A part of The Netherlands right in Brandenburg
Potsdam's Dutch Quarter provides a completely different look on history of the city and a novel view of diversity that is at the root of the region’s unique traditions and legacy. Operated by the Association for Care of Dutch Culture in Potsdam, the house — and its museum: the Jan Bouman House — provide visitors a look at Potsdam from a completely different angle. In the process, you will get a deeper appreciation for the importance of Potsdam’s overall value.
The quarter is characterised by small shops, cafés and bars that attract visitors in this part of town. The story of the district starts with King Frederick William I who urgently needed qualified craftsmen for an extension of the garrison town. He made an overture to the neighbouring country of The Netherlands where he wanted local Dutchmen to feel a sense of being at home whilst in Potsdam. To prove the point, he then had 130 brick houses — in the typical Dutch style — built in this part of town in the middle of the 18th century. Even today, there is a lively atmosphere that celebrates this forward-thinking concept and welcoming of cultures.
Over the course of a decade, in the 1730s and 1740s, the quarter was built and came to life. Here, you will find ways to get away and relax, such as in museums and cafes. But you will also enjoy the main attraction: the brick gable houses which are architectural marvels and, importantly, typical of the period — a point that will provide you with a sense of the care taken to create the houses of this district.
The quarter’s museum is named after Jan Bouman, who was a renaissance man or sorts. Bouman was an architect, shipbuilder, designer, craftsman, and furniture maker. He was also the leader of a movement to encourage more Dutch skilled workers to the city — to build the collection of homes that would eventually become the quarter.
After a period of renovation, the museum opened to visitors in 1997. Today, visitors will find a rotation of special collections as well as a permanent exhibition of period pieces. The museum’s overall holdings include a spinning wheel, furniture, tiles, and cooking tools. The purpose of the exhibited items, like the house itself, is to give patrons a sense of what life was like during this era for the Dutch population in Potsdam in the mid-18th century.
If you would like to get to know more about the Dutch culture, we recommend a journey along The House of Orange Route which is a historic tourist route through Germany and the Netherlands and created in reminiscence of the Oranien-Nassau dynasty.