Outside of the sleepy rural town of Eutin, Germany, lies an oddity that’s bound to interest anyone looking for love in their lives. A 5-century-old oak tree stands innocuously outside the town, with a ladder letting people up into its knothole.
A knothole that’s been filled with love letters for over a century now.
This tree has been acting as a sort of dating service, sort of a plant-based like latin-brides.net, except this one predates Tinder, the internet, and even both World Wars, and is, reportedly responsible for at least 100 weddings over its time of service.
The tree, dubbed Der Bräutigamseiche, or the Bridegroom’s Oak, and has since expanded from a local dating service like latin-brides.net, into an international service, with hopeful singles from across the world sending letters to the tree, hoping that a small investment of a postage stamp will lead to them finding the love of their lives.
Postman Karl-Heinz Martens, who has been delivering letters addressed to the tree for 2 decades, since 1984, says that there’s simply something strangely romantic about the whole affair. He state that, on the internet, people are matched by facts and question, while the tree matches people through simple coincidence. Fate, he believes, beautifully acting through an oak tree.
Martens explains that the tree’s story started back in 1890, when a local lady, Minna, fell in love with Wilhelm, a chocolate maker. Minna’s father disapproved of the relationship and forbid her to see him, so they began to exchange letters in secret via the oak tree. A year after that, Minna’s father recanted his previous statement, and allowed Minna to marry Wilhelm, and the two finally exchanged vows on the 2nd of June 1891 under the oak tree.
It was then that the tree grew in popularity across Germany, and ended up so popular that the Deutsche Post, Germany’s postal service, gave the tree an official postcode and postman, and put the ladder under the tree, so that anyone could see the letters inside.
Martin Grundler, spokesperson for the Deutsche Post, says that Der Bräutigamseiche receives approximately 1,000 letters annually, with the majority coming in during summertim.