Situated only 40 minutes away from Friedrichstrasse, Potsdam is a must visit not only for its landscape but also for its history and the history that goes with the town. Potsdam is Sanssouci. Potsdam is the Dutch Quarter. Potsdam is cinema, it is woods and it is water….
As the capital of the land (state) of Brandenburg, the city suffered heavily during the seventeenth century the hardships that arose from the 30 Years War (1618-1648). In 1660 Potsdam was chosen as the hunting palace for Frederick William I, the “Great Elector”, thus converting the city, de facto, into the second capital of the nation. In 1685 the Edict of Potsdam saw the city open its doors to the Huguenots, French Calvinists who were oppressed by an edict issued by the French king and had to leave their country for religious reasons.
Without a doubt, the 17th century shaped the character of the city to a good extent; however the following 300 years were hardly insignificant, especially as far as architecture is concerned: the Sanssouci Palace and Neues Palais were built during the era of Frederick the Great, the Orangery Palace in the 19th century and Cecilienhof Palace during the First World War. Additionally the Brandenburg Gate has helped give Potsdam a distinct historical character, even if it hasn’t played such an important role as its counterpart in Berlin (which needs no introduction by any means).
Finally, the 20th century saw how the world’s three most powerful men at the time – Winston Churchill, Harry Truman and Joseph Stalin – decided during the Potsdam Conference Germany’s post-war future and indirectly that of Europe and the world. The agreements that emerged from the meetings at Cecilienhof in the summer of 1945 signified the making of a new world order. Without doubt, history was born in Potsdam during the second half of the 20th century.