbeleites unhappy with SX May 15 at 11:33

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