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Home Towns - Potsdam, Germany

Dutch Quarters

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Picture borrowed from96dpi at flickr.

Potsdam's Dutch Quarters consist of 134 red brick houses, divided into four blocks, built between 1733 and 1740 by Dutch master builder Johann Boumann. King Frederick William I of Prussia had two things in mind when he ordered the development. Foremost, the Dutch had the reputation of being Europe's most modern and industrious nation of the time and the King wanted to attract other Dutch artisans to move to his residence.

The plan didn't really work out and instead, Prussian and French merchants and artists moved into the Quarters.

But Frederick William I was also known as "The Soldier-King" and by building this particular kind of houses, he created affordable living quarters for his favorite soldiers, the Potsdam Giants, an elite troop of foot soldiers with a minimum height requirement of six Prussian feet (6'2").

Dutch houses were not very wide, but relatively tall. Each house had a small quarter on the third floor and every resident was required to house one of Frederick's giants in these rooms.

7 ft tall James Kirkland, the talles of King Frederick's Giants.


For two and a half centuries, the houses were constantly occupied. The Quarters survived the battles of World War II undamaged but East Germany's post-war Communist government had neither the means to maintain the buildings nor an interest to do so.

By the end of the 1970s, it almost looked as if the largest conglomeration of Dutch houses outside of Holland was soon to be lost. There is a small museum devoted to the history of the quarters. It shows a couple of pictures of the desolate state of the houses in the 1970s. We tried to match these with pictures we took in 2007.

Shortly after reunification, with financial support by the Royal Dutch family, the buildings were restored to old glory and truly became one of Potsdam's crown jewels.


Today, the Dutch Quarters are one of Potsdam's most popular tourist destinations and we sure enjoyed all the little stores and cafes.

More pictures of the Dutch quarters
(Taken by other photographers)

96dpi took a couple of truly amazing pictures.

There is more by the same artist at flickr
In fact, using the Flickr search engine, we found a lot more pictures. Here are our favorites:

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