Post codes: new tool or old school?

For a long time the Irish postal services were my favourite kind: they didn’t have post codes in Ireland because “we don’t need them: our sorting machines are so sophisticated that we can sort the mail by using the street and place names only.” At least, this is what I remember having seen on their website a long time ago. Post codes are for losers, it implied.

But last week the news was that the Irish government issued a tender for a national post code project. The new tool should make services more efficient and delivery cheaper. Surrender to the post code system, as in the rest of Europe.

Simultaneously there is a movement in the Netherlands which undermines the post code system. Post codes are not an “authentic” part of the “BAG”, the Common Key Registers for Addresses and Buildings. Government institutions in the Netherlands are forced by law to use address data from the BAG, but post codes are issued by the privatised postal operator PostNL; and they disagree sometimes. Some people have no post code because PostNL won’t issue one for them. Consequently, they are deprived from a lot of services requiring a post code, such as applying for government grants. When confronted with this problem, local authorities replied people should turn to using “BAG Id’s”: post codes will soon be “old school”.

Also posted on