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(pŏts`dăm), city (1994 pop. 139,262), capital of BrandenburgBrandenburg
, state (1994 est. pop. 2,540,000), c.10,400 sq mi (26,940 sq km), E Germany. Potsdam is the capital; other leading cities include Cottbus, Frankfurt-an-der-Oder, and Brandenburg.
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, 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 SouciSans Souci
[Fr.,=without care], palace built (1745–47) at Potsdam, Germany, by Frederick II, who lived there for 40 years. Over 300 ft (91 m) long, it is believed to have been conceived by Frederick himself and executed by Knobelsdorff.
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 (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 ConferencePotsdam Conference,
meeting (July 17–Aug. 2, 1945) of the principal Allies in World War II (the United States, the USSR, and Great Britain) to clarify and implement agreements previously reached at the Yalta Conference.
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. 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.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a district in the central German Democratic Republic (GDR), primarily in the Havel River Basin. Population, 1,128,600 (1973). The capital is the city of Potsdam. The district has an area of 12,600 sq. km.

Potsdam’s economy is industrial and agrarian. Industry, including construction and handicrafts, employs 41.2 percent of the total work force, while agriculture and forestry employ 18 percent. The district provides 6.1 percent of the republic’s industrial output. The most important branches of industry are general engineering, heavy engineering (in Wildau, Brandenburg, and Teltow), and transportation engineering (locomotive building in Potsdam-Babelsberg, and Hennigsdorf and automobile manufacture in Ludwigsfelde). Potsdam also has electrotechnic, electronics, instrument-making, and optical industries. Another important branch is ferrous metallurgy, producing about 19 percent of the metal in the GDR, with its principal centers at Brandenburg, Hennigsdorf, Kirchmöser, and Oranienburg. The chemical industry is also important. North of Berlin, the GDR’s first atomic power plant has been built at Rheinsberg.

In agriculture, stock raising for dairy products and hog farming predominate. The main crops sown are rye, oats, potatoes, fodder grasses, and root crops. Wheat and sugar beets are also cultivated. There is suburban farming of fruit and early vegetables, as well as fish-farming.

Approximately one-third of the district is covered by forest. There is a dense transportation network with shipping along the Havel as well as on the Elbe-Havel and Oder-Havel canals. There is also a belt line that, along with the Havel Canal, encircles West Berlin.




a city in the German Democratic Republic, situated on the Havel River, near the southwestern edge of West Berlin. Capital of Potsdam District. Population, 115,500 (1973).

Potsdam is a hub of railroads and highways, as well as a river port. Its industries include diesel-locomotive building, repair of rolling stock, boatbuilding, and precision mechanics and optics. The city also has electrotechnic, chemical and pharmaceutical, printing, textile, and food-processing industries. Also in Potsdam are the Academy of State and Law, the Higher School of Cinema and Television of the GDR, and the Motion-picture Studio of DEFA (Deutsche Film-AG).

Potsdam was founded in the tenth century as a Slavic settlement. In the 13th century it became part of the Brandenburg Margravate, and in the 15th century it acquired municipal rights. In the 18th century the city became the second residence of the Prussian kings and the site of military parades and reviews. During the Great Patriotic War (1941–45), Soviet troops entered Potsdam on Apr. 27, 1945. In July and August of that year, a conference of the heads of government of the USSR, the USA, and Great Britain took place in Potsdam (the Potsdam Conference).

During the 17th and 18th centuries, Potsdam was built up as a military city with palisades and monumental gates. Although the city suffered great damage in 1945, many architectural landmarks have been preserved and restored. Among these landmarks are the baroque Dutch Quarter (1737–42), the Town Hall (1753; now the Hans Marchwitza House of Culture), the Town Palace (1745–51, architect G. W. von Knobelsdorff), the Brandenburg Gate (1770), and the late classical Church of St. Nicholas (1830–37, architect K. F. Schinkel, completed in 1849).

Situated to the west of the city’s center is the Sanssouci palace and park ensemble, which contains the French Sanssouci Park (including the Sicilian Garden) and the Sanssouci Palace (1745–62, architect G. W. von Knobelsdorff; additions built in 1840–41). Also in the ensemble are the Chinese Teahouse (1754–56), the Picture Gallery (1755–62), the New Palace (1763–69), the Communs Palace (1765–69), the Drachenhans (1770), the Belvedere (1770–72), the late classical Orangerie (1851–60) and the New Palaces (1771–74), which combine features of the late baroque, rococo, and early classicism and have rocaille interiors. Also in the west is the Charlottenhof landscaped English park with its late classical Charlottenhof Palace (1826–29) and Roman Baths (1828–44, both structures designed by the architect K. F. Schinkel). The separate New Garden has a classical marble palace (1787–91) and the Cecilienhof Palace (1913–16).

Among other 20th-century structures is an astrophysical observatory (the Einstein Tower, 1920–21, architect E. Mendelsohn). Public housing and buildings are being constructed. Potsdam also has a museum of primitive and ancient history.


Redslob, E. Barock und Rokoko in den Schlössrn von Berlin und Potsdam. Berlin, 1954.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


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.)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Michael Neiberg argues that to place Potsdam in a primarily Cold War context is to misunderstand how its participants and observers saw it at the time.
Potsdam lies 15 miles southwest of Berlin and just a 20-minute train ride away.
Leonard Thomaris was born on October 11, 1920 in Potsdam, NY to William Thomaris and Urania Dokianos.
One of his first acts as king was disbanding the Potsdam Giants.
The Brandenburg Philharmonic is in the residential heart of old Potsdam, screened from view along Wilhelm-Staab Strasse by apartment buildings restored after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
SUNY Potsdam has long been recognized for their outstanding computer network.
The jury was very impressed by the way in which a large building was handled with great sensitivity to the form and history of its site and its relationship to the little city of Potsdam. And by its many suggestions about making big buildings sustainable.
ESCORTED HOLIDAY 8 days from PS819 Berlin, Potsdam & the Harz Mountains Flying Direct from Liverpool & Manchester Departs 25 July, 1 August 2013 The scenery of the Harz Mountains, the medieval history amid the halftimbered houses of Goslar and Quedlinburg, the 'iron curtain' history of East Germany and Berlin, and the stunning new capital city that is emerging make this a unique holiday.