Posts Tagged ‘Dutch Quarter’

Dutch Treat at the Dutch Quarter

Monday, December 19th, 2016

 

The Dutch Quarter (Hollaendisches Viertel) is a neighborhood in the city of Potsdam, about 15 miles southwest of Berlin. Its 134 three-story red brick houses with Dutch style gables were constructed between 1733 and 1740. Originally, all of the buildings had front yards, but the last garden gave way in 1928. Today, the Dutch Quarter in Potsdam is Europe’s greatest collection of Dutch-style houses outside of the Netherlands. Mittlestrasse no. 8, the Johann-Boumann-Haus, is open to the public and details the history of the Dutch Quarter.

 

The Dutch Quarter (Hollaendisches Viertel) in Potsdam near Berlin, photo © J. Elke Ertle, 2013. www. walled-in-berlin.com

The Dutch Quarter (Hollaendisches Viertel) in Potsdam near Berlin, photo © J. Elke Ertle, 2013. www. walled-in-berlin.com

History of the Dutch Quarter

Construction of the Dutch Quarter began during the reign of Friedrich Wilhelm I of Prussia, the “Soldier King.” To expand and upgrade the garrison town of Potsdam, Friedrich Wilhelm needed a large number of skilled craftsmen. Partial to the skillfulness of Dutch tradesman, he hoped to entice Dutch immigrants to Potsdam by offering them a home, freedom of conscience to follow their own beliefs in matters of religion and morality and the promise of plenty of work.

Eagerly, Friedrich Wilhelm asked the Dutch designer/builder, Jan Bouman, to construct four blocks of red brick houses, reminiscent of the Netherlands. Unfortunately, the Dutch tradesmen did not arrive in the anticipated numbers so that many soldiers and their families, French and Prussian artists and travelling salesmen moved into the settlement instead. At some point, one third of the inhabitants were French.

Until 1878, the second battalion of the Prussian first Foot Guard Regiment was stationed in the Dutch Quarter. In 1906, the Hauptmann von Koepenick http://www.walled-in-berlin.com/j-elke-ertle/the-captain-from-koepenick-ruse/ purchased his uniform in Mittelstrasse no. 3. from second-hand dealer Bertold Remlinter.

The Dutch Quarter in the 20th Century

The Dutch Quarter miraculously escaped major damage during World War II. Following the Second World War, the settlement became part of Soviet Occupation Zone. It was left to decay until the city council voted in the 1970s to begin restoration. Following German reunification in 1990, and with the help of the Dutch Monarchy, property owners, artists, conservationists and private investors, restoration took a major step forward and is completed by now.

The Dutch Quarter Today

Today, the Dutch Quarter’s picturesque mix of residential, small shops, galleries, artisan workshops, small backyard taverns, antique dealers, tempting restaurants and cozy cafés give it a unique charm that is popular with locals and tourists alike. The opportunity to Dutch Treat at the Dutch Quarter presents itself around every corner. Three times during the year, the Dutch Quarter celebrates: There is the tulip festival in April, the pottery market in September and the Dutch Christmas Market, called Sinterklaas.

 

The Dutch Quarter with its cozy taverns, small restaurants and cafes, photo © J. Elke Ertle, 2013. www.walled-in-berlin.com

The Dutch Quarter with its cozy taverns, small restaurants and cafes, photo © J. Elke Ertle, 2013. www.walled-in-berlin.com

 

Locals and tourists enjoy the charm of the Dutch Quarter on a sunny afternoon, photo © J. Elke Ertle, 2013. www.walled-in-berlin.com

Locals and tourists enjoy the charm of the Dutch Quarter on a sunny afternoon, photo © J. Elke Ertle, 2013. www.walled-in-berlin.com

 

For a sneak peek at the first 20+ pages of my memoir, “Walled-In: A West Berlin Girl’s Journey to Freedom,” click “Download a free excerpt” on the home page of http://www.walled-in-berlin.com