Ja or nee? Dutch letterboxes

You have just moved into your new apartment. You go downstairs to check your letterbox... POST!

A bountiful of postal pleasure! What better feeling as a teen than receiving post? It makes you feel as though you’re at Hogwarts. You remove the cavalcade of cards… wait… he distant chorus of Monty Python Vikings floats in through the letterbox. It’s spam.

Your neighbour walks past, laughing: ‘You need a schticker!’ You run outside to see all of your neighbour’s letterboxes labelled with stickers: why the flyers have I not got one?? 

You haven’t got any Ja/Nee stickers on your letterbox because you have never heard of them before. You assume they have something to do with spam mail, but how can you be sure: all the writing on the sticker is in Dutch. The only part you (should) understand is the Ja/Nee, and that’s only because they are coloured green and red respectively!

These stickers can be found plastered on pretty much every Dutch letterbox, but finding information on them is very difficult if you are do not speak any Dutch. Without a way to get one, you may forever receive wads of Noten tijdschrift delivered to your door, and will be forced to live with the disapproving glares from your neighbours as you carry them back up to your room. ‘Using it for burning. Using it as toilet paper. Not using it in that way’, you mechanically confess to every person you pass on the stairs.

Yet, through exhaustive research, I have discovered (just for you) exactly what the stickers mean, and where to get them.

JA/NEE = Yes, I would like very much to receive the local paper (applies to none of you, because these papers are in Dutch and are, in fact, fairly uninteresting).

NEE/NEE = Don’t you dare give me anything that isn’t directly addressed to me or I’ll release the hounds!

You can get yourself a sticker at your local city hall or stadsdeelkantoren (district council office).

We recently had a sticker installed onto our letterbox (free of charge), but nothing has changed. We still receive huge heat-sealed packages of pizza deals and sofa sales, which, I suppose, isn’t a bad thing to receive for economical students like us, as long as you have the time to wade through them all…