175 years in the service of the public
Swiss Post from 1849 to the present day

  • 2022

    Swiss Post delivers parcels and letters on time

    In 2022, 97.2 percent of A Mail letters and 99.3 percent of B Mail letters reach their recipients on time. For parcels, 95.7 per cent of Priority items and 96.9 per cent of Economy items arrive on time.

    Delivery of a letter
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  • 2020

    Swiss Post during the coronavirus crisis

    As a result of the lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic, and in particular due to the steep rise in online retail, Swiss Post delivers more parcels than ever before: 182.7 million – an all-time record.

    Parcels on the conveyor system at a parcel center
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  • 2016

    Switzerland debates the public service

    In 2016, voters reject the “Pro Service public” popular initiative, with 67.6% voting no. The initiative had attempted to prohibit enterprises affiliated with the Confederation in the area of the universal service from seeking profit and cross-subsidization, and to enact provisions governing wages. The Federal Council and Parliament had recommended rejection of the initiative. As a result of the ballot decision, customers continue to receive a high-quality public service without Swiss Post, SBB and Swisscom losing the entrepreneurial freedom they require.

    “Destroy the established”, poster of the referendum committee
  • 2012

    New postal legislation comes into force

    Following Parliament’s adoption of the comprehensive revision of the Postal Services Act and Postal Services Organization Act in December 2010, the Federal Council resolves to bring the new postal legislation into force in 2012. This legislation continues to constitute the legal basis for Swiss Post’s operations, on the one hand setting out the conditions under which Swiss Post must ensure the universal service, and on the other regulating the postal market.

    Extract from the Postal Services Act of 2012
  • 2004

    Parcel monopoly falls

    The parcel market is fully deregulated and parcel post achieves profitability. in 2006, the letter monopoly is reduced to 100 g, in 2009 to 50 g.

    A parcel carrier delivers parcels in Bern
  • 2002

    Holistic analysis of Swiss Post services

    The Federal Council puts forward to Parliament a “Holistic analysis of the further development of Swiss Post services in Switzerland”. In it, the Federal Council takes stock and sets out its postal policy for the coming years, preparing the way for a gradual opening of the postal market and laying the groundwork for the comprehensive revision of postal legislation that will come into force ten years later.

    The Federal Parliament in Bern
  • 1998

    End of the PTT

    The PTT is dissolved and split up into Swiss Post and Swisscom Ltd, marking the end of more than 70 years of shared history. The new Postal Services Act replaces the Act of 1924.

    Swisscom logo, 1998, and Swiss Post logo, 1999.
  • 1964

    Introduction of postcodes

    Postcodes are introduced on 1 October 1964, leading to a massive simplification of sorting. From this point on, in-depth geographical knowledge is no longer required. The postcode system forms the basis for the later introduction of automatic sorting.

    Sorting at the Sihlpost post office, 1965
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  • 1945

    The Postbus as an everyday means of transport

    Operating as an extension of rail transport, PostBus together with other rural bus operators opens up remote regions – including for tourism. Postbuses also serve as an everyday means of transport in urban agglomerations. Even today, 578 of Switzerland’s 2,148 municipalities (i.e. over 25 percent) can be reached by public transport only thanks to PostBus.

    Historical shot: Visitors at the Rhine Falls. A Postbus stops at the shore.
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  • 1918

    Swiss Post struggles with Spanish flu

    As the Spanish flu spreads in the summer of 1918, mail carriers, who by the nature of their work are heavily exposed, succumb in large numbers. It proves impossible to maintain operations in all places.

    Historical statistics on influenza among Swiss Post staff
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  • 1914–1945

    Swiss Post as intermediary during the world wars

    Working with the Red Cross, Swiss Post carries several hundred million postage-free consignments from prisoners of war and internees. And after the mobilizations of 1914 and 1939, the volume of Swiss military mail skyrockets – postage-free field post accounts for up to 25 percent of domestic letters.

    Prisoner-of-war mail in Basel, mail bags piled up for onward transport, circa 1945. Source: Robert Spreng (photographer) / Museum of Communication
  • 1906

    Swiss Post in motion – the first Postbus

    The first automobile mail route connects Bern with Detligen. The distinctive “toot-to-tooot”, however, is not heard until years later.

    The first generation of Postbuses in the yard at the main post office in Bern, 1906. Source: Museum of Communication
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  • 1906

    Payment transactions via Swiss Post

    Swiss Post is assigned a “Postcheque and giro service”. Thanks to its dense network of 4,000 operating locations, it offers ideal conditions for this. In principle, anyone can now open an account and make cashless transfers.

    Postcheque counter at the main post office in Geneva, 1935. Source: Museum of Communication
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  • 1889

    Between civilian and military

    Field post is established. Its basic mandate: to provide postal services for the army and its troops, serving as a bridge between civilian and military life.

    Officers and soldiers of the field post, Renens, 1895. Source: Museum of Communication
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  • 1870

    “Greetings from…”

    Switzerland is the fourth country in the world to introduce the postcard. The postage costs just half that of a letter. As tourism takes off, the following decades see a veritable boom in postcards.

    Postcard from circa 1900 with a picture and the inscription “Greetings from Lucerne”. Source: Gebrüder Metz, Kunstverlags-Anstalt Basel (ed.) / Museum of Communication
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  • 1857

    The Railway Mail Service is introduced

    From the 1850s, the backbone of postal transport is the Railway Mail Service. Mail is sorted en route in specially designated carriages. Before the introduction of postcodes, this work requires very good knowledge of geography and the PTT transport system.

    Railway Mail Service postal workers sorting en route in the office of the Railway Mail Service carriage on the Basel-Belfort line, 1926. Source: Museum of Communication
  • 1849

    Swiss Post: how it all began

    The newly established federal state unifies – and improves – the postal system. The Swiss federal postal service replaces the cantonal postal administrations. From this point on, it is responsible for transporting letters, parcels, people and cash remittances.

    Mail coaches and employees in front of the post office in Effretikon at the end of the 19th century . Source: PTT Archive
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More journeys back in time

Rich Content Section


Image sources:

1964: Sorting at the Sihlpost post office, 1965, ETH Library Zurich, image archive.

1945: Postbus at the Rhine Falls, PTT Archive, Köniz.

1918: Statistics on the Spanish flu, PTT Archive, Köniz

1914-1945: Prisoner-of-war mail in Basel, mail bags piled up for onward transport, circa 1945, Robert Spreng (photographer), Museum of Communication, Bern.

1906 Swiss Post in motion – the first Postbus: the first generation of Postbuses in the yard at the main post office in Bern, 1906, Museum of Communication, Bern.

1906 Payment transactions via Swiss Post: Postcheque counter at the main post office in Geneva, 1935, Museum of Communication, Bern.

1889: Field post officers and men in Renens, 1895, Museum of Communication, Bern.

1870: Postcard from circa 1900 with a picture and the inscription “Greetings from Lucerne”, Gebrüder Metz, Kunstverlags-Anstalt Basel (ed.), Museum of Communication, Bern.

1857: Railway Mail Service postal workers sorting en route on the Basel-Belfort line, 1926, Museum of Communication, Bern.

1849: Mail coaches and employees in front of the post office in Effretikon at the end of the 19th century, PTT Archive, Köniz.