Is traditional letter-writing via "snail mail" a lost art? Are envelopes and stamps obsolete? The German post office, Deutsche Post AG, doesn't think so, and they have Letternetwith over 250,000 members in more than 100 countriesto prove it! Deutsche Post would like you to "discover the world through letters" and they've set up a Letternet Web site (in German and English) to help you do that. According to the Letternet Web site, Letternet is the largest free pen pal club in the world.
I was recently surprised to learn that Letternet has been around since 1997. Membership is free and open to just about anyone in the world. All Letternet members receive a quarterly magazine called Lettermag (in German and English). Letternet doesn't use email, but you can still use your computer to register online (see links below). You provide some info about yourself and a computer then selects your first "ideal" penpal (Brieffreund|in in German). But you can also look through Letternet's registered members to select someone with whom you'd like to exchange letters. After you register, you'll receive a small package from Letternet with a welcome letter and the contact info for your first pen pal.
Although Letternet is sponsored by the German post office, your penpal(s) can be anywhere in the world. The Pinnwand (notice board) in a recent edition of Lettermag featured four pages of "classifieds" (Kleinanzeigen) for members in France, South Africa, Germany, the USA, Finland, Belarus, Turkey, Sweden, most of the German-speaking Europe, and several other countries. Although the main languages for corresponding are German and English, other languages (French, Italian, Russian, Turkish, etc.) are also possible. You can also place your own free ad in the magazine.
If you think that sending hand-written letters on paper is a bit anachronistic in the 21st century, the Letterfun Web site offers these reasons (and more) why you should prefer letters over email or the phone:
Warum Briefe? (Why letters?)
Denn mein Brief soll nicht in Spam-Mails untergehen.
Denn ein Brief hat mehr Bedeutung.
Denn ein Brief kann er nicht einfach löschen.
Denn ein Brief hält länger als ein Handy-Akku.
Denn ein Brief hat immer Empfang.
Denn ein Brief gerät in kein Funkloch.
Denn ein Brief klingelt nicht in peinlichen Momenten.
Denn eine E-Mail duftet nicht.
Denn Kinotickets lasssen sich per E-Mail schlecht verschenken.
Denn eine SMS wiegt nichts.
Denn ein Brief enthält weder Viren noch Würmer.
- From the Letterfun Web site
To learn more about Letternet and how it works, visit the Web site and other Web liks below. For other German pen pal services, also see our Pen Pals page.
WEB > Letternet.de - About the pen pal organization
WEB > Letterfun.de - About the Lettermag magazine
WEB > Letternet in English from Deutsche Post AG