Skip to main content Skip to Search Box

Definition: Potsdam from Collins English Dictionary

n

1 a city in Germany, the capital of Brandenburg on the Havel River: residence of Prussian kings and German emperors and scene of the Potsdam Conference of 1945, at which the main Allied powers agreed on a plan to occupy Germany at the end of the Second World War. Pop: 144 979 (2003 est)


Summary Article: Potsdam from The Columbia Encyclopedia

(pŏts'dăm), city (1994 pop. 139,262), capital of Brandenburg, E Germany, on the Havel River, near Berlin. It is an industrial center and rail junction. Manufactures include processed food, textiles, electrotechnical equipment, boats, and locomotives. The suburb of Babelsberg (incorporated into Potsdam after 1940) was known as the center of the pre–World War II German and postwar East German motion-picture industry; motion-picture studios are still there. First mentioned in the late 10th cent. and chartered in the 14th cent., Potsdam was insignificant until Elector Frederick William of Brandenburg made it a residence (1660). The city's chief development came under Frederick II of Prussia (ruled 1740–86), who made Potsdam his chief residence and who built the palace and park of Sans Souci (1745–47) and the New Palace (1763–69). Also, the Town Palace was rebuilt (c.1745; destroyed in World War II) during his reign. The royal family of Prussia (later also the imperial family of Germany) continued to favor Potsdam as a residence, and numerous palaces were added by them. Since the early 18th cent. Potsdam had stood as the symbol of Prussian militarism. Its immense parade grounds and the somewhat ponderous architecture of some of its palaces contribute to the impression, but the graceful palace and park of Sans Souci are notable exceptions. They evoke the memory of Frederick II the philosopher-king and of his cultured circle rather than that of his military achievements. During World War II, Potsdam was severely damaged, and in 1945 it was the scene of the Potsdam Conference. In addition to the numerous palaces, the city's notable structures include the Garrison Church (1731–35), where Frederick William I and Frederick II were buried until soon after World War II, when their remains were transferred to Marburg. Potsdam is the site of the observatory of the Humboldt Univ. of Berlin; the Einstein Tower, an astrophysical observatory; and part of the state archives of the German Empire.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, © Columbia University Press 2017

Related Credo Articles

Full text Article Potsdam
The Macmillan Encyclopedia

52 19N 13 15E A city in E Germany, on the River Havel adjoining Berlin. It was the residence of Prussian kings and German emperors. The city...

Full text Article Potsdam
Philip's Encyclopedia

City on the River Havel, E Germany; capital of Brandenburg state. During the 18th century it was a residence of the Prussian royal family. The...

Full text Article Rheinsberg
The Columbia Encyclopedia

(rìns'bĕrk), town, Potsdam dist., NE Germany. It is a tourist and manufacturing center. The rococo palace in Rheinsberg was the residence (1736–40) o

See more from Credo