10 largest cities in Germany
Frankfurt am Main




Potsdam is an independent city and with a good 180,000 inhabitants it is the most populous city and capital of the state of Brandenburg. Potsdam, located on the Havel, borders Berlin to the southwest and is a growth center in its metropolitan area, which has around 4.5 million inhabitants.

The city is known for its legacy as the former residence of the kings of Prussia with the numerous and unique palace and park complexes and the important bourgeois core city. The cultural landscapes were included in the list of world cultural and natural heritage of humanity by UNESCO in 1990 as the largest ensemble of German world heritage sites. Potsdam has been a UNESCO film city in the network of Creative Cities since 2019.

The Babelsberg film studio, founded in Potsdam in 1912 as the world's first major film studio, is one of the most modern centers for film and television production in Germany and Europe.

Potsdam developed into a European science center from the middle of the 19th century. Three public universities and more than 30 research institutes are located in the city.


Potsdam was first mentioned in a document in 993 under the name “Poztupimi”. The Slavic settlement was a donation from Emperor Otto III. transferred to the monastery in Quedlinburg. In 1157 Albrecht the Bear conquered the settlement and assigned it to the new Mark Brandenburg. In 1317 a castle was built in the outpost at the Havel crossing, and in 1347 Potsdam was granted city rights. In 1415 the Mark Brandenburg was transferred to the House of Hohenzollern as a fief, which it was to remain until the end of the First World War.

In 1653 Potsdam was named the second residential city of Brandenburg-Prussia alongside Berlin. The "Great Elector" Friedrich Wilhelm von Brandenburg (1620–1688) had the palace built and the pleasure garden laid out between 1660-1682, drew French refugees in through the Edict of Potsdam of November 8, 1685 and made Potsdam a residence. His grandson King Friedrich Wilhelm I declared Potsdam a garrison town, carried out the baroque city extensions (1733-1742), had the city wall built, the city canal laid out and the Dutch Quarter built. The Havel residence owes its splendor to his successor Frederick the Great. Under him, the park and the Sanssouci Palace and the New Palace were built in front of the city. In the urban area, Friedrich gave the city palace its baroque appearance and turned Potsdam into a baroque total work of art through hundreds of magnificent renovations and new buildings. Friedrich Wilhelm IV. Expanded and changed the Park Sanssouci under the direction of Peter Joseph Lenné and had Charlottenhof Palace and the Orangery Palace built there.

From April 14th to 15th, 1945 an air raid by the British Royal Air Force took place on the so-called "Night of Potsdam", which destroyed large parts of the inner city of Potsdam. After the war Potsdam was rebuilt mainly with modern buildings during the SED rule. After the fall of the Wall in 1989, attempts were made to revive the historic cityscape in Potsdam's inner city by reconstructing baroque buildings and the city canal.

The city received international attention as the venue for the "Potsdam Conference" in 1945 in Cecilienhof Palace, where the three main allies of World War II decided on the future of Germany.

The city of Potsdam is divided into 34 districts and 84 statistical districts. The following 8 urban areas provide an overview:
Potsdam North
Northern suburbs
Western suburbs
Innenstadt/ Downtown
Potsdam south
Potsdam southeast
Northern districts