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Postcrossing Project Logo.png
Type of site
Project website
Available inEnglish
OwnerPostcrossing Lda.
Created byPaulo Magalhães
LaunchedJuly 14, 2005; 15 years ago (2005-07-14)[1]

Postcrossing is an online project that allows its members to send and receive postcards from all over the world. The project's tag line is "send a postcard and receive a postcard back from a random person somewhere in the world!"[2] Its members, also known as postcrossers, send postcards to other members and receive postcards back from other random postcrossers. Where the postcards come from is always a surprise.

Postcrossing is the union of the words "postcard" and "crossing" and its origin "is loosely based on the Bookcrossing site".[3] However, the "crossing" or exchange of postcards works in a different way. A member sends a postcard to another postcrosser and receives a postcard back from a random postcrosser. Exchanges between the same two members only occur once; although direct swaps between members happen, they are not part of the official happenings on the site. The project is completely free and anyone with an address can create an account. The postcards and postage fees to mail them are the responsibility of each user.

As of January 2019, Postcrossing has over 750,000 members in 212 countries[4] who have registered and exchanged over 50 million postcards that traveled over 250 billion kilometers.[5]

The highest concentration of Postcrossing members reside (in order) in Russia, Taiwan, the United States, China, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Finland and the Czech Republic, each with over 20,000 members.[6] Globally, most postcrossers reside in North America, Europe and East Asia. Of particular note, Postcrossing is popular in eastern European and former-Soviet states. As of January 2019, more than one third of the combined total of postcards were sent from Germany, Russia and the United States.[5]

How it works[edit]

If a member sends a postcard they will receive at least one postcard back from a random postcrosser somewhere in the world.

The first step is to request to send a postcard. The website will display and send the member an email with the address of another postcrosser and a postcard ID (e.g.: US-787) which uniquely identifies that postcard in the system. The member then mails a postcard to that postcrosser and writes the postcard ID on it. The postcrosser receives the postcard and registers it using the postcard ID that is on the postcard. At this point, the sender is eligible to receive a postcard from a different postcrosser.[7] Each member can write a profile text which will be visible to the postcrosser who requested an address. This profile can contain personal information about the recipient or postcard preferences.

Initially each member can have up to five postcards traveling at any time. Every time one of the sent postcards is registered, that postcrosser can request another address. The number of postcards allowed to travel at any single time goes up the more postcards a member sends and stops at 100.[8]

The Postcrossing system allows for the same two members to exchange postcards only once. By default, members will exchange postcards with countries other than their own. Users can decide to exchange postcards with other users in his or her own country. Users are allowed to untick the "send to repeated countries" option in their profile, but this does not guarantee no repetitions.

A small percentage of mailed postcards get lost during their travels, while others may arrive with the postcard ID unreadable and are difficult to register. There are also members who become inactive while postcards are on the way to them. The system behind the website accounts for all these factors and compensates active members by attempting to reduce the difference between the number of sent and received postcards of each member.

Users distribution[edit]

Last updated September 17, 2020.

Countries with most users [6]
Ranking Country Users
1.  Russia 107,103
2.  Taiwan 101,475
3.  China 77,378
4.  United States 73,291
5.  Germany 55,744
6.  Netherlands 40,728
7.  Poland 33,614
8.  Belarus 31,433
9.  Ukraine 26,858
10.  Czech Republic 21,586
11.  Finland 18,558
12.  United Kingdom 17,748
13.  France 16,316
14.  Turkey 11,198
15.  Canada 10,802
Countries with most sent postcards [6]
Ranking Country Sent postcards
1.  Germany 9,007,170
2.  Russia 7,000,660
3.  United States 6,381,475
4.  Netherlands 4,439,023
5.  Finland 3,576,614
6.  Taiwan 2,527,898
7.  China 2,498,213
8.  Belarus 2,369,921
9.  Czech Republic 1,577,811
10.  Ukraine 1,490,161
11.  Poland 1,445,428
12.  Japan 1,325,566
13.  France 1,191,661
14.  United Kingdom 1,174,019
15.  Canada 949,852


The idea for the project was created by Paulo Magalhães, who started the site on July 14, 2005. The motivation was based on the fact that he liked to receive mail, especially postcards.[9] "The element of surprise of receiving postcards from different places in the world (many of which you would probably never have heard of) can turn your mailbox into a box of surprises – and who wouldn't like that?"[10]

The project started initially as a hobby for Magalhães, but its unexpected success revealed that the idea was more popular than he ever predicted. He initially hosted the project on an old computer housed in a clothes closet at his home, which was shown to be insufficient. Based on word of mouth, the project quickly expanded over the Portuguese borders where the project was developed.

Over time the project received attention from the media, which contributed to its growth and popularity. Postcrossing reached its first million exchanged postcards on April 11, 2008 and has since grown even more rapidly.[11] It reached the second million on February 26, 2009 with a postcard that traveled from Germany to Norway.[12] The third million was reached on September 24, 2009 with a postcard traveling from Finland to Slovenia.[13] The fourth million was reached on March 28, 2010 with a postcard traveling from the Czech Republic to the Netherlands.[14] The popularity of the site has led to the academic community exploring what makes postcrossing so successful and what other digital communication technologies can learn from that success.[15] celebrated its five-year anniversary on July 14, 2010 with a photography contest for its members.[16] Shortly after celebrating their fifth birthday, reached 5,000,000 postcards received on August 24, 2010 with a postcard traveling from Isle of Man (registered under an Italian member) to Thailand.[17] The 7,000,000th postcard was sent on April 4, 2011 from China and received on April 19, 2011 in the Netherlands.[18] The 10,000,000th postcard travelled from Japan to Germany and was registered on January 27, 2012.[19] The 15,000,000th postcard travelled from Germany to Italy and was registered on December 31, 2012.[20] At the moment, 1,000,000 postcards are registered in about two months. In January 2017 the number of postcards passed 39 million.

Postcards exchanged per month[21]
Date Time (UTC) Million postcards From To
April 11, 2008 4:00 p.m. 1  Turkey  Romania
February 26, 2009 6:30 a.m. 2  Germany  Norway
September 24, 2009 4:10 p.m. 3  Finland  Slovenia
March 28, 2010 11:20 a.m. 4  Czech Republic  Netherlands
August 24, 2010 8:00 p.m. 5  Italy  Norway
December 30, 2010 12:00 p.m. 6  Spain  Germany
April 19, 2011 7:00 p.m. 7  China  Netherlands
August 2, 2011 11:30 a.m. 8  Finland  Japan
November 3, 2011 7:00 a.m. 9  China  Russia
January 27, 2012 4:50 p.m. 10  Japan  Germany
April 3, 2012 9:10 p.m. 11  United States  Iceland
June 12, 2012 7:30 p.m. 12  United States  Netherlands
August 22, 2012 6:10 a.m. 13  Hong Kong  Russia
October 25, 2012 9:50 p.m. 14  Netherlands  Honduras
December 31, 2012 1:46 p.m. 15  Germany  Italy
March 4, 2013 8:21 a.m. 16  Ukraine  Russia
May 1, 2013 0:21 a.m. 17  Russia  Australia
July 3, 2013 5:53 a.m. 18  Finland  Taiwan
September 2, 2013 3:08 a.m. 19  Ukraine  Germany
October 28, 2013 10:50 p.m. 20  United States  Taiwan
December 23, 2013 21  Netherlands  Italy
February 17, 2014 22  Netherlands  Poland
March 29, 2014 23  Germany  Australia[22][23]
May 31, 2014 24  Latvia  Japan[24][25]
August 10, 2014 11:02 a.m. 25  Netherlands  Germany[26][27]
October 10, 2014 26[28]
June 2, 2015 30[29]  Germany  Portugal[30]
February 13, 2017 6:39 a.m. 40  Taiwan  France[31]
December 27, 2018 7.13 p.m. 50  Israel  Russia[32]

Postcrossing-themed stamps[edit]

I ❤ postcrossing. Russian Post, 2015
Belarusian postcrossing-themed stamp

On October 11, 2011, PostNL released the first set of Dutch Postcrossing-themed stamps at the philatelic exhibition Postex in Apeldoorn.[33] The sheet of 10 stamps was designed by communication agency The Stone Twins, and depicted different types of postcards seemingly strewn about (as if scattered on a doormat).[34] [35]

Finland was the second country to follow suit, with Itella launching their own stamps in honor of Postcrossing on September 9, 2013. Designed by Kokoro & Moi, the set includes four different first-class stamps.[36] [35]

On January 2, 2014, Belposhta also launched their own Postcrossing-themed stamps in Belarus. The stamp was designed by Inga Turlo and features the words "Happy Postcrossing" in both English and Belarusian.[37] [35]

On May 28, 2014, Guernsey Post launched a stamp designed by their marketing team, featuring the words "Happy Postcrossing" over an outline of Guernsey with a smiley face, giving the "thumbs-up" to the hobby of Postcrossing.[38] [35]

On January 27, 2015 the Russian Post issued a stamp designed by Olga Shushlebina. The stamp features the words "Я ❤ посткроссинг" (Russian: "I ❤ postcrossing") and schematic pictures of world sights.[39] [35] 2015 also saw Slovenia issue a stamp.[35] as did the Czech Republic [35] and the Ukraine.[35]

On March 25, 2016 the Russian Post again issued a stamp featuring the same words designed by I. Sidenko.[40] [35] Further Postcrossing stamps were issued on March 29, 2016 by PostNL,[41] another two in 2016 by Guernsey Post,[42] Austria [35] and a 5zl by Polish Post,[43]

In 2017 Belarus,[35] Romania,[35] Indonesia Post,[44] a set of three by Swiss Post[45] [35] and Ireland [35]

2018 saw Hungary[35] and Moldova Post[46][35] issue stamps.

2019 saw the Åland Islands' Åland Post launch a Postcrossing-themed stamp on June 7, 2019.[47]

In 2020 Brazil issued a stamp with a face value of R$ 2.45.[48]

World Postcard Day (October 1st)[edit]

In 2019, Postcrossing organised a global campaign to raise awareness and celebrate the postcard's 150th anniversary on October 1st. Through its community and contacts with postal operators, museums, libraries and other relevant organisations, numerous events took place around the world to mark the anniversary of the postcard. Among the events there were several postcard exhibitions, special cancelations marks, postcard writing workshops and seminars, commemorative postcards and some stamps were issued on the theme [49]. Postcrossing also organised an exhibition at the Universal_Postal_Union headquarters in Bern with postcards from all over the world with messages on why postcards are important. [50]

With the success of the campaign, many expressed the wish that there was a day in the year to always celebrate the postcard. Hence, in 2020 Postcrossing launched the World Postcard Day [51] — a day to celebrate the postcard every year on the date of its launch, not just in Postcrossing but by anyone who enjoys postcards.

A small postcard design competition for design and art students was organised and the best entry became the postcard of the event in 2020 which was made available for everyone to use. A lesson plan was also created in 8 languages to facilitate the introduction of postcards to young children in schools, providing them with their first contact with postcards.

On the first edition of the World Postcard Day in 2020, several events took place worldwide to celebrate the day. These included special cancellation marks by postal operators, the issue of commemorative postcards, several online postcard exhibitions, postcard writing workshops and many online meetings among postcard aficionados. [52]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Postcrossing. History". 2005-07-14. Retrieved 2013-01-23.
  2. ^ Magalhães, Paulo. "Postcrossing". Retrieved 2009-01-01.
  3. ^ 129860, Sho (2006-05-08). "Postcrossing - The Postcard Crossing Project". BBC H2G2. Retrieved 2009-01-01.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  4. ^ "Statistics – Members". Postcrossing. Archived from the original on 24 January 2019.
  5. ^ a b "Statistics – Postcards". Postcrossing. Archived from the original on 24 January 2019.
  6. ^ a b c "Countries in Postcrossing". Postcrossing. Archived from the original on 17 September 2020.
  7. ^ Crews, Barbara (2007-07-01). "Random Postcards from Around the World: Postcrossing!". Retrieved 2009-01-01.
  8. ^ Magalhães, Paulo. "Postcrossing - Help - How many postcards can I send?". Retrieved 2009-01-01.
  9. ^ Faxon, Hilary (2008-07-17). "Interview: Paulo Magalhães, Founder of". Archived from the original on 2012-02-17. Retrieved 2009-01-01.
  10. ^ Widmer, Laurent (2008). "Where is your postcard?" (PDF). Union Postale. Retrieved 2009-01-01.[dead link]
  11. ^ (2008-04-11). "Postcrossing Hits 1 Million Exchanged Cards". Retrieved 2009-01-01.
  12. ^ (2009-02-26). "2 million received postcards! YAY! Can you believe it?". Retrieved 2009-03-02.
  13. ^ (2009-09-25). "One, two, three! 3 million postcrossing postcards!". Retrieved 2009-09-26.
  14. ^ (2010-03-28). "4 000 000 postcards!! :D". Retrieved 2010-03-28.
  15. ^ Kelly, Ryan; Gooch, Daniel (2012-01-01). "Understanding Participation and Opportunities for Design from an Online Postcard Sending Community" (PDF). Proceedings of the Designing Interactive Systems Conference. DIS '12. New York, NY, USA: ACM: 568–571. doi:10.1145/2317956.2318041. ISBN 978-1-4503-1210-3.
  16. ^ (2010-07-14). "5 years and counting". Retrieved 2010-07-14.
  17. ^ (2010-08-24). "5000000 postcards received!". Retrieved 2010-08-24.
  18. ^ Postcrossing post 7,000,000th card Archived May 2, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ "10,000,000 registered postcards!". 2012-01-27. Retrieved 2013-01-23.
  20. ^ "15,000,000 postcards registered!". Retrieved 2013-01-23.
  21. ^ Based on data from Postcrossing official site page source.
  22. ^ Postcrossing Project (2014-04-10). "Postcard DE-3043747 (Germany)". Retrieved 2014-04-11.
  23. ^ Postcrossing Project [@postcrossing] (10 April 2014). "Here's the lucky postcard #23,000,000:" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  24. ^ Postcrossing Project (2014-05-31). "Postcard LV-150063 (Latvia)". Retrieved 2014-06-17.
  25. ^ Postcrossing Project [@postcrossing] (10 June 2014). "Here it is, lucky postcard number 24 million, which traveled 8,084 km from Latvia to Japan in 8 days! :D" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  26. ^ Postcrossing Project (2014-08-10). "Postcard NL-2612179 (Netherlands)". Retrieved 2014-08-10.
  27. ^ Postcrossing Project (2014-08-10). "25 million postcards!". Retrieved 2014-08-10.
  28. ^ Postcrossing Project [@postcrossing] (10 October 2014). "We just reached 26 million postcards! Congratulations everyone! It's still #WorldPostDay in many places: what a nice way to celebrate it! :)" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  29. ^ Ana (meiadaleite) (2015-06-02). "30 Million Postcards!". Postcrossing blog. Retrieved 2015-06-02.
  30. ^ Postcrossing Project (2015-06-02). "Postcard DE-4221494 (Germany)". Retrieved 2015-06-02.
  31. ^ Postcrossing Project (2017-02-13). "40 Million Postcards!". Retrieved 2017-04-04.
  32. ^ Postcrossing Project (2018-12-27). "50! MILLION! POSTCARDS!". Retrieved 2019-01-24.
  33. ^ "Postcrossing stamp launch".
  34. ^ "The Postcrossing stamp launch".
  35. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "Postcrossing on Stamps: A Catalogue". Philatelic Pursuits. Retrieved 16 August 2020.
  36. ^ "New Postcrossing stamps... from Finland!".
  37. ^ "A new Postcrossing stamp, from Belarus!".
  38. ^ "A new Postcrossing stamp... from Guernsey!".
  39. ^ "A new Postcrossing stamp... from Russia".
  40. ^ "March 25, a postage stamp dedicated to postcrossing have been issue". Marka. Retrieved 13 May 2018.
  41. ^
  42. ^ "Postcrossing 2016". Guernsey Post. Retrieved 16 August 2020.
  43. ^
  44. ^
  45. ^
  46. ^ "Stamp Issues & Related Items 2018: Postcrossing". International Moldovan Philatelic Society. Retrieved 2019-11-29.
  47. ^
  48. ^ "Emissão Postal Especial Postcrossing" (PDF). Retrieved 16 August 2020.
  49. ^ "Events in the 150th anniversary of the postcard (Oct 1st, 2019)". Retrieved 2020-10-31.
  50. ^ "Putting together the postcard exhibition at the UPU". Retrieved 2020-10-31.
  51. ^ "World Postcard Day — the day to celebrate postcards". Retrieved 2020-10-31.
  52. ^ "Events in the World Postcard Day (Oct 1st)". Retrieved 2020-10-31.

External links[edit]