Downtown Potsdam

Downtown Potsdam

The Dutch Quarter, Nauener Tor and Schiffbauergasse: Potsdam's city center is well worth a visit.

  • Nikolaikirche© dpa
    View of the Nikolai Church in Potsdam.
  • Holländisches Viertel© dpa
    Brick gables in the Dutch Quarter in Potsdam.
  • Holländisches Viertel in Potsdam© TMB-Fotoarchiv/Broneske
    The Dutch Quarter in Potsdam was built by architect Jan Bouman on behalf of the Soldier King in Potsdam. Corner of Mittelstrasse and Benkertstrasse.
  • Nauener Tor© dpa
    Das Nauener Tor in Potsdam ist im neugotischen Stil erbaut.
  • Brandenburger Tor© dpa
    Das Brandenburger Tor in Potsdam wurde von Carl von Gontard und Georg Christian Unger im Auftrag Friedrichs II. in Potsdam gebaut. Es steht am westlichen Ende der Brandenburger Straße am Luisenplatz. Im Hintergrund ist die Kirche St. Peter und Paul zu sehen.
  • Hans Otto Theater© dpa
    Das Hans Otto Theater ist das größte und bekannteste Theater in der brandenburgischen Landeshauptstadt Potsdam.
Potsdam has much more to offer than its famous parks and palaces. The city center of the capital of Brandenburg, located directly southwest of Berlin, is also worth seeing.

Holländisches Viertel (Dutch Quarter)

The neighborhood around Mittelstraße and Benkertstraße is Potsdam's Dutch Quarter, the only one of its size and type preserved outside the Netherlands. Its 134 red brick buildings with their gables and eaves and colorful shutters, the cobblestone streets, the antique and other stores, and the quaint pubs and small cafes attract both locals and tourists. The neighborhppd was built in the 18th century by order of Frederick William I, who wanted to use it to attract Dutchmen to Potsdam.

Nauener Tor (Nauen Gate)

The Nauener Tor is located on the edge of the Dutch Quarter. It is one of three preserved city gates and a popular meeting place. The current structure in the English-influenced neo-Gothic style was built in the mid-18th century from an older gate. Originally, the Nauener Tor was connected to the other two gates in Potsdam - the Brandenburger Tor on Luisenplatz and the Jägertor - by a city wall. The gate's two wings were formerly used by the military, craftsmen, merchants and administrations. These days, they house restaurants.

Brandenburger Tor (Brandenburg Gate)

Potsdam's Brandenburg Gate is almost 20 years older and somewhat smaller than its Berlin namesake. The original gate was demolished at the end of the Seven Years' War and replaced by the present gate. The two sides of the gate were designed in completely different styles by two different architects. Corinthian trophies and pilasters decorate the side facing the city - this is the work of Carl von Gontard. The other side, designed by his student Georg Christian Unger, features scrolls and Corinthian double columns.

St. Peter and Paul Church

Centrally located in downtown Potsdam's city is the Catholic Provost Church of St. Peter and Paul. Its impressive 60-meter-high bell tower is a replica of the campanile of San Zeno in Verona. The yellow brick church was built in the late 19th century in the historicist style. Byzantine and Romanesque influences can be seen. Inside the church there are three paintings by the Baroque and Rococo painter Antoine Pesne.

Nikolai Church

The Protestant Nikolai Church is Potsdam's landmark. Its copper domed roof is visible from afar. It is one of the most important buildings of German classicism and was designed by Karl Friedrich Schinkel; Ludwig Persius and August Stüler finally built it. Actually, Frederick William II already wanted to have a new church built after the previous ones were either too small or destroyed by fires, but there was not enough money after the war against France. So his successor, Frederick William III, commissioned the church at the beginning of the 19th century with its current appearance, but with a flat gable roof.
It was not until the reign of Frederick William IV that the Nikolai Church received its current domed roof, as planned by Schinkel, who took the Panthéon in Paris and St. Paul's Cathedral in London as his models. Unfortunately, the church was almost completely destroyed at the end of the Second World War and was not rebuilt until 1981. St. Nicholas Church stands on the Old Market Square, where the Old City Hall, an obelisk and the rebuilt Fortuna Portal are also located. The portal represents the former entrance to the Potsdam City Palace, which was once located on this site. In 1960, this was demolished due to severe destruction during World War II.

Schiffbauergasse and Hans Otto Theater

Potsdam also offers plenty of culture and nightlife. A popular place to go is Schiffbauergasse. Art exhibitions, concerts venues, clubs, theaters, bars and movie theaters now occupy the street where steamships were once built, fish were bred and laundry was washed. Through the large glass windows of the Hans Otto Theater, which stands ta the end of Schiffbauergasse and was designed by architect Gottfried Böhm, one can look out from the inside onto Babelsberg Park. The theater presents a diverse repertoire from classical to modern plays.

Information

Potsdam on the Map

Getting There

By train: Potsdam is connected to the S-Bahn line S7 and the regional train line RE1.
By car: You can get to Potsdam from Berlin via the highway A115 or the B1.

Related Content

Sanssouci
© dpa

Discover Potsdam

Baroque buildings, Sanssouci Palace, numerous parks and gardens and a cultural landscape that has been declared a Unesco World Heritage Site: All these things make Potsdam one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. more

Schloss Sanssouci in Potsdam
© dpa

Sanssouci Palace

Sanssouci Palace in Potsdam near Berlin is a must-see for tourists. The pleasure palace of Frederick the Great features beautiful Roccoco-style architecture and a magnificent palace garden. more

Last edited: 13 December 2022