Caturday: The Postal Edition

Hanging Out
While out on one of our walks recently, we spotted this cat on our way home. Just sitting in the window isn’t enough for this kitty. Her owners crack the window for her to get out and properly sun herself (in theory, if it wasn’t constantly spritzing with rain). She’s got a great spot on top of the collected mailboxes for the building. I guess the people there can blame the cat if a certain piece of mail goes missing! I wonder if this cat has the same reputation as dogs when it comes to mail deliverers.

Mail Cat

You’ll notice the area on the wall that says “(b)rieven”. Brieven is the Dutch for letters/mail and that is the slot where the mail was originally delivered. Once the building was split up and the new boxes became available, the slot was closed up and now the mail is divided up among the individual boxes. Not as pretty, but most likely more efficient. Certainly more fun for the cat!
Cat Mail

Mail Owl

Brieven 23.365
I’m guessing some Harry Potter fans might like this mail box/slot I saw this morning. Some of the nicer houses in town do have these built-in, decorative slots for the mail, instead of the usual flap in the door. The only downside is figuring out where to put the ja/nee sticker. I suppose you could always get a custom decorative nee/ja to go underneath!

Different Donderdag: Going Postal

Postkantoor
If you ever find yourself in the Netherlands with snail mail to post, look for one of these red boxes. This is the Dutch version of a mail box. One side will be for a specific postal code, i.e., local mail, and the other side is for everything else. These two boxes are located outside of the main post office here in Utrecht at the Neude, but you’ll find one of these boxes at random places around town. To be honest, it took me about a year to actually pay attention to them and realize what they were. Usually if I mail something, I need to go through the post office, so despite their vivid red color, I tended to be a bit oblivious to their purpose. After all, they do look quite a bit different from what I used to think of when I thought of public mail boxes. As for stamps (zegel), you can buy those at the post office, or more commonly, you can buy them at the grocery store and some other newsagent shops. During the month of December, they sell reduced-price stamps (decemberzegel) that can be used for standard mail for that month. TNT Post is the name of the royal Dutch postal service, so if you see TNT, don’t think dynamite; think mail.

Of course, when you’ve got a postkantoor (post office) like the one we have in Utrecht, why wouldn’t you want to visit it whenever possible! It’s an architectural dream! Look!
Soaring
The soaring barrel-vault ceiling is truly awe inspiring and beautiful with the glass in between the ribs. It allows some of the natural light to come into the building, assisted with smaller, unobtrusive electrical lights.
Ceiling
Besides the impressively arching ceiling, one of the things most noticeable about the interior design is the series of carved figures located throughout the large room.
Amerika
The five figures represents the continents, with other figures representing prosperity, commerce, and the postal service itself. There’s even an olifant!
Olifant!
The building was designed by Joseph Crouwel in the Amsterdam School style of architecture. It was completed in 1924. Some of the trademarks of the Amsterdam School that are visible in the Postkantoor include extensive use of brick, organic, rounded shapes, glasswork, and integrated architectural sculptures. If you’re in Utrecht, it’s definitely worth a visit, although if you’re going to take photos, try to be as unobtrusive as possible. They tend to tell you to stop if they notice you, especially if you’re taking photos of the workers themselves.

The Post Office

Junk Mail


This is our mail box, otherwise known as a mail flap in the door. After nearly two years, the sudden noise of something being shoved through can still make me jump!

I remember the frequent disappointment of going to the mailbox, only to discover that the mail is all junk. Here, you have a way of limiting some of the junk mail that inevitably makes its way onto your doormat. The Nee/Ja sticker you see is designed to help limit what gets delivered. The Nee (no) refers to any unaddressed mail, such as adverts and flyers. Ja (yes) says that the free local papers can be delivered. You can also get Nee/Nee stickers so that you won’t get any mail except that delivered by your local TNT mailperson. In theory, anyway. We still get the occasional Domino’s flyer.

There was a way to order one of the stickers online — that’s how I got ours — but I think GreenChoice isn’t offering them anymore. However, you can go to your local gemeente and pick up the sticker of your choice there, free of charge. We definitely saw a decrease in the amount of junk mail that ended up taking over our front entrance.