In Dodauer Forest, near Eutin in Germany, stands an oak tree that has been rooted for over 500 years. It is known as Der Bräutigamseiche (the Bridegroom’s Oak) and is said to be responsible for more than 100 marriages.
Legend has it, a pair of sweethearts who were forbidden from seeing each other originally used a small hole in the tree’s trunk to secretly swap love letters. Once they were eventually allowed to wed under the tree in 1891, the charming news spread and led to other people writing to the tree in the hopes of finding love.
Possibly the original Tinder, the ancient tree received so many letters that it was assigned its own postbox and postperson in 1927. There is a ladder set against the tree so that anyone wishing to read the mail can easily climb up and hopefully wait until they’ve descended again before swooning.
Letters have arrived at the tree from all over the world and are delivered six days of the week. The only rule is that readers must return a letter they are not interested in answering to the tree for that writer’s true companion to find.
The matchmaking tree even once found love itself, symbolically marrying the landmark Himmelgeist Chestnut – a horse chestnut tree in Düsseldorf – on 25 April 2009. The trees were happily married for six years until sadly the Himmelgeist Chestnut (which was the second tree in Germany to have a postal address) was felled due to old age.
With so many match-making apps and websites making the dating scene more convenient and less romantic, why not give snail mail a try and see if it’s worth the wait? Or, if you prefer to do the chasing, a visit to Northern Germany is always a good idea, at the very least you’ll get to see one of the world’s more unusual postboxes.