Nauener Tor from 1755 is built according to a sketch by Frederik II - Autumn 2019

For many Potsdam is a suburb of the German capital, Berlin - and often at most a one-day visit to the city is set aside - but that should not be the case.
Potsdam is the capital of the state of Brandenburg with approx. 200,000 inhabitants and for the same reason it should to a large extent be considered an independent city.
Potsdam has undergone quite an impressive development in recent years. When I first came to the city many years ago, I had no doubt that this was a city that had been part of the former GDR. Most of the buildings were quite dilapidated and pretty much everything looked gray and sad. Especially when you got a little outside the city center, you could see the decay after many years of lack of maintenance. However, work is continuing on the reconstruction and they have come a long way - especially at Potsdam Hauptbahnhof towards Caputh, the very large cranes are underway, where a lot of homes are being built.


I must admit that when I first chose to visit Potsdam, it was primarily to avoid driving and parking in Berlin. I had read that it only took a small ½ hour by train to get to the center of one of my absolutely favorite capitals in Europe. That was also true, but we quickly discovered that Potsdam is so definitely something in itself. In addition to being the capital of the state of Brandenburg, it also has its very own legitimacy as a tourist destination. Not only are there three large recreational areas Neuer Garten as well as Babelsberg and Sanssouci Park, but in these parks there are also several castles with colossal historical significance and should for some reason not be just like that, the city of Potsdam itself is quite cozy . And if it does not appeal to you, you can go on a boat trip to e.g. Wansee or Caputh. You can also go cycling around the beautiful area, as the city is also richly surrounded by lakes and forests.

City coat of arms

The Brandenburg Gate was built in around 1771 and is thus older than its namesake in Berlin - Autumn 2019

Potsdam is probably best known outside Germany for the conference that took place between 17 July and 2 August 1945 at Cecilienhof Castle in Potsdam. This was where the victors decided how to manage the peace after Germany had been defeated. It is possible to visit the Cecilienhof in the Neuer Garten, where, among other things. can see the conference hall.

Cecilienhof - Efterår 2018

But Potsdam also offers much more. In addition to the Neuer Garten with the Cecilienhof, there is the Sanssouci park with its unique gardens and palaces. The area is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The most famous landmark is the Sanssouci Palace. The Hohenzollern Palace was designed and built in the years 1745 to 1757 by Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff, who had again been commissioned by the Prussian king Frederik the Great. The Rococo Palace is located on the southern slope of Potsdam in the hills of Bornstedt.

Sanssouci Palace - Autumn 2019 

Friedrich the Great had Sanssouci built, which directly translates to "without worry". It was built as a summer residence - a refuge where he could live carefree for a while.
The king was known for his modesty, and this is also expressed in his claim: "That a crown is just a hat that lets the rain in". Sanssouci was not particularly flashy either, and it was not intended to be used for more than a relatively short period of time.


Sanssouci - Vines can be seen to the right and left of the main staircase - Spring 2023

On a small rise covered by vineyard terraces near Potsdam, Friedrich had his Sanssouci summer palace built in 1745–1747. This was not only a summer residence and his favorite place to live - It also became a personal sanctuary, a place where he retreated in times of difficulty to relax in the company of his dogs and friends.

Sanssouci - Friedrich der Grosse's grave - Spring 2023

On August 17, 1991, "Friedrich der Grosse's" last will was finally fulfilled, when his sarcophagus was moved to Potsdam and buried on the terrace of Sanssouci in the cemetery he had already built. Since then, it has been tradition to lay potatoes on his grave, as it was he who, among many things he did introduced the potato to Europe. Frederik the Great lies next to his 11 dogs - they were greyhounds.


Sanssouci - Friedrich der Grosse's grave - Spring 2023

Frederik the Great died on 17 August 1786 at Sanssouci Castle in an armchair. His nephew and successor Friedrich Wilhelm II. had him buried in the Garrison Church in Potsdam next to his father Friedrich Wilhelm I. Which was next to the father who had raised him more than strictly and who had abused him.

In 1943, on Hitler's order, the sarcophagus was moved to a protective bunker in the district of Eiche and later in 1945 to the Bernterode quarry. Subsequently to Marburger Schloss and in 1947 to the city's Elisabethkirche. On the initiative of Louis Ferdinand von Preussen, it was transferred in 1952 to the chapel at Burg Hohenzollern. It was, as written earlier, first as late as 1991 that "Friedrich der Grosse's" last will was finally fulfilled.


The Chinese Tea House, Sanssouci Park - Spring 2023

During his stays in Sanssouci, Frederick the Great appreciated the intimate atmosphere of the Chinese house, which took him into a fantasy world - A world outside Europe. The Rococo Pavilion is said to be the best known surviving example of the Chinese fashion that shaped the culture of all European courts in the 18th century. China fashion does not show much of the China at that time, but rather more of the Europeans' ideas about China. The garden architect was Johann Gottfried Büring, who between 1755 and 1764 designed the pavilion in the then-popular style of Chinoiserie, a mixture of ornamental rococo elements and parts of Chinese architecture.


The Chinese Tea House, Sanssouci Park - Spring 2023

The exterior of the pavilion is defined by the life-size gilded figures placed individually or in groups around the building. Adventure-wearing musicians and tea drinkers are exhibited and the columns in the form of gilded palms, are intended to give impression of something exotic and adventurous.

"Historic mill of Sanssouci" - Autumn 2019 

The historic windmill in Sanssouci is a reconstruction of a Dutch windmill built between 1787 and 1791 under Friedrich Wilhelm II. It is built west of the Sanssouci Palace and is i.a. known for the legend of "The Miller from Sanssouci". Hence the addition "historical".

At the end of World War II, the woodwork structure burned down during the fighting. After repair work on the stone floor in the 1980s, it was rebuilt between 1991 and 1993. The mill building is a listed building and has since 1995 been run as a museum by Mühlenvereinigung Berlin-Brandenburg e.V.

Orangerie - Spring 2019

Orangerie is a palace in Sanssouci Park. It is also known as the new orangery at Klausberg or just the orangery. It was built by order of Frederick William IV of Prussia and was built from 1851 to 1864. An orangery is originally the name of a house with large windows, which was used for overwintering citrus trees, formerly called orange trees. Since citrus trees can settle for less light during the winter, the former had orangeries, often only glass in the facades, but not in the roof.

Neues Palais In Sanssouci Park - Spring 2019

Friedrich II built the impressive Neues Palais as a symbol of prestige at the opposite end of the palace gardens. After the Seven Years' War from 1756 to 1763, it was designed to show its neighbors and enemies that they had better take Prussia's new power seriously.

Unlike the small and intimate Sanssouci, the new palace was a bombastic building with long space suites and lavishly decorated party rooms and galleries. The craftsmen built it in record time without worrying about having to cut corners here and there and the economically hard-pressed Prussia also had to resort to imitating only more expensive masonry.

The pedestrian street Brandenburger Str. - Summer 2020

However, Potsdam is much more than castles and parks. The city is quite charming, cozy and with interesting and exciting neighborhoods, such as. "Dutch Quarters".

"Holländisches Viertel" - Summer 2020

The Holländisches Viertel is without a doubt one of the most interesting residential areas in Potsdam. It consists of four squares with about 150 brick houses in Dutch style - unpainted, with white joints, shutters and in some cases arched gables. The neighborhood was built between 1734 and 1742 by Dutch artisans that King Friedrich Wilhelm I - the king of soldiers - had brought to Potsdam. You can see more in the museum at Mittelstrasse 8.

In the late 1980s, the neighborhood was in a miserable state, but the fall of the wall and the subsequent political change enabled the redevelopment of the Dutch neighborhood. The changes came in 1990 and created the conditions for a vital neighborhood to reappear in close cooperation between the public and the private sector.
It can also be recommended that you rent one of the small apartments in the neighborhood during your stay, as it is a very special experience to live in a house that has not changed much since the 18th century.

Filmmuseum Potsdam - Spring 2018

Many famous films have been made in the Babelsberg studios and the film museum in Potsdam conveys this in an excellent way. However, there is also room for exhibitions on foreign films. 

"Die Olsenbande" at Filmmuseum Potsdam - Autumn 2018

In 2018, the film museum showed a special exhibition about the Olsen Gang, which was very popular in the former GDR. It is a little strange to think that the films had at least as much success in the then GDR as in Denmark.

Die Olsenbande - The large book for fans

Supermarket Ledo - Autumn 2020

It's quite funny that in Potsdam you can come across shops where Russian is spoken and where the goods originate from the then eastern countries - Romanian spiced sausages, Latvian hams and plenty of Russian vodka are sold here, but the organic milk from Poland is just organic enough for me. After it was opened, there was quite a lot of cowshed smell throughout the apartment.

"Ossi-Schroot" - Spring 2018

Everything ages and not least the things produced in the old GDR, but then it's good that you can just visit the shop that specializes in spare parts and the like - Ossi-Schrott in Großbeerenstraße 18, 14482 Potsdam.

Babelsberg - Spring 2018

As written earlier, there are many cozy places in Potsdam and this also applies to the district of Babelsberg, where the famous film studios are located. A walk past Bahnhof Babelsberg and down Karl Liebknecht str. can also be recommended.


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