- 1300 – 1500
- 1100 – 1200
bpost is a modern, efficient postal company with a network of 670 post offices and 670 PostPoints that provides the universal service in Belgium, serving every letterbox five days per week and delivering around 10 million letters and 100,000 parcels on a daily basis.
1 January: The postal market is completely opened up to competition.
1 January: De Post-La Poste changes its name to bpost.
Post Danmark A/S withdraws from the strategic partnership consortium and CVC Capital Partners becomes the sole private shareholder of De Post-La Poste alongside the Belgian state.
Inauguration of the new Liege X sorting centre in January, closely followed by the modernisation of Brussels X.
A consortium comprising Post Danmark A/S and CVC* takes a 49.99% shareholding in De Post-La Poste, creating a strategic partnership to enable De Post-La Poste to pursue its modernisation and preparation for the full liberalisation of the postal market. The market for letters weighing over 50g is opened up to competition.
It is also a year in which three new sorting centres open: Ghent X (May), Charleroi X (August) and Antwerp X (November).
De Post-La Poste launches an ambitious modernisation plan to prepare for the full opening of the postal market to competition. The market for letters weighing over 100g is opened up to competition.
March: De Post-La Poste becomes a Naamloze vennootschap van publiek recht/Société Anonyme de droit public, a type of company limited by shares under public law.
May: The approval of the first EU Directive (Directive 97/67/EC), which ultimately aims at the full liberalisation of postal services. The market for letters weighing over 350g is opened up to competition.
There is a new name change, as Regie der Posterijen-Régie des postes becomes De Post-La Poste (Belgium).
The first step towards greater administrative independence and a change of name for the Belgian post: Administratie van de post-Administration de la Poste becomes Regie der Posterijen-Régie des postes.
Introduction of postcodes in Belgium.
First optical mail sorting at the Brussels X sorting centre.
Obligation for every home to have a letterbox.
Launch of the Day of the Stamp in Belgium.
Belgium's first postage stamp, the legendary "Epaulette" depicting Leopold I.
Brussels has 14 letterboxes.
Daily delivery, even in the countryside.
28 January: The issue of the Penny Black, the world's first postage stamp, in the United Kingdom.
The Belgian mails become a state service.
The coming of the railways marks the end of the era of mail coaches.
A 'chief postman' is appointed for the Brussels postal service. He heads a team of seven other postmen, six of whom dispatch mail to private homes. The seventh takes care of the internal service. Fourteen mail coaches leave Brussels every day. Brussels to Metz takes 37 hours.
The municipal post arrives in Brussels. The French postal service comes to Belgium.
First transatlantic postal service between Portsmouth and Barbados.
End of the activities of the Thurn and Taxis dynasty when the heir to the Spanish crown buys their postal organisation. Emergence of mail coaches.
Louis XI, considered the father of the French post, introduces the first state post.
J.B. Van Avyn centralises the Brussels courier services, while his brother does the same in Antwerp. When the messages arrive in Brussels, he takes the letters to his office on Heuvelstraete, a side street of Grand-Place at the time.
International connections are served by the mail service of the Taxis family, which has its general headquarters on the Sablon.
François de Taxis and his nephew Jean-Baptiste are entrusted with running the postal system over an area from Brussels to Spain, Rome, Naples, Germany and France.
Philippe the Handsome appoints François de Taxis "Captain and Grand Master of the Mails". François de Taxis organises the European post, which is permanently headquartered in Brussels. This represents the birth of the regular post.
1300 - 1500
In the Middle Ages universities are established in Paris and Leuven. They quickly become conscious of the need to have accredited couriers. The service is no longer restricted to sending news. Now parcels, baggage, clothing, money and other documents are also couriered.
1100 - 1200
Emergence of municipal authorities, which ultimately assert themselves, enabling the establishment of intellectual life. This thirst for knowledge needs a medium. A postal organisation seems to best meet the challenge. A new occupation, the courier, comes into existence.
Although still unknown in Europe, paper has already long been in use elsewhere. Our distant ancestors make do with natural resources that are in generous supply, including palm leaves, metal, lead or bronze plates, fish skins, viper skins, clay and wax tablets.
The Carolingian Empire is divided by the Treaty of Verdun. The good old Roman postal service organisation does not survive the Germanic invasions. Couriers are nothing but a memory.
Throughout history, the organisation of the postal services has experienced more than one setback. Charlemagne recreates the postal service with the help of his 'Missi Dominici' (envoys of the lord).
After the Romans take the approaches to the Egyptian city of Memphis, papyrus, which is prepared from a water plant growing abundantly on the banks of the Nile, comes into daily use. Now it is no longer necessary to use impractical materials that weigh a lot, take up a lot of space and are easily broken to send messages.
Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus Augustus, better known as Augustus, the first Roman emperor, is to all intents and purposes the founder of the modern postal system, following the example of Cyrus.
According to tradition the Chinese Cai Lun invented the first paper based on the bark of trees. This was a landmark in the history of mail, which is still in its infancy.
The first known letter is written in Egypt on a roll of papyrus.
The Arabs impose the use of parchment, which owes its name to the city of Pergamum.
Darius the king of Persia reigns over an empire so vast that he has to devolve some of his powers to provincial governors. Regular contacts are needed to keep the system running smoothly. He sets up resting stations throughout his empire, at distances taking account of the average endurance of a horse. It seems there are 11 relays between Susa and the Aegean.
Based on what we know, the Assyrians and the Babylonians have an ancient postal service of their own. It would seem that a regular postal system also exists in China at this time.
The Egyptians start to use papyrus for writing on.
The beginning of history: the practice of writing emerges. Without writing there would be no post as we know it today.