2020 has been a difficult year if we’re being polite about it. Can’t go out to bars, can’t meet other people as social interactions are cut right back. How on earth can someone find that special person during such a time. Well, Germany may well have the answer.

In the Dodauer Forst Forest, near Eutin in Schleswig-Holstein, there is a tree. Now, granted, such a statement may seem obvious given it is, after all, a forest. Plus, how many great love stories started with “well there was a tree”. Well if local legend is to be believed, more than a hundred.

The Bräutigamseiche — meaning Bridegroom’s Oak — is a tree that as of 1927 has its own postal code. The tale starts with two lovers, forbidden by her father to meet. They chose to meet in secret by an oak tree in the forest, away from prying eyes. As time passed her father’s heart softened and he relented and the love-struck duo married under the very tree that had been their companion throughout. News of this story spread and so people began to visit the tree. Men and women left letters in a hole in the tree as they searched for love. They’d leave a way to contact them and whoever found the letter could, if they wish, get in touch. As the fame of the tree spread more people began to travel, and as said in 1927 it received a postcode.

Its success cannot be denied. Karl Heinz Martens, a postman who delivered the letters to the tree, appeared on television to talk about it. A few days later a letter addressed to him, and to be delivered to the tree appeared. It was from a young woman in Hamburg. The pair are married to this day. Such is the popularity of the tree that it receives about a thousand letters a year. In 1958 a German soldier reached into the tree and pulled out a letter that had been written on behalf of a young lady by her friends. They exchanged letters for a year before they met. 2021 will be their 60th wedding anniversary.

The Bridegroom’s Oak has itself been married, to the only other tree in Germany with a postcode. A 200-year-old chestnut in Düsseldorf, the Himmelgeister Kastanie. While they were over five hundred kilometres apart, the pair exchanged letters and leaves since their union started in 2009. Sadly though after six years the chestnut tree had to be cut down due to a terrible fungal infection, the wood being used to make a sculpture to honour it. The Oak too had issues with a fungal infection and several limbs had to be removed to stop it from spreading. Though given it is over five hundred years old it still continues to grow strong.

There is only one rule, if you find a letter and don’t respond, you must place it back into the tree for someone else to find. There’s also the belief that if a young woman walks around the tree three times under a full moon while thinking of their beloved, they’ll be married within the year.

So, should you find yourself longing for that special someone, know that there is help to be found. A grand old oak will do its best to work magic for you, as it has for so many others. Should you be interested then Bräutigamseiche, Dodauer Forst, 23701 Eutin. Germany. Just in case you ever need it.