November 12, 2018

PostNL delivers in bins and gardens

Filed under: General,Weird by Orangemaster @ 4:14 pm

Receiving packages from PostNL, the Dutch postal service, can either be a breeze or a tragedy. Sadly, it can also be a lot of shades of frustration in between, and now there’s a Facebook group entitled ‘We hebben u gemist’ (roughly, ‘Since you weren’t home’) that collects notes left in mailboxes by delivery personnel, and a lot of them are hilarious.

“Package left in the orange bin”: yes, they leave stuff in actual bins. In this case, there was a brown bin and a grey bin, but no orange bin. Another one says ‘PAKITINTAON’ (In Dutch, it should be written as ‘Pakket in tuin’, which means ‘package in garden’, but someone just wrote it phonetically.

One of the reasons they leave a lot of notes is because people are not home during business hours (duh) or because the delivery folks want to ‘drop’ that package as fast as possible, as they are more often than not paid per delivery. For example, since my office is at home, I tend to sign for other people’s packages. You could also be a shit neighbour and steal stuff, which happens, but PostNL just wants to drop those packages wherever they can, including unguarded bins and gardens.

There’s a lot of hilarity to enjoy, especially if you can read Dutch, but I’ll share a note left by someone that sums up PostNL’s passive-aggressive work ethic: “Don’t order if you’re not going to be home. Your neighbours are also fed up of it. So are we.” PostNL pays not much and attracts people who don’t have too many options. As well, many people do this job on the side, such as students, pensioners, and so on, to give you a bit of context.

(Link:, Photo: wehebbenugemist)

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May 17, 2018

PostNL tells man to move to avoid van fumes

Filed under: General,Health,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 12:57 pm


An Amsterdam resident asked on Twitter why PostNL’s delivery personnel leave their van on his street with the motor running, which is bad for the environment. PostNL’s Twitter team decided to mention their environmentally friendly plans to replace the diesel vans with zero-emission ones, but that it takes time. To drive their point home, PostNL told the man to shop for a new house in the country if he was worried about his one-year-boy inhaling diesel fumes. That’s corporate Dutch speak for “fuck you”.

A classic comment you’ll hear often in Amsterdam is ‘if you don’t like the noise or nuisance or whatever big city problem you’re whinging about, move to the country’. Many people, some with children some without, enjoy the big city vibe Amsterdam offers, but deep down inside would like their street or neighbourhood to be some sort of mini-village where the big city problems only affect the people living in the city centre, where most of the merriment and the tourists are. However unrealistic that is, the van has no good reason to leave its motor running and PostNL was not very customer friendly with their answer.


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September 16, 2013

The Netherlands has finally become a police state

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 12:18 pm

Rhetoric? Offensive sloganeering? Have I finally gone off the deep end? No, I am just getting a pun in there. Volkskrant reported last Saturday that the biggest employer in the Netherlands is the police.

In 2012 the police provided jobs to 63,778 people. They passed the military which was the biggest employer in 2011, but had to cut down their numbers due to budget cuts.

The top 5 large employers in the Netherlands are:

  • The police, 63,778 employees
  • The military, 61,749 employees
  • Rabobank, 41,402 employees
  • PostNL, 33,284 employees
  • Air France-KLM, 31,189 employees

According to Volkskrant their top 100 of companies employs about 1 million people in the Netherlands. Their distribution follows a power curve, the top ten employs a third of that million. According to Statistics Netherlands there were 8.68 million people working in the Netherlands in 2012 and 0.66 million unemployed citizens. The self-employed made up 1.25 million of people working. And there were 9.24 million jobs in 2012.

(Photo by FaceMePLS, some rights reserved)

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June 29, 2013

Dutch postal strike ends after reaching an agreement

Filed under: History by Branko Collin @ 3:10 pm

I write this while waiting for a package to be delivered by PostNL which could take a while because the strike at the package delivery division of the former Dutch state monopolist ended yesterday and the delivery people still have a backlog to contend with.

Since its privatisation PostNL seems to have dealt with a constant flow of bad press by changing its name every five years. The company started out as Koninklijke PTT (‘koninklijke’ means ‘royal’). In 1996 it became TPG Post and in 1998 the telephone and mail divisions split into two companies, the former getting the name KPN, the latter becoming TNT, Wikipedia says. TNT later became PostNL. (There are actually solid reasons for all the name changes, but those solid reasons only highlight the company being adrift.)

Nobody seems to know why the former state rail monopolist Nederlandse Spoorwegen (which is still a monopolist, just no longer legally so) messes up all the time, but at least with PostNL there seems to be a couple of reasons. The rise of the Internet appears to have killed off much of the need for mail and the liberalization of the postal market makes it so that when in the past a house was passed by one postal worker a day, now it’s several. PostNL responded to the rising cost of labour by hiring cheaper workers. They gave it a nice spin by labelling the process “[offering] jobs for people distant from the labour market“.

In 2012 PostNL decided to pay their workers for overtime; before that workers were being paid for a mythical number of hours that they should be working according to some bean counter rather than the number of hours they actually worked. In the same year reported that the “Dutch jewellers and goldsmiths’ federation has advised its members to stop using PostNL to deliver packages because so many disappear en route to their destination”.

This week’s strike is fairly unique. PostNL is responsible for delivering about 70% of the packages, but hands those packages over to smaller one-person delivery companies. The people who strike are not employed and therefore not unionised, which means that they strike on their own dime. The largest Dutch union, FNV, decided to help out with the negotiations nevertheless, Omroep West writes. The union is also labelling the workers as ‘schijnzelfstandigen’, self-employed people that in reality work for just one customer without receiving the many benefits and protections employees have under Dutch law. RTL Nieuws reports that online stores have suffered millions in damages because of the strike.

The agreement between PostNL and its freelancers states a new rate for delivery of packages and the setting up of a grievances committee that the freelancers can use to complain about working conditions, reports.

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