Posten – A Guide to the Swedish Postal Service

2011-01-25. Published in Hands-on Guides
by Nils Pasi

A few years back, there used to be post offices in Gothenburg. Then everything changed, and suddenly it fell to selected grocery stores and corner stores to take over the job as the post offices were closing down, one after the other. Now you have to go to a grocery store or corner store if you need stamps, or need to mail anything that doesn't fit the mail box or pick up packages and parcels that could not be delivered to your door. We get some questions about this every year, so we thought it a good idea to put together an article describing just how Posten (Swedish Mail) works.

Sending mail


There are two delivery options to chose from when mailing letters within Sweden: 1st Class, and Economy Class. Letters dispatched as 1st Class will be delivered on the next working day, whereas Economy Class assures delivery within three working days. Economy Class mail must be marked with a 'B'.

Here's a price list and comparison:

International mail should be marked 'Prioritaire'. You can get a blue 'Prioritaire' sticker to put on your letter when you buy the stamps. Delivery times vary, but to get an idea of how long it will take, the estimate for Denmark is two working days, and mail to Australia is estimated to arrive after seven working days. More information may be found atPosten's website.

Here's a price list:

Sending parcels

Domestic and International
The prices in the price list are general in nature, and special circumstances may apply. You are therefore advised always to check with your local post office for exact prices to your address of destination. Parcels and boxes to package your items in may be bought at Posten Service Centres.

Here is the price list:

Receiving mail and parcels

Postcards and letters will of course be delivered to the recipient's mailbox. Packages too large to fit in the mailbox, will likely need to be picked up at a 'Posten ombud', which is a grocery store or corner store that has been selected to provide postal services. Sometimes, depending on the mail service chosen by the sender, Posten will actually try to deliver the package to the recipients home once. Should the recipient be out at the time, a second attempt at delivery will not be made.

When a package too large to fit the mailbox arrives in Gothenburg, a notice is sent out to the recipient with information on where to go to pick up the package. In some cases, Posten will first try to deliver the package to the recipient's home, and in that case the invoice will go out a day late, unless the recipient is home at the time and able to receive the package.

There are some tracking services available at Posten's website. I know of at least one time when this came in useful to a student who knew her family had sent her a package that seemed to never arrive. It turned out there was a problem with the notice sent out to her address, and by tracing the package at Posten's website, she was able to call them and request a second notice to be sent to her. This things very seldom happen, but it's still good to know that many packages can be tracked and traced through Posten's website.


Other Services

Posten's special postcard service
Posten offers an interesting photo postcard service that allows you to upload your own photos to be used as postcards. The procedure is simple. You upload a photo, enter a short message to the recipient and, of course, the recipient's address, but that's all. Posten will take care of the rest. The service costs 15 SEK, and the postcard prints are of very high quality. It is a fun service for sending unique and personal postcards to family and friends back home. Unfortunately, the service is only available in Swedish.

/Nils, team 2011-2012

*Posten's logo, courtesy of Posten.
**All prices retrieved from on 9 January, 2012.


Arrival Articles

Discovering Swedish

This is a series of ten podcasts designed to introduce you to the Swedish language. We apologize for the poor audio quality of the first three episodes.
Episode 1 - Word order and verbs.
Episode 2 - Nouns.
Episode 3 - Adjectives.
Episode 4 - "What is that?"
Episode 5 - "Weekdays and Time"
Episode 6 - "Weekdays and Time"
Episode 7 - Verbs for 'to shop'

Episode 8 - "Money and withdrawing money from a store"
Episode 9 - Tag-Questions and Asking for Opinions
Episode 10 - Swedish Months and Saying Farewell