The German system is pretty much like the American one, with the exception that street name and street number are in reverse order, and so are postal code and city. Plus we typically don’t use the state, simply the name of the city (if there are several cities in Germany of the same name, they are often differentiated from each other by geographic designators like rivers on which the cities lie, but that can be omitted since the postal code uniquely identifies the city). So a German equivalent of your sample address would be:
*): German street numbers are typically just sequentially numbered, not in the U.S. where they start with the next multiple of 100 at each block or so, so they would hardly ever go up as high as 2145)
Some countries don’t have door-to-door delivery, so people have a numbered post-office box that they have to collect the mail from.
But countries that do have door-to-door delivery do of course include the street name, except where addresses work differently. For example, in Venice, Italy, each property is numbered within each of the six “sestieri” into which the city is divided, so the address would be something like:
It’s different. I used to have a PO box. It’s an address for me at any post office that has the service but I don’t have a regular box there. I just turn up swipe a code on my phone and some random box opens with my parcel in it.
Missed the edit window, to add: in my country (UK), a typical address would be:
45 Example Street
where Villageton is the location of the address and Maintown (written in capitals) is the “post town” (ie where the mail gets sorted). We are not supposed to include county names nowadays, but many people still do.
If the address is in a post town, then the address will have one less line, eg
12 High Street
In rural areas, many houses don’t have numbers, but just have house names, and may or may not require a street name (in very small villages, often you just need the house name and the village name). So you might have:
The last line is the postcode, which uses an arcane system to specify a group of usually a few dozen addresses, sometimes even a single building.
The Swedish system is basically the same. In rural areas, there might not be a street address, but rather something like “Kånkback 340”. This generally means that you don’t have your mail delivered at your door, but must walk some 70 yards or so to the collection of mailboxes 331 - 340. While you’re at it, you can also pick up your neighbor’s mail and give it to him on your way. We’re a somewhat trusting people.
I being another Brit: I confess to having a probably unfair and un-called-for dislike of postcodes. They were introduced in the UK some fifty years – and the majority of my lifetime – ago. I do fine with remembering stuff which is “mostly words, with the odd figure”; but I completely suck at remembering arbitrary jumbles of letters and figures, and pretty much “can’t do” postcodes. I know by heart, my own, and those of perhaps two or three other people – all others, I always have to look up, which annoys me. I readily admit that with the UK’s growing, and densely-packed, population, postcodes became necessary; and I conscientiously use them – I just hate them.
Re rural addresses: I have a friend who lives in the depths of the countryside, toward the Anglo-Welsh border. Vis-a-vis Colophon’s model above, I suspect that with his address as he routinely gives it, he’s doing things a bit wrong. Let’s say he lives in Yondershire, post town Yonderton with postcodes YN* ***. Style of his address (not the real one !), as given by him, is
Still, there never seem to be problems with post reaching him. It seems that on the whole, the Royal Mail do not act like sticklers for meticulous correctness with addressing conventions.
Our family have relations in New Zealand; and I am favourably impressed by the NZ authorities’ handling of this matter. With the country being mostly rural with – by general global standards – a tiny population: postcodes, zip codes, what-have-you, are not functionally necessary. And, cheeringly, they are not used: addresses work in the same way as they did in the UK fifty-plus years ago. It’s as simple as
2 Silver Fern Street
–usually, no need even to bother with specifying North or South Island. Humans being the way they are, I’d not have found it surprising if New Zealand officialdom had felt that though the country does not need postcodes / zip codes; they would be introduced anyway, so that NZ could feel that it was at the cutting edge of things, and was keeping up with the postal Joneses. Admirably good sense has obtained here.
One thing I would point out is that in the US it is very uncommon to see the state spelled out like in these examples. I just checked some mail lying around at my house. All the letters had the two letter state abbreviation. So the address from above would more commonly be written as.
101 Happy Lane
Los Angeles, CA 90210
Att: Mickey Mouse
As noted above the comma separates city and state. But I noticed maybe 1/2 the letters had no comma at all.
You shouldn’t. You’re not supposed to put anything below the city/state/zip because it confuses the postal sorters. The attention line on an envelope generally appears below the name of the company/organization and above the street address. So:
Attn: Job Giving People
101 Happy Lane . . . etc.
America is so decentralized that I’m fairly sure that is not the standard throughout the country. Some places increment by 100 each block and some places don’t even have blocks. Many places in the US alternate even and odd addresses and street sides, so all of the even addresses are on one side of the street. But I wouldn’t be surprised if many places aren’t even consistent about that.
The point is that US street numbers are almost never serially numbered (to allow for increasing density and the like) whereas European numbers almost always are. For example, the first house I lived in was 21 Acreman Street, and the houses next door were 21 and 23, the house across 22, etc. In most of the US it would have been 1242 Acreman Street, and the next house would have been 1246, and so on.
I just tried ordering off Amazon for someone in Guatemala, and i just could not get it to figure out the address. There’s no postal code. There’s no street. There’s no house number! It’s basically, take this package to Bob, thanks. Yeah, he’s somewhere in Guatemala over thereish. Like, here’s one for a touristy hotel I just googled:
Bruno’s Hotel and Marina
abajo del puente
Fronteras, Rio Dulce
Amazon about exploded with errors.
I ended up having it shipped to me in Chicago, where I’ll write the address label by hand and take it to the post office.