Considered the greatest collection of Dutch buildings outside of the Netherlands, Potsdam’s Dutch Quarter (Holländisches Viertel) was designed by Jan Bouman and built between 1733 and 1740. It is clustered with 169 red brick buildings, most of which have been beautifully restored and renovated, now housing boutique shops and eclectic cafes.
Also known as “Little Amsterdam”, the Dutch Quarter was originally commissioned by Frederick William I to attract skilled workers to the area from the Netherlands. There was an urgency for well-trained craftsmen to help with the expansion of the garrison town of Potsdam and workers were offered not only attractive contracts but also a house reminiscent of their homeland. Four picturesque squares are scattered across the district and are lined with terraced houses made almost entirely of red brick that feature classic white joints and shutter windows.
While the Dutch Quarter suffered little damage during World War II, the area deteriorated throughout the GDR period and it wasn’t until the 1970s that restoration works really began. Today the area is home to art galleries, antique shops and atmospheric beer gardens, as well as hosting annual festivals that include the Dutch Christmas market and the spring Tulip Festival.
One building not to miss is the former home of Jan Bouman on Mittelstraße 8, which is now open to the public and stands as one of the first urban settlement houses in Potsdam. It consists of the main house, half-timbered additional buildings, a courtyard and garden that offer an intriguing insight into Dutch life in Potsdam during the 18th century.