A tree with its own mailing address is at the center of several real-life fairy tales.
For decades, people from around the world have mailed letters to the oak tree in Germany, looking for love. After all, the 500-year-old tree, known as the Bridegroom’s Oak, is said to be responsible for more than 100 marriages.
It started in the late 19th century, when a girl fell in love with a chocolate maker from a neighboring town.
The girl’s father opposed the relationship, forcing the lovers to carry on in secret. The two communicated by leaving notes to each other inside the hole in an oak tree near her home.
The girl’s father eventually accepted the couple and allowed them to marry. They wed beneath the branches of the oak that had been so instrumental to their courtship.
This story inspired thousands of people to write letters filled with stories of their search for romance to the tree. Visitors to the forest can read letters delivered to the oak and may choose to respond to any of the senders.
The tree received so much mail that in 1927, Deutsche Post, Germany’s postal service, gave the tree its own address: Dodau 99 Dodau Forsthaus, 23701 Eutin, Germany.
To this day, it is believed to be the only tree in the world with its own mailing address.
According to Deutsche Post, the Bridegroom’s Oak receives approximately 1,000 letters a year.
For 20 years, the letter carrier assigned to the oak’s route was Karl-Heinz Martens.
“It was my favorite part of the day,” Martens said in a 2018 interview with the BBC. “People used to memorize my route and wait for me to arrive because they couldn’t believe that a postman would deliver letters to a tree.”
After appearing in a 1989 television news feature about the matchmaking tree, he one day found a handwritten note inside of the oak addressed to him from a woman name Renate.
“I would like to meet you,” the note read. “You are my type. At the moment, I am also alone.”
Renate and Martens met soon after and married in 1994. They hosted their wedding reception underneath the Bridegroom’s Oak.
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